Archive for ‘V.A’

octobre 2, 2010

V.A – The Very Best Of Ethiopiques


Origine du Groupe : V.A Ethiopia

Style : World Music , Jazz World , Ethio-Jazz

Sortie : 2007

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From Official Site :

Over the last 10 years, music aficionados across the world have become familiar with Francis Falceto’s remarkable work re-releasing vast quantities of modern Ethiopian music as
‘The Ethiopiques series’ on Buda Musique. But now this enthusiasm has spread to infect another top re-issuing label, as Union Square Music have taken it upon themselves to assemble an Ethiopian
music collection with a different slant. An enormous undertaking, drawing from all 21 volumes of the original ‘Ethiopiques’ series, ‘The Very Best of Ethiopiques’ (2CD) represents a new take on
Ethiopian Music as compiler and sequencer Iain Scott (assisted by Steve Bunyan and Francis Falceto) has made the first ever compilation of modern Ethiopian music specifically for the contemporary
western ear.

CD1 breaks new ground by focusing on modern Ethiopian tracks able to shake dance floors as much as any world music connoisseur’s mp3 headphones. Aimed at all those who were
dazzled by re-issue releases such as Russ Dewbury’s ‘Africa Funk’ 1998 (exposing Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango to a club audience for the first time), this does the same for ‘Ethiopian Groove’,
offering a sparkling collection of songs bursting with Ethiopia’s unashamed and open enthusiasm for absorbing the influences of 1960-70s Afro-America. Throw into this mix a few more tunes made
popular by the soundtrack for Jim Jarmush’s ‘Broken Flowers’ and you have the ultimate Ethiopian cross-over selection.

CD2 is a little different. A real delight for those slightly more accustomed to the exotic differences of World Music, as here the groove is hidden more deeply within,
requiring time to grow but then emerging more with each listening. If CD1 is the Ethiopian ‘Master Cuts’, then CD2 is the Ethiopian ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ selection, defining a unique modern
music scene at its discernible peak.

With ‘The Very Best of the Ethiopiques’ (2CD) perhaps the last great hidden treasure troves of modern African music has finally been made available to the mainstream
A very special occasion indeed.



Tracklist :

1. Tesfa Maryam Kidane — Heywete

2. Mulatu Astatqe — Yekermo Sew

3. Mulatu Astatqe — Yekatit

4. Girma Beyene — Enken Yelelebesh

5. Bahta Gebre Heywet — Ewnet Yet Lagegnesh

6. Mulatu Astatqe — Gubelye

7. Mahmoud Ahmed — Ere Mele Mele

8. Mahmoud Ahmed — Metcha New

9. Alemayeha Eshete — Tchero Adari Negn

10. Alemayeha Eshete — Telentena Zare

11. Wallias Band — Muziqawi Silt Play

12. Ayalew Mesfin & Black Lion Band — Gedawo

13. Tlahoun Gessesse — Tchuheten Betsemu

14. Menelik Wesnatcher — Tezeta

15. Tsegue Maryam Guebrou — Mother’s Love

16. Tlahoun Gessesse — Sema

17. Tewelde Redda — Milenu

18. Beyene Habte — Embi Lla

19. Mulatu Astaqe — Tezeta

20. Girma Beyene — Set Alamenem Play

21. Muluqen Mellesse & Dahlak Band — Bene Mote

22. Getatchew Mekurya — Antichi Hoye

23. Tlahoun Gessesse — Kulun Mankalesh

24. Getatchew Mekurya — Shellela

25. Seyfu Yohannes — Mela Mela

26. Mahmoud Ahmed — Atawurulegn Lele

27. Mahmoud Ahmed — Fetsum Denq Ledj Nesh

28. Alemu Aga — Abatatchen Hoy


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septembre 25, 2010

V.A – Palenque Palenque – Champeta criolla & afro roots in colombia 1975-91

Origine du Groupe : V.A Colombia

Style : World Music

Sortie : 2010

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Another genius set from Soundway, purveyors of no-nonsense global Afro-diasporic music, this time opening the book on champeta, a popular form for blacks in Cartagena and Barranquilla, cities
that lie on the Carribean coast of Colombia. While most know Colombia for cumbia  and its many permutations, head compiler Lucas Da Silva, boss of his own Palenque imprint, follows the
development of champeta’s beginnings in the ’70s, when local musicians took to Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat and began to integrate the Black President’s rhythmic sensibility and interlocking guitar parts
into their local styles, which already took in soukous, calypso, zouk, and compas.

