Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Hindsight 2020 | 7-10 PM EST


Now playing on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio: Bodega Pop spins three hours of our favorite tracks from reissues + compilations from the year of COVID-19

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Femmes du Maghreb | 7-10 PM EST


Now playing on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio, a century of recordings featuring women from Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia

Listen to the show and join the conversation

Wednesday, December 16, 2020



Now playing on Bodega Pop on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio: Cosmic emanations from Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Russia ... and beyond

Listen to the show and join the conversation

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Which One Is Pink?


Now Playing: assorted other responses from around the world to the most popular psychedelic rock band of all time

Listen to the show in the archives

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Maalam Soudani | Essoauira (1999) (FLAC re-up)

I've re-ripped this cassette in FLAC at correct speed. Get it here.

Original post:

Another cassette from the Algerian bodega here in Astoria, this time a terrific gnawa recording featuring vocals, tbal, and gimbri, the latter presumably plucked by our man decked out above, Maalam Soudani.

I mentioned this cassette on my show last week and, unless misunderstood him, Tim wrote in the comments that he knew Soudani back in the day in Essoauira.

If we're lucky, perhaps Tim will share with us what he knows about Soudani's life and work; I wasn't able to find anything about him online, but the music is [squeezes fingers together and presses them to lips] ... mmmwah!

Link to download [and Tim's reply!] in comments.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wild Thing


The obscure Japanese avant-gardist. A forgotten cumbia crooner. Egyptian entertainers of the eighties. The bridge from molam to luk thung. Nigeria's hardest, funkiest rockers. La Guarachera de Cuba.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Orchestre Jamal | Mazhariphone Cassette (FLAC reup)

Thrilled to have re-ripped this amazing cassette at true speed in FLAC. Details below. Thanks to Tim at Moroccan Tape Stash for transliterations and details.

Grab it here.

Original post:

Confession: I went *back* to Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery here in Astoria, and, after a long conversation with Houssain, found another 40 grime-encrusted cassettes hidden in Nassem's nooks and crannies. Well, technically 38, as two of them were duplicates of a Zehouani tape I'd already picked up, but which was too old and worn to play. These cassettes come from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. As you've already suspected: Today's offering is from that last haul.

Thanks to the supercollector known as Mehdi J Blige, we know this is by Orchestra Djamal (or Jamal). Thanks to the J-card, we know the publisher is Mazhariphone. Thanks to our ears, we believe this might be the single most psychedelic cassette we've ever heard from al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah. 

It's possible that this is the same Orchestra Jamal as in this video:

The sound is vaguely similar and the lead vocal is in the same youthful ballpark as on the tape. Speaking of which, let's talk about the tape in depth.

Side 1 kicks off with a plaintive, haunting string solo, aching and bending upward, until it opens a window for the lead male's voice, and a guitar that lays down a soft-strummed, spider-web thin scaffolding reminiscent of Omar Korshid at his most subtle. The kid's voice, as you'd gather from the cover above, is youthful, almost feminine. He starts off reciting and, as the track develops, begins to sing. At which point, any concern I had that this might be some kind of novelty or vanity project evaporates. The kid has soul. Deep, lived soul.

Just shy of the two-minute mark, the percussion and some sort of barely perceptible keyboard kick in. The drums -- which are nearly isolated in the mid-to-left-hand channel -- sound like a Moroccan Jaki Liebezeit is taking them out for a test drive. I have never, never-ever, heard a kit being played like this on a Moroccan recording. (If we're lucky, Tim might let us know whether they strike his more acutely trained ears as unusual.) The guitar lopes along, breaking out into occasional fuzz-toned fills.

The second track is where things start to get mind-melty. I don't know the specific instrument that opens the track, but it's some form of keyboard or synthesizer, and very trippy. The strings and Jaki Liebezeit kit kick in, followed by a sudden trill of mechanized ululation that swooshes across the sonic landscape. The kid and an adult male chorus trade phrases. 

