Saturday, October 29, 2005

"Ain't That a Shame": Loving Music in the Shadow of Doubt
The 2006 Experience Music Project Pop Conference

Seattle, WA, April 27-30, 2006

What forces are at work when we like something we "shouldn't"? What
role does shame, either shame succumbed to or shame resisted, play in
the pleasure we as fans and interpreters take from the music we love?
Is loving music passionately (collecting it, critiquing it,
fashioning one's identity around it) itself becoming a guilty
pleasure, i.e. something increasingly rare and in need of
explanation, something self-indulgent or questionable? To what
extent do these issues reveal hierarchies of taste, transformed
subjectivities, the effect of politics on culture, or other lines of
contestation permeating popular music?

For this year's Pop Conference, we invite papers, panels, or other
presentations on these topics. Related questions include but are not
limited to:

--In what terms do "guilty pleasures" operate beyond the U.S.
experience? How do different genres define the inappropriate?

--Who are the performers, the issues and the hidden pleasures, that
you have wanted to write about but never dared, or who you loved and
then forsook?

--What happens when you center your focus on "minor" histories?

--How do the desires for novelty and permanence, diaspora and roots,
or for that matter extremity and conformity, play out against each
other in music?

--Can we think in less whiggish and salutary ways about pop and
progress, or how music functions in dark times?

--Does doubt affect the creation of musical works, and not only
reception? What guilty pleasure do performers feel about their own
social impact?

--How does technology and futurist rhetoric affect distinctions in
pop fashion between the sublime and the ridiculous?

--What are the connections between pop shame and "passing": sexual,
racing, class, nationality?

The EMP Pop Conference first convened in Spring 2002 and is now
entering its fifth year. The goal has always been to bring academics,
writers, artists, fans, and other participants into an all-too-rare
common discussion. Most presentations are of the 20 minute panel talk
variety, but unorthodox suggestions are our favorite kind and we can
support a wide range of technological experimentation. Previous
year's conferences have resulted in the anthology This is Pop
(Harvard, 2004), the current special issue of Popular Music ("Magic
Moments"), and a second anthology that is under preparation. This
year's program committee includes Drew Daniel (Matmos), writer
Jessica Hopper, Jason King (New York University), Michaelangelo Matos
(Seattle Weekly), Ann Powers (Blender), David Sanjek (BMI), Philip
Schuyler (University of Washington), and Karen Tongson (University of
Southern California).

Proposals should be no more than 250 words, should be accompanied by
a brief bio and full contact information, and are due January 16,
2006. Proposals are judged by liveliness of prose as much as
pertinence of topic. Email them, as well as any questions about the
conference, the theme, your topic, or the application process, to
organizer Eric Weisbard at EricW@emplive.org

For more information on previous
conferences, including a full range of participants and abstracts, go
to emplive/Education/Pop Conferences

(via The Girl Group)
Sunday, October 23, 2005
This excerpt will undoubtedly encourage you to pick up one or two pertinent issues of BluesWax magazine, if you simply must hear it how it is (and was).

Interview with Blues Impresario Dick Waterman
Part One of a Two Part Interview

INTERVIEW By Bob Gersztyn/BluesWax Magazine

DW: When I was in Mississippi looking for Son (House), we ran into some white guys in pickup trucks. Since we had New York plates on a yellow Volkswagen, they thought that we were down there for voter registration and stuff like that. We told them that we just came down to hear the Blues music and record some of these Bluesmen. So they were sort of amused and kind of befuddled, and they would say, "You come all the way down here from New York City, down here to Mississippi, just to hear that nigger music?" And we said, "Yes, sir." Then they say, "Well you welcome to it, and there's a lot of it, because there ain't a porch here that ain't got a nigger on a chair playing that music." The music was held in low esteem, and with low value. It was not racist, it was just a befuddled confusion that we had come so far, to hear what was just a common commodity that they held in such low regard.

