Mittwoch, 13. November 2019

Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda - Berlin Festa! (Angola)

The music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country. In the 20th century, Angola has been wracked by violence and political instability. Its musicians have been oppressed by government forces, both during the period of Portuguese colonization and after independence. Angolan music also influenced another Lusophone music in Brazil and Cuban music.

The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda, home to a diverse group of styles including Angolan merengue (based on Dominican merengue), kilapanda and semba, the last being a genre with roots intertwined with that of Brazilian samba music. Just off the coast of Luanda is Ilha do Cabo, home to an accordion and harmonica-based style of music called rebita.

Compared to many of its neighbors in Southern Africa, as well as other Portuguese colonies (especially Cape Verde), Angola's music has had little international success. The first group to become known outside of Angola was Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda, who were most popular from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and have continued sporadically performing and recording since. The big band included two trumpets, a saxophone, four guitars and a half-dozen percussion instruments. They played kizomba (a native style based around the marimba xylophone), using the four guitars to approximate the sound of the marimba, and quilapanga.

Sometimes known as the Prenda Boys Band, after the poor neighborhood of Luanada, capital of Angola, from which they emerged, Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda are a big band with a big sound. First formed in the mid-'60s, they enjoyed great success in the early '70s, split in 1975, and regrouped in 1981 around two of the original band members. The numerous Prenda Boys feature four guitars, two trumpets, a saxophone, six percussionists and drummers, and the whole band at times whistling. The Orquestra's music is related to the Brazilian Samba, but richer and more complex. At first a politically oriented band, since reforming the Orquestra has tended to more mainstream lyrics.


Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda - Berlin Festa! (192 kbps)

Dinah Washington - Mad About The Boy

Ruth Lee Jones (born August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; died December 14, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan), better known by her stage name Dinah Washington and also as the Queen of the Blues, was an American Grammy award winning jazz singer best known for singing classic torch songs and her hit single What A Diff'rence A Day Makes. Her penetrating voice, excellent timing, and crystal-clear enunciation added her own distinctive style to every piece she undertook.     

Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century - beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop - and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she the time. Hers was a gritty, salty, high-pitched voice, marked by absolute clarity of diction and clipped, bluesy phrasing. Washington's personal life was turbulent, with seven marriages behind her, and her interpretations showed it, for she displayed a tough, totally unsentimental, yet still gripping hold on the universal subject of lost love.               

"Mad About the Boy", the title track of this compilation, is a popular song with words and music by actor and playwright Sir Noël Coward. It was introduced in the 1932 revue Words and Music by Joyce Barbour, Steffi Duna, Norah Howard and Doris Hare. The song deals with the theme of unrequited love for a film star. It was written to be sung by female characters, although Coward also wrote a version, which was never performed, that contained references to the then risqué topic of homosexual love.

Dinah Washington's 1952 recording of "Mad about the Boy" is possibly the most widely known version of the song. The 6/8-time arrangement for voice and jazz orchestra by Quincy Jones omits two verses and was recorded in the singer's native Chicago on the Mercury label.
Washington's version was popularised for a new generation when it was used as a backing track in a 1992 television advertisement for Levi's jeans. In the commercial, which is influenced by the 1968 Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer, a young man runs through an American suburban neighbourhood stripping down to only his jeans, invades private gardens and dives into a series of swimming pools to shrink his jeans.

Dinah Washington - Mad About The Boy
(256 kbps, front cover inlcuded)

Singers & Players - Vacuum Pumping (1988)

"Singers and Players" is a reggae collective formed by Adrian Sherwood and featuring various members of the New Age Steppers, Creation Rebel, the Roots Radics, and other musicians affiliated with the On-U Sound label. After a brief period of creativity in the early '80s, the collective was stagnant until 1998's "Revenge of the Underdog", which featured vocals from Bim Sherman and Prince Far I. "Staggering Heights" followed in the spring of 2000.              

By 1988, the Singers & Players saga was coming to an end, many original members were now gone, new faces were still appearing, but the creative frissom that had driven this collective was quickly dissipating. This was perhaps due to Adrian Sherwood's disinterest, as the producer remained shaken and removed from operations by Prince Far I's senseless murder years earlier.
In any event, the ensemble stirred one final time, to release the "Vacuum Pumping" album, a fine, if not quite inspired set, that proved to be their swan song. Bim Sherman's "Run Them Away" featured on that set, a militant number that gives the governments and warmongers a taste of their own violent medicine.

The riddim is a fine one, and although sparser than earlier efforts, well this was what the contemporary dancehalls demanded, and the backing still bristles with militancy. But for all his vengeful lyrics, Bim Sherman is never going to convince anyone of that he's a real menace; in fact, the backing female vocalists are more threatening than he is. Still, it's the quiet ones that often found to be the most murderous, so the wicked best beware just in case.

Not their best work, but still a reminder of Singers & Players's strength and conviction.          

Tracklist:

Run Them Away5:18
Lighthouse / Dreamworld4:25
Holy Scripture5:38
To Be Free3:21
I Don't Want Aids3:28
Boom Um Baff Um5:22
Pneumatic4:13
These Eyes4:15

Singers & Players - Vacuum Pumping (1988)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

  

Floyd Westerman - Custer Died For Your Sins (1969)

This is one of the few recordings made by this intriguing Sioux musician Floyd Westerman who also goes by the name of Red Crow, which he traces back to his grandfather.

He inherited this recording back from the label that had originally financed and released it, and it contains most of Westerman's most famous songs. He doesn't seem to have created a large catalog of compositions in his career, but the tricks he does have up his sleeve are good ones. The title song is tough and to the point, while other songs such as "Here Come the Anthros" reveal a stinging satirical sense of humor.

Two anthems on the second side are particularly hard-hitting: "Missionaries," certainly a well-deserved jab, and "Where Were You When," which takes a poke at Native American pride of the opportunistic sort.

