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2008 - week 11, from 15 March - World Music Hits, Part 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:58 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa - The Very Best of Manu Dibango - Cameroon - Wrasse - WRASS 115

2 - Gipsy Kings - Bamboleo - Greatest Hits - France - Columbia - COL 477242 2

3 - Carlos Gardel - Volver - The best of Carlos Gardel - Argentina - EMI Hemisphere - 7243 8 23505 2

4 - Amalia Rodrigues - Barco Negro - The Art of Amalia - Portugal - EMI Hemisphere - 7243 4 95771 2

5 - Lord Shorty - Om Shanti - Soca Explosion - Trinidad - Charlie's - CR 1004

6 - Tabou Combo - New York City - 8th Sacrement - Haiti - Decca - SKL R 5227

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The second in our bi-monthly series of World Hits, featuring records that went far beyond the country or context in which they were initially recorded.

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Manu Dibango

‘Soul Makossa’ has one of the unlikeliest stories of any hit, ever. The song was first recorded by Cameroon saxophonist Manu Dibango in a few minutes at the end of a session, as the B-side to a song commissioned as a celebration of the Cameroon football team’s involvement in the Africa Nations Cup, 1972. The A-side was quickly forgotten after the competition ended, but ‘Soul Makossa’ was so popular in clubs, Manu went back into a studio to record it properly. This time he nailed it, and then watched with bemusement as it started sell despite all the disinterest of his French record label, Decca. After a few copies crossed the Atlantic and started to get played in clubs in Miami and New York, a cover version by a bunch of LA session musicians cheekily calling themselves Afrique actually hit the charts. Finally Atlantic licensed Manu’s original, which went on to reach the American top 40, a very rare achievement for a bona fide African record. A few years later, Michael Jackson and his producer Quincy Jones used the ‘mama-ko-mama-sa’ hook in ‘Wanna Be Startin' Something’ on the album, Thriller, with no credit listed to Manu as co-writer. He sued, and his claim was upheld. But whether Manu was paid a royalty or just a one-off fee, I don’t know.. On the best-selling album of all time, with sales reportedly over 100 million, any kind of royalty would make Manu a rich man. And unlike the moon-walking artist, I bet he would spend his windfall wisely.

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Nicolas Reyes (of The Gipsy Kings)

‘Bamboleo’ by The Gipsy Kings is the tale of ‘Soul Makossa’ in reverse, being partly based on another song, ‘Caballero Viejo’ by the Venezuelan singer, Simón Diás. It’s continually astonishing how many song-writers keeping lifting bits of other people’s songs without apparently realising that they must share the spoils with the original writer. The story of The Gipsy Kings is possibly the most remarkable of any artist in the World Music era, as they have sold millions of albums of Spanish-language songs throughout the world without every surrendering to sing in English. It feels like some sort of crime that British radio has steadfastly refused to recognise their popularity.

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Carlos Gardel

The next two songs reach back to the time when British radio ranged across all styles and languages, playing occasional tango, fado and flamenco singers alongside the pop of Perry and Bing, Doris and Rosemary, Frank and Dean. The Argentinian singer Carlos Gardel was feted throughout the world, particularly in France, actually his country of birth, where he was the lover of Edith Piaf for some years. I haven’t seen the Piaf biopic whose star won the Oscar for Best Female Actor, but gather that there’s no reference to Gardel in the narrative. An odd omission (*). ‘Volver’, his biggest hit in 1934, was recently revived as the title song of a film by Pedro Almodovar.

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Amalia Rodrigues

The new fado star Mariza is always keen to acclaim her greatest inspiration, the Portuguese singer Amalia Rodrigues, and includes several of her songs in her own repertoire. Mariza sings ‘Barco Negro’ with a similar percussion-based arrangement to Amalia’s 1954 recording, but the original version is probably impossible to beat.

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Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty

When I first started playing what we now call world music on the radio in the early 1980s, I was heavily into Trinidadian soca, which offered a welcome, more joyous alternative to Jamaican reggae. Among the people I championed were Arrow, Explainer and Blue Boy, but the widely acknowledged pioneer of soca was Lord Shorty, whose landmark track was ‘Om Shanti’, a tribute to the Indian meditation chant (recorded in 1978).

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Tabou Combo

When I found a Decca 45 by a group called the Tabou Combo in a second hand record shop in 1975, I bought it with no idea what it might sound like. ‘New York City’ was a live recording, divided into ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’, and featured one of the strangest guitar sounds I’d ever heard. Tracking down the album 8th Sacrement, I saw that the group was said to come from Petionville; but where was that? Playing ‘New York City’ in its entirety on the radio, I asked if anybody knew and was informed that the town is just outside Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Recording for Mini Records in New York ever since those early days, the Tabou Combo is still going strong, having remained Haiti’s most famous group for almost forty years.
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(*) not so odd after all - see replies below from wiser heads than mine.

Re: 2008 - week 11, from 15 March - World Music Hits, Part 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:20 pm
by NormanD
Charlie wrote:The Argentinian singer Carlos Gardel was feted throughout the world, particularly in France, actually his country of birth, where he was the lover of Edith Piaf for some years. I haven’t seen the Piaf biopic whose star won the Oscar for Best Female Actor, but gather that there’s no reference to Gardel in the narrative. An odd omission.
Charlie, what is the source of this information? I may well be wrong, but would like to question it. Gardel died in a plane crash in Colombia in 1935. Piaf's career was just on the point of taking off then (she was discovered by impresario / club owner Louis Leplée that year). So, unless Carlos Gardel knew something that few others did, and was flying back over to France to visit La Môme Piaf, who was still a Paris street singer.......

