Like Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham won a Guggenheim to study culture of the African diaspora in Haiti and elsewhere. Like Maya Deren, who was once Dunham's secretary, the pioneering choreographer traveled to the field and produced an historic recording of music and ritual in the field. (Maya Deren's Voices of Haiti was shared right here in Motherlode #165.) Our lead item today presents Dunham's miraculous 1956 recordings of Haitian, Cuban and Brazilian drums and song. The LP features a crew of legendary percussionists including Francisco Aguabella, Julito Collazo and Albert Laguerre, who all traveled back the U.S. and toured with Dunham's dancers. Check out all five of the wonderful recordings here, but be sure to grab this groundbreaking document.
A Drum Is a Drum "The nonagenarian Katherine Dunham was Afrocentric before there were Afros. As a dancer, she performed African-derived rhythms of the Americas with her pioneering dance troupes, which included Eartha Kitt and Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura). She studied far-flung rhythms and dances as a University of Chicago-trained anthropologist and wrote about them in several books, including Island Possessed and Journey to Accompong. And she choreographed a number of movies, including Lena Horne's Cabin in the Sky. Her unique blend of academics and art is aurally evident on this rare percussion recording featuring Cuban Santería drum rituals, Brazilian sambas and Haitian Voodoo chants and spells." (Description by Eugene Holley Jr., in Philadelphia Weekly)
[For the DL link, click on the second DESCARGAR in the last line of text.]
If we’re very, very lucky -- and I’m talking here about the kind of
luck that would get you rudely expelled from even the highest-class Las
Vegas casino -- the star Betelgeuse, located 640 light years
away from us in the top-left corner of the constellation Orion, will die
within our lifetimes. Betelgeuse is much larger than our sun,
which means that its lifespan is correspondingly shorter. Its death
throes will manifest in a supernova -- a stellar explosion of
such magnitude that it will put out apocalyptic amounts of light and
energy. Stars operate on eonic timelines, so Betelgeuse could
erupt in the next ten seconds, or the next hundred thousand years. If
our luck holds, we’ll see it almost as a second sun -- it’ll rival the
moon in the night sky. We’ll be able to read by its light. For a
few brief months, Betelgeuse will put on an inspiring show.
Most of us will stare at it and see something gorgeous. Others will
be quietly terrified -- the heavens rarely speak unless to say
something, and nothing good can come of a message sent through
the death of another solar system. Still others will marvel for a day,
until the wonder of the thing recedes into banality, long before
the star itself dims.
For at least one person -- and I don’t yet know who that is, but I’ll
near-guarantee he or she exists -- the supernova won’t be inspiring, or
terrifying, or banal. It’ll be an excuse. Time to go. Time for
everyone to go.
Marshall Applewhite -- slight, wide-eyed, with the calm conviction of
an airline pilot -- saw his excuse in the comet Hale-Bopp, whose
passing was perhaps the most widely-observed celestial event in
human history. Applewhite’s cult, Heaven’s Gate, counted among its
beliefs the idea that the Earth was
Beloved anarchist Emma Goldman famously chirped, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution." No cause is worth denial of joy, she insisted. From the fife and drum troops of the Continental Army, to the populist warblings of Woody Guthrie, to the Boss rocking the presidential stump, music has contributed to social and political upheaval throughout history.
Take the Civil Rights movement for example, which was so awash in song as to have its own virtual soundtrack. But not all such music was a joyous affair worthy of Emma Goldman. Particularly the collection of songs reflecting on the most calamitous moment of the era, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To acknowledge King's birthday on January 15, I produced this hour-long broadcast for WFMU. Now the Motherlode pays tribute with its own contribution, in the form of our lead item, below.
