Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mestre Geraldo e Sua Bateria- Batucada Genial (Oba, 1977)

Four choice Brazilian batucada misturas (meaning 'mixtures') from Mestre Geraldo & Co. Apparently, this 1977 release on the Oba label was reissued from a 1975 album called Brasil Batuque – Isto É Que É Batucada Vol. 2. I've been especially digging the Geraldo group's penchant for coolly meditative rhythmic swirls. Their soft touch lends dynamism to the ensemble's fuller, more uptempo turns. But even then, the vibe never even gets close to bombastic. Deep grooves. Really feeling this record.

Download Link: Mestre Geraldo e Sua Bateria- Batucada Genial (Oba, 1977) 320 vinyl rip by yours truly.


Mistura No. 1
Mistura No. 2
Mistura No. 3
Mistura No. 4

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rythmes et Chants du Niger, recorded by Charles Duvelle (Collection Radio-Diffusion Outre-Mer *Ocora, SOR 4)

Four hypnotic field recordings made by Charles Duvelle in Niger for the Ocora label. Exact year unknown. 320 vinyl rip and hi-res scans by yours truly. Enjoy.

Download Link: Rythmes et Chants du Niger, recorded by Charles Duvelle (Ocora Collection Radiodiffusion Outre-Mer, SOR 4) *Re-upped 7/20/12

1. Chant de louanges Sonraï
2. Chant de cultivateur Sonraï
3. Musique Haoussa
4. Musique Tamachek

Liner notes, elegantly translated by Julie S:

"Overseas Broadcasting Collection

The Rhythms & Songs of Niger

Does the music of Niger constitute a sufficiently homogenious whole that we can speak of one music rather than several?

In fact, if five major ethnicities (Hausa, Djerma, Sonrai, Peaul, Tuareg) exist, do the particularities of expression, form and instruments allow us to recognize common characteristics? In Hausa country, music is essentially produced by specialists commonly refered to as “griots”. They are in part traditional griots, repositories of group history, attached to a traditional chief, and belonging to a caste; the others, the “circumstantial griots”, the disabled, blind, homeless, who sometimes attach themselves to a professional group (butchers, warriors). The “alghaita” oboe, the “kakaki” trumpet (which is used only in certain circumstances), the “gangua” and “kozo” drums, the “kalanghou” armpit drum, gourd rattles, and the “godie” single-stringed viol are the traditional griots' instruments. The “circumstantial” griots use the “komca”, 2-stringed lute, as well as other instuments borrowed from the traditional griots, notably the “godie”.

Among the Sonrai and Djerma, one finds much the same instruments, the “dondon” armpit drum, the “godie” single-stringed viol, the “kountigui” single-stringed lute, and the 4-stringed “molo”, with the complete exclusion of the oboe and trumpet. Traditional songs performed by a female chorus, the “goumbe”, a recently imported musical form much favored by the young people, has been added to the griots' professional repertoire.

Among the Peul, besides the “hoddou” 4-stringed lute and the single stringed viol that accompanies the griots, one finds the typical “seredou” shepard's flute.

The Tuareg have a music which separates itself from those of the preceding ethnicities. In fact, although griots exist as among the Djerma, Hausa, and Peul, music is not their exclusive domain. During festivities, men and women sing to the rhythms of the “tende” drum. In the tent, women often play the “imzad” violin to amuse themselves while men play the “tassinsikh” flute.

The musics of Niger, despite the specific character of each, still present a certain unity. In fact, the predominence of professional music, essentially homophonic, the rarity of collective musical forms of expression, the presence of types of instruments such as the viol and lute are the common characteristics of the the five major ethnicites.

Ch. Duvelle

Sound recordings produced in Niger, by CH. Duvelle

Side 1

1.Sonrai Praise Song

This is a song recorded at Ayerou which was composed and performed by a fifteen year old young man Doulo Soumahilou.

The young singer is accompanied by Ibrahima Douma, a kountigui player (a single-stringed lute) and by the handclaps of six young people.

Throughout the song, are the praises of friends, respectable persons of Ayerou:

Let's sing, let's sing together,
For Mamman, father of Zarou
For Daoudou Yaro, brother of Bouli
For Sangou, brother of Sipto,
For Thiadial, sister of Kailou.

Let's sing for Issa, brother of Bombom
For Issa, from the village of Gourati.

Let's sing for Yacouba, brother of the Haji,
Father of Zarou
For the brother of Manou, the lion.

Let's sing for Ganda,
The lion of the village of Firgoun
Father of Sadou, brother of Habarou.

Let's sing for Boureima, father of Gambi
the most precious gold, who no one can help but love.

Let's sing for Aria, brother of Bori,
Father of Seifou and Zodou.

Let's sing for Sangou, brother of Lathi and Lakoure,

For Lobeli, sister of Kailou.

Let's sing for Soumana the elephant,
Brother of Morban and Halarou.

Let's sing for Midou,
Brother of Boussoure and Alia.
Brother of Salmon,
Father of Hamidou and Hiliassou,
For Souko, sister of Kaidou.

