Category Archives: World

Breakthrough Afrika Mixtape

breakthrough afrika

Track Listing v.1

01 Minuit [Fagaru Evolution]

02 Muxima [Os Keizos]

03 Amasco dima no [Rochereau and African Fiesta]

04 Aura moreno[ Tabu Ley Rochereau]

05 Bowao [Tiers Monde]

06 Bholen Mwana [Orchestre Negro Succes]

07 Bahole Njalo [Mahlathini]

08 Camarada Kill Bill [Paulo Flores]

09 Belga [Cesaria Evora]

10 Tezeta [Getatchew Mekurya]

11 Zunkuluke [Quatre Etoiles]

12 Saudades De Luanda [Os Keizos]

13 Tika Nasakola [Sam Mangwana]

14 K’an Ben [Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate]

15 Makono [Lobi Traore]

16 Wariko [Amadou Balake]

 

V1.

Track Listing v.2

17 Petit Sekou [Bembeya Jazz National]

18 Testament Ya Bowule [Simaro Massiya Lutumba]

19 Rhumba [The Cold Storage Band]

20 Breakthrough [The Funkees]

21 Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu [Brenda Fassie]

22 The More I See You [The Invaders]

23 Mke wa kwanza [Orcestre Simba Wanyki]

24 Awé Ho Mè [Orchestre Black Santiago]

25 Retany [Tarika]

26 Mi Guajeo [Orchestre N’guewel]

27 Almokerkum Neber [Hiru Begele]

28 Marie Lou [Tabu Ley]

29 Mr. Bull Dog (45 Version) [The MEbusas]

30 Tar Hani (My Love) [Bombino]

31 Kôté Don [Rokia Traore]

32 O Mang [Hi Hop Pantsula]

V2.

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Heal thyself: Cymande

Cymande

Cymande

Wo!

Just the first day of the working week and one’s soul and body is already aching. No complaints, mind. Just a cold assessment of the current reality. Several more similarly long and full days await until the weekend arrives and I depart on another trip. This time to my favorite part of the world, India. Mumbai for a couple of short weekend days and then the nation’s capital for meetings and hopefully a bit of down time to stalk through the streets with all my senses open to ‘receptive’.

 

One does find there are days and weeks of days when despair and sadness are hard to keep at bay. What with all the shit happening in the Middle East and the suffering and rudeness of the ruling classes towards anyone who is not one of ‘us’ is enough to make the heart break.

When I get into those kind of places I generally find a long walk outside followed by a cold beer and some fine tunes return my inner barometer to the normal range. And over the weekend the tunes I turned to were from an old band with the slightly hard to pronounce name of Cymande (Shamaanday).

I used to spy this album in record stores years back and inevitably paused to take in the intriguing cover art. There was something just off beat enough about it to want me to try it out but of course I would opt for the more familiar product. In those days of youth when one is supposed to be full of adventure, I have to confess my musical tastes were firmly unadventerous. But let’s not look back.

Except perhaps to give praise. And much praise is due to these chaps with the unusual name. A group of West Indian immigrants in the UK, Cymande mixed together reggae, proto-dub, funk, sweet soul harmonies and a righteous message on their very limited number of records.   Except for a tiny number of music snobs, club hounds and critics the records didn’t get much uptake; the band disbanded in the late 70s.

Rediscovered by samplers a number of decades on, Cymande has probably reached a wider audience in the past 20 years then they ever did in their heyday.

This is very groovy music. Listen. And you’ll instantly be aware of its healing qualities. The deep throbbing bass shakes the blues loose (or perhaps packs it further down?) and slowly draws you to surrender.   Like a musical body tonic, Cymande, are an elixir.

Heal thyself!

The Message

Track Listing:

01 Zion I

02 One More

03 Getting It Back

04 Listen

05 Rickshaw

06 Dove

07 Bra

08 The Message

09 Rastafarian Folk Song

C Y M A N D E

 

Brothers of Song: Hermanos Santa Cruz

Hermanos Santa Cruz

Hermanos Santa Cruz

Hermanos Santa Cruz are a group of Afro-Peruvian musicians who came together in the late 1980s in Peru and who have gained a strong following across Latin America and Europe. Sons of one of the most prominent Afro-Peruvian figures, Nicodemus Santa Cruz, Rafo and Octavio Castillo are on a mission to keep the rich but historically marginalised music of their people alive and vital.