Westerman is an engaging singer with a catchy sense of rhythm, and it is a shame he hasn't cranked out another dozen albums of protest songs; his people certainly have plenty to complain about.    

Tracklist:
Custer Died For Your Sins3:18
Missionaries2:20
World Without Tomorrow3:36
Goin' Back2:58
35 More Miles3:40
Red, White And Black1:45
Where Were You Then3:12
Here Come The Anthros1:57
They Didn't Listen3:21
Task Force1:40
B.I.A.2:20

Floyd Westerman - Custer Died For Your Sins (1969)    
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 12. November 2019

Inti-Illimani - Inti-Illimani ("Cóndores Del Sol") (1970) d


The New Song movement that emerged in the 1960s in Chile was rooted in popular musical traditions that were passed down through generations. The young musicians drew from folk traditions but created new musical, instrumental, and poetic forms that revolutionized the musical culture of Chile.

Songs like “Plegaria a un Labrador” (Víctor Jara), “Venceremos” (Inti-Illimani), and “El Pueblo Unido” (Quilapayún), with their stirring music and socially conscious lyrics, became well-known anthems of the popular movements of the 1960s and 70s. They had a universal quality as well, crossing borders and communicating with people around the world who shared similar dreams of social justice.

Inti-Illimani (Inti-E-gee-manee), from the Aymara dialect, means "Sun of the Illimani," in reference to a mountain at La Paz, Bolivia. Latin American folk music ensemble from Bolivia & Chile. The band was formed in 1967 by a group of university students: Pedro Yañez (musical director), Jorge Coulon, Max Berrú, Horacio Durán, Oscar Guzmán, Luis Cifuentes and Ciro Retamal. That same year Luis Cifuentes was replaced by Luis Espinoza, and Ciro Retamal and Oscar Guzmán quit the band, joining them Horacio “Loro” Salinas. Pedro Yáñez also left the band in 1968.

They acquired widespread popularity in Chile for their song "Venceremos" (We shall win!) which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende. At the moment of September 11, 1973's Chilean coup they were on tour in Europe and were unable to return to their country where their music was proscribed by the ruling military junta. In Europe their music took on a multifarious character, incorporating elements of European baroque and other traditional music forms to their rich and colourful Latin American rhythms - creating a distinctive fusion of modern world music. They are perhaps the best internationally known members of the nueva canción movement. 


Tracklist:

01 - Lamento del Indio [o Los Arados]
02 - Huajra
03 - Nuestro México, Febrero 23
04 - Dolencias
05 - Quiaquenita
06 - La Petenera
07 - Carnavalito de la Quebrada de Humahuaca
08 - Así Como Hoy Matan Negros
09 - La Mariposa
10 - Flor De Sancayo
11 - Fiesta Pueña
12 - Madrugada Llanera



(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 11. November 2019

Klaus der Geiger - Arbeit macht frei (1973)

Music has provided an outlet for expressing the political vision of violinist and composer Klaus der Geiger (born Klaus von Wrochem). Performing as a street musician since 1970, Klaus der Geiger has spoken out against housing shortages and the limiting of tenant and human rights. In addition to performing many concerts for the homeless, he has participated in numerous demonstrations against the transportation of radioactive whey powder into Third World countries.

A native of the small German city of Doppoldiswalde, halfway between Dresden and Dubi, Klaus der Geiger studied in Cologne under American composer Mauricio Kagel. Traveling to the United States in the late-'60s, he attracted attention as a political-minded street musician in Boston and San Diego. When his request for a visa extension was rejected, due to his political outspokenness, he returned to Germany.

This agit-rock album was ecorded 1973 at Studio 70 in Munich. This is obviously the earlier first issue. Private pressing and not distributed by a big company. The later release was distributed by EMI Electrola.


Tracklist:

A1 Arbeit macht frei 6:53
A2 Ich bin so satt 6:52
A3 Zahltag 4:12
A4 Suff Suff, Kiff Kiff 4:00 
B1 Müllers Kuh 6:30
B2 Töff töff Straßenbahn 4:52
B3 Christian 4:28
B4 Herr Generaldirektor 5:37

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 9. November 2019

Manfred Lemm & Ensemble ‎– Gehat hob ich a Hejm (Jiddische Lieder des Volkssängers und Arbeiterdichters Mordechaj Gebirtig (Krakau 1877 - 1942))

Today we remember the anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany and Austria on 9 to 10 November1938, also known as "Novemberpogrome", "Reichskristallnacht", "Reichspogromnacht" or "Pogromnacht" in German.


Mordechaj Gebirtig was a Yiddish bards, folk singer and labour poet. He was killed in 1942 in the ghetto in Polish Krakau. Germand singer-guitarist Manfred Lemm became obsessed by the works of Gebertig and collected, researched and adapted all his songs. Lemm put poems to music and brought his collection together in a weighty book, including lyrics, translations and music notations through which a peek into the life of Gebirtig is visible. Background stories and interesting facts were added to all songs and poems. There is also an introduction into Yiddish, so all the original beauty of the poems can be understood.

This first collection of songs by Mordechaj Gebirtig in interpretations by Manfred Lemm was recorded in Tonstudio Ballhorn, Odenthal, 29./30. Dezember 1984.


Tracklist:

A1 Gehat hob ich a Hejm 2:22
A2 Blajb gesunt mir, Kroke! 2:46
A3 In Geto 2:45
A4 Hungerik dajn Kezele 4:46
A5 Krigssinwalid 4:48
A6 Awreml der Marwicher 4:48
B1 Kartofl-Sup mit Schwomen 3:57
B2 Kinder-Jorn 5:46
B3 Doss Lidl fun goldenem Land 4:29
B4 Noch a Glesele Tej 3:05
B5 Draj Techterlech 4:00
B6 Kum, Lejbke, tanzn 4:30


Manfred Lemm & Ensemble ‎– Gehat hob ich a Hejm (Jiddische Lieder Ddes Volkssängers und Arbeiterdichters Mordechaj Gebirtig (Krakau 1877 - 1942))
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Markus Wolf - Freunde sterben nicht

"Im Lebenslauf verteidigt der Mensch das einzige, was er besitzt: seine Zeit und seinen Eigensinn ... Gefühle können Partisanen sein, Katalysatoren, Störenfriede, Bremser und Vollender. Sind sind geheimnisvilles Inventar der Geschichtslandschaften, sie begründen bestimmte Prozesse weit jenseits des organisierten guten Willens, der sich Politik nennt." (Alexander Kluge)


Markus Wolf died 13 years ago. Some years ago i read the book "Freunde sterben nicht" by Markus Wolf. Four of the nine chapters of the book are presented on this audio book by Markus Wolf himself.

