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Galambo - Kanya
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Y cada noche cae (Pablo Alba)
Radiokijada - Manoteo en Menor
Ondatrópica - Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazón (DJ iZem Remix)
Sonido Guay Neñë - Oye Mi Negra (Copia Doble Systema Remix)
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Jhet (José Ángel Valente)
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - La ventana (Pablo Alba)
La Yegros - Viene de Mi
Villa Diamante - Julieta y los Espiritus vs Lagartiejando
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Trovador fui, no se quien soy (Leopoldo María Panero)
Bomba Estéreo - Bosque
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Un poema de Jhon Clare (Leopoldo María Panero)
Tremor - Huella (feat. Micaela Chauque)
Ciela Asad - La nueva Cocó_128
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Hipica (Juan Gil Albert)
Francís del Río - El Viejo Francisco (feat. Telmary Díaz)
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - Ars magna (Leopoldo María Panero)
Franco Bianco - Frank White - Posicion (Original Mix)
Telmary Díaz - Rumba Pa'ofrendarle
Poem: read by Pablo Alba - He venido para ver (Luis Cernuda)
Buika - No lo sé (feat. Pat Metheny)
Notes on the show
In July I spent a short time living on the hill of Montjuic in Barcelona, in a tiny house tucked in under the wall of Teatre Grec. One night at 3am early in my stay, I climbed the hill in a typical sweat to find a classical guitar, its face turned to the wall of my house, sitting in a fruit box. A gift from this city I hadn't got to know yet? I decided (hopeless romantic that I am) that I would not touch it, that if it was still there in the daylight, I'd take it inside and play it. Around 9 in the morning I opened the door to see. The guitar was still there. I grabbed the neck and twisted it around to face me. It was completely burnt out through the sound hole. Immolated. A fire had been lit within. Its shell was completely undisturbed - it was as if while being played, the sounds had exploded into flame out of the sound hole, burst into the air, melted the strings, then died back.
Now as I'm writing this from across the sea in Italy, it seems a perfect metaphor for Barcelona experience. Ideas arrive late in the night, explode in passionate flame, burn out fast. Passion that consumes itself, but does not destroy the structure. Like forests that need to burn to burst the tree seeds. What is left is a deeper inspiration and beautiful - perhaps a little sad, even a little dehydrated, but unquestionably beautiful, as experience, and wisdom, and soulful living is beautiful. It's in the music, too, and in the poetry, of Spain, all Latin countries. Fire is at the heart of it all.
But I don't want to romanticise too much. It's not all beautiful. I didn't get as much to the heart of the situation in Spain as I'd like to this trip. But it is not difficult to witness if your eyes, your heart is open. The struggle is apparent, the anger simmers, the inequalities and injustices continue at the core of everything in the EU austerity years. Whatever opportunities or comforts communities have made for themselves by ignoring the power structures, are still being ripped away, as though it is an affront not only to be poor, but to take charge and make a life off the grid. You must not only remain in your class, you must not attempt to improve your situation within your class. And people seem to me to be as much expressing despair at what can be done beyond continued personal resistance, as anywhere. I found myself in many conversations explaining why I thought of my own country Australia, as "troubled" when in fact Australia faces little trouble at all, in comparison. What I meant, what I mean, is that Australians are loudly and increasingly angry, judgemental and resentful, proclaiming themselves troubled, struggling, when in fact they are some of the most privileged citizens in the world. In Spain - in South America also - the struggle is real, the trouble is actual. But in four weeks in Spain I felt more joy, appreciation and generosity than I've felt in four years in Australia.
What does all this have to do with this month's podcast? Resentment and craving destroy culture. Apathy too. Culture is not an idea but a living, fire-breathing thing. Culture is as much current political awareness and activism as it is 'tradition'. Culture is generosity, sharing, giving, and passion. Passion must not be held in - it is better to play the guitar so fiercely that it burns, than not to play it at all. I think this is at the heart of the passion in the Spanish poets, and music. So it is too appropriate to pay homage to my burned and beautiful Barcelona guitar, with a La Danza Poetica dedicated to fuego poético!
First, the poets. With thanks to Joaldo Dominguez (of RAMULA - the Rebel Latin American Music Academy) I was given recordings of the lovely voice of Pablo Alba. Pablo was a part of POLIFONĺA - a meeting between the visual arts and poetry, weaving a dialogue between Castilian and French languages, in Ecudaor recently. Originally from Madrid, he is based now in Brussels. In the show, he reads two of his own poems, Y cada noche cae and La ventana. He also brings us works from these 'honoured ghosts' of Spanish poetry:
José Ángel Valente (1929-2000) the lyric poet and essayist, writing about exile and poverty in modern Spain, in both Galician and Spanish. Leopoldo María Panero (1948-) the Spanish poet, commonly placed in the Novísimos group, a 'separatist' group of mid-20th century poets. Panero's anti-Franco militancy bought him some time in prison. His experiments with drugs in his youth brought forth many passionate poems, as well as time in psychiatric hospitals. Pablo reads for us Trovador fui, no se quien soy, Un poema de Jhon Clare and Ars magna. Juan Gil-Albert was a great poet and activist. He fought with the Republican Army against Franco in the 1930s, went into exile in France, Mexico, Argentina, returned in the late 40s to Franco's Spain where he retreated to personal exile. ("Withdraw," wrote Paul Kingsnorth recently, "because refusing to help the machine advance—refusing to tighten the ratchet further—is a deeply moral position....") Luis Cernuda - a member of the 'Generation of '27'. During the Spanish Civil War, in early 1938, Cernuda went to the UK to deliver some lectures and this became the start of an exile that lasted till the end of his life. Pablo reads He venido para ver (I have come to see).
