Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dangdut Music is Getting Ready to take America by Storm

Dangdut is getting ready to take America’s music scene by storm. What is Dangdut? Dangdut is Indonesia's popular music genre. On Nov. 5th Dangdut will be reborn as an American music genre!


Dangdut is getting ready to take America’s music scene by storm. What is Dangdut? Dangdut is Indonesia's popular folk music genre that mixes Indian, Arab, Malay and Portuguese rhythms with other influences ranging from Rock, Latin, House, Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B, and even Classical Music. Dangdut revolution started in Indonesia in the 1970s with acts such as Rhoma Irama and Elvy Sukaesih. And soon Dangdut will be reborn as an American music genre!

Arreal Tilghman is an American R&B vocalist who is getting ready to release his first solo Dangdut album. Arreal is 22 and he is the 2008 winner of Dangdut in America auditions. He recently spent two months training and studying Dangdut in Indonesia – learning to sing in the cengkok style typical of Dangdut performers. His journey, from a small city of Cambridge in Maryland in the United States to being recognized by the Indonesia Museum of Records as the first foreign Dangdut singer, is one that reflects the adventurous spirit of Dangdut music itself.

Arreal’s Dangdut in America album was created to bridge the two musical worlds of the United States and Indonesia. For the first time in the history of Dangdut music, it features an American R&B vocalist singing Dangdut music created by Indonesian composers. Arreal has already generated extensive press and television coverage in Indonesia where the public has overwhelmingly embraced the American Dangdut singer (see

The Indonesian embassy in the United States has been so impressed by Arreal’s talent and his press reviews that His Excellency, the ambassador has assented to host the American launch for Dangdut in America album. The launch event for Dangdut in America will be held on November 5th at the Residence of His Excellency Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States at 2700 Tilden Street N.W. in Washington, DC. This event is part of the Ambassadors’ dinner reception for the cultural delegation from the People’s Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR KOMISI X) and it will include a guest speaker from the U.S. State Department.

NSR Productions LLC, is a Delaware-based, woman-owned business, started in 2004 to promote American-Indonesian cultural exchange through entertainment and music. In the past four years, NSR has organized several projects to promote cultural exchange between the United States and Indonesia.

In 2007, NSR became the 1st American organization to hold Dangdut auditions in the United States to find American singers interested in Dangdut. And in 2008, NSR became the 1st American organization to produce a Dangdut album in the United States. For both categories, Rissa Asnan was recognized by the Indonesian Museum of Records and by the Indonesian Dangdut Association (PAMMI).

Dangdut in America is a program for public auditions for American singers interested to learn Dangdut music. In January 2007, we held the 1st round of auditions in Philadelphia. Three finalists were selected, trained in Dangdut, and then performed in a public Dangdut concert. In 2008, we organized a 2nd round of talent auditions in the state of Delaware. The winner was Arreal Tilghman and in the summer of 2008, Dangdut in America project reached its second milestone – when Arreal traveled to Indonesia to learn more about Dangdut, to experience Indonesian people and their culture.

In 2006, NSR and INDOSIAR Television co-produced a popular reality TV series called “Dreams Come True”. This show followed four young Indonesian singers as they traveled throughout the East Coast to experience American life, hospitality and culture. The show was aired on Indonesian television in late summer of 2006 to an audience of nearly two million Indonesian viewers. On November 1st, “Dreams Come True” show aired in the United States on MHZ Networks a non-commercial television broadcaster serving the Washington, D.C. area with international, educational and arts programming. Next .. Dangdut Music is Getting Ready to take America by Storm

A brief summary of Latin-American Popular music

Latin America has produced a variety of genres born at the crossroads of European folk music, African music and native traditions. While not as popular as the popular music of the USA (also born out of the integration of European music and African music), Latin American genres shares the same characters that made it a universal koine'.

During the "belle epoque" (1890s), the working class of the "Boca" of Buenos Aires (Argentina) invented a new rhythm, the tango. Tan-go was the name given to the drums of the African slaves, and the music was influenced by both the Cuban habanera and the local milonga. The choreography originally devised in the brothels to mimick the obscene and violent relationship between the prostitute, her pimp and a male rival eventually turned into a dance and a style of music of a pessimistic mood, permeated by a fatalistic sense of an unavoidable destiny, a music of sorrow enhanced by the melancholy sound of the bandoneon. When lyrics were added, they drew from "lunfardo", the lingo of the underworld (the term originally meant "thief"). Tango was embraced enthusiastically in Europe and landed in the USA in the 1910s. The Viennese waltz and the Polka had been the first dances to employ the close contact between a male and a female. The tango pushed the envelope in an even more erotic direction. One of the earliest hits of tango was pianist Enrique Saborido's Yo Soy La Morocha (1906). By that time, tango had already established itself as a major genre among young Argentinians. Roberto Firpo is credited as having set the standard in 1913 for all future tango orchestras: the rhythm set by syncopated piano figures, the melodies carried by bandoneon and violin. Firpo's Alma de Bohemio (1914) and Gerardo Hernan Matos Rodriguez's La Cumparsita (1916) were among the early international hits. Bandoneon player Osvaldo Fresedo and violin player Julio de Caro were among the instrumental stars and composers of the 1920s. From his debut with Mi Noche Triste (1917), the song that introduced lyrics into the tango, to his untimely death in 1935, Carlos Gardel was the most charismatic vocalist, the master of erotic abandon. The tango craze took New York by storm during World War I. Rudolph Valentino created an international sensation in a steamy scene of his film "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1921). But tango became a more intellectual affair during the 1930s, when literate songwriters created more poetic lyrics. Representative musicians of the decade are pianist Osvaldo Pugliese (Recuerdo) and violinist Elvino Vardaro. Bandoneon player Anibal Troilo ruled the 1940s. Tango then became a dogma that allowed very little freedom. It was only in the 1960s that someone dared question the dogma.

Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla (1921) mixed tango with classical music to compose works for bandoneon and orchestra, pieces for bandoneon octets and quintets a tango opera, a tango oratorio, etc.