Markus Wolf led the foreign intelligence division of the East German Ministry for State Security, known as the Stasi, during much of the Cold War.

Born in Hechingen, Province of Hohenzollern (now Baden-Württemberg), Wolf was the son of the writer and physician Friedrich Wolf and brother of film director Konrad Wolf. His father was a member of the Communist Party of Germany, and after Adolf Hitler gained power, they emigrated via Switzerland and France to Moscow because of their Communist conviction and because Markus's father was Jewish.
During his exile, he first attended the German Karl Liebknecht Schule and later a Russian school. Afterwards, he entered the Moscow Institute of Airplane Engineering (Moscow Aviation Institute), which was evacuated to Alma Ata after Germany's attack on the Soviet Union. There he was told to join the Comintern, where he among others was prepared for undercover work behind enemy lines.
After the end of the war, he was sent to Berlin with the Ulbricht Group, led by Walter Ulbricht to work as a journalist for a radio station in the Soviet Zone of occupation. He was among those journalists who observed the entire Nuremberg Trials against the principal Nazi leaders.

In 1953, at the age of 30, he was among the founding members of the foreign intelligence service within the ministry of state security. As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies.  He later explained to the publication Tikkun, "Many other Jews took a similar path, becoming active in the Stasi to hunt down former Nazis." He justified his decision on the grounds that Western powers used high-ranking Nazis, including Reinhard Gehlen, to build up their postwar intelligence services.

"Misha" Wolf's impact was undeniable. He was said to have been remarkably effective in stealing West Germany's weekly intelligence reports and was credited with planting thousands of moles in Western capitals, NATO headquarters and essential industries in science and technology.
One operative, Günter Guillaume, helped to topple the Social Democratic government of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974. Another agent, Markus Wolf said, became a secretary in the office of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and provided details of communications between Schmidt and then-President Jimmy Carter.

He retired in 1986 in order to continue the work of his late brother Konrad in writing the story of their upbringing in Moscow in the 1930s. The book Troika came out on the same day in East and West Germany.
Shortly before German reunification he fled the country, and sought political asylum in Russia and Austria. When denied, he returned to Germany where he was arrested by German police. Wolf claimed to have refused an offer of "seven figures", a new identity and a home in California from the Central Intelligence Agency to defect to the United States. In 1993 he was convicted of treason by the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf and sentenced to six years imprisonment. This was later quashed by the German supreme court, because Wolf was acting from the territory of the then-independent GDR. In 1997 he was convicted of unlawful detention, coercion, and bodily harm, and was given a suspended sentence of two years imprisonment. He was additionally sentenced to three days' imprisonment for refusing to testify against Paul Gerhard Flämig when the former West German politician was accused in 1993 of atomic espionage. Wolf said that Flämig was not the agent that he had mentioned in his memoirs: Flämig had unwittingly been probed by intelligence agents during authorised discussions in the GDR.
Markus Wolf died in his sleep at his Berlin home on 9 November 2006.

With "Freunde sterben nicht", Markus Wolf looks back on his life. With impressive candor he evokes friends and companions, and gives insight into his own thinking.

He reports about friends who crossed his path and accompanied him on his way. There are people whose attitudes are as different as their paths: the "forgotten soldier" Leonard, the high school friend of the Arbat and later professor of literature Alik, the GDR "Kundschafterin" Johanna ...
From the chapter about Johanna: "So, wie die Bauernaufstände des Mittelalters trotz ihrer Niederlagen reichliche Spuren hinterlassen haben, meint Johanna, werden auch von unserem Wirken Spuren bleiben. (...) Gewiss empfinde ich, wie auch Johanna, neben Glück oft Trauer. Trauer über die verpassten Chancen in der Gesellschaft, der wir unsere Fähigkeiten und energien gaben. Trauer über die gegenwärtig geringen Möglichkeiten, auf den unheilvollen Lauf der Entwicklung in der Welt einzuwirken. (...) Ich fühle mich den toten Freunden verpflichtet, ich möchte ihre Gestalten und ihre Gedanken festhalten. Mögen unsere Spuren nicht zu schnell verwehen."

Donnerstag, 7. November 2019

AG Geige - Trickbeat (1990) - GDR Subculture Vol. 10

GDR Subculture Vol. 10:

AG Geige was formed 1986 in Karl-Marx-Stadt (nowadays Chemnitz) in the former German Democratic Republic .
Members were: Frank Bretschneider, Torsten Eckhardt (until 1989), Olaf Bender (replacement for Torsten Eckhardt), Jan and Ina Kummer. For an East German band they played a unique blend of electronic music with dadaistic lyrics sending up government sanctioned media blurb without being too openly critical.
The band was championed by a few late night DJs from DT64 (Government run East German Youth Radio) and found niche audience amongst East German alternative types. However, AG Geige felt their own limitations during live performances due to lack of decent technical equipment. In 1987 they released a tape called "Yachtclub & Buchteln", followed by the tape "Trickbeat" which was released 1990 on AMIGA (the G.D.R. state record label) and later that year on ZONG. In 1991 they made their last album "Raabe?" (on TRAUMTON MV).
After the fall of the wall 1989 AG Geige played gigs around all of Germany (e.g. Popkomm) and Switzerland. Their biggest concert was in 1991 as part of 3rd International Artrock-Festivals in Frankfurt am Main, which Frankfurter Rundschau described as „Nullmusik“ (Zero Music).
AG Geige disbanded 1993.