Poetic fire - activism in philosophy, art, life, and in refusing to engage in what is not right, equal, true. Actively contributing to what is and what becomes, when your world is looked at from the outside, your culture.
In music, we travel across the seas to Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Chile.
The show opens with a short piece from Australia-based, Chilean musician and producer Bryan Phillips, aka Galambo. Galambo is a sonic melting pot of his influences from the Andean culture.In the tradition of great folk artists like Violeta Parra, Galambo seeks to unveil the sonic identities of the Andes. From shamanistic indigenous ceremonies to songs of worship to the divinity. In a cultural syncretism between traditional instruments and electronics.
From Peru: Radiokijada: "on the one side, radio transporting waves of sound as well as radiology, making it possible to see inside ourselves. On the other, the ‘quijada’, the lower jaw of a donkey which the African slaves of Peru reinvented as a percussion instrument. Musically, it’s about reinterpreting a rural tradition with the roots of modern technology." Radiokijada is Peruvian, Rodlfo Muñoz and Swiss, Christoph H.Müler (also of Gotan Project). The drums of bones, skins and feet.
Colombia! French producer DJ iZem remixes Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazón from Ondatrópica’s recent single release. The single from which this track comes is a cover of Fela Kuti’s Chop n Quench - on Soundway Records (click on the image to go get it!) Colombian musician Mario Galeano (the force behind the band Frente Cumbiero) and English producer Will Holland (aka Quantic), come together for the Ondatrópica project, which exists to "explore and expand the tropical sound of Colombia in its rawest form and to marry it with the cool sound of London."
Still in Colombia, Bomba Estéreo. Formed in 2005 as a project by visual artist/musician, Simón Mejía, a collective of DJ’s and visual artists, the band is on fire around the summer festival circuit this year. The album Elegancia Tropical was released early this year on Soundway. Lead singer and MC Li Saumet’s fiery vocals are underpinned by Colombian rhythms and sparkly electronica.
Cuba: Telmary Diaz is Toronto-based, a Cuban rapper, musician, and spoken word artist. In keeping with Cuba’s range of transformation of many musical styles into new wholes, Telmary’s music not only fuses Afro-Cuban and Latin beats, but also modernizes it with hints of funk, jazz, hip hop, and urban slam poetry. Her album, A Diario is worth time (out in 2006). The first track from Telmary in this show is a collaboration with Cuban singer/songwriter Francís del Río, from the album Espaldas Al Mundo (2012). The second, I took from the album El Color de Mi Rumba (2007).
To Argentina - namely, Buenos Aires, a city which can burn guitars, if any city can:
Sonido Guay Neñë - from the Copla Colectiva Digital EP of 2012. This Argentinean band is dedicated to "the rescue and dissemination of popular ancestral roots singing with box, represented by the couplet (tunes, vidalas and bagualas), and mixed with current digital sounds (digital cumbia, moonbathon, raggamufin, reggae, techno and dubstep, etc!)" You can download this EP free (click on the image to get it via Tropicalbass.com). This is the Copia Doble Systema remix of Oye Mi Negra.
"Pop" sounds from "the queen of the Argentine cumbia scene" - La Yegros fusing traditional chamames and cumbias with urban and electronic influences from Buenos Aires. In the show is the original version of Viene de Mi - an EP of remixes came out earlier this year, hear that here.
Again, from Buenos Aires, and again, pop-style, Villa Diamante gives us a mashup of More than before - July Sky vs Mati Zundel Lagartijeando. A kind of sweet little flame of a slow cumbia in fact.
From Franco Bianco - Argentine electronic music producer based in Switzerland. Frank White is his alias for electroacoustic works with political activism purposes, and featured in this show, is one I've been playing in sets for a couple of years now. Posición- dedicado a la generación del bicentenario is a remixed speech of Argentinean president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. dedicated to the children of the bicentennial, in Argentina.
There is always one track, one piece, in any La Danza Poetica I make, that ends up defining the whole thing for me, that rolls around and around in my head in a delicious repeat. This time, it is Tremor's new release Huella.
The Buenos Aries trio combine rhythms and sounds across South American genre borders with digital vibes and electronic music culture, into a sound that has been dubbed “Digital Folklorico”. Their debut single for the Wonderwheel label, this track is rooted in the Andes with soaring vocals from singer Micaela Chauque. Chauque is an Argentine indigenous musician and composer. She is a researcher of Andean folklore, dedicating herself to recover and to spread musical traditions of the Argentine north-west, particularly through songs and traditional wind instruments, some of which are usually played only by men. She is a powerful fire in herself, and her voice on this track is transcendent. Tremor are really gifted at bringing together the traditional and the modern. They bring an organic sensibility into electronic music. Their digital folklore is really to me the natural progression of culture into the present - culture is not something of the past, after all. It's as mutable and changeable as humans are. Most of all, Tremor's music is beautiful. Bubbly synths, orchestral space, drums that strike matches.The single, which also features remixes from Frikstailers and Chancha Via Circuto, is released on August 6. A full album is due in September.
With thanks to The Global Bass Experience for the link, here is a short video about the track: