Archive for December, 2009

With Volume 11 of the World Library we receive a rich sampling of traditonal music from Japan, its near islands, Taiwan and Korea. Side 1 is devoted to Japanese music, with fishermen and geisha songs, instrumental pieces, etc… and side 2 has music from the Ryukyus Island, Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. Most of the examples on the records represent very old musical traditons but some pieces show ¬†more westernized versions. As usual, i strongly recommend to read the liner notes shown below for information on each track.


Side 1:Japan

Side 2: Ryukyus, Formosa and Korea

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Here are some fine tunes and songs for this time of the year from the Folkways catalogue:

Let’s start with this children song from the West Indies with calypso singer Lord Invader:
Father Christmas-Lord Invader

A traditional christmas song from Ukraine:
The Grey Cuckoo (Shchedrevka)

Andrew Rowan Summers singing the most well-known christmas song with a gentle dulcimer:
Silent Night, Holy Night-Andrew Rowan Summers

Here are Mike and Pete’s sisters singing the famous carol song about Joseph and Mary:
Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)-The Seeger Sisters

And Pete himself with his 5-string banjo:
The First Noel-Pete Seeger

Recorded by Henrietta Yurchenco in Puerto Rico, this beautiful children game song:
Aguinaldo (Christmas Carol)

Let’s listen to Leadbelly sing for children and strumming his 12-string guitar:
Christmas is A-Coming (Chicken Crows at Midnight)-Leadbelly

A Christmas song from Spain:
Esta Nochebuena (This Night Is Christmas Eve)

From an English village community:
The Christmas Tree – Village Carollers Grenoside

and let’s end this world tour of Christmas with a delightful and lively track recorded by Samuel Charters in the Bahamas Islands:
Mama, Bake a Johnny Cake, Christmas Coming-Fresh Creek Dance Band

Be sure to support the work of the Smithsonian Folkways record company who makes available the whole Folkways catalogue…

Happy holidays to all…

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For this 10th volume of the World Library we go back to Africa, this time on a trip to  East Africa with recordings by Hugh Tracey, perhaps the most important field collector and ethnomusicologist of African traditional music. The countries visited are Uganda, Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia), Kenya and other territories who were under British colonial rules after World War 2. The recordings offers us a glimpse of the vast musical expressions among different tribes, with many examples of instruments (xylophones, the hand-piano or Mbira (or likembe), mouth bows, lyres, flutes, gourds, zithers, etc..) and story and work songs. The quality of the recordings is superb, as Tracey was a pionneer in field recordings and used many techniques to improve sound on difficult recording conditions.

-For a biography of Hugh Tracey, you can go to the ILAM website (International Library of African Music) and on the SWP records website, a independant record company based in Holland that issued a serie of superb recordings made by Tracey, a must-have for fans of African music and ethnic music in general


British East Africa side A MP3

British East Africa side B MP3

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