Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Map Quiz

Map quiz time! We're going to check out a few of the countries shown here in green. Not England or Italy or Slovakia, though.)

Let's pick a site in Sweden famous for its fiddling history. How about Bingsjƶ, site of a midsummer fiddlers festival for forty years and of a tradition going back centuries. Nowadays, it's famous for jams going all night through the midnight sun until morning. OK, I am trying to find a nice photo from the festival or at least of picturesque Dalarna, the state in which it is located, but you know what I get when I Google "Swedish traditional fiddler image?" A photo of the Carolina Chocolate Drops!! Wow, they do get around, but I don't think any of those guys are Swedish...

So here's some real old time fiddling.

Now, think of a place in Bulgaria where the traditional womens' harmony singing comes from. Maybe the Rhodope Mountains near the border with Greece and Turkey, where ruins of old fortresses dot the mountaintops.

Draw a line between those two historical music wonder sites, and you'll end up somewhere in Poland, a place where mind bending dark fiddling butts against spine-tingling womens' vocal harmonies in the amazing Warsaw Village band. Guess what? They're coming back to see us at the Cedar! Put Thursday, October 29 on your calendar and plan to come check out WVB with the Cedar's better than ever sound system. To those who missed their appearance a few years ago, I would recommend this band to lovers of Scandinavian fiddling and of women's close harmony singing. Since we can't go out in Warsaw's Old Town tonight, read more about the band in the big fat review I wrote of their most recent album on the 12/31/08 version of this very blog.

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Don't you hate it when...you get all excited about a band that is new to you and rush to their website or MySpace only to discover that they played in our very town the day before!!! There I was last week rocking out to a mix thoughtfully provided by our own Angel of Rock as I drove around making deliveries in a big, big truck. I was extremely captivated by the tune "Three Shades" by the band Nomo from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their spot-on Afro-beat-ish horns atop the loops of groovy chiming percussion (created on homemade junk gamelons, I found out) held down by driving real percussion had me hitting that repeat button. But really, when I got home and looked them up, they had played a show at the U of M the day before and done some radio in-studios at Radio K and the Current. The Angel of Rock said "It was fun. I have mentioned to Rob that they should be at the Cedar next time...and a few people mentioned it to me too."

Yeah! Let's get these guys into our house next time around. Here's a Pitchfork review of their new disc Invisible Cities.

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Last but not least, remember how I was so into the Greek remixes of old 50's vocal artists by Imam Baldi? Turns out I'm not the only one who fell under that spell. The Iman Baldi big band is playing at the huge Roskilde Fest in Denmark in July, and dj Charlie Gillett on BBC's World Service has been mixing sets around some of their tracks on "The Sound of the World" Show. A listener on their forum thought "O Pasatempos" tune's background as follows:
The original 'Pasatempos' is by Yorgos Yannakopoulos and Manolis Chiotis (pronounced Jiotis, if you have started the Spanish course), sung in its most popular version by Yota Lydia, I think.
Well, I tried to find a photo of her, but all the links seem to want to show me Yoda instead. Let's imagine her looking something like this and call it a night, OK?

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