"They'll never give us a room if we don't pretend we're married."
Welp… We’re about ready to finish off ol’ 2007. And what a year it’s been. For years to come, we’ll be remembered by history as the people who got to see… urr… hours of YouTube footage of Britney Spears trying to buy cappuccinos. Oh yeah, and something about a war?
Anyhoo, I thought I’d maybe talk a little about my favorite album of the year – only, there’s a problem. My favorite album of the year came out in November of 2006. Hey, it’s not my fault if I wasn’t as blown away by the latest release by [insert everyone who released an album this year].
It’s not that I’m cynical and it’s NOT that I didn’t enjoy anything new this year. It’s that nothing has replaced my favorite yet. So, I continue listening to it.
For those few of you who don’t know what you’re looking at here, it’s the album “Ys” by Joanna Newsom.
There’s very little praise I can say here that hasn’t been said before by critics the world over. When it hit the scene, the album secured Miss Newsom some serious accolades. For myself, it was a rare moment when popular culture and yours truly loved something at the same time. That’s a blue moon moment. I think the last time it happened was… Twin Peaks. And Jesus, there’s people working as cashiers at Amoeba Music that are too young to remember who Laura Palmer is.
The good old days.
My relationship with the album is personal and doesn’t easily translate for my whimsical blog. I don’t like to talk about it. Every time I try to explain how I feel about the music, I get all overwhelmed and vulnerable, like a quaking fawn on newborn legs, and then I wanna punch faces in. You know how it is.
I wasn’t expecting much other than a good time. It was The Hollywood Cemetery’s annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration. I wanted to check out the altars, have some Champurrado, a shot of tequila and some Pan De Muerto. As I walked in the cemetery I soon found out that two of the best Son Jarocho groups were going to perform that evening. Son De Madera and Los Cojolites, both from Vera Cruz, Mexico, are the Beatles and The Rolling Stones or the Biggie and Tupac of Son Jarocho. Trouble was that they going to perform on two different stages at the exact same time. Oh man, what to do?
Son Jarocho is traditional Mexican music that fuses indigenous, Spanish and African styles. It originated in the port towns of Vera Cruz, a region of Mexico located off the Gulf of Mexico. The instruments that are used for Son Jarocho are also used in other Mexican music with the addition of various percussion instruments with roots in African and Spanish/Moorish culture. It is music based on improvisation, both musically and lyrically. Imagine a rapper free styling verses while improvising on the guitar.
I had seen Los Cojolites earlier this year at Self-Help Graphics in East L.A. Their short set was absolutely jaw dropping. However, in the spirit of community, Los Cojolites relinquished the stage to other performers who were not up to par with the group and I ended up leaving early. Son De Madera was one of those groups I had always wanted to see but never got around to. Because of that, the battle of the dueling stages was won by the stage with Son De Madera on it. Son De Madera are traditionalists to a point. One of the Requintos (an acoustic guitar used for playing the lead guitar parts in Son Jarocho music) is put through an amp with effects pedals, which creates a washy, dream-like sound. Also included in the group is a stand-up baby bass, compliments of East L.A. native Juan Perez and Zapateado supplied by the beautiful Rubí del Carmen Oseguera. The minute they played their first note I was lost in their world of improvisations and melodies. It had the earthiness of the Mexican culture mixed with the seduction of the Moorish culture. None of that was lost, even with Son De Madera's modern take on their traditional sound.
Amoeba Marc sent me the link to the must-see above video of a recent editorial (Special Comment) by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on December 6th. Olbermann tells it like it is with no sugar coating. Everyone who is seriously concerned about the future of this nation and of the world and whether or not we all end up caught in the crossfire of an unwanted World War III needs to spend eight and a half minutes and view this direct and sobering commentary.
In England it is midnight, Monday, December 10, 2007. In a matter of mere hours, Led Zeppelin will be reunited on stage to play a tribute show. Playing at London's O2 Arena, it's a concert in aid of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. Mr. Ertegun, who passed away last year, was co-founder of Atlantic Records and chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & museum. Led Zeppelin recorded with Atlantic Records until they released Physical Graffiti on their own Swan Song label in 1975.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND? LED ZEPPELIN!! LIVE!! TOMORROW!! Maybe it'll be something like this:
In case you live under a rock and don't know, Led Zeppelin is made up of 4 guys:
from left to right:
John Bonham plays drums