Wednesday, August 26, 2009

African Music

Thanks to Alexis for this post and for pointing me in the direction of all this great music here, including this great video. See the post for everything, Nigerian disco and more.

DJ Playero - The Best Reggaeton

DJ Playero, one of reggaeton's pioneers. Enjoy these classic videos.

You can download all his mixtapes at Masala here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Son Muy Buenos"

I was watching TV with my uncle here in Pasto, and he likes this channel called Euro Channel. In between showing films, they show videos by all sorts of artists ranging from DJ Mehdi (I saw this pretty entertaining video for "I Am Somebody") to random Italian pop to Late of the Pier.

This video came on and he was like, "Conoces este grupo?" (Do you know this group?). I said yes. He said, "Son muy buenos." I was like, huh, I like them more now than when I first heard them. Maybe they were too advanced for me a year ago. I was surprised my classical music-loving uncle liked them too. This was the video we saw:

I Like The Dance Sequence at 1:15

But it's more enjoyable if you don't fast-forward. Don't.


Dharavi is the name of a "slum" in Mumbai, well-known to Mumbaikars (it is infamous to most people), and also famous for having appeared in Slumdog Millionaire.

While in India this past July, we took a tour of Dharavi thanks to the little agency Reality Tours and Travel. They do not permit photographs so I have none, but the experience was eye-opening. We wandered all throughout industrial, commercial and residential sectors of the large area, and what we saw was amazing.

When I say industrial, I mean that there are countless informal and unofficial factories, in which people work in all sorts of conditions (mostly poor), making, deconstructing, converting... One of the biggest industries seems to be recycling. Trash is collected throughout the metropolis and brought to Dharavi where products are transformed and leave converted, ready to sell to major companies throughout the city, probably the country. We saw them converting old plastic goods into new plastic beads, ready to use to make into new goods.

Another thing that struck me was that in the so-called slum there are all sorts of stores and shops, services and more. It is a legitimate community. On the day we visited a religious festival was taking place. One man had set up a miniature ferris wheel for children to ride (he pushed it and really seemed to be enjoying himself).

I found this incredible site about Dharavi and the intense controversy surrounding it: People in Mumbai - particularly more well-off, middle class people and of course the rich - tend to think of Dharavi as a stain, something that needs to be removed. They don't generally imagine it is a real, functioning community. Not only that, it is much, much less dangerous than they imagine. While we were there I felt zero danger. Granted, we were on a tour. But we walked all over (there were three of us plus our young Indian guide) and to me it felt no more or less dangerous than any other part of Mumbai (though some people claim it is safer than the Mumbai outside).

Because of its strategic location, developers lust for the land. And so redevelopment plans have been in the works for years.

Visit this well-presented site to learn more:

Here is a good opinion piece that appeared in the NY Times this February, written by people associated with the site [here].

And finally, the reason I found this website. I was researching the Hindi film composer Bappi Lahiri, when I came upon a photo of him with Paul Devro, who I knew to be a Mad Decent DJ. I thought that was interesting, then realized it was on this site. The picture and entry are on this page, about halfway down dated in Feb. 2009.

Animals Dancing Indian Style

Strange Indian Video Snippet

Free Music Archive

WFMU has directed the creation of an incredible resource on the internet called the Free Music Archive, where the slogan is, "It's not just free music; it's good music."

Are you a podcaster looking for pod-safe audio? A radio or video producer searching for instrumental bed music that won't put your audience to sleep? A remix artist looking for pre-cleared samples? Or are you simply looking for some new sounds to add to your next playlist?

You can search by genre, or by curator, and music is available to listen to and to download. The music has been cleared for a variety of legal uses. Link to it HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Louis Armstrong, "St. James Infirmary"

Piero, "Mi Viejo"

Música clásica argentina de los años 60

Julio Jaramillo "Odiame"

Música ecuatoriana bella.

Jackie Wilson, "Higher and Higher"

Nicola di Bari, "I Giorni dell'Arcobaleno"

Los Panchos, "Perdida"

To see more of their videos, use Google Video, here.

Theme From "Man on Wire"

If you haven't seen it, watch it. It is the best movie I saw this year, so so good. The man is incredible. (Visit the movie's website here.) This song plays throughout.


Theme song from Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo"


If you like Latin American pop rock: their myspace page. If not, don't bother.

20 best: Colombian records ever made

Great article at FACT magazine

Click here

Grupo Soñador, "Cumbia de la Cerveza"

They always used to play this video at the restaurant where I was working in Tokyo, Junkadelic - the best Mexican in Tokyo city.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"La Pasión de Gabriel" & Colombian Film

The other day I went to see this very good film here in Bogotá called La Pasión de Gabriel. The Colombian film industry is on the rise.
The film is about a priest who has been assigned to a small mountain village. He is having an affair with a beautiful woman. The town also has a problem with the FARC (the guerrillas). Many of the young men in town are recruited by the FARC, who live in the forest in the hills surrounding the town, and Gabriel, the priest, is vehemently opposed to this. Not because he is anti-FARC, per se, but because he sees that joining the FARC is a dead-end - and very potentially fatal - for these boys.

The film is funny, beautifully shot, features great dialogue, is very Colombian, and also deals with some heavy issues very nimbly. Highly recommend it!
The l time I had seen a Colombian film was Our Lady of the Assassins, a low budget, violent (pretty interesting, but depressing) film. It seems the Colombian film industry has matured - and production quality appears to be way up.

I was also at Exito, basically Colombia's version of Target, and bought another film - Paraíso Travel - that my cousin was highly recommending. It's about some Colombians who I believe sneak into the US and end up in Queens.

Here is a song I liked from the soundtrack of La Pasión de Gabriel, "Como Te Voy a Decirlo" by Luis Silva.

Michael Jackson Interview with Oprah

Thanks to Alexis for leading me to this. I remember it vaguely from childhood, but watching it now is a revelation. I will quote Alexis:

The 1993 interview he did with Oprah. Really really intense and fascinating stuff. He seems so lucid, so terrified, so loving and forgiving, so on the brink. When he talks about his sprituality in part six 7:28, my heart breaks. Also, the beatboxing to Who Am I? at part six 1:52 is priceless. I like to believe that he was extremely intelligent and well-read from Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson (excellent essential read btw) and this article. It’s comforting to keep that in in mind before watching…

So here is the whole thing, piecemeal, from YouTube. Thanks to miriamblah1 for posting it.