Best of World Music For 2010 by Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 27, 2010 08:02am | Post a Comment
Best Packaging:
Peña-S/T CD & DVD of Traditional Afro-Peru

Best Artwork:
DJ Lengua -Cruzando

Best World Music Release That NPR Likes:

Best World Fusion Album:
Saravah Soul-Cultura Impura

Best Retro World Release LP:
Anibal Velasquez -Mambo Loco

Best 2010 World Release On LP:
Mexican Institute of Sound-Suave Patria

Best World Music Box Set:
V/A-Congotronics Box Set

Best World Music Compilation Of 2010:
PomegranatesPersian Pop, Funk, Folk, and Psych Of The 60s & 70s

Best Of The Many African Funk Compilations We Saw In 2010:
Afro Beat AirwaysWest African Shock Waves Ghana & Togo 1972 to 1979

Best African Compilation That Wasn’t From Nigeria:
Angola SoundtrackThe Unique Sound Of Luanda 1965 to 1976

Best Usage Of World Music Without Being A World Music Album:
Cut Chemist Sound Of The Police – A Live One Turntable Mix of African & South American Inspired Music

Best World Music Release That I Raved About Last Year That Got Popular This Year:
Chico Mann-Analog Drift

Best Song Of 2010 From The Hoods Of South L.A.:
Banda Los Recoditos- "Ando Bien Pedo"

Best Of The Many African Psychedelic Compilations We Saw In 2010:
World Ends Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria

Best LP That I Wish I Bought But Now Is Sadly Out Of Print:
Omar Khorshid: Guitar El Chark (Guitar of the Orient)

Best Recording Of A Live Show That I Thought Was Horrible When I Went To It, But Is Much Better In My Mind Now That I Heard The Live Recording:
Mulatu AstatkeMochilla Presents Timeless – Mulatu Astatke

 Best Retro World Release Of 2010 That People Thought Was A Modern Recording:
Charanjit SinghTen Ragas To A Disco Beat

Best Of The Fania Reissues On CD:
Kako & AzuquitaLive It Up

Best Of The Fania Reissues On LP: 
Johnny Colón and His Orchestra-Boogaloo '67

Best Salsa Release Of 2010:
Spanish Harlem Orquestra-Viva La Tradicion

Best Limited LP Reissue That Outnumbered The Actual First Pressing:
El GusanoFantasia Del Barrio

Best Retro-Latin Soul Reissue Of 2010 That Wasn’t Joe Bataan Or Ralfi Pagan:
Tito Ramos-Where My Head Is At

Best Chicha Release Of 2010 That Wasn’t Roots Of Chicha
Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical Ranil's Jungle Party
V/A-Cumbia Beat

Best Of The Many Retro Asian Releases Of 2010:
Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974

Best Of The 2010 French Releases Bought By Non-French People:
Yann Tiersen-Dust Lane
Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM

Best Second Volume Of A Compilation That Is As Good Or Better Than The First:
V/A-Roots Of Chicha Vol. 2

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Very Be Careful-Escape Room

Best Digital Cumbia Release Of 2010:
V/A- Cumbia Bestial

Best Retro Latin Music Compilation Of 2010:
Palenque Palenque! - Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots in Colombia 1975-91

Best International Rap Album Of 2010:
Ana Tijoux-1977

Best Latin Rock & Pop Release Of 2010:
Calle 13- Entre Los Que Quieran

Best Tribute To Kraftwerk’s Autobahn By A Group From Tijuana:
Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible-Bulevar 2000

Best Version Of A Kraftwerk Song In 2010:
Seu Jorge- Seu Jorge & Almaz (The Model)

Best Instore At Amoeba Hollywood By A World Music Artist:
Bassekou Kouyate-I Speak Fula

Best World Music Album Of 2010 Sadly Not Available At Amoeba:
Chancha Via Circuito-Rio Arriba

Best World Music LP Lifesaver When You Didn’t Bring Enough Records To The Club:
V/A-Afrosound of Colombia

Best Brazilian LP Reissue(s):
Lo Borges
Milton Nascimento & Lo Borges-Clube Da Esquina

Best World Music Release That Would Make You Travel To A Remote Part Of The World Just To See Them Perform:
Omar Souleyman-Jazeera Nights

Best World Music Release Of 2010:
Rita Indiana Y Los Misterios-El Juidero

Five World LPs From 2010 You Must Get - Part 1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 13, 2010 09:12am | Post a Comment

Anibal Velaquez
-Mambo Loco

Probably my most abused LP that I bought this year. I can’t tell how many times I’ve played Mambo Loco at shows or just sitting at home. Velaquez is a master of the accordion and very influential in bringing Colombian Cumbia to the rest of the world. I found that his outside influences, mostly from Cuban music, made his sound easier for people to digest. In my DJ sets, Mambo Loco served as a gateway into Salsa or Merengue or out of that into Cumbia. I’m telling you, this one is straight heat! If you still aren’t a fan of Cumbia after this album, you are probably dead.

Charanjit Singh
Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat

Does House Music have its roots with Charanjit Singh and his box of archaic early 80’s electronic equipment? That is debatable, but what isn’t is that Singh’s electronic Indian Ragas contained some of the freshest sounds to hit my ear in a while. "Raga Bairagi," my favorite track, is a cluster of different Indian influences with Singh’s ear for soundtrack music. It's as if he imagined Moroder working with Herbie Hancock to create the soundtrack to the Indian version of The Warriors.

I can't help but imagine how much fun we would be having now if the Western world had embraced Charanjit Singh in the eighties like they did Ravi Shankar in the sixties.

Black Man's Cry
The Inspiration Of Fela Kuti

Let’s face it: Tribute albums are usually not that great. Then again, we are talking about Fela Kuti. What makes this release different is that it focuses on the generational and international influence of Fela Kuti’s music. Whether it was bands from Nigeria, Colombia or New York, they were all driven to cover songs by Fela and put their own stamp on his music. The vinyl version has each time period and country divided by sides of the 10” LP, which made the release more cohesive than the CD version.

Persian Pop, Funk, Folk, and Psych Of The 60s & 70s

This is another LP that I have just abused this year. Because I mostly do DJ sets at Latin Music clubs I didn’t get much of a chance to bust this album out, but at home this album was on heavy rotation. This album is both sweet and sublime, a love letter from a generation of Persian music that has come and gone. Each artist on this compilation shows Western influences but is undeniably Persian at the core and you are reminded how progressive Iran was before the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

El GusanoFantasia Del Barrio

In its original release in 1975, El Gusano only made 300 copies of the all-instrumental Fantasia Del Barrio and it came and went. The band from Cotulla, New Mexico didn’t fit in with any style of music. It's rock with some funk and Tex-Mex influences done by four Chicanos but it is closer in sound to early Sun City Girls than it is to Little Joe Y La Familia or Santana. One of the reasons is that guitarist Eugenio Jaimez returned from duty in Vietnam in a fragile state, like most of our veterans did. I felt that the way he dealt with his pain was though his guitar and his compositions. Once the needle hits the LP you’ll notice that El Gusano is one of most expressive instrumental bands ever. In each song you can feel the joy and heaviness of returning home and the troubled times of feeling out of place. On top of that, it’s four guys jamming in a garage and making music that they loved and now, so do I.

Crunchyfest: A Benefit for Jose "Crunchy" Espinoza

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 29, 2010 08:51am | Post a Comment

I have been blessed to know Jose “Crunchy” Espinoza for about fifteen years. He is one of Los Angeles' finest musicians in a town of many great talents. You probably don’t know him by name but you have heard his work through the music of Ozomatli (he was one of the co-founders of the group) and The Salvador Santana Band. He has also done plenty of session work with the likes of The Black Eyed Peas, Blackalicous and Money Mark, just to name a few. Crunchy, a multi-instrumentalist who plays sax, flute and percussion, has been leading various Jazz groups in recent years. One of the groups is the monstrous, Cuban Funk inspired Ubalaye, which has the sickest collection of L.A. based musicians in one band. He took some time off from touring to finish his masters degree in Afro-Latin Music at Cal State L.A. Since then, besides recording and gigging, he has been teaching music for grade school students as well as raising his own kids.

This year has been tough one for Jose. He has been fighting cancer most of the year and has gone through stretches where the doctors have advised him not to play. Still, Crunchy continues to write music and you can hear some of his pieces on Sunday, December 5th at a show entitled “Crunchyfest” at the California Institute Of The Arts (CalArts). On The bill will be The Cal Arts Salsa Band, Cava, Salvador Santana, Sono-Lux and Crunchy-led Umbalaye. The event is free but donations will be accepted to help Crunchy with his medical expenses. The show is from 12 pm to 6pm. For more info please click here.

