Thursday, May 31, 2012

Selda Bağcan | Deniz'lerin Dalgasıyım

Listen to "Düşen Hep Yerde Mi Kalır"

Get it all here.

Another terrific album by the unimpeachably great Selda Bağcan, and much more varied and colorful than that sample above would have you believe. (I love the sample above, but I love it for its straightforward rawkin energy and Selda's so-soulful-you're-not-sure-if-I'm-actually-crying-while-I'm-singing voice, and there is soooo much more going on in this album--it's the most diverse Selda that I have, though I admittedly only have 3 of her CDs.) 

Found, as with 75% of of my Super-Posse of Turkish Music Burned into Discs of Polycarbonate Plastic, at Uludag Video in Brooklyn.

UPDATE: I didn't realize it when I posted this this morning, but Turkish Psychedelic Music! was recently shut down by Blogger. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bu-bu-bu-Burma Bomb | Myanmar Rap & Hip Hop

Sandy Myint Lwin, "Euu Ma Yar"

Burmese hip-hop pioneers, Acid, "A Sate Ein Met"

Unknown hip-hoppers, "TTC"

The first Burmese pop artist to rap (late 80s), Myo Kyawt Myaing, "Sat Thwe Mhu Area Pyin Pa"

Get all 18 totally kick-ass Burmese rap and hip-hop tracks here.

I know that one ought not look a gift horse in the eggs before they're hatched, but let's just cross our fingers and say that, inshallah, there might soon be a flurry of music from this insanely musically advanced culture hitting the aisles of your favorite bodega here.

Meanwhile, I've been going sort of crazy with FileTram. Y'all know about FileTram? Well, I'm sure there are other search engines like it, but for whatever reason, FT, which was just launched last year, is the one I discovered first and the one I presently feel most comfortable using.

Using. For what? Why, for finding music I can't otherwise seem to locate via Google, of course. What's beautiful about this engine is that whatever you type in, it will search not only sites like Mediafire and Rapidshare, but also the sites that link to the file, and both appear in the results. So, for instance, let's say you loved the Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her comp I posted last July and want to see what else is out there. You could do a search by the band's name and, say, "rar," and discover this. (But don't click through to any of the results; instead, cut and paste the URL in green and plop it into a new window. Trust me on that.)

N E Wayz. So, I've been doing a bit of hunting. And gathering. And sifting. And, now, posting. 

Rap and hip hop were slow to catch on in Myanmar, though Myo Kyawt Myaing started rapping a bit in the 80s. It took the four-member band Acid to release the first all-hip-hop record, Sa Tin Gyin, in 2000. Since then, the genre has really caught on in the world's 24th most populous country; I was able to dig up dozens of single albums and rap mixtapes on FT, most of whose original homes (e.g., the websites that linked to the files themselves) had vanished.

This weekend, when I wasn't out basking in the sun and hunting down Issan restaurants, I weeded through my findings, ultimately boiling it all down to the comp you're quite possibly downloading for your own give-it-a-listen now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Portia Sedon | MP3 Blogging and the Urban Soundscape

Women and Gender Studies/Cultural Anthropology academic Portia Sedon has a really insightful take on music blogs in the latest issue of Norient, here. I was one of a couple of people she interviewed for the piece.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soe Sanda Tun | Unknown Burmese CD

Listen to a sample track

Make it yours.

The Myanmar Question: How WTF do you want your music?

Nearly every song on this utterly bewitching CD begins as though someone--some very, very bad boy or girl--had catapulted it into a giant lake of melted processed cheese, where it flails about, choking and gasping for air, its oversized Margaret Keane eyes imploring you to rescue it by turning off your stereo and going out and enjoying life.

Then, perhaps 20-30 seconds into the song, Arnold Schoenberg, John Cage, Paul Hindemith and Edgar Varese each takes his place at one corner of the Lake o'Cheese. Together, in unison, they kneel down, pressing their elderly chapped lips to the lake's orange bobbing surface. John and Paul gently suck the cheese toward them while Arnold and Edgar gently blow. Then, Paul begins to blow. And Arnold sucks. John blow-sucks, blow-sucks, blow-sucks. And in this way, these four cornerstones of 20th century avant-garde music cause the previously drowning song to lift and rise above the cheese, in exaggerated but nonetheless cool-looking feather steps, enchuflas, ronds and gonchos.