Got MLK? "The songs on this collection are living history. Guido Van Rijn, a Dutch music writer/journalist wrote a book called President Johnson’s Blues which was an exploration of how Blues and Gospel artists responded to the Presidency of LBJ, and the assassination of MLK and Robert Kennedy, both in 1968." (Description from ajnabi, at Washerman's Dog)
Blissfully unaware of what was to come later in the month, in preparation for WFMU's Web-only, "silent" fundraiser, the plan for My Castle of Quiet was to mount three special programs; The Sonics of Terror, a soundtracks-only special; and two double bills—one improvised / experimental "noise" bill, and one metal bill, the latter showcasing two bands that I'd been "courting" for some months—Chicago's excellent Sun Splitter, passing through on tour, and Brooklyn's relatively unsung black-metal giants, Yellow Eyes. The latter program was to top off a very eventful month on the show, and boy, did it ever.
As great as they are different, Sun Splitter and Yellow Eyes are both exemplary and plainly evident of how wildly varied what falls under the banner of "underground metal" can be; Splitter draw on "rock," with a thick and good-smellin' Sharpie, culling from Big Black, Led Zeppelin and all points between, with a pure, dense psychedelia permeating their unique compositions, while Yellow Eyes are one of Brooklyn's best-kept black-metal secrets, true to the parent genre, while unquestionably having their own sound, wickedly sea-ferring accomplished players, great songwriters with a murky sound and an attitude to match, seeking neither fame nor widespread success; thus far, YE have released their mini-masterpieces only on cassette, though two full-length vinyl releases threaten to drop within the coming year.
Intrepid WFMU sound engineer Juan Aboites helmed both sessions, bringing to both projects the cohesion that their complex deliveries demand, and though Sun Splitter were pre-recorded on 10.24, the night before the broadcast, had I not been admitting of this fact, the listeners would never have known, the band's pulsating energy and sheer volume rattling the walls at 43 Monty; heavy, hypnotic Gibson riffs broken asunder by the psychedelic cage-rattling of men captured in H.H. Holmes' damned filthy Chicagoan underbelly.
Yellow Eyes blistered through four of their finest songs, acute treble and assaultive blast beats casting their vivid mental picture of a band of ghost sailors, maddened by syphilis and too many hours alone at sea, listening to the persistent slap of the waves against the hull.
Keep your eyes and ears on both of these bands, to build continually impressive live performances and discographies, and I cannot recommend highly enough the two full-lengths, Sun Splitter III (Bloodlust!) and Silence Threads The Evening's Cloth (Sol y Nieve.) Huge thanks to Juan and the bands for a night to remember. Both sets are presented as relative continuums, with Sun Splitter's final chunk broken off on its impressive own, and YE's set laid out as one continuous mp3.
Does anyone under about 50 years old remember the Fuller Brush Men and Women? How they came door to door peddling not just brushes but all manner of items - many of the same sort of things you might find today in the Vermont Country Store Catalog?
My mother loved our Fuller Brush Man - who I remember as an exceptionally friendly, rumpled little man with an immigrant's accent and a love of his job, which he did quite well. She had long wanted to capture his voice and mannerisms on a tape recording. And it happened one September day in 1967. I was seven, and would have started second grade that week, but I was in the last stages of recovering from viral pneumonia, so I was being kept at home. Basically recovered, I was doing what I always did when given the chance - recording my voice, in this case on our brand new Ampex stereo tape recorder.
I've faded the tape in as I'm finishing singing a song, and as mom saw the Fuller Brush Man approaching. As you'll hear, she told me to leave the machine running. The conversation took place at the other end of our living room, so the sound quality is not all that great - and will probably be best heard through ear buds - but it's still a prize worth hearing, one that has remained a family treasure.
The real action comes in the first half of this four minute clip, and our favorite moment comes early on. After learning that I'm home, recovering from illness, he tells me "Bobby, do you know why I came? I knew that you were out of bubble bath!" Now I ask you, when was the last time that was heard as a sales pitch, from a door-to-door salesman, to the customer's child. When was the last time salesmen came to the home regularly enough to know your children's names and which of your products they used?
