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Monday, August 02, 2010

Music Monday: Ambataila Woman

In 1991, four of the greatest forces in the Calypso world - Sandra De Vignes, Marva Joseph, Joanne Rowley and the late Beulah Bobb - joined together.  Better known as Singing Sandra, Marvellous Marva, Tigress and Lady B, they became the phenomenon we know as the United Sisters.

Most will remember them for their 1993 smash hit Whoa Donkey, a response Ronnie McIntosh's own hit song.  The records show though that in 1991 they immediately saw success, winning the National Song Festival and placing second in the Caribbean Song Festival with Lady B's composition Ambataila Woman.

All four sisters went on to continue their own fantastic individual careers, capturing accolade after accolade, including Sandra's National Calypso Monarch crown in 1999.  They will always be remembered though for this amazing song, and the power that they together put behind it:

Ambataila woman we are big and strong
We ah working whole day on a plantation
Ambataila woman we full ah power
Ambataila woman we come to take over…

Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjF8bnXsNcQ

Friday, July 30, 2010

BBC's Witness Podcast: Trinidad Coup - July 27th, 1990

For persons interested in recent global history and events around the world, there's no better podcast to follow than BBC World's Witness. [LINK]

Appropriately subtitled "The story of our times told by the people who were there", Witness gives us first hand accounts of events in recent history, told by the people who were there.  Today's episode harks back to one of the defining events in the history of Trinidad & Tobago, with a witness account by one of the Caribbean's foremost journalists.

Twenty years ago a small group of radical muslims tried to take over the government on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.  Debbie Ransome lived through it all.

Click PLAY below to listen to the 10-minute retrospective.

Link to the audio file is http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/witness/witness_20100730-1030a.mp3

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music Monday: Be Careful What You Sample...

Truth Hurts is an American R&B singer and songwriter named Shari Watson.  Her one top ten hit came off her 2002 album Truthfully Speaking, a track with title Addictive.  An amazing piece of music in its own right, Addictive would have been one of very few chart-topping hip-hop tracks with South Asian influences.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTjPmgN98H8

Wilson's Addictive was though a remake of Kaliyon Ka Chaman Jab Banta Hain by UMI10 and featuring Indian actress Meghna Naidu.  The track in fact borrowed so heavily from the 2000 song that even the video was a close simile.  While Kaliyon Ka Chaman Jab Banta Hain was itself a fabulous track and wildly popular among South Asian youth, the absence of an English language version prevented crossover to the American market.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTPz7_AW5zk

Unfortunately for Wilson though, her production of the track contained an uncleared sample of the song Thoda Resham Lagta Hai, originally performed twenty years previously by record-breaking by Hindi artist Lata Mangeshkar.  Copyright holder Saregama India Limited filed an infringement lawsuit against Wilson's record company, requesting US$500 million in damages.  Eventually a judge ruled that Wilson's record was not to be sold without proper attribution to Mangeshkar.

The producer on Wilson's track, DJ Quik, claims to have stumbled on the melody one night on a Hindi station on television, most likely the video of Kaliyon Ka Chaman Jab Banta Hain.  What he probably didn't know or realise at the time was that the performance he saw did indeed sample one of the over 30,000 songs that Lata Mangeshkar is purported to have recorded.

According to her Wikipedia entry, Lata Mangeshkar, born September 28, 1929, is one of the best-known playback singers in the Hindi film industry.  Her career started in 1942 and has spanned over six and a half decades.  She sang in over a thousand Bollywood movies and has performed songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages, primarily in Hindi.  She is the elder sister of the equally accomplished singer Asha Bhosle and lesser-known singers, brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar and sisters Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar.  Lata is the second vocalist ever to have received the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

Mangeshkar was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records from 1974 to 1991 for having made the most recordings in the world.  The claim then was that she had recorded no less than 25,000 solo, duet, and chorus-backed songs in 20 Indian languages between 1948 to 1974.  That record was eventually challenged by Mohammed Rafi who claimed to have sung around 28,000 songs.  After Rafi's death, in the 1984 edition, the Guinness Book of World Records stated Lata Mangeshkar's name for the "Most Recordings", but also cited Rafi's claim. Later editions of the Guinness Book continued to state though that Lata Mangeshkar had sung no fewer than 30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987.  Interestingly enough, Mangeshkar herself has no idea from whence Guinness got their numbers, saying too that she keeps no record of the number of songs that she has recorded.

No matter the official number, Mangeshkar's original song Thoda Resham Lagta Hai is itself a very beautiful piece of music.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCcXHGVDLdc

Have a fantastic Music Monday all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Music Monday Double Play: Capleton, Kes and Tess

I'm bringing an uplifter and a two-stepper today.

VP Records has released a new track from one of my favourite dancehall artists.  Clifton Bailey III, the man known more widely and the Prophet Capleton sings on the track "Some Day" from his 2010 album, "I-ternal Fire".

Link to the video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd4K_9WwbsI

And our own rising star Kees Dieffenthaller teams with Jamaica's R&B princess Tessanne Chin on "Loving You".

Link to the video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Roq60m4PSVU&feature=related


Monday, July 05, 2010

Music Monday: "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz

Because it's been that kind of day... and because Music Monday isn't over yet...


Link to the video on Youtube is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIHQnnyFXwI

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