Mikael Ramels Musikband – Rycker Dej I Svansen (1979)

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Sweden. Despite being known worldwide by its pop mass bands such as ABBA, Roxette, and Ace of Base, this Scandinavian rich country saw the usual rock development throughout its 60’s and 70’s in a very special way.

The so-called Progg scene, a left-wing and anti-commercial heterogeneous movement that paved the path for bands who didn’t want to sign with major labels, intended their own distribution methods and organized numerous music festivals and forums along the country’s decade. This unique attitude, unthinkable in many countries that would still suffer from military coups or persecution, featured a broad spectrum of musical styles, such as pop, folk, psych and prog

Artists like Bo Hansson, Mikael Ramel, Kebnekajse, Hoola Bandoola Band, Nationalteatern and Samla Mammas Manna vied for the attention of anarchists, communists, and socialists audiences in the very early of the ’70s. (!)

Steampacket
Steampacket

The movement was closely connected to similar fronts in arts, theatre, design, and to alternative lifestyles; most lyrics were in Swedish and had a strong criticism against the governing Social Democratic Party. There was also a movement in support of the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam, for instance.

And the famous protests to stop tennis matches against tennis players from the Pinochet-ruled Chile in Båstad 1975. At the end of the decade, however, the movement started to decline, as many of the bands disintegrated and the music forums were closed. The left-wing ideals became less dominating among youngsters, and rock/folk were being replaced by hard rock and electronic music.

Steampacket, At Ease
Steampacket, At Ease

On the other hand, since the end of the ’90s and the saturation from the vanguards of yore, many Progg bands have experienced some renaissance, reuniting for concerts, and new records/DVDs. The film Together (2000), directed by Lukas Moodysson goes through that era, with a satirical view of socialist values, tied with a bittersweet comedy, it also offers some brilliant soundtrack, check it!

Let’s go to their history:

Mikael Ramel is the son of the legendary Povel Ramel, whose witty tunes from the ’40s and onwards have made him one of the Swedish national treasures, probably the greatest one! With influences from Beatles, Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Dr. John, they recorded a single together in 1965 before Mikael formed Steampacket the same year.

Recording, 70's
Recording, 70’s

He played all the instruments himself on his first solo Ep, released on January 1967, special note to the track ‘Bara Ett Par Dar’. Ramel started working on his first solo album in 1969, painstakingly putting it together in his home studio, he wasn’t done until three years later. At the time of the release of Till Dej, Ramel was an also a member of Flasket Brinner, Sweden’s prolific progg / jazz band!

Till Dej (1972) is a great effort of inventive and gracious Swedish-language folk-psychedeliaExtravagansa (1974) features more experimentation and was made by the same core musicians. 3:Dje Skivan (1977) is more polished but the experimenting is kept at bay. The album features the rhythm section of Kaj Söderström (bass, keyboards) and Hempo Hillden (drums). Both were members of Splash, the band plays on half of the tracks on Ramel’s last 70’s album, Rycker Dej i Svansen.

Mikael Ramel continues making music, although he’s a music therapist.

Portrait
Portrait

Let’s go to our record:

A bit aside from the whole scène, Mikael stands out as one of the most famous and talented artists from Sweden, imagine yourself being a son from the greatest artist of its country, it shouldn’t be easy, but Mikael was not complexed with that, aside from early comparisons, he traced its own path and sound. His first two records got a straight folk-rock direction that was completely dissolved in this one, again this is a marvelous point outside the curve of someone’s career!

Mikael: ‘This Lp was made with two different bands. I came in contact with the group Splash from Söderhamn. I had heard them and liked very much for their experimental and crazy folkloric music. After a period of contact, we agreed on an exchange, I promised to record an Lp with them on my existing mobile studio, for letting me use them as musicians in the whole production. They were nine people in the band, it was one of life’s absolute peaks! Earnings eventually became the Splash (1978) Lp.’

Today
Today

With a beautiful voice, tight band, arrangements and a fabulous mix of genres, the ‘IM’ highlights are Förpackningar, a megaton reggae that could be perfectly played by The Wailers!. And Jag Rycker Dig I Svansen, a crazy disco-funk with some prog tinges that flourishes into guitar solos and Latin percussion. Aside from these two, the album offers moments that will surely surprise you, this is also an exclusive rip!

Ha En Trevlig Resa!