If you have a copy of the Fela tribute album Black Man’s Cry from earlier this year, you’ll be familiar with Lisandro Mesa’s “Shacalao,” one of a handful of covers of Kuti’s “Shakara” and an
early example of champeta. Then, as it is now, it was the soundtrack blasted by sound systems in the rougher parts of town, but what you get here are the raw goods before modern production
techniques slicked things up.

Volume 2, please? Or how about a trawl through other untapped Colombian forms like fandango and puya next? There have been a few Colombian comps put out lately, but we’ve barely scratched the
surface, folks. Soundway, bring it on!

by Soundscapes


Tracklist :

1. Manuel Alvarez y Sus Dangers – Esclavo Moderno

2. Cassimbas Negras – Bumburumbumbum

3. Abelardo Carbonó y su Conjunto – Palenque

4. Son Palenque – Tungalala (El Sapo)

5. Cumbia Siglo XX – Naga Pedale

6. Wganda Kenya – Pim Pom

7. Banda Los Hijos de La Niña Luz – Dejala Corre

8. Pedro Beltran – Puyalo Ahi

9. Cumbia Moderna De Soledad– Tetero

10. Abelardo Carbonó y su Conjunto – Quiero a Mi Gente

11. Lisandro Meza y su Conjunto – Shacalao

12. Son Palenque – Palengue Palengue

13. Abelardo Carbanó – La Negra Kulengue

14. La Tromba – Calaba Calabao

15. Los Soneros de Gamero – Katunga

16. Rabel Y su Grupo – Manaye

17. La Nelda Pina – El Sucusu

18. Wganda Kenya – El Lobo

19. Son Palenque – Dame Un Trago

20. Grupo Palma Africana – La Botellita

21. Wganda Kenya – Yoro


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septembre 8, 2010

V.A – The Bahamas: The Real Bahamas in Music and Song

Note :

Origine du Groupe : V.A Bahamas

Style : World Music

Sortie : 2003 (1965)

Most of the major Bahama Islands lie no further than 200 miles off the Florida coast. The United States has had generally a greater influence on the history and development of this British colony
than did the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands to its south and east. This is also true for most of the music of the Bahamas; certainly it is true in the case of the music presented in this
album—the religious vocal music of “rhyming spirituals” and anthems.

The songs and the style heard here are the result of alternate periods of contact with and isolation from the United States mainland. The Bahama colony was established at about the same time as
the Carolina colony: around 1670. Africans from many tribes—Ibos, Ijos, Yorubas, Mandingoes, Ashantis—were imported as slaves to both places, as well as to other British settlements in the New
World. Whereas tribal identity quickly vanished in the mainland colonies, one’s awareness of a particular African heritage remained intact to a great extent in many of the European-colonized
islands. This was so in the Bahamas, where the surrounding waters provided temporary insulation against outside influences; there is still an awareness of tribal distinction in some parts of the
Bahamas. During the Revolution in the mainland colonies, a group of Loyalists left the Carolinas with their many slaves and settled on Abaco Cays in the Bahamas, where a number of freed slaves
also had come to live. A vital new music had been developing in the Carolinas, as well as throughout the whole of the Southern plantation area. This music was now brought to the Bahamas, where a
similar development may have been taking place. Here, the very old songs were preserved (and are in fact still sung), and a distinctly Bahamian style of singing developed simultaneously with the
further development of the American Negro spiritual.

