Radio Tarifa – Temporal
Apologies for the no show last week, I was away celebrating my 60th birthday. Happy Birthday me! The frolics were held in Surrey at The Parrot Inn in Forest Green – good beer, good food, good service … and good company. What more can you ask for?
This week, no Lucky Thirteen and no Ry Cooder track to in honour of his birthday (65 last week). Instead, we mourn the death and celebrate the work of Benjamín Escoriza, the Spanish singer and frontman of Radio Tarifa.
The Proper Music blog reporting his death wrote “Benjamín Escoriza passed away on 9th March 2012 following a long illness. His husky vocals defined the sound of one of Europe’s most popular world music bands of the nineties. Radio Tarifa explored the close relationship between Arabic, Sephardic and medieval music, mixing tradition with modernity in their own compelling way.”
Robin Denselow, in his Guardian obituary, said that Escoriza “became celebrated for his musical experimentation, his skills as a lyricist – often writing about love and passion – and his rough, smoky and emotional voice, influenced by flamenco and rumba.”
I have posted a track from Radio Tarifa before; today I am posting La Tarara from the wonderful CD Temporal.
Radio Tarifa – La Tarara
Carlos Núñez – Brotherhood of Stars
Back to Lucky Thirteen again after a couple of weeks dedicated to Mali. And we are back with our old friend Carlos Núñez, the Galician bagpiper. I’ve chosen to post The Moonlight Piper as, in my mind there is a small link to Frances’s trip to Mali. In the evening her group have taken to meeting at the apartment block where some of the volunteers are staying. There they cook a communal meal and then sit out on the apartment’s roof terrace and enjoy the (relative) cool of the evening. I don’t think they are serenaded by Galician pipers but you never know!
Carlos Núñez – The Moonlight Piper
Songhai – Songhai
A quick post today as I’ve already spent too much time looking at this computer already this weekend.
Today we’ve got Songhai, a collaboration between the Spanish flamenco group Ketama, Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté, and, our hero, Danny Thompson. I’ve commented before that I’m not one for “fusion” music. I generally like the parts more than the whole. (An aside – I feel this way about fusion food too). However, as with all rules, there are exceptions. One such is Songhai.
They made two albums, imaginatively called Songhai and Songhai 2. Neither albums are easy to purchase at the moment either as CDs or mp3 downloads. If you see a copy, snap it up. Until then, enjoy Caramelo from the first album.
On my, admittedly very quiet, quest to get Danny Thompson and O.B.E. or some such gong, I realise now that I’m hampered by not having a Facebook account. I understand that this is how the young people lobby for such things today. If there is anyone out there with such an account, could you please check to see if there is a high profile campaign to recognise DT and if not, would you start one for me please?
Songhai – Caramelo
Susana Seivane – Susana Seivane
Congratulations to Spain – champions of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (to give the tournament it’s full name). I started off by supporting Holland but after 10 minutes of watching Spain try to play football and Holland try to stop them by fair means or foul I switched my allegiances to Spain.
I’ll give you two quotes from the Guardian and you’ll know all you need to know about the match; “Howard Webb, the English referee, risked repetitive strain injury showing 14 yellow cards, a record for a World Cup final” and “Within walking distance of his old family home at 8115 Orlando West, Soweto, (Nelson) Mandela took a short golf-cart ride across the pitch at the Soccer City stadium as if trying to draw one last epiphany from South Africa’s transformation. He was shrewd not to stay for the football.” Enough said.
It was probably better that Spain won anyway, I have a few Spanish records in my collection and many from Spanish speaking countries around the world. If Holland had won I would have had to resort to Martin Carthy singing The Lowlands of Holland (he never lets you down that Martin Carthy!) or a Scott Joplin rag played on the guitar by Ton Van Bergeyk. Or I could have spent some of my hard earned pennies on some proper Dutch music. One day …!
Enough of these “might have beens” and on to today’s track – Fonsagrada by Susana Seivane. As you well know, Susana Seivane is a young Galician gaita (bagpipes) player. Fonsagrada is taken from her first album and consists of a couple of muiñeiras (a type of traditional Galician dance tune).
Susana Seivane – Fonsagrada
Milladoiro – Castellum Honesti
You wait all your life for the Galician song Black Shadow / Negra Sombra and blow me, two come along at once.
I have just four CDs of Galician music, the Carlos Nunez, two by Susana Seivane and this one by Milladoiro, and Black Shadow / Negra Sombra is on two of them.
Milladoiro’s version has more of the feel of chamber music to me but I like it’s simple, not to say sombre approach.
Milladoiro – Negra Sombra
Carlos Núñez – Brotherhood of Stars
This week’s colour is black and we have more Ry Cooder. This time Ry is playing guitar on the Carlos Núñez album Brotherhood of Stars.
Carlos Núñez, as I’m sure you know is a Galician piper who has collaborated with many top Celtic musicians, most notably The Chieftains. (Indeed, The Chieftains feature on a couple of tracks on the album and Paddy Maloney is a co-producer.)
Negra sombra / Black Shadow is, according to Núñez, one of the most emblematic pieces of Galician music. It was first performed in Cuba in the Havana Gran Teatro in 1867; the song is a poem by Galician poet Rosalia de Castro set to a traditional Galician tune.
On this version Carlos Núñez plays ocarina, tin whistle and tenor recorder, Ry Cooder plays acoustic and electric guitars, Javier Colina plays bass and Luz Casal provides the vocals.
Carlos Núñez – Black Shadow
Radio Tarifa – Rumba Argelina
We watched “Couscous”, aka “La Graine et le Mulet” and “The Secret of the Grain”, last night. It got very good reviews in the Observer and Guardian and so we were looking forward to seeing it.
It was, in many ways a marvellous film, with lots of extended set pieces allowing the audience to absorb the characters, their lives and relationships. That said, the film would definitely have benefited from some more radical editing; there’s leisurely and there is self indulgent!
And while I am acting as a one man test screening (two years after the film’s release!) I’d change the ending – most unsatisfactory. Time Out agrees with me – “The ending – to this writer’s mind – is dramatically and artistically misjudged, but, nevertheless, it remains a remarkable and thought-provoking work.”
One thing that I wouldn’t change is the film’s music. Amongst the characters in the film are a group of older Arab musicians who end up playing at the opening night of the restaurant. Their playing forms the soundtrack to the film.
Now, I have some music in my record collection that has an Arab feel to it, most notably Radio Tarifa. This Spanish group have, over several CDs, explored traditional and classical music from southern Europe and north Africa and made their own unique hybrid.
Today’s track is the title song from their first album. It purports to be music from an imaginary radio station in Tarifa, the southernmost point in Spain.
Radio Tarifa – Rumba Argelina