Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
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.]
J.D. Jarvis ~ Old Time Country Gospel
(Blog: Mr. Meadowlark's Music and Memories)
A decorated WWII vet (three purple hearts), Jarvis returned from service to record 45 LPs' worth of gospel, bluegrass, and gospel bluegrass charmers. For some, Jarvis is still best known as the tambourine rattler on some of Brother Claude Ely treasured King recordings. (Go here and here.)
Khana Wang Te ~ Chai Yen Yen
"At long last, our first entry of lam tat music! Traditional or folk music (especially in a form intended for local consumption, rather than the tourist market) can be a bit difficult to find in Thailand. Recently, though, I spotted this tattered old tape on the street, and now I can finally share some of this great music with you! Lam tat, long since associated with Thailand's central provinces, is in fact descended from Malay Islamic antiphon. It typically features opposing male and female choruses, each led by a soloist who improvises lyrical barbs and double entendres in a 'battle of the sexes' through wordplay. The musical backing is no more than a frame drum and finger cymbals. The ensemble here is the famed Wang Te group, led by national artist Wangdi Nima, who, I'm sad to say, we just lost this past june at the age of 87. I think you'll agree that this tape is really wonderful, despite the decay at parts... and as an added bonus, Mae Khwanchit Siprachan makes a special guest appearance!" (Description by Peter, at Monrakplengthai)
Albert "Tootie" Heath ~ Kawaida
(Blog: An Ism to Horns and Beats)
Ghana Fly Now
"The music, songs of our nation, like any of our art, must function as weapons in the continuing struggle to win the minds of THE PEOPLE. This is what is meant by The Cultural Revolution. This is what Mao and Ho mean, this is what Sekou Touré of Guinea and Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania mean. Art as weapon of the cultural revolution to win the minds of the people. So that the people will be given the value system that calls for a total revolution. A total change. What we mean when we say National Liberation, the freeing of a people in bondage. The freeing of a Nation, the Black Nation in evolution." (Excerpt from the liner notes, by Amiri Baraka)
Hailing from Madrid, twins Santi and Julían López Hernández were a long-running pop song brother act. I believe these two EPs date from the early '60s, just before they were joined by stage and screen star María Dolores Fernández Pradera, who sang with them for nearly three decades.
Listen to my radio show Give the Drummer Some—Tuesdays, 6-7pm, and Fridays, 9 to noon—on WFMU's web stream Give the Drummer Radio.
Send your email address to get on the mailing list for a weekly newsletter about the show, the stream and Mining the Audio Motherlode.
Check out every installment of Mining the Audio Motherlode