Omar Khorshid (عمر خورشيد) – Rhythms From The Orient (1974)

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Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern state, tracing its heritage back to the 10th millennium BCE (!), which saw the emergence of one of the earliest and most sophisticated civilizations in the world. Egypt’s iconic monuments, such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest from around the globe.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is an integral part of its national identity, enduing and assimilating numerous foreign influences throughout the times, including Roman, Greek (Hellenism), Persian (Islamic), Ottoman, and European (Christianity).

Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings

As early as 4000 BC, ancient Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, as well as two indigenous instruments: the Ney and the Oud. However, there is little notation of Egyptian music before the 7th century AD, when Egypt became part of the Muslim world. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of luminaries such as Abdu al-Hamuli and Sayed Mekkawi, who were patronized by Khedive Ismail and who influenced the later work of Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez, and other Egyptian music giants.

From the ’70s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, particularly among the large youth population. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Egyptian music was a way to communicate social and class issues. Egyptian pop singers such as Tamer Hosny, Mohamed Mounir, and Ali El Haggar have consolidated careers and fame among the Arab world.

Ancient Musicians
Ancient Musicians

Belly dance or Raqs Sharqi (oriental dancing) is the classical Egyptian style of belly dance that developed during the first half of the 20th century. Based on the traditional Ghawazi and other folk styles and formed by western influences such as marching bands, the Russian ballet, Latin dance, this hybrid style was performed in the cabarets of Kingdom of Egypt period and in early Egyptian cinema.

The style is often considered the classical style of belly dance, although that term historically referred to the Ghawazi style, and today covers a much wider range of Middle Eastern dance as well as Western styles developed from them. Today the country is considered an international center of the art.

Raqs Sharqi ~ 20's
Raqs Sharqi ~ 20’s

Let’s go to our artist:

Born Omar Mohammed Omar Khorshid (October 9, 1945, ~ May 29, 1981) in Cairo at the glittering age of Egypt’s cultural reinvention, Omar Khorshid was soon to become one of its luminaries and most well-known, if short-lived, voices. He is regarded as the greatest guitarist the Arab world has ever known. (!!) With a natural gift for music, at a young age, he was taught piano but quickly discovered the guitar, much to the annoyance of his father, Ahmad Khorshid (a cinematographer) who even smashed his first guitar, but Omar was persistent enough to continue with a new one on credit!

By the mid 60’s he was established with his group Le Petit Chats, an Egyptian beat group modeled after the prevailing influence of Elvis and The Beatles. It was at this time that one of the reigning figures of contemporary Arabic music, Abdel Halim Hafez, asked Omar to join his orchestra. It didn’t take long before he was adapted into an Egyptian orchestra as a soloist. Arranger Baligh Hamdi helped him with arrangements to show his (freshly) western-inspired guitar talent.

Heartthrob Musician
Heartthrob Musician

Time with the Hafez orchestra offered Khorshid instant fame, and it wasn’t long before he was asked to play with the queen of Arab music, the voice of Egypt herself: Oum Kalthoum. Over the next few years, he was heavily featured in live concerts, national TV and radio, and studio recordings, playing for the leading artists of the day. The guitar had now become an essential ingredient in the Oriental orchestra.

Omar began recording albums under his own name for the prestigious Lebanese record labels Voice of The Orient and Voice of Lebanon. Working with visionary engineer Nabil Moumtaz at Polysound studios in Beirut, Khorshid would take his music into some of the most progressive and innovative musical terrains of its time!

A Film Excerpt
A Film Excerpt

Besides he also played as an actor, produced and composed music for over 40 films over the years (in Egypt and Lebanon). He lived for a few years a great life in Lebanon until the 1975 civil war, which over a short period in Syria made him return to Egypt. In that time span, he had four marriages! By 1979 he was invited to play at the White House on the invitation with president Sadat being present and with violinist Menuhin, as an Arab/Israeli exchange idea. Rumors indicate that after that day, he happened to be persecuted by extremists, dying in a mysterious car accident at age 36.

Let’s go to our album:

HEADS UP! Do not be fooled by the cheesy cover. Today’s album brings one of the greatest virtuosos who has appeared in Egypt and surroundings. Previously we appreciate the talent and the ways that Aris San had but with Omar Khorshid the thing takes another panorama, he simply rolled upside down the guitar concept from Middle Eastern music. With psych sounding, eastern sounding organ, percussive instrumentation, an originally styled electric guitar leading, surf reminiscences, all mixed with some additional Moog/synth, proves that this isn’t a regular record!