Tracks Include:

A1 Mr. Stand-In

A2 Utflykt – A) Samling B) Karusellsväng C) På Väg

A3 Förpackningar

A4 Toner

B1 Jag Rycker Dej I Svansen

B2 Hon Och Han

B3 Jönsson Med Lien

B4 En Ton För Ett Don

B5 Mr. Byråkrat

B6 Djupt Till Roten

All songs and lyrics: Mikael Ramel

Mikael Ramel Band

1~5 recorded in May 1975 by Mikael Ramel Musikband and guest musicians.

Mikael Ramel & Splash

5~10 recorded in Villa Splash, Söderhamn, April 1978 with Splash.

Credits

Tomas Jutterström: keyboards / Kenny Håkansson: guitar

Bruno Råberg: bass / Bosse Skoglund: drums

Guest Musicians

Bengt Dalén: guitar / Tony Ellis: organ, guitar / Bill Ohrstrom: congas

Splash

Leif Halldén: trumpet, flugelhorn / Lennart Löfgren: bass trombone

Torbjörn Carlsson: tenor sax, flute, oboe

Christer Holm: baritone saxophone, clarinet, bassoon

Christer Jansson: guitar / Kay Söderström: bass / Hempo Hillden: drums

Sonet SLP – 2650

Stockholm Sight
Stockholm Sight

Maki Asakawa (浅川 マキ) – Cat Nap (1982)

Capa

Japan. Today, we’ve got a point outside the curve of someone’s discography, nothing less than Asakawa Maki (Maki Asakawa, January 27, 1942 – January 17, 2010) the major female precursor for folk, rock and pop audiences in the country. Her hoarse and deep voice, hypnotic eyes and persona, all black style and the (always) cigarette in tow, managed to capture national and foreign fame throughout an extensive famous career. Much based on folk-rock, blues, and some jazz, these previous albums and characters will entry along with our galaxy. A rare live presentation it is available (for now at least) and can be seen here, check it out!

Today we’ll start with a twist overview. Different from its first releases and acclaimed developments through the ’70s, Cat Nap has its unique blends from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Ska, Post-Punk and Pop in a solid experience direct from the early ’80s. (!)

Promo 76'
Promo 76′

Let’s go to their history:

Jazz and blues vocalist, lyricist, composer, and orchestrator Maki Asakawa was born in 1942 in Ishikawa Prefecture. After a short stint working at the town office in her small village, she headed for Tokyo to pursue music. She started by playing at U.S. military bases and cabarets, where she refined her style, which was largely informed by Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. Asakawa released her first Ep, Tokyo Banka, on the Victor imprint in 1967. In 1968, Maki got her big break when she appeared for three days running at the Shinjuku underground theater known as Sasoriza, a project of underground playwright and controversial movie director Shuji Terayama. Shortly thereafter, she signed with Toshiba (currently EMI Music Japan), making her official major-label debut in July 1969 single’s: Yo Ga Aketara / Kamome.

Since then, Maki Asakawa has consistently released music and appeared live, garnering praise for her unique interpretation of jazz, blues, and avant-gardeshe has also collaborated with Yosuke Yamashita and Akira Sakata, and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto among many other legends!

Sadly, she died of acute heart failure in her hotel room in Nagoya on a Sunday night and later pronounced dead. She was 67. (RIP)

Years Active: 1967 ~ 2010

Live
Live

Let’s go to our album:

At the time of its release (October 21, 1982), Cat Nap received this type of commentary from the Japanese press:

‘A splendid work, with new horizons that Maki challenged, colored by improvisation, honed melody and stand out performance.’

Fact. Along with its trumpeter, composer and partner Toshinori Kondo, Maki sails free among a beautiful kaleidoscope of modern sound; once again (as JAGATARA), the 80’s aesthetics that prevailed through, were as revolutionary as those from previous decades. This is a very uptempo one with incredible experimental moments.

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Shinkyoku B, a monster groove-reggae with crazy harmonics, fuzz and sexy vocals from our bluesy queen. A perfect song for a tropical panorama, good energies, friends and a cold drink! And Machine (an instrumental one), probably the pinnacle of the album. With its own avant-garde atmosphere, mimicking the functioning of some real machine, speaking of a Pop artist, this is quite something! We got dissonant woodwinds, atonal guitar solos, multiple sound effects and a constant pace beat that last until the final second! Crazy, crazy, crazy. 良い旅!

