Osamu Kitajima (喜多嶋修) – Benzaiten (1974)

capa cópiaThe music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji  ‘on’ (sound) with the kanji  ‘gaku’ (enjoy). Many instruments, as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries, the accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the 16th century. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of many modern Western composers.

Notable classical composers from Japan include Toru Takemitsu and Rentarō Taki.

Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848
Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848

Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of J-pop (popular music). Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, with a total retail value of over 3 billion dollars in 2013, dominated by Japanese artists. Karaoke is also the most widely practiced cultural activity, ahead of flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies. Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western music as it’s based on the intervals of human breathing rather than mathematical timing. (!)

Toru Takemitsu
Toru Takemitsu

Let’s go to our artist:

Osamu Kitajima (February 3, 1949) was born and raised in the beach town of Chigasaki (Kanagawa Prefecture), as a young man he studied classical guitar and piano; his first band the Launchers, was led by pop idol and actor Yuzo Kayama, the group disbanded in the late ’60s, after Kitajima began to work on his own.

After graduating from Keio University, and already a successful composer of TV and advertising jingles, he moved for one year to the UK in 1971, which brought him in to contact with British folk and psychedelia. Inspired by The Beatles, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett, he dubbed himself Justin Heathcliff and issued a lone eponymous album.

Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972
Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972

His first solo album in 1974, Benzaiten, was a mix of modern pop and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in Japan and later released abroad (Antilles label in U.S.) where it received some underground radio airplay and sold moderately. Also in 1974 Kitajima relocated to the Los Angeles area and later opened East Quest Studios; the late ’70s and ’80s saw the establishment of its career, with more than a dozen Lp’s, he has become one of Japan’s biggest selling artist internationally!

During the decades, Osamu Kitajima expanded his work to include commercial and soundtrack work, he provided part of the music to the blockbuster mini-series Shogun and contributed to the soundtrack of Sharkey’s Machine. He also arranged the scores for PBS documentaries on Japan, Chinese/Japanese film Mandala and produced a number of artists. Nowadays, inside East Quest Records, he continues to release his own albums (new and re-issues), as well as works by countless artists.

Osamu's Portrait
Osamu’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

This is truly a melting pot of Western rock and Japanese traditional music, very few have pulled it off so well as Kitajima does here. Either they usually fall prey to new age sappiness or move towards amateurish exploitation, fortunately, it does not happen here, a real serious work, the type of rock-influenced world music that still hasn’t been much explored at all. The album also featured Haruomi Hosono and it utilized various electronics: synthesizerrhythm machine, and electronic drums.

A bit different from our previous entry Buddha Meet Rock, this is a more elaborate record, with brilliant musicians and cinematic feelings, being a cornerstone of Japanese folklore, be enlightened by Kitajima’s masterful work and Bono Trinus!

Benzaiten Goddess
Benzaiten Goddess

The ‘IM’ highlights are Taiyo (The Sun) and Benzaiten (Reprise).

Tracks Include:

A1 Benzaiten (The God of Music and Water)

A2 Taiyo (The Sun)

A3 Tengu (A Long-Nosed Goblin)

B1 Benzaiten (Reprise)

B2 Whoma (Immortality)

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Koto, Biwa, Drums (African, Mexican), Electronic Drums (Rhythm Machine): Osamu Kitajima
  • Bass: Dennis Belfield, John Harris
  • Biwa: Masako Hirayama
  • Drums (African): Kinji Yoshino
  • Drums (Tsuzumi), Percussion (Narimono): Kisaku Katada
  • Electric Bass: Haruomi Hosono
  • Electric Guitar: George Marinelli
  • Flute (Hayashi-bue): Haruyoshi Hosei
  • Keyboards: Brian Whitcomb
  • Shakuhachi: Tatsuya Sano
  • Sho: Yosei Sato
  • Engineer: Kinji Yoshino
  • Engineer (Assistant): Yutaka Matsumoto
  • Producer: Kinji Yoshino, Osamu Kitajima
  • Distributed and Manufactured: Island Records Inc.
  • Antilles U.S. release of the album first released by Island Records (Japan) in 1974.