The album "Trickbeat" was recorded at Rundfunk of GDR, April - September 1989. It was produced by Lutz Schramm.

Tracklist:

A1 Das Möbiusband / Zeychen und Wunder 2:03
A2 Triebwerk 1:16
A3 Felix 1:34
A4 Kosmonauten 2:29
A5 Fingerwalze 2:57
A6 So sollte es nicht sein! 2:22
A7 Küchenlied 5:52
A8 Das Scheusal 3:27
B1 Déjà Vu (Snap Mix #2) 2:51
B2 Hasensong 1:26
B3 Schöner Leben 3:43
B4 Rohleder's 2:07
B5 Maximale Gier (Backing Vocals – Marion Brasch) 3:13
B6 Nach Hause (Instr.) 1:34
B7 Gesichter 3:02
B8 Stadt-Fisch 1:44


AG Geige - Trickbeat (1990)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 6. November 2019

X-Ray Spex - Identity (Single, 1978)

One of the great English punk bands of the late '70s, there is only one thing wrong with the careers of X-Ray Spex and lead singer Poly Styrene -- they didn't record enough music. 

Formed in 1976 by school friends Marion Elliot (Styrene) and Susan Whitby (saxophonist Lora Logic), X-Ray Spex exploded onto the punk scene with one of the era's great singles, the feminist punk rallying cry "Oh Bondage, Up Yours." With Logic's sax stating the melody semi-tunefully and Jak Airport's guitar laying down a wash of distorted chords, Styrene's vocal, especially on the chorus, is a marvel. Along with the early Sex Pistols and Clash singles, this was one of punk rock's great moments.

Poly Styrene died in her sleep on April 25, 2011 after a battle with breast cancer; she was 53 years old.

"Identity" was their 1978 single.


Tracklist:
A Identity2:23
B Let's Submerge3:24

X-Ray Spex - Identity (Single, 1978)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Otto Reutter - Das sind die Sorgen der Republik

Otto Reutter was a German comedian, coupletist, and singer,  born 24 April 1870 in Gardelegen, Germany, died 3 March 1931 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
This compilation with Otto Reutter recordings was released in the wonderful "Edition Berliner Musenkinder".

Tracklist:

1: Herr Neureich
2: Kinder, Kinder, sorgt für Kinder
3: Ick wunder mir über jarnischt mehr
4: Ein Sachse ist immer dabei
5: Zwanzig Jahre später
6: Widewidewitt Bummbumm
7: Ein bisschen Arbeit muss der Mensch schon haben
8: Bevor du sterbst
9: In der Einsamkeit
10: Ick wunder mir über jarnischt mehr
11: Es geht mir in jeder Hinsicht besser
12: Lass' dir bloss die Nase ändern
13: Das ist so einfach und man denkt nicht dran
14: Das sind die Sorgen der Republik (Akustisch)
15: Seh'n sie, darum ist es schade, dass der Krieg zu Ende ist (Akustisch)
16: Immer rin in die Landwirtschaft (Akustisch)
17: Das macht uns Freude (Akustisch)
18: Wenn ich das grosse Los gewinne (Akustisch)
19: Die Damenwelt (Akustisch)


Otto Reutter - Da sind die Sorgen der Republik
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Heidi Berry - Love (1991)

Heidi Berry (born December 8, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter who recorded for Creation Records and 4AD in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Hooking up with 4AD wasn't the only new move Heidi Berry made with "Love". She also recruited a wide number of musicians to help her flesh out her songs. Christopher Berry again played guitar on most of the tracks; avant-garde saxophonist Lol Coxhill popped up here and there; cellists Martin McCarrick and Audrey Riley similarly stepped in; and Levitation members Terry Bickers and Laurence O'Keefe guested on guitar and bass, respectively.

Meanwhile, Berry didn't return to the straightforward pop/rock of "Firefly", instead letting the ghostly arrangements of "Below the Waves" be her guide. Peter Walsh worked behind the boards as engineer, though it sounds like Berry clearly had final say regarding the album's production.

A singular example of Berry's talent is her radical reworking of Bob Mould's Hüsker Dü nugget "Up in the Air," which is transformed here into a serene, beautiful reflection on regret; Coxhill's soft sax contributions quietly add to the haunting beauty of the performance. Everything else is written by Berry and performed with the soothing beauty with which she made her name. The one exception is "Cradle," co-written with O'Keefe and featuring only him on heavily produced fretless bass; her overdubbed vocals and the low rings of his bass notes make for a truly affecting song.

At points, Berry incorporates a low-key groove into the proceedings, courtesy of percussionist Hossam Ramzy. His work on "Washington Square" and the quietly addictive "Silver Buttons" nicely balances the evanescence of the other tracks. It all concludes with the gorgeous lament "Lily," on which Coxhill's soprano sax and O'Keefe's bass provide elegant support. "Love" still holds a place as one of my all time favorite albums.

Tracklist:
01. Washington Square
02. Up In The Air
03. Gloria
04. Great Big Silver Key
05. Wake
06. Cradle
07. Hand Over Head
08. Silver Buttons
09. Lonely Heart
10. Bright As Day
11. Lily


Heidi Berry - Love
(320 kbps, cover art included)             

Dienstag, 5. November 2019

Oku Onuora & AK7‎– Pressure Drop (1984)

The name of Oku Onuora, Jamaica's best known dub poet, a notorious radical, criminal, and proud subversive, literally translates as fire in the desert and symbolizes the voice of the people.
Considered the father of dub poetry, a combination of haunting dub melodies and spoken word, Oku Onora was born Orlando Wong. During his youth, he joined the fight against the racist, oppressive policies of the post-colonialists. A disciple of Negus, young Wong was known for his many wall slogans and his demonstratinons against police violence. Eventually mere protest was not enough for Wong and so he decided that he must use force to help things change. After arming himself with a gun, Onuroa became a "revolutionary adventurer." After receiving a conviction for the armed robbery of a post office (he did this with the intent to use the money to help a struggling alternative school), Wong was sentenced to seven years in Jamaica's General Penitentiary in 1970. But before they could send him there, Wong escaped by leaping out of a second story window. As he fled, he was shot five times in the arms, legs and chest by the police. A few days later he was captured. While in prison, Wong began lobbying for prison reform and thereby earning the label of agitator and security risk. It was there he began writing his poetry, something the prison officials considered subversive. Though they tried to ban his writing, it leaked out and was published in 1977 as "Echo" by Sangster books. The book caused a stir and inspired Wong to change his name to Oku Onura.

