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Umalali, the Garifuna Women's Project

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:06 pm
by Gordon Neill
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Another year, another terrific album from Stonetree records and Ivan Duran. Last year it was Andy Palacio’s “Watinaâ€

Re: Umalali, the Garifuna Women's Project

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:53 pm
by Charlie
Gordon Neill wrote: ‘Nibari’ is a haunting, bluesy song, which first saw the light on Charlie’s 2006 compilation. If anything, it sounds even better in this context.

I haven't played the two versions back to back to back, but I think the 2008 version is different and better.

I agree with everything you say about Umalali - I couldn't quite believe at first that it could be as good as it seemed to be. But a month later, almost every track is becoming really familiar, and I keep changing my nmind about which one is the best.

Re: Umalali, the Garifuna Women's Project

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:18 am
by Con Murphy
Gordon Neill wrote:I’m not sure if this the equal of ‘Watina’. Time will tell. But it will definitely appeal to fans of last year’s gem from Andy Palacio. The best album I’ve heard this year, so far.


I think it'll appeal to people who, like me, might have been slightly disappointed with Watina. That album seemed to have all the right things in the right places without quite managing to hook me in over a whole album. After just a handful of plays, this one already seems to fulfil both criteria, there's a bit of grit in the oyster (probably those slightly off-centre vocals) that keeps my cynical old ears interested throughout. I thought Watina's problem (for me) might have been the spacious sheen of Duran's production, but it works a treat on this one; as Gordon says there's lots of space and light and subtlety. Is it too early to say that maybe the West African domination of Album of the Year is at last under threat?

Re: Umalali, the Garifuna Women's Project

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:11 pm
by Charlie
Con Murphy wrote: there's a bit of grit in the oyster (probably those slightly off-centre vocals) that keeps my cynical old ears interested throughout. .... Is it too early to say that maybe the West African domination of Album of the Year is at last under threat?

No it isn't. It feels like Album of the Year and Best Americas Artist (yes, again: if Gastavoa Santoalalla can win Oscars for Best Score two years in a row, who's to say Ivan Duran's projects can't pick one up two years running?).

But when the group comes to Europe this summer, they won't visit the UK because no promoter wants to invite them. How crazy is that?

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:54 pm
by David Flower
it might be connected to the price of UK visas. £200 a pop, so a 20-piece would be £2000, plus maybe having to fly to Mexico or somewhere to do the finger-printing as I imagine Belize doesn't have a Brit Consulate that can process these things. We're missing out on a lot of acts as a result of this new red tape

a recent episode gives you a flavour. This for Malians, who have to travel to Dakar, Senegal (like us havng to travel to Eastern Eruope to get a visa)

"The British Consulate began by insisting that the process normally takes 10 days and that the band would have to wait in Dakar for that time in order to receive these visas.  This request seems so unreasonable as to be at best malicious.  Has anyone in HMG taken the time to consider the aggravation and expense involved in keeping a group of 8 musicians plus tour manager waiting in Dakar for ten days???!!!!    It would boost the cost of each visa to something around the £500 mark"

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:00 pm
by Dominic
David Flower wrote:it might be connected to the price of UK visas. £200 a pop, so a 20-piece would be £2000...

Is that bulk discount?

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:06 pm
by David Flower
well spotted. yes in fact £4000 for a 20-piece. Don't know how many in the collective, but probably well over 10. Basically their first fee gone in visas alone. And if you've only got 1 gig....

Why Umalali is not at WOMAD

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:54 pm
by Jacob Edgar
I just wanted to set the record straight as to why Umalali and the Garifuna Collective are not appearing at WOMAD this year.

Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali were booked to play at WOMAD before Andy passed away in January. After Andy died, Ivan Duran, myself, the members of the Collective and Umalali, and almost everyone who knew Andy or supported Garifuna music agreed that the best tribute to Andy and his advocacy for Garifuna music was to continue the tour.