Recorded through Jan/Aug 1974 at Hit Studio of Jean Jean Theater, Tokyo

Whoma recorded live at Nikkei Hall.

Antilles ‎– AN 7016

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival

ВИА Севиль (VIA Sevil) – Севиль (Sevil) [1978]

vagif, azizaIn terms of ethnicity, culture, music, and religionAzerbaijan is much closer to Iran than Turkey, the country has the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority democratic and secular republic of the modern eraTheir music is based on folk traditions that reach back nearly a thousand years! We can list here e.g. the Mugham, Meykhana and Ashiq Art being one of the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan.

Mugham is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes, it belongs to the modal system and may have derived from Persian tradition (Arabic Maqam). In contrast to the mugham traditions of Central Asian countries, Azeri mugham is more free-form and it is often compared to the improvised field of jazz. Its modes are associated not only with scales but with an orally transmitted collection of melodies and melodic fragments that performers use in the course of improvisation.

Nizami Ganjavi, 16th Century
Nizami Ganjavi, 16th Century

The dramatic unfolding in performance is associated with increasing intensity, rising pitches, in a form of poetic-musical communication amid performers/listeners.

In 2003, UNESCO recognized Mugham as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Another curiosity is the presence of the Balaban (national wind instrument) included on the Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft as representing (assorted) world music.

Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azeri distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject. Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance, and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Based on a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the Saz, this tradition has its origins in the ancient Turkic peoples, surviving to the present day as an emblem of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature, and music. (!)

Azeri Dance
Azeri Dance

Let’s go to our music:

Jazz is extremely popular in Azerbaijan. National Jazz School of Azerbaijan was established with the birth of State Jazz Orchestra in 1938 performing both classic jazz and improvisations on traditional Mugham music. The life of Jazz did not last long as in the ’50s Soviet authorities banned its performance in the country as seditious western music, even music played on the saxophone was outlawed!

Therefore, a blend which came to be known as mugam jazz had originated in Baku.

In the late ’60s, the Azeri jazz music was boosted by such composers as Qara Qarayev and Rauf Hajiyev. It was the era of Rafiq Babayev’s jazz quartet, and later, that of Vagif Mustafazadeh, who pioneered the jazz-mugham variation.

Qara Qarayev
Qara Qarayev

Let’s go to our artist:

Vagif Mustafa-Zadeh (March 16, 1940 – December 17, 1979) is the founder of Azerbaijani jazz mugham movement that emerged in the late ’60s and ’70s in Baku.

Mustafazadeh was born in Old City, the historic core of the Baku, his name was chosen by the renowned poet Samed Vurgun, on the request of his mother, a piano teacher in local music school. The musical prohibitions during the ’40s and ’50s meant that the playing of jazz was banned in USSR countries, including Azerbaijan since there was no opportunity to get jazz records from anywhere, he listened to jazz pieces, learning from movies, the BBC radio and sang the also banned Meykhana.

In 1963, he graduated from Baku State Musical School named after Asaf Zeynally and a year later accepted to Azerbaijan State Conservatoire. He first achieved fame at the music school, giving concerts there, later on performing at the parties and evenings held at the universities and clubs, while performing at the clubs, he mainly played classical jazz, as well as some blues and (even) pop-dance music!

A Young Maestro
A Young Maestro

From the ’60s, prohibitions put on jazz music were gradually lifted and thus the late 1960s and ’70s became a time when Baku was a real center of inspired jazz.

In 1965, he quit the conservatoire and went to Tbilisi to lead the Orero musical ensemble, later he created the Qafqaz jazz trio at Georgian State Philharmonic.

In 1970 he formed the Leyli women’s quartet and followed the formula in 1971 with the (famous) Sevil vocal-instrumental ensemble. The group was founded on the basis of the State TV & Radio of Azerbaijan SSR, with soloists U. Hajibeyov, Dilara Dzhangirova, and Rena TalybovaUntil 1977 he guided tirelessly all of ’em!

