Saturday, 12 April 2014

Harry Belafonte – The Many Moods Of Belafonte (1962)

Belafonte's follow-up album to "The Midnight Special" is another record stressing the diversity of world music. This time, a small combo accompanies Belafonte on the various tracks, as opposed to the big band approach of his last album.

Several crowd-pleasers were introduced on this album for the first time: the calypso "Zombie Jamboree," awhich soon replaced "Matilda" as Belafonte's epic audience participation song; and the showtune "Try to Remember," from the off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks".

The two highlights on the album are both songs dealing with American folk music. "Betty an' Dupree" is a classic murder ballad in the tradition of "Frankie and Johnny," performed with the intensity the subject matter commands. Country-western composer Merle Travis' "Dark as a Dungeon," a protest song dealing with the dreary, bitter life of the coal miner was inadvertantly recorded during a thunderstorm, giving the song a dose of ominous spontaneity.

Two of Belafonte's proteges from South Africa are also featured: singer Miriam Makeba and jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Some of the ballads are weak when compared to the more dramatic highlights, but still, this is a very satisfying album. 
01. Tongue Tie Baby (B.Eaton)
02. Who’s Gonna Be Your Man (Brookes-Minkoff)
03. ‘Long About Now (Hellerman-Minkoff)
04. Bamotsweri (with Miriam Makeba) (Makeba)
05. I’m On My Way To Saturday (Guryan)
06. Betty An’ Dupree (Calabata Leonard De Paur)
07. Summertime Love (Loesser)
08. Lyla, Lyla (Alterman-Zeira)
09. Zombie Jamboree (Mauge Jr)
10. Try To Remember (Schmidt-Jones)
11. Dark As A Dungeon (Travis)

Harry Belafonte - The Many Moods Of Belafonte (1962)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Friday, 11 April 2014

Caetano Veloso‎ – Transa (1972)

A true heavyweight, Caetano Veloso is a pop musician/poet/filmmaker/political activist whose stature in the pantheon of international pop musicians is on a par with that of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Lennon/McCartney. And even the most cursory listen to his recorded output over the last few decades proves that this is no exaggeration. Veloso is most known for his participation in the Brazilian musical movement Tropicalismo which encompassed theatre, poetry and music in the 1960s, at the beginning of the Brazilian military dictatorship.
Released in 1972, "Transa" was recorded by Caetano Veloso during his exile in London, England, shortly before his return to Brazil. The sound of '70s electric rock predominates, fused with Brazilian rhythms and percussion, berimbau sounds, and his own violão playing. Several lyrics in English, and also in Portuguese, carefully avoid direct reference to politics, which may be found disguised in all songs, especially in the melancholic and depressed images of the poem by Gregório de Matos, "Triste Bahia," for which Veloso wrote the music.

"It's a Long Way" also makes ciphered references to the political situation and was broadly played in the '70s. The broad use of pontos de capoeira (music used for accompaniment of capoeira, a martial art developed by Brazilian slaves as a resistance against the whites) can also be understood in that sense. The album also has "Mora na Filosofia," a classic and beautiful samba by Monsueto that scandalized people with its rock rendition.

Diedrich Diederichsen (born August 15, 1957) is a German author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is one of Germany′s most renowned intellectual writers at the crossroads of the arts, politics, and pop culture. He describes Caetano Veloso´s wonderful "Nine Out Of Ten" as "the perfect pop-song".

A1 You Don't Know Me 3:50
A2 Nine Out Of Ten 4:55
A3 Triste Hahia
Written-By – Gregório De Mattos
B1 It's A Long Way 6:05
B2 Mora Na Filosofia
Written-By – Arnaldo Passos, Monsueto Menezes
B3 Neolithic Man 4:42
B4 Nostalgia (That's What Rock'n Roll Is All About) 1:20

Caetano Veloso - Transa (1972)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wolf Biermann - Warte nicht auf beßre Zeiten (1973)

Born in 1936 in Hamburg as the son of a Jewish deckhand, Biermann was confronted with totalitarianism, prosecution and loss as a young child.
His father, who was active in the communist resistance, was murdered at Auschwitz in 1943. In the same year, he and his mother fled Hamburg as the Allies bombarded it.

Some 300,000 people left East Germany for the west in 1953, but 17-year-old Biermann went against the flow. He settled in the socialist German state out of political conviction and, two years later, began studying economics, philosophy and math at Humboldt University in Berlin.

