Category Archives: world music classics

RIP Joe Cuba (1931 – 2009)

RIP Joe Cuba

RIP Joe Cuba by you.

I discovered Cuba’s work via the Nu Yorica and Nova Classics 01 compilations. Tracks from those compilations that have acquired cult status include “Do You Feel It?[1]” (most likely his interpretation of the Latin traditional “El Ratón[2]), and “El Pito (I’ll Never Go Back to Georgia)[3].”

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-xIxdwpqY8&]

Do You Feel It?

His biggest hit was the 1966 “Bang! Bang![4],” which achieved unprecedented success for Latin music in the United States.

Joe Cuba (1931 – February 15, 2009), was a Puerto Rican musician who was considered to be the “Father of Latin Boogaloo“. The lyrics to Cuba’s music used Spanglish, a mixture of Spanish and English, becoming an important part of the Nuyorican Movement, somewhat the Latin version of the Harlem Renaissance.

RIP Blossom Dearie (1926 – 2009)

RIP Blossom Dearie

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHUVWEgHAy8&]

I Like London In The Rain

Blossom Dearie (April 28, 1926 – February 7, 2009) was an American jazz singer and pianist, often performing in the bebop genre and known for her “distinctive, girlish voice”. Outside of the jazz world, she is noted for such songs as the 1970I Like London In The Rain“, which features an opening breakbeat that has been sampled by hip hop producers.

I Like London In The Rain” is WMC #277.

RIP French singer Gérard Blanc

RIP French singer Gérard Blanc

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgbtKg9g1jI]

Can someone ID Gérard in this clip

Gérard Blanc (December 8, 1947January 24, 2009) was a French singer and guitarist, internationally best-known for his work with Martin Circus.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzfZ85ipb_c&]

Disco Circus

Martin Circus is a French rock group formed in 1969. They are best-known for their single “Disco Circus,” released in 1978 in France and licensed by in the US by Prelude Records label, which commissioned additional remixes by New York-based French expat François Kevorkian.

Disco Circus (1978) – Martin Circus

Released as an album and a twelve inch single on the New York Prelude record label, Disco Circus by French outfit Martin Circus which first came to my attention as a favourite of the Detroit techno artists such as Juan Atkins and Derrick May (who listed it as his top 5 record in the late eighties). It is an example of the cross-fertilization of the European and North American disco markets of the late 1970s. Other examples of which are Orlando Riva Sound‘s Moon Boots single which was released on the American imprint Salsoul records

See French disco.

RIP Freddie Hubbard (1938 – 2008)

RIP Freddie Hubbard

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4noNAphDFA8&]

Moanin’ with Freddie Hubbard

Freddie Hubbard (19382008) was an American jazz trumpeter.

He was primarily known as a sideman to Art Blakey in the latter’s Jazz Messengers and many other jazzmen’s bands but achieved his greatest personal success in the 1970s with a series of albums for smooth jazz record label CTI Records. Although his early 1970s jazz albums Red Clay, First Light, Straight Life, and Sky Dive were particularly well received and considered among his best work, the albums he recorded later in the decade were bashed by critics for their commercialism.

Freddie Hubbard Polar AC for CTI by you.

Polar AC

A particularly accomplished track is Gibraltar, compiled by Ashley Beedle on the Grass Roots album.

Prisencolinensinainciusol

Most of my music activities have moved to Facebook where I post 3 tracks per day.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAnYBCImAa4&]

“Prisencolinensinainciusol” (1972) by Adriano Celentano

However, “Prisencolinensinainciusol[1] by Adriano Celentano is too good to not give to non-Facebook surfers. I’ve known this track for 20 years or more, but it took a good friend of mine three days of calling his friends, checking the web and more to identify the interpreter. The track shows similarities with “Stop Bajon[2], especially because of its likeness in rhythm section.

While we’re in Italy, let me just give you one more (I just discovered it now), which may end up on my Facebook page tomorrow: Lucio BattistiAncora tu[3]

In praise of compilations


[Amazon.com]
[FR] [DE] [UK]

One of the best CDs in my collection is Nova Classics 01. I am not much of an album man, so my entire collection nearly consists of CD comps (besides my record collection, which is mainly twelve inch singles).

Over the summer, when we were in Nocito I was joined by friends and I had the Nova Classics 01 with me.

So this friend really liked it and two weeks ago I proposed that I’d buy it for her. The prices were incredibly high however and I was lucky to find a copy for 20USD in the states, because the prices were between 50USD and 290USD.

The good news for you my friends, is that I’ve managed to track down YouTube version of 12 out of the 17 songs.

Enjoy by clicking the numbers.

RIP Miriam Makeba

RIP Miriam Makeba

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85_9mKTg_Do]

Live version of “Pata Pata

South African singer Miriam Makeba died yesterday while touring in Italy. She was 76 and best-known for being a vocal anti-apartheid activist, her 1967 song “Pata Pata[1][2] and her marriages to fellow country trumpeter Hugh Masekela and American “Black pride“/”Black Power” activist Stokely Carmichael.

Pata Pata” is a musical composition recorded by South African singer Miriam Makeba and released in 1967 on Reprise Records.

“Pata Pata” was co-written by Miriam Makeba and Jerry Ragovoy. After Makeba was signed to Warner/Reprise Records and published her first singles, the record company needed several songs to finish a Makeba album. Legend has it that she had told Reprise she wanted to do ballads, so they put her together with Jerry Ragovoy, the R&B writer/producer who was on staff at Warner Brothers at the time. Not being familiar with her, the night before their first recording session, he went to see her in a club in Greenwich Village, where she did a show comprised completely of African folk music. He was captivated to the point that, the next day, he just had Makeba and her sister sing a number of the songs into a tape recorder. One of them became “Pata Pata.”