This is not psychedelic in the normative sense. The architecture feels rooted squarely in Moroccan chaabi; it's in the fills and trills where things get freaky. 

And it's on Side 2 that the psychedelia gets turned up, especially the second and final track. I'm not going to attempt to describe it, other than to note that the synthesizer and guitar do things in this 11+ minute scorcher -- and we're still *technically* talking fills -- that make my head spin. 

And perhaps, dear reader, your head as well?

Link to the cassette rip in comments. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Manora: Southern Thai Local Music (FLAC)


This is a remarkable--oddly remarkable--recording on a number of fronts. First of all, it purports to be a recording of music for manora (aka menora or nora), a classical dance drama practiced in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia. 

And, I assume, it is that. But it's more. Four bonus tracks more. At the end of each side of the cassette, we're treated to two tracks of electric Thai music. 

On Side A, the two end-tracks (6 and 7) feature electric guitar, bass, organ, and percussion. The style to my ears sounds morlam-ish, but not quite like any morlam that I've ever heard before. 

(Listen to track 6 here--click on "Phra Aphai" and hit Play.)

A very seasoned woman's voice leads track 6, with an male response? Chorus? A bunch of emphatic "Ah, ah, ah"s. It's exquisite. Track 7 reverses the roles, giving the lead to the male singer, the "Ah"s to the female.

Side B's electric tracks mirror the male-female switch-up, and sound more like what I would likely assume was morlam.

But it is worth emphasizing that, sonically, these four tracks have little obvious sonic relationship with the rest of the cassette, other than what sounds like the repetition of the word "menora" in the two electric end tracks on Side B. 

I'm hoping perhaps Peter Doolan of the legendary Monrakplengthai might be able to shed some light on what's going on.

UPDATE: Peter sends along the following information:

thanks so much for this, gary!

after a little research (thanks especially to the plengpakjai webboard archives) i have some findings to share:

this cassette is primarily of a re-release of a hat records LP from pricha amnuaisin and his troupe (A1-A5, B1-B5), which is classic manorah. tacked on the end of each side are manorah-style luk thung singles (and their b-sides) from thitthong nakhonsi and khwannapha ladawan, which seem to have had some degree of local popularity.

this is really extremely rare stuff! most of what i turned up was people asking if anyone had access to it, so i'll be hooking them up post-haste, thanks to you!

artist(s): various

album: เพลงพื้นเมืองภาคใต้ มโนราห์ (phleng phuen mueang phak tai: manorah)


01. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - คำเตือนเพื่อนร่วมชาติ (kham tuean phuen ruam chat)

02. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - กลอนเตือนหญิง (klon tuean ying)

03. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - กลอนวอนพระอินทร์ (klon won phra in)

04. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - ทุกข์ร้อยแปด (thuk roi paet)

05. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - อวยพรปีใหม่ (uai phon pi mai)

06. ขวัญนภา ลดาวัลย์ (khwannapha ladawan) - พระอภัยเป่าปี่ (phra aphai pao pi)

07. ทิดทอง นครศรี (thitthong nakhonsi) - ปี่พระอภัย (pi phra aphai)

08. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - กลอนสอนเมีย (klon son mia)

09. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - กลอนสอนหญิง (klon son ying)

10. นกน้อย ปกาใส (noknoi pakasai) - กลอนสอนเพื่อนหญิง (klon son phuean ying)

11. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - ของแพง (khong phaeng)

12. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - อย่าหลงผิด (ya long phit)

13. ขวัญนภา ลดาวัลย์ (khwannapha ladawan) - มโนราห์-พระสุธน (manorah-phra suthon)

14. ทิดทอง นครศรี (thitthong nakhonsi) - พระสุธน-มโนราห์ (phra suthon-manorah)

Grab this one-of-a-kind treasure here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wow & Flutter


Three hours of tracks from old Bangladeshi, Brazilian, Egyptian, German, Iraqi, Kenyan, Moroccan, Nigerian, Puerto Rican, Syrian, Thai, Turkish, and Yemeni cassettes

Ould Mbarek & Milouda Ouhada | Great Concert in the City of Khouribga (FLAC re-up)

A re-rip at correct speed in FLAC. Get it here.

