Majida El Roumi (ماجدة الرومي) – Wadaa (1977)

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Today we’ll be back to Lebanon, a special place when it comes to female singers, and it is precisely by the success of Samira Tawfik’s post, we’ll go to another beautiful flower of the East Mediterranean. Almost as famous as Fairuz, globally recognized and certainly one of the most awarded inside and outside of your country.

Majida El Roumi Baradhy (ماجدة الرومي‎), known by her stage name Majida El Roumi, is a Lebanese soprano. Born and raised in Kfarshima, Lebanon, she began her musical career in the early 70s when she participated in the talent show Studio El Fan on Télé Liban at the age of 16 and won the gold medal for the best female singer. Since her appearance on television, she became one of the most successful and respected singers of the Arab world, as well as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. (!)

‘Music can speak out louder than words. I will use my music and my voice to speak out on behalf of the needy and undernourished everywhere.’

2013, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
2013, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Let’s go to our history:

Majida El Roumi is the daughter of Lebanese musician Halim El Roumi and wife Marie Loutfi who were a Melkite Greek Catholic couple from Tyre, a city in South Lebanon. They got married in Egypt, lived in Kfarshima and had three girls Maha, Mona, and Majida, and a boy Awad. Halim worked with many great singers with mentioning his discovery to many well-known artists, mainly the Lebanese singer Fairuz, and introduced her to the talented musicians: the Rahbani brothers.

They stayed in Kfarshima, which was home to many Lebanese singers, musicians, poets, and writers like Philemon Wehbi and Melhem Barakat. The residence of the family was a meeting place for many cultural figures, thanks to that, growing up in an artistic environment, Majida listened to the works of Fairuz, Umm Kulthoum, Wadih El-Safi, and Asmahan. Her vocal abilities attracted the attention of her family and neighbors when she was 5 years old (!), she sang her first song, Miladak.

Fairuz
Fairuz

Raymond Safadi (Majida’s cousin) was fascinated with her voice and thought that she could be very successful if she pursued singing as a profession. However, the big obstacle was her father who knew more than anyone else how difficult it was to work in the music industry. Although the father’s refusal, Majida’s participation in Studio El Fan, was a success. Singing songs for Asmahan and Leila Mourad, like Ya Toyour and Ana Albi Dalili, the jury was impressed and awarded her the gold medal.

Halim El-Roumi gave Majida his blessings to pursue singing as a profession as long as she continued her higher education. Despite the war in Lebanon in 1975, Majida obtained her BA in Arabic Literature from the Lebanese University. On September 17, 1977, she got engaged to a businessman, Antoine Dfouni became not only her husband but also her manager. They had two daughters: Hala and Nour.

1977, Ceremony
1977, Ceremony

Let’s go to our album:

Majida’s first single, I Dream of You, O’ Lebanon was a song about her war-torn country. The song was written by Said Akel and composed by Elias Al Rahbani. In 1976, Majida starred in Youssef Chahine movie Awdat Al Ibn Al Dal (The Return of the Prodigal Son) providing also 3 soundtracks for the movie. Chahine introduced her as the Voice of the 20th Century and received the Egyptian Critics Award.

Majida El-Roumi released her first self-titled debut album in 1977, the album was a huge success and it launched Majida into stardom. She continued to produce very successful albums through the decades and performed at various festivals in the Arab world: Beiteddine, Jerash, Bosra, Carthage, as the Cairo Opera House.

Majida's Portrait
Majida’s Portrait

During her concert in Beirut on April 15, 2002, Majida took a firm stand opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and Israeli human rights violations:

“What is going now in Palestine is a crime against humanity, and I am here to say a final ‘No!’ to the Israeli occupation. To the Palestinians, I say, our hearts are with you; our souls are with you; justice is with you, and the land will always be yours!”

With over 14 albums released during his career, countless singles, music videos, and feature films, Majida’s full biography will be held later, today, we will attend to his brilliant start. With a strong folk accent, their debut album has a bit more modern and accessible western tinges, comparable with Samira’s previous post. She currently lives in Jounieh, and released Ghazal and Nour Men Nour in 2012/13.

