Category Archives: C – LISTENING

Kurdish Folk Music

Kurdish band Nishtiman performed their second album "Kobane" Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017.  The band unites musicians from the different Kurdish communities of Iraqi Kurdistan Iran, and Turkey.

Kur­dish band Nish­ti­man per­formed their sec­ond album “Kobane” Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017. The band unites musi­cians from the dif­fer­ent Kur­dish com­mu­ni­ties of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Iran, and Turkey.

For a pedi­gree of musi­cal con­ti­nu­ity, you can’t beat Kur­dis­tan. The old­est known nota­tion of music dates from the ancient Hur­rian king­dom, in the sec­ond mil­le­nium BC. Two sacred hymns recov­ered by archae­ol­o­gists from that ancient civ­i­liza­tion, located in the heart of today’s Kur­dis­tan, are in the same mode and bear a vis­i­ble kin­ship to the Kur­dish folk music of today. The mod­ern Kur­dish folk move­ment is frag­mented: vari­ant scenes in Iraqi Kur­dis­tan, Iran, Syria, or Turkey, as well as a Kur­dish dias­pora in Europe and North Amer­ica. In Turkey, singing in the Kur­dish lan­guage was against the law, pun­ished by impris­on­ment and phys­i­cal abuse, until very recently. In Iran, how­ever, it thrived, and in newly self-governing Kur­dis­tan, I’m sure it must be under­go­ing quite a renais­sance. Other than a few stray pieces on gen­eral col­lec­tions of mid­dle east­ern music, the only record­ings I have are one by instru­men­tal­ists Tah­moures and Sohrab Pour­naz­eri, with accom­pa­ny­ing vocals by Rojan, enti­tled sim­ply Kur­dish Folk Music, and a cd called Kur­dish Dances fea­tur­ing Moham­mad Bhamani on dozak and sornâ, ‘Abdol­lâh Nabi­ol­lâhi on dobol, and vocals by ‘Abdol­lâh Qor­bâni. But I heard a mar­velous live con­cert last year, at the Agha Khan Museum in Toronto. The first thing that strikes the lis­tener is the music’s acces­si­bil­ity. The melodies are catchy and upbeat, and not buried in the micro­tonal intri­c­as­ies and melisma that makes it hard for out­siders to fol­low mid­dle east­ern music. You could eas­ily party to this music, in a mod­ern disco, though it is purely traditional.

Estêvão Lopes Morago

18-08-06 LISTN Estêvão Lopes Morago

Lis­bon at the time of Lopes Mor­ago: a global entrepôt.

Much of the artis­tic achieve­ment of the Por­tuguese Renais­sance was destroyed by the great Lis­bon Earth­quake of 1755, which killed 30,000 peo­ple. Among the losses where most of the works of the com­poser Estêvão Lopes Mor­ago (c.1575 — after 1630). But some of his work that sur­vives indi­cates that he was very good. I have only five short pieces, recorded by the Gul­benkian Foun­da­tion choir on their Por­tu­galiae Musica series. All are poly­phonic pieces, four of them for four voices, one for a dou­ble choir of 3 and 4 parts each. The most beau­ti­ful is the Jesu redemp­tor, which is a litany for the dead, pray­ing for Christ to accept the soul of the departed, and per­haps sung dur­ing the cortège, between the house of the deceased and the church. Mor­ago was actu­ally a Spaniard, but appar­ently spent most of his life in Por­tu­gal as choir-master of the Cathe­dral of Viseu.

First-time listening for July 2018

29222. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W.S. Gilbert]) The Sor­ceror [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29223. (Global Com­mu­ni­ca­tion) Fab­ric 26 [DJ Mix 12 by Mark Pritchard, 12 by Tom Mid­dle­ton]
29224. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) L’Africaine [com­plete opera; d. Capuana; Stella, Nikolov, Rinaldi]
29225. (Kun­nakudi Vaidyanathan) Golden Krithis: Colours
29226. (3 Inches of Blood) Here Waits Thy Doom
29227. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) Les Huguenots [com­plete opera; d. Diederich; Pol­let, Ghiuse­lev, Leech]
29228. (Jason Isbell) South­east­ern
29229. (Domenico Scar­latti) Missa Breve “La Stella“
29230. (Queen­srÿche) Oper­a­tion Mind­crime
29231. (Péter Eötvös) Angels in Amer­ica! [com­plete opera; d. Eötvös; Belcher, Hen­dricks;
. . . . . Migenes — 2006]
29232. (Chitti Babu Chal­la­pally) Raga Naatai: Adi Taal “Sarasiruhasan“
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Sichuan Folk Song

18-07-13 LISTN Sichuan Folk Song

The huge west­ern Chi­nese province of Sichuan has its own, dis­tinct his­tory. It con­sists of a broad and fer­tile basin around the city of Chengdu, ringed by a sparsely pop­u­lated wilder­ness of moun­tains, forests and swamps. While this was a cen­ter of ancient non-Han civ­i­liza­tion as early as the sec­ond mil­le­nnium BC, it grad­u­ally became Sini­fied over the cen­turies, and the city and fer­tile regions are inhab­ited by Han Chi­nese speak­ing a south­west­ern dialect of Man­darin. How­ever, most of the province con­sists of rugged moun­tains, and these are the home of many minor­ity groups, eth­ni­cally and lin­guis­ti­cally not at all Chi­nese. Among them are the Yi, related to the Burmese, the Qiang, and the Naxi (or Nakhi). The west­ern half of the province is cul­tur­ally closer to Tibet, many of the minori­ties speak­ing dialects of Tibetan, or closely related lan­guages. All these minori­ties have dis­tinc­tive musi­cal tra­di­tions, and the met­ro­pol­i­tan musi­cal main­stream of China has drawn from them with the same mix­ing and min­ing process that went on in the devel­op­ment of America’s folk music. The album I have, Sichuan Folk Song and Bal­lad, Vol­ume 2 gives a good sam­ple of this vari­ety. Per­son­ally, the more “folky” the songs are, the more they appeal to me. I par­tic­u­larly like the Naxi song “This Hill is Not As High As That One”.

China’s many eth­nic minori­ties, who com­prise tens of mil­lions of peo­ple, have been hid­den from the world’s view by mil­lennia of obses­sive impe­r­ial cen­tral­ism and racism. In some cases, there are cul­tures of a mil­lion or more peo­ple about whom one can­not find a sin­gle book in a large uni­ver­sity library. Can you imag­ine what it would mean if there was not a sin­gle book in a major library devoted to Wales, or the Basques, or to Esto­nia? For­tu­nately, the musi­cal wealth of Sichuan can give us a foot-in-the-door to cel­e­brat­ing a diver­sity that has been kept from our view by ide­ol­ogy and intel­lec­tual laziness.

First-time listening for June 2018

29189. (Hec­tor Berlioz) La Damna­tion de Faust [com­plete opera; d. Inbal; Gulyás, Lloyd,
.… . Ewing]
29190. (Dinah Wash­ing­ton) Dina Wash­ing­ton [Verve Jazz Mas­ters #40]
29191. (Imag­ine Drag­ons) Night Visions Live
29192. (Lak­sh­mi­narayana Shankar) Raga Aberi [w. Zakir Hus­sain]
29193. (Slam) BBC Essen­tial Mix, May 1,1994
29194. (Nam­a­giripet­tai Krish­nan) Kalyana Melam
29195. (Hec­tor Berlioz) Roméo et Juli­ette, Op.17 [d. Inbal; Denize, Cole, Lloyd]
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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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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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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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