Re: 2008 - week 11, from 15 March - World Music Hits, Part 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:37 pm
by Con Murphy
normand wrote:
Charlie wrote:The Argentinian singer Carlos Gardel was feted throughout the world, particularly in France, actually his country of birth, where he was the lover of Edith Piaf for some years. I haven’t seen the Piaf biopic whose star won the Oscar for Best Female Actor, but gather that there’s no reference to Gardel in the narrative. An odd omission.
Charlie, what is the source of this information? I may well be wrong, but would like to question it. Gardel died in a plane crash in Colombia in 1935. Piaf's career was just on the point of taking off then (she was discovered by impresario / club owner Louis Leplée that year). So, unless Carlos Gardel knew something that few others did, and was flying back over to France to visit La Môme Piaf, who was still a Paris street singer.......


I must say I don't recall any mention of Gardel in any of the Piaf biogs that I've read (and I've read far too many than is good for me). Mind you, the absence from the biopic of one of Piaf's lovers isn't that odd when you think about it - about 99% of them needed to be omitted in order to keep the film under 3 hours long. Even her second husband only gets mentioned in passing, I think.

EDIT:

You've brought out my inner drug-guzzling-man-eating-alcoholic-divas obsession (not that it's ever that far beneath the surface), and looking at this excellent Carlos Gardel website:-

http://www.todotango.com/english/gardel/default.asp

the extensive chronicle of lovers there makes no mention of Piaf.

http://www.todotango.com/english/gardel ... mores.html

What a combination that would have been though - imagine the sound their progeny might have made!

Re: 2008 - week 11, from 15 March - World Music Hits, Part 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:28 pm
by Charlie
Con Murphy wrote:What a combination that would have been though - imagine the sound their progeny might have made!

Like Charlie Brown, I goofed again.

I put the names Gardel and Piaf together in google and came up with nothing until I discovered a sole link that had them not only together but married to each. Written by one CG for the Independent, and as wrong now as it was then.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:18 pm
by David Flower
as it happens Piaf's great love, as the biopic has it, was a boxer who died in a plane crash. Can't remember his name. A very watchable film. Piaf's voice was certainly a lot stronger and better than I realised

emails

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:31 am
by Charlie
email from

1. Name: DAN DRISCOLL, Betim, Goa

Would like to get that OM Shanti track (or album) you played on today's show (16/3/08).

Recently saw the Indian film Jodhaa Akbar; there's a "Sufi Chorus" doing A.R. Rahman composition Kwhaja Mere Kwhaja, which I think you might want to see. Try to see the film on wide screen. Rhaman did not compose it for the film, but it was taken on four years after composition. Beautiful AV experience.

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2. JOE EZEKIEL, PORTLAND,OREGON, USA

THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THAT "SOUL MAKOSSA" WAS A SURPRISING HIT IN CALCUTTA IN THE MID-70'S . IT WAS IN ALMOST CONSTANT ROTATION ON THE RADIO.

ALSO "SHANTI OM" SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE A SONG FROM THE BOLLYWOOD MOVIE "HARE KRISHNA HARE RAMA" BY THE SAME NAME.

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3A. Aejaz, Dublin

I wonder if that Om Shanti track from Trinidad came before or after the Bollywood track (from the film Karz) of the same name and melody. Do you know?

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CG reply: I suspect Lord Shorty came after an Indian original, but am not sure which one. Songs of this title seem to pop up every few years in India, and I notice that one of the three biggest Bollywood films in the UK in 2007 was titled Om Shanti Om.

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3B. Aejaz, Dublin

Thanks Charlie. I've looked into it since then and it turns out the Bollywood version came after the Lord Shorty one. The 2007 film you mentioned was actually inspired by Karz (1980) and they borrowed the name from that song. There are many references to it in the film.

The soundtrack to Karz (which included Om Shanti Om) was a mega hit and they won numerous awards for it. I don't think they ever formally acknowledged the Lord Shorty original, which came out a couple of years earlier. I guess they shouldn't complain now if I sampled the Bollywood version for a remix :)

Cheers, Aejaz

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CG: I still think there was an Indian predecessor and that the chant 'Shanti Om' goes back to the time before recording existed

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4. Richard Taylor

Hi Charlie

Great to hear you again.Lost track for many years listened to you avidly in seventies on Sundays Radio London . How come you don't have more airtime? Your choice or radio planning berks?

Thrilled to hear Manou Dibango and Tabou Combo last week . Have both LPs as a result of your playing in seventies. Great Stuff.

I have tapes of your progs which I consider are the innovator progs of all "world music" programmes broadcast now

Regards

Richard

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:36 am
by MurkeyChris
Sorry, a bit of a belated comment, but after confessing that I'm not too regular a listener (owing to lack of time and too much good stuff to listen to, rather than lack of inclination), I did listen to this show and really enjoyed it. Specialist radio shows tend not to play the big hits and 'canonical' works, on the grounds that everyone must already know it and want to hear something new. Well that's good as a general rule, but sometimes it's nice to have a bit of a catch-up.

I remember when James Carr died, John Peel said he wasn't going to play 'Dark End of the Street' as everyone already knew it and he wanted to highlight some of his lesser known work. Luckily he received loads of e-mails saying that, no, we hadn't heard it. He played it the next day which was the first time I ever heard the song, and I've loved it ever since.

Chris