With the support of composer Hans Eisler, Biermann began to write songs and poems and perform cabaret. He also worked as an assistant producer at the famed Berliner Ensemble for two years.
After publishing his some of his works in East German magazines and anthologies, he endeavored to found a small theater of his own.
Just before the first performance, the theater was shut down by the state and Biermann was expelled from the communist party and banned from practicing his profession for half a year. The play was about the building of the Berlin Wall.
Conflict with the GDR authorities only compounded. After his first concert tour in West Germany and the publication of his poetry book "Die Drahtharfe" ("The Wire Harp") by a West Berlin publishing house, the singer-songwriter-poet was accused of being a traitor and banned from performing, publishing and traveling abroad.

For 12 years, Biermann sang for himself or for small, private audiences in his East Berlin apartment on Chausseestrasse. Some of his albums, however, were smuggled over to the west and his songs became more popular there than in the east.
In September 1976 Biermann was finally permitted to perform publicly again in the GDR and two months later he was given a visa to go on tour in West Germany.
Three days after his legendary concert in the Cologne sport arena, he was expatriated by the East German party leaders for his "hostile performance" and not permitted to return to the GDR.

Over 100 artists, writers and actors in the socialist German state staged public protests. When the authorities responded with intimidation, jail sentences and bans, masses of intellectuals picked up and left the GDR.
Biermann saw his expatriation as a catastrophe. "I thought it was all over with my life as a singer and poet," he said later.
Indeed, the first years in exile weren't easy. Nevertheless, the "Troubadour of inner German conflict," as the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" called him in a 1987 article, carried on with his career. He published several volumes of lyric and prose and settled old scores with both East and West Germany on concert tours at home and abroad.
Biermann was enthusiastically received at his first performance in eastern Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He'd already broken with the socialism his former homeland was shedding.

In the 1990s he began exploring his Jewish roots more extensively and was active in politics and media. He campaigned against the Party of Democratic Socialism, the successor to the East German communist party and became head cultural correspondent for the daily newspaper Die Welt in 2003.
Today, Biermann is still an uncomfortable and controversial coeval. He's not afraid to stick his finger in open wounds and stir up discussion. Even if not everyone likes his message, at least it comes across.
"I can't complain that I've been fundamentally misunderstood. I've generally always been well understood," he told Deutsche Welle reporters.

"Warte nicht auf beßre Zeiten" was the second album by Wolf Biermann, released in 1973. This cd reissue completes the 8 tracks of the original album by 3 re-recorded tracks, originally released in 1968 on the single "4 neue Lieder" (Wagenbachs Quartplatte).

Wolf Biermann - Warte nicht auf beßre Zeiten (1973) & 3 tracks
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

V/A - Beat Jazz - Pictures From The Gone World Volume 2

So here´s volume 2 of this great collection of 50s/60s beat and jazz cuts, of songs and poetry.

This album was released on Pesky Serpent records with 16 rare and obscure tracks featuring beat poetry, be-bop and hip beat-jazz. Invokes the atmosphere of a smokey underground club from the late '50s/early '60s making this one of thee coooolest comps you'll ever hear!
Artists include Buddy Collette, Kenyon Hopkins, Amus Moore, Wardell Gray, Young Tiger, Babs Gonzales, Muhamed Habeebalah, Ernie Andrews, Oscar Moore, Early Zell, Katie Lee, Johnny Lewis Trio + Millie, Bing Day, Maxwell H. Brock, Joya Sherril, and Mel Henke.

Beat Jazz - Pictures From The Gone World Volume 2
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Pete Seeger - American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1

The first in a series of five immensely popular Pete Seeger releases, "American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1" was intended to gather together and set down songs that "everyone" knew (or seemed to know), in simple, unadorned musical settings, accompanied by his guitar or banjo, that adults and children could learn and sing together.

At the time, the albums were primarily aimed at schools and libraries, though one can bet that more than a few progressive-minded and left-leaning families bought them a well, even if these weren't the union and topical songs Seeger was loved for in those circles, if only as a statement against the blacklist that had hurt the artist's career; one also wonders, as a minor point, if the decision to include "Big Rock Candy Mountain" wasn't a little zing at Burl Ives, for whom the song had been something of a signature tune, and who had ended up on the opposite side of Seeger in the ideological wars of the 1950s (a hatchet that wasn't fully buried between them until the '80s).

