July 28 2008
Namaste Jah, and welcome to the background details of our latest trip, the destination(s) of course being between three seas, two continents, and the indigenous peoples that live there that despite their distance, are both known as "Indian." For episode three, my inspiration for the music was this idea of Indian-ness that is shared by people from the Indian Subcontinent as well as those from the Caribbean, aka the West Indies. Though at first lane the cultures and regions would appear to have little in common other than that when searching for the older one, Columbus "found" the "newer" of the two.
And forgoing the discussion of that dubious discovery, it is apparent that it did usher a period in history where cultures could encounter each other and exchange ideas. In truth, many peoples that had previously never co-mingled did, creating a rich fabric of interaction and of course, music. Of course, the more well known story centers on the forced movement of Africans to the new world and the syncretic traditions they helped establish, the music they would be an essential part of. From Blues to Jazz to Soul to Hip Hop to Samba to Cumbia and countless subgenres; African contributions to the music of the Americas is enormous. Though in a history little publicized here, great numbers other peoples came to the Americas under equally onerous conditions and under similar patterns of economic and physical subjugation. And like the Africans that came before them, they brought their music with them.
Of course, I am talking about the second round of New World slavery, the one that witnessed hundreds of thousands of Indians and Chinese from Asia crossing the Pacific and Indian Oceans to drive the engine of 19th & 20th century growth in both Americas, North, South and most interestingly enough, in the Caribbean. There, the melting pot idea of America was really reality and places throughout the Caribbean reflect that melding. Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the coasts of Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica as well as countless small islands in the region all reflect the influence of Asians on the region.
Part of the lesson of the New World is evident in the influence these new communities would have on the cultures they came from. And the music of the homelands of these peoples reflects the influences of their people in the New World. Now I have always been into music from the Caribbean as well as the music of India, so knowing about their connection is very useful for me because it gives me a great excuse to put the wonderful music of these distant lands together and check the sound...
1. Jolly Mukherjee "Chandi O Meri Chandi" - The Rough Guide To World Music : an Indian singer/songwriter. Known as India's "King of Strings", Mukherjee specializes in the music of Bollywood, or the Indian film industry. He started his career as a backup singer for commercials, then moving on to writing music for airline on-flight introductions, where he sometimes wrote for British Airways. His roots include a mixture of Hindustani classical music and Western music.
2. Mr. Peters Boom & Chime Bihine Mi Bahk Dehn Taak" - The Rough Guide To Central America - Belize Wilfred Peters is a Belizean accordionist and band leader, known as the "The King of Brukdown," Mr. Wilfred Peters is a Belizean national icon and one of the country's best loved musicians. After over 60 years of playing, he continues to define and invigorate Belizean Creole culture through his distinctive Brukdown music style Brukdown music reflects the journey of the African slave into the mahogany camps of Belize. It uses syncopated rhythms and call and response patterns firmly rooted in Africa, harmonies borrowed from Europe and lyrical themes colored with the Belizean Creole language and experience. Brukdown became the music of the people, whether urban or rural.
3. Subatomic Soundsystem "Set The Drums Free" - On All Frequencies : SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM created a unique style of beat driven music that staggers between the half time smoked out vibe of hip hop and dub reggae and the double time manic energy of jungle, drum & bass, punk rock, and up tempo jazz. SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM melts down the vintage sound of bass-heavy dub reggae, the head bobbing funk of underground hip hop, the throb of dancehall, and the futuristic fever of jungle and broken beat to unleash a sound built on the common elements that tie these styles together and give them a universal, cross-cultural resonance.
4. Ahkeer "Juggy D" & 5. Tigerstyle/Sarbjeet Kaur "Fasda Hi Nehi" - Ngoma Afro-Asia Soundsystem : NGOMA: Swahili word meaning Drums, Dance, and Song. DJ Zhao a chinese DJ who heads NGOMA Afro-Asia Soundsytem which is the positive side of globalization-- bass culture and musical heritage fuse; ultra-modern riddims meet the wealth of local flavors; irresistable next-level urban dance music arise on every continent. India, Cuba, Tanzania, Egypt, Cape Town, these are just a few destinations where wild styles are born, crucial new scenes thrive - places out of reach to most - NGOMA ambassadors of funk bring the heat from party hotspots across the known world - the wickedest beats and sweetest flows. NGOMA navigates wild terrain, connects the dots, traces a golden thread that runs through them all, and creates unforgettable experiences on the dance-floor. Sex, love, and a profound sense of sweaty, blissful unity, NGOMA represents an all encompassing groove which knows no boundaries. Forget post modernism, NGOMA is the crazy sound of now.
6. Collie Buddz "Mamacita" - Collie Buddz : Born in New Orleans, raised on the isle of Bermuda with intermittent stays in urban Toronto, Colin Harper is not an easy youth to pin down geographically. His musical alter ego Collie Buddz however, is one of the most firmly grounded voices you may ever encounter. Incorporating influences from hip-hop to soca, Collie’s music nevertheless has a rock-solid foundation in reggae - and its power to connect ghetto reality with the highest heights of human aspiration - that is a rarity even in Jamaica.
7. DJ Rehka "Banghall" - Basement Bhangra : Critically acclaimed DJ Rekha embarks on the next chapter of her career and announces the release of her highly anticipated debut album — DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra — out Fall 2007 on Twisted/KOCH. On her debut, Basement Bhangra, DJ Rekha invites the listener to go with her into a world that merges the traditional Bhangra music of South Asia and the Hip-Hop beats of today, this disc takes you on a journey into the infectious expanding South Asian dance music genre known as Bhangra. The listener will be able to experience some of the music that is heard at DJ Rekha's own internationally known event called Basement Bhangra, the New York dance party which takes place every first Thursday of the month at Sounds of Brazil (S.O.B.'s)that DJ Rekha has spearheaded and nurtured for more than ten years now.
8. Machel Montano And Black Stalin "Love Fire" - Lif Up Yuh Leg An Trample : Of Trinidad and Tobago, (T&T) Machel Monrtano's career has been his trailblazing approach to T&T's indigenous soca music. Through his various fusions, which include everything from performing with marching bands to collaborating with Grammy-winning reggae artists, Machel has worked tirelessly to establish soca, calypso's energetic offshoot, as a viable entity that can impact beyond T&T's internationally renowned carnival celebrations.
These are the cuts, and in case you missed it, here is the latest on Sound Travels and only on 88Nine RadioMilwaukee.