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AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:06 pm
by Chris P

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:23 pm
by Jaybird
Wow! Fantastic!

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:35 pm
by NormanD
This looks a real treat. Any more information, anyone?

PS As this could well be a universal hit, shall we start the backlash now, preferably led by pre-release reviewers?

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:54 pm
by kevin
Bugger the backlash. This has gone straight to the top of my releases of 2010. Thanks for posting Chris.

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:57 pm
by howard male
Bloody awful ! (too late Norman!)

Not sure what Cubism has to do with it – it sounds very rounded to me. Nice though.

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:37 pm
by CantSleepClownsWillGetMe
Wow! Thanks Chris, that was fab.

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:06 pm
by jackdaw version
A backlash is definitely in order. That was far too good. Thanks again, Chris.

I always thought that Eliades Ochoa's Sublime Illusion was one of the best BVSC spinoff releases. And, of course, the Cuarteto Patria collaboration with Manu Dibango, CubAfrica, is a stone-cold classic. Well, anything but stone-cold.

Anyone recall who the original African musicians who never made it to Cuba for the BVSC recording sessions were? I used to know but the mists of time . . .

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:16 pm
by Chris P
jackdaw version wrote:Anyone recall who the original African musicians who never made it to Cuba for the BVSC recording sessions were?


Djelimady Tounkara & Bassekou Kouyate for starters

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:44 pm
by jackdaw version
Well, well, well . . . what comes around goes around. Or is this just classic African time?

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:51 pm
by AndyM
That is a wondrous clip.

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:56 am
by kk
wonderful music... but an autumn release?? this is music that is crying out to be heard in the summer

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:31 pm
by David Flower
Chris P wrote:
jackdaw version wrote:Anyone recall who the original African musicians who never made it to Cuba for the BVSC recording sessions were?


Djelimady Tounkara & Bassekou Kouyate for starters


correct. It was these two who needed visas for Cuba. And it was me organising it, or trying to. The nearest Cuban consulate was in Ouagadougou in Upper Volta as it was then known. I was in contact with Super Rail Band's manager Bamba, we did the paperwork and he couriered the passports there. Time went by, anxiety grew, they never arrived back in time. Since then various other explanations have emerged. One version was that one of the great Malian patrons arrived back at that time to Bamako from a trip to the MIddle East and presented Djelimady with a gold bar which he understandably reckoned would sort him out nicely for that year. Certainly he's always been sheepish about it every time I've seen him since, aware of what he missed out on, although of course had the two Malians gone the Buena Vista project would have been different and might well have not been the event it was.
What I like about the story is Nick Gold's legendary persistance (as in spending 8 years or so reconvening Orchestre Baobab). It's all very well producing the all-time best selling world music album, but I'm going to make the album I intended to all along! Exemplary!

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:16 pm
by AndyM
Can I just check on whether I've got my Cuban genres/rhythms right (I probably haven't) - is this fab track a guajira ?

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:41 pm
by Adam Blake
I hate fusion. It's so, so...inauthentic...

Seriously, folks, lovely as this is, doesn't it sound a lot more Cuban than Malian to you? And not just because the singer is Cuban. Those wonderfully untempered instruments like the balafon and the kora basically have to compromise in order to accomodate the guitars and the uptight astringency of the Cuban form overpowers the loose limbed Malian music.

Never mind, eh. I'll just go back to sleep now.

Re: AfroCubism

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:33 am
by judith
Adam Blake wrote:I hate fusion. It's so, so...inauthentic...

good lord.

Well, let's see, if by fusion, you mean musicians from different regions, musics, instruments, and cool tossed together to see what happens sort of thing - I would not apply the term here. Maybe because I use the word when I'm disappointed with the outcome and I do like this AfroCubism first song even though I generally prefer Malian music to this type of Cuban music (I don't know what it's called either, Andy). Personally, I don't like the term fusion (or maybe the music to which I feel the term applies) because it reminds me of people soldering mutually resistant metals together or man-made nuclear fusion. I don't know why it strikes me this way, both occur in nature.