Emancipation came to the Bahamas in 1838; escaped slaves from the southern American states sought refuge in the free islands, particularly Andros, largest of the Bahamas. Until the end of the
Civil War, there was a steady inflow of African-Americans to Andros and, with them, their songs. Isolation and poverty insured the preservation of these songs, so that Bahamian music today
reflects many of the developments in mainland music that occurred over a very long period. We can hear in the older music of the Bahamas something that may be close to the very early plantation
slave music.

The “rhyming spiritual” is the distinctive Bahamian type of religious song. “Rhyming” simply means intoning couplets against a melodic background of voices. (“Rhyme” here means “verse”—not
necessarily coinciding final syllables.) The rhymer—the lead singer—sings a memorized or improvised rhythmic narrative part that continues to build in intensity while the other singers repeat a
chorus behind him—that is, they sing the song. The rhyming style reached its greatest heights during the sponge fishing in the 1930s.

A West African tradition of singing sermons has been carried on, and further developed, in the New World. We can hear it in church services conducted by preachers who bring their congregations to
heights of religious fervor by the gradual transition during the sermon from speech to song—song of tremendous intensity and power. Rhyming seems to be the combination of the traditions of
singing sermons and African drum and bell rhythms. The rhythmic patterns in rhyming are also found in West African music. While there is still some drumming in the Bahamas, it had been forbidden
in the mainland colonies and had to go underground. The intricate handclapping that developed in the Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands may be a compensation for lost bells and drums. In the
Bahamas, where there is little handclapping, the singing sermon became the means for utilizing this and other rhythms. Other features of African music, such as the call-and-response vocal
pattern, also found their way into Bahamian song.



Tracklist :

01. We Will Understand It Better By and By 3:54

02. Sheep Know When Thy Shepherd Calling 2:08

03. I Told You People Judgment Coming 0:53

04. Don’t Take Everybody to Be Your Friend 2:18

05. Sailboat Malarkey 2:18

06. Up in the Heaven Shouting 1:33

07. Won’t That Be a Happy Time 2:24

08. Out on the Rolling Sea 3:12

09. I Am So Glad 1:40

10. Come for Your Dinner 1:28

11. God Locked the Lion’s Jaw 4:01

12. Great Dream from Heaven 2:39

13. My Lord Help Me to Pray 1:42

14. Numberless As the Sands on the Seashore 4:15

15. I Ain’t Got Long 1:21

16. I Bid You Goodnight 2:48

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septembre 7, 2010

V.A – Coração Brasileiro

Note :

Origine du Groupe : V.A Brazil

Style : World Music

Sortie : 2010

Uma coisa bem diferente pra variar. Eu também tenho um coração

Brasileiro e fiz ese compilação para vocês. Espero que vão gostar.

Thanks Global Groove

Tracklist :

1 Alberto Mota e seu conjunto – Tamborim

2 Marilia Medalha – Ausencia

3 Ary Cordovil – O que é que eu dou

4 Gal Costa e Caetano Veloso – Coração vagabundo

5 Thelma Soares – Palhaço

6 Noël Rosa – Gago apaixonado

7 Chico da Silva – Sambaterapia

8 Garota de Ipanema

9 Manoel Conceição – Genta humilde

10 João Gilberto – Este seu olhar

11 Thelma Soares – Fora do baralho

12 Cartola – Peciso me encontrar

13 Alberto Mota e seu conjunto – Jogado fora

14 Maria Bethânia – Ultimo desejo

15 Aparecida – Saravá, Saravá Bahia

16 Maria Creuza – Pouco importa

17 Raul de Barros – Folhas secas

18 Doris Monteiro – Nos e o mar

19 Abel Ferreira – Chorando baixinho

20 Tito Madi – Chove la fora

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septembre 6, 2010

V.A – The World Ends : Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria

Note :

