Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another 'world'

When you think of the term 'world music', what do you think of? Peter Gabriel hand-jiving in shirtsleeves with Youssou N'dor? African highlife music on in the background at the veggie co-op round the corner from your student house? Perhaps you think of Andy Kershaw extolling the virtues of a Malawian bongo player in the days before he was stalking his wife on the Isle of Man, or it might just be the warming Heinz tomato soup sounds of Ladysmith Black Mazambo (sic)?

Unfortunately, so do I. Not that it's awful or boring, as I do like some of it. I mean, you can hear the highlife influences in Jimmy The Hoover's Tantalise clear as a bell. But why does it have to be like this?

To me, world music shouldn't just be about Damon Albarn worthily playing the lute with a bunch of tribesman in some dustbowl banana republic with a five-page report about how marvellous it all is in Observer Music Monthly; it should be about music from all around the world, whatever it is. Not just traditional stuff but pop too. We should be encouraged to enjoy stuff from Holland (Shocking Blue), Brazil (Os Mutantes), France (Serge Gainsbourg), or Greece (Aphrodite's Child).

In the spirit of this, I'm currently enjoying a fantastic three-CD Irish showband collection - all the hits and more - and a great compilation of Japanese girl singers from the Sixties.

Anyhoo, what I'm trying to say is, where does one draw the line? When is world music not world music? Is it just traditional instruments and songs or is it pop too?

While we ponder this vitally important question, here's Germany's Roy Black - surely the Fatherland's own Engelburt Humperdinck - with the very schlager-y Dein Schonstes Geschenk. It's got a children's choir in it, though those dollybirds in hotpants must have been added for light entertainment value by the producer.


Chris Hughes said...

I'm loving this Irish showband obsession of yours. Even though I don't really know what an Irish showband is. I'm expecting a full explanation, with performances, next time I see you.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Showbands can't be categorised as World Music in my book, because they can't be categorised as Music. And believe me, I was forced to watch plenty of 'em.

I hate the term World Music anyway. It makes me think of white middle-aged women, probably psychotherapists, wearing Monsoon dresses, smoking dope, and dancing really badly to Amadou and Mariam at parties in Hove. Oh, and whooping while they do it. GAH.

Mondo said...

What's typically branded as 'world music' leaves me cold. It's too dreary. But there's stacks of music from around the globe in my collection..

Lagos 70 is super funky

Ernest Ranglin's Below The Bassline is gorgeous and just the ticket for summer.

Latin music is always on the menu when spring arrives. And as you've mentioned FC there are some mighty finds to be had from international rockers..

Speaking of international I'm a terror for transworld covers, highlights include..

A Swedish version of Son of a Preacher Man.

A Bolivian Break On Through To the Other Side

Some Bollywood refits of late seventies pop

Does Scandanavian Death Metal count as World Music - surely it should

Five-Centres said...

Those showbands are not the horrors of your youth, ISBW, although I suppose they could be. But rather they're the top 10 hits and number ones that informed the music scene in 1960s Ireland, rather than ghastly covers of Save Your Kisses For Me by men in frilly shirts.

I'm glad you're with me Mondo. I know that Lagos one and I got quite a good Polish one from the 70s too along those lines.

Scandi death metal is world music to me.

Ishouldbeworking said...

The music scene in 1960s Ireland? There was none, unless you count The Angelus. The Pope banned guitars because strumming something that close to the groin might have encouraged onanism. Phil Lynott was the first Irishman to defy the ban, and look what happened to him.

Five-Centres said...

Honestly, ISBW, it's all there on three cds. I'm going to burn them for you and send them over.

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