Monday, September 23, 2013

Mandalay Thein Zaw | Burmese Folk

Reupped in 320 glorious KBPS, here.

Listen to the fabulous fifth track

[Originally posted on March 15, 2012.] Why anyone would listen to 20th century western classical/avant garde music when Burma exists is beyond me. Well, okay; in all seriousness: There really isn't any music quite like Burmese, at least Burmese music toward the more folk end of the spectrum. (They do, like everyone else on planet Earth, have their own brand of western-influenced pop and rap.)

As regular readers of this blog may remember, last August, Peter Doolan, who curates the insanely great Monrakplengthai , invited me out to visit Thiri Video, a Burmese media store in Elmhurst, Queens, that he'd gotten wind of a few weeks prior to contacting me. (Get the CD I found that day here.)

It took us well over half an hour to find the place, and this was after we had already unwittingly passed it. It turns out there is no store front; it's actually in a garden-level apartment. After confirming that we were, finally, at the right place, we removed our shoes and went in.

There is nothing like Thiri Video anywhere else in New York--at least, not that I'm aware of. I'm guessing there's nothing like it in the rest of the U.S. as well. (Please correct me if wrong; and include an address, as I would love to visit it, if it exists.)

Rather than rely on my groggy descriptive capabilities (it is, after all, not quite 5:00 a.m. as I write this), let's take a look at Thiri Video's promotional video, shall we?

I love that video. If my exhortations thus far were not enough to get you to watch it, or if a lack of subtitles frightens and intimidates you, I'll explain: A young Burmese man and what I gather are his or his girlfriend/wife's parents check out the time and wonder where Dude's significant other could possibly be.

As often happens in this kind of situation, a woman bathed in eerie blue light, whose midsection has been replaced with a midriff-sized chunk of silver, drops by, telling the young man to forget his bride/bride-to-be, and regaling him and the rest of the family with tales of Thiri Video (including numerous shots of the shop). Obviously, he doesn't, at least at first, believe her. For how could such a Paradise on Earth exist, even in fabulous Elmhurst, Queens?

Well, I'm here to emphatically tell you that it does, indeed, exist, as I just visited it for the second time last Sunday. I'm also here to offer you one of the most insane, shit-eating-grin-fabulous CDs I've ever found anywhere.


tim abdellah said...

Yaaaaaaaaaa!!! Amyaji chezu tinbade!!

peter said...

so awesome, gary! i really have to go back as well. this cd is by the incredible mandalay thein zaw. unlike the last burmese posting, this one has much more discernible writing.. do you have a tracklist handy? i'd love to try & work out some song titles!

Crafty C said...

Thank you so much for posting these Burmese cds! I absolutely love them! I wish I could go to Thiri Video, but alas, I live on the west coast.

Feq'wah said...

One of the most insane, shit-eating-grin-fabulous CD's?

Absolutely! :)


Holly said...

Another great, great find! I MUST go to Thiri Video, I must I must. But first I need to acquire a cool silver shirt & a portable grow light :-)
Thank you, Gaty!

Raimondas said...

Track 2 is skipping a lot.
Any chance of rerip?

Gary said...

Bummer. Okay, Raimondas, I'll look into it ...