There is a bit more about the benefits of a good bubble bath ("you smell like a million dollars!"), then I think he does a little bit of simple magic for me with some combs. A conversation about our brand new kitten follows (I think I can make out her cry here and there), and touches on the relationship between our cats, as well as the relative upkeep of cats versus dogs, then the Fuller Brush Man gets to work asking about what products my mother would like.
An odd conversation follows - she doesn't want to "buy", and that's fine with him, as long as she wants to "order". I assume she meant that she didn't want anything he had on him at that moment, but will look at the things he can get for her from his catalog. He begins his spiel - the stainless steel sponges are on sale, among other things, and there's a new watch on a chain available. Shortly thereafter, I return to the microphone, comment that I hope the machine recorded him, and go back to recording my own voice again, at which point I've faded the tape.
"To Boys and Girls, Brothers and Sisters, Mothers and Dads: PICTURE NEWS looks the same as other books, but with appearance and method of presentation the likeness ends. PICTURE NEWS reports the news, the news with its endless appeal and its prophecy of things to come, in action and speaking and color pictures.
Drawn pictures in bright colors with balloons, which are comics, have thrilled, amused, informed and taught. The U.S. Army has used them, so have important advertisers, and schools are beginning to know their value.
Most of these comic books have their virtues. Their millions of eager readers devour the drawn stories of dramatic adventures and sudden success. And many a comic character has become better known and admired and more widely imitated than Cousin Jack or Aunt Tillie.
Why is this so? Because the leading comic book characters personify the energy, dash, unbeatable spirit and the pure motives of our American ideal. And it is this ideal and that spirit that will make America enduringly great.
Now PICTURE NEWS for the FIRST time uses this new medium of action pictures and color and dialogue to make life real on the printed page. And life, as we know, has its ups and downs. It is what it is - life. And we, being what we are, work and play, and sometimes suffer and die to make life more secure and better. Everything that happens is news. Reporting it, is an important job. To PICTURE NEWS, it is a challenge." (from the "January 1, 1946" introduction to the first issue)
That is an excerpt from the long inside-front-cover mission statement for the new book, and in it, among other things, we'll learn about musician, composer and actor Hoagy Carmichael in a tidy little four-page tale. Come feast your eyes and glut your soul - right after the jump.
In a never-ending quest to dig out the subterranean sounds from all corners of the earth, WFMU has hooked in with the first-ever Alchemy At Zahar festival for what's sure to be a most amazing event in the Moroccan desert province of Zagora on April 18-21st. The event, which is being put together as a philanthropic, government-sponsored endeavor to help create forward motion in a wells project in order to bring a dwindling population back into the province, will have support from the Alchemy Association, the Association of Development for People with
Specific Needs (ADPSN) of Tagounite and the Association for
Alphabetization of Tagounite. WFMU and our fellow freeform broadcast pals at KFJC in the Bay Area of California will conduct a joint broadcast (and hopeful video simulcast) from quite a bit of this event, which will feature an amazing cross-section of Western and African adventurous sounds:
Ahwach N Tferkine (traditional group from the Souss-Massa Drâa Region, featuring a choir of twelve female singers and four male percussionists), Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (experimental/film noir European combo), Lee Ranaldo (w/Leah Singer, and his band), Pelican (post-rock Chicago metal ensemble), Brothers Unconnected (Alan and Rick Bishop of Sun City Girls, also performing solo sets), Master Musicians of Bukkake (playing the Totem Trilogy), AND the legendary Master Musicians of Jajouka, ethno-prog West Coast stalwarts Secret Chiefs 3, Portuguese psych band Black Bombino, Tinariwin d'Mhamid (young Tinariwen covers band!), Abraxas, and more (full lineup/updates here). A dream lineup for both stations.
The idea of riding six and a half hours from Marrakech to the desert town of M'hamid Al Ghislane, then taking 4x4s on sand tracks an hour away to a tent/stage setup almost at the Algerian border (the Screaming Dune of Zahar) isn't your usual WFMU remote, but with the support of the Festival to bring us out, we're up for the challenge! If all goes well we will be documenting the beautiful sights and sounds along the way, hopeful camel excursions to the well sites to boot. We're extremely excited to work with organizer Basile and Alchemy, and our friends from KFJC at this event. More info to follow, and please keep an eye on Alchemy's site and Facebook. Tickets and packages for the (intrepid) public and concertgoers is also on the site. Should be amazing!