Cuba was the starting point for many of the Latin dances. At the beginning of the 20th century, Cuba's main music was the "son", a fusion of Spanish popular music and the African rhythm rumba (first mentioned in 1928 and probably related to the Santeria religion). Traditionally played with tres (guitar), contrabass, bongos and claves (wooden sticks that set the circular rhythm) the son of Cuba was popularized by the likes of Ignacio Pineiro, who had an hit with Echale Salsita (1929), and Miguel Matamores. The danzon, first documented by Miguel Failde Perez's Las Alturas de Simpson (1879), was a descendant of the French "contredanse" or contradanza, and in Cuba's 1920s the danzon became a version of the son for the upper classes, performed by "charangas" (flute and violin orchestras, in which the violin provided the main riff while the flute improvised). Charangas of the golden age include: Orquesta Neno Gonzalez (1926), Orquesta Belisario Lopez (1928), Orquesta de Cheo Belen Puig (1934), Orquesta Aragon (1939), Orquesta America (1942). In the 1930s, Spanish-Cuban bandleader Xavier Cugat (who formed the Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra in 1935) was for Latin music what the Beatles were for rock music: his orchestra created the commercial version of Latin music (largely devoid of artistic value but hugely popular) for the western masses. Also during the 1930s, the dance academia of Pierre and Doris Lavelle popularized Latin dancing in Britain (it was Pierre Lavelle who codified the moves of the rumba in 1955 and the moves of the samba in 1956). In the 1940s, Arsenio Rodriguez, a virtuoso of the tres (Cuban guitar), set the standard for the Cuban conjunto (adding congas, piano and trumpets to the traditional guitar-based sexteto) and thus spearheaded a kind of son based on the piano and the congas. For example, Rene' Alvarez, Arsenio's former singer, formed Conjunto Los Astros in 1948, with multiple trumpets and piano.

Cuba's mambo, "invented" (or, better, imported from Congo) by bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez and by his brother pianist Orestes of the Antonio Arcano's Orquesta Radiofonica with El Danzon Mambo (1937), fused rumba rhythms with big-band jazz, and was epitomized by Damazo Perez Prado's Mambo Jumbo (1948). Basically, the mambo was a danzon for the working class. The chachacha was a midtempo mambo figure that, after the 1953 recording of Enrique Jorrin's La Enganadora (1948) and especially Perez Prado's Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White (1955), became a genre of its own, still performed by charangas (unlike the mambo, that was performed by smaller combos). The mambo became a USA craze in 1954.

"Salseros" were the conjunto groups (brass-driven dance bands) of the 1940s that played a bit of everything. The most celebrated Cuban vocalist of the era was Beny More, from Yiri Yiri Bom (1946) to Maracaibo Oriental (1954).

A fusion of Cuban music and jazz music (or "cubop") became popular after World War II, influencing some of the most important jazz musicians (e.g., Dizzy Gillespie). Puerto Rico pianist Noro Morales was the main practitioner of the quintet for piano and percussion (Bim Bam Bum, 1942; Oye Negra). Frank "Machito" Grillo's Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite (1950) was typical of the genre.

The foundations of post-war Latin music were laid by this generation. Cuban pianist Jose Curbelo played with Cugat and raised Ernesto "Tito" Puente, Ray Barretto and Pablo "Tito" Rodriguez, who raised Eddie Palmieri. American singer Frank "Machito" Grillo played with Cugat and Norales, and then raised Puente.

Trinidad's calypso, first documented by an instrumental recorded in 1912 by by George "Lovey" Bailey's orchestra, was another Latin dance to reach beyond Latin America. Calypso was originally sung in French, but the first recorded calypso song, Julian Whiterose's Iron Duke in the Land (1914), was already in English. Starting with the "Railway Douglas Tent" of Port-of-Spain in 1921, calypso was originally performed in "tents" (temporary dancehalls) during the period before carnival: the term stuck, and came to denote any club playing calypso. Most calypso records are still released just before or during carnival season. Hubert "Roaring Lion" Charles (who also called himself Rafael de Leon) was perhaps the first star, producing the standards Send Your Children to The Orphan's Home (1927), Marry An Ugly Woman (1934), Three Cheers For The Red, White and Blue (1936), Netty Netty (1937) Mary Anne (1945). Other classics of the early era were Raymond "Attila The Hun" Quevedo's West Indian Federation (1933), Women Will Rule the World (1935) and Calypso Behind The Wall, later covered by Belafonte as Jump In The Line, Frederick "Wilmoth Houdini" Hendricks' War Declaration (1934) and He Had It Coming (1939), covered by Louis Jordan as Stone Cold Dead in the Market (1946), Neville "Growling Tiger" Marcano's Money is King (1935), Norman "King Radio" Span's Matilda (1938), Rupert "Lord Invader" Grant's Don't Stop the Carnival (1939) and Rum and Coca Cola (1944), Aldwyn "Lord Kitchener" Roberts' Tie Tongue Mopsy (1946), Irvin Burgie's Day O and Island in the Sun, both covered by Belafonte. They all had to travel to New York in order to record their songs. During the 1940s, Trinidad's musicians developed the concept of the steel band, which dramatically changed the sound of calypso. A 1946 concert in New York, "Calypso at Midnight", organized by Alan Lomax, and Sam Manning's revue Caribbean Carnival (1947), the first calypso show on Broadway, helped establish the genre. But it was in the 1950s that calypso became a "craze" in the USA, thanks mainly to Harry Belafonte's Calypso (1956), one of the first albums to sell over one million copies, that contained Banana Boat Song (1956). Back in Trinidad, Francisco "Mighty Sparrow" Slinger released the first calypso album, Calypso Carnival (1958). Other Trinidad hits of the 1950s included Carlton "Lord Blakie" Joseph's Steelband Clash (1954), Slinger "Mighty Sparrow" Francisco's Jean and Dinah (1956), Fitzroy "Lord Melody" Alexander's Mama Look A Boo Boo (1956). Mighty Sparrow (Ten To One Is Murder, 1960; Dan Is The Man, 1963; Melda, 1966) and, to some extent, Lord Kitchener (The Road, 1963; Rainorama, 1973) continued to dominate during the 1960s. Songs by new artists included Mervyn "Mighty Sniper" Hodge's Portrait of Trinidad (1965) and McCartha "Calypso Rose" Lewis' Fire In Your Wire (1967), the first major hit by a female calypso artist.

In Cuba in 1955, Los Papines fused the violin-based music of charangas and the trumpet-based music of conjuntos Eduardo Davidson's La Pachanga (1959), recorded by Orquesta Sublime, introduced Cuba to a Colombian dance (which was confusingly called "charanga" in the USA). But, as Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba (1959), the epicenter of Latin music moved to other islands and then south. Charanga and pachanga became brief fads in the USA, while the "son" left Cuba and migrated to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico had its own tradition of "bomba" and "plena", to which percussionist Rafael Cortijo, leader of a conjunto since 1954, had added trumpets and saxophones (El Bombon De Elena). His conjunto and his husky vocalist Ismael Rivera (El Nazareno, Quitate de la Via Perico), notorious for the improvised call-and-response vocals of the "sonero" tradition, harked back to the African roots of Caribbean music without any distinction between styles. Both vocally and rhythmically they created a "sauce" of Caribbean music. El Gran Combo, formed by pianist Rafael Ithier, continued Cortijo's mission in a lighter vein, with La Muerte (1962) and Ojos Chinos (1964).

In the 1960s, the bomba-son hybrid reached the Puertorican colony in New York. Here, the son adopted the format of the big band, as in Jimmy Sabater's Salsa y Bembe (1962) and vibraphonist Cal Tjader's Salsa del Alma (1964).

The Cuban expatriates that relocated in New York contributed greatly to the assimilation of the genre in the American culture: vocalist Celia Cruz (Burundanaga, 1956; Yerbero Moderno, 1956), flutist Jose-Antonio Fajardo (La Charanga), jazzy congueros Candido Camero and Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria (Mazacote, 1958; Afro Blue, 1959; Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man, 1963), violinist Felix "Pupi" Legarreta, who fused charanga and jazz on Salsa Nova (1962). Santamaria, who arrived in New York in 1950, paid tribute to his Cuban roots on Yambu (1958) and Mongo (1959), that were performed with other Latin percussionists.

The evolution of son continued in New York via Dominican flutist Johnny Pacheco, leader of the quintessential charanga (featuring singer Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez) but also the leader of the "Africanization" of the charanga (arrangements limited to trumpets, piano and percussion), New York's pianist Charlie Palmieri, who formed in 1959 the influential charanga Duboney (four violins and Pacheco on flute), New York's pianist Eddie Palmieri, who in 1962 pioneered "trombanga", a sound based on two trombones and a flute (in alternative to the charanga sound), New York's percussionist Ernesto "Tito" Puente (Oye Como Va, 1962), New York's drummer Ray Barretto, who experimented with rhythm'n'blues and jazz, Puertorican bongo player Roberto Roena (Mi Desengano, 1976). They all crossed over into jazz and rhythm'n'blues. Notable albums include Puente's Dance Mania (1958), Pablo "Tito" Rodriguez's West Side Beat (1961), Bobby Valentin's Ritmo Pa Goza (1966), Eddie Palmieri's Lo Que Traigo Es Sabroso (1964) and Superimposition (1969), Barretto's Acid (1967) and The Message (1972), Cortijo's Maquina de Tiempo (1974). Latin New York also secreted the boogaloo, a fusion of black soul music and the Cuban mambo, as in Eddie Palmieri's Ay Qye Rico (1968). New York-born Willie Colon, originally a trombonist, was the first major Puertorican star, his orchestra and his singer Hector Lavoe capable of albums such as El Malo (1967) and El Bueno, El Malo y El Feo (1975), besides the classics Che Che Cole (1969) and Gitana (1984).

A key event in 1967 was the meeting between Puertorican vocalist Ismael Miranda (then still a teenager) and the orchestra of New York's pianist Larry Harlow, best documented on Abran Paso (1970). They revitalized the CUban sound for the audience of rock music.

In 1973 the North-American son was renamed "salsa" for a tv special (by Izzy Sanabria of Fania Records, the equivalent of Motown for Latin music). In Puerto Rico salsa is also known as "guaguanco", a term that originally referred to a kind of rumba dance. Larry Harlow's orchestra rediscovered the fusion of charanga violins and conjunto trumpets (with the addition of electric instruments) on his milestone recording Salsa (1974) with vocalist Junior Gonzalez. The 1976 concert "Salsa" organized in New York by the label Fania launched the fad nation-wide. In the 1970s, the main centers for salsa were New York, Miami, and Colombia.

Ruben Blades, who had become Willie Colon's main composer after El Cazangero (1975), contaminated salsa with rock'n'roll and political issues on Siembra (1978), that contains Pedro Navaja and became the best-selling salsa album of all times.

In Venezuela, Angel Canales coined a jazzy trombone-driven kind of salsa on Angel Canales And Sabor (1976), while Cuban-born Roberto Torres was the defender of the tradition, and in New York veterans of Eddie Palmieri's orchestra formed Libre to play a more aggressive and jazzy kind of salsa, documented on Con Salsa Con Ritmo (1976).

The "voice" of salsa was Hector Lavoe', Colon's vocalist, whose best album was Comedia (1978), featuring the anthemic El Cantante, written by Blades and arranged by Colon.

The new sound of salsa owed to people like ubiquitous Puertorican trumpeter Luis "Perico" Ortiz and producer Louie Ramirez, whose album A Different Shade Of Black (1976) is credited with crossing over to pop music.

Other notable salsa hits of the 1970s were: Jose "Cheo" Feliciano's El Raton (1964), the first big hit of salsa when revived in 1974, Celia Cruz's Quimbara (1974), Enrique "Papo" Lucas' Acere Ko (1975), Eddie Palmieri's Vamonos Pal Monte (1976), Lloraras (1975), by Venezuelan combo Dimension Latina, featuring vocalist Oscar D'Leon, who later formed Salsa Mayor. But salsa was becoming a very vague term, as New York's group Tipica 73 proved on albums such as La Candela (1975), which is really a mixture of Latin dance rhythms.

New York's singer Henry Fiol used a traditional Cuban conjunto, Saoco, to sing the urban songs of Siempre Sere Guajiro (1976).

In the 1970s, a new dance was added to the Latin recipe: the Dominican Republic's merengue, yet another by-product of the Cuban habanera. The origins of the meringue actually go back centuries (it was already mentioned in writings of 1875), and the style can be said to have existed since at least the 1930s, and popularized by Angel Viloria in the 1950s. Wilfrido Vargas, whose El Barbarazo (1978) was considered a watershed event, Johnny Ventura, Cuco Valoy, Jossie Esteban, July Mateo, Francisco Ulloa were among the trend-setters of the 1980s.

During the 1960s, Trinidad coined a mixture of calypso and soul ("soul-calypso") that during the 1970s targeted the discos. Its was pioneered by Garfield "Lord Shorty" Blackman's Soul Calypso Music (1973), Winston "Mighty Shadow" Bailey' Bass Man (1974), Cecil "Maestro" Hume's Savage (1976), and Aldwyn "Lord Kitchener" Roberts ' Sugar Bum Bum (1978), the first world-wide hit of soca. Winston "Mighty Shadow" Bailey's If I Coulda I Woulda I Shoulda (1979) and Austin "Blue Boy" Lyons's Soca In The Shaolin Temple (1981) solidified the genre's appeal to disco-goers.

Calypso itself was torn between the revolutionary pressure coming from David Rudder, whose The Hammer (1986) was influenced by pop and soul, and the conservative attitude of Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste, whose Caribbean Man (1979) harked back to the classics.

Colombia's Grupo Niche, led by guiro player Jairo Varela, played big-band multi-vocal salsa on Querer Es Poder (1981).

Brazil's colonial history is unique in that the dominant white class showed some tolerance for the black slave class and the native pagans. The latter's traditions range from the African-derived voodoo (or, better, Candomble religion) of Bahia to Rio's Macumba religion. Unlike Mexico and Peru, where the original cultures were erased by the Spanish colonizers, Brazil retained them and simply recycled them into the general "saudade" (melancholy existentialism) of the Portuguese conquerors. The fundamental dichotomy of Brazilian music is between Bahia and Rio. Bahia is the Brazilian equivalent of New Orleans: a melting pop where African traditions mixed with local and European concepts. Rio is both the capital of the aristocracy, where European culture was imported, and the underworld of the slums, where poor (black and white) immigrants from the rest of Brazil (including Bahia) lived in miserable conditions.

In the last decades of the 19th century, the orchestras of Rio de Janeiro (basically, woodwinds and horns, with the clarinet as the soloist) that performed European dance music (such as waltzes and polkas) were called "choro". Joaquim Antonio da Silva Calado, the band-leader of Choro Carioca, revolutionized the style by emphasizing virtuoso playing and improvisation, and by introducing the cavaquinho and the violao (a seven-string guitar). After him, the choro orchestras preferred the flute as the soloist, the violao as the bass, and cavaquinho as the rhythm. The great composers of choro were Chiquinha Gonzaga (a female and a pianist) and Ernesto Nazareth. But the choro ensembles abhored the African percussion instruments.

The first appearance of the word "samba" dates from 1838. The "samba" was originally a dance of African origins, the mesemba, which came from Bahia and was probably related to the Candomble rituals. It wed a Brazilian dance, the "maxixe", which was an evolution of the habanera (a European dance craze created by Maurice Mouvet in 1912 on the basis of the Cuban habanera) and of the polka, and soon became a musical genre in its own. The samba was probably invented by African-Brazilians in the working-class slums of Rio de Janeiro. The rhythm of the samba was designed as as to fulfill three roles: to sing, to dance and to parade (at the carnival). The first record to be advertised as "samba" was a song by a black musician, Ernesto "Donga" dos Santos: Pelo Telefone (1916). Manuel "Duque" Diniz, a white Brazilian who had opened a maxixe academy in Paris, spread the samba dance craze to Europe in 1921, when he invited Os Oito Batutas, a black choro ensemble led by flutist and composer Pixinguinha ("the Bach of choro") which included Donga on guitar, on a tour to Paris. The combo brought the samba to Paris, but also brought something back to Brazil: trumpet, trombone, saxophone and banjo were added to the line-up, and the sound became more "Americanized", adapting to the sound of big-band jazz. Pixinguinha's Carinhoso (1928) was emblematic of the new style. A young white musician from the Rio middle class, Noel Rosa, became famous with the samba song Com que Roupa? (1930) and started a less "African" and more song-oriented form of samba. Vincent Youmans' film Flying Down to Rio (1933) popularized the samba dance in the USA. The first samba school was founded in 1928 in Rio, and samba schools proliferated in the 1930s. Samba was the generic name of the music employing a kind of rhythm, but there were different kinds of samba. Perhaps the most adventurous and extreme was the batucada. "Batucada" is both the name for a large samba percussion group, for a samba jam session, and for an intensely polyrhythmic style of drumming. A batucada can be played by ensembles with hundreds of percussionists. In Bahia, bloco afro and afoxe (two mainly percussive styles) combined to form samba-reggae. The choro was not dead: in fact, composers of the 1940s such as Benedito "Canhoto" Lacerda created most of the choro repertory.

The next major stylistic revolution took place in the 1950s: when white young middle-class intellectuals merged a gentler, slower form of the samba with jazz music, and shifted the lead to the guitar, bossanova was born. Thus, it was a music of the bourgeoisie, not of the working class. Indeed, bossanova songs left behind the underworld of samba, where people struggled to make a living, and shifted to the world of beaches, romance and lazy bohemian life. And, in fact, bossanova soon became a favorite style of easy-listening and lounge music.

Antonio Carlos ("Tom") Jobim began a collaboration with Vin¡cius de Moraes when he scored the soundtrack for the other's play, Orfeu da Conceicao (1956), which included his first standard, Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Voce. After Jobim composed the classic Desafinado (1957), the two released Cancao do Amor Demais (1958), featuring Eliseth Cardoso on vocals and Joao Gilberto on guitar, which contained Jobim's Chega de Saudade, the song that established bossanova in Brazil. Jobim and Morais also wrote Garota de Ipanema (1962), which turned bossanova into a world-wide phenomenon.

The jazz world of the USA welcomed the Brazilian style on Jazz Samba (1962), a collaboration between guitarist Charlie Byrd and saxophonist Stan Getz.

Other notable protagonists of bossanova were Luiz Bonfa` (Manha de Carnaval, 1958), Jorge Ben (Mais Que Nada, 1963), Sergio Mendes (the most shameless perpetrator of Brazilian easy-listening).

Far more original was the synthesis offered by black guitarist Djalma "Bola Sete" DeAndrade (3), who blended samba, jazz, American folk music and European classical music in the effortless improvisations of The Solo Guitar (1965), Ocean (1972), Shambhala Moon (1982).

If bossanova was the reactionary sound of the decade, "tropicalismo" was the idealistic movement of the 1960s in Brazil. It introduced foreign elements into Brazilian music (both jazz and rock) and it replaced the traditional instruments with modern instruments such as the electric guitar. The birth date of tropicalismo was the 1967 festival of the Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB): Caetano Veloso's Alegria Alegria and Gilberto Gil's Domingo no Parque defied the conventions of Brazilian music and were interpreted as a challenge to the dictatorship of Tropicalismo soon spread to poetry, the visual arts, theater and cinema, and, in turn, musical tropicalismo absorbed elements from the other arts. Veloso's and Gil's album Tropicalia ou Panis et Circensis (1968) became a dividing line in Brazilian culture. The three queens of Brazilian pop music were also influential in publicizing the new generation of songwriters: Gal Costa (a sort of Brazilian hippy), Maria Bethania (a sort of Brazilian androgynous husky Edith Piaf) and Elis Regina (perhaps the most gifted).

On his own, Gilberto Gil concocted a pop-samba-jazz-rock fusion on Expresso 2222 (1972).

Caetano Veloso (3), the most literate and daring of the tropicalista, expanded the horizons of Brazilian music by turning it into a highly personal experience. Caetano Veloso (1969) and Transa (1972) introduced an austere, vulnerable and introverted voice who was not afraid to experiment with the sound of the anglosaxon music of the (psychedelic) era. Muito (1978), the lush, eclectic albums Estrangeiro (1989) and Livro (1998) were experimental works that continued to upgrade Veloso's stylistic hybrid.

