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NEWSLETTER #137
Ethnic & World Music
Los Alegres De Teran ->
Various Artists
 

 

 
NORTENO LOS ALEGRES DE TERAN Arhoolie 9048 Gradaciones Originales (Original Recordings), 1952-54 ● CD $9.98
15 tracks, 43 mins, recommended
Featuring the wonderful "dueto" of Tomas Ortiz (v., baja sexto) and Eugenio Abrego (v, accordion), who are joined at various times by Spiros "Pete" Arfanos (b.) or Mario Saenz (b.), this disc collects some of their early '50s Falcon Records output, taken from the master tapes and never before reissued in any form. EMI of Mexico apparently bought nearly all the Falcon "norteno" LP masters, but in 2000 Arhoolie's Chris Strachwitz managed to scoop up the non-LP masters. As a result, instead of reissuing hits such as Carta Jugada, this collection focuses on the lesser known (but just as influential and pleasing) early material. Los Alegres De Teran are said to have recorded over 100 LPs, and it's easy enough to believe. Every song here is a dance floor summons. (JC)

 
CAJUN BEAUSOLEIL Shout Factory DVD 34210 Live From The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival DVD  ● CD $19.98
DVD, 100 minutes, highly recommended Watching Michael Doucet and Beausoleil play at the 2002 Jazz Festival confirms that although the audience is clearly joyful, no one is having more fun than the musicians themselves. Maybe that's how they have been able to stay together so long. Michael Doucet formed Beausoleil in 1975 and since then they have become the greatest Cajun band, period. This performance draws from originals and classics of the form, and Beausoleil makes every moment danceable and engaging. The DVD is worth it just for the "extra features," which include two music videos, an extra song, and interviews with the entire band, although some of them are annoyingly edited. Nice. (JC)

 
CUBA WILLIE BOBO Vampisoul 016 Do That Thing/ Guajira ● CD $19.98
12 tracks, 30 minutes, highly recommended
A pupil of Mongo Santamaria, Latin percussionist Willie Bobo was born William Correa in New York City in 1934 ("Bobo" was a name given to him by jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams). He broke into the music business with Machito's Afro-Cubans in the early fifties and went on to play and record with jazz artists such as George Shearing and Stan Getz. In the 1960's he moved more into the latin soul and pop fields, while still keeping a foot in jazz. This reissue of a 1963 Tico album has twin names because one side of the LP contains jazz tunes and the other Latin. (JV)

 
MIDDLE EAST THE ISRAELI ANDALUSIAN ORCHESTRA Magda 0022 Maghreb 1 ● CD $22.98
Concert recordings of Jewish Moroccan music performed by the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra, recorded in 1999. This musical tradition began in Andalusia, the medieval civilization that flourished on the Iberian peninsula between the ninth century and the fall of Grenada in 1492. A rich synthesis of Arab, Jewish, and Christian cultures, the culture of Andalusia survived among the Sephardic Jews of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya) for centuries. When the Sephardim joined the worldwide Jewish migration to the newly-established state of Israel, they found their cultural traditions marginalized by those of the more numerous Ashkenazi immigrants, and this Andalusian musical tradition nearly died out. It has been revived, ironically enough, by Russian Jewish immigrants who began arriving in the late 1970s. Their musical traditions, particularly their violin music, married magically well with traditional Moroccan string orchestras (kanun, oud, kamantche), and the result includes the wonderful music on this CD. Vocal soloists Abdesalam Safiani (who is a Moroccan Arab) and Emil Zhiran (an Israeli) are spectacularly accompanied by a string orchestra including violins, siolas, cello, guitar, banjo, and mandolin as well as the traditional Middle Eastern stringed instruments, with tar and other percussions and accordeon. Haunting melodies in a harmonious cultural blend -- I hope the regional politics can blend as beautifully soon! (NSN)

 
MEXICAN MARIACHI LOS GAVILANES DE OAKLAND Arhoolie 9050 AND: Corrido Del Mono ● CD $9.98
12 tracks recorded in 1990 by this fine 10 piece mariachi ensemble from Oakland, California led by guitarron player Guadalupe Madrigal.

 
REGGAE BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Silverline 284537 African Herbsman ● CD $19.98
CD/DVD (DualDisc), recommended
The compelling reason to pick up this oft-reissued album originally released in 1973 is the 10 bonus tracks on the DVD side (it's a double sided disc with CD on one side and DVD on the other) such as Memphis and Copasetic (All In One Version) by The Upsetters and Grooving Kingston 12 (Trenchtown Rock Version) by Marley and The Wailers. The DVD also offers more extensive "liner notes" than the booklet, but reading off the teevee or computer screen is not everyone's idea of a good time. Otherwise, the DVD part offers little. Still, the music should be enough, catching, as it does, a transitional period in the development of Bob Marley and the Wailers as they team up with The Upsetters under producer extraordinaire Lee "Scratch" Perry. It was soon after these sides that Island Records discovered Bob and the rest of the world soon followed. (JC)

 
CUBA ORQUESTA RIVERSIDE Tumbao 109 De Bayamo A Pinar Del Rio ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 61 minutes, highly recommended
Orquesta Riverside was one of the better all-white Cuban bands of the post-World War II era. Formed in Havana in 1938, they were for many years a radio favorite. They played in a jazz-influenced style and were popular with tourists as well with Cuban natives. They reached their greatest popularity under the direction of alto sax player Pedro Vila and were best known for the musical talents of clear-voiced singer Tito Gomez and pianist/arranger Pedro "Peruchin" Justiz, all of whom are prominently featured on the 1953-1959 recordings found on this CD. (JV)