 

This is a record that took me a little longer than expected to warm to but I can report that I have. The sounds are of course ‘latin’ but without the brass and large band sound of popular salsa music. Rather there is a ‘country’ feel to the soundscape…lots of acoustic guitars and Latin percussion of many many types. The singing is strong and most numbers clip along in a very danceable mode.

 

Overall, a nice little record of a band that deserves a wider audience.

Afro Peru

Track Listing:

01 Eriko Maka Maka

02 Alcatraz

03 Toto Mata

04 Oita No Ma

05 Tinga Que Tinga

06 Los Tamaleros

07 Que Viva Mi Mamá

08 A La Molina

09 Don Antonio Mina

10 Negrito De La Huayrona

11 La Morena Trinidad

12 Mi Comare Cocoliche

13 El Tamalito

14 Negro Tiene Que Ser-Ven A Mi Encuentro

15 Mueve Tu Cucu

***

Bandit Heroes: Roots of Narco Corridos

Bandit Hero Heraclio Bernal

Bandit Hero Heraclio Bernal

Why do we look up to ‘bad guys’?  Or let’s phrase that another way. Why are so called bad guys (outlaws, bandits, dacoits, highwaymen) so attractive to a certain class of people, especially the poor, disenfranchised and shat-upon?

In Mexico there is long tradition of corridos (ballads) being composed about and sung for all sorts of anti-establishmentarian figures like drug dealers, thieves and smugglers.  In modern America and Mexico one of the most popular genres of music is the narcocorrido, a ballad that praises the exploits of the nasty drug kings that have unleashed so much violence all across Mexico and the southwestern American states. A more unappealing group of businessmen is hard to imagine, these guys who think nothing of decapitation and bloodbaths on urban streets. And yet when these narcocorridos are brought to the stage, the house is packed to the rafters.

Sociologists have puzzled over the appeal of the ‘criminal hero’ ever since (at least) Robin Hood did battle in Nottingham against King John.  They say, by singing songs they are vicariously speaking out against the oppressive system. Or, when the level and quality of justice in a society is so unresponsive and unfair, the poor build up songs about these shady (but brave) figures.  Some scholars have, in Mexico’s case, traced the corridos to times when times were so hard that good men were forced into a life of bad activities.  Like those who can identify with the good man Walter White, of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, who does a terrible thing for a noble reason, these songs are sympatico signals of the ‘there but for the Grace of God go I’ sort.

Scholar Chris Frazer in his book Bandit Nation: A History of Outlaws and Cultural Struggle in Mexico 1810-1920 posits that the driver of the creative spirit behind corridos was in fact a concept of masculinity. A man was supposed to be strong and accomplish great things for those whom he protected, the poor.  In exchange for loyal service the patron provided strength and the necessities of life.  Little did it matter if sometimes the patron crossed over the line that the establishment had said must not be crossed.

And since many of these illegal activities, especially murder, were seen by the singers as justifiable acts (retaliation against cruel bosses or grinding injustice from the system) it is often unclear whether the songs are indeed, glorifying bad guys at all. Rather they can be seen as truly heroic songs.  Just depends which side of the table your sitting on.

Tonight’s musical selection is a collection of these 19th and early 20th century corridos that elevated the exploits of drug smugglers, ‘rebel leaders’ and criminals, like Heraclio Bernal one of Mexico’s most infamous folk heroes.  The songs are sung in the simple folk style with guitar, accordion and every once in awhile a Mexicali trumpet.  The harmonies are sweet and melodies too.  But the songs are filled with references to robbery, marijuana, cocaine, tequila smuggling and death.  There is something weirdly charming hearing a group of elderly women singing fondly of such things!

A fun collection this is.  Take it as proto-gangster rap or genuine songs of the oppressed. Whatever suits your fancy.  As for me, I hear a bit of both.