BW: What did you think when the British came to America, like the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, playing the Blues and becoming Pop stars with it?

DW: The black Bluesmen figured simply, if you can play it, he's welcome to it, that's all. I think it was more white people who felt young English kids are getting rich on black peoples' money and they would go to the Bluesmen and they would plant the seed of negativity. They would say, "These young white kids are getting rich on your music, and you're getting ripped off. You should be angry." So they planted that discord of anger, but Muddy [Waters] genuinely liked Eric. No doubt about it. And he genuinely liked Keith [Richards] and Mick [Jagger]. After they hit, it changed his lifestyle. He made money, he became well known, he toured at a higher level. The same with Wolf. Through the years Wolf, and Hubert Sumlin's, got really well known. The idea that people were getting ripped off, all of that is about copyright and publishing. That's where the real money is and a lot of black people got really, really rich, off of white people doing their material. Look at how rich Willie Dixon got, or Jimmy Rogers, after Eric Clapton did two of his songs. Then Stevie Ray Vaughan did Buddy Guy's "Mary Had A Little Lamb." A lot of black people have done very, very well when white artists recorded their songs. If you had your house in order with copyright and publishing; a Skip James song is done by Cream or a Fred McDowell song is done by the Rolling Stones. If you have your publishing and copyright house in order they can make money for you. It isn't up to me to be the loyal guardian at the gate with white boys singing black music. Because I think that if you can play it then you're welcome to it, and I know the black people feel the same way. If you can play it, you're welcome to it.

To be continued...

© 2005 Visionation, Ltd.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.

(via Ravin' Films
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Saturday Reading Room Still Open

Music Books We’ve Been Reading . . .
Blues from Zimbabwe: Benny Miller unsung hero even in death

BLESSED with a mastery of the blues that astounded many, Benny Miller could have made his name as a musician in his own right had he not chosen to dedicate the greater part of his life behind the scenes. Sadly, even in death he remains an unsung hero.
The Saturday Reading Room is Open

Thanks to the unflagging mental energy of Prof Drew LeDrew at chemistryclass, there's a shelf of music books on review.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Aretha Throws Party for Katrina Refugees

Fri Oct 21, 7:48 PM ET

Aretha Franklin threw a party Friday for dozens of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, sharing soul food and memories of New Orleans with refugees at a hotel in suburban Detroit.

About 40 people from the Gulf Coast are making their home at a hotel in Southfield. Franklin, who lives in nearby Bloomfield Hills, said she wanted to do her part to help by hosting the event.

"It's the right thing to do," said Franklin, who was planning another dinner at the hotel for Saturday night. "Hopefully some of the other performers in town will follow suit."

Before dinner, the Motown legend talked with some of the refugees, posed for snapshots and sang a song titled "Jesus is Waiting" to help welcome them.

The Queen of Soul said her first visit to New Orleans was in 1962. She fondly remembered watching Mardi Gras celebrations, shopping and eating many good meals there in the years that followed.

The visit from Franklin was a thrill for Antonia Washington, 50, who is among those staying at the hotel.

"Her appearance here meant so much," Washington said. "I never thought I would be here to see her."

(Yahoo News, from USA Today)
Also via the energetic folks at rock rap confidential,

Swept away
Cyril Neville, still angry in Katrina aftermath, says he'll stay in Texas

10:37 AM CDT on Sunday, October 9, 2005

By THOR CHRISTENSEN / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN - Many of the performers at "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy" last
month talked about love, hope and the need to rebuild New Orleans.

But not Cyril Neville. The youngest Neville Brother walked onstage at
Madison Square Garden wearing a silent message on his T-shirt: "Ethnic
Cleansing in New Orleans."

Two weeks later, his anger is matched only by his resolve never to move back
to the city where the Nevilles are called the "First Family of New Orleans."

"New Orleans is dead, man. It's dead," the singer-percussionist says,
sitting on a red couch in an otherwise drab South Austin apartment complex
where he has lived for the last month.

