22 May 2022

Brazil, Sweden, France, Denmark and the US

The shamanic first Organic Music Theatre performance that initiated Don Cherry's ''mystical'' period, now available for the first time!

'Organic Music Theatre captures a communal spirit of exploration and education. Don Cherry’s at the piano and harmonium, acting more like a cool-but-overly-enthusiastic camp counselor than a bandleader — he leads the audience (at a jazz festival, no less) in chants and singalongs, gathering the spirits in several languages and rhythms, both removing authorship and extending creation.' -vikingschoice.org

'In 1972, the Cherrys unveiled their Organic Music Theatre project, which encompassed Don’s music, Moki’s art, as well as elements from their family life.

They made their Organic Music Theatre project debut at The Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon, which took place that same year in the south of France.

Performing with Don Cherry’s New Researches — a group including Don and Moki, Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelo, the band were joined onstage by audience members, and a puppet troupe, while Moki’s carpets and handmade tapestries adorned the set-up.'




'In the late 1960s, the American trumpet player and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry (1936–1995) and the Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943–2009) began a collaboration that imagined an alternative space for creative music, most succinctly expressed in Moki’s aphorism “the stage is home and home is a stage.” By 1972, they had given name to a concept that united Don’s music, Moki’s art, and their family life in rural Tagårp, Sweden into one holistic entity: Organic Music Theatre. Captured here is the historic first Organic Music Theatre performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in the South of France, mastered from tapes recorded during its original live broadcast on public TV. A life-affirming, multicultural patchwork of borrowed tunes suffused with the hallowed aura of Don’s extensive global travels, the performance documents the moment he publicly jettisoned his identity as a jazz musician, and represents the start of his communal “mystical” period, later crystallized in recordings such as Organic Music Society, Relativity Suite, Brown Rice, and the soundtrack for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain.

The musicians in Don Cherry’s New Researches, hailing from Brazil, Sweden, France, and the US, converged on Chateauvallon from all over Europe. The five-person band—Don and Moki Cherry, Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelos— performed in an outdoor amphitheater and were joined onstage by a dozen adults and children, including Swedish friends who tagged along for the trip and Det Lilla Circus (The Little Circus), a Danish puppet troupe based in Christiania, Copenhagen. The platform was lined with Moki’s carpets and her handmade, brightly colored tapestries, depicting Indian scales and bearing the words Organic Music Theatre, dressed the stage. As the musicians played, members of Det Lilla, led by Annie Hedvard, danced, sang, and mounted an improvised puppet show on poles high up in the air.

The music in the Chateauvallon concert aspired to a universal language that would bring people together through song. In a fairly unprecedented move, Don abandoned his signature pocket trumpet for the piano and harmonium, thereby liberating his voice as an instrument for shamanic guidance. The show opens with him beckoning the audience to clap their hands and sing the Indian theta “Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na,” and the set cycles through uplifting and sacred tunes of Malian, South African, Brazilian, and Native American provenance—including pieces that would later appear on Don’s albums Organic Music Society and Home Boy (Sister Out)—all punctuated by outbursts of possessed glossolalia from the puppeteers. “Relativity Suite, Part 1” notably spotlights Bothén on donso ngoni, a Malian hunter’s guitar, prior to Vasconcelos taking an extended solo on berimbau. A vortex of wah-like microtonal rattling, Vasconcelos’s masterful demonstration of this single-stringed Brazilian instrument is a harbinger of his work to come as a member, with Don, of the acclaimed group Codona. The sounds of children playing on the ensemble’s achingly tender rendition of Jim Pepper’s oft-covered beacon of spiritual optimism, “Witchi Tai To,” lends the proceedings an especially intimate, domestic glow. Given the context of the star-studded international jazz festival, the concert’s laid back, communal vibe feels like an attempt by the Cherrys to show Don’s jazz audience that he was moving on. At the same time, however, Don was extending a warmhearted invitation for them to come along for the ride.'



Health Is Wealth: Don Cherry’s Organic Music Theatre Revisited

By Dustin Krcatovich , June 10th, 2021 | The Quietus

A new multimedia programme gives context to the swirl of colour that was Don and Moki Cherry’s expansive 1970s experiments in “world fusion”

'Every week or so, your average music writer will get about twenty emails from a publicist claiming that this or that artist has made “a new spiritual jazz classic”. What this usually means in 2021 is that someone heard Karma or Journey in Satchidananda in a sativa-addled haze a couple years ago, looked up an article on the internet about how modes work, and made some slowish boom-bap shit in Ableton with an old schoolmate blurting saxophone all over it. Some of it sounds fine, but almost none of it has any of the weight of its purported forebears. It’s modal muzak, background for a mellow Tuesday at the coffee shop.

The work that Brooklyn’s Blank Forms has been doing recently exhuming unheard (and unseen) work from trumpeter/composer Don Cherry’s fertile 1970s “mystical” period should be required listening for any punter currently sullying the name of spiritual jazz. Cherry isn’t a wholly unknown quantity among toe-dippers, of course, but his work was too broad and deep to lazily graft onto a standard-issue bedroom production.

With the programme currently underway, Blank Forms isn’t just working to broaden Don’s historical portrait, either. They are also shining much-needed light on the work of Moki Cherry, his partner throughout this boundary-pushing period and a multimedia force in her own right. Moki’s painting and textile work defined the look of Don’s 1970s output. Performances of this period were a flurry of colour and motion bedecked in her enlightening visions.

Organic Music Societies, a hefty tome released in April, serves as a prelude for two albums of unreleased work that are now seeing release, and as a companion to a gallery show in New York celebrating the couple’s work together. It’s a real treasure, loaded with rare interviews and history, as well as scads of photos of Moki’s work and the couple’s family life (including, yes, adorable childhood pics of progeny Neneh and Eagle-Eye Cherry).

As the book details, through much of the 1970s, the family occupied a schoolhouse in rural Tågarp, Sweden, where they regularly invited people into their quarters for workshops and performances. This is where Don got serious about expanding his horizons beyond the strictures of jazz – even the free jazz he pioneered with Ornette Coleman – diving headfirst into traditions gleaned from Turkey, Brazil, and India, among others. Moki draped the space in her exuberant creations, emblazoned with religious symbols and slogans. Children and puppeteers might roam the stage, and the music on a given day could careen between free improv, blissed-out R&B, drone music, and even dreamy pop covers.

The couple called this project Organic Music Theatre, as evocative a name as one can imagine for the holistic mystical experience they worked to create. A recovering heroin addict, Don hoped to forge a new way to present and experience music well outside of the jazz clubs and bars where he had formed his worst habits. Organic Music Theatre represented not just artistic inclusivity and openness, but a way of life encompassing health food (it’s not for nothing that his most revered record from this period is called Brown Rice), children’s education, and whatever else their cohort viewed as essential to a better life.

Both of the records of unheard material released as part of this programme reflect this to a degree, but Organic Music Theatre – Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972 (credited to Don Cherry’s New Researches featuring Naná Vasconcelos) is definitely the more overtly utopian. Here, Don eschews his signature pocket trumpet in favour of voice, piano, and harmonium, and the results are shamanistic, almost like a clandestine recording of a cult ritual (albeit one with more musicianship, and less creepiness, at play than is typical of that sort of thing). The music sounds indebted to myriad musics from around the world, but also to the psychedelic happenings that had been in fashion the previous decade. The gentle commotion of children cavorting is audible on the recording.