Let's sing for Boureima,
The kountigui player.
For Garba, brother of Sounna.

Let's sing for Abouda,
Brother of Lathi, Gambi and Souko,
For Diogo, from the village of Firgoun,
Brother of Bouba.

II. Sonrai Farmer's Song

This song was recorded near Ayerou.

A farmer, N'Garin, recites partly the genealogies of the great farming families, and partly the praises of those who have been generous to him:

Men who live on this earth, listen to me!
God is great, Mohammed is his prophet.
Bangana Cisse Boureima, son of Tonda Diallei,
Of Saouda Diallei, of Bokar Diallei, of Zindokoy Diallei,
Of Fouddo Diallei, of Baban Diallei, of Londo Sorvy,
Of Sory Bangana, be careful!

He who is generous to the griots,
He who thinks of the past as well as the present,
He who is like the bark that protects the tree,
That is Lorogei (some words in Tamachek)

Diallo Morogei, is the beetle in the big trees,
Is the worm in the big trees,
He is pure like the newborn child,
Like a cow in paradise,
He is the bird of the big ravines,
The goat of the big ravines,
You and your wife, I thank you.

Diallo, all men must die one day,
Tel Haoua Manzo, Ami Moussa, Doula Moussa,
Sidi Garba Hamma, Atak Hamma, Asebi Hamma, Bouboucar Hamma,
But you, you are the grass than neither the horse nor the goat can graze on.

And you, Mahaman Sadje, son of Kalkoue Sadje, Hamine Sadje,
Boundiami Sadje, Ticambour Sadje, Gaoula Sadje, Gaolakeine Sadje,
Yes, you are the “sadje” that no beast can eat, neither horses or cattle.

(play on words: “sadje” in Djema means undergrowth).

Side 2
I.Hausa Music
The distribution of this traditional music, which was originally only played in the presence of chiefs, has expanded, and now it's a very popular music in Hausa country.

Oumarou Kaka, the singer who accompanies himself on “godie”, was recorded in Massalata, a small village in Niger.

The “godie” is a one-stringed viol, an accompanying instrument often encountered in West Africa.

In chanting the praises of the inhabitants of Massalata shows us the remarkable possibilities of his instrument.

II.Tamachek Music

The griots (musicians, flatterers, composers and singers) are also often the repositories of local history.

These are people who, in West African societies, have a social position comparable to that of the blacksmiths.

The constitute a caste, which is both scorned and respected because, if their profession is not noble in the eyes of society, the knowledge they possess about the history of families gives them great power.

“Tehri”, the song heard here, was recorded near Ayerou (Niger); it is performed by griots who are also smiths. During the day they work with metal and at night they sing.

It is Ibrahim Agaya who accompanies himself on “Teharden”, a three-stringed lute, to the rhythm of his companions' handclaps."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Great Book: David Maurer's The Big Con (1940)

Book reviews aren't always my rappin forte, but I just finished David Maurer's The Big Con. Wow, what a crucial document! My very favorite sort of secret history lesson...

The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence ManThe Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David W. Maurer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Maurer's The Big Con is a bona fide masterpiece of pre-WWII American criminal culture. A fascinating insider survey of the confidence game, its discreet folkways and inimitable characters, as written by a streetwise linguist with deep access and an appreciably wry wit. Originally published in 1940, it should be essential reading to anyone with a sincere interest in historical lowlifes or the grift. This is right up there with You Can't Win, Education of a Felon, David Simon's Homicide, or anything by Joseph Mitchell, or even Luc Sante. And now, I need to go re-watch The Sting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Backwards Sam Firk- The True Blues and Gospel of Backwards Sam Firk (Adelphi, 1968)

"In the early 1960s, Mike Stewart adopted the professional name of Backwards Sam Firk. "My dad used to call me Backwards Sam because my initials are MAS," he explained. He recorded for the private label of the eccentric Maryland record collector Joe Bussard in the early 60s, on his own, with John Fahey and in impromptu groups.

Mike's pseudonym came to wider notice in the late 1960s when he was associated with Gene Rosenthal's Adelphi Records, an independent Blues label based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The first item in its catalog was his album "The True Blues & Gospel of Backwards Sam Firk," consisting of scrupulous interpretations of repertoire learned from Mississippi John Hurt, Bo Carter, Big Bill Broonzy and other Blues masters of the 1920s and 30s" (Myspace)

The woefully out-of-print 1968 debut LP from Mike Stewart, aka Backwards Sam Firk. This was first release for DC/Maryland's classic Adelphi Records label. Firk's fingerpicking prowess is considerable. The legendary John Hurt's pacing and influence rings through loud & clear on a good many of these renditions. I must admit I tend to prefer the instrumentals, here. I also encourage folks to pursue Sam Firk's mid-60s work with Joe Bussard and John Fahey on Fonotone Records of Frederick, MD. And if you ever find yourself out that way, I'd also recommed you pay visit to Bussard's favorite burger spot: Barbara Fritchies. That place has flavor to spare. Just sayin'. Enjoy the Backwards Sam, friends.....