The flipping of the calendar has brought flippin' great developments in Blogland with the rumbling back to life of some favorite sites that had been inactive for too long. Today's Motherlode welcomes back this quartet of music-sharing shrines with hopes for a robust 2013:
Stratified The fantastic El Reza has rumbled
back to life with this offering from Detroit's long-defunct Strata Records. Predecessor to the groundbreaking Strata-East, Strata recorded three
dozen LPs' worth of material, but released only six. This offering being
one of them.
DJ/historian Amir Abdullah is heroically relaunching recordings
from Strata on his label 180 Proof—reissuing some of the
previously released discs and issuing, for the first time, some never-before-heard masters from the Strata vaults. (The album shared here is not among
those currently planned for re/release.) Abdullah appeared on John
Schaefer's "Soundcheck" show on WNYC radio last month. Listen to their conversation. Learn more about Abdullah's Strata reissue project here.
Just three months ago, I wrote of the end of a 30 year search for an elusive record by Thurl Ravenscroft. With that record added to my collection - the last Thurl 45 that I knew about, but didn't own - I wondered whether there would be any further great Thurl finds - prior to that one, it had been quite a while.
The answer fell into my lap barely six weeks later when I stumbled upon another great Thurl 45, one I had never heard of, and which wasn't listed in the tremendous discography at the equally wonderful All Things Thurl website. After enjoying this record mightily for a few weeks, my next move was to share it with the world.
The record is dated November, 1955, and technically, the artist billing is Teddy Phillips Orchestra, vocal by Thurl Ravenscroft & Phillipaires, but the story on each side of the record is primarily Thurl, front and center. Already, I've gone back and forth on which of the two songs I like more.
On the A-side Thurl and the gals sing about the thrilling story of "Pocahontas", with a downright goofy chorus built out of the repetition of part of the name of that "Indian maid". The b-side is a more typical 1950's love ballad, "My Love For You", but Thurl's delivery is great, and there is also a very nice, unusual instrumental section halfway through the record, where individual horns play one note of the melody in succession, sort of like a big band version of The Chordettes. Enjoy!
Today we begin our new Comic Book Series at Beware of the Blog with a jazzy little five page yarn ripped from the pages of Black Cat Mystery issue number 46, cover dated October 1953. We'll meet Sam Webb, the owner of radio station WOW, a hard-working but unpopular on-air personality, and join him for one of his last broadcasts.
This tender tale was written and drawn by the prolific and unusual Bob Powell (1917 - 67), born Stanley Pulowski, who learned the ropes of the comic book business in the 1940s at the famous Will Eisner studio, over in Tudor City, NY. His work during the period this story comes from was often inked by Howard Nostrand and I suspect that this piece was finished by Nostrand. So settle back in your radio chair and enjoy this slice of broadcasting history - right after the jump.
Mark your calendars for Sunday, January 13th! WFMU is hosting a Mini-Record Fair and blowout benefit show at The Bell House in Brooklyn!
The fair happens 11-5pm (no admission after 3pm due to space
constraints), and at 7:30 we'll be kicking off a night of music mayhem
with Arrington Di Dionyso of Old Time Relijun, followed by the Dot Wiggin Band (of the Shaggs!), the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Texas psych/gospel dynamos The Relatives!Jonathan Toubin spins! Tickets for the Music Benefit at this link here, and more info below.
Tix are $10 for the fair (tickets at the door only) and $20 for the concert, with advance tickets for sale here!! All proceeds benefit WFMU in its post-Hurricane Sandy Recovery.