Seeger's range on this album is stunning, from the gentle simplicity of "Skip to My Lou" to the rousing exuberance of "Oh Mary, Don't You Weep" - his voice is melodious and powerful across a range that may surprise listeners who only know the artist for the recordings done in his seventies and eighties - and while his guitar playing is fine, it's his banjo work that is the real treat across these songs. For a man who (supposedly) so resented the electrification of folk music, Seeger isn't shy about spinning some (admittedly acoustic) pyrotechnics out of his banjo when the song seems to call for it. Moe Asch's recording technology was more than good enough for Seeger and his instrument, and the tapes have held up across five decades. And as to the songs, they encompass folk, country, and gospel standards, and their sheer power is perhaps the most amazing aspect of this record (and its four follow-ups): the world and its so-called culture, popular or otherwise, have moved on so far (even in the late '60s, these seemed kind of hokey to kids who thought they knew better) that 50-plus years later, this record is still an education, as well as a rare treat.                

A1 Down In The Valley
A2 Mary Don't You Weep
A3 The Blue Tail Fly
A4 Yankee Doodle
A5 Cielito Lindo
A6 Buffalo Gals
A7 The Wabash Cannon Ball
A8 So Long, It's Been Good To Know You
Written-By – Woody Guthrie
B1 The Wagoner's Lad
B2 The Big Rock Candy Mountain
B3 The Wreck Of The Old '97
B4 On Top Of Old Smokey
B5 I Ride An Old Paint
B6 Frankie And Johnny
B7 Old Dan Tucker
B8 Skip To My Lou
B9 Home On The Range

Pete Seeger - American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Hazel O´Conner - Cover Plus (1981)

Hazel O'Connor (born 16 May 1955, Coventry, England) is an English singer-songwriter and actress. She is the daughter of a soldier from Galway who settled in England after World War II to work in a car plant. She became famous in the early 1980s with hit singles "Eighth Day", "D-Days" and "Will You", as well as starring in the film "Breaking Glass".

"Cover Plus" is O'Connor's third studio album, released in 1981. Yes, the woman is very very creative, I know. She never runs out of it. For many O'Connor fans this is her best album of all, although successfully doesn't surpass "Breaking Glass".

This album charted to #32 in the U.K. "Cover Plus" musically speaking follows the line of her previous two albums but at the same time sounds different to these other albums.

A1 (Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up
A2 Hanging Around
A3 Ee-i-addio
A4 Not For You
A5 Hold On
A6 So You're Born
B1 Dawn Chorus
B2 Animal Farm (We Will Be Happy?)
B3 Runaway
B4 Do What You Gotta Do
B5 Men Of Good Fortune
B6 That's Life

Hazel O´Connor - Cover Plus (1981)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sun Ra - Space Is The Place (1973)

"Space Is the Place" provides an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's vast and free-form jazz catalog. It is a wonderful 1972 recording with the 'definitive' version of the title track, and some very nice shorter pieces too.

Typical of many Sun Ra recordings, the program is varied; earthbound songs, like the swing number "Images" and Egyptian exotica piece "Discipline," fit right in with more space-age cuts, like the tumultuous "Sea of Sounds" and the humorous "Rocket Number Nine." Sun Ra fuses many of these styles on the sprawling title cut, as interlocking harmonies, African percussion, manic synthesizer lines, and joyous ensemble blowing all jell into some sort of church revival of the cosmos.

Throughout the recording, Sun Ra displays his typically wide-ranging talents on space organ and piano, reed players John Gilmore and Marshall Allen contribute incisive and intense solos, and June Tyson masterfully leads the Space Ethnic Voices on dreamy vocal flights. This is a fine recording and a must for Sun Ra fans.  

It is impossible, given the breadth and depth of Ra's work, as well as the fact that most of the albums which he recorded are out-of-print and owned only by a select few collectors, to attempt to trace Ra's career with any thoroughness in less than a hundred pages or so. You find some overview to Sun Ra's life and music on and an interview with John F. Szwed about his superb Sun Ra biography "Space Is The Place" on


