Category Archives: Transculturalism

Mining the Audio motherlode continued


More from the wonderful WFMU:

SuchatSuchat Thianthng  ~  Waen Wiset
(Blog: Monrakplengthai)

Seeing Double
 I’ve got quite a classic to share this week. Continuing with the theme of racy album art, we’ve got some great late-era work from Mr. Suchat Thianthong! Suchat was born and raised in Ayutthaya Province, and spent time working as a market seller and freelance boxer before joining the legendary Chularat Band. Initially his specialty was slow, sweet love songs in the style of Thun Thongchai, but he lost his trademark high notes after a crippling case of tonsillitis. Not willing to leave the stage, he applied his gritty new voice to comedic effect and proved a bigger hit than ever before. This is a collection of his “post-op” hits, featuring songs about liquor and ganja, along with a good amount of raunchy wordplay, and even a tale about a pair of “magic glasses” (vividly illustrated on the cover). Enjoy!”  (Description by Peter, at Monrakplengthai)

SrinivasU. Srinivas  ~  Mandolin All the Way
(Blog: The Boogieman Will Get Ya!)

Toys in the Carnatic
“U. Srinivas is among South India’s better known musicians. In the West, his name  may be recognized by some open-minded jazz fans thanks to his collaboration with John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussein.  However, there is no hint of jazz or fusion in this recording. This is pure Carnatic Classical Music.  Absolutely Magic!  This music gives me a natural high!” (Description from Boogieman, at The Boogieman Will Get Ya!)

More music blog recommendations: Bodega Pop, Musik-KurierTurkish Psychedelic Music!Music From The Third Floor, The Sleepy Lagoon.


Shabbat Meals: Black Eyed Peas and Butternut Squash Curry


From the Forward:

[…]In seeking to expand my Shabbat repertoire, I have been surprised to find particular inspiration in Indian cooking. Three of India’s major religions — Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism — advocate the principle of ahimsa, non-violence towards all creatures. That tradition makes Indian cooking particularly welcoming for vegetarians like us. In experimenting with Indian flavors, David has tended to be the bolder adventurer, while I have stuck more closely to cookbooks. But a few months ago, I was inspired to come up with this recipe, a curry of black eyed peas and butternut squash, after tasting a similar combination at the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Oleana in Cambridge. The cumin and sautéed onion bring out the sweetness in the butternut squash, and the black eyed peas are a cool relief from the cayenne. It pairs well with rice, or with a spinach salad.

If you’ve never cooked with Indian spices, it’s best to buy them at an Indian market or in the bulk aisle of an organic grocery store — you’ll pay much more for small bottles. But don’t worry if you’re missing one spice, or want to experiment by adding another. You can play with the balance of spices to suit the tastes of your friends and family, too — it’s less about strict rules or exact amounts than the combination of flavors and aromas. Indian food, I’m learning, both encourages and forgives creativity: from home to home, no dish is prepared in precisely the same way, a curiosity considering how classic many dishes have become. It too has come to remind me of what Shabbat can be.[…]

Read more:

SAREGA-WEB As they did for many sonic movements, restaurants and bars played a pivotal role in the ’70s Indian psychedelic funk scene. Inside the balmy local haunts of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) the hypnotic percussion and fuzz guitars of bands like Atomic Forest and the Black Beats perfected a distinct fusion of Western rock and Indian culture. On any given weeknight, a neighborhood food joint could transform into a packed dance party. In time, these exotic sounds even became fodder for Bollywood films of the era.

This is from an LA Times blog from back in May, about an event presented by Now-Again Records and World Psychedelic Funk Classics, which released the album back in November 2010.

More stuff from the wonderful Now-Again below the fold. Read the rest of this entry

‘Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga’

The Middle East after hours, part two


The wonderful music blog Office Naps recently had a fantastic post exploring 1960s Orientalist exotica, featuring such wonders as “Arabian Jerk” by the Merits and “The Cleopatra Kick” by Jack LaForge.

Via Office Naps, I found The Exotica Project, which I can’t believe I never saw before, with a whole page of Middle Eastern/Indian themed music. First up there is Bat’ya: “Main Theme of Exodus” [Chelan C-500] featuring the following Exotica motifs: “Unusual percussionVibraphone/Marimba Wordless vocals Overt Yma Sumac influence“. The song is of course a cover of Ernest Jones’ main theme from his Grammy- and Oscar-winning sound track of the 1960 Zionist propaganda movie/Paul Newman vehicle ExodusWikipedia claims that “Oddly, the first notes of the great dramatic theme are identical to the opening theme of a somewhat obscure orchestral piece by Quincy Porter, New England Episodes, premiered in 1958 in Washington, DC.” Citation needed!

