Dienstag, 15. August 2017

Mikis Theodorakis - Epitafios (1964)

Michael “Mikis” Theodorakis (born 29 July 1925) is a Greek songwriter and composer who has written over 1000 songs. He scored for the films Zorba the Greek (1964), Z (1969), and Serpico (1973). He composed the “Mauthausen Trilogy” also known as “The Ballad of Mauthausen”, which has been described as the “most beautiful musical work ever written about the Holocaust” and possibly his best work. He is viewed as Greece’s best-known living composer. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

Politically, he is associated with the left because of his long-standing ties to the Communist Party of Greece. He was an MP for the KKE from 1981 to 1990. Nevertheless, in 1989 he ran as an independent candidate within the centre-right New Democracy party, in order for the country to emerge from the political crisis that had been created due to the numerous scandals of the government of Andreas Papandreou,[9] and helped establish a large coalition between conservatives, socialists and leftists. In 1990 he was elected to the parliament (as in 1964 and 1981), became a government minister under Constantine Mitsotakis, and fought against drugs and terrorism and for culture, education and better relations between Greece and Turkey. He continues to speak out in favor of left-liberal causes, Greek–Turkish–Cypriot relations, and against the War in Iraq. He has consistently opposed oppressive regimes and was a key voice against the 1967–1974 Greek junta, which imprisoned him.

He went to Athens in 1943, and became a member of a Reserve Unit of ELAS, and led a troop in the fight against the British and the Greek right in the Dekemvriana. During the Greek Civil War he was arrested, sent into exile on the island of Icaria and then deported to the island of Makronisos, where he was tortured and twice buried alive.
During the periods when he was not obliged to hide, not exiled or jailed, he studied from 1943 to 1950 at the Athens Conservatoire under Filoktitis Economidis. In 1950, he finished his studies and took his last two exams "with flying colours". He went to Crete, where he became the "head of the Chania Music School" and founded his first orchestra.  At this time he ended what he has called the first period of his musical writing.

In 1954 he travelled with his young wife Myrto Altinoglou to Paris where he entered the Conservatory and studied musical analysis under Olivier Messiaen and conducting under Eugene Bigot. His time in Paris, 1954–1959, was his second period of musical writing.

In 1960, Theodorakis returned to Greece and his roots in genuine Greek music: With his song cycle Epitaphios he started the third period of his composing and contributed to a cultural revolution in his country.

This album features the first recording of Epitaphios from August 1960 with Nana Mouskouri on vocals.


Πού Πέταξε Τ' Αγόρι Μου
Χείλι Μου Μοσκομύριστο
Μέρα Μαγιού
Βασίλεψες Αστέρι Μου
Νάχα Τ' Αθάνατο Νερό
Στο Παραθύρι Στεκόσουν
Ήσουν Καλός Ήσουν Γλυκός
Γλυκέ Μου Εσύ
Βρέχει Στην Φτωχογειτονιά
Ένα Το Χελιδόνι
Οι Χαρταετοί

Mikis Theodorakis - Epitafios (1964)
(flac, cover art included)

Montag, 14. August 2017

Jowel Klezmorim - Unterwejgen

From the linernotes:
"Jowel Klezmorim reflects with great authenticity and stylistic accuracy the atmosphere of the music made by the Jews of central and eastern Europe.

Their album "Unterwejgen" gives palpable expression to the emotional life of a people accustomed to tears, whether of bitter sorrow or helpless mirth. The ensemble´s remarkable technical prowess enables them to penetrate deeply into the style of klezmer music and convey a sense of its essential spontaneity. Familiar and new melodies alike receive very colourful and original treatment."


Schwartz Sirba
Freyt Aykh Yidelekh
Rebe Eimeiekh
Mazl Tov
Simchat Nigun
Far Dem Chosn Un Far Der Kale
Szol A Kakas Mar
Oj Mischpoche
Berditschever Bulgar
Eyner is Got
Is Gewejn
Oyfn Veg Shteyt A Boym
Sol Sayn Gelebt
A Yidishe Mame
 Schlof Majn Kind    

Jowel Klezmorim - Unterwejgen
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 10. August 2017

The New Lost City Ramblers - Same (1958)

During the folk boom of the late '50s and early '60s, the New Lost City Ramblers introduced audiences to the authentic string band sound of the 1920s and '30s, in the process educating a generation that had never heard this uniquely American sound of old-time music. While maintaining music with a social conscience, they added guts and reality to the folk movement, performing with humor and obvious reverence for the music. In 1958, Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley modeled their band after groups like the Skillet Lickers, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and the Aristocratic Pigs, choosing a name in keeping with the past.

