Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Popular Music  (Read 16265 times)
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Dzimas
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« Reply #405 on: July 05, 2007, 03:02:08 PM »

Cinci, I agree that Bering Strait has yet to live up to its potential, but the talent is there and I hope that they pull something better together in their next effort.  I think they would have been better served going to Austin rather than Nashville, which is too conservative when it comes to crossover music.
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madupont
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« Reply #406 on: July 05, 2007, 03:51:46 PM »

dzimas, #405

The cultural boycott against South Africa, which I think you are referring to Maddie, did more to stifle homegrown music than it did to topple the apartheid government.  Simon mercifully broke through this silly boycott, and created a much greater awareness of South African music in the general public. 

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Are you saying what I think you are saying here? You are defining as "cultural boycott", by which you mean investment under apartheit?  So stifling homegrown music  is not part and parcel of apartheit per se?

 
In other words, if you don't buy a product  from a company that invests in South Africa, you  have no effect?  Then what the heck did it? Scare tactics emanating from previous liberated areas to the north?

What boycott did Simon mercifully break through which caused a greater awareness of South African music in the general public?

Obviously Harry Belafonte helped Makeba make it to the Western world to have a right to make a living for herself as an artist familiarizing the general public with why apartheit was suppressing something they otherwise  were not even aware of, the people who make the music.

Look at the sentences again. "Her South African passport was revoked."

Because she would not go back, as some kind of National Treasure? That's like saying Rudi Nureyev was a perfect example of capitalist elitism/ right wing opportunism  who didn't deserve a life as an international artist unless where and when the Soviet Union allowed him to do so.

Here's another sentence:"... in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled." Are you implying that Paul Simon did her a big favor by substituting for her and bringing Zulu school singers to American television ala a really big shoe for you tonight Ed Sullivan?

(okay, so he did his part in the overall package deal and I probably should check my dates on the overall gestalt of when did the Cubans arrive in Central Africa and why did Kenyans recently kill Prince Charles good friend who lectured tourists on the history of a game reserve, or was that in Rhodesia, or further south?)

 Actually, it appears that it was Sekou Toure who supported her, by her being able to remain in Guinea as she resumed touring the rest of the world as an artist and an activist bringing attention to what was wrong; gosh, I thought we just discussed  "A Dry White Season".

I am probably missing some basic point.

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madupont
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« Reply #407 on: July 05, 2007, 03:55:44 PM »

Ps, dzimas--

I will however agree with you about NASHVILLE. my brother thought the music there was deplorable when  that was precisely what he went there about, no doubt expecting it have retained the music he loved in the past. Today would have been his birthday but he died there going on two years ago. It was that conservative.                   
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Dzimas
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« Reply #408 on: July 05, 2007, 04:06:33 PM »

There is a big difference between economic sanctions and a cultural boycott.  If it served certain artists' moral conscience not to travel to South Africa during the Apartheid regime then so be it, but to call for a cultural boycott whereby all artists were supposed to stay away from South Africa in an effort to isolate the country culturally, I could not accept.   Many South African artists had good reason to flee the country, but many others stayed and were essentially cut off from the outside world as a result of this boycott.  Simon reopened that door, and it helped to further break down apartheid, not prop it up as persons like Belafonte feared.  As I said, we probably never would have gotten a chance to hear LBM if it wasn't for the Graceland album.  Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens and many other South African artists indirectly benefited from the success of that album.  I think the Graceland album also renewed interest in Makeba and Masekela.  Paul Simon did a good thing.  The album drew more attention to the plilght caused by apartheid, albeit in its last days, and in its small way contributed to its final breakdown.
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cincy--man
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« Reply #409 on: July 05, 2007, 05:21:14 PM »

dzimas--I surely agree that immersion in the Austin scene would be an improvment for Bering, but I keep thinking why bother? I don't mean to sound chauvenistic, but even with improvement, what can they offer to us in the way of bluegrass that any number homegrown bluegrass groups do not give us already? I think they are primarily a  novelty act.
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chauncey.g
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« Reply #410 on: July 05, 2007, 09:44:18 PM »

anybody seen this and care to comment?

http://www.beforethemusicdies.com/
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madupont
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« Reply #411 on: July 05, 2007, 10:14:11 PM »

dzimas,  re:#409

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbaqanga  I think there was a big gap here between the 1950s and1986, for Simon to take the credit.  Which apparently should have gone to: West Nkosi
 
"Producers at the record company[Gallo] included West Nkosi, who was an influential and intimidating figure at the company from 1964 until his death in 1997...
 
Rupert Bopape, enticed by the successful Gallo Record Company to be their African production manager, brought together the musicians of the Makgona Tsohle Band with Mahlathini and a new female chorus, the Mahotella Queens. This was when mbaqanga really took off - or more specifically, the group's mbaqanga sub-style, mgqashiyo. In addition to Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, singing stars such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe and Letta Mbulu created a large base of fans, as did The Dark City Sisters and the Soul Brothers. Other mbaqanga musicians included Simon Baba Mokoena [3] and West Nkosi, ..."
 
 
 
 
 
"By the middle of the 1950s, the evolving indigenous South African music exploded [this is listed under FORMATION in the above article (link)]Mbaqanga's popularity faded during the 1970s due to the influence of Western pop, soul and disco into South Africa. However, it was revived between 1983 and 1986. The reversal of fortunes was in part due to Paul Simon's incorporation of South African music into his Graceland album (1986) and...
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graceland_%28album%29
"Coming at a time when Simon's musical career was at something of a low ebb following the disappointing public response of Hearts and Bones, the project was originally inspired by Simon's repeated listening to a cassette of the Boyoyo Boys instrumental "Gumboots", given to him by a friend. He later wrote lyrics to sing over a re-recording of the song, which became the fourth track on the album.

