Canta u Populu Corsu – Memoria
As a caveat, I should have said at the start of this Lucky Thirteen season, I haven’t meticulously re-ordered my CD collection to ensure that the albums are in order. For your information, I order my records alphabetically by artist with compilations, Various Artists, being filled at the end.
So, without further ado on to Lucky Thirteen week 2. Thirteen steps from Poland takes you all the way to Corsica – at least in my CD collection it does. The album in question is Memoria by Canta u Populu Corsu.
I can’t tell you a whole lot about the group or the album. The group do have a French language website which when translated into English using Google Translate is unreadable. We’ll probably blame the machine translation rather than the original text. The album is one of their earlier ones and was release, I think, in 1998. My copy is a gift from my sister and brother-in-law, they bought it for me when they were on holiday in Corsica. The songs are a mixture of Traditional (from various countries and regions) and self-penned numbers. The style is fairly light, not the “goatherd” music I expected when I first played it.
From the album I have chosen U vagabondu, written by JP Poletti. See what you think.
Canta u Populu Corsu – U vagabondu
Banana Boat feat. Eleanor McEvoy – A Little A Cappella
After a very short South American season, I’ve exhausted my South American collection – or at least the tracks I feel like posting. And this week I have no news / gigs / new purchases / BBC 4 programmes watched that I can link a post to. So, I’m going to crib an idea from Joe Boyd and saunter through my record collection selecting every 13th CD – Lucky 13 in Joe’s terminology. I’m not sure what it is going to throw up – we’ll all just have to wait and see.
The first CD in my filing system is the French Canadian groups Ad Vielle Que Pourra‘s CD Ménage à Quatre. And 13 albums along is Banana Boat featuring Eleanor McEvoy – A Little A Cappella: Irish-Polish harmony. I am the proud owner of three Banana Boat albums – all donated to me by the group after I wrote to them to let them know that Andy Kershaw was playing their music on his Radio 3 programme. The group specialise in singing sea shanties – all well and good when you think of the long maritime history of Poland – until you learn that they live as far south in Poland as you can get i.e. about 600km from the sea.
The track I’m posting is not a sea shanty, rather it is a folk-pop song written by Eleanor McEvoy in which she sings the lead and they provide harmonies. I’m not sure how easy it would be to find CDs or even mp3 downloads by Banana Boat but if you find them – snap them up!
Banana Boat feat. Eleanor McEvoy – Little Look
Various Artists – World 2000
Back to the Charlie Gillett’s compilation album World 2000 for this week’s South American track. Today Los Sabores Del Porro by Totó La Momposina. Once more a confession of ignorance – I thought that Totó La Momposina was a group. It turns out that she is a woman! When I started this blog one of the aims was to get better acquainted with my own record collection. It seems to be working!
And to demonstrate my ignorance further I used by (rudimentary) Italian to translate the Spanish title of the song as The Taste of Leeks. Further research leads me to believe that Porro might be a herb rather than a vegetable; a herb or a synonym of herb!
Totó la Momposina is the nom de voix of Sonia Bazanta Vides a Colombian singer of “traditional mixed indigenous Colombian and Afro-Latin music”. The track is fabulous and so is the woman if her photo is anything to go by.
In 2006 she was presented with the WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award and, her agent’ website tells us that she is still working “tirelessly to promote the music of her homeland, driven by passion and the simple joy of performance”.
Totó La Momposina – Los Sabores Del Porro
Various Artists – The Story of British Folk: …
This week, on the 5th October to be precise, both Bert Jansch and Steve Jobs died. Understandably, the media was full articles assessing the impact of Steve Jobs but, surprisingly to me, there was also an enormous number telling the story of Bert Jansch and the influence he had on the music and the lives of his listeners from the early sixties onwards.
I never saw Bert Jansch play a solo gig, I only saw him in the setting of Pentangle, but I loved his music – especially his guitar playing. There are so many stories of how Bert Jansch’s guitar playing inspired people to learn to play the instrument and I experienced this at first hand. On leaving school, I worked for a year before going on to college and shared a flat with three young teachers. I can remember to this day coming back to the flat at various times and finding one or other of my flatmates trying to master Anjie, picking it up from a Bert Jansch LP. An Anjie playing contest was mooted for the end of the year we spent together in the flat but I don’t believe this happened in the end.
The track posted to celebrate the life and music of Bert Jansch is, along with Anjie, probably his most famous solo recording, Blackwaterside. It was originally on his album Jack Orion but I have it on the compilation album Various Artists – The Story of British Folk: From Fairport Convention to Johnny Flynn.
Bert Jansch – Blackwaterside
Susana Baca – Lamento Negro
I’m currently watching “A South American Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby” on BBC2. It is quite interesting but a bit silly – not least in even attempting to tell us much about such a massive and diverse continent in 3 one hour programmes. Still, I’ll stick with it because 1. I’m embarrassingly ignorant about South America and so should learn at least something and 2. the landscape is amazing and some of the photography is stunning.
So, I’m inspired to do a mini series of South American tracks. Not that I have a great deal of music from South America – unless I cheat and include the Carribean. But if Dimblebum can encompass the area in three programmes, I can surely do at least as well in a few tracks of music!