A Space Is The Place
Baritone Saxophone – Danny Thompson* Bass – Pat Patrick Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe Organ [Space] – Sun Ra Vocals [Space Ethnic] – Akh Tal Ebah, Cheryl Banks, John Gilmore, Judith Holton, June Tyson, Ruth Wright
B1 Images
Bass – Pat Patrick Piano – Sun Ra Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Lamont McClamb
B2 Discipline 33
Flute – Danny Davis, Danny Thompson*, Eloe Omoe, Marshall Allen Organ [Space] – Sun Ra Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore Trumpet – Lamont McClamb
B3 Sea Of Sound
Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick Drums – Lex Humphries Flugelhorn [Fugelhorn] – Akh Tal Ebah Organ [Space] – Sun Ra Percussion – Russell Branch, Stanley Morgan Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore Trumpet – Lamont McClamb
B4 Rocket Number Nine
Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe Organ [Space] – Sun Ra Vocals [Space Ethnic] – Cheryl Banks, Danny Thompson*, John Gilmore, Judith Holton, June Tyson, Pat Patrick, Ruth Wright

Sun Ra - Space Is The Place (1973)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Hazel O´Connor - Sons & Lovers (1980)

"Sons & Lovers" was Hazel O'Connor's second album, released also in 1980. The album didn't have the same impact of its predecessor as it was felt like a rushed release hot on the heels of her first album.

However, that didn't stop the album from spawning memorable hits such as D-Days (#10 in the U.K.). This song was inspired by one trip Hazel did to a London night club where she met a lot of bizarre looking people.

The album follows pretty much the same line of her previous album, New Wave with intelligent lyrics and saxophones thrown in the songs, but it's worth a listen.

D-Days 3:10
Waiting 2:33
Who Will Care? 3:18
Zoo 4:32
Gigolo 2:41
Do What You Do 4:36
Sons And Lovers 4:38
Glass Houses 3:19
Ain't It Funny 3:57
Danny Boy 2:30
Bye Bye 3:18
Time (Ain't On Our Side) 3:17

Hazel O´Connor  - Sons & Lovers (1980)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Harry Belafonte - Calypso (1956)

This is the album that made Harry Belafonte's career. Up to this point, calypso had only been a part of Belafonte's focus in his recordings of folk music styles. But with this landmark album, calypso not only became tattooed to Belafonte permanently; it had a revolutionary effect on folk music in the 1950s and '60s.

The album consists of songs from Trinidad, mostly written by West Indian songwriter Irving Burgie
(aka Lord Burgess). Burgie´s two most successful songs are included -- "Day O" and "Jamaica Farewell" (which were both hit singles for Belafonte) -- as are the evocative ballads "I Do Adore Her" and "Come Back Liza" and what could be the first feminist folk song, "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)."

"Calypso" became the first million-selling album by a single artist, spending an incredible 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts, remaining on the charts for 99 weeks. It triggered a veritable tidal wave of imitators, parodists, and artists wishing to capitalize on its success. Years later, it remains a record of inestimable influence, inspiring many folksingers and groups to perform, most notably the Kingston Trio, which was named for the Jamaican capital. For a decade, just about every folksinger and folk group featured in their repertoire at least one song that was of West Indian origin or one that had a calypso beat. They all can be attributed to this one remarkable album. Despite the success of "Calypso", Belafonte refused to be typecast. Resisting the impulse to record an immediate follow-up album, Belafonte instead spaced his calypso albums apart, releasing them at five-year intervals in 1961, 1966, and 1971.                

Harry Belafonte - Calypso (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ewan MacColl & A. L. Lloyd‎– Blow, Boys, Blow (1960)

A phenomenal collection of sea shanties and sailing songs performed by two of Great Britain's most outstanding musicologists. MacColl recorded a great deal during his career, which is fortunate, though he might well be best remembered by some for writing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Lloyd performed a great deal and was highly regarded for his research and his attention to old, almost-lost songs, but his recordings are sadly few in number, and mostly unavailable.

Some of the songs included in this recording are familiar; "The Handsome Cabin Boy" has been recorded many a time, with notable performances including one by Kate Bush. Many songs are less familiar, however, and are quite deserving of attention. MacColl and Lloyd's performances have enthusiasm and vigor, and are given able support from a small ensemble. If you can find it, "Blow Boys Blow" is a worthy album to have in hand. 

Sleeve Notes:

"These are songs from the days when ships were moved by white canvas, hemp rope and brute force. Songs from the days when a skipper would forecast his arrival-date partly by tile weather and partly by the heart his deck-hands put into their singing.