Origine du Groupe : V.A Nigeria

Style : World Music , Soul Blues Rock , Psychedelic

Sortie : 1970s

Quand il y en a une, ça va. Mais quand il y en a plusieurs, ça pose un problème. Nous parlons bien sûr des compilations dédiées à l’Afrique de l’Ouest des années 60 et 70, très en vogue depuis
ces dix dernières d’années. Du désormais classique « Nigeria 70 » réédité récemment par Strut, aux récentes explorations togolaises et béninoises d’Analog Africa, il est difficile de faire son
choix face à une telle déferlante. Si la qualité des projets est parfois inégale, le label Soundway, autre incontournable dans ce créneau, risque fort de mettre tout le monde d’accord avec sa
dernière livraison.

«The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s» Nigeria fait la part belle aux productions nigériennes du début des années 70, -au sortir de la sanglante guerre du Biafra-, sur lesquelles
soufflent un vent d’électricité et une soif de renaissance. Si aucun Fela ou Orlando Julius ne figure parmi la trentaine de titres ici présents, on y croise tout de même quelques pointures du
genre tels Ofege et Sonny Okosun.

Mais l’immense majorité de ces enregistrements inédits est portée au crédit d’illustres inconnus aux noms fortement américanisés tels Chuck Barrister, Tony Grey, ou encore The Strangers et The
Black Mirrors. Des blazes que n’auraient pas renié les groupes de garage US. Si Soundway avance le terme « psychedelia », n’imaginons pas pour autant un Grateful Dead à la sauce afro. En vérité,
les nigérians lorgnent davantage vers Jimi Hendrix et James Brown mais ont suffisamment de personnalité pour insuffler aux guitares, cuivres et orgues un son bien local. Ajoutez des chanteurs
survoltés et une section rythmique à l’efficacité redoutable… l’addition n’en est que plus salée.

Par Laurent Charrier


Tracklist :


Ify Jerry Krusade – Nwantinti / Die Die

The Hygrades – Rough Rider

The Hykkers – Deiyo Deiyo (Akpuwunlobi)

Wrinkar Experience – Soundway

The Funkees – Breakthrough

The Mebusas – Mr. Bull Dog (45 version)

Foundars 15 – Don’t Take Me For A Ride

Ceejebs – Eti Ufok

Tony Grey Super 7 – Yem Efe

The Identicals – Akwa Kayi Ji Bia Nuwa

P.R.O. – Blacky Joe

Cicada – Oli Nkwu

The Lijadu Sisters – Life’s Gone Down Low

Eppi Fanio – Ikoko Ti Yio Jata (On Perseverance)

Bongos Ikwue – All Night Long


The Thermometers – Babalawo

Colomach – Ottoto Shamoleda

The Black Mirrors – The World Ends

The Semi Colon – Isi Agboncha

Lawrence Amavi Group – Money That’s What I Want

The Hygrades – Somebody’s Gonna Lose Or Win

Ofege – In Concert

The Elcados – Chokoi & Oreje

Sonny Okosuns & Paperback Limited – Ohomi

Chuck Barrister & The Voices Of Darkness – Be Kind, Be Foolish, Be Happy Tony Grey & The Black 7 – Ugbo Ndoma

Reme Izabebo’s Music Research – (Ayamayama) The Same Man

Action 13 – Active Action

The Actions – Kpokposikposi

The Strangers – Onye Ije

The Comrades – Bullwalk

Ofo The Black Company – Egwu Aja



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août 5, 2010

V.A – Origins of Guitar Music in Southern Congo and Northern Zambia

Note :

More dry guitars, let’s go back in time.

In the new urban culture during the fifties in the copper mining towns of Katanga Province

in southern Congo and on the Copperbelt in northern Zambia, the guitar became an important status symbol.

Hugh Tracey the South African broadcaster turned field recordist amassed probably the largest body of pre-independence recordings of music in central and southern Africa.

This focus on guitar music offers a journey from remote forest villages into the cities and mining camps.