Roots of Narcocorrido

Track Listing:

01 Corrido de Heraclio Bernal (The Ballad of Heraclio Bernal

02 Mariano Reséndez – Timoteo Cantu

03 Nieves Hernández

04 Corrido de Mier (Ballad of Mier)

05 Tequileros (The Tequileros) – Timoteo Cantu

06 Contrabando de El Paso, Pt. 1 (Contraband of El Paso, Pt. 1) – Leonardo Sifuentes

07 Contrabando de El Paso, Pt. 2 (Contraband of El Paso, Pt. 2) – Leonardo Sifuentes

08 Cocaína (Cocaine)

09 Marihuana (Marijuana)

10 Corrido de Juan García (The Ballad of Juan García)

11 García y Zamarripa

12 Pateros (The River Bandits)

13 Corrido del Hampa, Pt. 1 (Ballad of the Underworld, Pt. 2

14 Corrido del Hampa, Pt. 2 (Ballad of the Underworld, Pt. 2)

15 Canela (Ballad of the Cinnamon)

16 Por Morfina y Cocaína, Pt. 1 (Because of Morphine & Cocaine, Pt. 1)

17 Por Morfina y Cocaína, Pt. 2 (Because of Morphine & Cocaine, Pt. 2) Juan Gonzalez

18 Contrabandista, Pt. 1 (The Contraband Trafficker, Pt. 1)

19 Contrabandista, Pt. 2 (The Contraband Trafficker, Pt. 2)

20 Carga Blanca (White Cargo)

21 Profugo (The Fugitive, Marijuana)

22 Corrido de Juan Meneses (The Ballad of Juan Meneses)

23 Francisco Martínez

24 Tragedia de los Cargadores (Tragedy of the Drug Couriers)

25 Cadena (The Chain Gang)

26 Rey de Pipa Roja (The King of the Road 18-Wheel Tanker)

***

Happy Anniversary Part 6: Jazz and Related Sounds

BigJazzNight

And so we now come to a tri-partite celebration of jazz sounds as part of the ongoing commemoration of the Washerman’s Dog achieving the milestone of 700 posts (way back a couple of months ago). Thank you again to all visitors, regulars and encouragers along the way, its been a blast and I don’t’ see any reason to cease and desist any time soon.

 

Volume one is entitled Blue Vindaloo. Straight ahead jazz mixed with a fair number of Asian and Asian-inspired tracks by jazz artists from Afghanistan to Japan. Check out the Afghan Jazz Unit’s tremendous Spinboldak Saxophony.

Title track from the Pakistani-American uber guitarist Rez Abbasi.

 

Volume two is titled Afro Jazz and indeed here you will find much jazz from the Continent, as well as soukous, pop and other African delights.  Highlights this time are from Angola!  Title track comes via the mighty Madilu of DRC.

 

Volume three, Blow Baby, Blow is dedicated to outstanding brass, woodwind and brass band jazz. Sax, trumpet, tuba and trombone. Greats and unknowns.  Hope you enjoy.

blue vindaloo

Track Listing (Vol. 1):

01 Time Is Right Dr. L Subramaniam]

02 Beauty Of The Flower [Christoph Stiefel and Lissette Spinnler]

03 Elveen [Wynton Marsalis]

04 Spinboldak Saxophony [Afghan Jazz Unit]

05 Ranglypso [Ernest Ranglin]

06 Painted Paradise [Jiro Inagaki and Soul Media]

07 Fat Mouth [Weldon Irvine]

08 Yes, Sir That’s My Baby [Nat King Cole]

09 Abbaji (For Alla Rakha) [John McLaughlin]

10 Hub-Tones [Freddie Hubbard]

11 Eastern Dawn [Amancio D’Souza]

12 Sueño de Amor (Chachachá) [feat. Cachao] [Bonus Track] Generoso Jimenez]

13 Fried Pies (Take 1) [Wes Montgomery]

14 Tempo De Amor [Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes]

15 What a Little Moonlight Can Do [Billie Holiday]

16 Harlem On Saturday Night [Lil Hardin Armstrong and Her Orchestra]

17 Benson’s Rider [George Benson]

18 The Best Is Yet To Come [Mr. President]

19 Nuit sur les Champs-Elysees(1) [Miles Davis]

20 Awaara Hoon [Sunny Jain Collective]

21 Sina Nari [Hüsnü Şenlendirici]

22 Tanzania [Sadao Watanabe]

23 Summertime [Ahmed Abdul Malik]

24 Garuda [Raga Bop Trio]

25 The Look Of Love [Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66]

26 Quaze Caindo [Ricardo Herz Trio]

27 The Lewinsky March. [Rabih Abou-Khalil]

28 Ma’am A’rif Leh (Gingele) [Salma]

29 Blu Vindaloo [Rez Abbasi]

30 Raga Piloo [Joe Harriot & John Mayer]

++++

beau souvenir

Track Listing (Vol. 2)