The sailing-ship sailors had shanties to ease their working hours, and "forebitter" songs to embellish their leisure time. For the backbreaking jobs of heaving at the halyards and manning the capstan or the pumps, they had the hard-driving salty work-songs set in primitive leader-chorus patterns. For the spells off-watch, when time might hang heavy even for the mat-makers, coconut carvers and fashioners of model ships in gin-bottles, there were the ballads, sentimental or ironical, bawdy or nostalgic, to fit the mood of the moment.

Behind many of these profane and rowdy "forebitters", as behind the shanties, there is a deep feeling for beauty. Some of the foc'sle ballads are as stylised as the popular woodcut prints of Jolly Jack Tar. Others are full of technical talk, and their quality was judged by standards of nautical correctness. All reflect in unequivocal terms the common run of a sailor's experience ashore or afloat. In the songs, the enemies are hard weather, bullying mates and thieving girls. The friends are few — a skipper such as Stormalong, perhaps as much feared as respected, or a sweetheart like Nancy of London, on whose fidelity some desperate hope is set. The stereotype of the roaring brutal sea-dog is present in nearly all the songs in this album, but the careful listener will perceive, beyond the toughness and the irony, a deep unease, an ache, a longing for something better."


Side One:
Row Bullies Row
Paddy Doyle
Wild Goose Shanty
While Cruising Round Yarmouth
Old Billy Riley
The Handsome Cabin Boy
South Australia
Blow, Boys, Blow

Side Two:
Whup Jamboree
The Banks of Newfoundland
Whiskey Johnny
Do Me Ama
Jack Tar
Paddy West
Haul On The Bowline
A Hundred Years Ago

Ewan MacColl & A. L. Lloyd - Blow, Boys, Blow (1960)
(256 kbps, front cover included)             

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Zupfgeigenhansel - Lustig, lustig ihr lieben Brüder - Die frechsten Lieder

Zupfgeigenhansel played an important role in the reanimation of the german folk music scene, searching for democratic and anti-authoritarian traditions. Their songs are of lasting value and a lot of humor; and they are short history lessons.

The album "Lustig, lustig ihr lieben Brüder - Die frechsten Lieder" is a compilation featuring some german and one jewish folk song.

1. Papst und Sultan
2. Wir drei, wir gehn jetzt auf die Walze
3. Der Revoluzzer
4. Ehestandsfreuden
5. Als wir jüngst verschütt jegangen
6. Die Bauern von St. Pölten
7. Die Brombeeren
8. Lied der Pariser Kommune
9. Bibel und Flinte
10. Es wollt ein Bauer früh aufstehn
11. Der Karmeliter
12. Es, es, es und es
13. Dire-gelt

Zupfgeigenhansel - Lustig, lustig ihr liebe Brüder - Die frechsten Lieder
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Monday, 31 March 2014

T-Bone Walker - I Get So Weary (1961)

Modern electric blues guitar can be traced directly back to this Texas-born pioneer, who began amplifying his sumptuous lead lines for public consumption circa 1940 and thus initiated a revolution so total that its tremors are still being felt today.

Few major postwar blues guitarists come to mind that don't owe T-Bone Walker an unpayable debt of gratitude. B.B. King has long cited him as a primary influence, marveling at Walker's penchant for holding the body of his guitar outward while he played it. Gatemouth Brown, Pee Wee Crayton, Goree Carter, Pete Mayes, and a wealth of other prominent Texas-bred axemen came stylistically right out of Walker during the late '40s and early '50s. Walker's nephew, guitarist R.S. Rankin, went so far as to bill himself as T-Bone Walker, Jr. for a 1962 single on Dot, "Midnight Bells Are Ringing" (with his uncle's complete blessing, of course; the two had worked up a father-and-son-type act long before that).

"I Get So Weary" is one more LP of Walker's elegant guitar and smooth vocals.    

A1 Here In The Dark
A2 I Miss You Baby
A3 Life Is Too Short
A4 I Get So Weary
A5 You Just Wanted To Use Me
A6 When The Sun Goes Down
A7 Everytime Pony Tail
B1 Thorough With Women
B2 Street Walking Woman
B3 Party Girl
B4 High Society
B5 Lollie You
B6 Got No Use For You
B7 Wanderin' Heart

T-Bone Walker - I Get So Weary (1961)
(192 kbps, front cover included)           

Sunday, 30 March 2014

VA - Atomkraft? Nein danke!

Of all the solidarity initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s, those againt the building of nuclear energy plants were particularly significant.

