Yoshiko Sai – Taiji No Yume (1977)

Born on June 22, 1953, at Nara prefecture, Yoshiko Sai since his childhood demonstrated its precocity and many artistic gifts. During her elementary school days, she loved to paint and read all the classics from mythical writer Edogawa Rampo (The Japanese Poe).

In junior high school, she was a member of the coral, taking his first lessons in music; by high school, she played in a folk-rock group but the music wasn’t in its main plans so far.

Portrait
Portrait

In 1972 she tried to enter the Kyoto City University of Arts but wasn’t accepted, then she tried the Kyoto Doshisha University where she passed the entrance examination. In May of that year, she was caught by kidney disease, having to spend a year in observation.

Over this period she would recall:

‘I read a LOT of books from famous novelists, such as Mushitaro Oguri, Yumeno Kyusaku, Juran Hisao, and Yokomizo Masashi. These dark novels made me accept and relax about the disease, my forthcoming production of lyrics and music was strongly tied with this fact.’

After leaving the hospital, she incessantly started to wrote poetry and in 1974 debuted and won a contest at a local radio program. She then received an invitation to play an opening act for Rabi Nakayama concert. Two record companies became interested in her music and after the show, she was contracted by Teichiku Records.

1978 Promo
1978 Promo

Yoshiko Sai recorded four albums in four years, between May 1975 and December 1978, the 2nd (Mikkō) and 3rd (Taiji No Yume) of her releases may be considered more Progressive than Folk. Unfortunately, she abruptly retired from a career at the age of 25 in 1979.

A story told is that Yoshiko may have doubted her talent in music and lost her self-confidence. In recent years, a revival of interest in his music made her come back to record a new album with Jojo Hiroshige, called Crimson Voyage in 2001. Lastly, there’s been some re-releases from its 70s records, unedited live performances and poetry books.

Let’s go to our album:

In 1977 she moved to the Nippon Columbia company, and on September 25, she announced Taiji No Yume (Fetus Dream). Heavily inspired by the pre-war oddball and ghostly neurosurgeon doctor and writer Yumeno Kyusaku, hence the strange atmosphere this disc abides in. Quite dark in the overall texture, at the time of this she was merely 24 years old. Totally unknown for non-japanese listeners, this album is really a must for people into some more advanced Japanese historical recordings.

Melancholic Breeze
Melancholic Breeze

With utterly beautiful arrangements by the legendary Yuji Ohno, this is certainly my favorite album from her. A kaleidoscope of genres that spring from the depths of the inner mind: folk, jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, prog, rock and so. Yoshiko Sai plays the role of each and invites us to another dimension of reality, the “IM’ highlights are for:

Aoi Glass-Dama, with nice synths and strings, this rock ballad has an interesting crescendo, delivering an amazing emotional interpretation. And Taiji No Yume, a 9-minute epic, simply one of the best Japanese songs of all time, without exaggeration, I’ll let the words and adjectives to you, do not miss Yoshiko Sai’s haunting realms. 良い旅!

Tracks Include:

A1 ヒターノ (Gitano)

A2 アルハンブラの青い壜 (Alhambra No Aoi Bin)

A3 ある晴れた夜 (Aru Hareta Yoru)

A4 波止場 (Hatoba)

A5 春の夢 (Haru No Yume)

A6 海の沈黙 (Umi No Chinmoku)

B1 青いガラス玉 (Aoi Garasudama)

B2 遍路 (Henro)

B3 白昼夢 (Hakuchūmu)

B4 胎児の夢 (Taiji No Yume)

All songs and lyrics by Yoshiko Sai

Blow Up LX-7021A /// 25/09/1977

Musicians

Drums: Yasushi Ichihara

Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Tsunehide Matsuki

Gut Guitar: Kiyoshi Sugimoto

Electric Bass: Kenji Takamizu (1,2,4,5,9,10) /// Akira Okazawa (3,6,7,8)

Acoustic Piano: Masahiko Sato

Electric Piano, Solina, Spinet & Synthesizer: Yuji Ohno

Percussion: Lary Sunaga

Arranged (strings, brass, instrumental) by Yuji Ohno

Credits

Directed by: Shun Ohki

Produced by: Akira Sakajima

Engineer: Tomiji Iyobe

Art Director: Kazuhiro Saito

Cover Illustration: Yoshiko Sai

Illustration: Tsuyoshi Takigaito

Photography by: Jin Komine

Layout: Takashi Eakabayashi

Taiji No Yume Illustration
Taiji No Yume Illustration

C and K Vocal – Generace (1977)

Cover

Czechoslovakia. With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of WWI, the independent country of Czechoslovakia was formed, encouraged by, among others, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The Czechs and Slovaks were not at the same level of economic and technological development, but the freedom and opportunity found in an independent new country enabled them to make strides toward overcoming these inequalities. However, the gap between cultures was never fully bridged, and the discrepancy played a continuing role throughout the seventy-five years of the union.

The first republic led by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (politician, sociologist, and philosopher), a rationalist and humanist, lasted until the German occupation and settled the country in the 10th position of world industrial production. The second and third republic was shortened by the beginning of the communist era, after WWII in 1948.

Prague Nazi Occupation
Prague Nazi Occupation

Then, the economy was committed to comprehensive central planning and abolition of private ownership of capital. Czechoslovakia became a satellite state of the Soviet Union; it was a founding member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) in 1949 and of the Warsaw Pact (URSS’s response to OTAN) in 1955. The attainment of Soviet-style command socialism became the government’s avowed policy.

Although Czechoslovakia’s industrial growth of 170 percent between 1948 and 1957 was impressive, it was far exceeded by that of Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany (almost 300 percent). The 1960 Constitution declared the victory of socialism and proclaimed the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.

De-Staliniziation had a late start in Czechoslovakia, in the early 1960s, the economy became severely stagnant, the industrial growth rate was the lowest in Eastern Europe. As a result, in 1965, the party approved the New Economic Model, introducing free-market elements into the economy. The KSČ (Communist Party of Czechoslovakia) ‘theses’ of December 1965 presented the party response to the call for political reform.

Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubcek

Democratic centralism was redefined, placing a stronger emphasis on democracy. The leading role of the KSČ was reaffirmed but limited. On January 5, 1968, the KSČ Central Committee elected Alexander Dubcek, a Slovak reformer, to replace Novotný as the first secretary of the KSČ. The most turbulent period since the war had begun, amongst the wanted reforms were the press freedom, the end of political monopoly (from Communist Party), the free party organization, religious tolerance, amid other measures that pointed to a radical democratization of Czechoslovakia.

The massive support from intellectuals, the society and countries like Yugoslavia left the URSS fearful with the end of their hegemony and on August 20, 1968, after refusing to attend a meeting at the Warsaw Pact.

These same troops from the alliance invaded the city of Prague, Dubcek was arrested and brought to Moscow, along with other Czech leaders.

Prague Spring
Prague Spring

The following months were marked by the peaceful resistance to the occupation from the population. Local radio broadcasts were brief stimulating resistance. Days after the seizure of Prague has triggered a general strike. The USSR tried unsuccessfully to arrange a collaborationist government, but the solidarity with the old leadership had become widespread. Dubcek returned to Prague and still remained for some time in office. But the reform plan was dropped in exchange for the withdrawal of troops.

In January 1969, a young man immolated himself publicly in the Czech capital, restarting a wave of demonstrations. But by that time, the hard-line Communist Party had recomposed. The favor of rapprochement with the USSR again took control of the party. The election of Gustáv Husák, in April 1969, which succeeded Dubcek, ended the short but significant movement known as the Prague Spring. The reforms would come just two decades later, with the crisis of the socialist bloc. (!)

21 Srpen 1968, Praha
21 Srpen 1968, Praha

Let’s go to our history:

In 1969, long-time collaborators Jiri Cerha and Ladislav Kantor had the idea to get together talented vocalists for a multi-timbered vocal ensemble, and so was born C&K Vocal. At first, their style was folk-based and they often participated in folk and country festivals. By 1973 though, with their new concert repertoire, they started exploring the rock. The line-up included Lubos Pospisil, Zdena Adamova, Milena Cervena and Helena Arnetova besides the two co-founders.

In 1976 they released an English Lp called Generation, which was mostly comprised of unique covers of rock artists such as Uriah Heep, Flamengo and Marek Grechuta. The Czech version was released a year later containing a considerable number of originals as well. The style was hard prog, quite similar to Flamengo but with voices replacing saxophones and strings/synths replacing Hammond.

Early C&K Vocal
Early C&K Vocal

The prog influence was likely brought to the band by guitarist Ota Petrina, who was a co-writer and producer and also the leader of the instrumental segment which included top Czech musicians such as Pavel Fort, Guma Kulhanek, Jan Kubik, and Anatoli Kohout. During the late ’70s and early ’80s, the band focused on audiovisual programs, combining music with photography, visual arts and film. They also recorded a considerable amount of singles and another English-sung Lp Growing Up Time.

During the late 80’s they recorded two more albums, Balada o Zemi (1985) and Causa Krysar (1989), the latter of which had a modernized 80s new wave sound but also abundant symphonic elements. Ladislav Kantor left the ensemble in 1990, but despite this, they have still been sporadically active.

Multi-Arts Ensemble
Multi-Arts Ensemble

Let’s go to our album:

Today’s record will leave the fans of choral and vocal techniques much impressed. With a large range of influences such as rock, prog, soul, jazz, Latin tinges, ballads, and an incredible backing band this is one of the musical gems that the Iron Curtain hid in those days. The Czech Republic has also a distinct mark in terms of arts: the Czech new-wave cinema, Franz Kafka, Gustav Mahler, Antonín Dvorak and many Cubist, Abstract and Surrealist painters, are just a few names of this underestimated society.

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Rám Příštích Obrazů, a fantastic opening track, delivering complex harmonics in a carrousel of voices and soulful breathtaking conclusion, just brilliant! And Doky, Vlaky, Hlad A Boty, with resemblance of Flamengo’s sound (a dedicated post of them will be held), this brass-rock got some psychedelic riffs, sweet breakbeats, and a wholly tuned vocal performance.

Enjoy this commie rock act and Boa Viaxe!

Night Overview
Night Overview

Tracks Include:

A1 Rám Příštích Obrazů (music: V.Misik, lyrics: J.Kainar)

A2 Na Kraji (music: J.Cerha, lyrics: L.Kantor)

A3 Lásko, Lásko… (music: O.Petrina, lyrics: L.Kantor)

B1 Doky, Vlaky, Hlad A Boty (music: J.Kubik, lyrics: L.Kantor)

B2 Generace (Životopis) (music: J.Cerha, lyrics: L.Kantor)

B3 Vteřiny (music: J.Cerha, lyrics: L.Kantor)

B4 Chorovod (Korowód) (music: M.Grechuta, lyrics: L.A.Moczulski, L.Kantor)

Supraphon 1 13 2023

Credits

  • Alto Vocals – Helena Arnetová (tracks: A1, B2, B3), Milena Cervená
  • Guest, Soprano Vocals – Zdena Adamová (tracks: A2)
  • Mezzo-Soprano Vocals – Petra Janu (tracks: B2)
  • Tenor Vocals – Lubos Pospisil (tracks: A3, B1, B3)
  • Baritone Vocals –  Ladislav Kantor (tracks: B1, B4)
  • Bass Vocals (Bass-Baritone) – Jiri Cerha (tracks: A2, B1, B2)
  • Arranged By (Vocal) –  C & K Vocal (tracks: A1 to A3, B3, B4), Jiri Cerha (tracks: A2, B1, B2, B4), Ota Petrina (tracks: A3, B3)

Leader (C&K Vocal) – Ladislav Kantor

Backing Band – Labyrint

  • Bass Guitar – Vladimir Kulhánek (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2, B4)
  • Drums, Percussion, Congas – Anatoli Kohout (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2, B4)
  • Electric Piano, Organ, Piano, Percussion – Pavel Vetrovec (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2, B4)
  • Guest, Bass Guitar – Vladimír Padrunek (tracks: A3)
  • Guest, Congas – Jiri Tomek (tracks: A2, B4)
  • Guest, Drums – Vlado Cech (tracks: A3)
  • Guest, Flute – Jiri Stivin (tracks: B2), Libor Mikule (tracks: B3)
  • Guest, Organ – Petr Dvorak (tracks: B3)
  • Guest, Synthesizer (Moog) – Jan Neckar (tracks: B2, B4), Martin Kratochvíl (tracks: A3)
  • Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Percussion – Jan Kubík (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2, B4)
  • Arranged By (Instrumental), Electric Guitar – Pavel Fort (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
  • Arranged By (Instrumental), Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar –  Ota Petrina (tracks: A3, B3, B4)
  • Leader (Labyrint) – Pavel Fort
  • Photography By – Vladimír Merta
  • Producer [Umělecká Spolupráce] – Hynek Zalcik

Notes

Released in collaboration with the Mladý Svět magazine, Discotheque of Mladý Svět edition series. Recorded at the Supraphon studio Dejvice, Prague, from December 16, 1974, to September 3, 1976.

Lately
Lately

Alma y Vida – Alma y Vida (1971)

Capa

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