His first dub-poetry album, "Reflection in Red" on 56 Hope Road, came out in 1979 and was the first LP of its kind. He followed this up in 1984 with "Pressure Drop", a full-length album that many consider a classic. It would be his last spoken-word album for nine years. In between then and 1993, he concentrated on writing plays and directing a drama company. He also performed live and toured. In 1990, Onura recorded "New Jerusalem Dub" a concept album that he called "poetry without words." It was a slickly produced, high-tech, and somewhat experimental work that sought to expand the bounds of what constitutes reggae music. With 1993's "Bus Out" Onuora returned to dub-poetry. This too was a themed work that decried racism and provided a strong call to immediate action against injustice and oppression. Though for him, it was a personally painful album to make, critics hailed it as revolutionary and one of his finest works.

Tracklist:

A Slum Dweller Declares
Dread Times
Sketches
Last Night
Pressure Drop
(Heathen) Let Wi Go
The Call
Beat Yuh Drums
Decolonization
Thinkin'
Change Yes Change

Oku Onuora & AK7 - Pressure Drop (1984)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Die City Preachers - Folklore (1965)


The "City Preachers" was regarded as German´s first folk-rock group. They were the leading german folk group in the sixties and some of their members became later very sucessful in Germany as solo musicians like Udo Lindenberg and Inga Rumpf. They played a mixture of folk and protest songs, spirituals, blues, flamenco and bouzouki. Jewish and Balkan songs, but also early German-language "Protest Songs" were part of their repertoire.
John O´Brian Docker, founder of the band, on the Preachers: "The group was formed in October 1965. At that time I met a number of young artists, amateurs, and molded it into a solid group."
Some of the band members are still prominent in the music scene: For example John O´Brian Docker, Inga Rumpf, Sibylle Kynast, Dagmar Krause, Jean-Jacques Kravetz and Udo Lindenberg. More than 20 soloists participated in various formations of the band for a so-called 'modular' formation (everyone is a soloist and everyone plays with each).

In 1969 Inga Rumpft left the City Preachers to form the sucessful progressive rock band "Frumpy". This was the end of the City Preachers.
Tracklist:
01. Sometimes I' in the mood
02. Apopse kanis bam
03. Come back baby
04. Porque Madalena
05. Toll the bell easy
06. Schlaf nur ruhig ein
07. Black brown and white
08. Alegrias por Ana Mary
09. Pick a bale of cotton
10. Ik hebbe se nich
11. Railroad Bill
12. Anula
13. Walking in the city
14. Gregor
15. Wenn die Soldaten
16. De sun vet arunter gayn

City Preachers - Folklore (1966)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 4. November 2019

Berlin Alexanderplatz - 4.11.`89 - Die Kundgebung am Vorabend des Mauerfalls



It happened 30 years ago...

During the 1980s, political opposition in the GDR developed in the Protestant churches and at private meetings. The oppostion groups and networks increasingly succeeded in reaching the public, raising awareness of subjects such as human rights, militarisation, environmental destruction, education policy and urban decay. The exposure of the electoral fraud in May 1989 became a defining moment. The growing dissatisfaction became evident, particularly amongst young people who, increasingly, began to reject the state-imposed constraints.

Migration and flight were key to the breakdown of the SED regime. While many voted with their feet, leaving the GDR, others sought to reform its society. Grass roots movements and parties were founded. The will for change grew among the population. On 7 October, the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, security forces once again beat down the protests; however, on the day of judgement, 9 October in Leipzig, the demonstration passed off peacefully, despite a high security presence. The SED tried to hang on to power by replacing their leaders, but the wave of demonstrations continued to grow.


The Alexanderplatz demonstration on 4 November 1989 in East Berlin

On 4 November 1989, the largest demonstration in the history of the GDR took place at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Just a few days later, the Wall fell. By fighting for power, the SED visibly lost ground: The people continued to demonstrate, countless new movements, parties and initiatives were established and the question of power was more openly discussed.

The Alexanderplatz demonstration  was a demonstration for political reforms and against the government of the German Democratic Republic on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin on 4 November 1989. With between half a million and a million protesters it was one of the largest demonstrations in East German history and a milestone of the peaceful revolution that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. The demonstration was organized by actors and employees of theaters in East Berlin. It was the first demonstration in East German history that was organized by private individuals and was permitted to take place by the authorities. The speakers during the demonstration were members of the opposition, representatives of the regime and artists, and included the dissidents Marianne Birthler and Jens Reich, the writer Stefan Heym, the actor Ulrich Mühe, the former head of the East German foreign intelligence service Markus Wolf and Politburo member Günter Schabowski.