 
CUBA PEREZ PRADO Proper INTRO 2041 The Mambo King - A Proper Introduction To Perez Prado ● CD $9.98
24 tracks, 71min., recommended
In 1940, before his mambo coronation, Cuban-born Perez Prado became the pianist and arranger for the famed Orquestra de la Playa (an outfit that would also included Miguelito Valdez), replacing Anselmo Sacasas. This introduction to Prado's work collects songs recorded between 1947-52 (the period just before mambo madness struck the Americas and left Prado a hugely popular practitioner of the form), including several recorded for the Seeco label before Prado signed with RCA. His orchestra was known for their piercing brass section, whose electrifying horns cut through the punching rhythm section like a cleaver through meat. The enthralling music attacks at the toes, almost forcing listeners to mambo in self defense. Tracks include Mambo #5, Que Rico Mambo, Cereso Rosa, Mambo A La Kenton, Al Compas Del Mambo, Electriccidad, Rica, No Me Quieras Tanto, Actopan, Timba, Timba, Mi Cazuelita, and more. (JC)

 
CUBA SEPTETO CAUTO Tumbao 113 Congo Se Divierte ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 42 minutes, highly recommended
Septeto Cauto was an important transitional band in Cuban music between the era of small string bands (or "conjuntos") in the 1920's and the big band era of the 1940's and 1950's. Their lineup added a trumpet to the string and rhythm of the conjunto style. They were especially notable for three famous singers they produced: Alfredito Valdes, Cheo Marquetti, and Beny More (the first two of whom sing on most of the 1937-1940 Havana recordings on this CD - More did not join the band until 1943). (JV)

 
CUBA SONORA MATANCERA Tumbao 114 La Ola Marina ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, 57 minutes, essential
Organized in the Cuban province of Matanzas in 1924, Sonora Matancera has become an institution in Cuban music, evolving through the stages of musical development in the decades that followed. The group is known for its solid, earthy playing as well as for the many famous vocalists who have fronted the band (most notably, Celia Cruz). In these 1944 recordings, the featured vocalist is Bienvenido Granda. (JV)

 
CHINA VARIOUS ARTISTS DejaVu Retro R2CD 4288 The Music of China ● CD $12.98
Budget 2-CD set is a sweeping introduction to Chinese music. Disc One is all instrumental and tremendous fun to listen to. 16 selections, all performed on a variety of traditional instruments. Now, China is a big place with a lot of people in it, but you're not going to get any detail of who the musicians are and where they come from with this set; as is standard with the DejaVu Retro packages, the notes are practically nonexistent, although there are descriptions of the traditional instruments by name, which is useful. Unless you're an aficionado, it's helpful to listen to Disc One to get your ears ready for Disc Two, which offers Chinese opera -- vocal music with orchestral accompaniment, some on traditional instruments, some on what we in the west are accustomed to think of as orchestral instruments, and some on what sounds like a synthesizer. There are six selections of traditional Beijing opera, six with a more occidental sound by artists from the National Opera, and a final six identified as modern Beijing opera. I find the modern pieces the most accessible, but it's all fun to listen to. (NSN)

 
AFRICA-SOUTH AFRICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Dejavue Retro 4299 Spirit Of The Zulu ● CD $12.98
Two CD set previously available on the Eagle label featuring recordings of South African made by the South African Broadcasting Archives between 1959 and 1994. The first disc on this set features music of the Zulu and the second one features music by the North Sotho people. Booklet has generally notes on the music but no details on the artists.

 
ARGENTINA VARIOUS ARTISTS El Bandoneon 102 Lo Esencial Del El Bandoneon ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, highly recommended
Introduction to some of the treasures of vintage Argentinian tango music from the 20s through the 40s drawn from El Bandoneon's catalog of nearly 150 CDs (all available through Roots & Rhythm). Among the legendary artists featured here are Carlos Gardel, Libertad Lamarque, Carlos Di Sali, Alfredo De Angelis, Nelly Omar, Anibal Troilo and more. Beautiful and varied music with generally fine sound. In addition set includes thick 90 page booklet with full color photos of all the albums available on the label along with track listings. (FS)

 
CUBA VARIOUS ARTISTS Putumayo 213 Salsa Around The World ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 51 minutes, highly recommended
Like Reggae, Salsa has become a world music over the past several decades. As a result (as this CD evidences), today there are professional Salsa bands in unlikely places all over the world. Some, like Italy's Havana Mambo (who contribute Malanina to this CD), are comprised of Cuban immigrants, but others, like Scotland's "Salsa Celtica" (who contribute El Sol de La Noche to this CD), are local musicians (in this case folk and jazz players) who have caught the Salsa bug. First rate Salsa is played here by bands from India to Finland and from Greece to Japan. (JV)

 
MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Trikont 326 Stranded In The USA - Early Songs Of Emigration ● CD $21.98
Wonderful collection of 26 recordings of ethnic music from the late 20s to early 50s on the subject of emigration to America and immigrants experiences here. Includes Irish, Serbo-Croation, Trinidadian, Polish, Jewish, German, Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican, Ukrainian, Finnish, Austrian music and more. Includes two booklets with extensive notes in English and German including annotation for all the tracks and German and English lyric transcripts.

 

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