Tuesday, August 28, 2012

an ancient kora from Sotuma-Sere

This story begins long long long long ago
So long ago that it was a place not a time
There was a man
He was so alone
The only person he could talk to was Africa
Luckily there was a tree nearby
Even more luckily behind that tree
That’s where his partner was hiding
All the sun and all the water were condensed
Into a single tiny block
Which the man planted in the sandy soil
He blew and he blew on that spot
Each time he blew he thought he heard something
What he was hearing was of course his partner singing
The man didn’t even know what singing was
Because he could only talk
He couldn’t sing yet
So he blew and he listened, blew listened blew listened
And the plant pushed out dark green
And began to twist and grow 
A vine reaching for the breath 
And stretching towards the song
(Because it was made from sun and rain, remember?)
So at the end of the vine that was the calabash
And the tree it was not a tree anymore
It was the neck and handles
That was when the man’s partner Saba Kidane 
Came out into the open (but that’s another story)
And the breath and the singing and the vine?
Well, there are 21 strings, what do you think?
And now you say what about the bridge and the cowhide 
And the rings that tie the strings to the neck 
So you can tune the kora
Hey, what about the thumbtacks that hold
The cowhide taut over the calabash
And the resonator hole
Well you go right on talking about all that
I’m playing kora now
Next time I’ll tell you about the cow.....

Alhaji Papa Susso

& .....we'll meet again in 2 weeks

Da Cruz and his typical ensemble

Da Cruz (with his typical ensemble) was playing on violin
some of most sublime mornas,coladeiras  and sambas
during the (musically) golden 60's of São Nicolau  
let's  dance again for life's wonders

a typical miracle

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cherif Kheddam

Cherif Kheddam  was born in 1927 at Ait Bou Messaoud in Grand Kabylia. First he attended a local Koranic school, then a Zawia in Boudjelil (Lesser Kabylia). In 1947 he left Algeria for France where, until the end of Algeria’s War of Independence, he earned his living in smelting works and other factories.
It was as an immigrant in France he began to compose and sing. Published at author’s expense, his first song Yellis n tmurt iw (girl of my native country) was considered as a masterpiece by the public. In spite of difficulties of all sorts he decided to go on, encouraged as he was by such friends as Mrs Sauviat, a record-dealer particularly interested in Oriental songs. Thanks to her he came in touch with Pathé Marconi. He met also Ahmed Hachlef who was going to play an important part in the artist’s career. His homesickness as well as the difficulties he met with during the War of Independence induced him to retire within himself and devote himself to music.
Fully aware that a musical heritage fenced in petrified traditions must sooner or later become anaemic, he has always tried to enrich and revive it without defacing its century old specificity. He is to be thanked for opening a field for modernity, yet he has always insisted upon the necessity of meeting strict requirements in the process of creation, an approach he instilled into the mind of the many young singers he has formed. A number of the singers who presently sing modern songs have been taught by him and are proud to be considered his disciples. Some of them are known for singing those amazigh songs that fight for certain ideas: the Yugurten ensemble, Ferhat Imazighen Imoula, Idir, Ait Menguellet, Malika Doumrane, Nouara, Ahcen Abassi...
In his songs, words and music are closely linked. Forgetting about the mournfulness common in songs of yesteryear, he has imagined, and methodically explored, all new poetic and musical ways. It is easy to detect the revolutionary themes in the more than one hundred songs he is known to have written.
His work is grounded on four main themes closely linked in the poet’s mind: love, the native land, social changes and the promoting of Kabyle particularism. One might have expected that since he was born in a traditional family, he would keep to conventional songs with moral and religious connotations. Now it so happens that the poet has ventured beyond the traditional ways, transgressing century old tabooes. To him there are no forbidden subjects any longer.
Either sticking to tradition, or following modern trends, Cherif Kheddam has innovated all his life. In combining tradition and modernity he has gradually achieved a meaningful coherence, his specific creation. Thus, in his lifetime, Cherif Kheddam has already become one of the great ancestors whose office it was, on the one side to hand down the musical heritage, and on the other side to venture beyond it to find new ways.

part of the text written by Tassadit Yacine  in December 1995
or in 3 languages

this collection of songs of the patriarch of  chanson Kabyle,originally  released as 45s  
is a hidden ,under its indifferent sleeve, treasure -at times stepping  on oriental scales
and deeply infused with  unique  Kabylian soul.
keep it alive with listening

Sligh Iyema

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aida Samb

” J’essaie de porter cet héritage et de persévérer dans le travail. mon grand père a beaucoup fait dans la musique et j’essaie de perpétuer le respect et l’admiration que lui vouent les Sénégalais. Je veux emprunter le même chemin que lui. Il n’est pas suffisant d’être la petite fille de Samba Diabaré Samb il est de mon devoir de tout faire pour sauvegarder ce qu’il a fait et ne pas le ternir. C’est ce qui est important pour moi”

grand daughter of the iconic griot  Samba Diabaré Samb of  Senegal young Aida Samb is already taking her steps in the recording arena. a new voice and a  promising one..