The moral of the story? When life catapults you into a lake of cheese, tell your thin-lipped avant-garde friends to suck it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cheikha Rimitti | Source of Rai

Listen to "La Camel"

Get it all here.

An absolutely sublime collection by the legendary grandmother of rai. Born in rural Algeria in May of 1923, orphaned at an early age, Rimitti began singing with a troupe when she was 15 years old. She recorded her first records in the 50s, scoring a hit and gaining notoriety with "Charrag, Gatta" (the 9th song in this collection), which implores young women to lose their virginity. ("Charrag, Gatta" means something like "tear, lacerate.") While we think of such a thing as remarkably brave (even suicidal) in an Islamic country, it bears reminding how depraved musicians and performers in Algeria were already considered. Until a later religious awakening, Rimitti could be said to have been playing into the stereotype of the sheikha.

Over the course of 50 years, until her death in 2006, she recorded more than 400 cassettes, 300 singles and 50 78s, essentially creating the model for what is thought of as modern rai. Read more about her here

Found in Paris many years ago, perhaps at the Institut du Monde Arabe, but more likely at a used CD place somewhere.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Warda | Necessary to Say Goodbye

Get it here.

Here's the third and last Warda album that I have, the bad Google translation of which seems, sadly, ironically, all-too-fitting. RIP, Warda. (Read more about her and get other albums, below.)

Warda | I Will Give You All My Life, My Love

Get it here.

If you haven't heard, the great Arabic singer Warda died Thursday evening at her home in Cairo. She was 72 (some reports say 71) years old. Pick up another album and read a bit more about her life in yesterday's post, below (where, if nothing else, you'll appreciate the irony of this album's title).

Watch a truly mind-blowing performance by Warda:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Warda | Layaly El Ghorba

Get it here.

This week in the U.S., we lost Donna Summer; in the Arab world, they lost Warda, one of the greatest singers of the region.

Warda was born in France in 1939 to an Algerian father and Lebanese mother. She started her career very young--some reports suggest as early as 11 years old--singing at a club in Paris owned by her father. In 1958, the family moved to Beirut and with Algerian independence, Warda moved to Algeria, where she married and gave up her singing career for 10 years. In 1972, she was asked by the president to perform for the 10th anniversary of Algeria's independence, which she did, much to the chagrin of her husband; they divorced soon after. She dedicated the rest of her life to music, settling down with a composer in Cairo, where she died last night of a heart attack at the age of 72.

Arabic music scholar Daniel Caux: "How are we to define Warda's specificity which is so much easier to feel than to put into words? I think Warda plays on a specific emotional range combining successfully strength and frailty: on the one side will-power, self assertion, even challenge; on the other side sweetness and a tenderness implying some kind of vulnerability. But the paradox is that this vulnerability acts as a strength on the emotional level since it moves and fascinates us. In turn, and sometimes simultaneously, her voice gaining strength sings out to the whole audience. In doing so she never overstrains her voice to the extreme but she sooner changes its texture. Becoming more diffuse, her voice widens subtly till it fills the whole space."

Watch and listen to a short version of this song:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

THAIPOP! | A Bodegapop Original

Listen to an unknown song by Jintara

This actually sounds more Cambodian than Thai to me

Listen to an unknown song by Yui 

Get it all here. 

Most of this egregiously soulful collection came from Thai Thai (76-13 Woodside Avenue), a little bodega run by Noi Sila in Elmhurst, Queens. By request, Sila will burn copies of CDs from her personal collection for you for a mere $2 a piece. (I was unsuccessful convincing her to start a music blog.) Four of the songs came from a Thai-Cambodian store on SE Foster Road in Portland, Oregon, and may, in fact, be Cambodian.