The first idea for a demonstration on the Alexanderplatz in the center of the capital of East Germany came from actors and employees of theaters in East Berlin, who had been struck by the assaults on peaceful protesters by the Volkspolizei and the Stasi during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of East Germany on 7 October 1989. On 15 October 1989 at 11 am, an assembly of actors and employees of theaters in East Berlin met at the Deutsches Theater and decided to hold a demonstration for democratization and against the East German government. It was not the first meeting as on 7 October, the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, actors of the Volksbühne had invited their colleagues to discuss the political situation. The application for a permit to hold a demonstration was submitted two days later to the authorities by Wolfgang Holz of the Berliner Ensemble. The application was met with confusion by the SED and Stasi who could not decide whether to ban, allow or subvert the planned demonstration. After long deliberations the authorities decided on 26 October to permit the demonstration. A list of speakers was prepared by the organizers, including representatives of the regime, members of the opposition and artists. After having permitted the demonstration authorities tried to subvert the demonstration by spreading rumors – rumors such as that the Friedrichshain hospital is scheduling extra shifts for their doctors, that the German Reichsbahn will transport agent provocateur to Berlin or that the protesters are planning to march toward the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin Wall. At the same time the organizers hired marshals who would wear a yellow sash with the words "No violence!".

On 4 November 1989 the demonstration started at 9:30 with a protest march to the Alexanderplatz in the center of East Berlin. At 11:00 the first protesters arrived at the Alexanderplatz. The more than 500,000 protesters came not only from East Berlin but from all over East Germany. Thousands of banners showed the slogans that were already used by hundred of thousands of protesters in other East German cities during the still illegal Monday demonstrations. Neither the opening of the Berlin wall nor a possible German reunification were among the demands. Instead the protesters concentrated on the democratization of East Germany, with references to paragraphs 27 and 28 of the East German constitution which in theory but not in practice guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.


Stage actors Ulrich Mühe and Johanna Schall during the demonstration

The opening speeches were held by Marion van de Kamp, Johanna Schall, Ulrich Mühe and Jan Josef Liefers, who were stage actors from East Berlin. Ulrich Mühe, actor at the Deutsches Theater demanded in his speech the abolition of the first paragraph of the East German constitution which guaranteed the leading role of the Socialist Unity Party. In the next three hours a series of speakers voiced their demands for democratic reforms in East Germany. The three-hour-long demonstration was televised live on East German television, including the scenes of representatives of the regime being jeered and booed by the protesters. Later the dissident Bärbel Bohley would say about Markus Wolf, former head of the East German foreign intelligence service and speaker during the demonstration:
The speakers were, in order of appearance: lawyer Gregor Gysi, Marianne Birthler of the opposition group Initiative for Peace and Human Rights, Markus Wolf, Jens Reich of the opposition group New Forum, LDPD politician Manfred Gerlach, actor Ekkehard Schall, SED Politburo member Günter Schabowski, writer Stefan Heym, theologian and dissident Friedrich Schorlemmer, writer Christa Wolf, actor Tobias Langhoff, film director Joachim Tschirner, dramatist Heiner Müller, university rector Lothar Bisky, university student Ronald Freytag, writer Christoph Hein, Hungarian student Robert Juhoras, and actress Steffie Spira.


Protesters referring to paragraph 27 and 28 of the East German constitution

The most often used protest slogan of the Monday demonstrations as well as the Alexanderplatz demonstration was "We are the people" (German: Wir sind das Volk) which became "We are one people" (German: Wir sind ein Volk) after the fall of the Berlin Wall, thus changing the nature of the demonstrations. Many other slogans and banners have been documented by photographs and by an exhibition in the Deutsches Historisches Museum:

This double cd features the speeches held at this demonstration.

The demonstration is also well documented on youtube.

Berlin Alexanderplatz - 4.11.`89 - Die Kundgebung am Vorabend des Mauerfalls CD 1
Berlin Alexanderplatz - 4.11.`89 - Die Kundgebung am Vorabend des Mauerfalls CD 2
(256 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Chanson in der DDR - "Kein Tag ist sicher vor der Nacht"

This album shows the broad spectrum of chansons produced in the GDR. It features artists like Barbara Thalheim, Lissy Tempelhof, Manfred Krug, Gerry Wolff, Reinhold Andert, Vera Oelschlegel, Sonja Kehler, Stephan Krawczyk, Gerhard Schöne and Gisela May.

Those authors and singer-songwriters who chose to stay in the GDR and work within its structures had to handle resignation and resistance, repression and official honor. In between the official structures there was a small space for a critical approach that challenges the hegemony of the official discourse – despite being basically socialist in intention. Certainly there were limitations to how far one could take criticism. It was precisely the inability and reluctance of such artists to question the system as a whole that enabled them to do what they did. If they had taken their criticism further they would have been silenced.

Textual nuances were therefore of fundamental importance in this situation. It was not until after Gorbachev had come to power in the Soviet Union in 1985 that GDR ‘Liedermacher’ dared voice more open, direct criticism.


Tracklist:

1.Barbara ThalheimKein Tag Ist Sicher Vor Der Nacht3:30
2.Helmut Müller-LankowJonas5:06
3.Lissy TempelhofDer Wind Auf Der Warschauer Brücke1:51
4.Manfred KrugSatan, Zerwühle, Zerrase3:00
5.Felicitas RitschDer Brave Herr Soldat2:22
6.Gerry WolffDie Rose War Rot4:07
7.Barbara KellerbauerDas Lächeln1:39
8.Reinhold AndertDer Alte Franz3:26
9.Vera OelschlegelDas Lied Vom Kleinen Trompeter2:35
10.Gisela MayDer Alte Fritz3:44
11.Jürgen WalterAber Für'n Sex Sind 'se Blind2:53
12.Stefan KrawczykDas Lied Vom Clown2:39
13.Görnandt & RönnefarthSo Sagt Die Alte Frau3:25
14.Hans RadloffAuf Dem Karussell2:22
15.Jürgen EgerManu5:13
16.Angelika NeutschelJetzt Geht Der Mond Auf3:35
17.Ilona SchlottWinterlied2:04
18.Sonja KehlerDas Lied Von Den Jungen Hähnen2:55
19.Gerhard SchöneMeine Rache2:39
20.Maike NowakKomm, Schwester1:44
21.Kurt NolzeEin Bißchen Dunkel War5:12
22.Heinz-Martin BeneckeLeipziger Weihnachtstraum '892:53
23.Eva OtherAlles Illusion2:09

Samstag, 2. November 2019

Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle - Teilnehmende Beobachtung (1981)

There are few other rock bands of the late 20th century as difficult to categorize as F.S.K. There are few other bands that are as downright strange as this German outfit. Polka, yodels, and country & western combine with post-punk, noise-rock, electronics, and obtuse lyrics, sung in both English and German. The combination of parody and reverence of various forms of roots music has generated comparisons to the Mekons; at times it is difficult to tell when the commentary stops and the jokes begin. Even within the same album, different tracks can sound like the work of entirely different ensembles, which makes the group even more resistant to easy audience identification.

