Rolling Global Outernational Non-West Non-English (Some Exceptions) 2018 Thread Once Known as World Music

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Separate threads for releases from each and every country won't get many posts, hence this thread. Almost the same title as last year, but new year. You know the drill-

this is the thread for polyrhythmic, funky, bluesy,groove-filled new + reissued music from lots of different places that may include Mauritania, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Niger, Mali, South Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and other places that make cool music that doesn't always get enough press in the west. This music may be less "clubby" than on other threads, but its ok to lean in that direction too.I tend to lean towards countries from below the equator.

Plus I like to hear about live music.

curmudgeon, Monday, 1 January 2018 19:43 (six months ago) Permalink

Still digging through picks on the Afropop Stocking stuffers 2017 list; and also looking to see what's on Said the Gramophone and other lists that I might have missed.

curmudgeon, Monday, 1 January 2018 19:46 (six months ago) Permalink

Also listened a bit to slightly syrupy and operatic but still powerful veteran Iranian balladeer Ebi who is going to be appearing at the 4000 seat DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC on January 27th. Don't know about other gigs

curmudgeon, Monday, 1 January 2018 19:56 (six months ago) Permalink

3MA....I need to give this trio another listen. Supergroup with members from Mali, Morocco & Madagascar

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 January 2018 04:06 (six months ago) Permalink

As so many rock ’n’ roll stories do, the CBC Band’s began with the purchase of a guitar behind the back of a disapproving father.

When he was a young child in Vietnam, Tung Linh wanted a guitar, so his mother bought one for him. His father, Phan Van Pho, was a cook for French officials in Hanoi, and he wanted his children to become doctors or engineers, not musicians. When he found the guitar, he smashed it.

But his wife, Hoang Thi Nga, nurtured Tung Linh’s interest in American music, which he shared with two of his seven siblings: Bich Loan, a singer, and Tung Van on drums. When their father died in the late 1950s, Ms. Hoang went to work as a custodian on a Republic of Vietnam naval base. The family was poor, and those years were hard, but she wanted her children to be happy, so she nurtured their desire to perform American music.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 05:04 (six months ago) Permalink

Jupiter & Okwess band from the Congo for free 6 to 7 pm est Fri. the 12th at Kennedy Center in W. DC. Video streaming live (k. Ctr website & Facebook live). Video archived too.

Also, heard an advance of new Tal National. First 3 cuts are raucous African funky rocky fun

curmudgeon, Friday, 12 January 2018 15:40 (six months ago) Permalink

i really love tal national. i can't wait to hear the new one.

Mordy, Friday, 12 January 2018 15:51 (six months ago) Permalink

goin' to globalfest on sunday

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 12 January 2018 20:00 (six months ago) Permalink

Jupiter & Okwess rocking those rumba meets psychedelic rock grooves right now

curmudgeon, Friday, 12 January 2018 23:48 (six months ago) Permalink

I forget to read this thread but have we talked about 'Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn Of Africa'? Because it's god damn incredible

FREEZE! FYI! (dog latin), Monday, 15 January 2018 10:25 (six months ago) Permalink

Yes, talked about last year

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 17:38 (six months ago) Permalink

also just discovered that and it is amazing!

I'm was thinking about starting a thread for the more recent wave of african reissues after listening to strut's fantastic Oté Maloya comp from last year. I kind of checked out of following the reissue market after picking up my nth afro-funk comp, but now that they've started to move into the 80s I think there's likely a bunch of good stuff I've missed (it's sad the reggae reissue market basically died before they got out of the 70s).

rob, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 18:10 (six months ago) Permalink

Jon Pareles in his NY Times review of GlobalFest 2018 like Congo's Jupiter & Okwess live as much I did:

But the night’s fiercest, most diverse grooves belonged to Jupiter & Okwess: the singer, songwriter and bandleader Jupiter Bokondji and his band, from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with songs that joyfully carried conscientious messages like “Protect women.” The briskly upbeat rhythm of Congolese soukous, well known worldwide, was only part of the set. Mr. Bokondji traveled extensively in Congo and learned many local, lesser-known styles that infuse his songs, giving them variety and bite. He’s also clearly fond of what a wah-wah pedal can do.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 05:02 (six months ago) Permalink


He reviewed many of the 12 groups including Paris-based Guadeloupean trio Delgres, Cuban artist La Dame Blanche, Brazilian post-tropicalia singer Ava Rocha and more

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 05:07 (six months ago) Permalink

hello international music friends -- if you have a little extra time/goodwill, please bookmark my thread:

help me with my class?

you wouldn't have to do anything more than contribute a small portion of your existing knowledge :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:38 (six months ago) Permalink

jupiter and okwess were fine; i loved iberi, jarlath henderson and miramar

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:42 (six months ago) Permalink

Will give them a listen. Actually I have seen and heard Miramar and like their quiet boleros and ballads. Watched Brazilian singer Ava Rocha and band from their Kennedy Center gig tonight ( via video stream). She’s theatrical and kinda Bjork like at times and the band adds postpunk guitar to the Tropicalia base.