Depending on where they lived, miners and urban professionals heard on their radios American jazz and its South African imitators, Cuban pop, and its Congolese imitators, as well as all sorts of
traditional music…..

All of that is echoed in these recordings from Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi during the 1950s.

An exciting document, the emergence of a new sound – with some famous names such as Mwenda Jean Bosco

and George Sibanda……

by nauma


Origine du Groupe : Africa

Style : World Guitar

Sortie : 2002

Tracklist :

1957 &’58 recordings

Congo :

01-Ilunga Patrice & Misonba Victor-Mama Josefina

02-Ilunga Patrice & Misonba Victor-Masengu

03-Ngoi Nono & Kabongo Anastase-Muleka Mwene Yombwe

04-Kaseba Anatole-Muleka Mwene Ngoie

Zambia :

05-Stephen Tsoti Kasumali-Ematamno Waifwe Bantu

06-Stephen Tsoti Kasumali-Banakatekwe

07-T. Muntali & M. Sapao-Maio Wafwa

08-The Four Pauls-Nifwe Ba Four Pais

09-The Four Pauls-Maselino Yaya Yoyayu

10-John Lushi-Bamgufya Ba Kwati

11-Isaac Matafwana & Sunkutu-Katikalepuke Katikatobeke

12-Luson Mwape Muchalo-Chilomendo Chakumena

13-William Sivale-Nashe Nsapato

14-F. Musonda-Amatstotsi Mama Amaononge Chalo

Malawi :

15-Pearson Kapeni-Akazi

16-De Ndirande Pitch Crooners-Elube

1950,’51,’52 recordings

Zimbabwe :

17-George Sibanda-Gwabi Gwabi

18-George Sibanda-Dali Ngiyakuthanda Bati Ha-Ha-Ha

19-Josiah Nkomi-Itaula Bava Yami

Congo :

20-Mwenda Jean Bosco-Mama Na Mwana

21-Ombiza Charles-Nachelewa

22-Ombiza Charles-Safari Ya Baraka

23-Bembele Henri-Colette

24-Bembele Henri-Beni



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juillet 24, 2010

V.A – Jamaica to Toronto 1967-1974

Note: ++

In 1963, the flight from Jamaica to Toronto was 8 hours. Today it’s 3 1/2. Countless people have made the dwindling journey over the years, but in the sixties and seventies there was a new breed of
traveler: the finest ska, rocksteady, and reggae recording artists the West Indies have ever produced. We’re talking Studio One, Treasure Isle, Trojan, and WIRL veterans Jackie Mittoo, Johnnie
Osbourne, Wayne McGhie, Lloyd Delpratt, The Mighty Pope, Noel Ellis, Jo-Jo Bennett, and many more. Arriving in their new Canadian home, these talented singers, songwriters, musicians, and
performers simply did what came naturally to them. One by one, they hit the studio and captured some of the hardest tunes this side of Kingston. Jamaica to Toronto: Soul Funk and Reggae 1967-1974,
details this crucial sonic migration and stands tall as the second helping of Light In The Attic’s new Jamaica to Toronto series, compiled by DJ/Canadian music historian Sipreano, along with Light
In The Attic.


Origine du Groupe : Jamaica

Style : Reggae

Sortie : 2006

Tracklist :

1.) JO-JO AND THE FUGITIVES – Fugitive Song

2.) EDDIE SPENCER – If This Is Love (I’d Rather Be Lonely)

3.) JO-JO AND THE FUGITIVES – Chips-Chicken-Banana Split

4.) JACKIE MITTOO – Grand Funk

5.) LLLOYD DELPRATT – Together

6.) COUGARS – I Wish It Would Rain

7.) JOHNNIE OSBOURNE – African Wake

8.) RAM – Love Is The Answer

9.) BOB AND WISDOM – I Believe In Music

10.) THE SHEIKS – Eternal Love

11.) WAYNE McGHIE & THE SOUNDS OF JOY – Fire (She Need Water)

