SONG OF THE DAY Carlos Puebla – Hasta Siempre

Secondary, 3 of 5“The Hymn of the Cuban people to Che Guevara…….”

There are many, many versions of today’s gorgeous song, but I thought I’s start by sharing the 1965 original.

Hasta Siempre, Comandante (translating as Until Forever, Commander) is a song written by the Cuban composer, Carlos Puebla. Based on the letter that Che Guevara wrote when he left Cuba, the song’s lyrics are a reply to his farewell words.  At the time of its release Che Guevara was leaving to advance revolution in the Congo and later Bolivia (where he was captured and killed in 1967). The lyrics (see below) recall key moments of the Cuban Revolution, describing Che Guevara and his role as a revolutionary commander. The song (naturally) became iconic after Guevara’s death and many covers have been released ever since. The title is of the track is a part of Guevara’s well known saying Hasta la victoria siempre! (“Until victory, always!”)

According to sources there are over 200 versions of this song, including renditions by Compay SegundoSoledad Bravo, Óscar Chávez, Robert Wyatt, Buena Vista Social Club, Veronica Rapella (whose performance is attributed to Joan Baez by mistake) and Giovanni Mirabassi.…but these are only a few examples. Another fine version that I particularly like was covered by the Greek singer/activist  Maria Farantouri in 1977, but I dare say out of those few hundred versions there will be other interpretations that I like too! Though you can’t beat the original in this case, it’s gentle reverence is marked by delicate guitar and exquisite vocal layers.

Check it out above and enjoy the lyrics below…

We learned to love you
from the historical heights
where the sun of your bravery
laid siege to death
Here lies the clear,
dear transparency
of your beloved presence,
Commander Che Guevara
Your glorious and strong hand
over History it shoots
when all of Santa Clara
awakens to see you (Your glorious efforts throughout history resound like gunfire awakening Santa Clara.)
You come burning the breeze
with springtime suns
to plant the flag
with the light of your smile
Your revolutionary love
leads you to new undertaking
where they are waiting for the firmness
of your liberating arm
We will carry on
as we followed you then
and with Fidel we say to you:
“Until forever, Commander!”

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SONG OF THE DAY Jo Jo Bennet – Leaving Rome

R-4012911-1599501114-5289Jo Jo Bennett was a Jamaican trumpet/flugelhorn player, composer, arranger and co-founder of The Sattelites. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1940 he spent the latter part of his life in Toronto, Ontario and celebrated a recording career that spanned over several decades. Throughout these years he issued many 45’s for various labels, including Doctor Bird, Trojan and Moodisc Records (to name a few).

Jo Jo spent many years recording as a solo artist, but also joined Byron Lee And The Dragonaires in the late 1960’s. This was after he had graduated from Kingston’s Alpha Boys School where he had perfected his musical arts as a drummer and lead trumpeter. Alongside Byron Lee he recorded several albums but after a 1967 show in Canada, he decided to reside there for a few years.  In 1970 he returned to Jamaica and released his first and only album, Groovy Joe, while performing live and doing studio work for numerous record companies. In the late 1970’s he returned to Canada and registered his music label Bunjo, and by the early 1980’s he had co-founded The Sattalites.

Leaving Rome was issued as a single in 1969, but also featured on Groovy Joe. This gentle serenade and soft instrumental tune is structured upon some really lush strings and swaying rhythms, with the occasional bird tweet thrown in for soothing measure! It’s got a really sweet, optimistic feel which you can’t help be drawn to…what more do you need for a gentle Sunday?

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SONG OF THE DAY Arif Sag- Su Samsunun Evleri

Primary Sağ is a Turkish a singer, bağlama virtuoso, and leading figure in modern Turkish folk music – he was also once very active in Turkish politics.

Born in Eastern Turkey in 1945, he had a passion for music at a young age, learning to play the Kaval (a traditional flute) by the age of five. By the time he was six he was also proficient on the bağlama. Specialising in folk, he learnt the ashik tradition up until his early teens and began singing folk poems which, in turn, inspired him to move to Istanbul where he took lessons from a folk artist called Nida Tüfekçi. This artist helped to shape his sound….

Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Arif Sağ apparently spent his time exploring and defining his style, not having discovered his own niche just yet, he needed to experiment. He collaborated with other artists and continued with commercial music activities as a bağlama, but folk was invariably something he returned to and this sound was what he was known for.

My knowledge of this artist is currently limited to a couple of songs so far (having only just discovered him), but today’s song is what introduced me to him. Issued as a single in 1973, Şu Samsunun Evleri (translating as The Houses of Samsun) is a spirited feast of mesmerising sound; which is backed with with the equally transfixing Anatolian spellbinder that is Osman Pehlivan (Püfde)  

…Yum! I’m now off to investigate more!! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Hoodna Orchestra – Ben Yehuda

afroHOT HOT HOT!!! This explosive gem of absolute glory has literally just fallen into my lap, so you can imagine how pleased I am to be at the mercy of this happy accident!! Unless, of course, you count the power of will? In which case I’ve conjured up this good fortune because I was looking for something to energise and along came this!

Formed in 2013, Hoodna Afrobeat Orchestra (often shortened to Hoodna Orchestra) are a 12-piece Afrobeat group hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel. Greatly inspired and heavily influenced by “free-flow riddims and heavy dancefloor Afro-funk”, their sound is big and enveloping! Often hypnotic and driven by some hefty horns and spacious rhythms, this vast soundscape is also defined by the intricate counter-melodies that are woven into this sonic feast, bubbling and shimmering just under the surface. This music is dramatic, intense and forever engaging!

To date, the band have issued two albums (their debut, Let Go, releasing in 2015), and have just released a brand new track called Ben Yehuda. This, according to their Soundcloud page, was released just 18 hours ago!! It’s an exciting listen and one that escorts you through an array of changing terrains as crazy organ solos pave a psychedelic route through the swell of horns and an ocean of funk-fuelled rhythms.

Check it out above and if you fancy grabbing a copy of this, you can stream or purchase if from one of these streaming platforms, here…(though slightly disappointed that Bandcamp isn’t on this list)..Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Duy Quang & Th​á​i Hi​ề​n – M​ộ​ng Về Quê

Just over a week ago I featured a track from a very cool compilation entitled Saigon Supersound Vol​.​1, which was expertly compiled by a German label called Saigon Supersound Compilations.

Ran by DJ/producer and music lover called Jan Hagenkötter, Saigon Supersound Compilation Vol.1 was part of a series that tells the story of a musical era in Vietnam that was almost lost! The aptly named “Golden Music” period in the south of Vietnam gave rise to a lively pop culture which had developed and disappeared after the Vietnam war ended.

This so-called golden era is limited to the period between 1965 and 1975 and hosted a wide variety of singers and artists, all of which were shaped and influenced by Western music. This sound is bold, highlighting the cool and often psychedelic-infused sounds of the time, whilst remaining shrouded in relative mystery – most of these tracks were not sang in English, so the feel and comes through in vocal expression.

Today’s song is full of that! Performed by a duet consisting of Vietnamese singer Duy Quang (son of famous singer, Pham Duy) and fellow Vietnamese vocalist, Thái Hiền, M​ộ​ng Về Quê (translating as Dreaming of Home) is dripping in wistful beauty. Regardless of whether you can understand what is being sang (translated lyrics are pasted below), the sentiment behind this transcends any language and a sense of longing hangs heavy in the vocal tone and that winding melody. Spilling over with psych-goodness, this song also boasts some gorgeous instrumentation, with bendy guitar solos, dynamic percussive grooves and sinuous key extravaganzas scattered about all over the place!!

My ears are a happy place right now and if you like this, I can pretty much guarantee you will like this whole compilation – which I shall paste below for your PLEASURE!

LYRICS: Dream Of Coming Home

What did you dream of when you were a child, young lady?
And what do you dream of now?
Does love really exist?
Your life is full of ups and downs.
Time for dreaming has passed,
Still there is no smile on your lips.
What did you dream when you were a child, young lad?
What do you dream of now when you are grown up?
Love, does it exist?
Your life is full of ups and downs
Time for dreaming has passed,
Now you are all alone with nothing in your hands.

Oh darling,
Praying for peace to come to our country soon,
So I can be near you, we will be on the road back home building our home together

And I will build a thatched house,
Then I will raise crops and vegetables
So you don’t have to go for a long way to the market
Twice a day I will go to the field
And skillful you will sew and embroider.