A local promoter near me who was up there visiting, loved the Guadeloupe group with guitar and tuba. The video clip he shared though had a fairly conventional blues-rock sound.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 18 January 2018 03:18 (five months ago) Permalink

miramar was okay on tape but daaaaaang they were great in person Rocha didn't do much for me live or on tape, but it's very much a matter of taste with her i gather.

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 18 January 2018 04:03 (five months ago) Permalink

Still catching up on 2017 releases- listened for 2nd time to the trio 3MA featuring Mali’s Ballaké Sissoko on kora, Moroccan oud virtuoso Driss El Maloumi, and Madagascar’s valiha player Rajery.

Mellow and pleasant with Sissoko's wonderful harp-like kora work often taking the lead.

Oh, listened to one track from Irish folkie Jarlath Henderson whom Ulysses liked at Globalfest 2018. Not a big fan of the genre, so would have to listen more to make up my mind. But I'm probably not the person to ask re his style.

Haven't listened yet to his other fave Georgian folk Group Iberi Choir.

curmudgeon, Monday, 22 January 2018 19:05 (five months ago) Permalink

Listening to Blay Ambolley from Ghana's 2017 album Ketan. He's a highlife/hiplife bandleader/musician. Nice old-school sound.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley was rather unknown outside of West Africa until Soundway Records included his seminal Simigwa-Do, which Ambolley released in 1973, on their first anthology, Ghana Soundz.

That's from Wiki.

curmudgeon, Monday, 22 January 2018 21:07 (five months ago) Permalink

The album has a kinda Fela feel to it

curmudgeon, Monday, 22 January 2018 21:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Been reading about the upcoming debut album by this Malian veteran percussionist but I haven't heard it yet--

Hama Sankaré --Ballébé - Calling All Africans

Alpha Ousmane "Hama" Sankaré (aka Pedro) is a legend. He has anchored the bands of many great artists of Mali: Ali Farka Toure, Afel Bocoum, le Troupe Regionale de Niafunké, l'Orchestre de Gao, Songhoy Allstars, and Mamadou Kelly's BanKaiNa, and he can be heard on many of the seminal recordings of Mali's music. He is the master of contemporary calabash percussion and defined it's the playing style. He has toured the world. Hama's influence is unchallenged as composer, arranger, and instrumentalist. Unbelievably, Ballébé - Calling All Africans is the first album in his own name

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:20 (five months ago) Permalink

Looks like the Africa Express project is recording again.

It's Day 4 for @africaexpress recording in Joburg....@gruffingtonpost @THEREALGHETTS @Damonalbarn @BombayBicycle @nonkulululu @MahotellaQueens @muziou #pote #otim the productivity is incredible.

— Africa Express (@africaexpress) January 31, 2018

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 15:11 (five months ago) Permalink

Wow, Mahotella Queens still at it

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 15:56 (five months ago) Permalink

kind of amazing, right? I grew up listening to them!

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Wednesday, 31 January 2018 16:10 (five months ago) Permalink

They formed in 1964 I see on Wiki. In spite of the deaths of Mahlathini, Marks Mankwane and West Nkosi during the late 1990s, the Mahotella Queens continue to perform and record in the 21st century. In 2013, long-serving member Mildred Mangxola retired from the group. She was replaced by a new recruit, Amanda Nkosi.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 1 February 2018 02:44 (five months ago) Permalink

Not sure where to put this, but I'm currently obsessed by this site where you can see what's the most streamed track on youtube in cities around the world, and listen to said tracks on the site

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 1 February 2018 17:27 (five months ago) Permalink

#1 Song in Your City - Interactive, updated map for discovery
i will be curious to see if they update with January; that would make it a regular visit

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:05 (five months ago) Permalink

The mighty Mahotella Queens rehearsing with their new band of @gruffingtonpost @nickzinner @Damonalbarn @Georgiadrumming for tonight’s show #africaexpress

— Africa Express (@africaexpress) February 2, 2018

They're playing a show tonight.