Adam, I do really like the paragraph about tempered and untempered instruments. It both explains quite a lot to me and is thought provoking as well.

When I saw the title, 'AfroCubism', I expected something different from the Cuban end, maybe Bata drumming, or more clave's going - and maybe triple pulse rhythms like many West of the West African/AfroCuban - so I was surprised to see the video begin with Eliades Ochoa.

It is a gorgeous beginning and I do, as the song continues, feel the languid movement (like the camel walks) that West African rhythms evoke and when I hear the kora come in I notice the beauty of the notes weaving in and out of the blank spaces of the guitar, not 'oh, and there's a kora...' And, even though the untempered instruments are doing the compromising and Eliades Ochoa's is the form presented - his singing is foremost, until Kasse Mady Diabate sings that is - even so, I am not distracted by the Cuban predominance. Perhaps it's the overall beauty of the song, skills of the musicians creating, for me, a whole. I must admit, it was a video not merely an audio presentation and I loved the purity of the expressions on the faces of the musicians in their obvious enjoyment of what they were playing.

I do know from experience the untempered instrument has to accommodate the tempered and my preference is the untempered. I play with a group that uses two balas - one tuned to the African scale and the other to the Western scale - and the African based bala always has to accommodate the Western one because it can whereas the Western cannot. This disappoints me because I like the sounds that come out of the untempered bala better.

My disappointment disappears once the balas get going depending on who is playing them. Eventually, with the players who own the instruments, the two balas slip and slide and play off of each other and any concepts like dis-harmony (Western) go out the window. However, if a rigidly conforming Western classically trained player steps up to the Western tuned bala, it sucks. Precisely because the Western predominates, to my ear, in the negative sense of the word and the player on the African tuned bala is doing all the listening, all the shifting and has to compromise. All I hear is weighty dominance and all hope for balance rapidly diminishes. In this AfroCubism piece, I feel the Cuban is predominate yet I don't feel it dominates. Also, though my ears agree with Adam's use of the word 'astringent' with (some) Cuban music in relation to Malian, I don't mind the astringency here. Is that because of the visuals? I don't know.

However, now that Adam has explained the concept and brought all this to the fore, I would like to hear a track with the Malian musicians predominating. I would like a chance to know what it would sound like, with the same musicians, when the untempered instruments predominate. That would cut out the guiars? Mali guitar...but that brings in the Cuban form and would Eliades Ochoa be able to play?

The following are some of the questions all this brought up----

Does predominate take on a negative tone, domination, because the listener favors one form over another, specifically - the form which is doing the accommodation? Oh, that sounds like a rhetorical question.

Are there instances of bands, songs, albums where the untempered instruments predominate or even dominate the tempered?

And then, the use of untempered and tempered instruments together (or Eastern and Western scales) - does Ethiopian jazz, apply in any way?

Does accommodation (with or without compromise) deny authenticity? [By authentic, I am meaning the word in the sense that something (a piece of art or food or an entire human being) stands completely on its own. I know from reading the forum that 'authentic' has many definitions. Also I am speaking merely of musical accommodation, not other stuff.]

I think accommodation (even without compromise) can do so horribly. However, I have an example when, for me, it does not: Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebrou, the Ethiopian nun. I had been listening to Alemu Aga and his Ethiopian harp and wanted more Ethiopian music. I was so disappointed when I received her cd in the mail and realized that she was playing on a western tuned piano. I thought her innate music would be compromised by the Western scale, and that her music would be a let down, nothing Ethiopian recognizable about it let alone anything singular or outstanding. This notion disappeared immediately after the cd went in the player.

Tempered/untempered instruments aside, Klezmer comes to mind when it comes to genres which predominate. When mixed with other music, it tends to become Klezmer played with unusual (for Klezmer) instruments, yet there are times when Klezmer does work when it steps across musical borders and doesn't predominate. I know I've heard such music but don't know what it is that Klezmer is mixing with? Could someone give me some examples? Or am I imagining things?

Sorry about my shotgun effect here. I just like this take on the subject - a nuts and bolts of it.

(I hope those reading this understand the difference between tempered and untempered tuning and all that)