Entering my third year at Groovalizacion - happy birthday to La Danza Poetica! The 24th edition is intercontinental, transnational - a world of poetics, mainly new releases, ranging far and wide in the spirit of the dance. On Groovalizacion:
Also on Mixcloud:
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Let me take a moment to thank you for listening to and supporting me with this podcast over the past two years. Sometimes it feels like all of us creative radio makers are throwing our passions into the big dark night sky, and the little pilot lights are getting lost in all the stars (to borrow from Derrick Brown's poem this month) ... or to put it more simply: "is anybody listening?" It doesn't matter in the end. Passion has to be thrown, regardless! But a sincere thank you to the listeners I know are out there, those who've let me know and those who haven't. To the artists sharing their work as well. Every exchange of positive energy fires the lights.
I haven't found the time to link to the artists for the podcast lately. But this month, with so many new releases, I'm making an extra effort! Read on for links:
First, our honoured, very-alive-and-well-mind-you ghost. Our great grand uncle of the spoken word, in the West at least, Ken Nordine, has "committed word jazz again." Which makes me very happy. At the ripe young age of 94 Ken released a whole new album a month ago. Classic Nordine-esque stories, conversations with his own self, meditations on the state of things. I wrote about it at the time ... but just trust me. Click on the pic at left to go get an education, hipsters.* It just makes me glad to be alive and to be doing what I do, to be dropping a couple of new tracks from Ken Nordine into the mix. Tree of Knowledge is so wry it stings. Big love, sir.
Beginning with a track that I've wanted to play for a while but haven't managed to slip in. Balzi del Mulo, from Italy, poetry and folk music. Il Ceffone (the slap) is a collaboration with accordionist Maestro Bettini off the March album Nel desert di sonora 2014. Recorded mostly live, the poetry and music of Massimo Ocera, Andrea Calegaro and Simone Garza is at turns sentimental and absurd, full of humour and passion.
I also love this track: But then, I would, wouldn't I.
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Another live album - really live! The loveliest Californian poet Derrick Brown recorded by the loveliest literary journal Going Down Swinging, here in the loveliest Melbourne, back in May this year. This is part of GDS' current project One Night Wonders - high fidelity recordings of full-scale live solo poet sessions in Melbourne, released digitally. Always a step ahead of the game, GDS is now releasing like a label. And none too soon for the spoken word scene particularly here in Australia. Derrick is one of my favourite US poets. He has been since Cupcake. Something about his whimsy and wickedness, all wrapped up in one sonorous drawl ... his almost absurdly dirty-romantic turn of phrase. Also, the fact that he started the ridiculously good Write Bloody publishing house. So, two poems in here - the second, A Finger, Two Dots, Then Me is one I defy you to make through without holding your breath. If you cry a little bit, I won ok? A beautiful story. As beautiful and heart wrenching as James Garner crying. (If you know what I mean, you know what I mean.) As the GDS editors said: "Anyone who was at that show can talk it up - the audience were so replete with laughter and sneaky tears that when Derrick finished the show by walking out of the room and not looking back, it seemed the only way it could have ended. But lots of shows are brilliant, and even as they’re happening they vanish into the ether. This one decided to stay with us.." There will be four in this series of ONW - Eleanor Jackson performed first up, Felix Nobis is next, and in November there will be a cross-continental reunion of Sean M Whelan and The Mime Set. And, hopefully, more into the future. It's all here.
Two tracks from the great Summer in Jakarta compilation, a collection of unreleased material from the Berlin label Jakarta Records - on vinyl, on cassette for a lucky few too, and digital of course, too. First Mura Masa,18 year old English beat slayer / heart breaker .. I can't really explain the sound of Mura Masa which is a state of being I like to be in with music. Samples and seemingly random sounds woven together in a very precise way. It to me sounds a lot like the new Russian electronica I've been listening to lately (some of which I featured in the 19th dance). Later, adding to the spaceflight of Derrick's poem, Garden City Movement's lovely track Move on. Collaboration between Berlin and Tel Aviv - sparse, rich electronics, pop-soul vocals, vibrato guitar. Again, I've been giving in to the electronic pop vibe lately and there is some lovely stuff happening if you dig a little. Jakarta Records is definitely a good place to go digging.
Speaking of Jakarta Records, the label released an intriguing album last month. Zen-Zin is an MC from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Growing up, he taught himself English through hip hop and rap lyrics, and American movies. He began collaborating remotely with German producer Pawcut and the album The Butterfly Effect is the result. The two have apparently never met in person. The album is soulful and layered and warrants many listens.