The ‘IM’ highlights are for Raqsed El Fada and Takkasim Sanat Alfeyn. બોન વોયેજ!

Tracks Include:

A1 Raqset El Fadaa (Nourl Al Malah)

A2 Guitar El Chark (Nourl Al Malah)

A3 Takassim Sanat Alfeyn (Omar Khorshid)

B1 Laylet Hob (M. Abdel Wahab)

B2 Lama Bada Yatasana (Traditional)

B3 Teletya Mahla Nourha (Saeed Darwesh)

B4 Ah Ya Zen (Traditional)

Credits

  • Recorded ByNabil Moumtaz

Voice of Lebanon ‎– VLMX 39

Misty Cairo
Misty Cairo

Sarolta Zalatnay – Tükörkép (1980)

cover

Hungary. Following periods of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Magyarország was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 AD, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. Hungary became a middle power and part of the Western world by the 12th century. After the Battle of Mohács and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation, Hungary became part of the Habsburg, and later formed part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire.

Hungary’s current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after WWI. The country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. (!) On the side of the Axis Powers, Hungary also suffered great damages in WWII, during its four decades-long communist dictatorships (1947–1989), the country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, previously restricted by the Iron Curtain, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.

Traditional Dance and Costumes
Traditional Dance and Costumes

On 23 October 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic, and now it is a developed country, only standing behind Austria and Slovenia (its bordered countries) in HDI indices. Nowadays, Hungary is a very popular tourist destination attracting 10.2 million tourists a year!

Let’s go to our history:

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. It was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR’s forces drove out the Nazis at the end of WWII and occupied Eastern Europe. Despite the failure of the uprising, it was highly influential and came to play a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union decades later.

Public Demonstrations
Public Demonstrations

The revolt began as a student demonstration, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers via Radio Free Europe. A student delegation entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students’ demands was detained. When the delegation’s release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. As the news spread, disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary and the government collapsed. Thousands organized into militias, battling the ÁVH and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned and former prisoners were released and armed. Radical impromptu workers’ councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People’s Party and demanded political changes. A new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

Women's Militia
Women’s Militia

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo (Central Committee of the Communist Party) changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. The Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. (!) Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter, by January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions, while strengthening control over Eastern Europe, alienated many Western Marxists.

Stalin's Head
Stalin’s Head

But how music has been influenced over the years that followed? Let us understand a little that other context.

Hungarian popular music in the early 20th century consisted of light operettas and the Roma music of various styles. Nagymező Utca, the Broadway of Budapest, was a major center for popular music and boasted enough nightclubs and theaters. In 1945, however, this era abruptly ended and popular music was mostly synonymous with the patriotic songs imposed by the Russian Communists.

In 1956, however, liberalization began with the three Ts (tűrés, tiltás, támogatás, meaning toleration, prohibition, support), and a long period of cultural struggle began, starting with a battle over African-American jazz. Jazz became a part of Hungarian music in the early 20th century but did not achieve widespread renown until the 1970s, when Hungary began producing internationally known performers like the Benko Dixieland Band (below) and Bela Szakcsi Lakatos.

BDB
BDB

In the early 60s, Hungarian youths began listening to rock in droves, in spite of condemnation from the authorities. Three bands dominated the scene by the beginning of the 70s, Illés, Metró, and Omega, all three of which had released at least one Lp. A few other bands recorded singles, but the Record-Producing Company, a state-run record label, did not promote these bands, which quickly disappeared.

In 1968, the New Economic Mechanism was introduced, intending on revitalizing the Hungarian economy; in the 70s, however, the Russians cracked down on subversives in Hungary, and rock was a major target. (!) Illés was banned from performing and recording, while Metró and Omega left for exile. Some of the members of these bands formed a supergroup, Locomotiv GT, that quickly became very famous. Bands like Piramis and Skorpio kept the underground prog-rock scene alive. These bands also succeeded to get more in the mainstream by supporting female singers like Kati KovácsZsuzsa Koncz and Sarolta Zalatnay on their albums.