At the end of the day, we will go in our garden,
Looking at the ripening fruits on the trees,
And the chirping birds playing around
We dream not much
Not wealth But love

You can also grab yourself a copy of this compilation by clicking on the album link below too! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Squid – The Blades

This June, Brighton’s Post-punkers, Squid, are to release latest album and second full-length offering, O Monolith. With not long to wait for this new record, the band have shared new single, The Blades. Offering just over six and a half minutes of somewhat more restrained vocal work, this track takes the band down what is not only a more experimental avenue, but a more intimate venture.

According to a press release, this track is singer/drummer Ollie Judge’s favourite Squid song to date.“It’s a lot more vulnerable than stuff we’ve previously done, which can be quite a daunting thing,” he said. “Dan [Carey] and I were talking about vocal delivery and how it would be good to not completely let myself go, and not fall back on shouting because it’s more instantly gratifying. The end of the song is really soft and tender and I don’t think we’ve done something like that before.”

On the surface it’s a song about police brutality with the last section kind of inspired by The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, although I’ve never read the book, I’ve just seen The Simpsons’ spoof of it,” Judge added. “Narratively it follows a police helicopter pilot’s day, ending with him in bed hearing another pilot circling the skies as if he were taunting him. There’s a deeper meaning in there somewhere of my fear of ego, but I’m still working out which bit of the song that’s coming from.

I like the lull of The Blades, for the transition between loud soft becomes more prominent when you have a progressive contrast. It feels deeper, and whilst I completely relish Judge’s yelps and quirky outbursts, this song demonstrates that they have plenty more detailed tricks waiting up their musical sleeves! I’m looking forward hearing more next month when the O Monolith drops via Warp Records.

In the meantime, enjoy today’s song and check out the accompanying video below:

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SONG OF THE DAY Los Lazos – La Rola

R-22574762-1647747740-3909I cast out my sonic net with an open mind and the catch of the day was this slinky little instrumental beast!! This will keep my ears fed for days!

It surprised me to discover that today’s song was actually the only original track penned by Mexican group, Los Lazos!! Why oh why I ask myself?? If they could produce this, why did they not make more??  What a waste! According to sources, Los Lazos were like a good many band of the day (this being the 1970’s), dedicating themselves primarily to making covers! These covers often consisted of love ballads which, again, is a crying shame after you hear what kind of a groove they could achieve!!

Appearing on their one and only album, Como Has Hecho, which was released in 1970 on a Mexican label called Orfeon, today’s song is entitled La Rola. Greatly influenced by the jazz fusion and funk sounds circulating at the time, this song demonstrates a whole new side to this band…and one I wished they’d developed! It’s so cool, its got swagger and layers of style, with horns a plenty and rolling rhythms adding to the shades of pure groove! What a little gem!! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Nathan Davis – Cecen Kizi

nathandavis.jpgBorn in 1937 in Kansas City, Kansas, Nathan Tate Davis, a.k.a Nathan Davis, was born with a natural flare for music. A talented multi-instrumentalist and jazz wizard, he started out playing the trombone at high school and later became proficient on many instruments, including ALL the reed instruments.

Primarily a jazz tenor and soprano saxophone player, he was also the head of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh’s annual Jazz Seminar.  In all areas of music he excelled and as a writer and composer he was prolific! Writing many pieces for himself, he also authored “Writings In Jazz” which was an analysis of the history and development of music. He also played with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.

Cecen Kizi (translating from Turkish as Cecen’s Daughter) was recorded many years before Davis released his version. Cecen Kizi is a Turkish song that was first issued sometime between 1910 and 1914 by an artist called Tanburi Cemil Bey – check the original out below. Nathan Davis’ very, very fine jazz-fuelled interpretation came many years later which, I believe, was issued in the late 1960’s, though I need to pinpoint an actual date!

What I love about Davis’ version is how the use of different instrumentation changes the whole feel, whilst the essence is still very much present. The added rhythm gives it a groove and breathes a whole new dimension of possibility into this traditional sound. The flute melody is real cool and the jazz element takes this song into completely different realms. I love it! Enjoy!