Original Post:

Thanks once again to Tim Abdellah Fuson of Moroccan Tape Stash for translation and a bit of context. Take a listen, read a bit, download (link in comments).

A terrific Moroccan cassette with superfine playing, frenetic energy, and expressive vocals. Likely from the late 1980s or early 90s. Tim has posted other rocking examples of Zaêri on MTS; if you like this one, there's a lot more of this kind of thing there. (Though I should admit that I'm altogether unclear what, exactly, Zaêri means.)  

Another incredible gem from last year's massive haul at Naseem Meat Market & Grocery right in in Astoria, Queens.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Barış Manço ‎| Ben Bilirim (1990) (FLAC)


I found this compilation cassette, published by Yavuz Asöcal in 1990, in a dusty old record and audio parts store in the Kadıköy neighborhood of İstanbul -- a fitting place to pick up a keepsake by one of Turkey's most beloved rockers, given that my primary goal for the day was to visit his old house (now a museum) in the same neighborhood. 

The cassette highlights Manço's 1970s and 80s psychedelic-tinged work, from the scorching Gönül Dağı, to twisted B-sides like Estergon Kalesi, to the disco-era curiosity Fransızca, which closes out Side 2.

I inadvertently picked up a CD of this very same album, but upon listening, the cassette appears to have just slightly superior sonic quality. Which is not to say that it's ideal. The title track that leads off Side 1 is a bit rough-sounding.

But it's listenable. More importantly, it includes some of the greatest rock music ever captured on tape.

Get it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Turntablism Album, 1996-2000


Three hours of tracks ripped from turntablism albums published in the last five years of the 20th Century.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Pakistan | 7-10 PM EST


Pop, experimental, ghazal, electronic, qawwali, folk, and disco from the Islamic Republic

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan FLAC


I couldn't find any evidence of this recording anywhere online. It's not even listed on Discogs, although it may well have been recorded around the time of these four other collaborations by the Qawwali cousins

UPDATE: WFMU legend and Give the Drummer Stream Artistic Director (aka my boss) Doug Schulkind found that the three tracks on this cassette also appear on 1978's Supreme Collection Vol.3.

So this recording dates from more than a decade before NFAK would achieve international stardom. 

Instrumentation is sparse: tabla, harmonium, hand-claps, and two of the most expressive voices ever committed to magnetic tape.

The recording is breathtaking, with an earthiness more akin to David Toop's description of Lahore in Exotica than the singer's later collaboration with Eddie Vedder or the Massive Attack remix

Get it here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

South Africa | 7-10 PM EST


Three hours of Jazz, pop, kwela, punk, marabi, shangaan electro, and hip-hop from the rainbow nation

Listen to the show in the archives now

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October Surprise | 7-10 PM EDT

Now Playing: The queen of Vietnamese soul. An unearthed Turkish "disco" series. Things take a turn for the worst in Nigeria. A most immaculately hip aristocrat. The elusive Egyptian icon. An Italian dance designed to quell the nymphomania brought on by spider bites. Japan's craziest pop group. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020



NOW PLAYING on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio, three hours of American women in hip-hop, 1979-2020

Listen to the show and join the conversation

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Alhaji Chief Dauda Epo-Akara | Omo Yoruba FLAC


A recent find, this Nigerian Yoruba artist hailed from Ibadan, a city of 6 million people, about 80 miles north of Lagos.

According to this website, Dauda Epo-Akara (1943-2005) recorded over 80 albums; Discogs lists half a dozen. Based on the overall look of the cassette, I'm guessing "Omo Yoruba" is from the 1990s, possibly late 1980s.

