The cat’s out of the bag. FM straight from the horse’s mouth. Radio to squeeze, to complain, from Middle High German quetzen, quetschen, “to squeeze. “today, listen.”
We’re gonna Peel it now and for the next several weeks: tons of music, little organization, lots of love.
Maâlem, MC, master of ceremonies…
this cassette rip is a double rescue – I dubbed it to digital before lending the tape to C, who briefly enjoyed the gnawa tape before getting robbed in El Parque de la Ciutadella by a quiet purse-snatcher.
the leader is Mahmoud Gania, one of the more famous members of a famous family of musicians in Essaouira, Morocco.
The except is 18 minutes long. A big part of gnawa is how it sidesteps time… i still don’t know. 18, 30 minutes. 4 hours. Sundown to sunup. What do you call something that could almost always go on for longer? Songs have beginnings and ends. These are not songs.
Gnawa music has flourished in the Western imagination completely out-of-scale with its popularity in Morocco, partly because of the basslines which can be appreciated in a dubby/reggae context by Western ears, and partly because of its backstory — the music of African slaves in the Maghreb, colonial music in the truest sense, Afro-Arab, ritual sounds used to cure snakebites & heal & cast out ill spirits in all-night ceremonies, etc.
30 or 40 years ago gnawa was very much looked-down upon in Moroccan society. Nass el Ghiwane’s massive success did a lot to popularize the instrument and dislodge its poor/black/marginal stigma, in a Moroccan context… My bandmate Khalid tells of the difficulty in finding a guembri when he was young, then getting scolded by his mother for having any interest in the music at all.
Today is my first Thanksgiving in America in ages. 5 years? more? It’s a nice DIY holiday, not about buying buying but rather about staying home and cooking your own food and sharing it. So that’s nice.
Violeta Parra’s Gracias a la Vida is a generous, poignant song whose meaning grows sadder and deeper the more you learn about the Chilean artist’s life, and how she ended it herself, and how its poetry survives her doubly, sung into international fame by Mercedes Sosa and Joan Baez, converting itself into a himno humanitario.
The kind that locates pain in an honest way – next to a beauty so full and embodied that its absence can be lethal. Going to another country in search of her lover. Finding him, married. All that depth of feeling unrequited.
So everything is delicate. Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto… The song graces its original singer, still, better than all the subsequent & less fragile versions.
Sizzla is generous too — or at least hard-working. And that’s the thing about Mr Kalonji: when he is off he’s screaming some too-loud Bobo Ashanti pulpit whatever, but when he is on, he’s deliriously good, overflowing with unquantifiable vocal power which lights from surprise to surprise. Here Sizzla rides the foundational Truth & Rights riddim as versioned by Brooklyn’s Massive B.
usually when i post music is it relatively obscure, hard-to-find stuff. Not today. This i picked up at a Spanish supermarket chain. She’s the best!
If I could have, say, lunch, and then work on a tune with anybody ever in the whole world, it would prob be Nina Simone. But I can’t, so that’s that.
ok, back to relatively hard-to-find.
I picked this up at Rachid’s Nassiphone shop in BCN last week. Rollicking chaabi marocaine, check the beats! The album — whose title (transliterated Arabic put into French grammatical structures) means Arabic Beats — is buyable at eMusic.
Today, Friday nov 16, i’ll be DJing at the Sonic Focus event in Providence, Rhode Island. 9:15-10:15pm. We can all be in bed by midnite.
S called this morning. “Do you mind if I follow you around for a day?”
And below, an unwatchable video from a recent gig I did w/ Andy in Geneva, filmed by a kindly Russian fan. He’s responsible for those craaazy effects.
wanna win a pair of tickets to tomorrow’s Dub War in NYC?
Name this riddim. First person to e-mail the correct name/info to nettlephonic at yahoo dot com gets free tickets. If you think nerds don’t deserve free tickets, send me a pretty song instead and we’ll see.
??? – ???? (Mudd Up! DubWar ticket giveaway)
It’s a record release party for my man Raz Mesinai. As mentioned earlier, his new album contains remixes by Filastine, Kode 9, Marina Rosenfeld, and yours truly.
Poet Caroline Bergvall stops by the radio show today! (my first guest without a MySpace page?!) In addition to reading some of her works and presenting some sounds, we’ll chat about plurilinguality. About face. About figs. About pets.
tune-in or catch her live (different words, same time) at MoMA’s Hell.
Diplo blogs cumbia over at MadDecent. (yes, Zizek is named after Zizek.)
here’s some Tejano screw from a flanger-heavy Sabor Kolombia mixtape de hace unos años:
este cumbia rebajada es la pura verdad
this slowed-up cumbia is the straight truth
&, more disturbingly, DeD:
Dick El Demasiado – Cada Curva Tiene Sus Derechos from Al Perdido Ganado
Today, 7-8pm on my WFMU show, on-air performance by artist Kalup Linzy!
as always, ruptureradio.com for more info about the program, WFMU.org for info on the FM station including how to listen online, and my streaming archives from the past few weeks. Kalup was first muddied up here.