Thursday, November 27, 2008

At the end of my rainbow...lies Besh o droM!

Here I am in beautiful South Milwaukee in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. A touch of "I'm in charge of the bird" jitters? Beer-related insomnia? Perhaps some "I spent all afternoon in the car with a four year old"-related dementia? Either way, I was lying awake, realizing I did not write my blog post, and while thinking about the blog, I was mentally reviewing the recent post about radio. And while I was thinking about radio, suddenly "Life is a Rock" popped into my head. You know, "Life is rock, but the radio rolled me?" Haven't you always wished you knew all the lyrics to that song? The Wiki article above lists the bands and people who are name checked in that song, with links to most of them. Gotta love the Wiki.

Oh what the heck, it's 2:18's the whole thing.

B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers
Lonnie Mack and twangin' Eddy, here's my ring we're goin' steady
Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire

Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction
Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin' hotter
Sammy's cookin', Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story
Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama

Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry
Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin'

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

FM, AM, hits are clickin' while the clock is tock-a-tickin'
Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations

Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin'
Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can't stop now, I got the shivers
Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary
Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper

Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter
Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses
Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa who
a whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Arthur Janov's primal screamin', Hawkins, Jay and
Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla
Denver, John and Osmond, Donny

JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah
David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider

Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders
Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah

Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda
Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy

CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Listen--remember, they're playing our song!

Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me
Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,
Make it bad and play it funky.
(Wanna take you higher!)

What lies at the end of your musical rainbow?

...and where is my old Fender Bass now? It was a 1975 Fender Precision, refinished bright red, although the guys at Willie's said they didn't make red that year and it had originally been ivory white.

Hope somebody out there is still lovin' them some P-bass!

Someplace near the top of my musical pot of gold of course is the the band I like to introduce as "The Hungarian Hoven Droven" to people who are not yet part of the wonderful world of Besh o droM. Here ya go.

...and they have a quirky sense of humor, too. Maybe that's just a Hungarian thing? When Little Cow was breaking out the giant bunny ears onstage at the Cedar a couple of months ago I thought, these guys are squirrelly. Was Bela Bartok so squirrelly?

There is a decent article on Wiki about them; their Hungarian Website is a bit pokey to download. The mighty Asphalt Tango records in Berlin distributes some of their stuff now, here's their bio.

What is it about these guys that makes people who don't even like Balkan music tap their foot under the table while playing cards in my dining room and say "What is this music?" Yeah, they have fun horns, but lots of bands have fun horns. Yeah, their arrangements are wild and irreverent, but lots of band's arrangements are wild and irreverent. Was it the fact I had to special order all their discs from Germany? That they have cd titles like "Macho Embroidery," "Gee!" and "Can't Make Me?"

cdRoots says
"Budapest based Besh o droM is a 10-piece electro-acoustic collective, combining turntable wizardry, deep ethnic folk roots and wild jazz improvisation to spectacular effect. Their sound exemplifies the vital creative energy that is flourishing throughout the region and fusing east and west in myriad new ways.

Besh o droM was founded in 1999. Their music is inspired by Balkan, Hungarian and Romanian Gypsy tunes and Middle Eastern traditional music. They interpret this music in their unique style, mixing various musical genres and backgrounds. Most of the tunes they play are traditional but they take the liberty to use any tunes they really like and enjoy. They have developed a very loyal following in Hungary and have started their carrier in the international world music circuit.

Besh o droM in Gypsy language means "sit on the road" literally, but its real meaning is "follow your path, get on with it". It is also wordplay in Hungarian meaning "I am rolling…" (a cigarette). Besh o droM's first CD entitled "Macsó hímzés" (again a wordplay with a local folk connotation, 'Macho embroidery' in literal translation) was published by FONO Records in October 2000. The band has teamed up with Hungarian scratch magician and top hih-hop DJ. Tradition meets the best of club sound, gypsy violin virtuoso with jazz improvisation, a fantastic brass section mixes with funk grooves. A 1000mph musical mayhem, a real audience pleaser with very strong musicianship. World music at its best – an absolute must. Dance shoes recommended.

Yay! Now you can get at least a couple of their discs here in the U.S. via cdRoots! Thanks Cliff!

Here's a blog post by some guy who fell under their spell. Sorry that he can't always spell.

Besh O Drom came out and the minute they started playing I could see I wasn’t going to be able to get away with just standing still (my favorite kind of dancing). The beat was hard and fast. It felt more like a balkan answer to techno than to funk. The energy was so high, I kept expecting a slower song, but one never came.
A link from Virtual WOMEX says it pretty well, too.
Besh o droM draws its musical basis form Transylvanian, Jewish, Afghan, Egyptian, Libanese, Armenian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek tunes presenting folk and electronic instruments simultaneously. The different types of music from nations which nowadays do not necessarily communicate well with each other appear together in peace and harmony. Their music is playful and serious, funny and touching, acoustic and electronic, authentic and urban, Western and Eastern, folk and above nations at the same time.

Wish they had a shirt available of this album cover for Nekem-tenemmutogatol ("Can't Make Me!") Or as my partner says "No pointers!"


Main Figurehead said...

Awesome video! Thanks for that.

Michael said...

Hey i am a big fan of Steely Dan, but Mr Walter Becker has a new album called Circus Money, What a great album it is, just had to share that with all the Steely Dan Fans.