I’m starting with Susana Baca, who has a following around the world but is not a superstar by any means. And it is a timely posting too as Baca was recently appointed as Peru’s culture minister, making her the country’s first black government minister since independence from Spain in 1821.
The track I have selected is the title track from her album Lamento Negro which won a Latin Grammy in 2002. the album was recorded in Cuba nearly two decades before the Grammy win.
Susana Baca – Lamento Negro
Various Artists – fRoots #4
Today I’m posting a track called Ecological Tourist by The Connacht Ramblers taken from the fRoots magazine’s freebie fRoots #4. It is twee, has uncomfortable rhymes and I love it!
I was inspired to post this after watching the second half of Attenborough’s Egg Hunt on BBC tv. In the programme, David Attenborough returned to Madagascar to find out how the island has changed since he visited in 1960 to film one of his first ever wildlife series, Zoo Quest. The half hour of the show I saw was both depressing (so much of the rainforest has been destroyed) and uplifting (the creatures that remain are both weird and wonderful, and there are some brilliant projects going on to re-forest large tracts of land).
The most compelling moment of the show for me was an encounter between Attenborough and an indri, a beautiful black and white lemur. An enthralled David Attenborough stared wide-eyed at an indri while the indri stared wide-eyed back – that is what indri do.
(The programme had some beautiful Malagasy music on the soundtrack – don’t you wish that, on such shows, when the credits roll they give you a listing of the music used or better still a link to a website so you can discover the more about the music?)
The Connacht Ramblers – Ecological Tourist
Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music
Jerry Lieber died a week ago today. Lieber was the lyricist in the Lieber and Stoller songwriting team that penned so many classic pops songs – Hound Dog, Love Potion No 9, Yakety Yak, Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem, Jailhouse Rock and many, many more. (See here for an extensive list of the songs that they wrote together.)
The Guardian obituary of Jerry Lieber describes the songs of Lieber and Stoller as “ingenious miniature soap-operas that conjured, in barely two and a half minutes on one side of a 45rpm single, whole worlds teeming with private eyes, bellydancers, junior hoodlums and put-upon schoolkids”. Indeed they were. This idea, a story told in under 3 minutes, is a peculiarly American phenomenon. I’m sure that those more up to date in pop culture than I could point me to several modern examples – especially though probably not exclusively in Country music, but how many British songwriters can do this? Not many since the Beatles I fancy.
So, to celebrate and commemorate the work of Jerry Lieber, I’m posting Ry Cooder’s version of the classic (sorry, this word is overused today but no other word is appropriate here) song, Stand by Me.
Ry Cooder – Stand by Me
Taj Mahal– Señor Blues
I’ve been puzzling for the past week or so what the music is that is being used as the theme tune to the new BBC tv drama The Hour. I couldn’t get there but my friend the Internet could. I now know that it is Señor Blues by Horace Silver.
I’ve got a great version of the tune performed by Taj Mahal on his 1997 album, also called Señor Blues. The album was given to me (us) by Peter & Madeleine my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They had just seen Taj Mahal perform in Sydney, where they live, and raved about the show.
(You wonder how many people, when they hear a track used in a tv programme / tv advert and get hooked, rush to their computer, Google it and then promptly proceed to iTunes or Amazon or some such service to buy it. A surprising number I’d guess.)
Taj Mahal– Señor Blues
Various Artists – World Circuit Presents …
This week I’m pressing the pause button on the protest songs series to commemorate the life of Manuel Galbán who died last week on 7th July.
Manuel Galbán was a Cuban guitarists, who came to fame playing with Los Zafiros (the Sapphires) and then reached a wider audience recording and gigging with several Buena Vista Social Club projects. In 2004, Galbán won a Grammy for best pop instrumental album, Mambo Sinuendo, which he recorded with Ry Cooder. He created a most individual sound from his guitar – the Guardian obituary described it as a “distinctive, twangy style that made him sound at times like a Latin answer to Duane Eddy”.
To showcase his music I have posted La Luna En Tu Mirada a track from Los Zafiros that was featured on the World Circuit compilation – World Circuit Presents …
Los Zafiros – La Luna En Tu Mirada
Danny Carnahan and Robin Petrie – Cut and Run
I’m back from a very pleasant and well deserved week’s in Dorset. Back from swimming at Burton Bradstock and eating breakfast lunch and tea (on separate days) at the Hive Beach Café; back from walking the lanes and footpaths, visiting NGS gardens, enjoying a or two pints of Palmer’s Ales. Back to work – doh!
Anyway, enough self pity, on with the blog. This week’s protest song was written in 1990 and does it still have relevance today? – does it ever. Here is the first verse:
“It’s all agreed, let’s have a war
It’s been so dull, let’s make some speeches
Let’s get the voters off our backs
They’d rather watch us storm some beaches
And so we lose some of the boys
At least we let ‘em die like men
Take out a villain, make some noise
And they’ll elect us all again”
It could have been written this year, or last year, or ..
So, continuing my musings on how how musicians make their money (and whether they make the money they deserve), how come so few people bought Cut and Run by Danny Carnahan and Robin Petrie? Indeed how come now one has ever heard of them?
Danny Carnahan and Robin Petrie – Spoils of War