Writing
Indefectible Cigarette

Tracks include:

A1 暗い眼をした女優 (Kurai Me Wo Shita Joyuu)

A2 忘れたよ (Wasureta Yo)

A3 こころ隠して (Kokoro Kakushite)

A4 むかし (Mukashi)

B1 新曲“B” (Shinkyoku B)

B2 夕暮れのまんなか (Yuugure No Manaka)

B3 マシン (Machine)

B4 今なら (Ima Nara)

Maki Asakawa: Vocal

Toshinori Kondo: Trumpet, Percussion

Toshiyuki Honda: Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute

Shigeharu Mukai: Trombone

Kiyoshi Sugimoto: Guitar

Kazuo Tobita: Guitar

Tamio Kawabata: Bass

Hiro Tsunoda: Drums

  • Yoshino Kimutsugi: Recording & Mixing Engineer
  • Tatsuya Sakamoto: Second Engineer
  • Nonaka Lily: Front Cover Art

Recorded at July 19, 20 and 21 1982 at Take One Studio.

Produced: 寺本幸司・柴田徹

  • All lyrics: 浅川マキ (Maki Asakawa) except B-2 by 山内テツ (Tetsu Yamauchi)
  • All songs composed by 近藤等則 (Toshinori Kondo)
  • Label: Express
  • Toshiba EMI (Japan)
The Inseparable Cigarette

Alma y Vida – Alma y Vida (1971)

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Argentina. Today’s album got a minor size text, compared to previous posts, because our friends from Cabeza de Moog already made a dossier about Alma y Vida, don’t forget to check it, as the whole blog as well!

On mid’s ’60s, Carlos Mellino had been, along with Alejandro Medina, future bassist from Manal, a member from The Seasons, one of the first beat bands from Argentina. Gradually, he was contacting with jazz musicians, meeting the trumpeter, Salvador, and the guitarist Barrueco. Soon after, as an arranger and musician, he was leading the band for Leonardo Favio, a national star. Bernardo Baraj recalls his entrance on the future band as a so-called millionaire football transference:

‘I was playing with Sandro and the rivalry at the time between Sandro / Favio, was like Boca / River; actually, its was a change, Ricardo Lew went with Sandro and I passed to Favio’s group. I remember when Leonardo finished singing, we always kept it playing, a non-stop thing, you know? The band sounded so tuned that when Favio really quite, we became an independent group. Thus was born Alma y Vida‘.

Leonardo Favio: Singer, Composer, Actor & Director
Leonardo Favio: Singer, Composer, Actor & Director

Let’s go to their history:

In 1970, Leonardo Favio told them he would stop singing for a while, instead of separating they choose to build your own project, beginning to play under its own name, under a jazz-rock influence. Their first public performances took place in the cycle of Opera Theatre of Buenos Aires, sharing the stage with no less than Manal, Arco Iris, and Vox Dei, on every-Sunday mornings. (!)

Salvador: ‘We always were the first ones to play and people used to whistle, we actually heard some buzz in the very beginning, because see and hear a saxophone and a trumpet at the time was very rare. However, amidst the whistles, some part of the audience stood up and yelled to another, Shut up, deaf!’

Mellino: ‘Imposing a formation with so many kinds and totally different styles, adapting it to our reality was a terrible challenge. We were out of the acoustic or drums, bass, guitar formula, add it that we behave well and were good professionals.’

1971
1971

The impact of these performances leads them to record a single with the legendary short-lived label Mandioca (we’ll have a dedicated post for it), with the songs Niño Color Cariño and He Comprendido. The participations on the mega festival B.A. Rock prompted them to record the first plate in 1971 for RCA Argentina. Shortly before, Mario Salvador left the group and was replaced by Gustavo Moretto. In its first studio album, classics like Mujer, Gracias Por Tu Llanto and Hace Tiempo achieved regular success. With Moretto’s entry, Alma y Vida found their best form among all audiences, not only Argentine Rock gigs and crowds. Thereby establishing itself as a regular entertainer in the mythical La Cueva on Pueyrredón Avenue.

Based on a solid live performance and creativity for hits, such as, Hoy Te Queremos Cantar and later Del Gemido de un Gorrion present on their second (Volumen II), and third (Del Gemido…) albums (respectively), the band reaches its pinnacle on musical charts, playing throughout the country, Uruguai and TV appearances.