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pygqt0uwnuc&]

Studio version of “Pata Pata

The song was covered by Osibisa and Percy Faith.

In her political activism, Makeba reminds me of Fela Kuti and most of all, Josephine Baker.

Had he not succumbed to the complications of AIDS in 1997

Unidentified photograph of Fela Kuti

The Nigerian musician Fela Kuti would have celebrated his 70th birthday today, had he not succumbed to the complications of AIDS in 1997.

Like much of my music which I now consider canonical, I discovered him through my house music love story.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgpQNENsmo4]

Digression #1, namesake of “Shakara” track by Fela Kuti, [1] has embedding disabled

He first popped up as the author of “Shakara[1] on playlists of David Mancuso‘s legendary The Loft. Playlists I discovered of course via the internet.

Africa

Cover of a Japanese Fela Kuti compilation album

The pre-internet world was literally a terra incognita. If one found a record by Fela Kuti, one had to find good sources to discover the rest of his releases. Today we’ve moved to a terra cognita. One glance at Discogs is enough to discover the oeuvre of Fela.

What we still need though, in spite of the terra cognita situation, are tastemakers. Biased tastemakers.

Simon Reynolds has blamed the terra cognita thing for the supposed death of the underground, he will be hosting a conference on this soon[2].

He stated on this before:

“The web has extinguished the idea of a true underground. It’s too easy for anybody to find out anything now, especially as scene custodians tend to be curatorial, archivist types. And with all the mp3 and whole album blogs, it’s totally easy to hear anything you want to hear, in this risk-less, desultory way that has no cost, either financially or emotionally.” Simon Reynolds via woebot.

One more word on Fela. Woebot once said – I paraphrase – “I’ll take King Sunny Adé over Fela Kuti any day. Too much redundancy in Fela.”I disagree. I like long pieces and love Fela’s trance. Which reminds me, I miss Woebot.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMUWn_jRk0E&]

Unidentified clip of Sunny Ade

Here is a quote from that Woebot post:

Sunny Ade gets my vote over Fela Kuti anyday. There’s too much redundancy in Fela’s music, saxophones and organs meandering all over the place. Shaggy ain’t my thing. While the political ire and philosophical stance of something like “Kalakuta Republic” are rousing, in preference I’ll take the sheer sonic thrill of Tony Allen‘s edge-of-climax drum pans on the more “superficial” dance craze record “Open and Close“. That record retains the JB‘s hyper-tense instrumental dynamics and one-mind co-operation, without degenerating into marijuana miasma.”[3]

Dream sequences in literature and film

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVb4CC4XU]

Dream sequence in La Prisonnière (1968) by Henri-Georges Clouzot

I love dream sequences in film. Every Disney film has nearly one. Always psychedelic. Film as a medium is particularly well-suited to impart dream visions, much better than previous visionary literature, which required more narrative realism.

An interesting juxtaposition here is Dante‘s Divine Comedy compared to its first film adaptation[1].

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA3NRe5kgak]

L’Inferno

The Divine Comedy exemplifies the conventions of dream-vision literature, though Dante specifically says that his Comedy is not a dream vision.

I guess what this post comes down to is the boring but somehow unavoidably attractive “literature vs. cinema” debate I’ve been engaging in.

The debate is boring when you limit it to either/or, but of interest if you view it from its technical angle, with fiction at the center, and medium-specificity at its perifery.

Notions such as unfilmability provide the best entry point.

But that notion I was not thinking about when going to bed last night. I thought about cinematic effects in literature, a notion first put forward to my knowledge by Lotte H. Eisner in The Haunted Screen.

She writes:

“Romantic authors such as Novalis or Jean Paul, while anticipating the Expressionist notions of visual delirium and of a continual state of effervescence, also seem almost to have foreseen the cinema’s consecutive sequences of images. In the eyes of Schlegel in Lucinde, the loved one’s features become indistinct: ‘very rapidly the outlines changed, returned to their original form, then metamorphosed anew until they disappeared entirely from my exalted eyes.’ And the Jean Paul of the Flegeljahre says: ‘The invisible world wished, like chaos, to give birth to all things together; the flowers became trees, then changed into columns of cloud; and at the tops of the columns flowers and faces grew. In Novalis‘s novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen there are even superimpositions.”

Der letzte Mann

Example of a superimposition in The Last Laugh (1924) – Murnau

She concludes:

“It is reasonable to argue that the German cinema is a development of German Romanticism, and that modern technique [cinematography] merely lends visible form to Romantic fancies.”

La Prisonnière is World Cinema Classic #67, L’Inferno #68.

Reggae mythology

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeYfF9EuFOo&]

“Prophecy” by Fabian

Today is an important day in reggae mythology. Haile Selassie was crowned today 80 years ago. Unlike P-Funk mythology, reggae mythology does not have a Wikipedia page. Its nearest equivalent page is Rastafari movement.

As a term, reggae mythology has the advantage of being a subcategory of black science fiction (mainly because of the Lee Perry link). The introduction of the concept will also allow easier understanding of terms such as 400 Years.

Speaking of Perry, I found compositions off “Revolution Dub” at YouTube, notably Woman’s Dub[1] and the original of “Doctor on the Go” by Junior Byles [2].

“Doctor on the Go” and “Woman’s Dub” are WMCs, I’ve added the 174th entry for what will become a 1001-piece series.