The fair and concert are both separate events, and the inner hall will
be cleared out at 5pm to reopen for the show at 7:30. Set times:
7:30 Arrington Di Dionyso
8:10 Dot Wiggin Band
9:00 Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
10:00 The Relatives
Dag Nasty played a one off reunion show in Washington DC at the Black Cat on December 28, 2012. Below is their full set with original singer Shawn Brown. Set List: Can I Say,Under Your Influence, I've heard, Thin Line, Circles, Another Wrong, What Now, One To Two, Justification, Pressure's On (Red C Cover), Never Go Back
After the break: Magic is Küntmaster at Saint Vitus.
Muscles of Joy - Muscles of Joy (Watts of Goodwill)
Vanessa Rossetto - Exotic Exit (Kye)
The Trypes - Music for Neighbors (Acute)
Agali Ag Amoumine - Takamba (Sahel Sounds)
Mark Fell - Periodic Orbits of a Dynamic System Related to a Knot (Editions Mego)
Jason Lescalleet - Songs About Nothing (Erstwhile)
Various - Time To Go - The Southern Psychedelic Moment: 1981-86 (Flying Nun)
Rev. Charlie Jackson - Lord You’re So Good (50 Miles of Elbow Room)
Helm - Impossible Symmetry (Pan)
Morton Feldman - Crippled Symmetry (Frozen Reeds)
Eric Lanham - The Sincere Interruption (Spectrum Spools)
Sean McCann & Matthew Sullivan - Jackpot (Ekhein)
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems (Modern Love)
Mary Halvorson Quintet - Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12)
Lewlewal De Podor - Yiilo Jaam (Sahel Sounds)
Various - Fanafody: A Collection of Recordings and Photography from Madagasikara Volume II (Mississippi/Cultural Knot)
David Kilgour - Here Come the Cars (De Stijl)
Various - Laila Je T'aime (Sahel Sounds)
Eli Keszler - Cold Pin (Pan)
TROUBLE (This Is the Modern World, Tuesdays 9-Noon) Peaking Lights - Lucifer Pure Bathing Culture - s/t Allah-las - s/t Tia Blake and her folk group - Folksongs and Ballads Angel Olsen - Halfway Home Melody's Echo Chamber - s/t Personal Space: Electronic Soul 74-84 - v/a
Just Tell Me What You Want - v/a tribute to Fleetwood Mac Josephine Foster - Blood rushing Brenda Ray - D'Ya hear me: Naffi years 1979-83 Julia Holter - Extasis
FAYE (Hello Children, Thursdays 9-Noon)
Maxine Funke- Felt LP
Pheromoans- Does This Guy Stack Up? LP Boomgates- Double Natural LP Swearin'- Swearin' LP
Thee Ahs - Thee AHs AHttack! 7"
V/A - Songs On Conceptual Art Compilation LP
Scott & Charlene's Wedding- Para Vista Social Club LP
Evening Meetings- Evening Meetings LP Tennis- Young & Old LP
Novella- Novella EP
BRIAN TURNER (WFMU Music Director, Tuesdays 3-6pm) Divorce s/t (Night School) Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides (Matador) Tropa Macaca - Ectoplasma (Software) Solid Attitude - BB Gun Picnic (Rotted Tooth) Maxine Funke - Felt (Epic Sweep) Peter Hammill - Consequences (Fie) Blues Control - Valley Tangents (Drag City) Frank Rosaly - Centering and Displacement (Utech) Joshua Abrams - Represencing (Eremite) Letha Rodman Melchior/Tretetam - Moon Mountain (Robert & Leopold) BB Jr - How To Fuck All Your Coworkers in One Sitting (Captcha) Mohel - The Second Temple (Verdura) Arnaldo Antunes / Edgard Scandurra / Toumani Diabate
- A Curva Da Cintura