Live, 2005
Live, 2005

The ‘IM’ highlights are: Khedni Habibi, the opening track is one of her greatest successes, (acclaimed even today) with a beautiful string arrangement, rhythmic modulations, Arabic percussion, and some nice guitar work. This 9-minute track is one of the magnum opus from Lebanese pop-folk music. And Matrahak Bi Albi a romantic one, with some keyboards and light synths with Majida’s strong performance and sticky chorus. Enjoy this another Lebanese nightingale and Haerenga Pai!

Tracks Include:

A1 Khedni Habibi (Henri Zgheib – Nour Al Mallah)

A2 Matrahak Bi Albi (Maroon Karam – Ehsan Al Mounzer)

A3 Kelshi Am Yekhlas (Ilyas Rahbani)

A4 Wadaa (Maroon Karam – Ehsan Al Mounzer)

B1 Am Yesalouni Alaik El Nas (Maroon Karam – Nour Al Mallah)

B2 Nabea El Mahabeh (Maroon Karam – Nabea El Mahabeh)

B3 Ounshoudet Al Oumahat (Jebreael Fayad – Halim El Roumi)

B4 Ounshoudet Al Oumahat (Instrumental) [Halim El Roumi]

Voix d’Orient (Sawt Al Sharq)

Beirut's District
Beirut’s District

Samira Tawfik (سميرة توفيق) – Ghannou Ya Hbab (1977)

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Lebanon. Its location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has dictated a rich history, shaped by a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon were mandated to France.

The French expanded the borders of Mount Lebanon, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, establishing a unique political system, confessionalism, a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities. Bechara El Khoury (independent Lebanon’s first President), Riad El-Solh (first Prime Minister) and Emir Majid Arslan (first Minister of Defence) are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country’s independence.

French troops withdrew from Lebanon only in 1946.

Lebanon Independence
Lebanon Independence

Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity, Lebanon was known in its heyday as the Switzerland of the East. It attracted so many tourists that the capital, Beirut, was referred to as Paris of the Middle East. (!)

In the period after WWII, several artists emerged in Beirut, a fulcrum between oriental and occidental, most famously Fairuz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi, Majida El Roumi, Nasri Shamseddine, Ziad Rahbani, and Marcel Khalifa. But when exploring a country’s music, attention must not only be paid to its singers but also to its instruments. Lebanon’s traditional music incorporates the deep and mellow sounds of the Oud, the beautifully decorated Derbake (a kind of drum also known as the Tabla) and the Daff (also known as the Riqq, corresponding to the English tambourine).

Civil War
Civil War

But if you really want to know all about Lebanese music, you will need to dance! Dabke is the national dance and the Lebanese people take particular pride in their skills in it. Comparable to the Irish step dance or the Greek Hassapiko.

In the early ’70s, Fairuz also performed more Western songs, with lyrics that were closer to European traditions such as Habaytak Bi-Sayf (I Loved You In Summer), which catapulted her to fame in the West, opening the gates for many artists!

Dabke Dance
Dabke Dance

Let’s go to our history:

Samira Ghastin Karimona, born on 25th September 1935 at Al Rmayleh district (now known as Jemiezeh), in Beirut, was most famous for portraying the image of the Gypsy Arab girl. She started singing in her early teen years in the famous Ajram Theatre for public gatherings and private parties (haflas) at the age of 13. Then, she went to bigger open-stage ones like the Tanious Theatre in which she sang classical by Layla Murad.

Her family accompanied her in its travels through the country and was known collectively as The Sixth-Fleet. She didn’t get the fame she wanted in Lebanon, especially with competition from big names such as Fairouz, Sabah and Wadih El Safi, the real fame and fortune came from her stay in Jordan where she was invited to sing for Jordan Radio in the early ’60s, with her famous Badawi (bedouin) style.

Samira's Portrait
Samira’s Portrait

Samira’s first hit was Beyn Al-Dawali, she continued launching many songs that were known by Lebanese fans and in the Arab countries (especially Syria), characterized by the Bedouin dialect, singing for many composers like Filmon Wehbi and Tawfiq El-Belouni (that’s where the second part of her name came from) and in front of famous figures, such as the Queen Elizabeth II at the Melbourne Opera House in the 70s alongside Wadih El Safi. She extensively toured throughout its career, to places like Mexico, Venezuela, France, London, and even Africa!

