In the previous post from last week I offered up a feast of Parang—Latin folkloric Christmas music from Trinidad. So what would be the perfect postre to follow that up with? How about Calypso music from Nicaragua? Makes sense to me. Here is a jumping Calypso called Jack Ass by Dimensión Costeña from their 197? Money-Money LP.
We’ve had some wacky weather with some false starts, but I think it’s safe to say that finally Spring is here, at least here in the Bay Area. Today the sky is a pure blue and there is that signature Bay breeze that carries a new sense of optimism and excitement this time year. This past weekend in Oakland California we had our annual Malcolm X Jazz Festival where everyone was looking fly in their new Spring fits, kids were running wild in all the parks, and everywhere I went I could smell barbecues lofting through the air. So what we have here is something I think you’ll find quite fitting — a beautiful example of Brazilian forró (a 3 insturment form of music consisting of an accordian, a bass drum and a metal triangle from the Northeastern region of Brazil) by Trio Nordestino called Minha Bahia from their album Dia De Festejo. I highly recommend opening up all your windows to let that Spring breeze mix with this music to fill your home and carry out for you and your neighbors to enjoy.
This one is especially dedicated to our honorary pelanguero, DJ Smokestack, who is laid up right now and is the one who hooked me up with this great record. He’s been supplying all us pelangueros with incredible music lately and I can’t wait to see him back flying around the soccer field and rocking the turntables with us again soon. Wishing you a full and fast recovery homie!
As promised a few posts down—we’ll convert you to the power of the steel pan. This video is of the legendary Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra competing in the 1987 Panoroma, the steel pan competition that takes place the Saturday night before Carnival Monday in T&T every year. This is serious people—complex arrangements which require months of rehearsal of upwards of 100 people (notice no one is using sheet music). This performance, Curry Tabanca, is truly amazing and somehow it only finished 4th that year. What makes it extra special is that it actually incorporates Indian Tassa drums! Your day of baptism has arrived. Enjoy!
A couple weeks ago I was down in L.A. and so I popped into the Amoeba Records (the largest independent record store in the world). It was a real treat as DJ Spinderella (formerly of Salt-N-Peppa) was mixing all soul/funk cuts (a lot of the samples of classic Hip-Hop), and I was having good luck digging through their calypso/soca section. After she had finished I was still digging and to my surprise when I looked up she was looking at records right next to me. Luckily I beat her to this great album by Carl McKnight.
The liner notes suggest this Trini steal pan band leader by way of Los Angeles had his music rejected by numerous record labels so he just decided to self publish his calypso-funk manifesto with revenge in mind. Thumbs down (as in the days of the gladiators) to those we have dealt with in the past, may we write your epigraphs, while you dig your own graves, for such dwellings are appropriate to your cause. He isn’t playing – The Devil’s Out Tonight. Enjoy.