“the happiest band in the world”

About a week ago I suggested you go over to Aduna to get the three mp3s of Orchestra Super Mazembe [they’re still there!]. Well, at no condition is permanent, a whole album – nine tracks – of OSM has been posted. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m really excited. And, as ever, if you like the music, you can do the decent thing and buy some – possibly from Calabash, who specialise in fairly traded world music.

BTW, if you skip over my occasional posts about mp3 blogs because you don’t have an mp3 player and don’t normally listen to music on your computer, bear in mind that you can always write mp3s onto an audio CD and listen to it on your CD player. Believe me, your life will be better if it has some Orchestra Super Mazembe in it.

4 replies on ““the happiest band in the world””

Yes, it’s that distinctive sound of African guitar playing. I want to refer to it as soukous, but I don’t know whether that’s accurate. I have to admit, I’m a bit sceptical of these fusion projects. Not that there’s anything wrong with fusing musical traditions, but they often feel a bit gimmicky. I know, let’s play some Cajun Gamelan! That’s sure to sound good! But you know what would sound even better – if we added Mongolian throat-singing!

Eh, the name is gimmicky, I’ll agree, but here’s guessing this particular group of guys just got together for a jam somewhere and realized it worked. Besides, world music as it is marketed to Americans (and I s’pose Brits) is often gimmicky anyway. Tuvan throat singing is a great example: “Hey, dude, these guys can sing two notes at the SAME time! Trippy, dude!”

There are all sorts of aspects of the culture and marketing of ‘World Music’ which I find vaguely annoying – the ‘obscurer than thou’ thing (though that’s true of all kinds of music enthusiasts), the rather anthropological side to it, the New-Agey teach-the-world-to-sing stuff, the way it gets co-opted into varous political agendas. For that matter, it’s just a stupid category – the fact I like Afro-Latin pop doesn’t mean I’m going to like that dreary whining Arabic stuff, or Oirish leprechaun-and-Guinness fiddling.

I just like the noise some of it makes.

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