Photo taken at: San Francisco State University
Two of the teams I had huge hopes for in World Cup 2014 were Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana; sadly things didn’t work out as well for them as many of us hoped.
But that’s why I’m super excited for this superclásico tomorrow, the final of the African Cup of Nations 2015!!!
Judging from the record cover, back in 1984 Côte d’Ivoire must have not had the team that they have today; “La victoire est possible” is even more hesitant than the Mexicans’ “Sí se puede”; when you have to explain to your team that they *could* win, things might not be looking so good for you.
But things are very different today, and I’m really hoping to see this golden generation finally get the big win. Plus, I’ve waited years for the right moment to share this record with you, this better be it!
Allez Les Éléphants!!!
I was listening to last week’s Pelanga En La Sala, where we shared a few tracks that we picked up at Oakland’s record swap in November, and there is one more track I’d really like to share.
Trying to stay within a budget, you have to limit yourself to just a few pricier records, and then go take some risks off of the dollar bins. During the podcast we gave the best-one-dollar-record award to Jacobo, for a cosmic trip of a track: “Sagitario” by Chico Che y La Crisis. Very well deserved, no doubt, but can I show you my contender?
I’ve long been a fan of Afro-Peruvian music, and I didn’t think twice when I saw a compilation of marineras, festejos, landós, and zamacuecas in Adam‘s bargain bin. The record featured some of the usual suspects, but also several musicians I never heard of — just what I look for in a $1 gamble. It turned out to be a great record all around, and the last track, a zamacueca by the incredible Victoria Santa Cruz, was the surprise treat for me.
(foto: El Comercio)
Victoria Santa Cruz has been called the mother of Afro-Peruvian culture; I knew her as a dancer / scholar / performer / folklorista / badass. But I didn’t know she recorded some albums too, and there’s a track of hers on this compilation. And I don’t know what it is, but this song just fucking kills me!
Every now and then I’ll find what I think are the best five seconds of music in history (the Miles Davis Quintet handing “‘Round Midnight” to Coltrane for his solo, the entrance to “Quitate De Mi Escalera” by Grupo Socavón, Jorge Millet’s filthy piano solo on Orquesta Mundo’s “Mamacita”, Andrés Landero’s bassist trying to sound like a turkey on “La Pava Congona”…). DJ China Tu Madre will tell you that I exaggerate all the time, but I don’t. At least not at those times. And right now, that’s how I feel about the moment when Victoria Santa Cruz gathers everyone together to close this track.
This song is the soundtrack to a straight-up dance battle, and our only regret should be not being able to watch it. Instead, I’ll leave you with this:
Victoria Santa Cruz passed away in August, at age 91. Que descanse en paz. If you’re in the Bay Area, you may be interested in a tribute that the Mission Cultural Center will host next Monday:
This morning I woke up humming Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Soweto”. May-Li, who reads minds, nonchalantly put on some of his music for us to listen to while we got the day started. Then I went over to the kitchen, fixed an arepa de choclo and some coffee, and played this beautiful record over breakfast. I’ve been humming it all day.
This couldn’t be more fitting.
“Abdullah tells a remarkable story about two tunes that he performed in Cape Town in 1976. These became the anthems of children in the streets of the city. They were the tunes Mannenberg (named after a township in Cape Town that is parallel in significance to Soweto in Johannesburg) and Soweto. The saxophone solos were being sung to words all over the country, as anthems of anger and resistance to the apartheid regime. Just a few months after the recordings of these tunes were released, the Soweto uprising occurred. This was the turning point in South African history, when the South African security forces gunned down schoolchildren, who were protesting against [Afrikaans] language instruction in schools.” (Carol Ann Muller, in Kalamu ya Salaam’s great post on Mannenberg – highly recommended.)
Abdullah Ibrahim humbly tells that in the mid 70s, Nelson Mandela’s lawyer snuck in some of Ibrahim’s music into his prison in Robin Island; when he heard it, he said “Liberation is near”.
Thank you, Nelson Mandela. Rest in power.