Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Monday, November 23, 2009

Languid Charm: Swahili Music from Kenya and Tanzania

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What a fluid and melodic title for such mesmerizing and expressive music: Poetry and Languid Charm. This recording, a tantalizing masterpiece, is a compilation of taarab (poetry chanted over African and Arabic music), which was recorded in Tanzania and Kenya from the 1920s through the '50s.

Although I don't know the meanings of the words these singers are singing, somehow I DO know, if that makes any sense. You hear joy, fun, saddness, boldness, sensuality and so many other things in these songs. Some numbers use only one instrument and you don't realize it until after the song is over.

There's a song with children singing that makes you want to sing, dance, and cry for joy all at the same time. I can't wait to purchase this CD. I've borrowed it from the public library a couple of times already. I've probably paid more overdue fines on this one than I should have.

The titles of the tracks alone conjure up provocative and lively images. You can see the pictures that the songs create before you even hear the music.

1. Yearning Keeps Increasing In My Heart
2. There Isn't One Who Wouldn't Desire You If You Clean Yourself Up
3. You Are a Cat
4. Don't Be Greedy
5. Sheikh Salim's Song
6. Taksim (Improvisation) On the Nahawand Maqam -- Song For Two Instruments (This my favorite!)
7. Oh Lord Of Heaven
8. I Am Ill My Fellow
9. Cassava Of Jang'ombe
10. Like a Wooden Boat With Outrigger
11. Ee Baba Pakistani
12. Nahawand No.2
13. There Is No End
14. I Am Done With Being Questioned
15. I Desire a Flower (Love)
16. Where Is the Message?

Click here and listen to number 6.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Reprise: Bring the Boys (and Girls) Home

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"Bring the Boys Home" has been bouncing around in my head for about a week or so. I’m hopeful that people in power will read this and heed the call.

The U.S. Command banned the song from the U.S. Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam war, claiming it would “give aid and comfort to the enemy.” Freda Payne released the tune 35 years ago as a single, but it wasn’t added to her “Contact” album until the song became a hit. We still hear echoes from the lyrics today.

Fathers are pleading, lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying-send our sons back home
You marched them away--yes, you did-on ships and planes
To the senseless war, facing death in vain

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down

Can't you see 'em march across the sky, all the soldiers that have died
Tryin' to get home--can't you see them tryin' to get home?
Tryin' to get home--they're tryin' to get home
Cease all fire on the battlefield
Enough men have already been wounded or killed

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down
(Mothers, fathers and lovers, can't you see them)

Oooh, oooh...
Tryin' to get home--can't you see them tryin' to get home?
Oooh, oooh...
Tryin' to get home--they're tryin' to get home

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring 'em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring 'em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring 'em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring 'em back alive)
I hope the powers that be will work hard to bring the boys and girls home—alive.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NASCAR Princess

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NASCAR is big in North Carolina so it's no wonder that the kids got to do some NASCAR-like "tire changing" at one of the local Halloween parties. Check Gigi out, changing a tire like a professional!