Friday, April 11, 2008

World Music Post (Volume Whatever!?)


One thing I love about World Music is not only the diversity of the music itself and the constantly expanding root system that is continually influencing the different facets of itself like a 3-D sphere of complicated electrical circuitry, but the fact that it sometimes (assuming you can understand it) has a sobering story to tell, often folkloric and survival based.

I recently bought a CD entitled "Umalali" The Garifuna Women's project. It is the singing/storytelling of the Garifuna people, descendants of Nigerian slaves, who were in fact survivors of a sunken slave ship that made it to shore and mixed with coastal Caribbean natives from Central American countries known as Caribs and Arawaks. Most migrated into Belize where they comprise about 7% of the population and live in Garifuna villages along the southern coastline and speak Garifuna or Garihagu. The Garifuna is among the UN's list of endangered human cultures and the oral tradition is precariously preserved, namely by the women, while the men are occupied at sea. The women sing of their hardships of surviving hurricanes and many other personal tragedies with spirit and guile. You can buy this album here

Umalali, The Garifuna Women's Project - Merua

I didn't choose this song for the storytelling, I chose it because it was mixed by Norman Cook (A.K.A. Fatboy Slim) who invited the Garifuna collective to mix their authentic music to his beats. When the Garifuna ladies heard the track Fatboy had laid down they instinctively started singing a traditional work song they had learned growing up in Honduras, making a great track unintentionally combining these two bits of music.

Umalali, The Garifuna Women's Project - Anaha Ya (Here I Am)

This song is about a woman on the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, who is hearing rumors that she is selling her daughter into prostitution.

Here I am on this island
All I can do is look around. I am so dissappointed

It is all over the newspapers on the street's
Rumors that I am selling my daughter

Come to me, my child, I have appointed you
Come to me. You will be the one to console me