"Don't get me wrong. I love New Orleans. But the New Orleans I loved was
gone long before the storm hit."

Music has long been the pulse of New Orleans' culture. But now musicians are
scattered across the country. And no one can predict how many will return
and how many will stay put in Austin or New York or Nashville, where Aaron
and Art Neville are now living.

If too many of them stay away for good, the funky vibe that defines New
Orleans may never be the same.

"The main thing is to bring everybody back, because that's the ambience of
the city," said Irma Thomas, the queen of New Orleans soul, during the "Big
Easy" concert.

R&B legend Allen Toussaint agreed, telling The New York Times "as soon as
the powers that be say it's OK, I'm going to be on the first thing smokin'.
Give me a hammer. I'm ready to do my part to rebuild New Orleans."

But then there's Cyril Neville, 56, who says he's giving up New Orleans for
Austin permanently: "The gumbo has spilled into the chili," he says.

It seems almost inconceivable that the Nevilles - New Orleans' "Professors
of the Uptown Funk" - would pull up stakes from the city they've been so
associated with all their lives.

Singer-keyboardist Art Neville, 67, had his first hit when he was still in
high school, "Mardi Gras Gumbo" (1954). Muscle-bound, angel-voiced Aaron,
64, became a star in 1966 with the smash "Tell It Like It Is."

And Art and Cyril helped invent New Orleans funk in the Meters, which
started in '67 and evolved into the Neville Brothers 10 years later with the
addition of Aaron and saxophonist Charles Neville, 66.

Today, the Neville Brothers are hometown deities, cheered on by tens of
thousands who flock to see them play Jazzfest every year. And unlike Harry
Connick Jr. and Wynton and Branford Marsalis - who moved to New York after
they got famous - most of the Nevilles have stayed put in New Orleans.
(Charles lives in Massachusetts.)

That's about to change. Cyril says he's not sure if Art and Aaron will move
back or stay in Nashville. But he's definitely dropped anchor in Austin, a
city both he and his wife, Gaynielle, have loved for years.

She fled here when Hurricane Katrina hit, while Mr. Neville was out on tour.
Today, they're busy scouting South Austin to find a place similar to their
flood-ravaged home in New Orleans' Gentilly area.

"In New Orleans, I was living ghetto-fabulous," he says. "I was still in the
'hood, but we had a pool in the yard and a basketball court, so every kid in
the neighborhood was at my house."

His current Austin digs are a far cry from that. His family is one of dozens
from New Orleans living in Woodway Square, a cookie-cutter complex across
from a boarded-up Wal-Mart in an industrial strip near the airport.

He shares a second-floor apartment with his wife and their son, Omari, 17,
and their daughter, Liryca, 23. They've tried to spruce up the place with
posters of Bob Marley and Duke Ellington, and incense burns during the

But the homey touches can't hide the fact that this cramped space is more
fitting for college students than New Orleans music royalty. The family pit
bull whimpers on a balcony because there's no room for him inside.

For now, however, it's home. A half-dozen of the singer's in-laws have
landed in Austin, as have two of his children from a previous marriage. Also
in Austin are Aaron's grandson, Jaron, and his son Ivan, who plays with the
Neville Brothers.

When Mr. Neville talks about New Orleans, he speaks in the past tense.

"Truth is, I was planning on leaving even before the storm hit, because I
was so ashamed of the city. ... Living there was just too hard," he says.

"The school system was shot. Talking to city hall about the needs of the
needy was like talking to deaf people. And I didn't want to watch the news
anymore because night after night it was murder after murder and anarchy and
chaos. The second I'd get back to the airport, I felt like I was in a
pressure cooker."

He stayed because Omari had one year left in high school. But the
post-hurricane carnage was the final straw.

"I'm pissed and I feel betrayed, but I'm not surprised. Everybody -
including the mayor, the governor, everybody in Washington - knew this was
coming. They all knew which parts of the city were most vulnerable, and it
happened exactly the way everyone said it would happen.