Many famous tabla players like Setrak Serkissian had played for her, with other derbaki masters like Mohammed El-Barjawi. Her music was known as Tabla Fakhar (pottery-made tabla) music, using the real non-plastic derbakis that made such a thumping sound. She starred in more than 15 films, most notably A Bedouin Girl In Paris (1965) at the peak of her popularity and beauty, plus some few Tv series in the 70s.

Beirut Overview
Beirut Overview

Around 2004, Samira met Al Shab Ghabi, a Lebanese businessman. Attending one of her concerts, he gave her a bouquet of flowers, shortly after love started between the couple and they finally got married. Samira Tawfik disappeared from the music scene after breaking a leg in front of its house in London. Samira spends most of her time between its first home in Hazmieh and her other in Faytroun. She lives in Stockholm today visiting Lebanon and Jordan from time to time.

Let’s go to our album:

The culture of Lebanon is the cross-culture of various civilizations over thousands of years. Originally home to the Phoenicians, and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing from all of these groups. Lebanon’s diverse population, composed of different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed to the country’s festivals, musical styles, and literature as well as cuisine.

Live
Live

Samira’s popularity may be considered one of the greatest in the Arab world, the blossom of Lebanon has figured in many films, Tv shows, and series. Nowadays thanks to the net we’re able to see, hear and appreciate these performances, learning a bit more of this beautiful music, exceptional instrumentation and arrangements. His technique combined with the oriental quarter tone division and comas are really impressive to Western ears, here we’re going far beyond rock or the usual harmonic conventions.

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Ghannou Ya Hbab, the strong opening track that shows us every aspect from the Lebanese music: ethereal flutes, constant percussion pace, the female and male chorus in an atmosphere of celebration and dance. And Al Ain Téoul Lel-Ein, another lively one with strings, pizzicato breaks, and an unmistakable refrain. Unfortunately reading in Arabic isn’t easy, the lyrical content of its music remains unknown, but certainly, these phonemes sound great. Niezła Jazda!

Tracks Include:

A1 Ghannou Ya Hbab

A2 Wein El Ahd

A3 Ouyouni Aleik

A4 Ya Hasrati Al Wafa

B1 Yal Asmarani

B2 Al Ain Teoul Lel-Ain

B3 Wein Moucharrek

B4 Ya Awlad El Halal

Duniaphon ‎– LPD 212

Manufactured and Distributed by EMI Greece S.A.

Beirut Downtown
Beirut Downtown

Orquestra Afro-Brasileira – Obaluayê (1957)

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Brazil. A country of only 500 years, geographically privileged, with multiple natural resources, tropical climate, different biomes and a distinct formation of its society. The three genetic fronts that formed this multicultural country: the Portuguese (European), the indigenous (Amerindian) and the black (African). Since the XVI century these cultural strands live together under rules that went from Colony to Empire and then Republic; apart of all conflicts and slavery past the black heritage in Brazilian culture was dominant in at least two aspects, the religious and the musical.

Religion in Brazil has a higher adherence level compared to other Latin American countries and is more diverse. The dominant religion of Brazil historically was and still is Christianity. Brazil possesses a richly spiritual society formed from the meeting of the Roman Catholic Church with the religious traditions of African slaves and Indigenous peoples. This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices.

Candomblé Novice ~ 1951
Candomblé Novice ~ 1951

Afro-Brazilian syncretic religions, such as Candomblé (with many followers) are concentrated mainly in large urban centers in the Northeast, such as Salvador, Recife or Rio de Janeiro in the Southeast. In addition to Candomblé which is the survival of West African religion, there is also Umbanda which blends Spiritism, Indigenous and African beliefs. There is prejudice about African cults (called ‘Macumba’) in Brazil’s south, but there are Catholics, Protestants and other kinds of Christians who also believe in the Orixás, and go both to Churches and Terreiros.

These two religions were originally brought by black slaves shipped from Africa (Angola, Congo, Ghana, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, etc.) to Brazil, these black slaves would summon their gods, called Orixás, Voduns or Inkices with chants and dances (Capoeira) they had brought from Africa. These cults were persecuted throughout most of Brazilian history, largely because they were believed to be pagan or even satanic. However, the Brazilian republican government legalized all of them on the grounds of the necessary separation between the State and the Church in 1889.

Orixás Deities
Orixás Deities

Brazil is well known for the rhythmic liveliness of its music, this is largely because Brazilian slave owners allowed their slaves to continue their heritage of playing drums, unlike U.S. slave owners who feared the use of the drum for communications. (!) These chants and dances evolved naturally and ascended into all spheres of society, influencing rhythms like Samba and Maracatu. Today’s album shows us in a pioneered way the study and understanding of this musical evolution.

Let’s go to our history:

For almost thirty years the conductor Abigail Cecílio de Moura led the Orquestra Afro-Brasileira, donating their effort as if it were a religious devotion. Before each presentation, he acted like a priest giving thanks, raising the stage for sacred space. The Orchestra was founded on April 10, 1942, with the purpose of studying and disseminating folk music and Brazilian customs, using sociology and anthropology to disseminate it. Mainly based on percussion instruments, at the time called barbaric, plus the civilized instruments: piano, sax, trombone.

Ceremony
Traditional Ceremony

In their research, the conductor Abigail incorporated percussive originals: agogô, adejá, urucungo, afoxé, atabaques and angona-puíta, kind of ancestor of the Brazilian cuíca. The contemporary school, relying on the harmonic instruments, would be the observation of the evolution in Afro-Brazilian music. An indispensable figure, whose name confuses itself to the Orchestra, Abigail Moura, was from Minas Gerais and died in 1970. By the end of his days led an honorable poor life, cherishing the dream of seeing his orchestra return to the brilliance of the great days. (RIP)

The Orchestra aroused interest because it was considered exotic at the time and many went to concerts by curiosity, his musical diversity would go to Maracatu, Frevo, Jongo, Folklore themes, Umbanda and Candomblé chants. Favoring the Nagô and Bantu legacies, passing through the Portuguese catholic and also the indigenous presence.

Capoeira by Rugendas
Capoeira by Rugendas

Let’s go to our album:

With a distinct brand from everything that has appeared in our galaxy until now, this obscure record brings the purest roots of Brazilian music. Passing away from the Afro-Cuban clichés that were so common to the international audiences and foreseeing the allure of the Exotica genre, this is closer to the ethnographic music since Malinowski or Levi-Strauss studies.

Exceptionally today I will not highlight any track, I believe in the strength of this album as a whole; the prejudice and difficulties that the African traditions passed (and still passes) throughout the eras deserves your full attention and respect!

Rum, Rumpi & Lê (R to L)
Rum, Rumpi & Lê (R to L)

The second album released by the Orchestra in 1968 is a bit more accessible, with western harmonies and arrangements, though it didn’t have the deserved commercial success as its predecessor and was followed, by Luciano Perrone’s series of Batucada Fantástica.

Lately, the Orkestra Rumpilezz led by the maestro Letieres Leite made a revival of African chants and traditions, with Afro percussion, modern harmonics and under the influence of jazz. The path started more than 70 years by Abigail Moura is now accessible to all. Geras Kelioné!

Tracks Include:

A1 Apresentação Paulo Roberto / Chegou o Rei Congo (Batuque)

A2 Calunga (Batuque)

A3 Amor de Escravo (Jongo)

A4 Saudação ao Rei Nagô (Batuque)

B1 Festa de Congo (Maracatu)

B2 Badalaô (Cântico Noturno)

B3 Liberdade (Batuque)

B4 Abaluayê (Lamento)

Todamérica LPP-TA-11,  1957

(Originally released in 1949)

Regência: Maestro Abigail Moura

Solista: Yolanda Borges

Músicas e Letras: Maestro Abigail Moura

Orkestra Rumpilezz
Orkestra Rumpilezz

Tsvia Abarbanel – Soul of The East (1970)

Soul of The East
Soul of The East

Following our last post, we’ll continue in Israel. To show you a little forgotten 45 single, re-released by Fortuna Records. Established in 2012, this new label is aimed to reissue psychedelic nuggets printed in Israel, as well as Middle-Eastern grooves in general, although this time ain’t a Koliphone release. There are only two songs but I was really impressed with the fabulous crossover between east and west!

Let’s go to her history:

Born in Radda, South East Yemen in the late ’40s, Tsvia Abarbanel immigrated to Israel with her parents and settled in the north of the country. She was raised in a traditional Yemenite house where she learned the culture and traditions of Yemen.

She spent most of the youth as a Shepherdess looking after her family’s herd, during the long hours in the fields, Tsvia developed her singing skills, practicing traditional Yemenite chants, typical to the region of Radda. When she was 25 years old, she bravely left home to go and study Ethno-Musicology and Fine Arts at the Los Angeles University. The early hippie movement dominated the college halls and soon enough she started frequenting the LA club scene. It was by pure chance that she found herself at Watts, queuing for a Dinah Washington concert at the Kabuki Theatre.

Every night from midnight to 6, Tsvia, would flock to the Kabuki to get a glimpse of the biggest musicians of the time such as Ramsey Lewis, Ray Charles and more!

70's Portrait
70’s Portrait

This community-only event drew her deep into the sounds of soul and jazz, inspiring Tsvia to give her own musical background a totally new interpretation. Before even recording her first song, she started performing throughout the west coast, in big venues such as the Hollywood Bowl & The Cow Palace in San Francisco, showcasing her unique brew of traditional Yemenite singing and western jazz rhythms.

A beautiful 26 years old Yemenite girl was an odd sight in the Afro-American music scene of LA in the mid-’60s. She looked different, she sounded different, but her musical talent was so explosive she was immediately embraced by local musicians!

Let’s go to our record:

Returning to Israel in 1970, Tsvia started working on her debut album with a prominent Tel Aviv jazz band called Piamenta’s Guys. Led by Albert Piamenta, musician and arranger, who introduced funk and western elements into traditional Israeli songs, the result was one of the most magical recordings to ever come out of the region. However, the Israeli record industry found it far too strange and of no commercial potential. (!) And so Tsvia and her husband released a limited 45, making this one of the most obscure and hard to find Israeli records ever.

Yemeni Lady
Yemeni Lady

The ‘IM’ highlights spare any comment: Yahalel Hawa, has an strong percussion pace and a sour folklore singing, assisted by this little cool jazz veil. A classy ethnic one! And Wings of Love, certainly a challenge to anyone who admires the frontiers from music, with a Yma Sumac’s intro, this jazzy soul got some horn attacks, organ, sax solos, heavy drums, and the always lively percussion, recalling us the strong geographical bond that Yemen has with Africa. Unluckily both sounds end up until 3 minutes, but the fusion stamp that Tsvia left are forevermore!

Our little Shepherdess, is still performing, writing and composing her own material, spreading Yemenite music in Israel to this day. Hyvää Matkaa!

Tracks include:

A Yahlel Hawa

B Wings of Love

Credits

  • Accompanied: Piamenta’s Guys
  • Mastered [Uncredited]: Beau Thomas
  • Producer: A. Piamenta, D. Abarbanel
  • Written: S. Shabazi

Notes

Licensed courtesy of Tsvia & David Abarbanel

Produced and recorded in Tel Aviv, 1970

(P) & (C) Fortuna Records 2012

Sana'a, Yemen
Sana’a, Yemen

Mariza Koch (Μαρίζα Κωχ) – Arabas (Αραμπάς) [1971]

capa cópia

Greece. The cradle of modern civilization, an amalgamation of elements of Minoic, Phoenician, Doric, and Ionic cultures that at one time spread from the Caucasus to the Pyrenees via Asia Minor, and from the Crimean to Sicily and the North-African coast. Plato, Xenophon, Homer, Socrates, Pythagoras, Archimedes still live on, in their works, thoughts, and writings. Despite its glorious past, Romans, Byzantines, Visigoths, Slavs, Bulgarians, Venetians, Crusaders, Serbs, and finally, Turks took it in their turn to occupy Greece for about 1,800 years!

The last Turkish garrison left Athens in March 1833, they managed to stay more or less independent for just over 100 years, when Hitler and Mussolini decided they’d go for a life-long supply of Ouzo (a greek drink) in April 1941. After a good 20 years of turbulent democracy, Greece was back in the hands of the extreme right when the colonels took over on April 21st, 1967, they were to remain in power ’till 1974.

A democratic and republican constitution was promulgated only in June 1975.

Military Junta Logo
Military Junta Logo

The presence of the military junta during the late ’60s and early ’70s has been quite a deterrent, having prevented a musical development concurrent with that of other European countries. To complete the picture, the continued loss of civil rights, widespread censorship, political detentions, and torture, caused countless confrontations and assassination attempts on both sides. In 1969, Costa-Gavras masterpiece Z, was the first attempt to internationalize the message of serious lack of civil rights and its situation. The film was banned from Greece, at the time.

