A New Leaf
Later this year, on a day I've already determined for reasons of my own, I will drastically change my lifestyle.
It's got nothing to do with the new bylaw on air pollution and the regulation on smoke-free zones
issued by the City Hall. After all, few bother with obeyance to any official decrees in this country.Way back in the 1980s, Jakarta had a regulation against littering. The enforcement action against litter-bugs in Jakarta included a jail term and a Rp 50,000 fine. Dumbfounded passengers read the stickers plastered on bus seats and at stations, wondering whether the command, "no littering", was for real. In the years that followed it was clear how few of us had changed our ways.
Now in the 21st century that regulation must be buried under the mounds of trash that have become mountains over the years.
I was disturbed to read in today's Observer
about an ex-smoker who stubbed out his last cigarette two years ago but is finding that even the slightest exercise leaves him puffed out.
But that's not my reason.
Neither is my music soundtrack as I type this out. It's a wonderful album of Malinese music, Baro
by Habib Koite & Bamada
which is hypnotic, with haunting melodies and virtuoso guitar playing. It contains a new, Latin-style version of Koite's first hit
'Cigarette A Bana', which has the repeated refrain of "No more cigarettes".
No, hypnotic or not, that's not going to stop me.
And I won't stop smoking because a colleague has: he's got a housemate to help him and I'm not sure that 'Er Indoors will be with me on this one.
No, as I wrote above, I've got my own reasons.World Music Discoveries
Music is an international language so I'm a magpie where it is concerned. I'll give a listen to anything which moves me without being bombastic, which is not 'fashionable' or made with a consumer market in mind and bend an ear to any musician who demonstrates integrity, a personal voice so to speak (sing?).
Son No.1 kindly sent me loads of new stuff for Xmas ~ new to me that is.Harry Manx
has been called an "essential link" between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. He has created a unique sound that is hard to forget and deliciously addictive to listen to.
Indeed. His Road Ragas gets played every day in Jakartass Towers. I asked Son No.1 how come he'd heard of Harry.Very bizarre story. A good friend of mine, Lotte, was hitchiking through Canada with her husband when she got a lift with this happy guy who was a cheerful soul and very stoned. They got chatting, and apparently he played a bit etc etc. Anyway, when they got out at a nearby town, they said their goodbyes, and upon entering a cafe found it was daubed with all these posters of a local musician - Harry Manx, who they recognised as the guy that had given them a lift.... Intrigued they brought a cd, and then one for me as they knew I liked obscure blues.
It's probably my most copied CD.
is what most people would describe as an eccentric. In another day and age, Leon Redbone would be a wandering troubadour carrying the songs of a distant age to new and wanting ears
and we would learn an important lesson about friendship and the power of music to salve the human condition..
He is a musical archaeologist
, culling in our unconscious a memory of forgotten songs from an era half-remembered even by those still living who experienced it. His gentle, genuine appreciation for both the material and the listener resonates with an authenticity lacking in even the best-costumed revivalists.
Fritz Richmond, who has died of cancer aged 66, was the premier jug and washtub bass player of the psychedelic era. An odd distinction, to be certain, but his work with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band was instrumental in preserving and popularizing the roots music of the pre-World War II era. Jugbands - groups of African-American musicians playing popular songs on string and percussion instruments - were fashionable in the 1920s. The role of the bass was taken by a player who blew across the mouth of an oil can or fruit-jar to create what has been described, accurately, as a musical fart.
In his mid-teens he began playing washtub bass with friends. After the US Army he returned to Boston's rich folk scene, playing his tub bass at Club 47 in Cambridge and working with artists such as Tom Rush. Another friend was John Sebastian, to whom he gave a name for his band, the Lovin' Spoonful. Richmond also started the fashion for "granny" glasses with coloured lenses. He said that he wore them to hide the fact that jug-blowing made him crosseyed - "especially", he would add, "if I was stoned".
His washtub bass is preserved at the Smithsonian Institution.
Try these soundbytes: