Telegraph Avenue – Telegraph Avenue (1971)

capa cópia

Presently, there is a great demand and worldwide interest on foreign Latin-rock releases, these obscure gems, made with crude recording equipment, amateur techniques, and with pressings done, most of the time were on recycled vinyl.

The Peruvian Rock music scene (Inca Rock), initially was basically influenced by Rockabilly and later on by the tidal waves created by Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Peruvians groups played in the musical styles of Elvis, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, throughout the ’50s and early ’60s. Later on, the mid-sixties saw the influence of Surf, Go-Go, The Beatles and some of the first Mersey Sound groups inspired the new generation of rock musicians. During the unrest cauldron that Latin America was, over the period, the country would face two subsequent military coups and its losses.

The first, led by Juan Velasco Alvarado in 1968, self-proclaimed the Armed Forces Revolution, tried and managed to overthrow the aristocratic republic with nationalist and anti-imperialist ethos. Infamous actions as the confiscation and prohibition of rock music through the national broadcasting services, the increased price for importing sound equipments and instruments and its pinnacle on the cancellation of Santana’s concert, in 1971, who was already at the Airport, in Lima; the government alleged the possession of marijuana by its band members and the fear of crescent youth riots, merged with a discourse of alienation music and maintained order. (!)

1968 Coup d'État
1968 Coup d’État

The imminent economic fiasco, made the military junta exchange its key figure, thus, Francisco Morales Bermúdez inaugurated the second phase government in early 1975. With more conservative guidance, opening Peru to foreign capital and multinationals, the Inca inheritors would only saw a new constitution in 1979 and their first elections after thirty years in 1980.

By the end of the decade, the psychedelic scene and its bands changed to the ‘new’ Progressive, Punk Rock and Heavy Metal aesthetics.

Let’s go to their history:

Peru. The year of 1969 saw the development of the most interesting era from the Lima musical scene, groups like Laghonia, Traffic Sound, Black Sugar, Pax, El Alamo, Gerardo Manuel & El Humo, Tarkus and Telegraph Avenue popped through a context of repression, poor technical conditions and radio boycotts. Peruvian rock only stands behind by Brazilian and Argentine scenes, with beautiful melodic textures and balanced blends of folklore and western influences!

Special note by the legendary Mag label, they recorded 80% of the material from all these bands and certainly deserves a dedicated post.

Album Insert
Album Insert

In the mid-’70s, Telegraph Avenue was formed after the lead guitarist Bo Ichikawa returned to Peru, after having stayed half a year in San Francisco, he had been exposed to the vivid local hippie rock culture. The crazy chain of events from the ’60s and ’70s had made Telegraph (a real avenue), as well as Berkeley, a symbol of the Counterculture of an era, attracting a diverse audience of visitors, including college students, tourists, artists, street punks, eccentrics, and homeless.

There are some brilliant photos from that era by Nacio Jan Brown and Joe Samberg, for you to understand the outlook of an epoch, check it!

On its return, he assembled all kinds of American influences, in a very powerful way, with English lyrics, and unlike ideas for the main arrangements. The band was finally formed with Bo Ichikawa and Chachi Luján on the guitars, Alex Nathanson on bass, and Walo Carrillo on drums and percussion; the only four-piece band that included melodic vocals and a mixture of psychedelic rock with Latin rhythms. An interesting fact is the multi-instrumental ability of all its members, too.

Telegraph Avenue
Telegraph Avenue

Later, the band would see a two-year hiatus after their first release, with Carrillo and Nathanson forming Tarkus on 1972. Then, the group reunited for its second and final release Telegraph Avenue Vol. 2 in late 74′ early 75′, shortly after, they were disbanded and the album became one of the lasts from the Peruvian psychedelic scene, much persecuted by the military dictatorship (sic).

Nevertheless, since 2008 the band gather together once again, much influenced by the rediscovered and re-press of their first album. As if not enough, they also released a third Lp with inedited material on 2011, called Telegraph Avenue III!

Let’s go to our record:

Before publishing its first album, the group was known from playing at parties in Pueblo Libre, the majority of these being graduation parties. There were also appearances at celebrations for the Club de Leones, Club Yugoslavo, Club Hebraica, and the Galaxy Discotheque, including a time were Telegraph Avenue played in the interior of an empty swimming pool! One of the most exciting concerts was at the University of Lima in November of 1970, the group was asked to play every weekend, and had bookings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday almost all year round.

Live
Live

In June 1971, the band published their first self-titled Lp, which contained eight songs, it reached great sales during that year, and was well recognized throughout Peru. With more than 50 performances, they decided to take a break at the year’s end.

With styles very varied, ranging from Californian feelings, soul, blues, and sixties flavored rock styles, the psychedelic element is rather unique and can only be heard in other Peruvian acts, such as Black Sugar. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Happy, an ultimate ballad that makes me long for a time that I didn’t live, with heavenly guitars, tuned chorus, and sweet naïve lyrics. An instant hit! And Let Me Start, a hard punch one with colorful fuzz, swinging bassline and nice uptempo mood. If on one hand, the band doesn’t have much-engaged lyrics, the harmonic parts are over the psych average, don’t miss this Inca Rock memento. Yaxşı Səyahət!

Telegraph Dreamers, 1972
Telegraph Dreamers, 1972

Tracks Include:

A1 Something Going

A2 Happy

A3 Sweet Whatever

A4 Lauralie

B1 Sungaligali

B2 Let Me Start

B3 Sometimes In Winter

B4 Telegraph Avenue

Companies

  • Recorded At – Estudios Mag

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar, Percussion (Gemelas), Congas (Tumbas), Vocals – Chachi Luján
  • Acoustic Guitar, Clavichord, Bass, Alto Vocals – Alex Nathanson
  • Maracas, Tambourine (Pandereta), Percussion, Drums, Vocals – Walo Carrillo
  • Xylophone, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Guitar (1a), Vocals – Bo Ichikawa
  • Written By – Nathanson (tracks: A1, A3, A4), Ichikawa (tracks: A2, B1 to B4), Luján (tracks: A2, B1 to B3), Carrillo (tracks: A3)

Notes

Grabación: Hecha en Los Estudios Mag de Lima, Perú en 8 Canales.

  • Design (Diseño) – Ichikawa, Carrillo
  • Design (Diseño), Photography By – Mario Acha

Gracias Joe.

Mag LPN-2404

Today
Today

Mikael Ramels Musikband – Rycker Dej I Svansen (1979)

capa

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

Novos Bahianos + Baby Consuelo – No Final do Juízo (1971)

capa cópia

Brazil, 1969. After the infamous AI-5 (institutional act #5), the dictatorship that was ruling entered in a new phase, seeing its 5th birthday, with an urban guerrilla and a mass wave of protests throughout the country. The most reactionary group made a coup inside the coup. From that moment the previous censorship was installed on every layer of the society, no civil guaranties at all, any manifestation was a subversive act, elections/congress suspended, as the unions and student leadership.

The terror against anyone contrary to the order was real. Many people were persecuted, arrested, tortured, killed and buried as indigents under the iron tutelage of the State, and the connivance from big entrepreneurs, media groups, multinational companies, industrial bourgeoisie and CIA (Torture expertise). (!)

100.000 March, 1968
100.000 March 1968

The only thing that this tropical, multicultural and joyful society could vote and participate, was the emblematic Festivais (music festivals), liberated by the junta. Created in 1965, aired and transmitted live by multiple broadcasters, always held by the end of the year, it was the greatest musical event from the time; eagerly awaited, with mass media coverage, the crowds could boo and cheered to death in a collective catharsis, revealing new national superstars or villains!

Renowned artist like Elis Regina, Geraldo Vandré, Edu Lobo, Nara Leão, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and many others was revealed there. However, due to the turbulent development in 1968 festival, the dictatorship decided to prune and systematize the spectacle. There was a strict preoccupation to show an ordained happily country to the world, the festival would be transmitted on early January to Europe, via Rede Globo (sic), in a 3-hour special.

At the end of the year, most mentioned artists were exiled by solidarity or not, Tropicalism was dead, Marighella too; inside this turbulent musical void, Os Novos Bahianos (first graphed with H, after without) emerged and caused a fuss.

Early Promo
Early Promo

Let’s go to their history:

It all started at Vila Velha theater (Salvador, Bahia) with the show ‘O Desembarque dos Bichos Depois do Dilúvio Universal’. The members: Luiz Dias Galvão, agronomist, poet, musician, cinema and dramatics enthusiast, 32 years; Antônio Carlos de Morais Pires, 21 years of fiery musical essay at Turiassu, interior of Bahia; Paulo Roberto de Figueiredo, ex-crooner from Orquestra Avanço, 23 years, nicknamed Paulinho Boca de Cantor; Bernadete Dinorah de Carvalho (Baby), from Niterói (Rio de Janeiro), newcomer to Salvador, which commemorate his seventeen years living under the bridge (!); lastly, Jorginho, Carlinhos, Lico e Pedro Anibal de Oliveira Gomes (Pepeu) that formed the backing band, Os Leif’s. With the exception of Bernadette, they were all from Bahia, unheard, strange, radicals and young.

It was the beginning of Novos Baianos, at the tropical chaos of 1969.

Baby, carioca problem-girl, dreamed, like many in its age, being an artist, a singer, the one who deserves posters with your initials. Her baptism name didn’t help too. In an impetus of boredom and freedom, she goes with her friend, Ediane, to Salvador, there she meets Galvão and Moraes at Brasa’s, a unique bar from there. Paulinho (boca de cantor) also met the triad and joins them at Dona Maritó boarding house. The only one with previous musical experience (live shows and recording), were Pepeu (guitar), owner of an unmistakable style, genuinely Brazilian, crossing Hendrix with Choro. (!!)

1970
1970

In the beginning, only a quartet: Moraes, Galvão, Paulinho e Baby (whose new name was born and celebrated from a movie character) which was accompanied by Leif’s. Galvão was the poet and mentor, Moraes the main composer, Galvão’s partner, with a subtle acoustic guitar. Paulinho was the rascal, Lúcifer, and mellow singer. Pepeu the guitar hero. Baby the stoned singer. All, with a Tropicalia pinch in 1969/70.

After the racket from Dilúvio in Salvador, they went to São Paulo, were performed in numerous TV shows always exceeding the expected number of songs and staging absurd expedients. The first manager was Marcos Lázaro, through João Araújo (manager of Gil, Caetano, Gal) they signed with RGE and release their first single:

Yet in 1969: De Vera /// Colégio de Aplicação.

Then in 1970, a caustic, sardonic, threatening Lp (Ferro Na Boneca – RGE) which included tracks from the compact, a cornucopia of styles/titles. They also participate as actors and on the soundtrack from two Underground (Marginal) films of the era: Meteorango Kid e Caveira My Friend. Still, they released a double compact without Baby, who was trying her first steps on a solo foray.

These early albums will have dedicated posts in the near future!

Fun!
Fun!

Let’s go to our record:

Today’s album is an incredible double compact, never re-released on Cd, forgotten and hated by the band due to technical aspects. It was the one and only attempt on Phillips, at the time directed by the mighty Nelson MottaOne thing that must be said, was the radical transformation that the band went through after meeting with João Gilberto, he also lived with them for a short period at the infamous apartment in Botafogo. The roots, that were until then based in various styles, such as, rock, baião, soul, tango, turned into samba and choro strictly.

This little revolution happened in late 1971, and it’s well counted in the documentary Filhos de João. So this is their last release without the sound that would be recognized and praised not only in Brazil but worldwide!

Psychedelic Novos
Psychedelic Novos

We go from hippy folk to a Latin brass experience (even sung in Spanish!), passing through some sambas and harsh fuzz rocks sang in an over the top registry by Baby! Special mention lyrics go for Dê um Rolê, a counterculture hymn, that became very (very!) famous on the interpretation of Gal Costa, the song preaches love from head to toe, going completely against the terror that was represented by the military.

Please enjoy this little gem and Jó Utat!

Tracks Include:

Novos Bahianos + Baby Consuelo – No Final do Juízo (1971)

A1 Dê Um Rolê (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Paulinho Boca de Cantor

A2 Você Me Dá Um Disco? (Moraes Moreira / Pepeu Gomes / Galvão) ~ Baby do Brasil

B1 Caminho de Pedro (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Moraes Moreira

B2 Risque (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Moraes Moreira e Baby do Brasil

Credits

Production Director: Nelson Motta

Photo: David Drew Zingg

Compacto Duplo – Philips 6245 003

Rio Curves
Rio Curves

Tsvia Abarbanel – Soul of The East (1970)

Soul of The East
Soul of The East

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

Let’s go to her history:

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

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

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

70's Portrait
70’s Portrait

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

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

Let’s go to our record:

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

Yemeni Lady
Yemeni Lady

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

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

Tracks include:

A Yahlel Hawa

B Wings of Love

Credits

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

Notes

Licensed courtesy of Tsvia & David Abarbanel

Produced and recorded in Tel Aviv, 1970

(P) & (C) Fortuna Records 2012

Sana'a, Yemen
Sana’a, Yemen

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

capa cópia

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

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

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

Military Junta Logo
Military Junta Logo

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

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

Z's Poster
Z’s Poster

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

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

Translating to mind-manifesting!

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

Let’s go to her history:

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

Young Mariza
Young Mariza

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

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

But let us return to our biography

Hippy
Hippy

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

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

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

1976
1976

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

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

Let’s go to our record:

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

Eurovision Performance
Eurovision Performance

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

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

Live Extasis
Live Extasis

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

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

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

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

Boa Viagem!

Tracks Include (polytonic, romanized and translated):

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

A2 Ο Μέρμηγκας / O Mermigkas (The Big Ant)

A3 Αραμπάς / Arabas (Carriage)

A4 Το Αρμενάκι / To Armenaki (Sailor Boy)

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

A6 Η Λαφίνα / H Lafina (Mother Doe)

B1 Σκέψεις (Χιλιοτσακισμένο) / Skepsis (Thoughts)

B2 Ο Γιάννης / O Giannis (John & Song)

B3 Τσάπ’ Δηλαδή / Tsap Diladi (Tsap)

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

B5 Σμυρνέϊκος Χορός / Smirneikos Xoros (Smyrna Dance)

Credits

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

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

Mariza, Lately
Mariza, Lately