F.S.K. were formed by staff members of a German underground magazine in 1980 (the initials stand for Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle, which translates to English as "voluntary self-control"). While their first few releases were in a somewhat noisily bleak German post-punk vein, by the mid-'80s they had, to the confusion of much of the audience they had cultivated, begun to investigate Central European and American folk styles. Originally dressing themselves in German surplus army clothing, they shed those skins for deliberately unassuming jeans and checked shirts. The electric instruments were augmented by brass and accordion. The lyrics remained (as they do to this day) full of tongue-in-cheek irony, including yodels for German politicians and free jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Their choice of cover material seemed willfully perverse, whether it was "I Wish I Could Sprechen Sie Deutsch," MOR German bandleader Bert Kaempfert, or cult American funkster Swamp Dogg.

In the mid-'80s the group picked up an influential fan in British DJ John Peel, who had F.S.K. on his BBC show more times than any other non-British band. Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker mainstay David Lowery found an affinity with the group's zany approach to roots rock, and ended up producing the band, as well as becoming a member of sorts (though Lowery's chief project remained Cracker). By the mid-'90s they had an American deal with Flying Fish, a label far more renowned for bluegrass and folk acts. Despite such friends in high places, F.S.K. remain very much a cult band. Most of their records (and there are many) are very hard to find in the U.S., for one thing, and their audience seems to chiefly consist of fellow musicians and rock critics. If Americans have heard of them at all, it's likely because of their association with Lowery, though actually his presence in F.S.K. has changed the band's skewed vision little.


Tracklist:

Im Westen nix Neues 3:10
Im Rhythmus der Zeit 4:00
Tagesschau 1:50
Tu den Strand 0:33
Kaufhalle 2:16
Gudrun E. 1:03
Rita sagt 1:07

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mascha Kaléko - Weil du nicht da bist

"Ich aß die grünenden Früchte
der Sehnsucht,
Trank von dem Wasser das
dürsten macht.
Ein Fremdling, stumm vor
unerschlossenen Zonen,
Zur Heimat erkor ich mir
die Liebe."

"I ate the greening fruits
of longing,
Drank from the water
that causes thirst.
A stranger, gone mute
before unopened realms,
I chose love to be my
homeland." - Mascha Kaléko

Some years ago I had the chance to experience a lecture by Jutta Rosenkranz from her wonderful biography about Mascha Kaléko.


Mascha Kaléko was born in a Jewish family in 1907 in Galacia. In the 1920's she was involved in the bohemia of literature in Berlin. She had her first break through in 1933 with "Das lyrischen Stenogramheft".

Kaléko knew the feeling of being a homeless outsider from an early age, when her family emigrated to Germany from poverty-stricken Galicia (in Poland), and she successfully assimilated by learning to speak the local Berlin dialect, as her first poems reflect.
Kaléko left school at around 16 and worked as a secretary; she delightfully captured the trials and tribulations of this work in her early poems, published first in newspapers, then by Ernst Rowohlt as "Das lyrische Stenogrammheft" ("The Lyrical Stenobook"; 1933) and "Das kleine Lesebuch für Große" ("The Little Reader for Big Folks"; 1935). Popular for their combination of quick Berlin wit and the melancholy of the Jewish East, Kaléko´s songs and chansons were performed on the radio and in Cabarets by herself and by such performers as Claire Waldoff, Rosa Valetti, Annemarie Hase and Tatjana Sais, and after being forbidden by the Nazis, were handcopied and circulated secretly. Kaléko herself was celebrated as a youthful talent, and like Irmgard Keun, she pretended to be five years younger than she was in reality. She had contact with the literary and artistic avantgarde of Berlin, and spent much time in the Romanisches Café, together with Tucholsky, Lasker-Schüler and others.

In 1928 Mascha had married the Hebrew philologist Saul Kaléko, whom she divorced ten years later in order to marry Chemjo Vinaver, a musicologist and conductor specializing in Chassidic choral music and the father of her son Evjatar. The family emigrated to New York City in 1938; and the long difficult period of exile began. Devoted entirely to the care of her small son and the advancement of her husband’s career, Mascha wrote in her diary: "Meine Welt hat sich ‘verengt’ auf zwei Menschen: Chemjo und Evjatar. Sie hat sich dennoch erweitert" ("My world has ‘narrowed’ to two persons: Chemjo and Evjatar. It has nonetheless expanded.") The joys of watching her child’s growth provided a counterweight to the discouragement of not having the time or linguistic context for her own work and the financial and personal strain of Vinaver’s failure to gain a foothold in the music world. An attempt to make a new start in Hollywood (1940) proved a disaster, and the family returned to New York more hopeless than ever. Mascha earned money writing jingles for commercials, and did public relations and organisational work for her husband’s chorus.

