Jolifanto Bambla O Falli Bambla!
March 9, 2009 7:53 PM   Subscribe

In 1916, Hugo Ball would fulfill his own dadaist manifesto by reciting his own nonsense poetry at the Cabaret Voltaire (not that Cabaret Voltaire), while wearing a Cubist costume or a cylinder with the number 13 covering his face. Ball's poem, Gadji Beri Bimba, inspired the Talking Heads song, I Zimbra, but his most famous poem is Karawane, a pioneering example of sound poetry. Karawane has more conventional avant-garde versions on YouTube, but none is more surreal than the recitation from memory by Marie Osmond (yes, that Marie Osmond) from a 1980s broadcast of Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
posted by jonp72 (21 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
OK. I didn't see that coming.
posted by shothotbot at 8:01 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Let me second that. Congratulations, jonp72, my friend, you just gave me a true 'whaaaaaa?' moment.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 PM on March 9, 2009

I remember watching that show and being completely baffled by the spectacle of Ms. Osmond talking about Dada. I was very young, and yet still knew it was a very odd moment in time.
posted by ltracey at 8:29 PM on March 9, 2009

On their album "Aenima", Tool wrote a track called "Die Eier von Satan". It's got a kind of industrial machine beat over what sounds like a recording of a guy giving a political speech in German. At certain emotional points in the speech, there is a crowd that roars with approval. He keeps repeating the line, "Und keine eier!", and when he bellows it towards the end of the piece the crowd gives the biggest roar of all. It's very unnerving upon first listen. Turns out, the "speech" is actually a recipe for Mexican wedding cookies (whatever they are). "Und keine eier" means "and no eggs".

The point here is, when he gets to the part of the recipe where you form the cookies, just before baking, the (translated) instructions are:

Form eyeball-size pieces from the dough
Roll in the powdered sugar
And say the magic words:
sim sala bim bamba sala do saladim

I just assumed that Maynard made up these "magic words", but after listening to Gadji Beri Bimba, I think it was a direct reference to Ball. I knew that the piece was meant to be absurd, and to point out the direct emotional response we have to the sound of language, even if we don't understand the words, but the idea that it may have been inspired by a Dadaist poet, even if only in part, adds another level of enjoyment to the piece for me. Really, it's one of my favorite songs on the album.

That and "Hooker With A Penis".
posted by starvingartist at 8:57 PM on March 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Wow, that's more dada than dada!
posted by PHINC at 9:05 PM on March 9, 2009

No batshitinsane tag?
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:09 PM on March 9, 2009

batsituationist, maybe?
posted by joe lisboa at 9:22 PM on March 9, 2009

On their album "Aenima" ...

OT, but wasn't that also a record that featured an extended rhythmic riff on the Fibonacci sequence? I was never a huge fan, but between that and the Hugo Ball shout-out, that's pretty sweet.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:37 PM on March 9, 2009

I don't understand his poetry, but I enjoy his high end menswear apparel.
Also I think I saw Marie Osmond perform that with Max Rebo Band.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 PM on March 9, 2009

Herewith my undying fealty to Marie Osmond, white-toothed Goddess of Dada!

How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How does one become famous? By saying dada.
posted by Wolof at 10:55 PM on March 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

I came across the Marie Osmond version a few months ago when trying to hunt down an image of Karawane, and was a little started, but didn't bother to try to figure out the context for it -- so, thanks!
posted by Casuistry at 4:03 AM on March 10, 2009

One of my favorite bands, Cabaret Voltaire, mentioned in the same FPP with Marie Osmond?
I think I need to go lie down.

Wonder if we could get the three of them in the studio? Would love to hear her belt out "Crackdown" or "Sensoria".
posted by willmize at 4:18 AM on March 10, 2009

OK, I have to admit: although I'd never but any of her albums, I have a newfound respect for Marie Osmond from that piece alone.
posted by Chocomog at 4:36 AM on March 10, 2009

Just listened to that Marie Osmond clip, and I gotta admit: that's how I'd like to wake up every day.
posted by Football Bat at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2009

From the liner notes of the original CD companion to Greil Marcus' amazing book Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century:

As host of a special show on sound poetry, Osmond was asked by the producer to recite only the first line of Ball's work: incensed at being thought too dumb for art, she memorized the lot and delivered it whole in a rare 'glimpse of freedom.'

I never had any respect for Marie Osmond until reading that...
posted by kuppajava at 10:27 AM on March 10, 2009

I could never get into Ball... he was too good at being Dada. He said that it was all nonsense without reference, but that was plainly untrue. The sounds follow speech patterns, the number 13 is not only a number, but a loaded number, and the costume is actually sort of typical modernism/futurism. He must have been aware of all of this, but he gave no hint... not even a twinkle in his eye.

Duchamp and Man Ray (while only arguably Dadaists sometimes) did the same "it doesn't make sense when I say it doesn't make sense" thing, but through some combination of smirks and glaring intellect always satisfied me that they knew, man. They knew.
posted by cmoj at 11:25 AM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just listened to that Marie Osmond clip, and I gotta admit: that's how I'd like to wake up every day.

I've just renamed that track to alarm.wav. Your dream, starting tomorrow, is my reality.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:55 PM on March 10, 2009

i can't beat the Marie Osmond clip, but brooklyn-based disco group Escort have a take on Karawane as well. sound sample here, it was released on the b-side to the Love in Indigo 12".
posted by stachemaster at 12:59 PM on March 10, 2009

Wonder if we could get the three of them in the studio?

Chris Watson would like to have a word with you about how many members the proper version of Cabaret Voltaire had.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:05 PM on March 10, 2009

I prefer my own translation of the Dada Manifesto. Dada m'dada, Dada m'dada, Dada mhm' dada.
posted by languagehat at 1:49 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just a quick update here:

Yes, waking up to the sound of Marie Dada Osmond really is an excellent thing.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:57 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

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