One of the most famous examples in North Rhine-Westphalia was the campaign mounted by the farmer Maas from Hönnepel near Kalkar. Beginning in 1972 he had an ongoing court action against the building of the fast-breeder reactor in Kalkar, the cost of which amounted to 50.000 DM.

Many "Liedermacher" and folk groups responded to his call for help. Names such as Saitenwind, Bruno & Klaus, Fiedel Michel, Tom Kannmacher, Schmetterlinge, Frank Baier, and Walter Mossmann took part in the solidarity concerts - one demonstration on 24 September 1977 was attended by 50.000 people - as well as in the making of the benefit LP "Bauer Maas - Lieder gegen Atomenergie".

The LP was distributed by the anti-nuclear campaign and enjoyed three pressings, from which virtually all the necessary money was rised. Considerd a "Lehrbeispiel für Solidarität und Demokratie", the solidarity campaign enabled Maas to draw out the process until plans to build the nucelar plant were scrapped.

The album "Atomkraft? Nein danke!" seems to be a customer made compilation using tracks from the "Bauer Maas" album alongside other sources, some of the track informations may be wrong.

VA - Atomkraft? Nein danke!
(ca. 180 kbps, cover art included)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sun Ra - Outer Spaceways Incorporated (1968)

This album adds a previously unreleased "Intergalactic Motion" to the original five-piece program. Sun Ra's orchestra was at its most radical during this period, alternating simple chants with very outside playing and dense ensembles.

While the sidemen include such notables as Marshall Allen and Danny Davis on altos, baritonist Pat Patrick, John Gilmore on tenor, bassist Ronnie Boykins and percussionist Clifford Jarvis, most of the other players in the 15-piece band (such as trumpeters Ahk Tal Ebah and Kwame Hadi) have slipped back into obscurity. This music is quite intriguing, although it requires an open mind and a sense of humor to fully appreciate.    


1 Somewhere There 15:10
2 Outer Spaceways Incorporated 7:02
3 Intergalactic Motion 8:07
4 Saturn 6:08
5 Song Of The Sparer 4:22
6 Spontaneous Simplicity 7:56

Track 3 was previously unreleased, recorded in New York City 1968.

Sun Ra - Outer Spaceways Incorporated (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)          

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ofra Haza - Yemenite Songs (1984)

This was the break-through album for World Music and for Ofra Haza: when the Diva met the Diwan and the beat box bumped into 400-year-old Yemenite songs. Songs of joy, yearning and devotion all delivered with that voice of pure gold, taken away from us by her tragic early death.

Ofra Haza's death on February 23, 2000, at the age of 41 deprived the world of a lovely woman, a great vocalist, and a fearless cultural advocate. Her 1984 album of boldly reimagined traditional Yemenite songs, brought her international fame, and decades later, it retains its ability to delight and inspire. The set list consists of secular tunes plus examples of a festive devotional style called diwan, which is common to all Oriental Jewish communities and can be sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Arabic. Each group has specific traditions, but the Yemeni variant is especially remarkable for its poetry, much of which was written by rabbis as far back as the 17th century. Most diwan consist of three separate sections: the a cappella nashid (prelude), the shira (singing), during which celebrants bang on copper trays, empty gasoline cans, or whatever else is handy, and a postlude called the hallel, or song of praise. The unusual percussion accompaniment came into use following the destruction of the Temple, when Jews were forbidden to play conventional musical instruments, and also as a result of periodic oppression by Muslim fundamentalists.

In Haza's hands, these sinuous tunes are further spiced up by drum machines and synthesizers, pumping out the hypnotic dance beats that catapulted the album onto dancefloors throughout the world. It is important to remember that this recording long predated the flood of world/techno fusions that have since overwhelmed the marketplace. Transglobal Underground, Afro-Celt Sound System, and Scandinavian groups like Garmarna all owe Haza a debt of gratitude. But despite the historic electronic flourishes, it is the siren-like charm of the singer's voice that creates the most indelible impression.             


