Jason would like to share some of his favorite Youtube encoded jams from Africa, Asia and beyond. (Click INFO)
Curated by Jason Urick
Total Runtime: 0:44:12
The Live Music Show curated by Jason Urick
1. Unknown East African Jam "Geelo" - This one is either from Somalia or Djibouti. There are a ton of videos I've come across that list both countries in the tag line and offer no more information. Sometimes in the comments I can dig out a bit of info, but usually even there there is confusion or arguing over who in fact is singing, and then usually devolves into people from various Eastern African countries dissing each other untill someone finally steps up to say "Somali, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea... we are all brothers" or something to the effect. Anyways, this jam is a seriously slinky up in smoke kinda jam.
2. Bhij B. Pulami, Gyaneshwor Subedi, Bima K. Dura - "China Jaanima" - I've had a particular fondness for Nepalese folk/pop ever since I suddenly became friends with one of the biggest Nepalese pop stars, Prem Raja Mahat, who introduced himself by bursting in to my record store in Baltimore exclaiming " I AM FAMOUS IN NEPAL" after he had heard me talk about Indian music on the local NPR station. I thought he was a crazy man, but in fact he was famous and his music was damn good. This song made me miss my friend Prem quite a bit. I dig the vocal really odd vocal sample that gets punched in and out during this jam.
3. Shafi ATTAN Song - Another video where I have no certainty to it's country of origin or anything else. The title, description and tag all just state "Shafi ATTAN Song". Got it? Where ever it is from(my guess is Moroco or Algeria), it is pretty out of hand musically. Deep keyboards and insane rhythms. Bonus points for screen in screen in a box with scrolling cell phone numbers and the occassional word SAMMY overlayed everything video stylee.
4. Couple grooves to Wally Badarou's "Hi Life" - What's not to love with this video? Stylin' couple dancing in front of a stylin' set with some amazing video toaster-esque 80s TV effects. The song is Wally Badarou's "Hi Life" off of his killer LP "Echoes". Wally was and is one the all time great synth jammers from Africa, hailing from Benin. Oddly enough he went on to basically be a member of Level 42 and was also a member of the Compass Point All-Stars band with Sly & Robbie. Dude even played on a Melissa Etheridge song, weird world.
5. Minh Quyen - "Be Sau" - I'm not sure if that is the title of the song. It could be the two-string banjo player's name. i am fairly certain that the lap steel player's name is in fact Minh Quyen. Either way, these guys get pretty deep in this six minute jam and they do it with not even a hint of breaking into a "feelin' it" facial expression that western musicians wouldn't be able to help themselves from making. Heck I broke into a mild Clapton gas-face while air banjoing along to this just now.
6. M. Karama - "???" - In general I'm a big proponent of auto-tune in African and Middle Eastern music... the true artists of that effect are in that part of the world. I had heard a good bit of killer autotuned jams from Mali, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, etc... but I was unprepared for the secret techno underground of current Somalian music. Typically when you hear about Somalia over here it's about some dudes on rafts with machine guns, not people big upping the nationalistic techno music scene that apparently is super-rich over there. I'm COMPLETELY obsessed with this stuff but it has so far proven to be extremely difficult to find out information on this stuff. Just look at all the tag words! They lead nowhere. I've amassed quite a number of jams of this quality but to do that I've had to sit through thousands of videos of political meetings and Somalian soap operas. Obviously it is worth it.
7. Haftom - Staying in East Africa this seems to be a newer Ethiopian or Eritrean song. This has been my summer jam so far this year, dude has a really amazing set of pipes and the groove is outstanding. What's interesting to me about it is that it's in a more traditional Western verse/chorus/verse style. It's almost too good to not be stolen by Peter, Bjorn and John or somebody and turned into a massive hit that ends up in a driving away in a convertable with Michael Cera scene in an "indie" film within the next 18 months
8. Ithad Sghaier - This one was passed along to me by my pal Jacob Long who is clearly on the level. It's Moroccan and the singer's name is Ithad Sghaier. There is a link in the description to a website in French that apparently has some info on him. So if you have the ability to understand French and the will you can know more about this than me in the next 20 seconds or so. The song is a burner. I'm way into the drum programming and snaky guitar stunts, but the echoed vocals really bring it home for me. It's pretty spacey but at times gets super-claustrophobic with the echo effects. Love it.
9. Unknown artist - "Shar-Shar" from the film Jijiya - As I mentioned briefly at song #6 the Hausa region is one of the most auto-tune adept regions in the world. There is no shortage of amazing electro-pop songs coming from here. I could post 10 amazing Hausa tracks a day from Youtube and it would take a year plus to exhaust the songs I've saved. In general the videos are in this style, a couple of people sway dancing in various locations in suburban Nigeria or whatnot. I'm way into the apartment complex courtyard lawn furniture stack spot in use throughout this one.
10. Nancy Ajaj - Falag Elsabah - I'm going to close out this episode with this dreamy track by Nancy Ajaj. Nancy is an amazing singer from Sudan and this clip shows her at her chillest. Love the guitar and the backing male choir.
Jason Urick is an Earth-based "musician" currently residing in Portland, OR after spending the last handful of years in Baltimore, MD. You may know him from his records on Thrill Jockey or his time in the band Wzt Hearts. Or maybe you know him from his perch at the door or soundbooth at Floristree where he curated shows for years, or maybe you don't know him at all. It's OK if you don't.