Nowdays
Nowadays

In late 1974, Gustavo Moretto leaves the band to move into more complex music, he founds the prog trio, Alas. His departure accelerated a process of internal crisis, that not even the entrance of Osvaldo Lacunza couldn’t save. In 1975 Alma y Vida recorded its fifth and last Lp (Vol. 5), after a year the group finally broke up.

Let’s go to our album:

This is without any doubt an underestimated band, practically unknown outside Argentina, this superb super-group became certainly one of my personal faves, aside Spinetta, Serú Girán, Arco Iris, Fito Páez, etc. Firstly, there is no comparison to any other rock acts in the ’70s, compared to Argentina and Brazil, for instance, their spectacular jazzy sound, outstanding (!!) Mellino’s voice and lyrics that alternate on beautiful poetic love themes or social/political criticism, are a welcomed surprise.

The band completely leaves the commonplace psych-folk, prog or blues that was being made at the time, such as La Pesada, Pappo’s Blues, Sui Generis, Manal, Color Humano, Los Gatos, etc. Although Alma y Vida had never been an instrumental jazz band only! Inspired by Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago, the had the vision to introduce new aesthetics, solos, and colors to Argentine Rock.

Carlos Mellino
Carlos Mellino

Mellino: ‘We had a very large range because all came from different extractions, Bernardo and Juan were jazzists, Carlos a rock musician, Mario a scholar one, and I a Beatlemaniac. A mixed salad that made Alma y Vida a well-defined group.’

The ‘IM’ highlights are Mujer Gracias Por Tu Llanto, a ravishing sentimental ballad with melodic horn, smooth pace, reeds and some outstanding dramatic vocals from Carlos Mellino, creating a unique atmosphere. A statement about love and solitude for any woman! And: Realidad de Sentir, with a crazy drum solo intro, this jazzy uptempo, invites us to enter in another reality, with metaphysical lyrics about our human senses, god, nature and the universe. There are some woodwind attacks and this exciting melodic vein that are responsible for an album hard-to-describe.

A truly original approach, you do not want to miss this journey, Buen Viaje!

Tracks Include:

A1 Mujer Gracias Por Tu Llanto (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino, Ricardo Lew)

A2 Me Siento Dueño del Mundo (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino, Juan Barrueco)

A3 Hace Tiempo (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino)

A4 Realidad de Sentir (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino)

A5 La Morada (Gustavo Moretto)

B1 Veinte Monedas (Carlos Mellino, Esteban Mellino, Gustavo Moretto, Juan Barrueco)

B2 Lagrima de Ciudad (Carlos Mellino, Esteban Mellino)

B3 Y Esto? (Gustavo Moretto, Juan Barrueco)

B4 La Gran Sociedad (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino)

Credits

Alberto Hualde: drums

Bernardo Baraj: sax

Carlos Mellino: keyboards and voice

Carlos Villalba: bass

Juan Barrueco: guitar

Mario Salvador: trumpet

RCA Vik LZP-1196

Indonesian Mixtape ~ 2013

Benny Soebardja & Lizard
Benny Soebardja & Lizard

Indonesia. Fossilized remains of Homo Erectus and his tools, popularly known as the Java Man, suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by at least 1.5 million years ago. Austronesian People who form the majority of the modern population, are thought to have originally been from Taiwan and arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE. The earliest evidence of Islamised populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra; for the most part, Islam is overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and (curious tolerant) multiple religious influences.

Europeans arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century seeking to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. In 1602 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was established and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the Netherlands government created the Dutch East Indies under government control. (sic)

By the early 20th century, Dutch dominance extended to the current boundaries. The Japanese invasion and subsequent occupations in 1942-45 during WWII ended Dutch rule and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. Two days after the surrender of Japan on August 1945, nationalist leader (future leader), Sukarno, declared independence and became president.

Tielman Brothers
Tielman Brothers

While the West and many other western-styled democratic countries reveled in rock music, the left-leaning government of Sukarno took a dim view of western influence in the early days of the Indonesian Republic, restricting the purchase and sale of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, as well as those of homegrown artists performing western-style rock music. This could be accredited to a rejection of Western culture after three centuries under Dutch colonial rule and was argued to help Indonesian artists create their own form of Indonesian pop music. (!)