12.) COUGARS – Right On

13.) EDDIE SPENCER – You’re So Good To Me Baby


15.) NOEL ELLIS – Memories

16.) WAYNE McGHIE – Here We Go Again



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juin 20, 2010

V.A – Moshi Moshi Nu Sounds From Japan

Note : +

Origine du Groupe : Various

Style : Future Jazz , Electro , Funk , Lounge , Remix

Sortie : 2002

Tracklist :

01 u.f.o. – sixth sense (takemura mix)

02 shakkazombie – kokoro warp (4 hero friday nite mix)

03 gagle – practice & tactix (soljazz mix)

04 calm – simple chords (straight mix)

05 u.f.o – listen love (yoruba soul mix)

06 jazztronik – rita

07 yukihiro fukutomi – complete communion

08 bird – mind travels

09 mondo grosso – dont let go

10 earth, wind & fire – cant hide love (m.a.w. mix)

11 force of nature – loop addiction

12 organlanguage – de-tuned addiction

13 ken ishii – awakening

14 bird – mind travels (mggm.rdmd mix)


Japanese releases are often extortionately expensive and extremely rare in the West. Nik Weston, an infamous collector and promoter of Asian electronic music, has come to the aid of the listening
public with this collection. The Soljazz Instrumental of the gorgeously named Gagle’s Practise & Tactix is stylish Jazz-Hop, with a distressed string workout, disjointed rough-and-ready
percussion and an overzealous reverbed bass. Osunlade uses a heart-stopping piano, saddened vocals that recognize the truth and fly-away strings to produce a melancholic reinterpretation of UFO’s
Listen Love. Calm supplies the emotive De-Tuned Atmosphere which combines an intriguing flute, emphatic beaten percussion, a transporting synth and teary-eyed keys. Ken Ishii’s Awakening is
initially a surprising choice, but one listen to the rushing keys, backwards acid keyboard work and hot-footed percussion make everything crystal clear. This is just the tip of a colossal musical

By Jon Freer


juin 20, 2010

V.A – Orishas Across The Ocean

Note :

Origine du Groupe : Orichas

Style : World Music

Sortie : 1998

Tracklist :

01 – Papa Legba ouve baye

02 – St. Jak pa la

03 – An nou mache

04 – Ketu songs for Osain

05 – Bori songs

06 – Agolona

07 – Opanije (rhythms for Omolu)

08 – Ketu- Roda de Dada (song cycle)

09 – Ketu songs for Oxala

10 – Song for Elegua

11 – Song for Nana Buruku

12 – Song for Ogun

13 – Song for Dada

14 – Song for Yemaya

15 – Ochun Talade

16 – Song for Yemaya

17 – Song for Yemaya

18 – Song for Chango

19 – Itutu song (funerary rites)

20 – Itutu song

21 – Yariba-Oshun

22 – Shango ceremonial music

23 – Shango ceremonial music.

24 – Invocation


As winter progresses, long after its foliage has been shed, the tree loses most of the moisture in its trunk and must rely more than ever on the sap stored in its roots. In this spirit,
Soundological would like to share with you a healthy helping of the musical equivalent of sap from said roots and the wellspring from which the branches of most musical traditions featured on
this blog — Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, R&B, Funk, Rock & Roll, Hip Hop, etc. — have extended themselves.

Long OOP, this CD fetches a high price (a new copy can go for upwards of $70) and is valuable not only for its pristine presentation of remastered material from
the Library of Congress (that’s why these recordings fall under the public domain) but for the reverent and revelatory booklet that provides enlightening reading regardless of the degree of
familiarity one may have with the religious and cultural diaspora from Mother Africa. One might say this collection is essential for both its text and context, so if you were not fortunate enough
to find it a decade ago it’s highly recommended you take advantage now.