01 Johannesburg Hi-Lite Jive [Hugh Masakela]

02 Margret Odero [D.O. Misiani & Shirati Jazz]

03 Muasi Oweli Bela [bolero] [Vicky et l’OK Jazz]

04 Bolingo Ekomisi Ngai Liboma [L’orchestre Zembe Zembe]

05 Kulekule [Konono No.1 De Mingiedi]

06 La Bycicletta [Keletigui et Ses Tambourines]

07 Avante Juventude [Os Anjos]

08 Whiskey et Coca-Cola [Amadou Balake]

09 Black Egypt -Intro [Bukky Leo and Black Egypt]

10 Soweto Blues [Mariam Makeba]

11 Awa Awa [Wes]

12 Koki (Hot Koki) [Andre Marie Tala]

13 Tweta [Mombasa Party and Zuhura Swaleh]

14 Injuria [Jose ‘Zeca’ Neves]

15 Hymn for the War Orphans [Zimology]

16 Na boyi danbinzi [Orchestre Mando Negro]

17 Onyame [Ashanti Afrika Jah]

18 Sogodounou [Nahawa Doumbia]

19 1er Gaou (Ivory Coast) [Magic System]

20 Kyrie eleison [Orcestre Hi Fives]

21 Ting’ Badi Malo [Gidigidi Majimaji]

22 Din Ya Sugri [Christy Azuma & Uppers International]

23 Gidelam [Baaba Maal]

24 Tollon Tollon [Afro National]

25 Ichibanda [Oliya Band]

26 Revolution [Sonny Okosun]

27 Mosquito [Flaming Souls]

28 Beau Souvenir [Madilu System]

29 Black Woman Experience [Geraldo Pino]

30 Despedida [Dimba Diangola]

###

Blow Baby Blow

Track Listing: (Vol. 3)

01 Blue Light [Ben Webster]

02 Black Man’s Cry [Fela Kuti with Afrika 70 and Ginger Baker]

03 Zomaye [Gigi]

04 Minnie the Moocher [Big Bad Voodoo Daddy]

05 Skalloween [Skatalites]

06 From Boogie to Funk part 1_ The Blues [Bill Coleman]

07 Don’t Take Your Love From Me [Frank Rosolino Quintet]

08 See-F [Ceasar Frazier]

09 Instant Groove [King Curtis]

10 Time Is Running Out Fast [James Brown]

11 Satan’s Blues [Don Bryon]

12 i want a little girl [Big Joe Turner]

13 John McLaughlin [Miles Davis]

14 Misterioso [Sonny Rollins]

15 Sida Gangbe Brass Band]

16 The Lonely Bull (El Solo Toro) [Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass]

17 Balkan Reggae [Mahala Rai Banda]

18 Qonqoza [Dudu Phukwana]

19 Got No Money [Dusko Gojkovic]

20 Crazy Mixed Up World [Little Walter]

21 Ad Lib Blues [Lester Young]

22 Need You (right now) [Trumpet Thing]

23 Kuenda Namwendo [The Umtali Chipisa Band]

24 Blues for Harvey [Johnny Griffin]

25 Celestial Bliss [Rahsaan Roland Kirk]

26 Frantic Activity [Rhythm Funk Masters]

27 Struttin’ With Some Barbecue [Louis Armstrong]

28 Asaw Fofor [Melody Aces]

29 African Battle Manu Dibango]

30 How Deep Is the Ocean [John Coltrane]

***+

Down wind from Molvania: 3 Mustaphas 3

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About 10 years ago bookstores in Australia promoted a new guide book to a little heard of country, Molvania.  Put together as a spoof of the Balkans and of travel guide books in general, the author’s spun ridiculous, crude and often funny snippets of mis-information about this made up land.