Although the J-card and each side of the cassette list individual tracks, there is no break between them on either side; thus, our rips of Sides A and B consist of a single FLAC file each.

The music is terrific, rhythm-driven. Opening Side B, there's about a minute of harmonica added to the mix; otherwise, the talking drum and a variety of other percussion is all that accompanies the vocals.

Sound is terrific for all of Side A; a bit mottled on Side B, but decidedly listenable all around.

Get it here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Bakisimba, dancehall, electronic, field, folk, hip hop, and pop sounds from Uganda

Listen to the show in the archives


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Mohamed el Marrakchi | Fassi Disque Cassette | FLAC re-rip

As you've probably noticed by now, I've been (not-exactly-systematically) ripping my cassette collection, including re-ripping earlier ripped tapes.

Why re-rip? Because there were a number of problems with my previous cassette deck. 

First, the sound was not terribly great. It was, at best flat. Second, it ran slow. At least 5.5% slow, because that's about the percentage at which I used to have to speed up rips in Audacity.

And I'm re-sharing re-rips with you because, my gosh! These things sounds amazing. Well, okay. Some of them sound amazing.

This one is one of the amazing ones. Even if you've got the earlier version I posted, get this one. It sounds [*chef's kiss*].

Get it here.

Original post (from 2017):

Hey, kids; here's our second cassette-to-digital offering, plucked from the shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery in Astoria, Queens. Super Bodega Pop thanks to hero blogger and musician Tim Abdellah Fuson for translation, transliteration, and context.

This is a beautiful and hypnotic recording, as you can hear for yourself on last night's Bodega Pop Live program, where I played يا عشقين نبينا (Ya Âshqin Nabina) in the penultimate set. 

Here's what Tim has to say about the cassette:

"Side 1 sounds like Aissawa-style religious songs, while Side 2 are melhoun-style songs in honor of the Prophet. Nice textures -- it's a modern chaâbi orchestra from the time before keyboards intruded into the texture. I can hear what sounds like electric guitar, bass, and drum set, along with the strings."

As Tim also noted: while someone named Mohamad el Marrakchi sounds as if they are from Marrakech, the music is "hella Fassi"; in polite English, from Fez. (Not surprising, considering this is a Fassi Disque tape.)

Track List:

Side A: Hali ma yekhfaq yal wahed Rbbi (حالي ما يخفاق يالواحد ربي), Ya Âshqin Nabina (يا عشقين نبينا)

Side B, Track 1: Nta Lâziz ya Muhammad (انت العزيز يا محمد)
Side B, Track 2: Lhorm ya Rasul Allah (الحرم يا رسول الله)

As I mentioned a few days ago, I picked up somewhere around 40 cassettes at Nassem; now, I don't want to startle you, but I went back today and picked up at least another 30 -- I thought I had gotten everything, but ... no. 


So, there's going to be a lot of cassette digitizing going on at the Bodega for the foreseeable future.

Link to cassette rip in comments.

Please leave a comment of your own if you like what you hear. Your comments -- or lack thereof -- will make or break this blog's second wind.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Najeeba Abdullah | Sabah Al-Khyr FLAC


Terrific, stripped-down cassette (two voices, string instrument, percussion) found in Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street. 

I'm guessing this is Moroccan, but Tim will have to confirm or deny. UPDATE: Tim says it's Yemeni, and points to an Arabic Wikipedia entry for Najeeba Abdullah, who is apparently also a film star.

Translating that page, it looks like Abdullah's acting career took off in 1989 and that she withdrew from the art in the mid-90s to raise her kids; however, in 1994, she began releasing her first cassettes. 

Here's a scan of the track list:

I've got about 200 cassettes to rip and, as much as I want to share them all with you now, I'll have to pace myself. Ripping these things takes time.

Get it here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The World of Lee Perry


Six decades of hits, deep cuts, and experryments from Jamaica's pop genius

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ghazal Al-Harizi | Al Khouidem FLAC


As promised in an earlier post, here's the second volume of two that we found on the shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street several years ago.