Sukarno’s government insisted on Indonesia producing its own brand of pop music, yet many of these groups still showed western musical influences in their arrangements shown either by the crooner styled vocals or R&B flavored guitars for rhythm. Indonesia’s more popular groups, most notably Koes Bersaudara, later renamed Koes Plus found life increasingly difficult under Sukarno frequent queries from the authorities for performing western rock, while other Indonesian rock n’ roll pioneers like the Tielman Brothers had to make their name in Europe.

These were the early beat, garage and pop scene.

Dara Puspita 60's
Dara Puspita 60’s

Let’s go to our history:

Sukarno’s anti-imperial ideology saw Indonesia increasingly dependent on Soviet and then communist China. By 1965, the PKI was the largest communist party, outside the Soviet Union or China. Penetrating all levels of government, the party increasingly gained influence at the large expense of the army.

On September 30, 1965, six of the most senior generals within the military and other officers were executed in an attempted coup. This fact prompted a violent army-led communist purge, aided by CIA and British Foreign Office, over a million people were killed in a year, a year and a half, throughout the country. (!!)

1965-66 Prisions
1965-66 Prisons

General Suharto politically outmaneuvered President Sukarno, and became president in March 1968. When he finally opened the floodgates for western culture, Suharto’s new order regime’s friendly stance towards western powers allowed the emerging rock music scene to flourish. With the country entering open relations with the western, many Anglo-American artists like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Genesis, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, King Crimson, Janis Joplin and Black Sabbath flooded Indonesia’s radio waves while its fresh new sound helped create many of Indonesia’s best-known artists of the ’70s, be it directly or indirectly. The decade also provided numerous bands and household rock stars still active on today’s musical charts.

Thanks to Now Again’s fantastic compilation (2011) of Indonesian rock, Those Shocking Shaking Days, people worldwide were able to taste the greatest bands from the Indorock scene. With a tumultuous historical background, led by a 33-year dictatorship, Rock music was a real exhaust valve in a land of fear, death, and corruption. We’re talking about a place where a right-wing paramilitary organization Pemuda Pancasila grew out of the death squads to reach maximum popularity as national heroes! They got strictly bonds with the government and more than 3 million members throughout Indonesia! With no trials or official recognition, this frightening aspect it’s shown on Joshua Oppenheimer documentary, The Act of Killing.

Commie Purge
Commie Purge

Let’s go to our mixtape:

A Mixtape it’s a personal choice that usually ranges a certain time or era, serving as a gateway for new listeners. Today we’ll focus on 70’s scene, therefore, some brilliant Indonesian bands will be out of our first selection, such as Koes Plus, AKA, Shark Move, Super Kid, Panbers, Duo Kribo, etc. Their complete biography and developments will be left for an exclusively dedicated post, there will be many, don’t worry! This is just warming for Indonesian rock, phew, let’s to them!?

Dara Puspita ~ Tabah & Cobalah (1971)

dara puspita 71 cópia

Harapan Kosong /// Did You Know That?

Dara Puspita (Flower Girls) was Indonesia’s most successful girl band of the 1960s. The girls were one of the few groups who actually played their own music. Hailed from the city of Surabaya in East Java and first formed in 1964, on 1965 the band relocated to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, and soon gained a reputation as a sensational live act, bashing away their instruments, jumping and screaming out their songs.

Riding on the beat garage, in 1968 they took the almost unprecedented move for an Indonesian band of trying their luck in Europe and spent the next few years touring in England, Holland, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and Hungary. They even played in Turkey and Iran! In late 1971 the girls returned to Indonesia and played a number of concerts, and on April 1972 they played their last show.

The selected songs are from their last era, a real psychedelic issue with less girlie posture, serious fuzz, and organ. Words in English and Indonesian, some soul swing and no political themes on lyrics. By the way, the band was much used in Suharto’s years as a nationalist flag of Indonesia’s greatness (sic). Their 71′ released are also on Hans Pokora’s book, that’s why is so difficult to find any good transfer.

Harry Roesli Gang ~ Philosophy Gang (1973)

harry roesli cópia

Peacock Dog //// Roda Angin

Harry Roesli has been a well-known artist in Indonesia, who pioneered contemporary music with consistent delivery of social and humanity critics in a straight forward and transparent way. He was born in Bandung and passed away on December 11, 2004.