"New Orleans is a crime scene filled with forensic evidence that shouldn't
be swept under the rug," he continues. "Everyone that lost a loved one
should have a class-action suit for wrongful death against the city, the
state, the government and FEMA."

He admits he got flak for wearing the "Ethnic Cleansing in New Orleans"
T-shirt. But he says he'd wear it again.

"Everybody knows that if those people's complexions were different, the
reaction would have been different," he says. "Most of the people I know
from New Orleans slapped me on my back and said, 'Man, somebody needed to
say something!' "

Yet as glad as he is to be out of New Orleans, he already misses his
friends: He was tight with musicians and cultural groups in historic black
neighborhoods such as the Treme in the Sixth Ward: If those areas are torn
down, the city will never be the same, he says.

"The essence of New Orleans is the Mardi Gras Indians, the second-line
clubs, the social and pleasure clubs in the 'hoods where the tourists never
go. But the city doesn't care about that.

"They're only interested in tourism and rebuilding the city in this
'crime-free, drug-free' image the mayor keeps talking about on TV, which
means no black people."

And though he knows the music scene in Austin is very different - less jazz
and funk, more twang and Tex-Mex - he's ready to trade the new for the old.
He has friends in Austin, old ones such as Marcia Ball and more recent ones
such as Eddie Wilson, owner of Threadgill's. He's been performing there
weekly with Tribe 13, a side project that includes his wife on vocals, and
Austin singer-guitarist Papa Mali.

And he already has jobs doing commercial studio work - gigs he says were
rare back home.

"I've worked more in the last two weeks in Austin than I had in the last two
years in New Orleans," he says, laughing at his good fortune.

If he has second thoughts about leaving the city he's called home for 56
years, he doesn't let on.

"I like it here in Austin; musicians here look out for each other and people
treat us the way we were supposed to be treated in New Orleans but weren't.
The good thing that's come out of all this is I'm now in a city that
actually cares about musicians."

E-mail tchristensen@dallasnews.com
A belated welcome to Econoculture, a new online magazine started up this past month by a bunch of D.C. journalists and musicians with Jason Cherkis as editor in charge of all the blues penciles.

Don't miss their weekly Rollcall of Blogs, but there's a lot of other juicy stuff to be chewed on in their pages.

(via rockrap confidential)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
For anyone in Seattle, Ann Powers says she's "dipping into the teaching thing Saturday with a
seminar at Richard Hugo House. Here's the description:


In our media-saturated age, mass culture is to writers what
nature was to the Romantics: the stuff we breathe. Novelists Jonathan Lethem
and Michael Chabon, memoirists Chuck Klosterman and Sarah Vowell, and even
poets like Stephen Burt find essential inspiration in rock and hip hop
music, comic books, television and radio. And of course, there are those who
call themselves critics - from Greil Marcus to the late Pauline Kael - who
not only define tastes but help explain the world through their analyses.
Yet writing about and through popular culture is not just a matter of
reference-dropping. In this seminar, we'll look at several different
approaches, including memoir, fiction, and reviews, and challenge ourselves
to connect with the pulse of the popular through exercises in autobiography,
"creative" writing, and cultural analysis.

Instructor Ann Powers is the author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America,
co-author (with the artist) of Tori Amos: Piece By Piece, and co-editor of
Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop, and Rap. She has been a curator
at Experience Music Project and a critic for the New York Times, and has
freelanced for most major music publications. Her work has been widely
anthologized, most recently in the Da Capo Press anthology Best Music
Writing 2005. She is currently a senior critic for Blender magazine.

The class runs from 1 to 5 p.m and costs $75. There are only five students
enrolled at the moment so we can have a good, intimate time."

(join girlgroup and get directly in touch)

(p.s. check out ann's new blog, eensy weensy
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Mega Music Blog List

The fine folks at Haverford Library have been assembling a page where you can lose yourself for hours leaping from one music blog to the next. (And, yes, we are honored to find ourselves in such esteemed company.)