Don’s aspirations were less overt on The Summer House Sessions, recorded in 1968 with a group of Swedish improvisers. Still early in his relationship with Moki and fresh off his groundbreaking work with Coleman, jazz is still the clear centre here. The expansions, then, are subtle: the incorporation of Turkish rhythms here, an Indian scale there. Most radical (and most indicative of Don’s nascent intentions) is the insistence that the music be communal and solo-free. Don and Moki would generally demur at the notion that their work might be considered “political”, but the rejection of leaders is an inherently political act no matter how one chooses to frame it.

Some may view these recordings as curios more than major works, especially given the steady stream of boundary-expanding work still up Cherry’s silken sleeve at this point in history. But both records are absolutely fascinating documents of curves in Cherry’s winding road, as worthy in their own right as his fiery early work or the eccentric twists and turns of his later albums. Organic Music Societies gives the music essential context, and they’re better served together.

Don Cherry’s work has always deserved this kind of lavish reconsideration, and Moki was long overdue for a critical reassessment. It couldn’t have come at a better time, either: it seems there’s a new mystical tide coming in today, a cry for a respite from the terrors of the last two decades (or really, since the dawn of Reagan, Thatcher, et al.). Psychedelics, the rejection of wage slavery, communal living, reconnection with nature, and better health are all becoming increasingly attractive in the face of pandemic/economic/internet burnout. In that context, a deep dive into the Cherrys’ 1970s work is both educational and aspirational, an illustration of a hopeful direction which has been aggressively de-emphasized in our ongoing neoliberal nightmare. Where one may have spent the snark-addled 1990s looking askance at anything with its heart as open as the work presented here, that’s nothing a couple decades of brutalization won’t fix.

In fact, Cherry’s work in our current light looks an awful lot like an open hand, a glowing beacon beckoning you into awareness of The Eternal Now. Yeah, that may read corny to some of you, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound stellar on these records.'





Don Cherry on creativity and "the mysticism of sound"

by Gabriela Helfet | March 10, 2021 | www.thevinylfactory.com

A previously unreleased radio interview with the pioneering trumpeter.

During the early 1970s, jazz maestro Don and interdisciplinary artist Moki Cherry unveiled their Organic Music Theatre project – a technicolour collaboration that encompassed Don’s music, Moki’s art, and elements from their family life.

Combining Don’s improvisational sonic spirit with Moki’s visually-oriented inspirations, they made their Organic Music Theatre project debut at The Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in 1972, which took place in the south of France.

Performing with Don Cherry’s New Researches — a group that included Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelo alongside Don and Moki, the band were joined onstage by audience members and a puppet troupe, while Moki’s carpets and handmade tapestries adorned the set-up.

Ahead of the publication of Blank Forms’ new book Organic Music Societies, which focuses on the Cherrys’ lives and artistic practices, as well as an exhibition of the same name, we share an excerpt from the publication, featuring a previously unreleased interview with Don.

“This radio interview between Don Cherry and Christopher R. Brewster aired on March 12, 1970, in advance of Cherry’s ‘Elephantasy’ concert at Dartmouth University’s Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“The conversation was originally broadcast on WDCR, Dartmouth’s free-form community radio station, during Cherry’s tenure as an artist-in-residence at the school. In it, Cherry sheds light on his travels, pedagogy, and collaborations, and demonstrates the use of several instruments. This transcription has been edited for clarity and length. Advertisements and other radio announcements have been removed, and phrases in brackets have been inserted by the editors for ease of reading.”

Christopher R. Brewster:

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to The Noon Hour for this Thursday afternoon. I’m Chris Brewster and I’m very pleased to have as my guest today one of my favorite people, Don Cherry, who is a jazz musician, and who at this time is teaching a music course at Dartmouth College. And Don’s here to talk today about his upcoming concert, which will be this Saturday, entitled Elephantasy. Don, I thought we might begin by asking where you got the name of Elephantasy for the concert.

Don Cherry:

Well, you know, this thing ‘fantasy’ is something that has been a very rare thing. We know of it when we’re very young. And being connected with children as I have in my life, I feel that it’s important to keep this alive, this fantasy. There’s so many other things that deal with the other things, but also I can imagine the fantasy that would be living in a forest and a certain nature and environment. To me, that’s a certain reality that is fantasy. I mean, the fantasy that is reality. What is reality? What is fantasy? But ‘Elephantasy’ is something which is huge — a huge fantasy that’s of an elephant. And as you can see on this poster, which I have brought in today, there’s elephants on the poster. And we just worked from there.

It opens up for a lot of surprises to happen, you know, through the fantasy and through the mysticism of sound. It’s important for us to have these surprises, you know, some surprises can be supreme. A supreme surprise is great. It would be a nice name for a fair: ‘A Supreme Surprise.’

CB:

One thing I wanted to ask you about the concert that’s coming up this Saturday is how it compares with concerts that you’ve done in the past.

DC:

That’s a difficult question. Maybe it’s better if I tell you about some of the past concerts.

We started out as Movement Incorporated. This is the period of my life when I decided I didn’t want to play nightclubs, [I’d] rather play under the environment which I felt was in tune with the type of music I was connected with. It started in Stockholm and this artist-designer, who is the same person — Moki — that made the poster, which you can see around the campus here and also in Norwich at the Dan and Whit’s store. At that period, the first concert, which was in Stockholm, she would make a black-and-white poster, and then she would also sew a poster. The first concert is where I had been there and used most of the musicians, which hadn’t been exposed, some of the best musicians of the local scene there. The concert was successful because we used certain techniques, we used slides on this particular occasion — and all this is a part of the programme as a form in the programme. Whether we use slides, or sometimes films, this is all going while the music does and it evolves into a suite—suite, not s-w-e-e-t — which we constantly use. What do we call that first one now? ‘Welcome’, it was called. And so I played the ‘Brotherhood Suite’. These things were all a part of what happened within it.

That first particular concert was made up, mostly, of a musical ensemble. The room was made with decor which Moki had made, and we used carpets with it. People would not be sitting in chairs. It happened in this room, which was very large, in Stockholm, with carpets. So we learned from that one and travelled on to Denmark.

The second concert was at the Art Institute there. Kunsthal Charlottenborg is the name of it, it’s right on Nyhavn in the middle of Copenhagen, Denmark. I had been in Copenhagen and lived there on different occasions.

Within this concert, we had some of the best musicians in some of the pop groups I had known about, such as Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe and then John Tchicai, who is black, African-Danish parents, who lives there, and he has a group. We incorporated his group with some of the pop groups, and we had some film directors there that showed part of an experimental film, which we incorporated into the piece. This Charlottenborg, it’s an old type, European Gothic, and it has a castle with a courtyard in it. This friend of mine that makes fireworks, he’s been doing this for years, he does it as a hobby, but he’s very good. He made a special fireworks exhibit, which we had at the intermission. At that concert we advertised for everyone to bring their own carpet, and it was a wonderful feeling because it was a very large room with marble and pillars and all these people in groups, each had a carpet with friends, like a room. So it’s this large room of little rooms with no walls. It was a successful concert.

In Paris, we gave our third concert. We did a colour television show, more or less. We went there for a concert and we couldn’t find a place and didn’t have time to stay in Paris long enough to do that, but we did a colour television show under the title of ‘Movement’. The decor was all done by Moki and I used a trio at that time. The guitar player, Pedro Urbina, a classical guitar player who improvises also, and the drummer, who is also in electronic music, Jacques Thollot. And then, let me see now. ‘Movement’, for certain reasons, didn’t work again until we began again. This time we started in Stockholm and Copenhagen again. This time we went all the way down to Turkey, giving concerts along the way.

We shouldn’t dwell on that too long, you know, but we really would like everyone to come to this concert. We welcome them and ask them to please come out because there’s certain things that we know everyone hasn’t been exposed to. I could use the words ‘mixed media’, but we’re trying to mix and incorporate all these things and bring the exposure, in different forms of music, such as some of the folk songs which I’ve been studying. You know, I’ve studied music from Turkey, and I’ve learned many songs from the Black Sea and songs from India, and also some of the very recent contemporary pieces written by Ornette Coleman. And we should play a John Coltrane piece and some surprises, some Brazilian songs.

When I was in Paris, when I started the first international group which stayed together for two years, we even came to America and gave a concert at Town Hall. It was very difficult the first time I went to Paris because contemporary jazz had not reached Paris yet. Now it’s settled there, but at that time it was a very difficult period. But I stuck with it because of my will. As centre of all of Europe, Paris is a very good centre. It has good impressions from some of the architecture there. I incorporated with the group, which had a saxophone player from South America, Gato Barbieri, a bass player that was studying at Versailles by the name of Jean- François Jenny-Clark, a vibraphone pianist from Heidelberg by the name of Dr. Karl Hans Berger, and the drummer at that time was Aldo Romano, who was from Italy. So it was completely an international group.

At that meeting, which is about three or four years ago, only one person could actually really speak English. Some people would speak two languages. So we would have to contact each other through me, maybe asking the bass player to speak, he spoke Italian and French, and the drummer, Aldo, he could speak Italian or French and would communicate with the bass player, the same way with Dr. Karl Hans Berger, he could speak all the languages. And Gato, he spoke no English then. Now they all speak English and they all are well known in their rankings as jazz musicians — fantastic musicians — and from me being connected with the musicians in Europe, and the jazz scene in Europe for these last few years. That’s one of the reasons I’m sending for two musicians to come from Europe. Johnny Dyani and Okay Temiz were having visa trouble, but we hope to iron that out. And if there is any difficulty with them getting in the country, we will have to send to New York for Charlie Haden and Edward Blackwell, but we still have our fingers crossed. I think it’s going to work out.


Disc 1
1. Intro: Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na 5:04
2. Butterfly Friend 3:32
3. Elixir 1:36
4. Amazwe 3:44
5. Interlude with Puppets 3:14
6. Ganesh 5:25
7. Elixir Reprise / Witchi Tai To 6:19
8. Resa 5:25
9. Relativity Suite, Part 1 6:16

Disc 2
1. Berimbau Solo 6:45
2. Interlude / North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn 9:02
3. Elixir Reprise / Ganesh 9:37
4. Ntsikana's Bell / Traditional Melody 4:28

Credits
Berimbau, Percussion – Naná Vasconcelos
Piano, Harmonium, Tambura [Tampura], Vocals – Don Cherry
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Percussion [Light Percussion] – Doudou Gouirand
Strings [Donso Ngoni], Piano, Percussion [Light Percussion] – Christer Bothén
Tambura [Tampura], Vocals – Moki Cherry

21 May 2022

Venezuela

Yet another stunning collection from the heart of 60-70's Venezuelan music.

El Palmas Music are back with a third instalment of rare Venezuelan sounds from the 60s and 70s, a wild trip through salsa, boogaloo, garage rock, jazz and delinquent pop.

Venezuelan music was moving at such a pace through the 60s and 70s that almost as soon as a new craze was born, another was preparing to eclipse it. In barely 10 years, musicians latched on to the sound of the Latin big bands of Cuba, New York and Colombia, turned to the 60s pop and rock ‘n’ roll of England and the US, before heading back to salsa as it took root across Latin American, before forays into jazz, psych-rock and Afro-Venezuelan rhythms took hold in the 70s. 

This fertile musical period, coming at a time when Venezuela was economically abundant and culturally as relevant as any other developed country, has always been the focus of the Color de Trópico series, and continues to be the case in this third installment, though it should also be noted that the tracks are getting rarer and rarer, indicative of the curatorship of DJ El Palmas and El Drágon Criollo and their constant search for new sounds that reflect Venezuela’s musical treasures at this time.

Color de Trópico Vol. 3 starts with Un, Dos, Tres Y … Fuera’s “Aquella Noche”, a song that’s fully indicative of Venezuela’s coastline with the much-loved Un, Dos, Tres Y … Fuera giving a llanero rhythm (normally played on a harp and other stringed instruments in its rural incarnation) a fully Afro-Caribbean makeover with pulsating bass and an electric keyboard that teases and energises the groove. It possesses some of that same mid-70s vitality and need to experiment as Grupo Vaquedanus, the band of sax maestro Santiago Baquedano, and their cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, here fashioned as “Toma Cinco”. This version strips away all the niceties of the original, turning it into a psych-fuzz jazz romp with Baquedano’s raspy sax leading the way.

Step back 10 years and the energy remains even if the musical terrain was different. Girl group Los Pájaros hit hard with a boogaloo whose instruction is simple enough: “shake it baby, kiss for you, take the rhythm, and do the boogaloo”. Los Pájaros were one of a number of groups who were taking inspiration from the 60s sounds of the US and Britain but repackaging it for Venezuelan youth. Pop stars Geminis 5 were at it too with a fuzzy ballad “Tus 16 Años”, and Junior Squad even injected a bit of San Francisco hippy charm into affairs with their loose adaptation of The Turtles “She’d Rather Be With Me”, retitled as “Siempre Para Ti” and sounding as rough, ready and full of youthful vim as anything made north of Mexico. On the farthest end of the pop spectrum is The Pets with their cult hit “El Entierro de un hombre rico que murió de hambre” (“The Burial of a Rich Man Who Died of Starvation”), a true countercultural anthem that even dips into “The Funeral March” for a minute, and which is much desired by record collectors.

Finally, we must mention the salsa ensembles and their big band predecessors, always an important element of any Color de Trópico compilation. On Volume 3, we find one of the earliest salsa groups in Venezuela, Los Megatones De Lucho, who recorded a pachanga, “Yo Se Que Tu”, long before salsa was even a thing. Influenced by Venezuela’s very own Los Dementes and Joe Cuba’s sextet, Principe Y Su Sexteto was one of Venezuela’s most prominent salsa ensembles. On their 1969 track “San De Manique” we get a different vibe altogether, it’s a creeping son with just vocals, bass, and congas for its opening minute, before really kicking into action with a twisted guitar line and wild percussion, while always retaining a raw, Afro-Latin feel. Last, but not least by any means, is one of Venezuela’s most beloved salseros, Johnny Sede, who pipes up with a classic salsa, “Guararé”, showing how the style had developed in just a few short years.

You could accuse El Palmas and El Dragón Criollo, the curators of this collection, as getting some sort of a sick thrill at throwing such a weird and unwieldy bunch of tracks together, and that may be true, but there is logic too. These are songs full of life and creativity that signaled an era of boundless optimism. Listen to them now, and you’ll find yourself feeling those emotions once again.

El Palmas music is a record label, a DJ set and an expansive project to revere and inspire through passion for the living music, music that moves.

Spanish

Color del Trópico vol. 3

Vuelve Color del Trópico. La fenomenal serie de recopilatorios sobre el sonido venezolano de los años 60 y 70 llega a su volumen 3.

Por Redacción Gladys Palmera
Posted onmayo 19, 2022

El Palmas Music vuelve con el tercer volumen de Color del Trópico, una travesía salvaje a través de la salsa, el boogaloo, el garage rock, el jazz y el pop rebelde. Como decíamos cuando apareció el primer disco: Color de Trópico es más que un recopilatorio. Es un cuidadoso trabajo de curación y reconstrucción de ese momento venezolano, que realizaron El Palmas DJ y El Dragón Criollo; joyas donde abundan los ritmos y mezclas hechos por gente muy conocida y por artistas cuyo recuerdo se ha esfumado.

El Palmas Music y el Dragón Criollo denominan a todo este mundo lleno de ofertas sonoras increíbles, “la Venezuela Saudita”. Y, como lo dijimos en el volumen 2, es todo un colorido de sonidos diversos, salsa, jazz, funk, cumbia, rock, pero envueltos por el calor del trópico.

Los años 60 y 70 fueron un período muy fértil de creación y producción en una Venezuela que aprovechó su bonanza económica para mostrarse al mundo como una potencia musical. Es cierto que la salsa opacó muchas producciones de otros géneros, pero estas se mantuvieron vivas y paralelas: un renovado rock & roll, un jazz experimental, los primeros pasos de la electrónica, la música romántica… Y eso sin contar la inmensidad del folclor llanero y afro.

En cuanto nacía una nueva moda, otra se preparaba para eclipsarla, dicen los curadores de esta serie. Este fértil período musical, que llega en un momento en que la prosperidad económica y cultural de Venezuela era tan relevante como cualquier otro país desarrollado, es el foco de toda la serie Color de Trópico, y en esta tercera entrega cabe señalar que los temas son cada vez más raros, puesto que la curaduría de DJ El Palmas y El Dragón Criollo y su constante búsqueda de nuevos sonidos se ha hecho más incisiva en los tesoros musicales de Venezuela de ese momento.

Color de Trópico Vol. 3 incluye a las bandas Un, Dos, Tres Y… Fuera; Príncipe y su Sexteto; The Pets; Los Pájaros; Los Terrícolas; el Grupo Vaquedanus, de Santiago Baquedano; Los Megatones de Lucho, de Lucho González; el genial y popular Johnny Sedes y las dos bandas que te presentamos en exclusiva en Gladys Palmera: Junior Quad y Geminis 5.

Geminis 5 fueron estrellas del mundo pop y de ellos te traemos una balada rebelde, Tus 16 Años. Junior Squad, por su parte, inyecta el encanto hippy de San Francisco con su adaptación libre She’d Rather Be With Me, de The Turtles, retitulada como Siempre Para Ti, que suena tan ruda, inteligente y llena de vitalidad juvenil del norte de México.

Podrías achacar a El Palmas y El Dragón Criollo de sentir una especie de emoción enfermiza al juntar un montón de pistas tan extrañas y difíciles de analizar, y puedes estar en lo cierto, pero tiene una lógica innegable: son canciones llenas de vida y creatividad que marcaron una era de optimismo sin límites. Tantos años después, aquella emoción permanece intacta.

¡Ah! La foto de carátula muestra un partido de la Liga Especial de Baloncesto en 1983 entre Panteras de Lara y Gaiteros de Zulia. Fue la final de la Liga y ganaron los Panteras 123-112.

1. Un Dos Tres y...Fuera - Aquella Noche 3:57
2. Príncipe y Su Sexteto - San De Maníque 2:44
3. The Pets - El Entierro de un hombre rico que se murio de hambre 3:03
4. Los Pájaros - Shake it Baby 2:39
5. Los Terrícolas - Mi Bella Ilusión 3:28
6. Grupo Baquedanu's - Toma Cinco 3:15
7. Los Megatones de Lucho - Yo sé que tú 2:49
8. Junior Squad - Siempre para ti 2:00
9. Johnny Sedes - Guararé 2:45
10. Geminis 5 - Tus16 años 1:54

Notes
The cover photo shows a 1983 Special Basketball League game between Panteras de Lara and Gaiteros de Zulia. It was the final of the League and the Panteras won 123-112.

20 May 2022

Portugal

O melhor álbum português.

'Portuguese composer Nuno Canavarro’s cult classic debut album Plux Quba is a sublime collection of electronic experiments created using only an 8-bit sampler and 8-track tape recorder. The story goes that this obscure, private press record was first discovered by German musician Christoph Heemann, who played it at a listening session in Köln with friends Jim O’Rourke and members of Oval and Mouse on Mars.'

'Koln, Germany around 1991. After a 40-minute train ride from Aachen, Christoph Heemann and Jim O'Rourke are sitting around with Jan St. Werner, C-Schulz, Frank Dommert and George Odjik. Heemann has brought with him a strange obscure disc (what else?) from Portugal by some group called "Plux Quba." Or is it the record? The label? Who knows, because no one here reads Portuguese, dummy! But what they do know when the needle hits the groove is that they've never heard anything like it. Attempts to cite reference points are soon given up, there are some similarities to Robert Ashley's later work, but even that is deceiving. It is simple, gentle, melodic, and yet completely alien. Originally released in 1988 on Ama Romanta, and reissued last in 1998 on Moikai.'

***

'Plux Quba, a mysterious recording by the even more mysterious Portuguese musician Nuno Canavarro, was originally issued in 1988 only to disappear without a trace before being rescued from oblivion by Jim O'Rourke in 1998 for release on his Moikai label. It's easy to hear why the music herein would appeal to O'Rourke and also why it has come to be recognized as a seminal work of electronic music, influencing several post-modern groups that would gain prominence in the '90s, including Mouse on Mars and Oval. The general texture of the album's sounds tends toward the soft and bell like, with rhythms that flow in and out of strict time. There is also the recurring use of a melodica and taped voices, the latter usually altered and sometimes played in reverse. The voices are often very low in the mix, almost subliminal, and, indeed, some of the disc sounds eerily similar in approach to Robert Ashley's composition "Automatic Writing" in terms of the dreamlike, semiconscious feel achieved. Even the scattering of titles among the tracks with numerous songs left unnamed contributes to this dreamy character. There are also subtle hints of folk melodies surfacing from time to time, providing enough of an earthy linkage to ensure that the music never comes close to new age territory. Plux Quba is quite a fascinating release, both enjoyable and intriguing on its own, and also as a critical historical document making clear to the listener that certain ideas were in the air long before the public was aware of them. It's well worth picking up for the fan of exploratory ambient music, and for those interested in late 20th century experimental music in general.' -Review by Brian Olewnick

***

'Taking that glitchy electronica generally turned out to be rather tedious proposition (at least in full-length format) I don’t see how Canavarro’s imaginative and wide-eyed music can be seen as the roots of clinical-sounding Germanic minimal techno decorated with artefacts of CD playback malfunction.