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 2 February 2018 14:33 (five months ago) Permalink


Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 2 February 2018 16:14 (five months ago) Permalink

Fanta Sylla, daughter of legendary late producer Ibrahima Sylla , on her initial enjoyment of Vampire Weekend ‘s 1st album and then goes from there to discuss Congolese music and colonialism and more.

She also links to another interesting piece

curmudgeon, Friday, 2 February 2018 16:49 (five months ago) Permalink

that Sylla piece is excellent, thanks for posting that. It should probably go on that recent tuneyards thread, but maybe that thing is best forgotten

rob, Friday, 2 February 2018 18:37 (five months ago) Permalink

Ha. I need to listen to that Congolese/Canadian guy Pierre Kwenders you mentioned on another thread

curmudgeon, Saturday, 3 February 2018 15:55 (five months ago) Permalink

x-post I wonder if any members of the Makgona Tsohle Band who used to back the Mahotella Queens are still alive and able to perform?

curmudgeon, Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:08 (five months ago) Permalink

Fanta Sylla in Pitchfork Pitch piece linked above:

Growing up, I was ambivalent about what I perceived to be a general indifference towards African music. There was a rich history, a diversity of styles, and countless brilliant artists people didn’t seem to want to explore. It felt like people could only handle African music if it was mixed or filtered with something they recognized. But rather than calling out white artists who appropriate African music, I’ve always been more concerned that the African genres and artists that inspired them were given proper credit and financial support. I’m interested in the inclusion of African music in non-African publications, and in a passionate critical approach by African writers on the sounds that color their lives (look to Cameroonian writer Achille Mbembe’s beautiful piece on Congolese music for a great example).

It's nice that Pitchfork Pitch posted this, but alas I didn't see a single artist based on the African continent in the Pitchfork best of tracks or albums list for 2017. Periodically over the years they've posted stuff by Deej and others, but nothing consistently.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:46 (five months ago) Permalink

ANEWAL is the new trio of Alhousseini Anivolla, lead guitarist and singer of internationally renowned desert blues band Etran Finatawa. Formed in 2012

Listened to their 2017 album. They have that sound down.

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 February 2018 15:33 (five months ago) Permalink

Seems Africa Express isn't being too well received by some of the involved musicians.

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 5 February 2018 19:18 (five months ago) Permalink

Ouch. Terrible contract. No comments yet from Albarn or Zimmer or others associated with Africa Express

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 February 2018 22:19 (five months ago) Permalink

Zinner I mean

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 February 2018 22:19 (five months ago) Permalink

"As we pay all the travel, accommodation and other costs for Western artists joining us on trips, we ask them to volunteer their time."

So Mr. Blur & Gorillaz's @africaexpress costs get paid for, but he can't afford to pay Africans for anything, or even promise them a specific percentage of any possible profits. Hmm.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 03:46 (five months ago) Permalink

Seeing complicating and contradictory comments about this Africa Express thing on Facebook . Some insisting this just relates to standard rules when recording a charity benefit album as they were apparently doing in South Africa in addition to the gigs. But the language in the contract seems problematic

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 15:35 (five months ago) Permalink

well when africa express rolled thru addis 6 or so years ago, the ethiop musicians here were not happy with the way they were treated, felt disrespected in their own clubs by ppl like flea and others general dissatisfaction has been the sense i've gotten over the years, was surprised still going on

H in Addis, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 17:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Oh. That's not good. I had seen various references to gig appearances in the UK and Africa, but until now did not know of any recordings as they just did in South Africa. Seems like Albarn and Africa Express brought a number of fellow (white) musicians like like Blue May, and Mr. Jukes in addition to YYY's Zinner to South Africa to work with young South African gqom dance folks as well as Mahotella Queens. Blue May's defense of the project on FB makes a few good points and provides a bit more info but overall it isn't that understanding or impressive.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 19:15 (five months ago) Permalink

just bought the Jupiter & Okwess album. nearly put off by the sticker on the front that mentions Damon Albarn.

Badgers (dog latin), Friday, 9 February 2018 09:08 (five months ago) Permalink

Ignore that sticker.


Maybe not for this thread but I just read the below articles and haven't listened to these acts yet

I don't know any of these Congolese rappers and r'n'b acts-- Maître Gims and others

Sjava and 3 others.