Im Nin' Alu 5:16
Yachilvi Veyachali 3:24
A'Salk 4:42
Medley: 5:44
Tzur Menati
Se'i Yona
Sapri Tama
Galbi 4:14
Ode Le'Eli 3:29
Lefelach Harimon 5:06
Ayelet Chen 6:29

Ofra Haza - Yemenite Songs (1984)
(256 kbps, cover art included)  

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The SWAPO Singers – One Namibia One Nation (SWAPO Freedom Songs)

Like South Africa’s ANC, Namibia’s liberation organisation SWAPO has from time to time put together agit-prop bands or choirs, to bolster the morale of the troops or attract overseas media attention.
One generation of the SWAPO Singers came to Western attention in the mid-80s, when Jerry Dammers and Robert Wyatt respectively produced and collaborated on "Wind Of Change", which also featured Onyeka.   

DIAL AFRICA wrote about this album:
"The 1980s were the time, when the countries of southern Africa were fighting for freedom. In Namibia SWAPO organised not only this struggle but also a lot of support in Europe. One document was this LP here which led to a very pop(ular) version of a song called "Wind of Change"."

A1 Afrika (Africa)
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa
A2 Odi Wena Vorster (Warning Vorster Get Out Of Namibia)
Vocals [Sung By] – Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Jackson Kaujewa
A3 Va Nambia Va Kwetu (Fellow Namibians)
Vocals [Sung By] – Albertina Heita, Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Freida Kaurimuje, Jackson Kaujewa, Martha Elieser, Nick Nambahu, Sackey Schikwambi
A4 The Wind Of Change
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa
A5 Shilongno Shetu (My Country)
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa
A6 Twanana Swapo Yeti (We Are United In Swapo)
Vocals [Sung By] – Albertina Heita, Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Freida Kaurimuje, Jackson Kaujewa, Martha Elieser, Nick Nambahu, Sackey Schikwambi
B1 Mwene Kala Pamwe Na Afrika (God Bless Africa)
Vocals [Sung By] – Albertina Heita, Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Jackson Kaujewa, Martha Elieser
B2 Ti Mamasa Ta Gegaisera Mo=gao (I Want To See My Mother)
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa
B3 Tunana Ko Ngutukiro (Lead Us To Freedom)
Vocals [Sung By] – Albertina Heita, Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Freida Kaurimuje, Jackson Kaujewa, Martha Elieser, Nick Nambahu, Sackey Schikwambi
B4 We Are The Soldiers Of Swapo
Vocals [Sung By] – Albertina Heita, Martha Elieser
B5 Give Me Back Namibia
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa
B6 Power To The People
Vocals [Sung By] – Dan-Hafeni Haipinge, Jackson Kaujewa
B7 Afrika (Africa)
Vocals [Sung By] – Jackson Kaujewa

The SWAPO Singers - One Namibia One Nation (SWAPO Freedom Songs)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Violeta Parra - Canciones (Casa de las Américas, Cuba, 1971)

The roots of nueva canción trace to the late 1950s and early ’60s, a notably restive era in Latin American history. Many countries were saddled with ineffective or authoritarian governments, and the gap between the wealthy and the impoverished was widening. Moreover, European and North American cultural influence was becoming increasingly palpable, with musical tastes in particular molded to a significant degree by the commercial-music industry of North America. In that milieu two notable singer-songwriters in neighbouring countries embarked on crusades to reclaim what they perceived as the crumbling social and cultural integrity of their homelands: Violeta Parra in Chile and Atahualpa Yupanqui in Argentina.

Much of the work of Parra and Yupanqui involved collecting old songs from the countryside and reworking - or rejuvenating - them to become “new songs” in a more contemporary, broadly accessible format. Parra commonly cast her song in well-established local poetic forms, and, perhaps most significant, she introduced Andean instruments into the accompanying ensemble. Meanwhile, Yupanqui’s semisung lyrics, intoned atop expressive guitar playing, vividly evoked the hardships of life in the Andes. By developing and promoting a body of popular songs that were grounded in local traditions and that addressed the experiences and concerns of ordinary people, both Parra and Yupanqui helped democratize music in their countries; their songs spoke both to and for the populace.

01. - Gracias a la vida - 4:26"
02. - Qué dirá el Santo Padre - 2:47"
03. - Hace falta un guerrillero - 3:34"
04. - Arauco tiene una pena - 2:48"
05. - A la una - 3:15"
06. - La jardinera - 2:53"
07. - Y arriba quemando el Sol - 2:45"
08. - La carta - 2:48"
09. - Paloma ausente - 3:06"
10. - Según el favor del viento - 2:18"
11. - Maldigo del alto cielo - 3:47"

Violeta Parra - Canciones (Case de las Americas, Cuba, 1971)
(256 kbps, cover art included)