Sticking with the eclectic hip hop - nearer the top of the show, something from the first album of Pipas de Coco, aka Olivier Boigandreau poet, activist from Segovia, Spain. Released in July the whole collection of tracks has a great energy and an uncompromising political heart, which is as we like it.
Not a new release but something I've wanted to mix in for some time is Beny Esguerra's track Somos (We are). For this we go back to 2012 and cross to Canada ... Beny released the album A New Tradition back then, a furiously good weaving of spoken word with Colombia's indigenous flute, the gaita, Afro-Cuban and Colombian percussion, West African balafon, funk, zouk, some '70s Nuyorican salsa... This is the kind of consciously bilingual, socially-conscious spoken word that fires up the heart of social movements, a lot like the Chicano poets Michael Reyes and Bocafloja.
Dear friends at French netlabel Libre Comme Lair released this unique hip hop album by Ukrainian rapper Sun Sunych at the beginning of September. "...not just an album ... an appeal, even more - screaming, yelling to myself - rational, logical, modern, from that underworld, archaic, unconscious ... Hybris is manifested in the form of pride, hypertrophied self-esteem, soaking in the various spheres of life. This is the inner voice that calls out to you in the night, this is your inheritance on a nonphysical level ... Fight it, subordinate it or be absorbed by it!" It is ... there's something deeply unsettling at the heart of Hybris by which I don't mean nasty or not good listening - it's great listening, mostly - it's not even anger. It's disturbance. A ripple in the fabric. As ever, LCL challenge even our comfortable conceptions of 'conscious hip hop' (... did I really say that? ... can we really get comfortable within the revolution itself? ... why, yes, we can.)
Deeeeeeep cumbia from Argentina’s El Remolón’s - El Chamuyero, a collaboration with Buenos Aires based singer Iv Anna, has been remixed by the likes of Chants and Atropolis. In here is actually the original, released earlier in the year - the remixes are out this week - the info is here.
To Ibiza, via Paris ... but it's not what you think! French beatmaker Guts has a love for the obscure sample which endears me to him. A track from his 2012 album features (... and some news, thanks to Heavenly Sweetness, we have a new album from Guts this week, returning to his hip hop roots. That's here.)
Another great label, Original Cultures released this album from Sleepin Giant back in April, the Amsterdam-based producer's first official album. This is deeeeeep soul. No doubt about it. The track featured in LDP 24 is due to the poem and the voice of Aja Monet, beautiful NYC poet and educator. Aja has been in the process of releasing an ebook, Inner City Chants and Cyborg Cyphers this year - another track later in the show sings the title. Also produced by Sleepin Giant, that's here:
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Come back across the seas to the seas surrounding me right now - the Pacific, and more from Mau Power's album The Show Will Go On - the title track, in fact. (My Island Home formed the heart of the 21st podcast). Voicing the experience of the Torres Strait Islands, the islands' first touring hip hop artist, I first heard Patrick Mau by accident, driving, flicking through the radio and coming across an interview. He is an eloquent, big soul. And that comes across in his music. The album features giant of Australian music Archie Roach, on the track Freedom - a true song of protest, inviting understanding, inclusion, work, release, change. I wanted to include this track in the podcast as well but ran out of time. Here is the video:
To Sri Lanka, finally, something specially captured for us, by the industrious sailor poet Larry T Hill - currently living and working in his native Sri Lanka, he is collaborating with Tamil hip hop artist Rz Omar. They filmed the collaboration on Rz' track Naam Ontrai and here it is (including the discussion of the track at the end, cut from the podcast):
A coda; an interlude; From Zeb aka The Spy From Cairo - an unreleased track Albanian rhapsody, that he shared with us all a couple of months ago. Beautiful. You can get that track here:
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The track list in order:
- Balzi del Mulo - Il Ceffone
- Mura Masa - Miss You
- Derrick Brown - Debbie
- Pipas de Coco - Buongiorno (prod. Arbaroh)
- Beny Esguerra - Somos
- El Remolón - El Chamuyero (feat. Iv Anna)
- Ken Nordine - No News Is Good News Blues
- Sleepin Giant - Glitch (feat. Aja Monet)
- Garden City Movement - Move On
- Derrick Brown - A Finger, Two Dots, then Me
- Guts - Libre Je Suis Devenu
- Ken Nordine - Tree of Knowledge
- The Spy From Cairo - Albanian trance
- Sun Sunych - Pegasus
- Mau Power - Intro + Transitions Of Life - Feat. Shirley Davis
- Aja Monet - Inner City Chants
- Zen-Zin & Pawcut - Fade To Black
- Ana Tijoux - Interludio Agua
- Rz Omar feat. Larry T Hill - Naam Ontrai
- Zen-Zin & Pawcut - Outro
* said with love