The other great poet of the movement, Milton Nascimento (2), coined a hybrid style that combined elements of pop, samba and jazz with progressive-rock arrangements and erudite lyrics. His fluid and energetic vocal style peaked with the double-album Clube Da Esquina (1972) and its cycle of sophisticated ballads, and lent itself naturally to jazz, as proven by Milagre Dos Peixes (1973), the ultimate manifestation of his soundpainting (percussion, piano, strings, guitar, falsetto vocals, jungle sounds), Minas (1975), Geraes (1976) and collaborations with Airto Moreira, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

Classically trained, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti (guitar, flute, piano), who had already composed the song O Sonho (1968) for a 100-piece orchestra, fused European classical music, jazz-rock, bossanova and Brazilian choro folk music on albums such as Sonho 70 (1970), inspired by the movie soundtracks of the 1960s, Academia De Dancas (1974), with strings, and especially the suite Dance Das Cabecas (november 1976) for guitar, piano, flute (all played by Gismonti) and percussion (Nana Vasconcelos). basically bossanova's version of free-jazz improvisation, Sol Do Meio Dia (november 1977), another venture with Vasconcelos into the Brazilian jungle, and Solo (november 1978), a set of melancholy solos on different instruments, notably the 21-minute Selva Amazonica for guitar. Despite turning towards new-age music in the 1980s, Gismonti continued to produce profound pieces of music, increasingly classical sounding, such as Danca Dos Escravos (november 1988), another concept album, this time for guitar only, Natura Festa Do Interior, off Musica de Sobrevivencia (april 1993), Mestiso and Caboclo for a Brazilian trio, off Zig Zag (april 1995). Classical compositions included: Musica de Sobrevivencia (composed in 1990) for orchestra, the five-movement cantica Cabinda (composed in 1992) for orchestra, Strawa no sertao (composed in 1991) for chamber orchestra.

Brazilian psychedelic-rock was gloriously represented by Os Mutantes (1).

The 1990s
The carnival music lambada, best represented by Luiz Caldas, became famous world-wide thanks to Kaoma's Lambada (1989).

Boukman Eksperyans popularized both carnival and voodoo music of Haiti on albums such as Vodou Adjae (1991), Kalfou Danjare (1992) and Liberte' (1995).

The most famous Brazilian vocalist, Marisa Monte, was hardly worthy of her predecessors. Her albums Mais (1991) and Memorias Cronicas e Declaracoes de Amor (2000) were simply collections of Brazilian classics watered down for the international audience.

Vinicius Cantuaria, influenced by the American new wave, offered a personal synthesis of "Tropicalia", mellow jazz and soul music on Sol Na Cara (1997) and Tucuma (1999).

Notable albums of salsa include Marc Anthony's Todo A Su Tiempo (1995). In the USA, Cuban-born Gloria Estefan sang salsa for the discos in the Miami Sound Machine, culminating with Primitive Love (1985) and Let It Loose (1988). The sensation of the decade was Tejano vocalist Selena (Quintanilla), whose album Ven Conmigo (1990) adapted Latin rhythms to the format of the pop ballad. She began to cross over to pop with Amor Prohibido (1994), that contains Techno cumbia.

Rock'n'roll was never popular in South America. Mexico's Iconoclasta was the main prog-rock band of the continent, starting with Iconoclasta (1983), progressing to the suite Reminiscencias De Un Mundo Sin Futuro, off Reminiscencias (1985), and to the EP Suite Mexicana (1987).

Sepultura (12) and its offshoot Soulfly turned Brazil's heavy-metal scene into one of the most influential.

A young singer from Colombia, Shakira Mebarak, became the best-sold Latin artist of all times first with Donde Estan los Ladrones? (1998) and then with Laundry Service (2001), that sold more than ten million copies worldwide, both characterized by a sprightly fusion of Latin, Arab and rock music, as well as by her guttural singing. The stylistic melange progressed from the relatively earthly Whenever Wherever (2001) to La Tortura (2005) to the sophisticated rhythmic collage of Hips Don't Lie (2006).

A brief history of Mexican rock music
By Alejandro Fernandez

80% of Mexico's population is poor. From that 80%, 30% is in extreme poverty (less than a dollar to spend daily). It is pretty much centralized between 3 cities (Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara), so, as any Latin American country, it has to deal with social, cultural and economical polarization, this factors often slowed cultural evolution and are the main reasons why Mexico is years behind contemporary movements. Before Spanish conquest, music had a theological and indigenous manner. Mayan, Aztec, Olmec and mesoamerican cultures used music for sacrifices or rituals. Post hispanic Mexico started to blend indigenous music with european music creating regional folk movements. The most famous of this regional genres is Mariachi, originated in Jalisco. Corridos (narrative, folk music) became widely popular in Revolutionary times (around 1910) depicting the country's current affairs in war, politics and society. While white people stole rock n' roll from black people in the 50's, we stole rock n' roll from white Americans in the late 50's. Since English was not yet important in Mexico, covers were sung in Spanish. Some notable bands are Los Rebeldes del Rock and Los Locos del Ritmo. Mexico's centralization made Mexico City the only place where rock music was being produced. As Carlos Santana became more and more popular, rock flourished in Mexico in the form of Rock Urbano (urban rock). It took the bases of rock n' roll and blues and blended it with social problems, humor, pop culture and cultural issues. Some notable bands were Botellita de J‚rez, Three Souls in My Mind (later known as El TRI), and Los Dug Dug's. In 1968, a student massacre occurred in Mexico City, consequence of a rising middle class that opposed to the authoritarian regime of PRI (Mexican party that ruled the country for more than 70 years), so we had to have our Woodstock. Festival Av ndaro in 1971 was a definitive period in Mexican Rock because it proved music could be a mean of expression and cultural impact. Rodrigo "Rockdrigo" Gonz lez gave birth to the Movimiento Rupestre, Mexico's folk music movement (Bob Dylan style) and became a legend after his death in the 1985 earthquake. Internet and NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) were two forces that started to bring world music to Mexico in mass quantities, catalyzing the evolution of Mexican Rock. The 90's saw rock explode in Monterrey and Guadalajara with bands like Zurdok, Plastilina Mosh, Control Machete (first mainstream hip-hop/rap band), Molotov (first lyrics censorship scandal), Santa Sabina (goth/jazz(rock band) and Jumbo. One of the most interesting bands in 90's was Caf‚ Tacuba who mixed regional folk and rock music in many ways. RE their second album touched pretty much every popular style of music in the country from Trios to Son Jarocho. Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch) created in the year 2000 the new mexican cinema boom involving Rock artists into soundtracks and movie scores. Radio stations like Radioactivo 98.5 and Reactor 105 (more recently), as well as the Vive Latino Festival have kept alive mexican rock and growing into new depths. Artists are just starting to experiment with new rhythms like Los Esquizitos (psychedelic, post-punk band), Austin TV, IMS (electronic music mixed with banda, mariachi and popular rhythms), Porter and Zo‚.

by: Piero Scaruffi
Next .. A brief summary of Latin-American Popular music


The history of the Moorish empire prior to Spain extends from the ancient Moabites, and extends across the great Atlantic into north, south and Central American thus the Moorish domination of the seas. It is important to point out that as time goes on what is now known as Latin America is highly influenced by European colonization and the slave trade with Africa. Currently, Latin America, the countries of the Western Hemisphere south of the United States, include the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central and South America and contain an amalgamation of cultural influences, namely European, The Moors, Mexican, and other African tribes. Europe contributed the religions two main languages, Spanish and Portuguese. Much of the native Moorish culture, which was in place before the arrival of the Spaniards and Christopher Columbus, was suppressed due to forced assimilation; the rest was combined with the arrival of slaves and other cultures in the 16th century. Through this rich cultural mix, a distinct Moorish or commonly referred to as Afro-Caribbean culture has emerged.