The late ’60s were characterized by political oppression from the authorities and a strong folk movement (oriented by the political left) that sought its identification in the traditional Hellenic roots. A lot of male and female folk singers were known throughout Greece but the outside world remained virtually oblivious to them. Most of the bands that existed back then, however, played only cover versions of English-sung hits and their overall approach was orientated towards light pop and beat. They were called The Rabbits, The Stormies, The Teenagers, The Knacks, etc.

Z's Poster
Z’s Poster

In the very beginning, the most well-known bands were from outside Greece: Aphrodite’s Child and Axis, achieved relative commercial success in France, singing in English, debuting albums, single charts and appearances on TV shows.

Domestically, over the ’70s, bands and artists like, Socrates Drank the Conium, Nostradamus, Akritas, Iraklis, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Manos Hadjidakis, Kostas Tournas, and Pavlos Sidiropoulos, were largely observed, censored or even arrested by the military junta. (!) This is some of the key figures in the national rock scene, ελληνικό ροκ (Greek Rock). Even the term psychedelic is derived from the Ancient Greek, words psuchē (ψυχή – psyche, mind) and dēlōsē (δήλωση – manifest): 

Translating to mind-manifesting!

But today we’ll speak of a woman, their achievements and wonderful music.

Let’s go to her history:

Mariza Koch is one of the most renowned Greek singers of all time (together with Fleury Dandonakis). Endowed with a superb voice and a colorful timbre, she’s famous for served the Greek traditional music and been the first to introduce electric sound to folklore. Always working beside poets, such as Sappho, Kostas Varnalis and the Greek poet of the seas Kavvadias; its lyrical depth is one of the aspects, which will always be remembered, her minstrel attitude, the freedom of speech and its political views over one of the heaviest cultural heritages from our history.

Young Mariza
Young Mariza

Born March 14, 1944, in Athens by a Greek mother and a German father, member of the army occupation, he was executed by the Nazi forces the very year of her birth. Mariza and her sister Eirini grew up in her mother’s native Thera (Santorini).

From four to nine years old, she grew up in an institution, the widowed mother had problems growing two kids and working alongside. This fact develops a strong bond with her work on itself. Nowadays, she established an own record label (Verso Music) destined to folklore/traditional songs from all over Greece and more specifically, music for children. The experimental music center, Movement & Logos Mariza Koch designed for experimental music teaching only for children has its own choir, plays, books, and cd releases; this is her flag today, an author and educator.

But let us return to our biography

Hippy
Hippy

The time lived in Santorini, founded the roots of its musical expression: the contact with Byzantine music and insular songs. At age 16, she returned to Athens to take music lessons. There, gained contact with the common wave, it’s performers, and debuts commercially in 1967. Two years later, shares an Lp with Nick Chouliaras, based on folk and traditional songs. The year 1970, in Greece, marks the very birth of greek bands singing in greek, Koch’s album ain’t the original first one, but it’s way thicker than other releases from the time, more distant from original folklore.

Based on several traditional regions of Greece, Arabas saw huge commercial success and led her to a large career on different record labels, through the decades.

Mariza: ‘When I started singing was in the era of dictatorship, the very beginning. I wanted to sing an uncensored version from numerous songs, but they all passed through censorship and I can not say exactly what they wanted. So I chose to sing traditional songs that I love very much and I had grown up with them. So the cry of protest is not like before, I took through the text, through the electric instruments and cover versions of songs that I did. It was my personal revolution.’

1976
1976

Soon established as a premier folk singer in her country, instructed by Manos Hadjidakis, she took part in the Eurovision Song 1976 contest, held in Hague, with the song Panagia Mou, Panagia Mou, written by herself, in protest by the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. The coup within the coupled more than 5,000 dead and wounded on and off the isle. (!) The song ends up in 13th place, but its performance, transmitted live through Europe, unleashes her success worldwide.

From that point, she traveled around the globe singing in greatest theaters and recognized music festivals in Western Europe, Russia, Canada, USA, Latin America, Australia, India, Middle East, and Africa as an ambassador of Greek traditional music. Dozens of albums were launched, and over time its aesthetic transformations changed the main proposal of its career: original folklore, from the past with traditional instruments formations (lyres, flutes, and Cretan lyras).