I don't know these folks either

curmudgeon, Sunday, 11 February 2018 05:55 (five months ago) Permalink

I did watch the video of Ethiopian Jewish musician living in Israel Gili Yalo. Nice blend of funk, pop and Ethiopian grooves

curmudgeon, Sunday, 11 February 2018 06:05 (five months ago) Permalink

loving the heck out of that yalo ethiojazz

Mordy, Sunday, 11 February 2018 17:16 (five months ago) Permalink

Interesting interview with Yalo from 2016

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 15:53 (five months ago) Permalink

went to a party yesterday with an Angolan trio jamming out, great stuff - is Bonga a good point of entry to Angolan rock?

niels, Monday, 28 May 2018 06:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Most of the Bonga stuff I have heard is more mellow like Brazilian samba.

curmudgeon, Monday, 28 May 2018 19:31 (one month ago) Permalink

Also, Congo singer Sam Mangwana lived in Angola. He did some rocking groove filled efforts

curmudgeon, Monday, 28 May 2018 19:36 (one month ago) Permalink


niels, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 06:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Malian singer Kassé-Mady Diabaté died last week:

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 06:21 (one month ago) Permalink

went to a party yesterday with an Angolan trio jamming out, great stuff - is Bonga a good point of entry to Angolan rock?

I've never really heard any Angolan artists described as Rock - keep in mind it was a Portuguese colony until '74 (the Portuguese regime being relatively hostile towards Anglo-American music; even in Portugal most of the pre-74 Rock bands were rich kids who could afford to fly off to London and buy records), and after that (which I guess would be prime Afro-Rock time in Nigeria and other places) the country was launched into a bloody, decades long civil war. I met a lot of Angolan musicians from that generation when I lived in Portugal and they certainly counted Rock bands amongst their influences, but the connection to Brazil was much stronger.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 09:54 (one month ago) Permalink

I could see classifying Waldemar Bastos as Rock, though more in a singer/songwriter vein than, like, Acid Rock.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 09:55 (one month ago) Permalink

New Yorkers should go see the great Mauritania singer Noura Mint Seymali and her band led by her husband guitarist who plays cool African psychedelic licks, for free at the Lincoln Center Atrium Thursday June 7. They’re in Washington DC the next night ( not free but not expensive)

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 20:50 (one month ago) Permalink

xp thanks for the info Daniel

quite digging that Bastos

niels, Wednesday, 30 May 2018 16:42 (one month ago) Permalink

Volume 1 was good. Will check this one out.

So I was in Houston, Texas and at Afrikiko restaurant I saw a poster for Zaiko Langa Langa coming to Dallas and Houston in July. So apparently that legendary Congolese band is now back together. Not sure who's in the group at this point.

curmudgeon, Monday, 4 June 2018 17:48 (one month ago) Permalink

had the great pleasure of seeing Hailu Mergia live this Sunday, a trio with an extremely solid rhythm section (bass player quite unbelievable really, played disco stuff, Sly Stone style, some very fast jazz things, 5 strings all used a lot) on top of which mr. Mergia did his unique thing on rhodes, digital Nord organ, melodica, accordeon

a very simple, driving soundstage, dancing music no doubt, it would be the ultimate wedding band

his style is so interesting, naive, unpredictable - who do you reckon his points of reference are? there's perhaps a bit of Monk, maybe Augustus Pablo?

niels, Tuesday, 5 June 2018 10:18 (one month ago) Permalink

really want to get that Africa Scream Contest album

My name is the Pope and in the 90s I smoked a lot of dope (dog latin), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 10:28 (one month ago) Permalink

The label does a nice job with liner notes and photos which makes me want to get a physical version of it, but I listened to it on Spotify tonight and it sounds great.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 03:54 (one month ago) Permalink

x-post -- seen some mentions of jazz organist Jimmy Smith re Hailu Mergia's style

curmudgeon, Thursday, 7 June 2018 14:57 (one month ago) Permalink

nice, checking out some Jimmy Smith

niels, Friday, 8 June 2018 06:29 (one month ago) Permalink

saw mdou moctar at an instore performance and really enjoyed it -- he really cranks the volume on those solos!
also i heard that at the official concert performance (which i did not attend) there was some egregious and awful dancing in the audience.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 8 June 2018 13:38 (one month ago) Permalink

The Mdou show I saw was very loud.

egregious and awful dancing in the audience.

Ha. A number of west African acts I have seen invite folks onstage to dance-- that's where I dislike the awful dancers. Invariably, some goofy dancers insist on going onstage. Thankfully they are usually balanced out by the skilled dancers, able to shake their hips and do other movements in an impressive artistic fashion.

