Sunday, February 06, 2005

Big Brass Band

Can it really be more than a month since my last entry here? Yeah, probably so, given how busy I've been on several fronts at once. Fortunately, I left a brief note for myself when I heard a segment on the PRI show The World on Indian brass band music that I've been meaning to mention here since it first aired on Jan. 12. Always exciting to discover a subgenre that I never dreamed existed. Plus the radio story contains an interesting observation from one of the music's practitioners, Hamid Khan Kawa of the Jaipure Kawa Brass Band, on the way they've benefitted from their country's colonial legacy:

"For India and for our Indian philosophy it say, any part of the world, we have to take the best thing of the world, we have to take the best thing of the person. That makes life. So today we have for example, there is harmonium, it comes from the English organ, and today we don't find it in England this instrument. And it's one of the most popular instruments in India, this is called harmonium. And so, we love also our things, like sitar, tabla, but we love also another instrument because for us it's something different to really appreciate."

I'm hopelessly behind on other stuff that I want to write about here, so I'll get the ball rolling by spreading the word about Ari Joseph's supercool MP3 blog devoted to ... you guessed it... Brazilian music. It's called An Order of Progress and a Side of Fries, and I've only just begun to mine its treasures myself. One of the most exciting things about the blog is that Ari writes about very recent music as well as older stuff; in my experience it's much harder to find out what's going on in Brazil right now than to learn about its legendary past. I take it as a good sign that I haven't heard of many of the folks he writes about (or else I've heard of them without ever having heard the specific songs he writes about).

From Ari's blog I found my way to AudioScrobbler, a site that--with your permission--records what you listen to on your home computer and posts a constantly updated list for the world to see. (Well, it's designed so that only people whose taste overlaps with yours are likely to see your list.) This in turn becomes a tool that allows you to find other music you might be interested in, as organized in all sorts of ways. (Five minutes of browsing, and I found a grouping called "Gay Indie Lovers" which tells me I should check out The Libertines--something I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, even though I've seen their name dropped here and there for the last year or so.)

Normally I hate this sort of voluntary invasion of privacy, but, what the hell, I just woke up from a nap and decided to surrender still more of my inner life to the Matrix. So behold my playlist. (I do fear that the "party shuffle" mode of iTunes is going to portray me as a complete wacko, but so be it.)

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