To my ears “Plux Quba” has more affinity with uniquely Mediterranean heritage of experimental library music as well as 1980s brand of incidental music composed specifically for modern dance and avant theatre productions (Daniel Bacalov, Piero Milesi, Roberto Musci, Finis Africae, Pep Llopis etc.) Sort of like small-budget extension of avant classical tropes (minimalism, tape music) into the late 1970s idiom of electronic and ambient music.

Normally I dislike fanciful metaphoric descriptions of abstract music because it can and should evoke a wide spectrum of visuals (or atmospheres) to different listeners, but for me personally this album brings up the childhood memories of diving in the crystal clear and almost still sea water and looking up at the sun through the mass of water.' -Snows Ov Gethen 

***

Nuno Canavarro's Plux Quba hails from three decades in the past, yet the simple profile of it's abstract/ambient/cutup collage makes it a record that sits quite comfortably in our IDM-informed future. In 1988, Plux Quba was a primal dark horse in the world of pants-forward electronic music - an obscurity issued with little explanation from the laid-back west coast of Europe: Portugal, of all places! - though the casual listener could hardly know that from an examination of the LP jacket. The vanguard of electronics in late-80s Europe was being pushed by organizations like Nurse With Wound, The Hafler Trio, HNAS - and yet, when Christoph Heemann came across this recording, it struck his ears and the ears of fellow listeners like nothing before. Plux Quba was handed around between the principles of the early 90s A-Musik scene: Jan St. Werner, C-Schulz, Frank Dommert, Georg Odijk, plus interested fellow travelers like Jim O'Rourke, to the intense curiosity of all. To ears that were already saturated with all things kraut, the dark corners of prog and the frontline of experimental and improvised music, it proved elusive. Not simply in how it sounded and how that sound was achieved, but in where it was coming from - like later Robert Ashley at times, certain stretches of melody recalled some of Eno's ambient pieces - but mostly, it was a completely alien soundscape! And who was it? Was the band called Plux Quba? The record? The label? These sorts of mysteries are at the heart of records that require close listening and re-listening. As it was absorbed, it grew to be an influence on the Köln sound - Mouse On Mars, Lithops, and Heemann's many and varied projects? As well as O'Rourke, Fennesz and many others. Music and sound of this nature have for many years been made available by bands like Autechre, labels like Mille Plateaux - but for the first ten years of its existence, Plux Quba was rarely heard.

O'Rourke reissued it as the first record on his Moikai label in 1998, and it had a good run through around 2005 before the last of the print parts were filled. It's almost a decade since Plux Quba was available, which is way too long considering that we live in an era where it is NECESSARY to have an LP of this on hand for your contemporary listening distractions. And so, Drag City has stepped in to reissue the Moikai reissue of Nuno Canavarro's classic Plux Quba.

Nuno Canavarro


One of the greatest sonic masterpieces of the '80s - long championed by Jim O'Rourke and foreshadowing the work of an entire generation of experimental electronic music that emerged during the 1990s - Christian Fennesz, Oval, Mouse on Mars, Microstoria, C-Schulz, Mountains, and Oren Ambarchi - we're thrilled to offer an essential repress of Nuno Canavarro's visionary LP, Plux Quba, via the venerable Drag City. Originally appearing from the shadows of the mysterious vanguard of Portuguese music in 1988, few records are as striking and essential as this!

When it comes to experimental music, particularly 20th century electronic and electroacoustic music, Portugal remains a relatively shadowy and mysterious realm. Very little is widely known about the country’s artists and the works they have produced, an unfortunate, lasting legacy of the Estado Novo dictatorship that blanketed the country under authoritarian, right-wing rule from 1933 to 1974. During a high period in the development of the idiom that witnessed artists from most of its European neighbours (with the obvious exception of Spain) enjoyed considerable institutional and cultural support, pioneers like Jorge Peixinho, Cândido Lima, Filipe Pires, and Álvaro Salazar were all forced to leave Portugal for studios like GRM in Paris, IPEM in Ghent, and CEMAMu in Vincennes, in order to adequately pursue their work. While broad attention still didn’t come their way, with the end of the dictatorship and the development of more accessible technologies, things began to change for a new generation of artists that arose during the 1980s. Making up for lost time, they produced a small catalog of truly visionary work, among the most striking of which was Nuno Canavarro’s Plux Quba, a stunningly singular LP of electronic and electroacoustic wizardry, originally issued in 1988 on the tiny imprint Ama Romanta.

While virtually unheard at the time, the album gained fame during the late '90s, when it was championed by Jim O’Rourke, and reissued on his own Moikai imprint. For many, it became regarded as among the greatest of the great. Thankfully, along the way, Drag City took up the cause, and now they’ve repressed this stunningly singular wonder and placed it back in our hands. Easily among the best and most important experimental electronic albums of the '80s, it’s an absolute must for every fan of adventurous sound.

Despite all the attention that Plux Quba and Mr. Wollogallu - his legendary collaboration with Carlos Maria Trindade - have received over the years, very little is known about the Portuguese composer Nuno Canavarro. He has, by all indications, chosen to remain relatively quiet, working in film for many years since the release of these now legendary endevors. Canavarro began his career within popular music, playing in Delfins - one of the more significant bands of the era - with his later collaborative partner Carlos Maria Trindade, but, like many of his predecessors, pursued most of his musical studies outside of Portugal, spending two years in at the Institute of Sonology at the University of Utrecht, in the years leading up to the emergence of Plux Quba.

Plux Quba was recorded at Canavarro’s home on an Ensoniq Mirage 8-bit sampler and a Fostex 8-track tape recorder, using an array of sound sources, before being released in a small edition oN Ama Romanta. Like the vast majority of Portuguese experimental music, the album remained largely unheard until it was rescued from the shadows via a reissue by Jim O’Rourke on his Moikai imprint in 1998, having been introduced to him by Christoph Heemann toward the beginning of the decade. Viewed retrospectively, Plux Quba can be seen to foreshadow an entire generation of work that would emerge in the hands of artists like Christian Fennesz, Oval, Mouse on Mars, Microstoria, C-Schulz, Mountains, and Oren Ambarchi, not to mention fellow countrymen like Rafael Toral.

Radical in every way, while Plux Quba foreshadowed so much of what was to come in the field of experimental electronic music, it also presents a striking bridge to the idiom’s past - particularly works of synthesis and tape-based work emerging from studios like GRM and EMS during the '60s and '70s, or the efforts of Robert Ashley and Brian Eno - while managing, remarkably, to sound entirely singular and unlike anything else. Sounds that defy easy location in their source - are they acoustic, synthetic, or samples taken from who knows where - ripple and collide across two staggeringly beautiful and creatively challenging sides, appearing elegantly simple and direct within the album's visionary structural complexity.