I saw Amadou & Mariam last night in a tables and chairs sit-down place, but they encouraged everyone to get up and dance at one point. I was near the stage. I hope no one thought my movements were egregious. It was a good show too btw. I like Amadou's guitar playing and Mariam's vocals. Plus their backing singer/dancer is good. I don't know the material from their most recent album but it sounded good, along side the older cuts I do know. Last time I saw them Amadou stretched out some guitar solos in a way that was not interesting, he was more concise last night.

curmudgeon, Friday, 8 June 2018 17:40 (one month ago) Permalink

Saw a video of a Noura Mint Seymali and band song at Tropicalia in DC last night plus one from the night before at
Lincoln Center in NY. A powerful voice and her husband on guitar has such a cool sound. They’re from Mauritania

curmudgeon, Saturday, 9 June 2018 16:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Love the two Noura Mint Seymali albums I own.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 11 June 2018 09:22 (one month ago) Permalink

saw Orlando Julius & the Heliocentrics live this Saturday

both crowd, venue and weather could have been better, but band was very groovy, and I enjoyed it

Orlando seemed quite tired, though, not strong in his solos, outshined by the young trumpeteer :/

niels, Monday, 11 June 2018 09:52 (one month ago) Permalink

Listened to the Turkish Ladies comp out on Sony. Gorgeous packaging and the music fluctuates between traditional styles and a more Disco take. Would've liked more of a breakdown of the scene in the liner notes - genres are mentioned but not contextualized, singers brought up within the essay but not really given their own spotlight. Translated lyrics though, which is nice.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 11:55 (one month ago) Permalink

listening to 2017 from high-pitched, slightly nasal (but in a unique good way) singer Leila Gobi from Mali. Her uptempo rhythms from her band are impressive too

curmudgeon, Thursday, 14 June 2018 12:29 (one month ago) Permalink

I like the Leila Gobi one a bit more than Bombino’s latest Deran. Deran is good too though. He’s got that North African desert guitarist style down.

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 June 2018 19:26 (one month ago) Permalink

Back in the end of May, folks were writing about Angola here. Just remembered that writer Jonathan Bogart put a guide to Angolan pop circa 2016 on Medium & he has been tweeting occasionally YouTube videos of Angolan pop.

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 June 2018 21:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Sarkisian who died at 97 led such a cool life. I saw him speak at the VOA in DC in 98. He traveled in the Middle East and then from the 1960s on to ? With his wife and his reel to reel tape recorder in a number of African countries. He hosted the VOA’s Music Time in Africa program that was very popular there. A nice guy who invited the audience at the talk I was at, to come back to his office and see some of the memorabilia he collected over the years.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 16 June 2018 13:45 (one month ago) Permalink

He was an Armenian American who spoke multiple languages and was also a musician himself

curmudgeon, Saturday, 16 June 2018 13:46 (one month ago) Permalink

Saw on twitter that some Sarkisian projects are now being digitized. He recorded Fela way back when, wonder if that’s available.

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 June 2018 13:35 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Haitian band Tabou Combo are on a 50th anniversary tour. I like their older stuff that melded Afro-Caribbean rhythms with James Brown funk. Gradually they have followed Haitian trends and added more syrupy and schmaltzy keyboards, and modern r'n'b. But I haven't heard them in awhile. I want to check out some videos and such and see what the current version of the band is like (have a conflicting event and can't see them this Saturday in Maryland).

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 June 2018 18:39 (four weeks ago) Permalink

young energetic Zimbabwe band Mokoomba are touring the US again. Great live, and pretty good on albums

curmudgeon, Friday, 22 June 2018 13:57 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Gonna see Mokoomba again tonight in DC at a special 6 pm gig.

curmudgeon, Monday, 25 June 2018 13:13 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Mokoomba were fun—great harmonies, grooves, dance steps and more.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 26 June 2018 16:54 (three weeks ago) Permalink

The annual free Smithsonian Folklife Festival outdoors on the national mall in Washington DC is starting now, and they are featuring music and culture from Armenia and Catalan. Alas, I am not excited. Been never wowed by music from those locales. Maybe I will go and have my mind changed. Catalan fireworks tonight too.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 June 2018 12:43 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Liking the latest Fatoumata Diawara album.

curmudgeon, Friday, 29 June 2018 18:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Oh, turns out the Catalan fireworks were not last night. They're on Saturday. Saw a Catalan rap-rock ska bnd who had to play without their Algerian born bassist who could not get a visa. Also saw Armenian jazz and Catalan harmony folk. Just ok. All of it

curmudgeon, Friday, 29 June 2018 18:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Still liking the Fatoumata Diawara album. Some nice poppy melodies