The performances of this group certainly improved with age, with the eventual replacement of one of the members not upsetting the status quo. That is not to say there is anything at all wrong with this album, the very first of the group's efforts and one of the miraculous times Folkways released a project the same year it was recorded. Perhaps this demonstrated great enthusiasm for the concept. For a young group to record new versions of traditional folk and old-timey music classics from the early 20th century turned out to be something along the line of marching orders for the entire folk revival of the '60s, as well as the basic operating principle for groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles when they started digging into Delta blues and rockabilly. An important aspect of the Ramblers' music, and something that has continued to make their records highly enjoyable over the years, was the type of material they would find. Demonstrating the widest range of material was always a priority, nobody caring whether a tune was "hip" or not. The presence of a number such as "It's a Shame to Whip Your Wife on Sunday" shows that the politically correct police were also not supervising this project. Many of the songs are also tied in with social concerns, a theme that each of these players would return to again and again in their own work. While someone involved felt it was important to put someone else's picture on the front - and anyone who looked like a hillbilly old-timer would do - the members of the group even at this early juncture were seeking to put a personal imprint on the material. One of the highlights is the very first track on the album, a simple but riveting instrumental entitled "Forked Deer." Another is Seeger's solo version of "East Virginia Blues" which gives Bob Dylan a run, although perhaps not for his money. Some of the multi-tracking done by Seeger is also quite interesting. The enclosed booklet includes lyrics, complete documentation of the chosen selections with information about the original artists, and several statements of purpose from the group members.          


A1Forked Dear
A2Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
A3I Truly Understand
A4Dallas Rag
A5Tom Cat Blues
A6Railroading And Rambling
A7Colored Aristocracy
A8Sailor On The Deep Blue Sea
A9East Virginia
B1Battleship Maine
B2Davy, Davy
B3Roving Gambler
B4Take A Drink On Me
B5Likes Liquor Better Than Me
B6It's A Shame To Beat Your Wife
B7Brown's Ferry Blues
B8Old Fish Song
B9Crossed Old Jordan's Stream

The New Lost City Ramblers - Same (1958)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 5. August 2017

Dollar Brand - Anatomy Of A South African Village (1965)

Yesterday I had fortunately the chance to experience the wonderful music of Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya live on stage. So this is a good occassion for sharing some of his music.

The melodic sounds of South Africa are fused with the improvisation of jazz and the technical proficiency of classical music by South Africa-born pianist Dollar Brand or, as he's called himself since converting to Islam in 1968, Abdullah Ibrahim. Since attracting international acclaim as a member of the Jazz Epistles, one of South Africa's first jazz bands, Ibrahim has continued to explore new ground with his imaginative playing.

In the mid-1960's, Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) was an avant-garde pianist influenced by Thelonious Monk who was not yet displaying much of his South African heritage in his music. This album was recorded at the Montmartre Jazzhuis, Copenhagen, 30th January 1965.


A1 Anatomy Of A South African Village 15:11
A2 Light Blue 6:56
B1 Tintiyana 4:31
B2 Honey 6:01
B3 'Round Midnight 6:30

Dollar Brand - Anatomy Of A South African Village (1965)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 3. August 2017

The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection

The most prestigious vocal group in Russia, the Red Army Choir was renamed in 1978 after Boris Alexandrov, the troupe's director from 1946 until 1986. A large group featuring a male choir, mixed dance group, and orchestra, the Red Army Choir attracted international attention when it took first place at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1937.
Much of the group's repertoire, including such tunes as "We Are the Red Cavalry" and "Song of the Volga Boatmen," has passed into Russian folklore. In a review of the choir's self-titled 1994 album, recorded under the direction of conductor Victor Federov and released on the Naxos label, American Record Guide wrote "Naxos' sound is rich, full, vibrant, and spacious -- just like the choir itself."                

Even though I cannot speak Russian, the quality of this choral group is beyond excellent. Many of these pieces are extremely moving and stirring. Both the compositions and the performance are remarkable, above expectations.
The music is very emotive, these emotions can be shared beyond ideological questions. You can perceive a very intense feeling of comradeship and solidarity which is essential for all human beings. Also some of the exaggeration and grandiloquence that was characteristic of the Soviet regime can be found sometimes, but in this case it sounds sincere. The performance is very appropriate for this kind of music. It has nothing to do with the meaningless, empty and mechanical interpretation quite usual in military music.

The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection CD 1
The Red Army Choir - The Best Of - The Definitive Collection CD 2
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 1. August 2017

Lightnin' Hopkins‎ - Broken Hearted Blues

Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins has been called "the last of the Great Blues Singers" – a poetic, haunting and unforgettable country blues bard.

These are the 1950-52 recordings, produced and recorded by Bob Shad for  his "Sittin In With" and "Jax" labels.  A strong song selection with an excellent sound.


1Hello Central
2Mary Contrary
3Bald Headed Woman
4One Kind Favor (See That My Grave Is Kept Clean)
5I Wonder Why
6Tap Dance Boogie
7Down To The River
8New Short-Haired Women
9Broken Hearted Blues
10New York Boogie
11Long Way From Texas
12Mad As I Can Be
13 I'm Beggin' You
14Why Did You Get Mad At Me?
15 Home In The Woods
16Praying Ground Blues
17 Back Home Boogie
18My Heart To Weep
19Everybody's Down On Me
20New Worried Life Blues
21I'll Never Forget The Day 

Lightnin' Hopkins‎ - Broken Hearted Blues 
(320 kbps, cover art included)