2 tracks:

Wareefu Ndaw

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seprewa Kasa

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the relationship between popular and
traditional music in Ghana is the way in which the “highlife guitar” and the Akan harp called
seprewa are connected. With the introduction of the European guitar to Ghana, the very style
and technique of seprewa playing were “transferred” onto the guitar. In other words, as turn of
the century seprewa players began to interpret their own traditional music on the European
guitar, a uniquely Ghanaian guitarism emerged.

Similar to the well-known bridge harp kora of Mali and the Senegambia, the seprewa is
played against the torso, with both hands used to pluck two parallel sides of stacked strings.
These strings run from a bent piece of wood to a bridge sitting atop a wooden box with goatskin
stretched over the top . While the earliest constructions of the seprewa had only
six strings , newer varieties may have 8, 10, 12, or even more.

Osei Kwame Korankye, one of Ghana’s foremost seprewa players, has done a great deal
to re-popularize the seprewa by starting schools and teaching at the University of Ghana,
collaborating with highlife musicians, performing at national events, and doing academic
research. According to Osei and other scholars, the seprewa was captured by the Asante empire
in the 1700s as part of the spoils of war upon the defeat of Gyaaman, an Akan state in presentday Côte d’Ivoire. According to a story told by Osei, Asante soldiers discovered an injured man
with one leg clutching an unusual instrument, the seprewa. Upon hearing this instrument played,
the soldiers decided to bring the man back to the king of Asante, the Asantehene (Osei Tutu the
first). Osei Tutu enjoyed this instrument so much that the injured man was appointed a court
musician, and the seprewa became a royal instrument used to deliver appellations and praises.
This praise function relates to the meaning of the name “seprewa,” a composite of three Twi
words: Se (speak), Pre (touch), and Wa (small). In other words, “this small instrument can speak
when it is touched” (Osei Korankye, personal communication). Like the Asante atumpan drums,
the seprewa is literally able to speak by imitating the tonal contours of the Twi language.
Proverbs, praises, and appellations may be “spoken” in this way by the seprewa player. At the
same time, the seprewa player may also sing in a declamatory, quasi-recitative style as he
delivers praises or proverbs and recites appellations.

by William Matczynski

for many perfect summer evenings

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crossing the Ocean

3 compilations first presented in the now defunct blackstarliners blog that was dedicated  to the  African diaspora and its heritage in the Americas.
from this new space  I don't intent to restore my previous blogs but rather eclectically recall some posts,for sure  rekindle  their spirit from time to time and simply  go on .
so the Spirit remains  and the rule is as always the same-universally-since ancient times :
feel the music

01-Virginia Rodrigues-Lua, Lua, Lua, Lua
02-Papa Rocon-Oyeya

03-Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas-Ananu
04-Untraced Macumba group-Caboclo Ubirajara
05-Yoruba Andabo-Tiembla la Tierra
06-Victoria Santa Cruz-A Que Muevan la Cola,Alcatraz
07-Lonnie Young, Ed Young & Lonnie Young Jr.-Chevrolet
08-Lia de Itamaracá -Quiemme deu foi Lia-Moça namoradeira
09-King Tubby/Scientist/Jah Thomas-Can't Break Dub
10-Rahsaan Roland Kirk- Black Root
11-Clementina de Jesus- Tres Corimas
12-Etelvina Maldonado- Que se quema el Monte
13-Sizzla- A Wah Dat
14-Untraced Macumba group-Boiadeiro
15-Unknown Garifuna-Punta
16-Lonnie Young, Ed Young & Lonnie Young Jr.-Jim and John
17-Tambores de San Millan- Santa Barbara
18-Roaring Lion-The Gold in Africa
19-Old South Quartette-No Hiding Place

01-Dwight Trible & Kamau Daáood-Africa
02-Andre Tanker and The Mansa Musa Drummers-Back home
03-Grupo Socavon-Homenaje a Justino
04-Z' Africa Brasil- O Bom Malandro
05-Busigan-Paranda dance
06-Silvestre Mendez-Obanlaese
07-El Brujo y Su Timba- El Cazador y el Armadillo
08-Yoruba Singers-Basa bongo
09-O-Matic-Charging warrior
10-Mestre Cardoso-Sereia
11-Prince Jazzbo-Freedom
12-Wilson Das Neves-Soulful Strut
13-Mauricio Tizumba-Balainho de Fulô
14-Lieve Hugo-Mi Be Be
15-Sanba Zawo & Djakata-O non zayilo yo tonbe
16-Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho-A Manteiga Derramou
17-Pastor T.L. Barrett-Like a Ship...(Without a Sail)
18-The Roaring Lion-African War Call