Sevil, 70's
Sevil, 70’s

For its composition Waiting for Aziza, Mustafazadeh won first prize at the 8th International Competition of Jazz Composers in Monaco, 1978. He was also elected as laureate at Donetsk All-Soviet Union Jazz Festival in 1977 and elected as the best pianist in Tbilisi-78. Vagif Mustafazadeh is assigned Honored Artist of Azerbaijan SSR and after his death Azerbaijani State Prize. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack shortly after a concert in Tashkent, and before the birthdays of his wife and daughter. Mustafazadeh was married twice, from the first marriage he had Lala, a classical pianist. His second marriage gave him (famous) Aziza Mustafa Zadeh.

More than three decades since Mustafazade’s passing, a larger number of his recordings are more widely available than at any time during his lifetime. (RIP)

Vagif Mustafa Zadeh
Vagif Mustafa Zadeh (Art)

Let’s go to our album:

This is one of those rare moments when everything goes right! I’m totally rapt about the music of this incredible artist, composer, arranger, and icon. Be blessed by the wonderful vocal harmonies, deep instrumental tracks, folk and even a bit of funk-rock. Today we won’t talk much, the music speaks for itself, despite the quality of the rip, the overall is fantastic, a long-lasting jazz album, appraise it and yaxşı səfər!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Beauty Black Eyebrows and Mugam.

Tracks Include:

A1 Дороги (Roads) / (V. Mustafazade – F. Qoca)

A2 Золотое колечко (Golden Ring) / (T. Quliyev – R. Rza)

A3 Сурьма для черных бровей (Beauty Black Eyebrows) / (V. Mustafazade – Xalq)

A4 От судьбы не уйдешь (No Escaping Fate) / (V. Mustafazade)

B1 Во дворце ширваншахов (In the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs) / (V. Mustafazade)

B2 Любимая (Favorite) / (R. Haciyev – O. Olibeyli)

B3 Мугам (Mugam) / (R. Mirisli)

B4 Сегодняшний день (This Day) / (V. Mustafazade)

Мелодия ‎– С60 10157

Baku by Night
Baku by Night

Tafo Brothers – Plugged in Pakistani Pops (2009)

foto cópia

The history of Pakistan film industry is interspersed with many vicissitudes. Starting almost from a scratch soon after the political division of the Sub-continent (1947), it gradually progressed to achieve self-reliance and prosperity, and a time came when it could proudly and successfully compete with quality films made across the border in India, matching them in (almost) all departments of cinematography.

The golden era of Pakistan cinema was the period between the ’60s and ’70s, although a number of good movies had already been produced in Lahore studios during the second half of the ’50s. A large number of dedicated movie-makers, who had made names during their stay in Mumbai, like producer-directors Nazir, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi and WZ Ahmad (their actress-wives Swaran Lata, Noor Jahan, and Neena); directors Nazir Ajmeri, Luqman, S Fazli and Masud Parvez.

Noor Jahan
Noor Jahan

And lastly, play-actors of the caliber of Shah Nawaz, Shakir, Alauddin, Charlie, Ghauri, Himaliyawala, Sadiq Ali, Shameem, Najma, and Ragni contributed to the evolution of Pakistan film industry during the formative years of the new state.

Lollywood ranks among the top twenty film producing nations with an average of 60 full-length feature films per year. Lollywood should take pride in achieving two distinct accolades. The first relates to Noor Jehan, also known as ‘Melody Queen’, she is the country’s most celebrated singer and actress, enjoying popularity in a career spanning about sixty years! Followed by actor Sultan Rahi was yet another phenomenon with a total number of 670 films, playing key roles in 525 films in a period of almost forty years between 1956 to 1995, averaging 16.75 films a year!

Nayyar Sultana
Nayyar Sultana (Malka-i- Jazbaat – Queen of Sentiments)

In spite of all, almost all Pakistani films cater to the local market and no serious effort has been made to broaden the audience base of its films or to enter these at international festivals. Very little, therefore, is known or heard about Lollywood outside the country, the indifference and timidity as evinced by this industry have a lot to do with the peculiar history of the (difficult) evolution of cinema in Pakistan.

The strategy of prolonged protectionism has failed to solve its main problems, along with the loss of East Pakistan territory, the inception of television, and the infiltration of non-artistic financiers, who had no or little background, either in the arts, or business. Consequently, senior film-makers, directors and composers went into voluntary exile and the industry was taken over by rich people who invested money for purposes other than artistic ends, much based only on profits.

These factors contributed to the ultimate decline of Pakistan film industry. (!)

Nimmi (Nawab Banoo)
Nimmi (Hindustani Vamp)

Let’s go to our artist:

As leading exponents of Lahore’s vibrant film industry, the Brothers Tafo gave Lollywood its first rock group in the form of expanded Sextet commonly known as Tafo or Taffoo to Punjabi and Urdu listeners. Mostly instrumental in composition, the sibling writing team emerged in 1970 providing incidental music and sonic variations for Lollywood love stories, with equivalence to the works of RD Burman, Mr. M.Ashraf or Sohail Rana. They would enjoy over a decade of film scoring and musical experimentation at the hi-tech EMI funded recording studios in Lahore.

Echo-plexes, primitive drum machines, analogue synths, fuzz pedals and such, provided many mundane film-scenes with playful/infectious freak-rock courtesy of these uber-legends who were the first Lollywood group to record their own LP!

Tafo Soundtrack
Tafo 70’s Soundtrack

Let’s go to our album:

The Tafo Brothers were let loose in the EMI studios in Lahore and were seemingly intent on playing every keyboard, stringed instrument and sound effect in the place. All tracks overflow with ideas, constantly shifting mood and sound as though played by these hyperactive geniuses. A delightful mix of Eastern grooves, vintage electronics, psych, and pop combined with a half-ton of charm and a dash of wit.

Once again, this entry must thank the work of Hindustani Vinyl and splendid releases from Finders Keepers, re-discovering Lollywood scene, with its spaced out and funky grooves. This amalgamation of sounds may be leftover in Pakistan cinema nowadays, but we’ll be alert for more of these mighty artists, as Tafo Khan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan works, be in touch, and Maayo Nga Biyahe!

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The ‘IM’ highlights are Bijli Bhari Hai and Tere Siwa Dunya Men.

Tracks Include:

A1 Yeh Aaj Mujh Ko

A2 Tut Tooro Tooro Tara Tara

A3 Oh My Love

A4 Bura Honda Juwariyan Da

A5 Par Kahin Aankh Laraee

A6 Bijli Bhari Hai

B1 Dilon Man Laee

B2 To Shamae-Mohabbat

B3 Mera Mehboob Hai Tu

B4 Lakh Karo Inkar

B5 Tere Siwa Dunya Men

B6 Munda Shahr Lahore Da

Credits

Finders Keepers’ Disposable Music library imprint.

Disposable Music ‎– DiM001

Neelam Valley
Neelam Valley

Konstantin Orbelyan Orchestra – Государственный Эстрадный Оркестр Армении (Armenian State Estrada Orchestra) [1978]

armenia, orchestraThe music of Armenia has its origins in the Armenian Highlands, where people traditionally sang popular folk songs, with a long musical tradition, that was primarily collected and developed by Komitas, a prominent priest and musicologist, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Armenian music has been presented internationally by composers Aram Khachaturian, Arno Babadjanian, duduk player Djivan Gasparyan, composer Ara Gevorgyan, pop singer Sirusho, amid others.

One of the oldest types of Armenian music is the Armenian chantthe most common kind of religious music in Armenia, many of these chants are ancient in origin, extending to pre-Christian times, while others are relatively modern, including several composed by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, (simply) Armenian alphabet’s inventor.

Prokofiev, Shostakovich & Aaram Khachaturian
Prokofiev, Shostakovich & Aaram Khachaturian

Under Soviet domination, Armenian folk music was taught in state-sponsored conservatoires, instruments played include qamancha (similar to a violin), kanun (dulcimer), dhol (hand drum), oud (lute), zurna, blul (ney), shvi and saz.

