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2009, week 47, from 21 Nov - Classic Albums, Part One

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:19 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Francois Muduga - chante avec Cithare - Burundi: Musiques Traditionelles - Burundi - Ocora - CD HM83

2 - Babatunde Olatunji - Jin-Go-Lo-Ba - Drums of Passion - Nigeria - Bear Family - BCD 15 747 -1

3 - unknown Burundi girls - untitled duet - Burundi: Musiques Traditionelles - Burundi - Ocora - CD HM83

4 - Titi Robin - Pundela (feat Gulabi Sepera) - Gitans - France/ Rajastan - Naïve - WN 145170

5 - Saban Bajramovic - Pena - A Gypsy Legend - Serbia - World Connection - WC 43024

6 - Drummers of Burundi - Ingoma - Burundi: Musiques Traditionelles - Burundi - Ocora - CD HM83
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Changing the focus of our long-running series of world music hits, here’s the first of a new series featuring albums.

Several comments have been posted in the forum recently praising the work of the Ocora label, the record company set up by Radio France International, best known for its location recordings made in most countries in the world.

In 1967 (*), recording pioneer Michel Vuylsteke went to Burundi in East Africa where he made several recordings that have been widely recognised as classics in their very different spheres, three of them included in today’s programme.

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inanga musician

I had never known the name of the zither musician until it was pointed out that Francois Muduga is identified on the Ocora website. I always hear him as a forerunner of the growly vocal style of Dr John and Tom Waits, with a sophisticated understanding of dynamics.

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Babatunde Olatunji

Babatunde Olatunji was a Nigerian percussionist who recorded for Columbia Records in New York where he became the inspiration of many American percussionists, both professional and amateur. ‘Jin-Go-Lo-Ba’ became a big hit for Carlos Santana.

The Burundi girls who whisper into each other’s mouths are always a delight, and have been sampled more than once over the years.

Titi Robin’s record company, Naïve, has recently reissued his 1992 album Gitanes , which I always took to be his debut until I checked his discography and saw that he had made two or three beforehand. But this was the album that introduced him to the world, particularly for the enchanting ‘Pundela’, sung by the Rajastani vocalist, Gulabi Separa.

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Saban Bajramovic

There are several albums of early recordings by Saban Bajramovic but, perhaps because I was introduced to him in 2002 by the album of new recordings, A Gypsy Legend has remained my benchmark.

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The Burundi Drummers

Finally, the most famous of the Burundi tracks by the percussion team named The Burundi Drummers. Many such units have visited the UK since then, who may have no personnel in common with the original line-up but they all make sure to play something that sounds like this.

(*) in my original post, I incorrectly wrote '1987'; thanks to Willy (below) for setting me straight

Listen again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p0053fd0

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:12 am
by Caireann
When I heard Burundi Burundi Burundi I thought:
yet again one of Charlie's African jungle music shows. No need to switch on.

What was that? Music from the 60ies series Daktari? Drums played by chimpanzee Judy?

I was hoping for some less Africa and a bit more WORLD
After all its "World of Music" and not "African Music"

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:53 pm
by Charlie
Caireann wrote:I was hoping for some less Africa and a bit more WORLD
After all its "World of Music" and not "African Music"

Please be patient. Other countries will get their turn.

I am still compensating for the absence of airplay outside Africa for music from African countries for at least thirty years from 1950 onwards

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:52 pm
by Ted
Caireann wrote:When I heard Burundi Burundi Burundi I thought:
yet again one of Charlie's African jungle music shows. No need to switch on.

What was that? Music from the 60ies series Daktari? Drums played by chimpanzee Judy?


Are you absolutely certain you've chosen the right place to express sentiments like these?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:18 pm
by Adam Blake
Ha ha! Beautiful understatement there... I must admit, I was going to make a rather less polite enquiry but thought about it and decided that life is too short.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:13 pm
by Charlie
Adam Blake wrote:Ha ha! Beautiful understatement there... I must admit, I was going to make a rather less polite enquiry but thought about it and decided that life is too short.


All points of view are welcome here, since they probably represent opinions by others who would not think of entering this forum.

African Music etc

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:33 pm
by kastamonu
Nicely put Charlie - you're such a gent!

Pleeeease can we have some more Kurdish soon?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:21 pm
by Adam Blake
Charlie wrote:
Adam Blake wrote:Ha ha! Beautiful understatement there... I must admit, I was going to make a rather less polite enquiry but thought about it and decided that life is too short.


All points of view are welcome here, since they probably represent opinions by others who would not think of entering this forum.


It's one thing to express frustration at your choices, Charlie, it's quite another to ridicule great musicians from a position of ignorance and prejudice.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:20 am
by Caireann
Ted wrote:Are you absolutely certain you've chosen the right place to express sentiments like these?
Well, this is about the latest show of Charlie Gillet's. Where would be a better place to write a personal thought about this very show than here?

I always had the feeling that Charlie is more of an Africa specialist and thats why he plays so much from there. Maybe it is because in Africa were loads of British colonies.

In the past I thought: why dont they ever play African music on radio? (not at Charlie Gillet's obviously)
When I discovered "world of music" I knew why. African music is pure monotony...well, mabe not Ladysmith black Mambazo.

I just like variation and why anyway lump all Africa together in one show?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:51 am
by Charlie
Caireann wrote:I always had the feeling that Charlie is more of an Africa specialist and that's why he plays so much from there. Maybe it is because in Africa were loads of British colonies.

I never was a specialist, Caireann, well not in African music anyway. If I was ever a specialist, it would have been in music from the Southern states of the USA. Which I suppose you could classify as a former British colony, but I never think of it that way. More to the point was most of that the music I happened to like was by people descended from Africans.