(Mais Um Discos) Crazy Spirit - s/t (Toxic State) Thomas Koner - Novaya Zemlya (Touch) Spectre Folk - Ancient Storm (Vampire Blues) FNU Ronnies - Saddle Up (Load) Willie Lane - Guitar Army of One (Cord-Art) Ali Ag Amoumine - Takamba (Mississippi) Seven That Spells - The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock (Beta-Lactam Ring)
7" Hot Lunch, Satanic Rockers, Circle X, Secret Museum of Kind Men, IV Eyes/Schiller Killer split, Manateees, Orgone Toilet label stuff
Old But New: Sedition Ensemble - Regeneration Report (S-S) Wicked Lady - The Axeman Cometh (Guersen) Noh Mercy - Noh Mercy (Superior Viaduct) Null and Void - Possibilities (Bunker Pop) Coven - Worship New Gods (Shadow Kingdom) Francis Bebey - African Electronic Music (Born Bad) Metz - Metz (Ossining) Rev. Charlie Jackson - Lord You're So Good: Live Recordings Vol. 2 (50 Miles of Elbow Room) The Max Block - Air Ache In the Belly of the Leech (Siltbreeze) Northern Haze - Sinnaktuq (Supreme Echo) Sonic Youth - Smart Bar Chicago 1985 (Goofin) Can - The Lost Tapes (Mute/Spoon) Jim Shaw & Mike Kelley - Duets 1975-76 (Compound Annex) Various - Time To Go: The Southern Psychedelic Movement 1981-86 (Flying Nun)
Live: Pussy Galore, Maxwells, Hoboken Van Halen, Cafe Wha? (David Lee Roth's uncle's place!) NYC ZZ Top - Beacon Theater, NYC Watery Love, Cake Shop NYC Bone Awl - St Vitus, Brooklyn Leonard Cohen, Barclays, Brooklyn The Pop Group - Primavera, Barcelona Les Morts Vont Bien - La Cantine de Belleville, Paris Michael Chapman - The Captain's, Glasgow Sightings/Gnaw - Littlefield, Brooklyn Supreme Dicks - Beerland, Austin Gay Witch Abortion/Hammerhead/Melvins/Seawhore - Lit Lounge NYC Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Barclays, Brooklyn Alvarius B - Union Pool, Brooklyn Peter Brotzmann/Jason Adasiewicz & Joshua Abrams - Le Poisson Rouge
Live radio sessions on the show w/feedtime, Lee Ranaldo Band, Suzuki Junzo, Blues Control, Black Dice, Michael Chapman, +DOG+, Jandek, Twerps, Gay Witch Abortion.
DAN BODAH (Airborne Event, Mondays 9PM-Midnight) Swans -- The Seer (Young God) Colin L. Orchestra -- Col (Northern-Spy) Lonnie Holley -- Just Before Music (Dust-to-Digital) Om -- Advaitic Songs (Drag City) Pauline Oliveros -- Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970 12xCD (Important) Jim Coleman -- Trees (Wax & Wane) Blues Control -- Valley Tangents (Drag City) Sabbath Assembly -- Ye Are Gods (Ajna Offensive) Date Palms / Expo 70 / Pulse Emitter / Faceplant -- untitled split 2xLP (Immune) Hildur Guðnadóttir -- Leyfdu Ljosinu (Touch) William Basinski -- The Disintegration Loops 9xLP + 5xCD + DVD + book (Temporary Residence Ltd.) Samara Lubelski -- Wavelength (De Stijl)
BILLY JAM (Put the Needle on the Record, Fridays 7-8pm)
1) El-P "Cancer 4 Cure" (Fat Possum)
2) Kid Koala "12 Bit Blues" (Ninja Tune)
3) Aesop Rock "Skelethon" (Rhymesayers Ent)
4) Homeboy Sandman "First of A Living Breed" (Stones Throw)
5) JJ Doom "Key To The Kuffs" (Lex Records)
6) Casual & J-Rawls "Respect Game Or Expect Flames" (Nature Sounds)
7) Lushlife "Plateau Vision" (Western Vinyl)
8) Killer Mike "R.A.P. Music" (Williams Street)
9) Serengeti "C.A.R." (Anticon)
10) E-40 & Too $hort "History: Mob Music" (Heavy On the Grind)