During early ’70s, Harry formed a band called Gang of Harry Roesli with his friends: Albert Warnerin, Indra Rivai, and Iwan A Rachman. Five years later the group was disbanded. Harry was then granted a scholarship by Cultuur, Recreatie en Maatschapelijk Werk (CRM), to study in Rotterdam Conservatorium, Netherlands. To support his life while studying and expressing his musical talent, he played piano at Indonesian restaurants, achieving Ph.D. in Music (1981) and then lecturing at the department of music at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI).

This is his first release, words in English and Indonesian, fabulous keys timbres, small Latin accent with a pop-psych overall. Harry lyrics suffered constant boycotts and a blacklist agenda by the military government. He’s certainly the most restless author from all, with dozens of records and few acknowledgments worldwide.

Benny Soebardja & Lizard ~ Benny Soebardja & Lizard (1975)

Benny Soebardja cópia

Crime /// Loosing Time

The Indonesian Hendrix, the self-proclaimed founder of the private press scene, Benny Soebardja is one of the most important figures from the Indonesian music industry. Having been a member of three of the biggest bands in Indonesia: The Peels, Shark Move and Giant Step. Backed by the almost unknown Lizard band.

He got some problems due to its first solo release, with a banned cover and government intimidation who saw too much freedom of speech on its lyrics. The words in English were made with the help of British poet Bob Dook. With psychedelic nature, organ, reeds, light/heavy guitar work, and harmonic soulful chorus, some social criticism themes are included. He’s still on the run!

God Bless ~ God Bless (1976)

godbless cópia

Sesat /// Eleanor Rigby

God Bless pioneered the birth of rock music in Indonesia dated back in early ’70s. The band’s central figure vocalist Ahmad Albar, previously formed Take Five (1966-1967), and later Clover Leaf (1967-1972). When he returned to Indonesia, Fuad Hassan (drums), Donny Fatah (bass) and Deddy Dores (keyboard) were invited to form with him, God Bless. They dominated rock music performance during the decade, even though they did cover versions of Deep Purple, Genesis, Kin Ping Meh, Queen.

God Bless also performed as the opening act for a spectacular show (with 120,000 crowds!) featuring Deep Purple live in Stadion Utama, Jakarta, 1975. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1976, by Indonesian label Pramaqua. With a major hit: Huma di Atas Bukit the album remarked the birth of Indo rock scene.

Classic Rock at it’s the best definition, words in Indonesian with a tuned rock band. They’re the best selling rock band from Indonesia history and are still on the run!

Giant Step ~ Kukuh Nan Teguh (1977)

giant step cópia

Mekar //// Alam Bebas

One of the legendary Indonesian progressive rock acts of the ’70s, with influences from the American/British prog legends, they established their own sound with great originality. They went through a series of line-up changes with the omnipresent figure of Benny Soebardja, plus the best musicians from Bandung: Deddy Stanzah (Rollies), Deddy Dores (Freedom of Rhapsodia), Albert Warnerin (Philosophy Gang).

They managed to release several albums with great commercial success before finally breaking up in 1986. Sung in Indonesian, strong moogs and synths, nice guitars, flutes, broken signature, and beautiful rock ballads. Altogether, you can call them true prog heroes, with no influences from traditional music or social criticism themes.

Guruh Gipsy ~ Guruh Gipsy (1977)

guruh gipsy cópia

Janger 1897 Saka /// Geger Gelgel

The only album released by the band (with Chrisye), it’s the second greatest from all time according to Rolling Stone Indonesia (!). We’ll make a complete post with biography and info members in the near future, this is no ordinary record! After sixteen months of production, as the two musical elements have different spectrum in terms of notes and chords progression, Guruh spent a lot of time outside the studio to learn the subtleties of western music as well as Bali traditional music. They strived to find the harmony that blended prog rock with Bali traditional gamelan music.

With a rock combo (guitar, bass, drums, organ), orchestra, female backing vocals, heavy moogs, and traditional instruments, this is probably the greatest mix between traditional and modern anglo music I’ve ever seen, at least in Indonesia!

A symphonic prog with outstanding arrangements, full-length songs, heavenly chorus and many different climates throughout the record, a must-see.

Trip Becik!

Indonesian Orangutan
Indonesian Orangutan

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