No, African music just crept on me unawares and certainly not because of any colonial ties. Probably the first African record I became obsessed with was 'Soul Makossa' by Manu Dibango (from a former French colony, Cameroon) back in 1972 - a friend has just sent a message noting that in a 1973 issue of Let it Rock magazine I logged my three favourite albums as being by the Allman Brothers (from Macon Georgia), Denise LaSalle (Mississippi) and the aforementioned Manu Dibango.

When I did start to explore African music, ten years later, it's true that my first exposure was to the music of former British colonies, Ghana and Nigeria, but I soon moved onto Zaire (formerly Belgian) and then to several West African countries that had been under French rule. I doubt if colonial connections were relevant, apart from determining which European countries provided the industry infrastructure to record and distribute the music.

The gate to my previously narrow tastes opened one creak at a time, first to African music and gradually including the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. I may now be on the brink of stretching to absorb South Korea, time will tell.

The point is that it all has to 'join up,' ie sound coherent when played next to each other. I can't bring myself to play something from a particular country just so that I can say I have done so, and so if you are sitting there with an atlas in front of you, hoping to tick the countries that have been represented, you will soon get even more frustrated than it seems you already are.

But I reaffirm that you're welcome to make any comments that occur to you. As you rightly say, if you don't leave them here, where could you leave them?

emails

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:52 am
by Charlie
email from:

1. Katie Kelly, Durango, CO USA

Thank you! I was driving home late night and came across your station...I just had the biggest smile on my face. You actually made me sit in my car at 2AM just to listen to the rest of your show...then i ran inside and tried to figure out how to play it.

So anyway...here I am. I'm loving the tunes right now. (the french/indian blend was amazing).

I think I just might love you.

Thanks...

Caio,

Katie

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2. Jim Anderson, Tamarin, Mauritius

Enjoyed your programme on the Burundi recordings on 22nd November. Have you noticed the extraordinary similarity between Francois Muduga — Chante Avec Cithare and Tom Waits' Trouble's Braids from Swordfish Trombones Album? I immediately thought, that's Tom Waits...not sure what it means but there is some good networking going on between these musicians or is it just globalisation?

Jim

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CG reply: noted the similarity in the bulletin, but had never made such a direct connection. Must listen to them back-to-back

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3. Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel, Cameroon

Dear Charlie,

many thanks for the last programme, where I enjoyed the Burundi old
music, ooh how sweet it was!

God bless you abundantly.

Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel,

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:53 am
by Ted
Well, this is about the latest show of Charlie Gillet's. Where would be a better place to write a personal thought about this very show than here?


I'm not bothered about whether you like african music - you can be as bored as you like with it. You can hate it if you want - thats your choice - although you'd be denying yourself some of the greatest musical pleasures the planet has to offer and why would anybody do that?

But you used language that has traditionally been used by white people who hate black people. Comparing african musicians to chimpanzees and the use of the term "jungle music" puts you in some pretty unpleasant company. I'm hoping you used these terms because you weren't aware of their history.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:50 pm
by garth cartwright
Lovely show, Charlie. I first heard of the Burundi drummers via Adam & The Ants/Bow Wow Wow and went and tracked down one of their albums and was surprised to find it sounded very different to English rock bands! Same as when I first bought a Nigerian album and thought "this doesn't sound like blues at all!"

A Gypsy Legend is Saban's finest recording (that I'm aware of). Having listened to lots of old Yugoslav recordings I believe artists were just put in the studio and told to play as many Tito-era reissues have a thin sound. Dragi Sestic obviously thought a lot about mic' placement, working on arrangements etc.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:52 pm
by Alan
Here's a link to this week's show http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p0053fd0

"Rhythm is the soul of life'.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:09 pm
by liz molony
This is fantastic - IN THE SPACE OF JUST 28 MINUTES, what riches, Charlie!!
Francois Muduga "whispering" his praise song with an Inanga! how eerie is that.
I read an account by Josh Rosenfeld, physicist at Cornell, who has a lot to say about ‘the acoustic illusion of whispered inanga’, and explains how the sound is perceived. Is it an illusion?
I say THANKS anyway to the musicologists who made these recordings!!

I heard a sweet duet similar to the Burundi girls but recorded in Namibia as they fed the chickens.

Thank you Charlie for introducing me to Babatunde’s story.. What an ambassador he was all those years!!...for Yoruba and for Africa
[Though in using the loose term ‘African’ of music, I hasten to quote another’s comment : ''I suppose classifying all sub Saraha music as a single style is a bit like calling R&B, jazz, bluegrass, soft rock collectively 'North American'!'’]
I remember Babatunde Olatunji’s drumming on an earlier show this year. What moved me then was the power of its humanly shared experience. Like the excitement in the Burundi Drummers, the collective experience touches a core in us.

I like Babatunde's words: "Rhythm is the soul of life....and ...."The spirit of the drum is something that you feel but cannot put your hands on, It does something to you from the inside out . . . the feeling is one that is satisfying and joyful. It is a feeling that makes you say to yourself,.. 'I'm glad to be alive today! I'm glad to be part of this world!"

Those of us with smiles on our faces on Saturday night [or monday morning] echoed this.

Our little Primary School invited a team of Ugandan musicians to introduce the children to drumming. You could see on their faces the excitement of making such rhythm together... getting 'lost in it'. For the next few terms the school played drums daily.
This summer I found myself in a forest arena with our 2 year old grandson sharing in a great collective drumming experience... Two little girls made a space for us to bash away at a barrell twice his height. His whole body was bobbing up and down with the beat..
"Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm.... and every human action revolves in rhythm."

mmm what a legacy we have from Africa......