If that weren't problematic enough, "pop" is undoubtedly the wrong word for this stuff, which I'm guessing is considered by Thais to be "country." But, sigh, I already made the groovy mix cover (image from, as you probably guessed, the cover of a Thai 5-baht comic book), and I don't care if some of it is Thai, some Cambodian and none of it is pop. Whatever it is, it's 100% rawk solid gold.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cover Me | 2 Dozen Super Awesome Covers

Listen to Melt-Banana's mash-up/deconstruction of the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" and "You're Welcome"

Hear Crowd Lu fearlessly scale the upper registers of Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You"

Dig Anthony Wong's Lou Reedy take on Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind"

Let your jaw drop in utter disbelief as Kahimi Karie reconceives Jimmy Cliff's "Harder They Come" for the 21st Century

Thrill to Mika Nakashima's dead-pan run-through of Sid Vicious's version of "My Way" (Note how "fucking" passes the censor several times, but not a reference to killing her cat, which gets bleeped out)

Sweat and fret as O.N.T.J detonate The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb"

Grab it all in one big glop, here.

According to George Plasketes’ Play it Again: Cover Songs in Popular Music, there are an estimated 40,000 songs floating around out there with at least one recorded cover version. This strikes me as an incredibly conservative estimate.

Whatever the real number might be, there are degrees of covering, and not all acts of covering mean or resonate in the same way. There’s a significant difference, for instance, between a Cambodian pop musician of the 70s swiping guitar licks from Santana or Creedence Clearwater Revival and a contemporary Latino group in Los Angeles basing a whole career covering songs from The Smiths catalog.

Neither act is better or worse, neither more nor less interesting than the other. But they are, in terms of their meaning, different enough to note.

Likewise, and more recently, Gwyneth Paltrow’s covering Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” (the clean version of “Fuck You”) on an episode of “Glee” exists on a whole other meaning-plane from that of Gnarls Barkley’s cover of the Violent Femmes’ “Gone Daddy Gone,” despite the common denominator of Cee Lo.

Speaking of which, what is UP with Gnarls Barkley’s “Gone Daddy Gone”? First, take a look at this official video. (Sorry, you'll have to click the link; embedding has been disabled.)

The song was a huge hit in the 1980s for the Violent Femmes, who were, if memory serves me, THE voice of the geeky white ectomorph. Every song seemed, regardless of the lyrics, to be about the experience of being extremely uncomfortable in one’s distressingly reedy, pasty body. So, what could a rather larger-than-normal black guy possibly be wringing out of this song?

As it turns out: Everything. The video, which pictures Cee Lo as a plump fly, his band mates as other insects, emphasizes and expands on the discomfort of the original, even as the actual musicianship slickens and pop-readies the song up from the much more spastic original. Cee Lo’s and Gordon Gano’s meaning are not exactly trans-racial equivalents, but there are interesting echoes going on. In the context of Cee Lo’s later smash-hit “Fuck/Forget You,” the “Gone Daddy Gone” cover makes even more sense: both recordings pitch Cee Lo as heroic outsider, marginalized underdog. But Ceelo doesn’t feel uncomfortable in his body; it’s more about him wondering what your problem is with it.

So, getting to the mix at hand. While listening to one song after the next might make it all sound entirely random, there are reasons for each inclusion—though there was no one single criterion that covered everything. First, and at bare minimum, I only included a cover if, in transit, some significant border was crossed: ethnicity, gender, nationality, race. Beyond that, I chose sublime examples of reconfiguration, amped-upness and unlikely verisimilitude.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oğuz Yılmaz | Uğur Böceğim

Listen to "Küme Düşersin"

Listen to "Kıskananlar Çatlasın"

Get it all here.

My first exposure to Oğuz Yılmaz was through a cassette tape that I found god knows where probably 15 years ago. Born in 1968 in Ankara, Yılmaz sings a kind of amped up Turkish folk or arabesque, similar in some ways to the great Ibrahim Tatlises.

This CD, which I found at Uludag Video (1922 Ave W, Brooklyn) several years ago remains one of my all-time favorites, for the complex coloration of the music and the ear-popping expressiveness of Yılmaz's voice. (Give a listen to the second sample above and wait a while until the vocals kick in.)

Eirini Konitopoulou-Legaki | Music from Crete

Listen to the first track on this album

Get it all here.