Keskidee Trio-Shango
Lugua Centeno-Fiura
Herbie Hancock-Juju
Poukoutan´n- La Guadalupe en derive
Côco do Amaro Branco-Todo mundo tem um amor
Wganda Kenya-Wganda Kenya
Melvin Gibbs feat. B Negâo & Afoxé filhos do Korin Efan-Represent do Rio
Leroy Young-Que sera sera
The Abyssinians-Ethiopia
Los Rolands-Garifuna mix.
Trio Atrato y Alfonso Córdoba 'el Brujo'-Adios Compay Gato
Yoruba Andabo-Congo
Cecil Mcbee-Tulsa Black
Hermandad Cultural de villa Mella-Congo
Mary Lou Williams-Chunk Lunka
Ras Sam Brown-Victory
Prince Far I-Itege
Little Axe-Return
Idris Muhammad-Sudan


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Daande Lenol

"I’d just got back from France where I’d been living for five years, and I had no idea where my musical career was going. I was in shock after the death of my mother and I was simply there to see my family. Coming back down from the north with friends, we made a recording in Studio 2000 in Dakar. It went down well and gave me some ideas. We set up a first group called Wandama, which lasted for a year. I was still hesitating between staying in Senegal or going back to France and doing my own project, but I decided to set up the group Daande Lenol with which I’m currently travelling the world."

Baaba Maal from rfimusique 

Daande Lenol

and complimentary I urge you to (re)unfold straight away if possible  
these sublime moments of  Baaba Maal in a 52 minutes of "repertoire inedit" along with the
"living human treasure" Samba Diabaré Samb and of course Mansour Seck as always by his side.

thanks to BaabaMaalTV

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Africa '68

While South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela has recorded scores of great records since the mid 1960s, one of his very finest achievements is this little-known triumph called Africa '68 (UNI).
This mysterious album was recorded in late 1967 between the trumpeter's Hugh Masekela Is Alive and Well at the Whiskey (UNI, 1967) and the career hit of "Grazing In The Grass" from The Promise Of A Future (UNI, 1968). The album bears no credit whatsoever except a promo sticker affixed to the front cover stating "Hugh Masekela Presents the Exciting Sounds of Africa And Its People" and descriptive liner notes from the trumpeter himself, who served as co-producer (with partner Stewart Levine) and - obviously, though not stated - musical director of this grand project of mbaqanga music.There are no musician credits on the record, but it's pretty obvious that Masekela - who probably served as musical director - is on trumpet, vocals, background vocals and probably many of the arrangements heard here too. Letta Mbulu obviously leads on many of the songs. And it's a safe bet that Jonas Gwangwa and Caiphus Semenya make significant contributions to the music too.
Truly bountiful, beautiful and beneficent, this music absolutely should be heard by anyone who likes or cares for the music of Hugh Masekela, Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya or Jonas Gwangwa. It is among the best work any of these great artists have ever done.
and yes! he is not exaggerating at all ! 

bra Hugh's lost masterpiece

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beggar Hadda el khencha

Née le 21 janvier 1920 chez les béni Barbar, dans les environs de Souk Ahras, elle fut l'une des premières femmes à chanter pour les femmes et pour les hommes à la différence des chanteuses des villes d'avant l'indépendance qui possédaient des orchestres strictement féminins.
Cette chanteuse qui fit les campagnes et les principales villes algériennes avait eu un destin particulier dans le sens qu'elle était stérile et divorcée par deux fois. Mariée à un homme âgé sans son consentement à l'âge de 12 ans, par sa mère, elle même chanteuse, elle s'enfuit du foyer conjugal pour mener une vie aventureuse en animant les fêtes familiales jusqu'à ce qu'elle rencontre, à l'âge de 20 ans, l'homme qui allait bouleverser sa vie: son flûtiste et son futur époux, Brahim Bendabêche, qu'elle vit, pour la première fois, à la fin d'une fête de mariage près d'El Mechrouha. Beggar Hadda qui resta longtemps un mystère parce qu'elle refusa de voir sa photo sur les pochettes de ses disques, avait fait ses débuts avec les Guessabas de Boukebche.
Après une carrière de plus de 50 ans, ignorée par la presse et la télévision, jusqu'en 1990, elle s'installa définitivement à Annaba. Celle qui s'est imposée comme la continuatrice du grand Djarmouni fera une dernière apparition en 1992 au cours de l'émission d'Abdelkrim Sekkar, Bonsoir Culture.
Elle a chanté la vie, l'amour et ces peines; Beggar Hadda est connue par sa célèbre chanson ya baba sidi.
La célèbre chanteuse eu une fin triste, elle mourut mendiante et moitié folle, dans la rue a Annaba.

Monday, August 13, 2012