Category Archives: CB — Listening 2018 - Page 2

First-time listening for May 2018

29171. (Arthur Sul­li­van) Suite from the Inci­den­tal Music to The Mer­ry Wives of Wind­sor
29172. (Afghan Whigs) Big Top Hal­loween
29173. (Gioacchi­no Rossi­ni) Armi­da [com­plete opera; d. Ser­afin; Callas, Albanese, Fil­ippeschi]
29174. (Sleater-Kin­ney) The Hot Rock
29175. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W. S. Gilbert]) Tri­al By Jury [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29176. (Dal­i­bor Slepčík) “Kou­z­lo bíle­jch rán” [sin­gle]
29177. (Blod­wyn Pig) Ahead Rings Out
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First-time listening for April 2018

29151. (John Dun­sta­ple) Bea­ta Mater à 3
29152. (Giuappe Sam­mar­ti­ni) Recorder Con­cer­to in F
29153. (Bruce Kurnow) Sky Pas­sage
29154. (Ken John­son) The Nat­ur­al Piano
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Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean

18-04-14 LISTN Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean

The ven­er­a­ble René Lacaille

There is a Mau­rit­ian restau­rant in Toron­to (there used to be two). Can you pic­ture Mau­rit­ian food? Prob­a­bly not. Few places sound more exot­ic and out-of-the-way. But Mau­ri­tius was a key point on the sea lanes of the British Empire. A for­mer British colony with a pop­u­la­tion speak­ing a French patois, but descend­ed from South Asians, Africans, Por­tuguese, Dutch, Arabs, and what­ever else wan­dered by, Mau­ri­tius pro­vides a sophis­ti­cated, cos­mopoli­tan cui­sine. Very tasty. Much the same can be said of the music.

But there is not just Mau­rit­ian music to lis­ten to. There is Réu­nion, an over­seas départe­ment of France, set­tled by Africans, Chi­nese, Malays, and Tamils. There are the Islam­ic Comoros, and the close­ly relat­ed French pos­ses­sion of May­otte. There is the Repub­lic of the Sey­chelles, large­ly Catholic, though for­merly a British colony, and the most indebt­ed coun­try, per capi­ta, in the world. There is tiny Rodrigues. And final­ly, there is the huge and pop­u­lous island of Mada­gas­car, whose cul­ture and lan­guage come orig­i­nally from Bor­neo, half-way around the world from them. The diver­sity of the nations at the west­ern end of the Indi­an Ocean pro­duces a delight­ful vari­ety of music. The per­form­ers in this col­lec­tion include Tari­ka, Feo-Gasy, Ricky Randim­biari­son, Jean-Noël, and Lego from Mada­gas­car; Denis Azor, and Kaya from Mau­ri­tius; Danyel Ward, Françoise Guim­bert, Baster, Tam-Tam Des Cools from Réu­nion; Kaskav­el from Rodrigues; M’Toro Chamou er les Watoro from May­otte; Belle Lumière from Comoros; Sey­chelles String Band and Sey­chelles All Stars; and even a band from Zanz­ibar (Cul­ture Music Club), which is part of Tan­zanyia, but an off­shore island. But if there is any­one who could be called a big star, it is René Lacaille, the mas­ter of the spicy séga rhythms of Réu­nion, here per­form­ing with Amer­i­can gui­tarist Bob Broz­man. Lacaille is well known in the French music scene, and has suc­cess­fully toured here in Cana­da.

Rough Guide com­pi­la­tions are always well cho­sen. It is unlike­ly that you will come across most of the this mate­r­ial, even in a well-stocked “world music” store. The music is most­ly upbeat and dance­able. After Lacaille, I was most drawn to the Mala­gasy musi­cians, espe­cially Feo-Gasy, but it would be hard to choose favourites. All the bands are good.