Other instruments are often used such as violin and clarinet, and the duduk is Armenia’s national instrument. Traditional Armenian folk music as Armenian church music is not based on the European tonal system but on a system of Tetrachords, the last note of one tetrachord also serves as the first note of the next, which makes Armenian folk music based on a theoretically endless scale. (!)

Traditional Ensemble
Traditional Ensemble

Let’s go to our artist:

Konstantin Aghaparoni Orbelyan (July 29, 1928 – April 24, 2014) an Armenian pianist, composer, head of the State Estrada Orchestra of Armenia. He was a People’s Artist of USSR (1979), Union of Soviet Composers Board member, Armenian Composer’s Union secretary since 1983, Vice-President of All-Soviet Musical Society of the USSR. Also the uncle of his namesake Constantine Orbelian, he has been acknowledged as a pianist and improviser since he was in his early teens.

At age fifteen, he was invited to perform with the Armenian State Pop Orchestra, formed in 1938 in Yerevan, and subsequently became its conductor. Under his able direction for thirty-six years, the Orchestra rose to become one of the most accomplished of its kind. As a result, it came to represent Soviet jazz over thirty countries in Eastern and Western Europe, Near EastAfrica, and Southeast Asia!

Konstantin Orbelyan
Konstantin Orbelyan

Graduating in composition and piano from Edward Mirzoyan’s class of composition at Yerevan’s Komitas Conservatory in 1963, Orbelian achieved early recognition for his String Quartet, winning first prize at the International Competition in Moscow, where the chairman of the Competition’s panel of judges was the composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Orbelian’s rising talent and success were noted with great appreciation by the doyen of Armenian music of the time: Aram Khachaturian.

Next followed the premiere of Orbelian’s first symphony in Moscow’s famous Tchaikovsky Hall by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra. For this symphony, Orbelian was awarded the title ‘Laureate of the All-Union Competition’. His ballet symphony Immortality was composed in 1975 and performed by the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater. This work, too, won first prize in an All-Union Competition devoted to the music stage. One of the Orchestra’s highlights was its American tour (1975) which included twenty-five concerts in major cities from coast to coast. (!)

Live
Live

In the beginning of the ’90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union working with the orchestra and creating music became very difficult. In 1992 Konstantin Orbelian moved to San Francisco, spending his last moments in Los Angeles. Ever versatile in the scope of his repertoire, he has written musical scores for many films and stage musicals, music for theater, not to mention his extensive work in jazz/pop music.

Recently, more than 8 cd’s have been released with compositions for symphonic orchestra, as well as jazz and pop music, with an endless number of awards placing the maestro in one of the highest recognition spots throughout the globe.

Let’s go to our album:

Thanks to the fantastic work of our friends from Soviet Groove, we’ve been able to rediscover the pinnacle of Jazz, Pop, and Soul from countries like Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, etc. At a time when the Iron Curtain still ruled the old world order, to the surprise of all, great composers/musicians had an exact idea of ​​what the Western world consumed!

Armenian (Bagratid Dynasty) Costume
Armenian (Bagratid Dynasty) Costume

I would go even further, groups like Gunesh, Firyuza, Yalla, Qaya, Sevil, among others, conceived one of the finest meetings between Jazz and Folk music. Our today album is just a first step of a fascinating and little-known aspect of these faraway cultures, mostly supported by legendary Melodiya (Μелодия) label, soon we’ll have an entry solely to this. By now, remain with a great Western-like big-band and վայելել!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Ты Моя Песня (A5) and Вокализ (B4).

Tracks Include:

A1 Сто Часов Счастья (One Hundred Hours of Happiness)

A2 Твои Следы (Your Footprints)

A3 Назан Яр (Nazan Yar) w/ Larisa Dolina

A4 Восход Солнца (Sunrise)

A5 Ты Моя Песня (You’re my Song) w/ Datevik Hovanesian

B1 Силуэт (Silhouette)

B2 Шум Берез (Noise Birches)

B3 Весенний Экспромт (Spring Impromptu)

B4 Вокализ (Vocalise) w/ Datevik Hovanesian

B5 Спасибо, Жизнь (Thanks for Life)

Мелодия ‎– С60–09733–34

Cafesjian Museum (breathtaking) Vista
Cafesjian Museum (breathtaking) Vista

Embryo – Embryo’s Reise (1979)

capa cópiaThis post is dedicated to German friends, simply, one of our faithful visitors, Vielen Dank! Let’s make another recap on the subject Krautrock, shall we? Years away from the Xhol Caravan entry, Embryo’s galaxy roamed through our World during its existence, influenced by psych, prog, ethio-jazz, fusion, and today’s album are definitely my favorite, a special gem, let’s learn how to cultivate it!?