Locomotiv GT, 74
Locomotiv GT, 74′

But further, rock bands in the late 70s mostly had to conform to the Record Company’s demands and ensure that all songs passed the inspection of the Song Committee, who scoured looking for ideological disobedience (sic). Locomotiv GT was the most prominent band of a classic rock style, along with Bergendy. Meanwhile, the disco style of electronic music produced such performers as the officially-sanctioned and praised Neoton Familia and Judith Szűcs.

The following decades saw the entrance and growth of punk, new wave, clubbing, electronic dance, as well as the end of the (infamous) Record Production Company and with the fall of the wall greater freedom of expression and paths.

Let’s go to our album:

Sarolta Zalatnay born on December 14, 1947, as Charlotte Sacher, grew up in Budapest. At the age of 16 she auditions as a singer with the folk/jazz band Bergendy. They started recording old fashioned melodies but soon changed into more modern material. With the band she appeared in the Hungarian Television’s song contest named Táncdalfesztivál in 1963 with the song Hol Jár Az Eszem?

Mid 60s
Mid 60s

The band developed a style that would be known as Beat Ablak and Zalatnay was pushed forward as lead singer. In 1967 under her nickname Cini she won the contest with the song Nem Várok Holnapig, which was accompanied by the Hungarian rock group Omega. It gave her a chance for a study/trip to Paris and London in 1968-69 during which she got acquainted with the members of the Bee Gees group.

Back in Hungary in 1969 the musical climate already changed and with Metro, she records some singles before state label Qualitation releases her debut album Ha Fiú Lehetnék in 1970. Her breakthrough came when she performed in the alternative musical movie Szép Lányock, Ne Sírjatok. In 1971 she wins first prize in the Dance Song Contest with Fák, Virágok, Fény. With Locomotiv GT she started recording two follow up albums. Hitherto, her albums sold over 400.000 copies. (!)

70s Look
The 70s Look

In 1973 she broke with the LGT team to switch to Skorpio with whom she recorded the album Hadd Mondjam El including elements of funk, beat and synthesizer experiments. Responsible for this was pianist Gyula Papp. LGT meanwhile started to record with singer Kati Kovacs which turned competitive with Zalatnay. In 1974 she got married to Sándor Révész (singer of Piramis), but they divorced later on.

At the start of the eighties Zalatnay’s star started to fade next to a whole new musical scene, she turned to write an autobiography called New Vagyok En Apaca. In 1987 she married László Benedek and got a daughter in 1989. Since 1995 she also became active as chairman of the Hungarian Animal Protection and Nature Federation.

In 1995 she married her third husband Márton Csaba, a porn director. Although not a very faithful husband he swept Sarolta into a TV-production venture called CiNN TV, he also persuaded her to pose for Playboy! In 2004 she appeared in the Hungarian Big Brother days before she had to sit out a three-year prison sentence for tax fraud. This also was the end of her marriage. In prison she worked in a new book and in 2009 she performed again for a documentary about her life. In February 2009 she released a second biography with a new album Magadat Vállalni Kell.

After this little lesson, we will stick to the album, perhaps her last great commercial success from the 70s, again she is accompanied by a great band: Karthago. Headlong into the Disco wave his romantic side also emerges in certain moments, in whole this is a bit different from Hadd Mondjam El but still deserves your care.

Lately
Lately Portrait

Sarolta has the voice of Janis Joplin with a Hungarian temper, a nose for good bands and a lascivious body. She was there at the forefront in the sixties and seventies with bands like Omega, Locomotiv GT and Skorpio. A phenomenon in Hungary and hardly known outside. Her career after 1990 has been laced with dodgy marriages, uncontrolled TV appearances and being prey for the paparazzi. Lately, she gets some recognition abroad due to a finders-keepers re-press released in 2009.

The ‘IM’ highlights are: Add Vissza a Babaruhát, a heavy clavinet funky-disco with Sarolta’s harsh voice, boogie chorus, synth-strings, light percussion and an invitation to not leave the dance floor, get down! And Karnevál a Hungarian attempt to portray the carnival, this stimulant song brings us a little of folklore guitars, woodwinds and a great performance from the diva by the end. Jó Utat!

