Friday, September 12, 2008

TVD's Parting Shots

Who says we're not into diverse riddims here at TVD? Matt from Matt's Art Journey begs to differ and takes us on a bit of a tour:

Crossing the Carribean

First, I’d like to thank Jon for the chance to share my music favorites with everyone. Secondly, my thoughts are with the people of Texas whose lives are being impacted by Ike…most music I had listened to up until my 30’s had been from above 25 degrees North latitude. And then I met my wife Luisa who is from Colombia and I was exposed to a whole new world of sound. As a kid, Luisa memorized American lyrics not really knowing what most of the words meant. As of last Friday, Luisa is now an American citizen. Through her, I see that music reaches across borders and speaks, touches, unites.

I call this set, Crossing the Carribean, because the music selections are from select countries starting in Brazil and ending in the US.We begin with Berimbau, a bossa nova song that I found in St. Petersburg, Florida on a 33 vinyl, after a 10 year search. The short vocals near the song’s midpoint have a definite period sound of the early 1960’s. Alicia Adorada is written by Carlos Vives, a Colombian icon who is from the northern coast of Colombia. This tune is Vallenato music, which literally means ‘born in the valley’. In the days before mail delivery service in Colombia, villages along the coast would communicate through a carrier who would travel between towns delivering the news orally. Upon arrival to the neighboring village, the carrier would call out in a melody, “vallenato” to announce his presence. Fotografia is by Colombian musical legend, Juanes, and Nelly Furtado.

We head north to Jamaica and groove on the old school, roots rock reggae sounds of Party Times, Dubbing Sandra and the more recent Inchpinchers and I Love King Selassie. Dubbing Sandra brings me to a different space with the repetitive hypnotic rhythms… they seem to be suspended in time. Island hopping forward to Cuba, we hear Candela by the legendary members of the Buena Vista Social Club. This is classic Cuban song had it’s height in the 40’s. We make landfall in southern Louisiana, in what some call the northern rim of the Carribean. Like a Pot of Neckbones is a zydeco groove straight out of Southwest Louisiana. This is what you get when you musically mix the black and Creole cultures of southwestern Louisiana….listen closely for the washboard keeping time. Rounding out the night, we side step it east down interstate I-10 to New Orleans & get down with the funky groove of Galactic with “And I’m Out”. The New Orleans music scene seems to be a musical filter or focal point for the many musical styles of the Carribean.

Baden Powell - Berimbau (Mp3)
Carlos Vives - Alicia Adorada (Mp3)
Juanes - Fotografia (Mp3)
The Heptones - Party Time (Mp3)
The Upsetters - Dubbing Sandra (Mp3)
The Wailing Souls - Inchpinchers (Mp3)
Black Uhuru - I Love King Selassie (Mp3)
Buena Vista Social Club - Candela (Mp3)
Beau Jocque - Like A Pot Of Neckbones (Mp3)
Galactic - ...And I'm Out (Mp3)

Friday @ Random

My musical taste has always developed in a bubble, sealed off from whatever was stylish and popular among my peers. I first became conscious of this terminal uncoolness on one particular day in the fifth grade. Our teacher let us have the afternoon off for a pre-holiday party, and everyone was supposed to bring along some tunes. This posed a problem for me, as I owned none of my own. I loved music but I was ten years old and had no money to buy tapes or CDs. All I could listen to was the local radio station and whatever my father left lying around. He consumed music profligately, spending huge sums of money on rare imported albums, listening to them once or twice, and forgetting about them. This left me with a treasure trove of music way out of my age range for my personal listening pleasure. It was an outcome of this circumstance that I knew by heart the lyrics to Leonard Cohen and Ray Charles before I learned how to do long division. This fact didn’t endear me to my savvier peers, who worshipped Weird Al and the Spice Girls. Something told me my father’s castoff albums wouldn’t make the best soundtrack for a fifth-grade dance party, but I brought them anyway. I waited for a quiet moment to slip one of my cassettes into the tape player. Unfortunately, I had neglected to rewind it, and when I pressed play the tape picked up right in the middle of Elvis Presley’s “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine.” All the fifth-graders shrieked in horror as Elvis belted out, “We’re-gonna-kiss-and-kiss-and-kiss-and-kiss-and-we’re-gonna-kiss-some-more.” I raced to switch it off, but it was too late. For the rest of the day (it felt like a year) I was shunned as the girl who ruined the whole party with the kissing song. I sat at my desk, sobbing silently into my sleeve, and my friend Dana put her arm around my shoulders. “Don’t worry,” she whispered comfortingly. “I don’t have any real music either, except for my old Barney tapes.” I would have traded my Charles Aznavour for her Barney any day. At least people knew how to pronounce his name. Close your eyes and imagine an earnest little girl with round glasses and messy braids, lying on the floor of her room with her ear pressed up against the speakers of her old-school boom box, listening to the following songs, and you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of what I was like growing up.

Elvis Presley - I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine (Mp3)
The Beatles - In My Life (Mp3)
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love (Mp3)
Charles Aznavour - La Bohème (Mp3)
Ray Charles - Georgia on My Mind (Mp3)
Yves Montand - À Bicyclette (Mp3)
Terry Jacks - Seasons in the Sun (Mp3)