Let’s go to our record:

Today’s record is a bit different, this is for all those who do not resist an acoustic side with strong connections to the traditional folklore. You all will be pleased with a blessed voice, a tuned backing band (bass, drums, guitar, keyboards) and all these beautiful songs and instruments from the Mediterranean!

Eurovision Performance
Eurovision Performance

Mariza’s unique vocals became the centerpiece of the music, which one, more than one occasion needed no accompaniment. Indeed, it’s first solo foray Arabas (Αραμπάς), released in 1971, was a step forward on a greek musical constellation, the first gold album (50.000) in its history! An almost rock album with traditional blends, heavy drums, swing guitar, light fuzz, breakbeats, led by a powerful female voice, who was also a sharp musician and composer, something unusual for the time!

Mariza: ‘Nothing is difficult if it comes from your truth. The difficulties aren’t that will run, as long as it will go, how they establish what you have inside you. For me, it was not difficult this blend, these traditional covers. This sounds like to give and I’m fortunate that he loved and fell in a good time when the audience of my generation understood what was needed. It was a model that was presented as a personal need.’

Live Extasis
Live Extasis

The ‘IM’ highlights are Arabas (Αραμπάς), a mysterious lute introduction unravels a psych melody with hard percussion pace, eerie organs and sweet rhythm guitar, like many others of the album, none of its songs overlaps 4 minutes! And: Smyrna Dance (Σμυρνέϊκος Χορός), an instrumental one, apropos, the unique in that feel on all record, by the way, Smyrna is an ancient city located on the coast of Anatolia, showing us how Greek and Turkish culture can merge, despite the old cultural brawl.

On the back cover, Mariza writes: ‘I started with the desire to keep up with the evolution of our time carrying through my experiences, which are directly associated with the traditional song. So I began an effort to the contemporary expression of traditional song, encouraged by the fact that it always transformed into the tradition.’

Here’s a TV appearance, from 1973, where she sings in a psychedelic scenario, and on its final seconds, her brilliant hippy political view.

Lastly, you can check her astounding performance in Eurovision 76′.

Boa Viagem!

Tracks Include (polytonic, romanized and translated):

A1 Κάτω Απ’ Τη Βροχή / Kato Apo Ti Broxi (Walking in the Rain)

A2 Ο Μέρμηγκας / O Mermigkas (The Big Ant)

A3 Αραμπάς / Arabas (Carriage)

A4 Το Αρμενάκι / To Armenaki (Sailor Boy)

A5 Σαράντα Πήχες Δίμιτο / Saranta Pixes Dimito (Forty Yards of Twill)

A6 Η Λαφίνα / H Lafina (Mother Doe)

B1 Σκέψεις (Χιλιοτσακισμένο) / Skepsis (Thoughts)

B2 Ο Γιάννης / O Giannis (John & Song)

B3 Τσάπ’ Δηλαδή / Tsap Diladi (Tsap)

B4 Τ’ Άστρο Και Το Φεγγαράκι / To Astro Kai To Feggaraki (The Star and The Moon)

B5 Σμυρνέϊκος Χορός / Smirneikos Xoros (Smyrna Dance)

Credits

  • Composed, Adapted: Μαρίζα Κωχ (Mariza Koch)
  • Orchestrated, Conductor: Νίκος Παναγόπουλος (Nick Panagopoulos)

Minos ‎– MSM 139 (Mono) or Minos ‎– ST.MSM 139 (Stereo)

Mariza, Lately
Mariza, Lately
StereoMono

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The Music of Parallel Realities

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Bodega Pop

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GRAVETOS & BERLOTAS

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Las Galletas de Maria

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Rock Peruano (Imágenes)

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Discófilos Anônimos

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Global Groove Independent

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Toque Musical

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La Nave Del Rock Argento

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JPOP80SS

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'Girls Of The Golden East' - (Mostly) Seventies Songstresses of the Soviet Satellites

'Girls Of The Golden East' - Female and Female-led Pop Music from the former Eastern Bloc from the late 1960s to the early 1980s

Flabbergasted Vibes

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Sangre Yakuza

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JUGO ROCK FOREVER

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50 Watts

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lady walker

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FLASH STRAP

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Cabeza de Moog !

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madrotter-treasure-hunt

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BibliOdyssey

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Rockasteria

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Discos con Mucho Polvo

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Órfãos do Loronix

Recuperando o acervo do Loronix

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