The element in Moorish, African & Caribbean music that many find most distinctive, is its rhythms are derived from Moorish, and other Africans via the slave trade (1550-1880), which is believed to have brought an estimated two million people of Moorish descent, while in fact the Moors had domination and inhabitation for over 2000 years in what is now know as the west into the Caribbean Islands. Unlike the Moors of North American and some that were enslaved, who in 1776 were forbidden from playing drums (except for areas such as New Orleans Congo Square), Caribbean slaves were liberally allowed to play their drums, which of course were not only for recreation and entertainment, but used as a means of communicating. These were considered talking drums, carrying current, as well as timeless messages; message of history, struggle, and unspeakable joy. All this was accomplished through the replaying of these traditional Moorish and African rhythms, sung on a drum.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries these rhythms spread, developed, and canonized throughout the Caribbean, around the same time that another American art form was beginning its conception. This North American art form was also going to contain a rich cultural mix. It would incorporate blues intonation, African drums and rhythms, Indian cymbals, European instruments, harmony, and musical forms with a syncopated beat namely jazz.

Every country and every island in the Caribbean developed its own unique musical culture, be it folk idioms or a national conservatory styles. Four countries, namely Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have had the most significant influences on music in the United States (Cuba having the most enduring). These influences included Latin rhythms and/or dances that infatuated the United States, like the habanera, bolero (Cuba),samba, bossa nova (Brazil), tango (Argentina), and mariachi (Mexico).

As these rhythmic structures and their dances canonized, they began effecting music making everywhere, from the concert hall, to the New Orleans Street parade, to Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. As goods including people, were traded through the convenient and busy port of New Orleans, Louisiana, musically inclined workers on Caribbean ships were afforded the opportunity to exchange new rhythms, dances, and songs with the various Creole and African dancers and musicians at public performance spaces ice Congo Square. It didn’t take long for composers to begin writing Latin-influenced works. For example, American Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), who hailed from Louisiana, and studied composition in France with Aaron Coplands teacher Nadia Boulanger, toured Cuba in 1857 performing his Latin-influenced works. Some of the most famous compositions of this nature include George Bizets hababera from his opera Carmen (1875); Scott Joplin’s Mexican serenade, Solace (1902); Maurice Ravels Rapsodie Espagnole (1907), and his Bolero (1928), Jelly Roll Morton, the famed New Orleans jazz composer and pianist, spoke to Alan Lomax of the Library of Congress on the importance, even in the earlier days of jazz (the end of the nineteenth century) of the jazz musician being able to work with the Spanish tinge. He said, In fact, if you cant manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.

Latin music is a popular art form developed in various Latin American countries, mainly Cuba, and is unique for the type of rhythmic structures it builds upon. It is vocal and instrumental music, originally derived from African religious ceremonies, however viewed today primarily as dance music. Its strongest characteristic, however, is its rhythm, which is highly syncopated (when the various rhythms being played at one time, create counterpoint against each other in exciting cross rhythms). It is traditionally played by native percussion and string instruments, namely the timbales, congas, bongo, guitar, and the tres (nine-string Cuban guitar). Over time, the piano replaced the guitar as the choral instrument, while the bass, woodwinds, trumpets and trombones were added to play melodies and riffs (repetitions of sound). Most Latin music is based on a rhythmic pattern known as the clave. Clave is the basic building block of all Cuban music, and is a 3-2 (occasionally 2-3) rhythmic pattern. Claves are also the name for the two sticks that play this 3-2 (clave) pattern.

Latin music generally uses a three form with (1) a long introductory verse, followed (2) by a montuno section where the band plays a vamp (a two- or three chord progression), building intensity with devices like the mambo (where members of the front line play contrasting riffs) before (3) returning back to the verse and closing out the selection, generally with some type of coda (a short predetermined way of ending a piece; like a postscript at the end of letters). Some important characteristics of Latin music are:

Clave: a syncopated rhythmic pattern played with two sticks, around which everything in the band revolves.

Call And Response Inspiraciones: a musical exchange between two voices inspiratons, improvised phrase by lead vocalist or instrumentalist.

Bajo-Tumbao-bass: repeated rhythmic pattern for the bass or conga based on the clave.

Suggested Reading
Van Sertima, Ivan, Golden Age of the Moor, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 1992
Lane-Poole, Stanley, The Story of The Moors In Span, Balitimore, MD, Black Classic Press 1990
Chase,Gilbert,The Music of Spain, New York: Dover,1959
Geijerstam,Claes af., Popular Music in Mexico, Albuquerque: University New Mexico Press 1977
Grenet, Emilio, Popular Cuban Music, Havana: Ministry of Education, 1939
Hague, Eleanor, Latin American Music, Santa Ana, Cal. Fine Arts Press,1934
Roberts, John Storm, The Latin Tinge, Oxford University Press 1979
Slonimsky, Nicholas, Music of Latin America, New York, Crowell, 1945

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Turkish Classical & Traditional Music

The Turkish language had its origins in central Asia, and the move of Turkish people to modern Turkey is a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Various Turkish cultures continue to exist in the region from Anatolia to Western China, and the fine classical tradition of Uzbekistan is Turkish. The present page concerns the music of modern Turkey, a country whose cultural roots include elements of Ancient Greece, Persia, Arabia, and Armenia, among others.

In this context, Turkish classical music refers quite specifically to the music cultivated by the Ottoman Empire. That empire included substantial territory which had been under Byzantine or Arabic control, and the substratum of traditional music in Turkey was conditioned by that history. Moreover, the music of the Arab Empires had already been strongly conditioned by Persian culture. The Ottoman Empire eventually became very cosmopolitan, so that classical compositions by Greek, Armenian, and other minority composers were featured at court. In addition, the Turkish people must have brought their own melodies with them to Anatolia. Consequently, Turkish music has a large & varied system of modes, overlapping the Arabic system of maqam, and spelled makam in Romanized Turkish.

The core classical repertory of the Ottoman Empire is currently undergoing a rebirth, and begins to appear on recording in volume. Much of this is orchestral music, tied to various functions, and not of the highest interest to me. Aside from that, however, Ottoman music is of definite historical interest, with developments paralleling many of those for European music. For instance, Ottoman court music underwent a distinct stylistic shift in the mid-1700s, and again in the very early 1900s, when it disappeared as a living entity. Besides the revival of this later Ottoman music, based upon direct remnants of c.1900 culture, there is the beginning of an "early music" movement in Turkey, concentrating on music from the 1600s and earlier. Structurally, together with the broader melodic framework of makam, Ottoman music is based on rhythmic cycles called usûl.

The Sufi influence has also been strong in Anatolia, especially in traditions which survived into the twentieth century. In the Sufi tradition, the reed flute ney is the most important instrument. The ney is used in one or more forms throughout the region, and whereas the Iranian technique features alternation between two positions (including the more shrill sound of holding the mouthpiece with the teeth), Turkish technique relies only on the airier sound achieved by positioning the instrument against the bottom of the lower lip. The ney is specifically connected to Ottoman court music through the ceremonies of the Mevlevis (whirling dervishes), which were supported by many Ottoman rulers. A superb recording illustrating the resulting solo repertory:

The Turkish Ney
Kudsi Erguner
Naïve Unesco (Traditional Musics of Today) D 8204

Kudsi Erguner is one of the most highly regarded Turkish musicians today. This disc is one of several of his recordings. It is a dreamy, mystical sort of rendition. The program consists of improvised preludes interspersed with compositions in various modes, selected to provide a pleasing development through the recital. This is representative of the direct Sufi-Ottoman solo tradition, to which Kudsi Erguner is connected by direct lineage.

Besides the Ottoman music, Anatolia provides a rich heritage of music in various styles. The raspy tanbur is the principal plucked-string instrument of the region, and is also prominent in Ottoman music. A solo recital, with more of a "folk" inspiration:

Turquie: L'art du tanbûr
Talip Özkan
Ocora (Radio France) C 560042

This is Talip Özkan's second recording for Ocora, and both combine tanbur playing with singing. The songs & modes are taken from throughout Anatolia, and have a closer resemblance to some traditions of Central Asia than does the Ottoman-derived music of Kudsi Erguner. The forms remain makam-derived, and improvisation is an important aspect of this style. The result is something of a folk anthology, but delivered with great sophistication.

There are many other similar recordings available, plus recordings in other styles. Despite others which have offered points of interest, the above two continue to be my main examples for Turkish music. Despite the limited selection, I hope the discussion proves useful. At some point, I would like to be able to recommend something more specific regarding the Ottoman "early music" movement.

T. M. McComb
Next .. Turkish Classical & Traditional Music

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Brazilian music is typified by its intense and exuberant mixing of styles, from the European/African/Native American blends that brought about the original sambas of the early Twentieth Century, to the electronica and hip-hop records of today.

Here is an attempt to sort out some of those styles, and the artists who make them popular. For now, the site is a little thin on the most contemporary artists (though listening suggestions are always welcome). Some styles have their own pages, which are linked to from here. You might also want to check out the Brazilian Artist and Album guides.

Axe - A contemporary Afro-Bahian pop style, incorporating samba, rock, soul and other musical influences. Reviews of axe artists can be found throughout the miscellaneous albums section.

Batucada - Intense, polyrhythmic percussion. Batucada is a style which emphasizes Brazilian culture's African heritage. Look for any of the various compilation records available.

Bossa Nova - A suave, romantic style which started in the 1950s, replacing samba as the national music. Typically, bossa nova (which means "new way" in Portuguese) is very mellow and laid-back, and very, very cool. In the early 1960s, bossa nova rhythms became popular with jazz and pop musicians in the U.S. and Europe.

Bossa Nova Jazz - In the early 1960s, bossa nova rhythms became popular with jazz and pop musicians in the U.S. and Europe. Brazilians, too, have long had an affinity for jazz, and usually mix it around with plenty of local influences.

Capoeira - A style of martial arts developed by Brazilian slaves in the 1700s. Capoeira was developed surreptitiously, with practitioners pretending that they were taking parts in dances, when in fact they were practicing their kicks and blows. Thus, there is also a whole style of capoeira music which goes along with the martial arts culture.

Choro - An improvisational instrumental style from the late 19th and early half of the 20th Century. Similar to New Orleans trad jazz, choro was closely connected with the early development of samba, and is typically played by a small ensemble -- over the years the instrumentation has expanded to include more instruments, such as clarinet and mandolin... Early stars of the genre include flautist Pixinguinha, mandolin player Jacob do Bandolim, and guitarist Garoto.

Forro - Upbeat, catchy dance music from the Northeast of Brazil. Usually features an accordion, and syncopated rhythms similar to samba. In some ways, forro is analogous to mariachi in Mexico, or cumbia music in Columbia: although a few artists (such as Luiz Gonzaga and Jackson do Pandeiro) are well-known, national stars, thousands of others have recorded for small, regional labels and much of forro is relatively informal and localized.

Frevo - An early popular Northeastern carnival style which features a march-like quality. Like choro, frevo is closely related to the samba, and has grown and adapted into a more modern sound. Frevo is most popular in Pernambuco state, especially in Recife.

Lambada - A dance style whose popularity peaked in the late 1980s, when the group Kaoma had an international hit. Heavily influenced by Caribbean music -- particularly the merengue -- Lambada is typically more aggressive and hard-driving than samba or pagode, and tremendously more boring. (Editor's note: Believe it or not, the lambada originally came from Bolivia as a folk style).

Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) - Pretty much a catch-all phrase for any Brazilian pop which comes after bossa nova. The Tropicalia movement (see below) used to be what people meant when they were talking about MPB, but now it's almost an absurdly far-reaching phrase that musical poseurs use when they want to sound cool. (Just watch how often I use it!)

Non-Brazilian Lusophone Music - Brazil wasn't the only place the Portuguese colonized. Check out some of these recommendations from Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, and other areas in the Portuguese-speaking world.

Rock Music - In the late '50s, rock 'n' roll took hold in Brazil, with teenpop and surf bands popping up across the country. The Jovem Guarda TV show became the focal point for Brazilian roquieros, though the more radical psychedelic pop of the tropicalia scene soon supplanted the earlier, cutsier sound. In the 1970s, as tropicalia morphed into MPB, North American-style hard rock and AOR came into style.