In the simplest terms, Canavarro’s Plux Quba is nothing short of a masterpiece; one of the greatest sonic accomplishments of the '80s by great lengths. This is experimental music in its greatest and most rigorous form, without losing a moment of seductive appeal. It’s as beautiful and listenable as it is challenging to the ear and mind, remaining relevant and forwarding thinking even after more than three decades.

1. [Untitled] 1:29
2. Alsee 0:51
3. O Fundo Oscuro de Alsee 1:57
4. [Untitled] 1:24
5. [Untitled] 4:20
6. [Untitled] 1:18
7. [Untitled] 2:08
8. Wask 5:37
9. [Untitled] 2:45
10. Wolfie 2:13
11. Crimine 4:34
12. Bruma 1:44
13. [Untitled] 1:01
14. Cave 4:16
15. [Untitled] 2:43

Credits
Composed By [Composicöes], Instruments [Instrumentos] – Nuno Canavarro
Electronics, Melodica, Tape [Pre-Recorded Tapes] – NC

Zimbabwe

“Deep pools have become crossing points, crossing points have become deep pools” Shona proverb

'Nyami Nyami Records presents a reissue of a rare gem from the Gramma Records catalog , the historic Zimbabweean label. Dumisani Maraire, the leading creator of modern mbira, settled in the USA in the late 60s where he popularized the traditional music of the Shona people. Tichazomuona is the first album he recorded in liberated Zimbabwe, in 1986, with his wife Maichi and daughter Chiwoniso. You can hear the very young singer on lead vocals on the title track, long before she went on to perform solo on the international stage. We launched Nyami Nyami with her last recording Zvichapera and are happy to also release now her very first.'

Zimbabwean mbira ambassador Dumisani Maraire returns with Tichazomuona

Nyami Nyami Records unveils a reissue of Dumisani Maraire’s album Tichazomuona, initially recorded by the Zimbabwean mbira player and his family in 1986, six years after Zimbabwe’s independence.

Born in 1944, Dumisani Maraire pioneered the spread of traditional Shona music beyond Zimbabwe’s frontiers. He moved to the US in the late 60s where he introduced American students to the mbira, a traditional instrument of the Shona made of staggered metal tines attached to a wooden board (the player then uses his fingers to pluck the tines). “Dumi” is credited with developing the 1–15 number notation used on the mbira, and notating the song “Chemutengure”, a song beginners use to learn to play the instrument.

The mbira has a complicated past. It was considered sacred in Shona culture and played a vital role in traditional ceremonies. However, it became heavily looked down upon by colonialist missionaries who argued the instrument was connected to evil spirits. In 1980, following Zimbabwe independence and the collapse of Rhodesia, the instrument regained some popularity. The pan-Africanism and patriotism in the postcolonial era brought a more tolerant and respectful stance towards musical instruments like the mbira. Traditional music began receiving more airtime on radio and television. Several artists such as Robson Banda started performing popular guitar music that replicated the mbira’s sound. Nyami Nyami Records released a reissue of their album Soweto last october.

“When a mbira player plays his instrument, he is not playing it for the world. He is not trying to please people, nor is he performing. What he is doing is conversing with a friend. He teaches his friend what to do, and his friend teaches him what to do… To me, a mbira is a lively instrument”, Maraire said.

Dumisani Maraire and his family – his wife Mau Chi and daughter Chiwoniso – returned to Zimbabwe not long after the country’s independence and recorded the album Tichazomuoana together. The Nyunganyunga Mbira is also credited separately on the original album cover, probably because of the personal relation Dumi had with his instrument. Maraire’s daughter Chiwoniso, who was ten at the time, is featured on the title track. She went on to become an accomplished musician herself; the first-ever release of Nyami Nyami Records was her song “Zvichapera”, which she recorded a few weeks before she passed away in 2013. The young label is known for its passion for Southern African music as explored in this interview given by co-founder Charles Houdart, in which he mentioned the late artist.




Secondary vibrations of Dumi and the Maraire family, mbira included

PAM spoke with Tendai Maraire, son of Dumisani Maraire about the reissue of his father’s album Tichazomuona, the legacy of the name and the spiritual sacrifice required by one of Africa’s oldest instruments.

by Christian Askin  |  PAM - Pan African Music  |  May 3, 2022

Dumisani Maraire devoted his life to the mbira. A young man plucked from his hometown of Mutare, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) after a curious American ethnomusicologist from Washington University heard his composition for the high school’s Christmas performance, Dumisani aka “Dumi” would go on to lead a life in-between worlds. Earning degrees, teaching at the University of Washington and Evergreen college, founding ethnomusicology programs in Zimbabwe, pursuing doctoral studies all while relentlessly performing mbira shows and teaching private lessons… Dumi’s cause was singular. Spread the magic of the mbira the world over. 

Though devotion comes at a price. Like all great spiritual struggles, there is sacrifice. Dumi died of a stroke in Zimbabwe at the age of 54. 

A quick note on the mbira. The mbira has existed on the African continent for thousands of years now, found from the reaches of the Kalahari desert to the edges of the Zambezi river, and popularized among the Shona of Zimbabwe. Mbiras are part of the lamellophone family, instruments with little tines, or “lamellae”, which are played by plucking. The plucking method creates overtones with a strong attack, but which die out rather quickly. However, the resonance of individual lamellae creates secondary vibrations for a rich harmonic complexity. Sound familiar? All this is not to begin to touch the spiritual dimension of the instrument, to which the author remains wholly ignorant.

Dumi’s mbira of choice was the nyunganyunga, a 15-Note lamellophone named after the community from which it originated. Dumi himself personified the instrument on the credits of his 1986 album, Tichazomuona, soon to be reissued by Nyami Nyami Records. The album also includes Dumi’s wife, Chengeto Linda “Mai Chi” Nemarundwe and daughter, Chiwoniso “Chi” Maraire. This family affair, so beautifully captured and masterfully composed, is an emblem of modern mbira music.  It’s re-release was also the impetus to reach out to another member of the Maraire family, Tendai Maraire (performing in groups such as C.A.V.E., Chimurenga Renaissance and Shabazz Palaces) to get a better impression of his father and the “secondary vibrations” of the Maraire family’s musical resonance. 

My Dad had no childhood,” Tendai told us, comparing him to Micheal Jackson in his relentless devotion to his craft and brutal nature of his early upbringing. Dumi grew up in colonial Rhodesia where the mbira was seen as a threat to the Christian hegemony of the colonial state. What was once a vital symbol of Shona spirituality was repressed and associated with evil spirits. Though this didn’t seem to discourage Dumi who in 1966, attended the Kwanongoma College of Music in Bulawayo, developing in parallel to music icons like Thomas Mapfumo and Stella Chiweshe. The social burden of pursuing the mbira in the time before Zimbabwe’s official independence in 1980 can’t be understated. Nor can, after accepting a professorship at the University of Washington’s ethnomusicology department from 1968, the pressure put on him as an immigrant to exceed expectations. Tendai speaks of his father’s love for adversity and responsibility edified in his father’s pugnacious will to reintroduce the mbira curriculum to schools upon his return to Zimbabwe in 1982. “When he went back to teach, he got rid of the Classical music curriculum to teach kids their culture,” Tendai explains. 

