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Category Archives: C – LISTENING - Page 2

First-time listening for July 2018


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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“
Read more »

Sichuan Folk Song


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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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