Haverford Library List of Recommended Music Blogs

(And don't forget to read their blog, for a spin on the esoteric.
Infoshare: Weblog of the Information Sharing Subcommittee of the Reference and Public Services Committee of the Music Library Association
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Fats Domino Back in New Orleans

Fats Domino proved you can go home again. You just might not like what you see.

The rock 'n' roll pioneer returned to his New Orleans home Saturday for the first time since evacuating in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, only to find his house and most of his personal belongings unsalvageable.

Mud, debris, mold and mildew filled the 77-year-old's Lower Ninth Ward home, the result of tainted floodwaters passing through in the days following the storm. WWL-TV, which arranged the visit, reported that at one point, the water in Domino's home reached well over eight feet.

Just three of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's 21 gold records were found in the rubble--"Rose Mary," "I'm Walkin'," and "Blue Monday." His white grand piano had been flipped over and broken by the flood. Another prized keyboard was thrashed and beyond saving.

Domino and son-in-law Charles Brimmer were able to salvage some jewelry, including a gold ring, in one of the rock 'n' roller's adjoining houses, as well as a favorite shirt and an unbroken bust. But more sentimental items, including the pianos, the gold records and a picture of Domino with Elvis Presley, proved "too messed up, we couldn't salvage it."

But all in all, Domino said his house "did pretty good," especially considering the scope of devastation around it.

The entertainer himself also did pretty good. He had been feared dead in the days after the hurricane after family members couldn't contact him and reported him missing.

A spray-painted message on the side of his balcony read: "R.I.P. Fats. You will be missed."

"There was a big 'Rest in Peace' on my balcony on the other house," the boogie-woogie great told WWL-TV. "I'm still here, thank God. I'm alive and kicking.

"I sure do appreciate that people think so much about me.

A rescue boat plucked Domino and his wife from their second-floor balcony shortly after the flood hit. They were then taken to the Super Dome, where they were able to reunite with the rest of their family before being bussed to Louisiana State University. Once there, they met up with a "friend of a friend," LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, and stayed, alongside 20
other people, in Russell's off-campus apartment for three nights, before taking off again.

The Fat Man and his family are currently staying at a hotel in New Orleans to be close to the neighborhood he was born in while it rebuilds.

"I don't know what to do, move somewhere else or something," Domino said. "But I like it down here."

Domino is scheduled to play a concert Nov. 5 in Baton Rouge ("if I'm feeling better) and is considering whether to release a record he made about two years ago called Alive and Kicking.

He is also among the more than two dozen artists contributing tracks to Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now. The all-star double-disc album will benefit victims of Katrina and Rita and will be released next month. Aside from Domino's rendition of "Walking to New Orleans," there will be contributions from Coldplay, James Brown, Norah Jones, Wyclef Jean, Brian Wilson, Dave Matthews, Elton John, John Fogerty, Sting, John Mayer, the Neville Brothers, Ringo Starr, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Harry Connick Jr., Eric Benet, Michael McDonald, Wynonna Judd, Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt, Gloria Estefan and Clint Black.

(Source: 2005 Punmaster's MusicWire
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Tribe on the move

After being evacuated to Austin, Big Chief Kevin Goodman plans to rekindle the Flaming Arrows' Mardi Gras Indian tradition in his new Texas home

Thursday, October 13, 2005
By Keith Spera
Music writer

AUSTIN -- For more than a century, the Mardi Gras Indians have symbolized a unique New Orleans culture.

On Fat Tuesday, the various tribes paraded through mostly African-American neighborhoods in elaborate Indian "suits," painstakingly sewn by hand for months on end. The Indian rhythms and chants passed down from one generation to the next inform and invigorate New Orleans music, from the Dixie Cups' 1965 smash "Iko Iko" to the Neville Brothers' catalog and beyond.