New World LP Releases & The Politics of Digging

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 15, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment

I can’t say that I’m the greatest digger. You won’t hear of me flying to Colombia or Angola to dig through long lost piles of LPs and seven inches that are piled from floor to ceiling in a mold-infested basement. However, at home or when I travel, chances are that I will find where the records are and spend some hours searching through bins trying to find gold in piles of crappy records. Then again, what I consider garbage is what others might consider gold. We all have different taste and that's what keeps record collectors constantly digging.

Not much bothers me when it comes to collecting. All the new people buying vinyl because it’s the cool thing to do now don’t bother me. Chances are, if they are only doing it to be cool, soon the trend will pass and they will stop. The next time they have to move or need money, those records will be sold or donated and they will end up back in the hands of people who really want them. Digital downloading and MP3 have been great for collectors -- so many great collections by name DJ’s have ended up back in the stores! Buying online doesn’t bother me. If you are willing to pay a hundred dollars for a rare LP on EBay, then more power to you. The person who sold it to you had more patience, found it in a thrift store and bought it for a buck. For their effort, they made ninety-nine bucks off of you.

If you find me on the floor at Amoeba, I have no problem with customers who ask the question, “What’s good in the vinyl section?” Sure, it's a vague question and you'll have to be prepared to be asked a barrage of questions by me such as, “Well, what do you like?” and, “What styles do you like?” and on and on until we can find you vinyl bliss. However, I do have a problem with the diggers that want me to hand them records. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose and joy of digging? I’ll lead the horse to water but I’m not going to pour water in its mouth. I’ll show you where the Cumbia records are; the rest is up to you. Keep digging and make magic happen.

So this is what is good in the World Vinyl section right now. Remember, the process of digging starts with someone buying it new first. Most new LP releases are extremely limited. If you aren't the digging type, you may want to get these now.

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Top 10 For October 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 7, 2010 11:25pm | Post a Comment

1. Shakira-Sale El Sol
2. V/A-The Roots of Chicha 2
3. Yann Tierson-Dust Lane
4. V/A-The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina
5. V/A-Fania Essential Recordings
6. Jane Birkin-Di Do Dah
7. Natacha Atlas-Moungaliba
8. Seu Jorge-Seu Jorge & Almaz
9. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg-S/T
10. Spanish Harlem Orquestra-Viva La Tradicion

Without any surprise, Shakira’s Sale El Sol took the top spot on October’s chart. Likewise, I expected The Roots of Chicha 2 & Yann Tiersens Dust Lane to chart in the top five. The big surprise was The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina at number four, which could have done better had the store not run out of stock so quickly. Fueled by a powerful PRI The World piece, this collection of unreleased music by forgotten Cuban boleros struck a chord with the NPR crowd and everyone seemed to be asking for it. We have been dealing directly with Ahi-Nama, the indie label who released The Lost Cuban Trios, for years. They mostly release modern Cuban music such as Timba, Cuban Reggaeton & Salsa, so it was a surprise to me that they released some vintage Cuban music. A nice surprise for us and I’m sure for Ahi-Nama as well.

At number six and nine are two Jane Birkin reissues by Light In The Attic Records, who are doing a fine job with reissues, including one of my favorite non-World Music releases, El Gusano’s Fantasia Del Barrio (review coming soon). Live shows in L.A. helped out Natasha Atlas (#7) and The Spanish Harlem Orquestra (#10). At number five is probably the best Fania Records compilation ever released for a DJ; Fania Essential Recordings, released by Strut Records is all bangers, no filler in the bunch! On both CD & vinyl, there is no reason to sleep on this one, unless you have all those collectible tracks already.

November 22nd will bring us the new Calle 13’s Entren Los Que Queiran, which has the group collaborating with all sorts of legends from around the world such as Toto La Moposina from Colombia, Maria Rita from Brazil, Susana Baca from Peru, Suen Kuti (son of Fela Kuti) and Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. You always have to expect the unexpected when it comes to Calle 13.

Out now is the AfroCubism release. This pairing of Cuban and West African musicians was supposed to happen years ago but was canceled when the West African musicians couldn’t get their visas into Cuba. With all that recording time booked, Nick Gold from World Circuit Records recorded a bunch of older Cuban musicians and made a little record called The Buena Vista Social Club. Now, almost fifteen years later, the project is finally completed and released. Buena Vista alumni Eliades Ochoa and his Cuarto Patria pair with the likes of West African musicians such as Toumani Diabate and Bassekou Kouyate. Should be worth the wait.
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