Though generous enough to speak with us, Tendai admits that he didn’t have a close relationship with his father. Time, it seems, was the ultimate sacrifice his father made to his life’s work. It wasn’t until Tendai himself matured in his musical career that he realized the burden of living a life on tour, in the studio and inside the whirlwind of responsibilities that come as a public figure. Dumi’s precedent for the music had its penalties. “If Miles Davis was in town and we were having a show,” Tendai recounts behind a smile, “he’s going to Miles Davis.” On the aforementioned album, Tichazomuona, Chiwoniso, Tendai’s half sister who was 10 years old during her vocal recording on the title track, has her name slightly misspelled on the album credits. Note however, that when the Nyunga Nyunga Mbira was given credits on Tichazomuona it’s a picture of the family with the mbira rather than the instrument itself… 

Chiwoniso would go on to receive many more credits. As early as 15 years old Chi joined a hip-hop trio, A Peace of Ebony, a first introducing mbira to contemporary beats. Later she joined one of Zimbabwe’s most popular groups, The Storm, led by guitarist Andy Brown who later became her husband. Her first solo album Ancient Voices, released in 1995, reached critical acclaim and brought the contemporary mbira sound even further. Another story of mastery, music and sacrifice. Her final track “Zvichapera”, a return to the traditional mbira sound, was recorded shortly before her death in 2013 at just 37 years old. “Me and her were tight,” Tendai said of his sister.

Tendai has his own story as well, intimately linked to the instrument that manifests in the lives of the Maraire clan. He told us the story of his introduction to the mbira. During a trip back home to Zimbabwe to establish a deeper relationship with his family, he hit an unexpected crossroads with destiny. It was during a baptism ceremony that one of the elders made a prophecy. Tendai’s eyes caught sight of an mbira in the room and the female elder instructed, “That’s yours. You’ll play it in more countries than anyone ever has before.” Tendai took the prophecy to heart. He taught himself to play and carries his mbira with him on tour and in his travels around the world. “When I got there (Zimbabwe) it called me and there was nothing I could do about it. It changed my whole life,” Tendai says, “It’s a gateway to a whole ‘nother dimension.” Listening to Tendai’s musical catalog, though it usually dabbles in experimental hip-hop, the mbira is never too far away. 

Music is the one thing that was the constant keeping the family afloat,” Tendai concludes as we wrap up our talk. He sees this latest release as a way of honoring his father’s purpose, preserving the knowledge and bringing it to a new generation. The family, again, having blurred lines between the individuals and the instrument itself. “The only sad part to me is that you don’t get to see him perform,” he mentions. No arguments here. Though Tendai hinted that while digging through his father’s affairs he found a vast collection of notes, manuscripts and VHS videos that could lead to an eventual documentary. The duty and the sacrifice continues. But Tendai is not daunted. “I know what my family means to Zimbabwe. They mean a lot.” Secondary vibrations.


The album TICHAZOMUONA by Dumisani Abraham “Dumi” Maraire was a pioneering effort to promote mbira music. It is a family effort involving his wife Chengeto Linda “Mai Chi” Nemarundwe and their daughter, Chiwoniso “Chi” Maraire. Maraire was a mbira and marimba player, who taught for many years on the west coast of the United States, and was the moving spirit behind the popularity of Shona music in the USA and more widely.

Born in 1944 in Chakohwa Village in Mutambara, Eastern Zimbabwe, Dumi began learning music from family members early. In his late teens, he began to pursue music more seriously; in 1966, Dumi went to the Kwanongoma College of Music in Bulawayo and started to learn instruments like the nyunganyunga mbira and the marimba. The nyunganyunga mbira is a 15-Note kalimba (or lamellophone), named after the community from which it originated; thousands of youths learnt traditional songs on this instrument at Kwanongoma.

Before colonialism, the mbira was considered sacred; though vital to Shona culture, its importance in traditional ceremonies suffered during and after colonialism. With the arrival of the settlers, many locals converted to Christianity, where the colonialist missionaries preached that mbira music was connected to evil spirits.

The rise of pan-Africanism and patriotism in the postcolonial era brought a more tolerant and respectful stance towards musical instruments like the mbira. At independence in 1980, traditional Zimbabwean music, following heavy Rhodesian censorship, began receiving more airtime on radio and television. After independence, artists like Thomas Mapfumo, Zexie Manatsa, Marshall Munhumumwe, Jonah Sithole, and Robson Banda started performing popular guitar music that replicated the mbira’s sound.

Dumi and others, including Ephat Mujuru, Beulah Dyoko, Cosmas Magaya and Stella Chiweshe, played traditional mbira music, sometimes accompanied by the ngoma (drum) and hosho (shakers) as well. Dumi is credited with developing the 1–15 number notation used on the nyunganyunga mbira, and notating the song Chemutengure; this song is used to teach mbira learners the technique of playing the instrument.

Dumi was a visiting professor in the University of Washington’s ethnomusicology department from 1968 to 1972. Composing in Shona, he specialised in marimba, singing, dancing and drumming. He taught at The Evergreen State College in Olympia in the 1970s, giving private lessons and touring the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia with several marimba groups he founded.

After watching a young Linda Nemarundwe perform one of his mbira arrangements at a 1972 workshop in Zimbabwe, Maraire offered to teach her more, and they worked together for the rest of the conference, playing together at a final performance. Dumi eventually married Mai Chi in 1975, and she joined him in Seattle, where he continued teaching and performing Zimbabwean music, while she earned her BA in Early Childhood Education.

In 1982, the family returned to Zimbabwe; Mai Chi worked for the Save the Children Fund, while Dumi developed the ethnomusicology programme at the University of Zimbabwe. During this time, in 1986, they recorded the album TICHAZOMUONA, featuring their 10-year-old daughter Chiwoniso on the title track.

The entire recording is a masterpiece of traditional mbira playing, combining the intimate with the spiritual to fashion a genre-defining sound. When you pick up a mbira, you feel you are picking up the history of a part of Africa, a complete way of making music, a whole social system of music and religion and history. As such, it can be confusing as to who is, in fact, playing who. In Dumi’s own words:
“When a mbira player plays his instrument, he is not playing it for the world. He is not trying to please people, nor is he performing. What he is doing is conversing with a friend. He teaches his friend what to do, and his friend teaches him what to do... To me, a mbira is a lively instrument. It amazes me when I hear all these different things in my way of playing. This is not because I am playing different patterns without knowing what I am doing, but because, as I give the mbira more, I get more from it. So, in simple terms, I can say that the mbira is always in front, giving the materials to the player, and the player follows behind, emphasising these while at the same time asking for more. What more can one say of such an instrument but that it is a friend indeed?”

Indeed, this personal relationship with his instrument led Dumi to credit the Nyunganyunga Mbira separately on the original album cover (even while his daughter’s name, Chiwoniso, was slightly misspelt).

Four years later, he was back in Seattle, teaching and earning his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. When Dumi finally returned permanently to Zimbabwe in 1990 to take a position at the University of Zimbabwe, Mai Chi remained in the US, making her home in Portland, Oregon, where she developed her renowned love of cooking into a catering business.