Samba and Pagode - Samba's syncopated, smooth dance style was invented in the late 1800s as part of Brazil's carnaval celebrations. Carnaval sambas were typically performed by large percussion ensembles, and were an expression of Brazil's West African heritage. Later on, in the 1920s and '30s, samba became increasingly complex, as writers such as Ary Barroso transformed it into a pop style, blending African rhythms with European melodies. Out of fashion during the bossa nova craze of the late 1950s and early '60s, samba had a resurgence of popularity in the 1970s, typified by popular singers such as Clara Nunes, Beth Carvalho and Alcione, who labeled their new style pagode. Over the years, pagode has become a catch-all phrase for many styles of pop music widely heard throughout Brazil.

Soul and Funk - Surprisingly, hardcore funk and soul were slow to take root in the Brazilian mainstream... There were a few highly-prized albums in the 1970s, but it wasn't until the '80s and the whole axe phenomenon and the bloco afros of Olodum and Timblada that funk music rose above the haze of glossy MPB pop. Here's a look at some of the best records, new and old...

Tropicalia - A late-'60s/early-'70s musical movement that combined North American rock, blues, jazz, pop kitsch and psychedelic music with Brazilian and other Latin American styles. In part, tropicalia was a reaction to the perceived stodginess of bossa nova music, which had been the dominant pop style since the late 1950s. In turn, the major tropicalia stars became the musical status quo from the 1970s onward, and younger musicians alternately rebelled against the hegemony of the tropicalistas, or enjoyed working with them.
By Joe Sixpack


Brazilian music is a unique blend of European harmony and melody, African rhythms along with Native American culture. How they all came together to form the distinctive sound that is today known as “Brazilian” music is a long story.

The rhythmic vitality of Brazilian music stems from the Native Americans, who accompanied their religious rituals with an exotic blend of rattlers, shakers and panpipes. Starting in the 17th century, slaves from Africa brought along the hot, impassioned drumming of their candomble rituals. Slow, heartbreaking ballads were added by the first Portuguese colonists, who accompanied themselves with cavaquinhos (similarto the ukulele), the bandolim (mandolin), bagpipes and the Portuguese guitar.

From the very beginning, sensual body movement—inspired largely by the undulating dances of the African slaves—was incorporated into Brazilian music. Even European-imported dance rhythms like the polka and mazurka were eventually tropicalized into the maxixe, a flamboyant tango that became the rage during the 1920s.

Brazilian Music Goes International
Slowly a passion for gorgeous melody began to surface in Brazil. During the 1930s and 40s, romantic songs from Brazil began to appear in North America. In 1958, the brand-new sound called bossa nova rocked the Brazilian music scene and eventually the rest of the world.

Antonio Carlos Jobim was the master of the bossa nova movement. As a classically trained composer, he infused his sleepy, sensuous tunes with Ravel-inspired harmonies and unexpected blues notes. For 35 years his songs, often written with Vinicius de Moraes, one of Brazil’s greatest poets, would be recorded by literally thousands of musicians worldwide. The most prominent of them were Frank Sinatra and jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. One Brazilian singer whose name became a household term during the time was singer Astrud Gilberto.

Many consider the peak of bossa nova expression to have been the 1960 movie Black Orpheus, Jobim’s and Moraes’ musical play that retold the Orpheus myth through the eyes of two poor lovers during Carnaval. This movie actually did more to promote the exotic romanticism of Brazil than any organized campaigns to promote international tourism.

Music In Indonesian

Music in Indonesia

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, comprising more than 17,500 islands. Around 6,000 of those islands are inhabited by the nearly 242,000,000 people who represent approximately 300 ethnic groups. Because of this profound diversity, the notion of a single, unified "Indonesian culture" is problematic, and it is difficult to make meaningful generalizations about the nation's music. Instead of using one lens, then, to explore the vibrant world of music in Indonesia, one must glance at the complex relationships between religion, language, technology, ethnicity, history and culture.

The relationship between religion, spiritual practice and music in Indonesia is a very important one. The spread of Islam throughout Indonesia, beginning in the 15th century, brought the religion's music to the archipelago. Today, 88 percent of Indonesians proclaim the faith, and much contemporary music-making is connected to or mixed with elements of Islamic music. Music is also intertwined in the spiritual practice of the four other official religions of Indonesia: Christianity (divided into Catholicism and Protestantism), Hinduism and Buddhism. There remain much more than mere remnants of animist beliefs and practices in many areas of Indonesia, although the national government does not recognize any of these forms as a declarable religion. The form of Islam found in Java, particularly, is tinged with Hindu-influenced and animist systems, and the experience of music is deeply involved in these nonorthodox practices.

Certain kinds of instruments, including gongs, flutes, percussion instruments and lutes, are found throughout the archipelago, unconfined by regional boundaries. The use of such natural materials as bamboo and wood in the fashioning and construction of these and other instruments is widespread, as is the appearance of bronze gongs, pots and especially in Java and Bali bars. Vocal music plays an intensely significant role throughout the regions of Indonesia, and it takes various forms long historical narratives, courting and love songs, devotional praise melodies and children's songs in different areas of the country. Many musical ensembles in Indonesia are made up of series of pot gongs (also called gong-chimes), accompanied by drums and traditional gongs. These ensembles can be found throughout the archipelago, from Sumatra to Flores. While cross-regional similarities clearly exist in both instrumental and vocal music, it is essential to remember that diversity of style, form, context and cosmology is the hallmark of the various strains of music found in this vast archipelago.

Indonesia's expansiveness is fragmented by the seas, straits and oceans that separate one island from another, and there has been little acceptance of or appreciation for the music of one region by members of another area, partially as a result of this segmentation. Inside an individual region, though, a given musical or dance form may continue to flourish, despite the lack of attention it receives in surrounding areas. The European cultural influence on music in Indonesia is an essential one to note. The style of "national" music is based on European musical idioms, in part because attempts to establish the music of any particular ethnic group in Indonesia as "national" have been unsuccessful. Patriotic songs, then, including Indonesia's national anthem "Indonesia Raya" ("Great Indonesia"), Christian church hymns and popular music all employ European music concepts. There are also many musical hybrids, like the popular kroncong, that combine elements from the European music tradition with regional styles and musical ideas.

In the 1990s, Smithsonian Folkways released a 20-volume series of recordings of the music of Indonesia. Produced in collaboration with the Indonesian Society for the Performing Arts (Masyarakat Seni Pertunjukan Indonesia, or MSPI) and recorded, compiled, edited, and annotated by musicologist Philip Yampolsky, this series presents a remarkably diverse array of well-recorded musical offerings. This resource provides the opportunity to sample many of the lesser-known musical genres and traditions of Indonesian music. Music in modern Indonesia is constantly changing: urban popular music continues to grow in popularity and new musical forms, genres and ideas develop. At the same time, individuals and communities continue to participate in traditions of music-making that have long been important parts of their social, political and religious lives.
Next .. Music In Indonesian