Office Naps has a post on Bat’ye, amongst other “daughters of Yma“.

Robert “Bumps” Blackwell (1922-1985) was a talent scout, A&R man, songwriter, producer and arranger, a pioneer who helped lay the groundwork for Los Angeles as the pop music capitol of the ‘60s.   Though he’d remain a fixture within the Los Angeles music industry well into the 1980s, Blackwell’s name is most frequently associated with early rock ‘n’ roll and soul, and with his championing of Little Richard and Sam Cooke, specifically.

Bat’ya is by far the lesser-known quantity.  An Israeli-born, European-trained singer and performer, the one album to her name – Bat’ya Sings Great Israeli Hits – released on Frank Sinatra’s then-new Reprise Records in 1961, reveals little biographically about the singer.

The Exotica Project also features some Arabesque post-bop by Brooklyn-born table master Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak and Iraqi oud king Hakki Obadia: “Jazz in Port Said (Bossa Nova Araby)”. And Dave Brubeck Featuring Ragu: “Raga Theme for Ragu”, from 1967, produced by the great Teo Macero. Ragu is the great Carnatic musician Palghat Ragu, who sadly died just over a year ago. Read about that song here.

Then there is Greek-American singer Georgia Drake doing a very sexy version of Levantine/Sephardic classic “Miserlou”. And “New Delhi” by another hard bop great, Edgeware (North London) born child prodigy Victor Feldman, in a very restrained cool jazz mode, complete with vibes.



Mining the audio motherlode continued


More treats from WFMU:

SantosPedro Santos  ~  “Krishnanda”
(Blog: Brazilian Nuggets)
From the album: Dentro Da Selva (mp3)

Prepare Thyself for a Mystery
This completely unclassifiable artifact from obscure Brazilian percussionist Pedro Santos opens with strains of mariachi horns and closes with kitschy, catchy faux-African marimba noodling. The intoxicating totality of Krishna

ApnaRahul Dev Burman  ~  “Apna Desh”
(Blog: Music From the Third Floor)
From the soundtrack: Duniya Mein Logon Ko (mp3) by Asha Bhosle & Pancham

Hooray for Bollywood
R.D. Burman composed the music for Apna Desh along with eighteen other flicks in 1972. On occasion, Burman would step out of the engineer’s booth and perform under the pseudonym Pancham—especially with his muse, Asha Bhosle, whom he married in 1980. The tandem’s all-time-great collaboration “Duniya Mein Logon Ko,” was covered by Sun City Girls—under the title “Apna Desh”—in 1994. One imagines it was a loving tribute to Burman, who had died in January of that year. Have a listen: Apna Desh (mp3)

Mining the audio motherload


Some trans-cultural gems from WFMU’s blog:

RelaxRelaxace  ~  “Relaxace”
(Blog: Magic of Juju)
From the EP: Gamelan Jdou (mp3)

These Czechs Don’t Bounce
Cross Prague with raga and you get the Czech Republic trio of Subcontinental music maestros who gathered in 1979 to form Relaxace. These days Vlastislav Matoušek is a shakuhachi flute master, Jiří Mazánka teaches tantric yoga, and Karel Babuljak is, if you believe what you read on the Internets, the “Don Quixote of Czech music.” (What the hell does that mean, exactly?)

PedroPedro Santos  ~  “Krishnanda”
(Blog: Brazilian Nuggets)
From the album: Dentro Da Selva (mp3)

Prepare Thyself for a Mystery
This completely unclassifiable artifact from obscure Brazilian percussionist Pedro Santos opens with strains of mariachi horns and closes with kitschy, catchy faux-African marimba noodling. The intoxicating totality of Krishnanda‘s myriad bossa/raga/exotica elements makes it surely one of CBS’s most enigmatic releases of 1968.

Iranian-Chilean Bahai funk from the 1970s


Dia Prometido album

From NPR:

Hava Nagila

Artist: Dia Prometido

Album: Hava Nagila

Having grown up in a household that frowned on TV (we didn’t have one until I was 13) and reveled in Kurosawa revivals at New Haven’s Crown Cinemas, I took great pleasure in Woody Allen films. I went to my uncle’s house to watch Allen’s movies on VHS tapes; I even got my parents hooked. I became a great fan of Hebrew folk fare and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy this funky version of “Hava Nagila” when I heard it. It was released by Spaniard nationals living in pre-revolution Tehran. The album also contains a mind-expanding version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” played with a tar (a type of lute) on lead.