One of my photos


January 13th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Music · 1 Comment · Music

Jayne’s school are doing some sort of thing about different countries this week.  As part of it they wanted music from a variety of countries: Australia, Scotland, the Caribbean, Uganda, Spain and some others.  Knowing that I have a fair few foreign records she asked if she could borrow some of mine.

It was a hell of a job finding anything she felt sounded right.  I knew I didn’t have anything by Ugandan artists, but Jayne said that anything African would do, but guess what?  Nothing I have sounds African enough…  so Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Toumani Dioubate, Salif Keita, Papa Wemba, Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Mory Kante, Tinariwen, Osibisa, Manu Dibango, Amadou & Mariam, Ballake Sissoko and all the rest just aren’t African enough.  How much more African can you get than Fela Kuti?

But of course, what she wants is ‘traditional’  sounds.  Lots of drums. Tribal sort of thing.  Some sort of folkways.  Maybe I should have bought a Burundi Tribe album when it was briefly fashionable.  At the last minute I remembered that I had a CD by the Pan-African Orchestra that I didn’t rip to the PC and some of that just scraped by.  They are actually from Accra which is, by my reckoning, bloody miles from Uganda but it will have to do.

Spanish was even more of a problem.  I have some Gypsy Kings of course and some similar acoustic guitar stuff (out on loan at the moment I think.  A friend wanted to soundtrack some holiday videos) a couple of Ojos de Brujo albums and that is it.  Unfortunately – surprise, surprise – Ojos de Brujo, despite coming from Barcelona, are not Spanish enough: no castanets.   By that sort of criteria even most of Paco Pena’s output is not Spanish enough.  I finally found a track on an old Songlines cover CD that has flamenco guitar and lots of clapping which will do at a pinch.

The fact is that there is a huge cross-fertilisation of music across the world.  Ojos de Brujo mix their flamenco with rap/hip hop, a lot of African artists play Latin American rhythms or have US/UK-type rock influences.  Some places like India have a pop and a ‘classical’ scene alongside each other but straight traditional/heritage music is probably enjoyed by the general population of most places in the same way that absolutely straight traditional music is here – i.e. strictly a minority interest or for the tourists.

There must be some exceptions.  Ireland? Mexico?

I completely failed with Caribbean music. A shelf full of dub reggae and dancehall doesn’t count as Caribbean; apparently I should have been buying soca and calypso instead…  I didn’t even bother looking for Peruvian music – there is a big pan pipe-shaped hole in my collection that is likely to remain unfilled.


One Comment so far ↓

  • skud's sister

    Rob bought pan pipe music back from Peru. Of course, he then found he could have bought direct from the artistes on the streets of Leeds….