Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Qrquesta Henry Castro, Antonio Gonzalez y D'Argil - Chicharron de Chivo

It's a little difficult getting back into the swing of this blog posting business after such a long, accidental break. I have managed to pick up some wonderful vinyl during that time off so I hope to be quite busy here over coming weeks.

First up we have this lovely, crackly old record from a time when rock 'n' roll landed in Colombia. This is a weird and intriguing blend of American and Colombian styles which features a number of tracks designed for dancing the Twist. But with Cumbia and Porros stuff going on too. If that sounds like your bag then come grab a copy before they make it illegal.


01 Munequita de Cristal
02 La Estraordinaria
03 Chicharron de Chivo
04 Gusano Peludo
05 Don Ramiro
06 San Andres
07 Carmen Cecilia
08 Las Palmitas
09 Luna de Miel
10 Rosa
11 Margarita
12 Que Linda

Get it HERE.

While we're all here and paying attention, I'd just like to draw your attention to a new blog which has been started by Tim Abdellah, who has regularly provided translations for some of the Moroccan and Arabic music I've posted here. Tim has decided to start to share some of the music he has collected whilst visiting Morocco, along with some of his knowledge about this music. Tim seems pretty versed in the Gnawa tradition0 (whilst I'm just a happy amateur), and his comments here have been consistently interesting and enlightening, so I for one am looking forward to more Moroccan music coming our way soon. The blog is called Moroccan Tape Stash and you can find it here:


Monday, 23 May 2011

Nights on the Place of Dead Roads

"The most important single element of Morocco's folk culture is its music...the entire history and mythology of the people is clothed in song"
Paul Bowles Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands are Blue
In March this year I spent five perfect days in Marrakech. I had flown into the city full of grand plans - I was to go record hunting in Casablanca, I would catch a bus up the Ourika Valley and spend two days walking in the mountains. Of course I did neither of these things - the chaos and excitement of life in the medina sucked me in and wouldn't let go. I spent my days wandering the narrow streets making a mental map of the labyrinth at the heart of the ancient city. Each night as darkness fell I would wander from my hotel to the Djemaa El Fna - the Assembly of the Dead - to lose myself in the crowds at this unique, permanent festival.

Over the four nights I spent wandering from halqah to halqah I was treated to some incredible music and performances, and what really struck me on this visit was how communal and participatory the performances are. The crowds which gather around the musicians show their appreciation for a good rendition by singing along. The resulting sounds can be electrifying.

Follow the link below and you'll find 50 something minutes of recordings from the square made between March 3rd and March 7th this year. In posting these recordings, my thoughts go out to all those affected by the bomb that went off in the Cafe Argana on Aprl 28th, and to the thousands of Moroccans who attended the pro peace and pro democracy marches over the following weekends.

Nights on the Place of Dead Roads