Thanks again to Tim of Moroccan Tape Stash for the transliterations. Here's Tim's track list (note that, sonically, each side is a single, unbroken track, and I have thus not edited them into sections):

Al Khouidem - الجويدم
Maghnia - مغنية
Moula Baghdad - مولا بغداد
Touichia - تويشية
Hjerti ou T'haouel - هجرتي وتحول
Zaêri - زعري

Ben Âchir - ن\بن عشير
Malika al Gharbaouia - مليكة الغرباوية
Âlam al Khayl - علام الخيل
Raqsa âla L-Qa3da - رقصة على القعدة
Âwelti ou Mchiti Qata3 L-Bhour - عولتي ومشيتي قاتع البحور
Al-Ghaba - الغابة

Fair warning, Side A begins with a phase shift sound that works itself out after a minute or two. I tried re-ripping it, but the sound is clearly part of the original.

Get it here.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Ghazal Al-Harizi | Al-Amrawia FLAC


This raucous, energetic performance comes from the first of a pair of cassettes I'll be sharing that I found at the Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery on Steinway Street several years ago.

I've found nothing about the artist, Ghazal Al-Harizi (The Star Ghazal Al-Harizi on the J-card, or النجم غزال الحريزي), other than a couple of videos on YouTube.

Update: Tim Abdellah of the great Moroccan Tape Stash points to this Internet Archive posting of another cassette by the artist, transliterated there as Ghazal Lahrizi.

Tim's transliteration of the track list:

Al Amraouia - العمراوية
Halekni B-Nnkhwa - هالكني بالنخوى
Lli jabtou lqudra ishki b-dnoubou - لي جابتو القدرة يشكي بدنوبو
Lhit - الهيت
Sayeh Bu Derbala - السايح بودربالة

Sherqawi Buâbid - الشرقاوي بوعبيد
Ben Hsein - بن حسين
Âla Lhoudoud hah - على الحدود هاه
Al Halga - الحلـڭـة

And a note from Tim after a first listen: "Nice stuff - I'd put it in the chaabi category. The use of the lotar is cool and unusual. Heavy on the bendirs. 2nd tune on Side A is a version of Rouicha's 'Afak Al Hwa Hda 3liya.' Despite these Middle Atlas elements, the overall feel is more like stuff from Casablanca, which is where the label originates from. Well, the cover does state 'New Style (literally, new color) - لون جديد,' so I guess he was trying to mix things up a bit!"

Grab it here.

New FLAC Cassette Rip! Spice Ray | Spice Ray

I've re-ripped this terrific Moroccan cassette from a new TASCAM cassette deck in FLAC. Thanks again to Tim of Moroccan Tape Stash for translation of the track titles!

Original post (from December 2017):

Another cassette found on the grimy shelves of Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery in Astoria, Queens, Spice Ray is almost certainly an attempt to piggy back on the success of nineties Britpop sensations, Spice Girls. 

And that is precisely the point where any similarity between Spice Girls and Spice Ray evaporates like the 91% alcohol I used to clean the tape head prior to ripping this distinctly odd example of Moroccan pop.

I had erroneously thought this was an Algerian album; it is not. First, an Algerian in an Algerian music collectors' group on FB let me know it wasn't Algerian, and then our blog neighbor Tim confirmed that it indeed sounds Moroccan, not Algerian.

Tim sent along a track list and two bits of info about the cassette: 1) Mustapha Talbi is credited as the composer; and 2) the first track, "Mhemma Ikoun," is a song complaining about the deaths of children in Iraq. As Tim surmises, this cassette is likely late 90s, around the time the U.S. under the Clinton administration was bombing Iraq.

Here's Tim's transliteration of the track list:

1) Mhemma ikoun
2) Lemwima
3) Mama mia
4) Hala
5) Lillah
6) Instrumental
7) Yaoudarouha

Link to download in the comments.