Along with the Garifuna Collective and members of Umalali, we invited special guests such as Aurelio Martinez, an amazing young talent from Honduras, Lloyd Augustine, the best young parranda and punta rock singer from Belize, and convinced 80-year old Paul Nabor to come out on the road again. The all star lineup is an amazing representation of the best Garifuna music has to offer, and would offer a wonderful experience for people both familiar with and new to Garifuna music.

While most of the presenters in the US agreed this was a good idea and, while in some cases their offered fees were reduced, the Andy Palacio Tribute Tour has been taking place across the US this month. So far, the shows have been all we expected, truly amazing and emotional, filled with many magic moments. The media coverage and audience turnout is certainly bigger then it would have been under normal circumstances, and the presenters have been very happy with the events.

To my sorrow and dismay, European presenters where not so supportive. WOMAD, Roskilde, Musique Metisse and many others cancelled the booking despite our entreaties to allow the show to go on. It was what Andy would have wanted and it was the right thing to do, plus it was important for anyone involved with world music to demonstrate their commitment to supporting traditional cultures by allowing Garifuna music to continue to be in the international spotlight.

I practically begged Thomas Brooman of WOMAD to reconsider his decision and allow the tribute concert to take place. He told me that Andy was not known enough to the WOMAD public to merit a tribute concert. Meanwhile, Roskilde told me that without Andy, no one would know enough about the group to want to come to the show. These were just some of the conflicting responses I got.

In the end, I was heartbroken at the coldness of the European world music community, who were too focused on their bottom line to do the right thing. I feel that the world music community really let the Garifuna culture down by not allowing this show to take place on some of Europe's most important stages. I can't help but feel that these circumstances only compound the tragedy of Andy's death, and do further damage to a culture that is working so hard to keep itself going strong in the face of great adversity.

Anyway, I'm ranting, but I just felt like it was important for people to know the true circumstances of why Umalali & the Garifuna Collective are not performing in very many places in Europe this summer. While there are some nice dates scheduled (you can find out more at www.cumbancha.com) I'm very saddened that more people in Europe will not have the opportunity to celebrate the life of a truly great person, and discover firsthand the music of the amazing Garifuna culture.

Re: Why Umalali is not at WOMAD

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:28 am
by Con Murphy
I'm at risk of coming across as a right grumpy old man today :-)

Jacob Edgar wrote:I practically begged Thomas Brooman of WOMAD to reconsider his decision and allow the tribute concert to take place. He told me that Andy was not known enough to the WOMAD public to merit a tribute concert.


I think he's right. We'd much rather have a hairy-arsed '70s blues-rock band and an '80s soul group minus its most vital members.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:26 am
by Ian M
That's really sad to hear, and is perhaps a reflection of how festivals are becoming such large moneyspinning commercial operations that they are in danger of forgetting their raison d'etre.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:53 pm
by Charlie
Ian M wrote:That's really sad to hear, and is perhaps a reflection of how festivals are becoming such large moneyspinning commercial operations that they are in danger of forgetting their raison d'etre.

In the case of WOMAD, it is/was the opposite; far from being a money-spinner, last year's weather made the Charlton Park debut a very expensive disaster, from which the current team is trying to recover.

But what the logic was on inviting Chic to come without its co-founder and Little Feat minus its big toes, we may never know

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:11 pm
by Rob Hall
Charlie wrote:But what the logic was on inviting ... Little Feat minus its big toes, we may never know

Just to play Devil's Advocate Charlie (and I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis), I have among my acquaintances a number of people who insist that the post-Lowell George Little Feat are a highly entertaining band. Just goes to show: it takes all sorts.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:10 pm
by Gordon Neill
That was a pretty sobering post from Jacob Edgar. There's something badly wrong with this world when what is potentially the best album of the year (with strong links to what was arguably the best album of last year) can't get a proper tour in this country. I would have paid good money to see them. And I'm Scottish.

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 12:43 pm
by Des
Bloomin 'eck this CD is magnificent! The songs have an irresistible rhythmic urgency, the voices are beautiful, the instrumentation perfect. The only problem is that the tracks are too short! I love these people. CD of the Year!