In "Verse für Zeitgenossen" ("Verses for Contemporaries"; Cambridge, Mass., 1945), Kaléko represented her experiences in exile in satirical poems which were reprinted in Germany in 1958. Kaléko’s comeback had begun with the reprinting of "Das lyrische Stenogrammheft" in 1956, again by Ernst Rowohlt; after two weeks it was on the best-seller list, and Kaléko made
successful speaking and reading tours in Europe.
In 1960 she was nominated for the Fontane Prize for literature, but declined it because a former member of the SS was in the jury.
She moved to Jerusalem in 1960 because of her husband’s work, but never felt truly at home there. Besides children’s books and more poems Kaléko wrote epigrams; although she published more volumes during the 60’s and early 70’s she lapsed into relative public neglect. Both Chemjo and Mascha were in increasingly poor health, and in 1968 their son, who had become a successful dramatist and director in the USA, died suddenly. They never recovered from this blow; and after Chemjo´s death in 1973 Mascha’s discouragement and isolation deepened still more. After her death (from stomach cancer) Kaléko’s works again began to be reprinted, in large part due to the efforts of her literary executor and later editor/biographer Gisela Zoch-Westphal.


This album collects 54 poems by Mascha Kaléko, read by Elke Heidenreich:


.
Mascha Kaléko - Weil du nicht da bist (192 kbps, cover included)

Kurt Weill - Bert Brecht - Der Jasager (The Yes-Sayer, 1954)


"Der Jasager" (literally "The Yes Sayer" also translated as "The Affirmer or He Said Yes") is an opera (specifically a "Schuloper" or "school-opera") by Kurt Weill to a German libretto by Bertolt Brecht (after Elisabeth Hauptmann's translation from Arthur Waley's English version of the Japanese Nō drama.

Its companion piece is "Der Neinsager" ("He Said No") although Brecht's other text was never set by Weill.
Weill also identifies the piece, following Brecht's development of the experimental form, as a "Lehrstück", or "learning-play".

It was first performed in Berlin by students of the Akademie für Kirchen und Schulmusik at the Zentralinstitut für Erziehung und Unterricht on 23 June 1930 and broadcast simultaneously on the radio. It was successful and there were over 300 performances during the following three years.
Brecht subsequently revised the text twice, the final version, including Der Neinsager, being without music.

Here´s a recording from 1954 with Joseph Protschka as the boy and the "Düsseldorfer Kinderchor" and "Kammerorchester", directed by Siegfried Kohler. Protschka was born in Prague on February 5, 1944. He exhibited talent as a child and thus sang in different performances of "Der Jasager".

Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht - Der Jasager
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Freitag, 1. November 2019

Lotte Lenya - Kurt Weill - Berlin & American Theater Songs (1988)


According to the usual view, Kurt Weill had a double career - first composing provocative theatrical collaborations with Brecht in Weimar Germany, later writing for commercial Broadway stages. The continuities before and after 1935 are equally striking, however. Chief among them was his wife, Lotte Lenya, the foremost interpreter of his music, who single-handedly passed her style down to singers who have championed Weill more recently, notably Ute Lemper. Of course, another continuity is Weill's always-remarkable way with a tune, and this album features Lenya in some of the best-loved songs from their American years - even if you've never heard of Weill, 'September Song' will be familiar - along with some lesser-known gems.

Recorded in the late 1950s, Lenya's voice is actually less gruff and declamatory, more of an actual 'singing voice' in these American songs than in Weill's German songs.

Employing the same Richard Avedon portrait that graced the cover of the 1970 double-LP "The Lotte Lenya Album", this collection is an abbreviated version of that compilation, cut down to fit the length limit of a single CD. "The Lotte Lenya Album" was nothing more or less than a two-fer repackaging of the single LPs "Lotte Lenya Sings Berlin Theatre Songs by Kurt Weill" and "September Song and Other American Theatre Songs by Kurt Weill".
For this version, the last four songs from the former ("Was die Herren Matrosen sagen," "Ballade vom ertrunkenen Mädchen," "Lied der Fennimore," and "Cäsars Todd") have been deleted to bring the total running time down to 70 minutes.

Thus, the last eight tracks find Lenya in Germany in 1955, singing mostly in German songs composed by Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht from their stage works "Die Dreigroschenoper! ("The Threepenny Opera"), "Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny" ("Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny"), and "Happy End", while the first 12 tracks find her in the U.S. in 1957, singing in English songs from Weill's Broadway musicals "Knickerbocker Holiday", "Lady in the Dark", "One Touch of Venus", "The Firebrand of Florence", "Street Scene", "Love Life", and "Lost in the Stars".

Lenya always disputed the notion that there were two Weills, the Berlin Weill and the Broadway Weill, but she ended up reinforcing that argument with these two LPs, and juxtaposing two-thirds of one with all of the other on this disc does not disprove it. Lenya was the definitive interpreter of the Brecht/Weill catalog, of course, and when she came to make the recordings here she had been singing (and recording) songs like "Seeräuberjenny" ("Pirate Jenny") and "Surabaya-Johnny" for more than a quarter-century. It's no surprise that she sounds assured on the last eight tracks, which use the original orchestrations for small jazz band conducted by Roger Bean. It's a different story with the Broadway tunes that make up tracks 1 - 12, however, as Maurice Levine conducts a string orchestra on songs for which other singers have done memorable treatments, including "September Song," "Saga of Jenny," "Speak Low," and "Lost in the Stars." With her limited range and German-accented English, Lenya is not the best interpreter of this material, and she does better with the less familiar songs, such as "Sing Me Not a Ballad," which actually was written for her to sing in the unsuccessful operetta "The Firebrand of Florence". As such, the decision to excise a third of the Berlin album is all the more questionable.                

Tracklist :

01 - September Song
02 - If You Never Was You
03 - Saga Of Jenny
04 - Foolish Heart
05 - Speak Low
06 - Sing Me Not A Ballad
07 - Lonely House
08 - A Boy Like You
09 - Green-Up Time
10 - Trouble Men
11 - Stay Well
12 - Lost In The Stars
13 - The Ballad Of Mack The Knife (Moritat)
14 - Barbara-Song
15 - Seeräuber-Jenny
16 - Havanna-Lied
17 - Alabama Song
18 - Wie man sich bettet
19 - Bilbao-Song
20 - Surabaya-Johnny

Lotte Lenya - Kurt Weill - Berlin & American Theater Songs (1988)
(256 kbps, front cover included)