It’s a been a while since I’ve shared any recent additions to the collection. Considering, I thought we’d get back to the basics with the simple, sunny tune – Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La Si, Do – by Haitian bandleader Raoul Guillaume et Son Groupe. I don’t remember learning the musical scale back in school being so groovy!
This month we visit the island referred to as Kiskeya or Quisqueya depending which side of the shared border of Haïti or La República Dominicana you live on. To lead us through a vinyl exploration of this beautiful shared musical history we are joined by former Music Director at KALX of UC Berkeley and current Latin Music Curator and Programmer at Pandora, Marcos Juarez.
Important Note: This podcast was recorded before the recent disturbing deportation of Haitians taking place in the D.R.
Arjuna and Jacobo host the 3rd episode of Pelanga en La Sala with special guest Adam Dunbar from Discos Alma. (note: episode #2 tragically perished with a faulty hard drive) Join the three as they explore the vibrant and often overlooked music of Panama with a few other Caribbean gems mixed in.
The past 2 months, (December and January), have been filled with family, feasts, and re-centering ourselves for the new year.
And for this new year, we here at La Pelanga are all very excited as we plan to stay busy with new live events, new podcasts, new mixes, new pelanga onesies for the babies and of course lots of new music here on the blog.
Where to start though?
I propose we all set our volume control to 11 and ROCK THE FUCK OUT with Les Difficiles from Haiti.
Please excuse our recent absence from this space. We’ve been doing some remodeling and maintenance, but we’re back now! We’re still very excited to continue sharing more music and culture. In fact, last week we got together and recorded our very first Pelangacast live from our LP clubhouse! The concept is not to have the typical radio “programmed show,” but instead to invite you into our cozy wall-to-wall collection of culture on vinyl as we share stories and discoveries from our musical addictions.
Below is our first episode with more to come soon. Have a listen, and let us know what you think.
Advice – I. C. Rock
Ce La Vie – Les Difficiles De Pétion-Ville
Ah Ah Oh No – La Protesta (ft. Joe Arroyo)
El Preso – Louis Towers [NOTE: This unlabeled record was in a Grupo Kuwait sleeve, but it’s actually Louis Towers]
(Where Were You) Last Night – Sumy
Banana Juana – Ralph Robles
Guami Guami – Sir Victor Uwaifo and his Melody Maestros
(This post is dedicated to my fellow Pelanguero contributor Franz Tunda who’s been MIA on here. Hopefully these selections will inspire him to return.)
Does this sound familiar? You find a used record at a thrift store/garage sale/flea market type of marketplace that you don’t recognize, but the cover art looks intriguing enough to take a chance on. You go home to play it for the first time and realize you forgot the most basic inspection of checking that the actual record matches the sleeve. The disappointment of it all then has you filing the record away as a lost purchase.
A couple years back this very thing happened to me. I had completely disregarded the mismatched sleeve and record as I didn’t recognize the group or even the label and never gave it a real listen through (mistake #2). A few months ago while doing some reorganizing of my collection I came across this wrong sleeve to record purchase again and pulled out the plain looking labeled record and decided to hear what was really on it. WHOA! I couldn’t believe I had unknowingly been sitting on such a quiet killer of record by Les Professionnels, a Haitian group who from what research I’ve been able to find only made this one album in 1974.
The first song, Les Fiances begins with an incedible acoustic guitar break that isn’t hard to imagine being sampled for Mob Deep or WuTang and carries on with a type of sophisticated cool that I can only imagine comes with lots of cigarettes, coffee and quiet conversations to your lover in French while playing a guitar.
This one is tailor made for a smokey cinema scene with long deep stares from a femme fatale with everything moving in slow motion. I just love how the whole song just creeps up on you as if it’s going in for the kill. I don’t mind dying if I can get killed with this much sophistication.
when I was a teenager before I had status and before I had a pager, or email, or facebook, or twitter, or gps, or blogs…
I recently celebrated my 38th birthday, which is always a good time to reflect back on one’s life. I have plenty to be grateful for: loving parents, a beautiful wife, inspiring friends, etc, but I’m also grateful to have just been old enough to have been a young adult before the last 15 years of technology. I say grateful because before all this “interconnectedness”, when there was something great going on right in front of you, there was nothing to do but connect with it.
We see it all the time now. At every live show there’s people with their illuminated faces looking downward at their phones and tablets while scrolling, texting, tweeting, deciding which filter to use for their Instagram photo with amazing music going on right in front of them. Contrast all that with this live footage from 1981 of Ti Mano and Gemini All-Stars recorded at a gymnasium in Haiti, and tell me who has it better?
Be sure to keep watching through the 2nd part of this long video with Ti Mano performing with the D.P. Express at the Château Royal (10:15 mark). More amazing music!
As always enjoy and don’t ever forget how to lose yourself in music.