I’ve just stumbled upon an album worth sharing! In 2009, Jazzman Albums released a collection of Nathan Davis’ songs in a compilation called, The Best Of Nathan Davis ’65​-​76, It’s a great selection of tracks and a good place to start if you want to familiarise yourself with his music, and also features today’s song!

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SONG OF THE DAY Patricia Conley & The Royal Robins – Mama What’ll I Do

R-22603211-1647958185-3327With very little out there to unearth the mystery that is today’s song, all we can do is just sit back and savour this rich delight! What makes this stand out from the wealth of popcorn classics out there, I’m not exactly sure, but its got something about it. Maybe its the little twists and turns that are tucked away, both in melody and lyrics? You think you are getting a romantic serenade, but it very quickly becomes evident that this is very much a ballad for a breaking heart!

Whereas most songs of this nature are told from the angle of the grief-stricken victim, here we have a little quirk that puts a nice little spin on things. The grief-stricken Conley pleads to her ‘Mama’ what she can do, but as the story unfolds we discover that this broken heart was possibly self-inflicted and brought on by her own actions. Lines like “..he wanted love/I wanted fun” and “he was an angel to put up with me” indicate things could’ve been different had she treated him right, but the curse of youth could be to blame and when she declares how she is “half girl, half woman, too blind to see“, things start to make sense!

Released in 1962 on a small label called Aldo Records, Mama What’ll I Do / We’re Gonna Get Married was the only 45 Patricia Conley ever recorded and one of only a handful of singles that this label put out too. This is a little rarity I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled upon! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Chewy She – Shine

CHEWY SHE is an ephemeral trash-electro-disco band, mixing the spontaneity of punk with fat electro bass and showing off the grooves of disco….”

From the very small snippets and (literally) matter of only minutes that I’ve been checking this out, I can see why Chewy She have earned many a name for their quirks – ‘bonkers’ being one of those words and  one description that made me smile! I don’t know what to say about what I’m hearing, but the visuals are equally as wacky!! I can’t help but be drawn to it!!..(you will see what I mean about visuals in the video I’ve pasted below).

I could explain who this band are, but their website does a grand job, so who better to explain themselves, but Chewy She! This is who they are:

Trash-electric-disco outfit CHEWY SHE just released their Debut EP “ Run after boyz”.

The wonky carnival that is CHEWY SHE could only have been dreamed up by French singer and accordionist Garance Louis, who has collaborated with Andy Ramsay (Stereolab), Eddie Stevens (Roisin Murphy), and the analog wizard Capitol K.

Their Debut EP “ Run after boyz” is an expression of freedom, sex positivity, spirituality, and feminism. CHEWY speaks out loud for all the womxn and men of today who follow their own desires, f*ck the patriarchy, and build their own ecstasy.

A Lynchian utopia, which radiates innocence despite its absurdist critiques of the modern world.

This spirit is best expressed at their live shows, which feature exuberant costumes, supreme musicianship, and the initiation of all present into the darkly ironical, theatrical, and immersive universe of CHEWY SHE.

CHEWY SHE is just back from an extended UK tour supporting the band HENGE. And they received the National Art council project grant funding to develop a multi-disciplinary immersive show launch on the 31st of March 2023.

The band’s formation began auspiciously, with a premonition, as told by bandleader Garance Louis: “I had a dream that I was in David Lynch club and he said to me ‘I’ve got something for you…’ Incredibly frustratingly, I woke up before he could tell me. The very next day, I was in a car with a couple of friends who told me they would be playing at David Lynch‘s club a few weeks later, and needed an opening act…”

This uncanny synchronicity proved the inspiration for a new and electrifying musical shift – away from the 25-piece orchestral arrangements of Louis’ eccentric folk ensemble ‘Garance and The Mitochondries and towards something darker and more compelling.

Now, whilst I can’t profess to liking everything I’m hearing, what I can safely say is that I’ve not heard anything quite like this, so I wholly commend their sheer originality! I am, however, really enjoying this experience! This is fun, they are fun!!…and we all need a bit of that in our days, don’t we!!

Shine is the song that brought me here and it definitely made a good first impression because I’ve just found it in my notebook of ‘blog ideas’! It’s really got into my head! This track appears on their debut EP, which was released in November last year! My only slight moan with this track is that it’s not long enough!!…see what you think?  Check it out above….

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