Let’s go to our music:

Krautrock (Kosmische Musik) is a German avant-garde, experimental rock movement that emerged at the end of the 60’s, intending to go beyond the eccentricities developed by the psychedelic rock of the US, by giving a special emphasis to electronic treatments, sound manipulation and minimal hypnotic motifs (musique concrete/minimalist) Krautrock put the emphasis on extended/ecstatic instrumental epics, neglecting the (trivial) pop universe.

The term Krautrock was first used by the British music press in a very derogatory way, though it rapidly found a better reputation under the underground music circle, gaining (with time) certain popularity, also thanks to the Brain-Festival Essen.

Ash Ra Tempel's Flyer, 1973
Ash Ra Tempel, Bravo’s Magazine / 1973

With their own particular artistic expression, multiple musical collectives supplied psychedelic incantations, mantra-like drones, lugubrious atmospheres, long and convoluted collective improvisations, binary repetitive drum pulses, fuzz guitars, primitive electronic noises, hallucinatory ballads, and garage blues rock trips. Krautrock can be described as an anarchic, intense, acid, tellurian, nocturnal, spacey, dark and oniric adventure through rock music! (phew!!)

The most consistent years of the scene cover a relatively short period from 1970 to 1975. After their first spontaneous, hyperactive and psychedelic efforts, the bands generally split up or declined into other musical sensibilities, more in line with mainstream rock or with ambient soundscapes. Each region develops its particular musical scene, interpreting differently the Krautrock musical structure.

Faust
Faust

For instance, the Berlin school focused on astral synthscapes, weird electronic experimentation and acid jams (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, The Cosmic Jokers, Kluster), the Munich scene offered fuzzed-out (Eastern) psych rock mantras with some folk accents (Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Gila, Guru Guru). Cologne and Dusseldorf underground scenes focused on political rock, electronics, pulsating rhythms and clean sounding (Floh de Cologne, La Dusseldorf, Neu!, Can).

Let’s go to our artist:

Embryo is centered around multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, founded in the late ’60s after Burchard had played in several jazz combos and allegedly spent a short time in Amon Düül II. Since then, busloads of musicians have played together with him in Embryo and there are probably not two albums with the same line-up.

Nevertheless, some musicians stayed with Burchard for quite a long time, Roman Bunka and Edgar Hoffman were one of those. Two excellent multi-instrumentalists who both remained for most of the ’70s and 80’s In addition, Embryo has also played constantly with musicians from outside Europe, especially from Asia and Africa. (!)

Multi-Arts Embryo!
Multi-Arts Embryo!

The continuous changes in the band line up and the wide range of musical styles probably typify the musical restlessness of Burchard. Although the band started as a Krautrock outfit, it was clear within a few albums that he had a genuine interest in combining jazz, rock and a large variety of ethnic (different) music styles.

Throughout the ’70s, the jazz and ethnic influences were often embedded in a jazz-rock/fusion format, while in the mid and late 80’s the band often focused on purely ethnic music, especially from Africa. During the ’90s, Embryo developed more or less into an ethnic jazz band, rarely restricting themselves to a strict compositional format, always allowing ample room for spontaneous musical interaction.

70's
Kraut-World

Surprisingly, Embryo still exits after 30 years and the band still play many concerts and festivals, throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

This double album is certainly one of the best attempts to fuse progressive-type rock with ethnic/world music and few have succeeded as well as Embryo’s Reise (voyage). Indeed around the departure of the ever-important Roman Bunka, plans had been made to travel from Istanbul to Pakistan and Nepal, while recording their musical encounters with the many people found on their road paths!

