maandag 5 mei 2014

Musical Monday: Soundtrack of my life IV

I like to think I changed a lot during the last two years of my highschool period and the first year at college. At least my interests changed and so did my taste in music. From RnB and rap I went to 'worldmusic': African drums, fado, flamenco, gypsy/balkan and rai. Fuel to this search for music was my internet contact with a boy from Togo, with whom I also corresponded through snail-mail, sending each other music, movies, sweets and postcards from our own county. I also took up Djembé lessons, together with my father. Our teacher was a man from Guinee, who knew a few words Dutch and a few words English, but it mostly was enough to teach us all we needed to know.

One of the CD's I got from my Togolese friend was Black Ivory soul from Angelique Kidjo. I don't know if I knew her already, but she is rather well known among the world-listening population in Europe, probably because she's won a grammy award. I find her music refreshing and inspirational.

Right, back to the music I can actually share with you. I have probably already shared the music of Amadou and Mariam. But, sometimes, some music, you just can't share enough. The album made by Amadou and Mariam is influenced a lot by co-artist and producer Manu Chao. Which gives the typical African music from the Mali duo a more accessible sound.

I don't know when it began, but somehow, somewhere along the way I got caught by a Portugal-bug. Portugal had it all. I still haven't been, but I am still fascinated by the country. And it's traditional fado music is probably a huge part of the 'why'. The word fado itself translates as destiny of fate, which already shows a lot about the emotions that lay in this music. Its feel is classical. Just listen, it's beautiful.
My favorite fadista is Cristina Branco, though she is one of the 'new elite', just like Mariza and some others. (I've seen them both live, by the way, now I come to think of it, Amadou and Mariam and Angelique Kidjo also). If you're interested: Amalia Rodrigues is the heroine of past times. He music is a lot less accessible than her contemporary colleages, so you might want to exercise your hearing. :)
Back to Cristina, because she and her husband (who plays one of the guitars) do something amazing. They take famous poems, and turn them into fado songs. Which makes the lyrics even more mystical to me. The song in the video is called Se a alma te reprova, which is a Fadosation of William Shakespeares sonnet 136.

Some time, for Sinterklaas, I got a 'rough guide to flamenco' CD from my grandfather. I don't recall if it was his own idea to gift me this, or if I had already started to have an interest. Anyways, somewhere in these last years of my high school, a love was born.
Flamenco has famous singers, guitar players and dancers and this combination is what makes it so interesting. Paco de Lucia, for instance, is a very well known Flamenco guitarist and there is (almost) no singing on his albums. Though I admire De Lucia's skills, I do prefer the singing, and if possible the dancing, to make things whole.
The song in the video is by El Camaron, the most famous Flamenco singer of modern flamenco, influencing 'Nuevo Flamenco'. The song is with Tomatito, Paco de Lucia's student, though El Camaron and De Lucia made nine albums together.
Capital of Flamenco is Sevilla, which I've visited twice, the first time mainly because of my flamenco interests. Once with my mother and once with my sister. If you've never been: you certainly should.

Would you like to learn more about flamenco, watch the 1983 movie Carmen, which is certainly worth watching.

Susheela Raman has long been my favorite artist. One time, at festival mundial, I deceided to take a look at an artist I did not know. No one wanted to come with me, so I was quite alone, but I never regretted my decision. I was enchanted the first moment I set foot in that tent. Most known is her song Trust in me, which is a song that's used in Disney's Jungle Book. Raman is English born, but from Indian descent. She studied traditional Indian music and started mixing them with rock and soul, giving a unique and beautiful result.

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