Before Katrina, it was inconceivable that the Mardi Gras Indian tradition could take root anywhere other than the city of its birth.

Post-Katrina, at least one Big Chief plans to rekindle that tradition in Austin.

Big Chief Kevin Goodman leads the Flaming Arrows, the downtown Mardi Gras Indian tribe founded in 1963 by his father. For 43 of his 45 years, he has either "masked Indian" or participated in some other way. He has even nurtured his family tribe's third generation by masking his 5-year-old daughter, Kevon, and 6-year-old son, Dillon, with the Young Flaming Arrows.

However, in the wake of Katrina and its hellish aftermath, "my spirit for Mardi Gras was just gone," Goodman said recently. "But after we got to Austin and folks started showing us love and giving us hugs and welcome, it made me want to give something back.

"(My Mardi Gras spirit) is coming back more and more. When you already have something in your soul and heart, it's not hard to get it back."

(via globalistas)
Thursday, October 13, 2005
By the way- please pass on to all dislocated Louisiana musicians who are in L.A. , Chicago and NYC that the Actor's fund is offering FREEEEEE health services and many other resources to our NOMCpatients and their families. The details are on our new website Savenolamusic.com

Thanks so much for all you are doing!

Hugs, Bethany

Bethany Ewald Bultman
NOMC Program Director
New Orleans Musicians' Clinic in Exile
voice mail 337 200 1707
tele.         508 487-0939

(via rockandrap)
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Achtung, achtung, achtung

A birthday that involves copyright infringement is an Unhappy Birthday

Take the permission society seriously

"... just reminded me of UnhappyBirthday.com, which encourages people to warn ASCAP and Time Warner every time they hear someone singing "Happy Birthday" in public. By overwhelming clearance departments with frivolous letters, the site's creators hope to make a statement about copyright-gone-amok.

That said, perhaps a more direct way to the same end is to borrow a page from that sports guy and encourage the public to write letters any time they anticipate singing "Happy Birthday" in the near future. So, seeing as my dad has birthday coming up, I figured I'd get the ball rolling:

ASCAP - New York
One Lincoln Plaza
New York, NY 10023


The copyright status of "Happy Birthday To You" and the law related to public performances of copyrighted works have recently been brought to my attention. I would therefore like to request permission in advance to sing "Happy Birthday" to my father at Frenchy's Original Cafe in Clearwater, Florida, on October 8, at approximately 1 pm.

My father will be turning 75 on this day and will probably be ordering the Seafood Gumbo and Fried Grouper. The rest of the party will include Charles Star, my brothers Peter and Paul, their spouses Karla and Cindee, and my mother Lynn. Five of us will be singing while my brothers merely mouth the words and smile. We expect there to be approximately 50 disinterested witnesses.

I realize this is short notice but we only recently settled the details. If there is a charge for the privilege of singing in this instance, please let me know. And, if there is, please specify whether or not the cost can be reduced by moving to another location.

I look forward to your prompt reply.

Carrie McLaren

Bear in mind that when Lawrence Lessig et al. tried to license "Happy Birthday" to celebrate the Free Culture movement, they waited months to get permission. So, um, I'm not holding our breath for a reply..."
Headline:  Our reporter asks, Is this the rhythm of a world in step?

Byline:  Scott Baldauf, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Date: 10/05/2005


What if it could be proved that no two nations that play salsa music
have ever declared war on each other?

Some of the best salsa music in the Middle East comes from Egypt and
Israel, for instance. Both nations have been at peace since 1979, the
same period when salsa began to take hold.

A coincidence? Perhaps not.

The first time I heard Arabic salsa music, I was in a taxi in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates, racing to catch a connecting flight to
Afghanistan. The taxi driver, a Pakistani, was playing an incredible
song on his radio. First came the Latin rhythms on bongos, then the
rush of flamenco guitars. It sounded like the sort of dance music I
grew up listening to in south Texas but with a distinctly Middle
Eastern trill of the voice and the guttural lyrics that could only be

The music was a revelation. After Sept. 11, and the media barrage
proclaiming a "clash of civilizations" between the West and the Arabic
world, here was evidence of something quite the opposite. Instead of a
clash, this was a blend, and a gorgeous one at that.