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 18:09 (one week ago) Permalink

From another obit of Leo Sarkisian (see up for earlier obit post by me). This one by record collector, compiler Ian Nagoski

[I]At night, he went out and listened to music and drank and blew his wages in jazz clubs in the Village listening to Artie Shaw, Lionel Hampton, and Vido Musso, Benny Goodman’s Italian tenor saxophonist. Leo had always been a clarinetist himself and played jazz. Then there were the “oriental” clubs up and down 8th Ave, where music in Turkish, Greek, and Armenian thrived among the immigrants - The Egyptian Gardens, The Brittania. The music there was close to the music from childhood in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where the older Armenian men played oud, violin, zurna, and dumbek and sang Ottoman folk songs in Turkish, listening to Marko Melkon and “Sugar Mary” Vartanian, and Louis Matalon, Sephardic Jew at whose side Leo often sat, watching him play the 72-string dulcimer, the kanun. That was when Leo wasn’t throwing money at the dancers or ordering another drink.
And it was like the fleeting, fun nights in Rabat and Casablanca when Leo had heard Arabs playing the same instruments with bellydancers. There was one night when he had been chased off by the French police because the music “stirred up the locals.” There was another when he had a moment of stardom because he, an American G.I., had gotten up and played oud and rocked the house. A bellydancer had wrapped her arms around him because played a song he knew from back in Lawrence.
The nightclubs in New York were for the weekends. Weeknights were all in the New York Public Library. Four nights a week, Leo read anything about music from Asia and Africa. There he saw patterns of expansion of instruments and ideas. The kanun and its scales travel from here to there. One instrument travels to another place. A local instrument replaces it, but the idea of how it’s played remains. There is a connection from the Ottoman Empire to the Arab world. Then, Africa to India and China… There is a deep musical connection among all of these people, including a boy from Lawrence, Massachusetts who feel compelled under the city’s lights to understand how his own feeling of music connects so many other people.
“I don’t know why,” he told me in 2014, when he was 94 years old. “I’m reading, reading all this stuff. There was something in me that I had that feeling that whoever wrote those books didn’t really have that feeling… Even if someone does get a degree in music and stuff like that, there’s something between – under – inside of you. They can’t get that.”

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 18:31 (one week ago) Permalink

He knew how to live. Sarkisian made it to 97

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 19:11 (one week ago) Permalink

Congo's Jupiter and Okwess have a new album Kin Sonic out, that Jon Pareles of the NY Times likes:

curmudgeon, Thursday, 5 July 2018 20:28 (one week ago) Permalink

I was just reading this New York Times story on Bombino:

and this line caught my eye:

"North African desert blues ... has become arguably the most successful world music genre to break through since reggae"

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What other "world music" genres are in the conversation?

alpine static, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:36 (one week ago) Permalink

Among 1) non-Latin musics, 2) in America 3) over the past decade, none.

Compared to Latin American genres, from Buena Vista Social Club type stuff to Ranchero, Tichumaren is pretty minor.

There was huge soukous and related post-rhumba afropop movement that penetrated further in the late 80s and early 90s than desert blues does now, especially in France. Every Kanda Bongo Man and Loketo album seemed to receive as much press in American sources as desert blues does now.

Roomba with an attitude (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:53 (one week ago) Permalink

Exhibit: [Soukous in Central Park]( (NY), 1993.

Roomba with an attitude (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:56 (one week ago) Permalink

Agree with Sanpaku

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:41 (one week ago) Permalink

The new Jupiter & Okwess album sounds pretty good.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 13:01 (six days ago) Permalink

The Jupiter & Okwess album has old-school Congolese roots but feels new to me. Galloping rhythms, some harmonies, it’s as worthy as the American indie and rap that gets more coverage and commentary everywhere including Ilx / ilm.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 12 July 2018 13:36 (five days ago) Permalink

Jupiter & Okwess is/are as worthy as Wye Oak and Rolling Blackouts and techno and Rico Nasty rap and whatever other niches get acclaim on ILM

curmudgeon, Friday, 13 July 2018 12:54 (four days ago) Permalink

Jupiter & Okwess are busy touring now.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 14 July 2018 16:06 (three days ago) Permalink

Wish the Jupiter & Okwess tour was coming back to my neck of the woods. Same with the Sidi Toure one. They've been here in the past, but not on current tours.

curmudgeon, Monday, 16 July 2018 03:33 (yesterday) Permalink

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