Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Imam Baildi : Slinky Greek Remixes of Old 78s

Yeah, he fainted because the stuffed eggplant was so good goes the story, but I'm not talking about traditional hotdish. I'm talking about traditional old vinyl from the 40's, 50's and 60's in the hands of the Falireas brothers, Orestis and Lysandros, who as Martin Gordon on the Euro World Music charts says "took a bunch of samples from old Greek and Balkan tunes, chopped them up, added their instrumentation and the result was in the Greek charts for almost 2 years."

Here's the hotdish joke explained for you non-eggplant lovers, courtesy of the blog of someone named Anna at
Imam Baildi is a traditional Greek eggplant dish; Greeks of Istanbul created this recipe (hence the Turkish name) many many years back. [A translation of the name would be "The Imam fainted." ]
Imam Baildi is also a band, or a project, however you may prefer to call it, by two brothers, Orestis and Lysandros Falireas.

According to their website, "It is named after the dish because, just like we mix many different ingredients together to cook the dish, these lads mixed old Greek tunes they fancy from their father’s collection of 78rpm gramophone records with electronic sonical flavours & produced an album using samples from Greek tunes from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

"The idea was to bring forward some of these forgotten gems from Greek artists of the past century and blend them with modern sounds and rhythm into something new and unique. It took a lot of experimentation and loads of time and effort because what we most feared was ending up with a cheap sounding boxy beat over an old sample pattern. We focused on truly blending old and new, in bringing every addition under the old recordings’ skin".
Here's a fun interview with the brothers from the website of the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman. Here's a longer interview from about how they choose what to sample and about how the live version of the band came together.
Keeping it anonymous and respecting the vinyl

Sounds like great stuff for those of us in Boom Pam nation and lovers of other Balkan mixers and mashers like Shantel, the Balkan Beats crew and Balkan Beat Box. Don't expect every tune to be a crazy dance mix, however. Many of them are actually more of a chill tempo, which works perfectly with the throaty 50's lounge singers they are sampling. Who were these women?

Actually, the more I listen, the more I appreciate these guys' deft hands on the controls. There are not any big slamming beats; it's handled with just the right amount of new sounds on top of the crackling old 78s, similar to what dj Click does with his old vinyl and new worldwide sounds. Some tunes the sample is the whole vocal line, and others it's just a small instrumental piece and they build around it.

Not so into the video, but check out this tune "Samba Clarina." Love that sample at the beginning.

This is a bit more like it. Live at the Guru bar in downtown Athens. Sounds kind of traditional brassy until they kick in the old sample beats about 40 seconds in. I think this is more the sound of their live "big band" and the albums are more of the old samples.

But, how to obtain such a recording? This may take some work. The link at the World charts is not good. Missing a letter. I find the company. Not up to date, not listing this artist. Most of the press on their Myspace is in Greek. The record label on their Myspace sends me back to their Myspace. OK, I found a free download. I think. We really need a new router over here. But I would buy this. Really. If I could find it anywhere.

Well this is funny. Somebody else out there in the blogosphere called "Albums Everyone Should Own" had fun with this and directed me to the free download. He says:

"My good friend Becky is Greek and I gave it to her to play for her Grandma and Aunt. It ended up as an old lady dance party at her house…and I expect it would spark a kind of dance party anywhere. Whether its the moody ‘Samba Clarina’ you see above, or the intensely catchy ’O Pasatempos’ on top, Imam Baildi shows that the recipe started by St Germain can easily be applied to all kinds of world music."

Can't beat "old lady dance party!" But it's a .RAR file, not a Zip, so I had to download some software to unzip the thing. Quite a journey around the internet, but I am cranking "Samba Clarina" as we speak from my own ITunes, so it's all good now. I'm pretty sure this is a download of their first disc, from 2007. All but two of the song titles are in the Greek alphabet with this download, which came through as gobbledegook, but I found a playlist with Arabic letters to copy at Now you, too, will soon be slinking around your living room to "De Thelo Pia Na Xanarthis." Enjoy!

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I promise next week will be devoted to hurdy-enhanced Pagan Metal, as in a review of the Żywiołak album I got in the mail last month as well as wondering by Eluveitie won't be on the Paganfest II tour this spring. (But they are hoping to do a U.S. tour in the fall with acoustic as well as metal sets. Yeah!!)

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