Murkey's Marvellous Mixtape 2012
Subject: Murkey's Marvellous Mixtape 2012|
From: GUEST,Christopher Conder
Date: 09 Dec 12 - 12:48 PM
This is the third time I've made an end of year Spotify playlist of my favourite tracks (new and old) that I have discovered over the past twelve months, which makes it officially a tradition.
Here it is:
This year I feature 20 artists, from 11 countries, three of whom I interviewed, and (just to prove I'm not completely obsessed with the obscure) two chart hits.
1. Tref - Tragédie Lego
As with previous years, I start with my favourite track of the year. This time it's also from my favourite album of the year. Tref are a three-diatonic-accordion-and-percussion instrumental group from Belgium. I interviewed Wim Claeys and Didier Laloy from the band in Brussels, the latter of whom originally wrote this fantastic tune. The article will be out in fRoots magazine next year.
From [i]Dampf[/i] (homerecords.be, 2012)
2. Rachel Newton – Lady Diamond
I first saw Rachel as part of the Shee a few years back and thought they had an excellent harpist, but her name only registered with me as a member of Emily Portman's trio. A wonderful Scottish singer as well as player, her debut solo album is fantastic. Matty Foulds (husband of Karine Polwart) contributed brilliant drumming to this tragic traditional ballad. I'll be interviewing her for fRoots later in December.
From [i]The Shadow Side[/i] (Shee Records, 2012). Available to buy direct from the artist at www.rachelnewtonmusic.com.
3. Ensemble Nguyễn Vĩnh Bảo – Dao Ngu Cung (Literally: 'Inversion Of The Five Fundamental Degrees Of The Viet')
2012 gave me one the most awe-inspiring moments of my life, when I met Professor Nguyễn Vĩnh Bảo in his home in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Vinh Bao is 94 years old and is a master of Vietnamese traditional music, particularly the đàn tranh (zither). He was gentle, sweet, humble and wise and it was such an honour to talk to him and be invited into his home. This is a track recorded with his ensemble. I will have an article on Vinh Bao in fRoots at some point next year.
From[i] Ensemble Nguyễn Vĩnh Bảo[/i] (Ocora, 2002)
4. Rizzle Kicks – Down With The Trumpets
I love this song, more pop songs should have a mariachi vibes.
From [i]Stereo Typical[/i] (Universal Island, 2011)
5. Ry Cooder – John Lee Hooker for President
Welcome to the misogyny and violence corner. This lazy blues written and performed by Ry Cooder sets out bluesman John Lee Hooker's manifesto for the White House. Sadly Hooker died in 2001, so can't sing this song himself, or indeed run for President. Despite this, a website with that aim was set up in 2012 at www.hookerforpresident.com!
From [i]Pull up some dust and sit down[/i] (Nonesuch, 2011)
6. Childish Gambino – Bonfire
I find the sexist and racial aggression of this track uncomfortable, but sonically it's fantastic so it squeezed onto the mixtape (but might not go to the CD I make for the parents!). Childish is actor Donald Glover, and got his name from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator.
From [i]Camp [/i](Glassnote Records, 2011)
7. Hoang Oanh – Toi Chua Co Mua Xuan
As you'll hear in this mixtape, I got very into Vietnamese music in advance of my trip there in August. It can take a bit of getting used to, but is quite lovely once you are in the right headspace. My best discovery was Hoang Oanh, who unfortunately now lives in California at the age of 62, and I was thus unable to meet. I love her musty voice and the slinking saxophones. I'm not sure when this was recorded, the copyright in 1980 but I suspect it might be older. A Google translate of the title is 'Do not have the spring', although my Vietnamese friends may be able to give me a more accurate translation.
From [i]Canh Nhan Mua Xuan[/i]
8. Sam Lee – The Tan Yard Side
I like to think of Sam as an acquaintance (we've met twice and are Facebook friends!), so was very excited when his album got nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. I hadn't heard it at the time, but listening afterwards I was absolutely blown away by how fantastic it is, in terms of arrangements, the tender singing, the fascinating songs, the lot! It was produced by Gerry Diver, hence the trademark birdsong on this song.
From [i]Ground of Its Own [/i](The Nest Collective Records, 2012)
9. Elizabeth LaPrelle – Locks and Bolts
Amazingly, LaPrelle is only in her early twenties, but has totally mastered this style of Appalachian ballad singing. It's good to compare this with Rachel Newton's 'Lady Diamond': in this song (for once) the poor lover of the rich woman does actually get his way…
From [i]Bird's Advice[/i] (Old 97 Records, 2011)
10. Sinh Kim and Dinh Lan - Tan Phong
Kim Sinh is one of the few Vietnamese musicians still living in the country with any international profile, albeit a very small, cult one. 82 years old and blind, he still plays Cai Luong (folk opera) music, recently recording with Australian bluesman Dom Turner. His reputation came through the bluesy spirit he brings to his playing, particularly on the đàn nguyệt (two-stringed lute). I tried so hard to get an interview with him in Hanoi, but with no success.