AMG Review

by John Vallier

    The 24 tracks featured on this compilation are aural snapshots of Haitian Vodoun, Cuban Santeria, Trinidadian Shango, and Brazilian Candomble religious ceremonies. They were
originally recorded between the late ’30s and the mid-’50s by such notable ethnologists as Laura Boulton, Melville Herskovits, and Lydia Cabrera. Culturally speaking, these recordings highlight
African diasporic religions that originated with the Yoruba and Dahomean peoples and were brought to the New World with enslaved Africans. Retrieved from deep storage at the Library of Congress
and digitally remastered by a team of audio experts, The Yoruba/Dahomean Collection: Orishas Across the Ocean is a powerful audio record that documents both the proud cultural legacy and
sophisticated musical practices associated with Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian cultures.


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juin 8, 2010

V.A – 夜上海精選 (Shangai Nights – Highlights)

Note :

Origine du Groupe : China

Style : World

Sortie : 1992 (1930’s – 1940’s)

Tracklist :
1 夜上海 Night in Shanghai, Zhou Xuan
2 I have a situation, Wu Ying-yin
3 Dream, Zhou Xuan
4 郎是春日風 Lang Is the Spring Wind,白虹
5 Unspeakably Happy, 葛蘭
6 Give me a kiss, Zhang Lu
7 Without You, 白光
8 I want you to love, 葛蘭 (sung in English and Chinese)
9 小癩痲, Zhang Lu
10 Meet Maiden Henbu 恨不相逢未嫁時, Xianglan
11 Soul Ying Dreams 魂縈舊夢, 白光
12 Heartbroken Red 斷腸紅, Wu Ying-yin
13 My Dolls, Zhang Lu


Original Pathe label recordings 1930s-1940s?
apparently remastered from vinyl
(translations from Google Translate; omitted where translation seemed off)

In the early 1990s EMI Hong Kong transferred dozens and dozens of records from the cosmopolitan film and club scene of 1930s-1940s Shanghai to an extended series of CDs. The recordings were from the legendary Pathe label; and as near as I can tell fell out of print, and were unknown outside Chinese record shops, which, fortunately, I had the odd habit of trolling in the 1990s. New York City has a huge Chinese community and I’ve found lots of interesting music in Chinatown shops, though it can be completely hit or miss. As has been pointed out, sentimental pop love songs are HUGE in China even today, PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan all included. Fortunately, this CD turned out to be a hit.

Before the second world war, Shanghai had become, by all accounts, the cultural doorway through which European and American influence arrived. The questionable relationship of Western powers and Western capitalism to corrupt, doomed Republican China is the topic for another blog than this one; let it be said that this collection of old-fashioned pop tunes shows that Shanghai had become a veritable sponge of diverse cultural influences.

Some of the songs here attempt to bring a more traditional Chinese sound to pop ballads, and these (esp. the tunes by Wu Ying-yin) are not the reason I’m posting this here. The songs that show a huge American influence are amazingly bouyant slices of nightclub jazz pop, albeit the kind your grandparents dug. The highlight here, don’t miss it, is the super-swinging « I Want You To Love » (track 8), sung partly in heavily accented breakneck English: « Listen to your mama and you never will regret it… » Track 5 is also tops, and it sure sounds like this tropical Afro-Cuban number begins « Ja Jambo »: Unspeakably Happy is about right. Track 6, « Give Me a Kiss » is another swinger, with a drum solo, and a swinging solo violin. The opening track is great as well, with an old-fashioned movie sound to it. Track 10 is similarly cinematic, with sweeping strings.

If you enjoy old-fashioned female vocalists and pre-bebop jazz, don’t be put off by the fact that you won’t understand most of these songs. This is really an entertaining listen.

The original CD came with the most elaborately folded booklet I’ve ever seen; a single sheet folded up origami-like with layers of flaps that give it a unique three-dimensional feel. I’ve included scans of most of it; it’s 97% in Chinese. (I can’t recommend Google Translate enough!)这是一个非常有趣的记录。喜欢它!


Thanks !