Much of the album was recorded in South Africa and featured many South African musicians and groups. Simon faced accusations that he had broken the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This view was not supported by the United Nations Anti-Apartheid Committee, as the album showcased the talents of the black South African musicians while offering no support to the South African government. The worldwide success of the album introduced some of the musicians, especially the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, to global audiences of their own.

Simon toured the album extensively, featuring many of the artists from the album plus exiled South Africans Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. A concert in Harare, Zimbabwe was filmed for release as "The African Concert"."

Simon included American 'roots' influences with tracks featuring Zydeco and Tex-Mex musicians. The Everly Brothers sing harmony on the title track. Linda Ronstadt appears on the track "Under African Skies", the second verse of which Simon wrote based on her childhood experiences. The group Los Lobos appear on the last track, "All Around The World or The Myth Of Fingerprints." Simon stole the song from Los Lobos according to Steve Berlin,   giving them no songwriting credit.[1]    A popular music video starring Simon and Chevy Chase was made for the hit song "You Can Call Me Al".



 

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madupont
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« Reply #412 on: July 05, 2007, 10:26:49 PM »

Ps.   I just wonder what was going through the minds of the U.N.'s South-African committee at the time. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was Secretary-General that year. (well, actually he was for ten years, but I refer to the year of the album release, as he was in office while the music was recorded and after)

Glad I went to that sight, from curiosity, as by doing so I discovered one more nasty -- that the UN Peace Keepers committed an atrocity of their  own in Haiti between 2005-2006, killing women and their children, when going after  Aristide supporters(?).  You have the Tonton Macoutes on the one hand and the UN Peace Keeping Force on the other.
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« Reply #413 on: July 06, 2007, 01:53:34 AM »

Wow, I've never seen such mouth cases, do you guys have itchy leg disease, too?
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Dzimas
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« Reply #414 on: July 06, 2007, 02:31:31 AM »

In Bluegrass specifically, I don't think Bering Strait has much new to offer, but I think they do bring a Russian folk attitude to the music, which is different and when artfully blended has resulted in some interesting new music.  I see them going more the alt country route, which is why I think Austin would be more conducive.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #415 on: July 06, 2007, 02:32:39 AM »

I know this is all uncharted territory for you, bottle.  Rest easy, we won't dwell on it too long.
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bosox18d
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« Reply #416 on: July 06, 2007, 03:54:40 AM »

There is a nice 4 disc set on Bluegrass from a few years ago"Can't you hear me callin'-Bluegas:80 yearsof American Music.While there are songs and groups I think were left out it is a pretty good collection.Some folks complain about some of the new songs on the collection especially by The Byrds who one clown in a review said never did a Bluegrass Album which may be true but in their last two studio albums Byrdmaniax and Farther Along they did some great Bluegrass songs though both albums were more of the Country slant along with Sweetheart of the Rodeo.It would have been nice to see some Emmylou on this collection but can't have it all.The other great collections of Country/Bluegrass are the Will the Circle be Unbroken especially the 1st and 2nd ones.
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"If it keeps going like this,the Zamboni driver is going to be the first star"
Dzimas
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« Reply #417 on: July 06, 2007, 04:08:06 AM »

Smithsonian folkways also provides an extensive collection of early bluegrass.  I have a couple recordings in this series.

Maddie, Gallo has been the heart and soul of the South African music industry.  Drum magazine was the voice through the turbulent apartheid years.  A great documentary, if you can get a hold of it, is "Have You Seen Drum, Recently?"

http://home.worldonline.co.za/~afribeat/film/haveyouseen.html

As it relates the music to the social and political unrest of the era, with some wonderful vintage footage.
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madupont
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« Reply #418 on: July 06, 2007, 10:54:24 AM »

Maud,I no longer have a valid email for Ayohn.Another old poster Whitney is in touch but she is computerless for a few months.


Doesn't that just drive you crazy?  I and my sister-in-law have a mutual friend of many years. My sister-in-law is computerless after many years of taking them for granted on the job; while suddenly the mutual friend who usually sends a long letter at Xmas time each year to fill you in on her family,now changes her e-mail address and, after this many years of becoming used to the computer, I hate to use the regular mail to wait for an answer about anything!
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sgrobin
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« Reply #419 on: July 06, 2007, 11:49:29 AM »

I’m enjoying this discussion. When I first started getting into ‘world music’ I thought that the prominence of African music was a sort of politically correct ethos (I was pretty conservative back then) but it quickly dawned on me that the African continent is a goldmine of incredible and diverse music. And Mali in particular; I’m listening to a Tinerawen (sp) concert in my car these days and they are spectacular – but just merely one of the latest in a long line of terrific Malian singers and groups.

That idea – of white artists appropriating, borrowing, incorporating whatever you want to call it, black or African music is obviously a sensitive one. There’s a story about Fela Kuti confronting Paul McCartney when the latter was recording Band on the Run in Nigeria; it was only when he heard the music that he was mollified that Macca wasn’t stealing the local ideas.

Like Dzimas wrote, Paul Simon introduced a lot of people to LBM and other African musicians. Obviously, their contributions made Graceland a spectacular album, but musically it seems to me to have been a very strong album musically anyway. The shame (and I’m being admittedly a little naïve), is that the music that Simon introduced didn’t become more mainstream. Again, thank God for Internet radio.
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