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Music for Heatwaves

Discussion in 'music' started by joel, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. joel

    joel Painter of Dragons, Maker of Mirrors

    To celebrate the return of Summer to Europe :D and my 100th post on PFM2, I thought I'd try a post on the music of Islam.
    The last century's most popular Arab singer was Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum, who single-handedly (well, almost) reinvented popular Arab music in the 20th century, and was in her way as influential as the Beatles. Although her recording career started in the 20s, her "best period" is generally thought to be from the late 30s, and it was from this time until the late 40s.There are a number of compilations on various labels available, one of the better introductions is probably Oum Kalthoum - El Sett (Buda Musique 822442) Fairouz is a singer of epic scale and range, Virgin France have a solid compilation in their "Arabian Masters" series called Fairouz - Beirut (Virgin 724384714420). Another Arab vocalist well worth investigating is Warda. There is also a good album of Warda's music in the same Arabian Masters series.
    Anyone interested in exploring Arab "roots" sacred and secular music and should make a beeline for the labels Ocora (Radio France) and Institute du Monde Arabe (both distributed by Harmonia Mundi). Ocora, in particular, having a purple patch right now with recent wonderful releases from Saudia Arabia Mohammed Aman - La tradition du Hejaz (Ocora C 560158) and an album of music from Sanaa (Yemen) that is extremely interesting to say the least... The album is Hasan al-'Ajami - Le Chant de Sanaa (Ocora C 560173) Hasan al-"Ajani plays a traditional qanbus and is accompagnied by copper percussion. The music is *very* earthy , but with overtones of Gamelan from the copper percussion. Not an easy disc to get into, but one that repays the effort.
    A classic rerelease from Ocora is the album L'art du ud by Munir Bashir. Depending on who you talk to...Iraqi master Munir Bashir was either the greatest ever master of the prince of instruments (the ud) or really rather overrated. A good place to start to see which is true and who knows, maybe both views are, is L'art du ud (Ocora C 583068), Bashir was a prolific musician and his recorded oeuvre is very very long.
    There is also a very interesting album of Turkish Yayla (one of a series, apparently) Musiques des yayla (Ocora C 561050) which is ceremonial music from South Eastern Turkey with more than a hint of Turkmenistan and the Seljuk Turk "mongol" clans. This complex "dance" music is played fast on violin, sipsi "oboe"and saz lute.
    Ocora also has a *very* large library East Asian music and superb African music, too.
    Institute du Monde Arabe is a stealth label, there is virtually no information on available on the net - least of all on the http://www.imarabe.org/ website. However, the label is responsible for some of the finest music I have heard. Starting with the [Chants soufis de Caire[/b] (IMA 321023) as recited by the Chadhiliyya sufi brotherhood. THis is an album of vocal chants - both solo and in group, that, naturally, begins with the cantillation Call to Prayer this is not singing, of course, the vocal control and layerd polyphony with call and response are quite extraordinary...
    Abdel Gadir Salim Le Blues de Khartoum (IMA 321027) a man who has spent 40 years playing dances, weddings and all kinds of feasts in the Sudanese "jazz" style. Sudanese jazz involves mixing Arab / African percussion and ud with bongos, sax, electric guitar and a pinch of Bombay melody...
    Uddist Hussein El Masry and Sitar virtuoso Narendra Bataju meet Entre Nil et Gange (IMA321021) an album that is not so much a fusion of two music identities and cultures, but a simultaneous voyage down the two great rivers in which each explorer retains his own identity and goal. A slow subtle jewel.
    BUt my favourite so far in the collection isEnsembles al-Mahi & al-Bura'i Chants sacres de Nubie et de Kordofan (IMA321039) these are two sufic percussion/vocal groups from the Soudan who achieve a rapturous synthesis of Nilotic and Sub Saharan percussion and singing styles. Great production really lets the music speak.
    More IMA in another post. Along with Ocora, IMA hits the spot for me the way I think Factory does for TonyL...
    Meanwhile, over in post revolutionary IranMohammed Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh and Kayhan Kalhor have a wonderful album available on the "world Village" label called Without You (World Village 468011) the title of the album is a bit drippy, but the music is definitely not,warm rich and very accessible without making any compromises (except maybe for the title of the album). Well worth seeking out IMMHO.
    I have only one other album of Persian Classical Music, this time on the Japanese JVC label Fatemer Vaezi Parisa and Seyyed Noureddin Razavi - Classical Vocal Art of Persia (JVC VICG-60314) another quite stunning album that brings to mind Leon Thomas, and which was recorded in Tokyo in 1978...
    www.kalan.com is the place to go for Turkish music. I can reccommend a double CD of Turkish devotional music that covers everything from Quranic chanting to Sufi trance - all in the Turkish style... The CD set is called With Love... and is on the Pan label but is available from Kalan. The liners are bilingual in Turkish and English and very full - 64 pages in fact. For a really excellent and accesible poular Turkish group that draws on the traditions of Turksih music, try Kardes Turkuler - the english link does not work - in the Turkish section the clips are under "klip" :D
    Anyway, there is plenty more - this is not even scratching the surface of what is out there.
    I don't know if anybody is interested in this music, but it is well worth making the effort to find and to listen to IMHO .
  2. Harlyquin

    Harlyquin Anti speed-camera member

    Congrats on becoming a centenarian or (looking at your location) should it be centurion. ;) Sorry though can't really share your taste in middle eastern music, just doen't do it for me somehow.

    In this weather I think I'd rather be listening to Handel,s Water Music or Schubert's Trout :)
  3. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    NIce one Joel, definitely a few things there I'd like to try, particularly the 'Chants soufis de Caire' disc. Having lived within earshot of the central mosque of a moderate Islamic country (Brunei) for a couple of years, the call to prayer in all its variety is indeed quite a thing to hear, especially during the various feasts.

    Music for heatwaves on a rather more secular tip:

    Summer in the city:
    Prince Far-I: Message from the King
    Linto Kwesi Johnson: Bass Culture
    Steel pulse: Handsworth Revolution

    Summer in the countryside:
    Anything by Augustus Pablo.
    Burning Spear: Garvey's Ghost
    Inner Circle: Reggae thing
    Bob Marley: Kaya
    Third World: 96 degrees in the Shade

  4. Kit Taylor

    Kit Taylor Well-Known Member

    Joel, interesting post but I feel a little punctuation is in order!
  5. auric

    auric pfm Member

    What about moving this to the faq area as an information source on the music of Islam?
    Others then could add other areas of intrest to this History of Music 101 collection.

  6. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob 47 Lab Rat

    Excellent Joel. My notebook is out. And a disk of Arabo-Andalucian sufi music is on its way to you (amongst other things).

    -- Ian
  7. joel

    joel Painter of Dragons, Maker of Mirrors

    Yes, I see that. I was, erm, tired and emotional when I posted :D

    My knowledge is far too limited to make this a FAQ. I am working on changing that, though :D Maybe it could go into a faq at some future date after more input and when I have a more solid understanding.

    I'm still doing the labels *&^&%^* and a little special surprise. It'll take a couple more days to put together, but the wait will be worth it.

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