A really lovely CD I picked up at GMV (25-50 31st Street, Astoria, NY 11102). I just assumed that, because it looked to be a female singing duo, this CD must therefore be as awesome as this or this. My assumption was indeed correct--the album is filled with absolutely gorgeous harmonies--although I'm completely in the dark as to whether Eirini Konitopoulou-Legaki is one person or two. Help!

I've been recovering from a bout with what was either a low-grade nasal infection or early strep throat; the antibiotics I started on Friday made me feel so energetic by Saturday that I spent the day rearranging my room and writing/drawing work space. Why should you care? Because, dear reader, in the process I discovered a number of things I had long ago planned to post here but for whatever reason had slipped out of sight and mind. Insane great things. Don't believe me? Check out yesterday's post and then come back to me with your hesitation and nay-sayin'. 

Doubts quelled? I thought so.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Giao Linh | Vùng Lá Me Bay

Listen to Nhớ Một Người

Listen to "Chuyến Tàu Hoàng Hôn"

Get it all here.

A genuinely mind-blowing collection of songs by the ridiculously soulful Giao Linh. Born in in 1949 she became a superstar overnight when she appeared for the first time on Vietnamese television in 1969 at the age of 19. She left Vietnam in 1982 and resettled in San Jose, Calif., where she lives to this day.

Album no. 11 in the Nhac Vang Truoc 1975 series,this dusky jewel was plucked many years ago from the bins of a Vietnamese CD & DVD store on Argyle Street in Chicago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fama | Feng Wing Chi

Listen to "跟队唔该"

Get it all here.

Released in 2005 and already out of print, this is Hong Kong duo Fama's second album. You can get their first, "Poon o'da Moon," here, and their insanely wonderful "Wind and Water Rising," here.

At their best--and their best lasted for nearly half-a-dozen albums--Fama is noteworthy for the range of styles, genres and time signatures they take on--even within single tracks. (For the most ear-popping example of this, click on the link to "Wind and Water Rising" above and listen to the sample track on that page.)

This goes out to Craftypants Carol and Holly, my Online Hong Kong Hip-Hop Appreciation Sisters.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Panorama of Rebetiko Songs | 3 CD Box from Greece

Listen to "Smirneiko Minore"

Get all three CDs in 256 luscious kbps here.

An incredible collection spanning from 1927-1940, found in the same Greek store where I got this

I had planned to post a couple more Cheb Khaled CDs this week, but then I discovered that both were already among the 52 of his albums posted here. (Also, in response to last week's Chebfest, Hammer posted a huge collection of early Khaled on his blog, дևծιστøρία.)

So, I thought and thought and thought about what would be a nice consolation prize. And, so ... here we are.

I had to upgrade my Divshare account as it expired and they no longer offer the plan I was under. Good news for you: I now have five times the storage space. Which means, from here on out, nothing less than 256kbps ... and maybe we'll even get super-fancy and bump it all the way up to 320. 

Poke around here while you're downloading ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cheb Khaled | Ana Dellali

Another great early Cheb Khaled collection, most likely found in Bay Ridge, although I seem to recall having picked up at least one Khaled CD from this no-longer-there Algerian bodega on Steinway Street (where I got this). If you've stopped by the Bodega this week you already know it's All 70s-80s Cheb Khaled Week--I think I have two more CDs to go after this one, so stop by again if you you like what you're hearing.

There's some problem with my Divshare account; I can't upload. Which also means I can't make one of those song sample thingies. So, I found a video of the title song if you want to listen before you grab.

Listen to the title song of this CD

Get it all here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cheb Khaled | Best of Vols. 1-2

Listen to "Chaba" from Vol. 1

Listen to "Dalali" from Vol. 2

Get both at once here.

Contrary to how it looks, this is not a collection of Khaled's late-80s to present greatest hits. It's pure early to mid-80s Cheb Khaled, including raw versions of many songs that were re-recorded and spruced up for later albums--for instance, "Chaba," which you can listen to above. If you only know the Don Was-produced (and later) Khaled, you'll definitely want to check this out (as well as this and this.)

I'll be posting everything I have of Cheb Khaled from the 70s and 80s over the next few days, so check back tomorrow evening if you're a fan.