From [i]Music from Vietnam 4: The Artistry of Kim Sinh[/i] (Caprice, 2003)
11. Lucas Santtana – Super violão mashup
Lucas Santtana (nothing to do with that Santana) is a Brazilian guitarist mixing his acoustic playing with electronics to extraordinary effect, as you can hear. I've just discovered he has a new album out, but this is from his last one.
From [i]Sem Nostalgia[/i] (Mais Um Discos, 2011
12. Amadou & Mariam with Jake Shears – Metemya
Malian couple Amadou and Mariam just keep getting more popular in the West, and just when you think they have to do a 'back-to-roots' album they go and release a star-studded offering, on which the most famous guest is the Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears on this track. African funk meets NYC disco and I love it.
From [i]Folilia [/i](Because Music, 2012). Available to buy direct from the artists at www.amadou-mariam.com
13. Adele – Rolling In The Deep
You've almost certainly heard this song, but it has regularly been stuck in my mind throughout late 2011 and 2012 and it's still fantastic. Our mate Julian Ferraretto plays with Neil Cowley, who plays piano on this recording, which is almost a claim to fame. I love Mischa B's version too.
From [i]21 [/i](XL, 2011)
14. Narasirato – Roromera
I first stumbled about the awesome Narasirato at Glastonbury 2011. They are of the Are'are people, from the island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands, to the north-west of Australia, and have a long ancestral culture of playing the panpipes and bamboo percussion instruments. They are also deeply funky and it was lovely to meet them at WOMAD festival this year. My feature will be the January/February 2013 issue of fRoots.
From [i]Warato'o[/i] (Smash Corporation, 2012)
15. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras and the Congos – Food Clothing and Shelter
I was turned on to this album by its high placing in the Quietus's mid-year poll, and it lives up to its review. The Congos are a roots reggae group, best known for their work with Lee 'Scratch' Perry in the '70s. The RVNG record label set them up with American experimental musicians Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras and this spacey track is one of the results. This video gives an insight into the hazy days of the recordings: http://community.vhx.tv/#!/dashboard.
From[i] Icon Give Thank[/i] (RVNG, 2012)
16. Axel Krygier – Pesebre
A nice festive one for you here ('pesebre' meaning 'manger', or 'nativity scene' in Spanish). Buenos Aires-based electronic musician Axel Krygier made this, as well as the equally barmy video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVw91vhKWDs.
From [i]Pesebre [/i](Crammed Discs, 2010)
17. Laura Veirs – Jump Down Spin Around
Laura Veirs is best known for as a talented songwriter, but last year the American released an album of traditional folk songs. It's supposed to be for children, but I love it. This is the first track I heard from the album (on Cerys Matthews' radio show) and I've been thoroughly obsessed with it all year, even after finding out how closely it follows Harry Belefonte famous version.
From [i]Tumblebee [/i](Bella Union, 2011)
18. Ngoc Huong with the Vietnamese Opera, Ballet and Music Theatre Choir and Orchestra conducted by Cao Viet Bach - Heroic Province of Thanh Hoa
The final Vietnamese song, these protest song was written by Hoang Dam and first published in the US in 1971. Its style is both strange and familiar, and very stirring. You can read a poetic translation of the lyrics and more about the album at http://folklife-media01.si.edu/liner_notes/paredon/PAR01009.pdf.
From [i]Vietnam Will Win![/i] (Paradon Records, 1971). Available to buy from the admirable, non-profit record label Smithsonian Folkways at www.folkways.si.edu/vietnam-will-win/historical-song-struggle-protest-world/music/album/smithsonian.
19. Kirk Franklin – He Reigns / Awesome God
Via Owen's CD collection I've come across lots of gospel music - some bad, some good. I discovered a cover of this song by the ACM Gospel Choir last year, but have only this year been able to track down the mad original by Kirk Franklin. The chorus is a quote from a song by Rich Mullins.
From [i]The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin[/i] (Gospocentric, 2002)
20. Jenny M Thomas – Maggie May
I saw Jenny M. Thomas at Sidmouth festival a number of years back, and she sprung to mind one day this year for some reason. I got a copy of her latest album, Bush Gothic, and fell in love with its mesmerising versions of folk songs about travelling to Australia and imprisonment. This 'Maggie May' is the traditional song, not Rod Stewart's one, and the perkiest song on the album despite its typically sad tale. My review was in the July issue of fRoots.
From [i]Bush Gothic[/i] (Fydle Music, 2011)