It was a reminder that there were other voices in the Arab world than
Osama bin Laden, and good voices at that.

"Amr Diab," the taxi driver announced proudly. "He is Ricky Martin of
the Arab people."

Age has taught me manners, so I remained silent until I reached the
airport. But in my head I was thinking: I know Ricky Martin, from his
few years at the top of the charts. And Amr Diab is no Ricky Martin.
He's much better.

At the airport, on the way to my gate, I grabbed every Amr Diab tape on
the rack of the airport's ample music store. Once in Kabul, my Afghan
driver in Kabul was very enthusiastic when I put it into the tape deck
of his Toyota Corolla.

"Thank you, thank you, Mr. Scott," he said, giving me the thumbs up and
his only four words of English.

It was then that I realized two things. One, I would never see these
tapes again. And two, that salsa is universal. It takes root in
whatever soil it is planted. In the past four years in South and West
Asia, I have heard salsa in Arabic, Persian, Dari, Urdu, Hindi,
Indonesian, Thai, Sinhalese, and Nepali.

With such universal acceptance, one starts to think of whether salsa
can contribute to world peace.

But let's just focus on Arabic salsa for a moment.

By far, the prime practitioner of the art is Amr Diab. His greatest
hits album, "The Very Best of Amr Diab," should be in the collection of
any worldly world-music lover. Most of my friends can sing the words to
his hit song "Nour Elain," ... but then, keep in mind that most of my
friends are war correspondents who travel between Baghdad and Kabul.
Perhaps not a representative crowd.

The most satisfying thing about Arabic salsa is the fact that it fits
so well. You hear the ululating of an Arabic singer, and you compare it
to the harsh vibrato of the Gypsy Kings, and you are suddenly aware
that you are standing on that middle ground between cultures.

From about 700 A.D. until a few years before the discovery of America,
Spain was a land occupied by Muslims. Its universities taught Arabic.
Its musicians and troubadours sang in Arabic. Its architecture and arts
were all influenced by the Middle East, and Europeans flocked there for
decent educations.

Is it any surprise that Arab singers would find Latin music attractive?

Amr Diab is not alone. Over the past few years, there have been plenty
of other examples - including Cheb Faudel's "Salsa," Natacha Atlas's
French-and-Arabic language "Ne me jugez pas," the Gypsy Kings'
crossover Arabic song, "Alabina," and Hakim's Spanish-language hit,
"Los cuatros punales," - of those who have experimented with salsa in
the past years.

There is even an Iranian singer named Andy who has gotten into the
salsa game with the Persian-Arabic salsa hit, "Yalla."

Ya Allah, indeed, the Islamic extremists must be thinking, as they tug
at their beards. What has happened to the new generation? All they want
to do is dance, and run down the street singing, "Habibi... habibi...
habibi... el Nuor Elain (My darling, you are the light of my eye....)"

How exactly can one carry out a clash of civilizations if civilizations
refuse to clash?

(c) Copyright 2005 The Christian Science Monitor.  All rights reserved.

(thanks to marta of the world music group)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Have We Found What We're Looking For?

Moonbeam Van Winkle comes down from a 35-year acid trip to catch a U-2 concert. And then
Ex-Door Lighting Their Ire

"Drummer John Densmore refuses to let the group's songs be used in TV ads, much to the chagrin of his former bandmates.

Bob Dylan is singing 'The Times They Are A-Changin' ' in a television ad for healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente these days, and who could argue? With Led Zeppelin pitching Cadillacs, the Rolling Stones strutting in an Ameriquest Mortgage ad and Paul McCartney warbling for Fidelity Investments, it's clear that the old counterculture heroes of classic rock are now firmly entrenched as the house band of corporate America. ...