First-time listening for March 2018

29100. (Shpon­gle) Muse­ums of Con­scious­ness
29101. (Atom­ic Roost­er) Death Walks Behind You
29102. (Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach) Can­ta­ta #77 “Du sollt Gott, deinen Her­ren, lieben”, bwv.77
29103. (Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach) Can­ta­ta #78 “Jesu der du meine Seele”, bwv.78
29104. (Miles Davis) Dig [with Son­ny Rollins]
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First-time listening for February 2018

29074. (Ahmed Adnan Say­gun) Vari­a­tions on the Folk Song “Kâtibim” for Cho­rus from Op.22
29075. (Five Day Week Straw Peo­ple) Five Day Week Straw Peo­ple
29076. (Frank Zap­pa) Uncle Meat
29077. (Leoš Janáček) Osud [Des­tiny aka Fate] [com­plete opera, sung in Czech; d. Jílek;
. . . . . Pribyl, Hajossy­o­va]
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The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara / North African Groove

18-02-05 LISTN The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara North African Groove pic 2

These two albums form a fine intro­duc­tion to a world of music which is now famil­iar to Euro­peans, but still hid­den from most lis­ten­ers in North Amer­ica. The Sahara Desert has often been com­pared to a sea ― blend­ing influ­ences and stim­u­lat­ing the dis­parate cul­tures along its shores. The sailors are the tribes of the desert: the Tuareg, the enig­matic Teda, and the var­i­ous “arab” tribes, such as the Ikoku Nema­di, Bithan, and She­wa (these last all speak vari­eties of Ara­bic incom­pre­hen­si­ble to stan­dard Ara­bic speak­ers, and even to the speak­ers of col­lo­quial Maghribi Ara­bic in Moroc­co or Alge­ria. Cul­tur­ally and bio­log­i­cally, they are of the Sahara, like the Tuareg, not mere­ly trans­planted badawī [ بدوي ] from Ara­bia.).18-02-05 LISTN The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara North African Groove pic 1

If you have read Frank Herbert’s Dune, you can get some notion of the Tuareg. The Fre­men tribes in that nov­el were pat­terned on them. They speak lan­guages in the Berber fam­ily, dim­ly relat­ed to Ancient Egypt­ian. “Berbers” refers to the seden­tary peo­ple who inhab­it ancient towns and cities of North Africa (St. Augus­tine was the most famous Berber), but the desert Tuareg are relat­ed to them lin­guis­ti­cally. Noth­ing can real­ly con­vey the stark sever­ity, and the poet­ry of life among the “peo­ple of the blue veil”, but you can get a hint of it from the band Tinari­wen, who aban­doned desert war­fare with the cease­fire at Tim­buktu to start a record­ing career in the late 1990’s. Oth­er Tuareg groups, Chet Féw­er, Kel Tin Lok­i­enne, and the Tar­tit Ensem­ble, are also present on the album. They rep­re­sent tribes far dis­tant from each oth­er. Some of the “Arab” tribes are present, as well. The towns on the shore of the sand are rep­re­sented by a vari­ety of groups and singers (Mal­ouma, Com­pag­nie Jel­louli, Sahraoui Bachir), and there is one singer in the Song­hai lan­guage from Tim­buktu, Seck­ou Maï­ga. The remote Teda of the Tibesti are not rep­re­sented ― a sad lack, because their evoca­tive “call and answer” odes, between female singers and male play­ers of the stringed keleli are haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful. But the Teda have not been drawn into the glob­al com­mu­nity in the way that the Tuareg have sud­denly been, and still remain inac­ces­si­ble.

All this stuff is much more exot­ic than the Raï music and the Egypt­ian pop music on the Puta­mayo World Music col­lec­tion North African Groove. Dis­cos all over Europe have become filled with Raï’s won­der­ful back-beat-heavy com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional North African musics with Amer­i­can funk, sal­sa, French cabaret, and every­thing else imag­in­able. Super­stars such as Cheb Mami (singing the delight­ful “Viens Habibi”) and Khaled are rep­re­sented on this album, and it is a good intro­duc­tion to the North African pop scene.

If you lis­ten to these two albums one after the oth­er, you will get a sense of the intri­cacy and his­toric depth of this musi­cal land­scape. It would be like play­ing an archa­ic moun­tain dul­cimer bal­lad from West Vir­ginia, “Saint James Infir­mary”, “City of New Orleans”, Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven”, and a Hen­drix solo, one after anoth­er.

First-time listening for January 2018

29050. (5 Sec­onds of Sum­mer) Sounds Good Feels Good
29051. (Gia­co­mo Meyer­beer) Clar­inet Con­cer­to in E-flat
29052. (Amadou and Mari­am) Sou ni tilé
29053. (Jean-Joseph Cas­sanéa de Mon­donville) Harp­si­chord Sonata #1 in G Minor
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