Embyo’s Reise
Embyo’s Reise

The group was giving improvised multimedia concerts along the way, including stunning live performance paintings, some of these jams are actually really successful, mixing the European (often electric) rock musicians and the acoustic local musicians (Road To Asia), while others are more ethnic players playing freely along.

Symbolic of the 70’s hippy dream, a real must not only in Embryo’s discography!

Embryo Live, Lately
Embryo Live, Lately

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Kurdistan and Cello Celloਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਸਫਰ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਤ ਰਹੇ!

Tracks Include:

A1 Strasse Nach Asien (Christian Burchard)

A2 Paki Funk (Michael Wehmayer)

A3 Lost Scooters (Roman Bunka)

A4 Anar, Anar (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

B1 Es Ist, Wie’s Ist (Christian Burchard)

B2 Kurdistan (Christian Burchard)

B3 Far East (Roman Bunka)

B4 Chan Delawar Khan (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

C1 Farid (Christian Burchard)

C2 Cello, Cello (Christian Burchard)

D1 Rog de Quadamuna Achna (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

D2 Hymalaya Radio (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

Credits

Roman Bunka: guitar, vocals, bass, piano, guitar synth, drums, oud

Christian Burchard: vocals, drums, synth-vibes, percussion, tamtam, marimbaphone, pianet

Remigius Drexler: acoustic & electric guitars

Edgar Hoffmann: violin, soprano saxophone, shinai, dilruba, flute, harmonica

Uve Müllrich: bass, electric guitar, oud, rhubab, electric saz, vocals, percussion

Michael Wehmayer: organ, piano, harmonium

Participations

Abdul Jabar: tula / Friedemann Josh: flute / Abdul Madjid: tambur

Schamsdin Masrur: dotar / Mrs. Ramamani: vocals / Mr. Chandramouli: kanjira

Mr. Chandrasekhar: khol / Mr. Gopalakrishna: tabla / Mr. Rajagopal: dhol

Mr. Ramesh: ghatam / Mr. Ramesh Shotam: tavil / Mr. Ravi: dolki

Mr. Sashikumar: mridangam, top pitch / Mr. Sampath Kumar: morsing

Mr. Satyakumar: dholak / Mr. TS Mani: mridangam / Malang Negrabi: zerbagali

Ustad Mohamed Omar: rubab / Machin Abdul Raschid: saranda

Ashok Roy: sarod / Ustad Salim: dilruba / *Ubekannter Zirkusansager: vocals

Bahul Jazz Group of Calcutta: tam-tam, flute, violin, vocals

  • Cover: Hartmut Bremer, Stefan Rustige, Uve Müllrich
  • Engineer: Etienne Conod, Günter Heidler, Rolf Sylvester
  • Mastered: Rico Sonderegger
  • Photography: Georg Kramer, Michael Wehmeyer
  • Recorded: Brian Greenman, Etienne Conod (tracks: A1, B2, B3, C1),
  • Gunni Heidler (tracks: A3, D2), Rolf Sylvester (tracks: A3, A4, B3, C1, D1)

Recordings from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Recorded Sept 1978 – May 1979

Remix and playback July 1979 by Sunrise-Studios, Kirchberg, Switzerland.

Notes

Tracks A1, B1 and B2 recorded after returning from the journey in August/September 1979 at Sunrise Studio. Track A2, with vocals from an unknown Circus Announcer*, recorded in November 1978 10 km west of Peshawar, Pakistan in the tent of Jan Bahader Circus. Track A4, B3, B4, C1, D1 recorded March 1979 at Goethe-Institut Kabul, Afghanistan; Playbacks for Track B3, C1 July 1979 at Sunrise Studio.

Track D2 recorded at doon school Dehra Dun, Himalaya, India. Track A3, C2 recorded February 1979 in Bangalore (Heidler, Sylvester), track A3 playbacks July 1979 at Sunrise Studio, KirchbergD4 recorded January 1979 in the docks of Calcutta (Greenman). Track D3 is a ‘field recording’ from December 1978.

Berlin City Nights
Berlin City Nights