That only makes the case of John Densmore all the more intriguing. ...

The reason? Prepare to get a lump in your throat -- or to roll your eyes."

(Geoff Boucher, LA Times)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Not tooting your own horn? Donate it!

"Two local music lovers are working to get instruments into the hands of New Orleans musicians who are unemployed without them.

When Tranchida's friend trumpeter Bill Newell of Spring Hill said he was launching a drive to collect instruments and put them in the hands of New Orleans's signature performers, Tranchida signed on.

'We feel for these guys,' Newell said. 'They're swamped. They're out of work.' "
The Times They Are A-Changin'

Famed songwriting vet gets his Kanye West on over Dre beats.

*Looks like its "F- with Dre Day" for singer/songwriter
Burt Bacharach - but in a good way. The 77-year-old
author of such classic pop hits as "Raindrops Keep
Fallin' On My Head" and "Alfie" has enlisted Dr. Dre to
produce three tracks on his new album "At This Time," a
collection of protest songs due Oct. 24.

Several of the tracks reportedly criticize President
Bush. Others are general rants at current social ills.

"People ask why a man who has been known for writing
love songs all of his life is suddenly rocking the
boat. I had to do it," Bacharach said, according to
Ananova. "This is very personal to me, and this is the
most passionate album I have ever made."

A friend of Bacharach said: "Burt's pissed at the
administration, concerned about the world he is leaving
to his children, and you can feel it."

Elvis Costello and Rufus Wainwright have also
contributed to the album, which includes the tracks,
"Please Explain, Where Did It Go?" "Who Are These
People," "Can't Give Up," "Go Ask Shakespeare" and

(Heard it first at rock and rap.
"This is what we need. More of this kind of stuff."--Joe Strummer)

Monday, October 03, 2005
BeBop, Modernism, and Change (at Johns Hopkins)

"Floyd W. Hayes III offers a seminar exploring the social and political content, meanings and intent of jazz music in general and bebop music in particular.

'Jazz is a marvelous subject that needs more attention from those of us who seek to understand the history, meaning and significance of the music,' Hayes says. This seminar explores the social and political content, meanings and intent of jazz music in general and bebop music in particular. While the major historical focus is from the 1940s to the 1960s, the seminar also examines the broader history of black progressive music, or jazz, and its impact on the social transformations of modern America. Bebop, as an intellectual and musical system, embodied and reflected the political and social conditions of the turbulent times — the frustrations, aspirations and subversive sensibilities of a progressive group of black American musicians."
New Orleans: Dance in the Heat

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - On Oak Street, the electricity is out and shop windows are still boarded up, but the bluesy guitar riffs blasting out of the Maple Leaf club can signal only one thing.

Wolfman has returned to his favorite haunt.

Walter Washington, aka Wolfman, his electric guitar powered by generators outside the Maple Leaf, welcomed back the residents streaming into the Uptown district of the storm-shattered city on Friday night, returning to the stage where he has performed for 23 years.

"Rock and roll, man, it's back on!" shouted Maple Leaf patron and local resident Scott Clark, 41, as he danced out of the club's front door.

(with thanks to Jiri, who's maintained a Katrina photo and information blog since about day one, or at least since August 29)
A New Daily Must-Read for the Music Press

The Association of Music Writers and Photographers launches a weblog for the music press community at MusicPressReport.com.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) October 3, 2005 -- The publication of record for music journalism is now also a weblog. The Association of Music Writers and Photographers (AMWP.org) is proud to announce the launch of MusicPressReport.com, a daily weblog featuring headlines, articles, links and resources for the music press.

Thousands of music journalists and photojournalists already rely on the weekly Music Press Report for coverage of all the latest happenings in the music press community. Now readers will have a chance to voice their own opinions and interact with guest posters, editors and long-time contributors who promise to keep the new weblog buzzing daily.

Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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