Mai Chi was a multi-dimensional musician in her own right - vocalist, marimba player, drummer, dancer - who involved herself deeply with the African music community in the Pacific Northwest, sharing her musicality freely and openly until she died in 1997. Dumi himself died in 1999, having inspired thousands to explore Shona culture by providing a vivid example with his own family.

Chiwoniso also passed away in 2013 after an inspirational career of her own.

The first-ever release of Nyami Nyami Records was the song Zvichapera by Chi, which she recorded a few weeks before she passed; this song was the reason this label was created.

Dumi similarly influenced countless musicians. From his years of residence in the US as a visiting musician, Maraire catalysed a network of Americans playing Zimbabwean music across the United States, focused primarily on the West Coast in Oregon, Washington, and California, with other communities in Colorado and New Mexico.

During his years spent teaching in Zimbabwe, many important mbira players crossed Dumisani Maraire’s path, and many musicians inspired by him have worked to perform, teach, and spread Zimbabwean music around the world. Several of Dumi’s surviving children have also gone on to be musicians themselves. -Nyami Nyami Records



1. Mwandikanganwa 4:01
2. Ndofa ndichibayiwa 3:44
3. Tichazomuona 5:38
4. Speechless 1 (ino mwii) 5:20
5. Zanu Inokuperekedza 4:12
6. Pamutunhu Usainte Jee 4:36
7. Hande Kubasa 4:15
8. Speechless 2 (ini mwii) 5:50

Credits
Vocals, Mbira: Dumisani Abraham “Dumi” Maraire
Vocals, Hosho: Chengeto Linda “Mai Chi” Nemarundwe
Vocals: Chiwoniso “Chi” Maraire
Recorded At: Shed Studios
Producer: A.K. Mapfumo
Engineer: Bothwell Nyamhondera

19 May 2022

Ecuador

Second instalment of Ecuadorian folk and pop music from the 1960s thanks to the discovery and recovery of the Quito-based CAIFE record label.

'Enchanting, 26-track guided tour of Ecuador’s Caife label circa the ‘60s, flush with suave fusions of jazz and indigenous traditional styles running counter to post-colonial, Eurocentric styles. A real holiday for the ears​.' -Boomkat

"Impatiently returning to the golden age of Ecuadorian musica national, this second round of retrievals is more of a selectors’ affair: less reverent, more free-flowing, with more twists and turns. There is no let-up in the quality of the music, maintaining the same judicious, heart-piercing balance between emotional desolation and dignified endurance, the same bitter-sweet play between affective excess and formal sublimity.

This time around, the woman steal the show. Laura and Mercedes Suasti were child stars, with an exclusive Radio Quito contract. Unlike nearly all the men here, they lived long and prospered: Mercedes died last year, at the age of 93. Gladys Viera and Olga Gutierrez both came to Ecuador from Argentina. To start, Gladys plugged the scandalous new Monokini swimwear; Olga performed for visiting British royalty in 1962. Olga was glamorous but tough. She would make little of the amputation of one of her legs: ‘I don’t sing with my leg.’ She is accompanied on our opener by quintessentially reeling, sultry musica national: haunted-house organ, twinkling xylophone, Guillermo Rodriguez’ heart-plucking guitar-playing, and lilting, dance-to-keep-from-crying double-bass. ‘Sometimes I think that you will leave me with no memories,’ she sings, ‘that you hold only disappointments in store for me… In the future your love will search me out, full of regret. By then it will be too late, there will be no consolation, only disappointment awaiting you.’

Other highlights include the two contributions of Orquesta Nacional: Ponchito Al Hombro, like an off-the-wall forerunner of the Love Unlimited Orchestra, beamed into the tropics from an unknowable time and space; and the tone poem Atahualpa, a mystical yumbo invoking Quito’s most ancient inhabitants, the Kichwa. Also the tremulous, gypsy-flavoured violin-playing of Raul Emiliani, who arrived in Quito from Italy, suffering PTSD from the Second World War; the inscrutable, sardonic experimentalism of organist Lucho Munoz; and the mooing and whistling of Toro Barroso — school of Lee Perry — in which a muddy bull dashes home to his darling chola, fearless, full of desire."

Digital release corrected tracklist:

1. Olga Gutierrez - A Veces He Pensado 2:58
2. Hnas. Mendoza Suasti - Alas de Sombra 2:56
3. Benitez y Valencia - Amor En Tus Ojos 2:48
4. Caspi Shungo - Mal Pago 2:44
5. Gladys Viera - Asi se Goza 2:30
6. Orquesta Nacional - Ponchito al Hombro 2:34
7. Lida Uquillas - Vida de mi vida 2:25
8. Los Inaquingas - Blanco Lirio 2:37
9. Segundo Bautista - La Naranja 2:44
10. Benitez y Valencia - Lindos Ojos 2:46
11. Los Barrieros - Siendo Triste Vivo Alegre 2:35
12. Segundo Bautista - Soledad 2:36
13. Raul Emiliani y Hector Bonilla - Imploracion Indigena 2:45
14. Caspi Shungo - Indio Soy 2:34
15. Duo Aguayo Huayamabe - Mi Ultima Ilusion 2:42
16. Conjunto CAIFE - Huasipichay 2:30
17. Hnas. Mendoza Suasti - Para Ti 2:39
18. Olga Gutierrez - Despedida 2:55
19. Lucho Munoz - Lamparilla 2:57
20. Hnos. Valencia Con Conjunto CAIFE - Corazón mío (or Cansados pies) 2:52
21. Luis Alberto Valencia - Toro Barroso 2:53
22. Los Barrieros - Ashcu de Primo 2:43
23. Duo Aguayo Huayamabe - Panuelo de Penas 2:33
24. Hnas. Mendoza Suasti - Alma Enamorada 2:33
25. Benıtez y Valencia - Lamparilla 2:54
26. Orquesta Nacional - Atahualpa 2:29


Notes
Some tracks are mislabeled on the sleeve.
A5 "Palomita cuculí" was also released in later iterations as "Asi se Goza"
B1 is labeled as "Tengo un amor" but is in fact "Vida de mi vida", the B-side of a Caife 7" single by Lida Uquillas that has "Tengo un amor" as its A-side.
D1 is labeled as "Destrozado corazón" but is in fact "Corazón mío" (or "Cansados pies"), renamed in this instance by the artists.

***

chapulo Dec 13, 2021

Unlike the first release of Caife recordings by Honest Jon's Records, this release contains several and, IMHO, serious mistakes regarding the names of some of the tracks.
Track A5 is labeled as "Palomita cuculí". It should be "Así se goza".
Track B1 is labeled as "Tengo un amor". It should be "Vida de mi vida".
Track D1 is labeled as "Destrozado corazón". It should be "Corazón mío" (or "Cansados pies", as it is written on the album Various - The Paths Of Pain: The CAIFE Label, Quito, 1960-68). This last mistake is the most serious of all, since it gives the name to the whole release.

Also, track A6 ("Ponchito al hombro") cuts out the first half second of the song, where the first notes of the song are actually played by the organ in a low pitch. I don't know if it was made on purpose; however it's also a big mistake.

For the remainder of the album, I have only good reviews. There is a thorough research about all the artists involved and all the tracks retain their original beauty.

However, I point out all these mistakes because they are taking away some of the neatness of this series and the extreme care and respect with which these albums were done.