Download Link: Backwards Sam Firk- The True Blues and Gospel of Backwards Sam Firk (Adelphi, 1968) 320kbps.

A1 I'm Glad Blues 1:57
A2 East St. Louis Dry Land Blues 2:30
A3 Hey Hey Hey 3:05
A4 Cigarette 1:51
A5 Candy Man Blues 3:31
A6 If You Don't Want Me That Freight Train Whistle's Gonna Blow, Momma 2:12
A7 Old Reliable One-Way Gal 3:21
A8 Be Ready When He Comes 1:54
B1 Old Country Dump 2:50
B2 Get Back Old Devil 2:14
B3 Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home 3:28
B4 West Side Blues 2:19
B5 I Be's Troubled 3:53
B6 Babe's Piece 2:51
B7 Fixin' To Die 2:44
B8 The Unbroken Circle 1:59

Monday, May 9, 2011

KWJAZ-KWJAZ (Brunch Groupe, 2011)

"Wow. We can't get over this incredibly cosmic, tripped-out debut cassette from KWJAZ. SF mastermind Peter Berends decides that space is the place and sets his sights for uncharted musical territory. Falling somewhere between outsider instrumental pop and dubbed-out psychedelic ethno-jazz, Berends leads a colorful excursion into the astral unknown. The two, side-long tracks unfold like some otherworldly mix-tape, deep basslines giving way to sizzling warbling drones, cut-up bits of rhythmic clatter ooze and materialize into slow grooving monuments to the stars. Chopped up samples and distorted swells melt into a lo-fi woozy web. Hazy, primitive beats (picture a slowed down Ethiopiques loop) rock and sway as horns, electric piano and weirdo samples add to the celestial crunk. And keep in mind, though KWJAZ is weird, far-out and strange, this humble cassette is overflowing with musicianship and close attention to layering and detail.

What makes all the tripped-out, genre defying weirdness so satisfying is Berends's ability to form these diverse elements into a propulsive, evocative musical journey through time and genre. Moments of cool jazz tranquility unexpectedly morph into trip-hop fantasy ballads, long-tone new age bliss suddenly shifts into West African romps, and somehow all these tangents seem impossibly and seamlessly linked. We can't recommend this one enough!

Limited to an edition of 121, fans of Hype Williams, Rangers or Ducktails will not want to miss out on this lysergic masterpiece!" (Aquarius Records)

Two laudanum sides of murky and cavernous analog dub-psych oblivion. Damn near unclassifiable, KWJAZ offers up a deep and tremendous instrumental zone-out of the highest order. This extremely-limited *sold-out* cassette is an auspicious first release from The Brunch Groupe. Looks like its slated for LP reissue from Not Not Fun in Summer 20011. Highly recommended. Big props to mojfaj for this rip.

Download: KWJAZ-KWJAZ (Brunch Groupe, 2011) ~256 VBR mp3

Side A: Once In Babyon
Side B: Frighteous Wane

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paradox- Drifting Feather: Polish Jazz Vol. 26 (Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1971)

"I thought it a paradox to play jazz without drums, with a bassoon and cello, which hums and groans in bebop diminshed fifths. At that time, the very sound combination of the bassoon, trombone cello and bass mae me happy and inspired me to [play] some musical tricks and jokes on the borderline of jazz and folk. I don't hesitate to to write pieces in the spirit of of Polish folk music, to draw original examples from the rich sources of folklore, Polish and European. Continuing our work in 1971, with some changes in instrumentation (alto sax, trombone, cello, bass and guitar), we realize that our sound resembles a folk band manned by modern jazzmen. However, I think this is where our originality lies, and the lack of drums makes no difference to the soloists,who can swing well enough by themselves." -Andrezej Brzeski

An excellent and unconventional 1971 Polish jazz classic. I find the string arrangements- including cello- especially superb. My pal Baker just brought this back for me from his recent stay in Poland. Been loving it, so I up and scrounged this 320 mp3 rip. Looks like it might've originated from a FLAC upload on Avax. Those are my own LP image scans, up above. Anyone with tips on where my good man should dig for sweet vinyl in Warsaw, Kracow, etc? The real local lowdown would be forever appreciated....Enjoy!

Download Link: Paradox- Drifting Feather: Polish Jazz Vol. 26 (1971)

Polskie Nagrania Muza SXL 0745

Andrzej Brzeski: trombone, arranger, bandleader
Michał Górny: Cello
Stanisław Kulhawczuk: Double Bass
Sławomir Piwowar: Classical Guitar
Włodzimierz Szląskiewicz: Alto Saxophone

A1 Malaguena 13:15
A2 Intymne Życie Wuja Leona / Uncle Leo's Intimate Life 3:58
A3 Czy Są Świeże Jaja, Czyli Na Podwórku Pani Bronki / Do You Have Fresh Eggs, Or In Mrs. Bronka's Backyard 3:30
B1 Lotne Piórko / Drifting Feather 5:05
B2 Pietrek / Pete 3:50
B3 Kokoszka Babuni / Grandma's Hen 4:12
B4 Ploteczki Cioteczki / Auntie's Chitchat 6:40