We invite you to listen in on a musical gathering that took place in Jamaica in 1688. These three songs, 'Angola', 'Papa' and 'Koromanti', performed at a festival by enslaved African musicians and copied in musical notation by a Mr Baptiste, are the first transcription of African music in the Caribbean, and, indeed, probably in the Americas. Thanks to this remarkable artifact, we can listen to traces of music performed long ago and begin to imagine what it meant for the people who created it.
The bizarre rise and fall and resurgence of tiki bars and cocktails is an interesting history that starts with two men, Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron, who traveled to the South Pacific and brought back some "island culture" to the United States with them in the 1930s, continuing on with the craze really booming after WWII vets returned from tours overseas. With the ebbs and flows of popularity, the cultural appropriation in "Tiki culture" has often been overlooked, as to the Māori mythology and meaning behind Tiki carvings and imagery and Hawiian culture of leis and luaus. Let's talk Tiki bars: harmless fun or exploitation. [Soundtrack: Les Baxter's Ritual Of The Savage ( 1951) and Martin Denny's Exotica (1957)] [more inside]
The original discotheque DJs of the 70s weren’t restricted by genre – they mixed up soul, funk, rock and experimental music to create the nascent disco sound. The Sofrito sound starts from the same point but draws from the tropics - combining bassline soukous, cosmic highlife, stripped-down drum edits, raw carnival rhythms, Manding vibes, scratchy calypso and modern productions that continue in the grand tradition of the discotheque, from Abidjan to Detroit via London, Paris and beyond...
Very obscure and super rare selection of cumbias, gaitas, mapalé, charanguara, musarana, charanga and guarachas for your ultimate enjoyment! [more inside]
Tempero Brasileiro (mp3) is a collection of rare Brazilian tracks originally issued on 7″ vinyl. Compiled by Edson Carvalho, one of the top São Paulo crate diggers. [more inside]
"Portia Simpson Miller, the former and newly re-elected Prime Minister of Jamaica and representative of the People's National Party, recently took an historically significant position by openly supporting GLBT legal protection in Jamaica, a country internationally notorious for a "culture of homophobia." Miller's statements come at a time of great cultural change in both Jamaica and dancehall music. This is for her." This is a mixtape of dancehall music and some of it is NSFW.
Chutney Music :"For these people, Chutney was more than just music (.asf files), it was their life, it was their culture. For a people twice removed from their native land, Chutney was their connection to the traditions they might have otherwise never known." [via]
At some point in 2001 one of my favorite bands got it's own website and I didn't notice until just now. I mention this not because it's particularly mefi worthy just because I like it, but because I have four of their albums and they never fail to cheer me up when nothing else will. It's the steel drums I'm sure. Alas, doesn't look they will be playing near me anytime soon, but there are still many other steel drum bands out there and if this one isn't coming your way either you can probably find one that is.