I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others.
1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
3. Shakira-She Wolf
4. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol. 1
5. Manu Chao-Baionarena
6. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
7. Tinariwen-Imidiwan: Companions
9. V/A-Tumbele! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74
10. Buika-El Ultima Trago
Even though Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM has only been out for the last week, it has already sold well enough to take the top spot on Amoeba Hollywood’s World Music chart. IRM was produced by Beck and was the first anticipated release of the year. The vinyl version of IRM also took the sixth spot and probably could have sold more had we not sold out over the weekend. Last year, Charlotte's father, Serge Gainsbourg, was the only artist to also have the CD and vinyl version of a record in our top forty best sellers of the year, with the reissue of Histoire De Melody Nelson.
At number five is Manu Chao's second live album, Baionarena, which includes two CD’s and one DVD. Baionarena was recorded and filmed over the last couple of years while supporting the La Radiolina release. Having caught two shows during this tour, Baionarena triggers many great memories I had attending the shows. Baionarena is also available on vinyl, which also comes with the DVD.
If you only go to one benefit concert event this year it should be one to benefit the unfortunate victims of the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. And if you are in the Bay Area tonight there is such an event taking place. Rebound in downtown San Francisco tonight will be featuring none other than Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation fame, along with several local artists / DJs, including J-Boogie. The benefit starts at 7pm this evening (Monday, January 18th) at Vessel in San Francisco. The goal of the event is to raise as much money as possible for the World Food Programme to go directly to Haiti.
What is significant about this evening's appearance by Thievery Corp's Garza is that as a part of that popular group he is used to playing large venues (I saw them in a sold-out show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley two summers ago). But to do his part to benefit the Haitian earthquake victims, he has volunteered his time to play at an intimate SF venue. All the performers are also donating their time for this very worthy cause. Others on the bill tonight include J Bowman, Chris Clouse, Gordon Waze, and David Harness, who will not be DJing but instead will be the host of the evening. At 930pm Haiti quake survivor Angelo Viard is scheduled to speak.
Vessal is located at 85 Campton Place, San Francisco, CA 94108. More info here.