 

The Republic of Molvanîa is a composite of many of the worst stereotypes and clichés about Eastern Europe held by people in Australia (like Russkieswogs or Hunyaks). The exact location of Molvanîa is never specified. It is said to border Germany, Slovakia, SloveniaHungary and Romania. The shape of the country with its divisions strongly suggests Moldova, and the name has similarities (as has the location description by the authors as “somewhere between Romania and downwind from Chernobyl“); it can also represent a composite country consisting of parts of Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia and perhaps Austria and Poland). The book mentions Bulgarians, Hungarians and perhaps Moldovans (ethnic Romanians) as its inhabitants: “The Molvanian population is made up of three major ethnic groups: the Bulgs (68%) who live predominantly in the centre and south, the Hungars (29%) who inhabit the northern cities, and the Molvs (3%) who can be found mainly in prison.”

images-1

The book describes the nation as having been a desolate wasteland for much of its history, similar to Russia since the 12th century, torn by civil war and ethnic unrest. Eventually Molvanîa’s various warring factions were united as a single kingdom, ruled by a series of cruel despotic kings. In the late 19th century the monarchy was overthrown, but the royal family remained popular in exile. During World War II the country was allied with Nazi Germany, and then afterwards was occupied by the Soviet Union, who set up a Communist puppet government. After the fall of European Communism in the 1990s, the country became a dictatorship run by a corrupt government with heavy ties to the Mafia.

Molvanîa is described as a very poor and rural country, heavily polluted and geographically barren. The infrastructure is terrible, with necessities such as electricity, clean water, and indoor plumbing being rare finds, largely due to bureaucratic incompetence. Though the travel guide tries to suggest otherwise, there is little to do in the country, the hotels are tiny, filthy and dilapidated, the ethnic cuisine disgusting, and the “tourist attractions” boring and overpriced. (Wikipedia)

The book struck a particular chord of humour in some people’s hearts but others found it offensive, though no one could really say who was being offended because the country and all its ‘facts’ were made up.

imgres-1Beginning in the early 80’s, for about a decade, a similar scam was foisted upon ignorant and unsuspecting people.  It was a group of musicians who went by the name of 3 Mustaphas 3who insisted they were Balko-Turkic nephews of a minor Pasha from a strangely named and incredibly obscure country. They insisted on being called things like Kemal, Isfahani and Ahmet but played every sort of gypsy and folk instrument known to man.  The music they made was lively, full of exotic sounds and a familiar rocking beat.  These guys knew how to have fun. And they were a far sight more interesting and humorous then the Australian piss take book.

Other albums by 3M3 are better than this one we share tonight but everything they did was good. In this collection they rework some of their best known ditties and throw in a few unheard melodies sung in French, Arabic and other non-English languages. Always worth your time, are the boys from the Balkans (and Britain).

imgres

Track Listing:

01 Si Vous Passez Par Là

02 !Starehe Mustapha! I, II & III

03 Maldita Guajira

04 Linda, Linda (Ach ya Linda)

05 Kopanitsa

06 Linda, Linda [Szegerely Megarely Mix]

07 Fiz’n [DJ Trouble Fezz re-edit]

08 Bukë E Kripë Në Vatër Tonë _ Kalaxhojnë

09 Anapse To Cigaro

10 Shouffi Rhirou

11 Niska Banja

12 Kač Kuzulu Čeylan

13 Selma

✪✪✪

Whirling: Kudsi Erguner

images

Now living in Paris, Turkish musician Kudsi Erguner is a major force in the development of World Music. His ney (Turkish reed flute) playing and compositions have been highlighted in Martin Scorcese’s film the Last Temptation of Christ, albums by Peter Gabriel, theatre and film pieces by Peter Brook, and ballet productions by Maurice Bejart and Carolyn Carlson.  He has led expeditions to the Near East, for the purpose of documenting and preserving indigenous music.  In Paris, he established Mevlana, a center for the study of classic music and teachings of the Sufis, and brought the traditional music of the 16th century Ottoman Empire to an international public.

Kudsi Erguner

Kudsi Erguner

 

Kudsi Erguner’s album Islam Blues is full of the poems of praise to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), anecdotes from his life along with love poems composed in Arabic during the lifetime of the Prophet.

 

The dervish disciples gather together in the cloisters to invoke the name of God.  These ceremonies, also known as ‘zikr’, are always accompanied by a music that accentuates the emotions and ecstasies of the rites.

 

The core of the musicians on Islam Blues are the same Turkish musicians who make up kudsi’s traditional group. Kudsi says the ‘blues’ in Islam Blues’ doesn’t relate specifically to the Afro-American folk music, but rather indicates a general musical atmosphere.  (from liner notes)

imgres

Track Listing

01 One World

02 Adjem Blues

03 Mediterranien

04 Sarki

05 Camel

06 Moonrise

07 Twins

+_+_+