Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
MORAD E DIL
MUSLIMS 4 LIFE
There are 192 countries in the world. Today begins my alphabetical musical journey through all of them. Some, like the United States and the United Kingdom, will be overwhelming in their wealth of material. For others, like Kiribati, it may be hard to find anything at all. Nevertheless, here we go.
It's fitting that we begin with Afghanistan, which is more or less in the middle of the vast landmass that is Eurasiafrica and has long been a global crossroads. It's fitting, too, that the music has a rhythm that throws us off balance. Indeed, it's not just the rhythm: the music itself is a disorienting cross between Greek bouzouki music and North Indian light classical, tied together with the plinky-plinky sound of Central Asia. The merging of Greek, Persian, Central Asian and Indian influence is more or less the story of Afghanistan in a nutshell.
"Morad e Dil," by Fawad Ramiz, has more of a pop sound to it, but still that whirling rhythm that sounds like it's from everywhere: the Balkans, North Africa, Pakistan.
The last track, "Muslims 4 Life," is by the rapper Kandahar Prince, aka Hamid from Upstate, who likes to name-check Schenectady from time to time. I acknowledge that he's not very good, and one could quibble about whether a rap in English by someone living in Schenectady is genuinely the music of Afghanistan. But as we set out on a musical journey around the world, it's good to remember that borders are fictions and that cultures are malleable and endlessly overlaid and intermixed — as they have been in Afghanistan since the dawn of time.
I am grateful to Mastana.net for its vast collection of Afghani music, which is provided in an easy-to-browse interface that I thoroughly recommend checking out.
Friday, November 9, 2007
DEEPAVALI NEE (MP3)
DEEPAVALI DEEPAVALI (MP3)
Old Telugu Songs
THE DIWALI SONG (MP3)
Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson
Tonight begins the festival of Diwali (or Deepavali, or Tihar), the South Asian festival of lights. This seems like a perfectly good excuse for digging up a few Indian songs from various corners of the web. I don't know much about any of these songs, but here goes.
"Diwali Di Rat Deevay," by Bhai Kanwarpal Singh, is part of Gurmat Sangeet Project, "a grass-roots level effort dedicated to the preservation and propagation of the Gurmat Sangeet tradition, which can be traced all the way back to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion."
"Deepavali Nee" is on a website called TamilBeat.com and seems pretty contemporary, but I couldn't find anything beyond that. Info is welcome.
"Deepavali Deepavali" is a mournful song, which seems odd for the holiday, but it's part of a movie and presumably has something to do with the plot. Sung by Balasaraswati, a famous South Indian dancer (or at least I think it's the same Balasaraswati; for all I know, finding Balasaraswatis in Hyderabad is like finding guys named Anthony in Brooklyn).
And finally, we come to The Office and its loopy celebration of Diwali. Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Diwali!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
[the origins of g-funk]
DOUBLE DUTCH BUS (MP3)
Children of Tomorrow
Let's start this off right!
Welcome to my new blog dedicated to music. The Ohio Players' Pleasure is a good place to start, since pleasure is at the heart of my love of music, and few forms of music give me quite the gut level of pure pleasure that funk does.
"Funky Worm," from 1972, is narrated by Grandma and tells the story of "the funkiest worm in the world." Naturally. What makes the song really stand out, though, is the astonishing synthesizer noise that takes off at 0:45, from which the entire edifice of G-funk was built. I only recently discovered this track, but it demonstrates definitively that Dr. Dre owes his whole career to about 10 seconds by the Ohio Players. As Grandma says, "Like nine cans of shaving powder: that's funky." A statement like that brooks no argument.
While we're at it, that whole wacky Snoop Dogg "Izzle" language also has a point of origin: the proto-hip-hop song "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith, from 1981. The Izzle kicks in at around 1:51.