Tracks Include:

A1 Széttört Tükörkép

A2 Mondd Nekem

A3 Életképek

A4 Add Vissza A Babaruhát

A5 Mindig Kell Egy Barát

B1 R’ And R’

B2 Százszor Visszaadok Mindent

B3 Karnevál

B4 Hozzám Tartozol (feat. Máté Péter)

B5 Tükörkép

Credits

  • Backing Band – Karthago
  • Conductor (Orchestra) – Bolba Lajos
  • Directed by (Musical Director) – Kószás László
  • Engineer – Szita István
  • Written by – S. Nagy István, Máté Péter (A1 to A3, B1, B2, B5)
  • A4, A5, B3 and B4 by – Zalatnay Sarolta

Pepita ‎– SLPX 17612

Released in December, 1979

Budapest, Look On
Budapest, Look On

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

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

Grazia (גרציה) – Grazia! (1978)

Koliphone Cover
Koliphone Cover

Israel. Jaffa in the late ’60s and early ’70s had an exciting and exotic sound to offer, where folk musicians performed live at its taverns seven nights a week. It was far from the mainstream hit-parade of swinging Tel-Aviv but close enough geographically to attract listeners from across the Tel-Aviv / Jaffa metropolis. The scene got bigger and wilder, as it embraced the Middle Eastern celebration style known as Hafla, involving heavy drinking, local food, and music of course.

Standing at the center of old Jaffa and its vibrant music scene was the record store and label, Koliphone Records. Owned by the Azoulay brothers, Koliphone tirelessly recorded these artists and sold their records to the growing masses. At first, they released mostly Greek and Turkish music, shortly followed by Yemenite, Moroccan and Hebrew records, showcasing the cultural melting pot of this ancient town.

Pradisiac Jaffa
Paradisiac Jaffa

The biggest and most influential artist of the time was Aris San. A singer and guitar virtuoso, San created the Israeli-Greek style and introduced the drums-bass-guitar rock combo to folk audiences. His fans thought they were listening to traditional bouzouki melodies, but in fact, San’s music was a lot heavier, strongly influenced by American surf, verging on the psychedelic. San’s huge popularity attracted many other artists to record the new style he had pioneered. Artists such as Trifonas, Levitros, Nino Nikolaidis and many more began to appear on Jaffa’s record stands. Among them was a young girl who sang in Turkish. Her name was Grazia Peretz (גרציה פרץ)!

Grazia was a wonder kid in the early ’70s. She started singing at the age of nine, performing at Turkish weddings and Mediterranean nightclubs, sharing a stage with Aris San and Trifonas. Soon, she became an in-demand act for events up and down the country, landing herself a weekly TV spot on the Channel 1 music segment!

Let’s go to our record:

Psych Portrait
Psych Portrait

For her 16th birthday, her father sent her to record a full-length Hafla style album at the Koliphone Studios. Marko Bachar, who was the label’s in-house producer, arranger, and keyboard player, was in charge of the project. Bachar had just sold his organ and bought a monophonic Moog synthesizer. Grazia wanted to break free from the conformities of Greek and Turkish folk music and introduce the early sounds of disco she and her peers were getting so much into.

When the album finally hit the shops it sold… nothing! Hard funk drums, pounding bass coupled with synth blips and psychedelic Turkish guitars, well… it was all a bit too much for the unsuspecting folk audience. At the age of 18, disheartened by the music industry and the undue touring environment she had to endure at such an early age, she stopped singing and never returned to the studio or the stage.

The ‘IM’ highlights unfold us a distinctive tinge from the east, beautifully sang in Turkish, with utmost moogsSoyle Beni, with an eerie sci-fi feel, this Israeli disco prog shows us the kind of sound that people used to dance, back on Jaffa nightclubs. And Rampi Rampi, an upbeat with broken pace, key winds solos, luscious chorus and the usual Arab/oriental scales with its minor harmonics. A Rocky feel at its best!

Chuyến đi Tốt!

Tracks include:

A1 Kemangi

A2 Soyle Beni

A3 Artik Sevmeyegegim

A4 Istemen

A5 Elveda Meyhanec

B1 Rampi Rampi

B2 Muhabbet

B3 Olmek Var

B4 Arkadas

B5 Gidis O Gidisse

Licensed courtesy of Azoulay Brothers.

Recorded in Jaffa, 1978.

Koliphone ‎– 46407

Reissue by ℗ & (C) Fortuna Records 2013.