Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘U.F.O.’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: ANAT COHEN AND MARCELLO GONÇALVES-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #74 (September 2, 2020).

Anat Cohen plays the clarinet and Marcello Gonçalves plays the seven-string guitar.  Their

music comes from the heart of Brazil. The first two songs are choros, from the choro genre of music that originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. Think of choro music like New Orleans jazz, but in South America, both born of European and African influences. Cohen, on the other hand, is a clarinetist from Israel and the composer of these tunes. She developed a passion for Brazilian music while studying at Berklee College of Music and not long afterward found herself in a “roda” (choro jam session) in Rio de Janeiro with some of the most virtuosic players in Brazil’s choro scene. It was on that trip 20 years ago when Cohen met Gonçalves for the first time. All these years later, choro music has woven many of the threads in Cohen’s musical fabric.

Notice Gonçalves’s seven-string guitar, a common instrument in choro music; the additional string extends the lower register as if to combine an acoustic and bass guitar. Cohen explained in an email that playing with Gonçalves “makes me feel like I am playing with a full band.”

This duo was recently revered for their 2018 Grammy-nominated record, Outra Coisa, which celebrates the music of the iconic Brazilian woodwind player and composer Moacir Santos. Gonçalves is acclaimed for refining Santos’s orchestral arrangements down to just two musicians.

“Waiting for Amalia” opens with a bouncy guitar line and a sweet almost flirtatious clarinet.   This song feels quite jazzy.

“Valsa do Sul (Waltz of the South)” begins with a lovely, almost slinky clarinet melody. I love watching him play some of the fast riffs along with her, but it’s the bouncing, percussive moments that really make the song come alive.

This duo was recently revered for their 2018 Grammy-nominated record, Outra Coisa, which celebrates the music of the iconic Brazilian woodwind player and composer Moacir Santos.

Santos was the teacher of the guitarist and composer Baden Powell de Aquino.  I only recently heard of Baden Powell but here he is mentioned again–this time as an influencer before the existence of Instagram.  “In the Spirit of Baden” has some great low notes and a bouncy clarinet.  The middle has a strangely dissonant section where Gonçalves plays a few chords that are a little harsh.  Then Cohen joins in adding some wailing clarinet solos.  It’s a surprisingly dissonant moment in an otherwise very pretty song.

[READ: September 1, 2020] “U.F.O. in Kushiro”

I read this story almost ten years ago.  It was republished in a March 2011 issue of The New Yorker to memorialize the then recent earthquake in Japan.  This story was inspired by the incidents of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan.

The story (translated by Jay Rubin) opens a few days after the Kobe Earthquake.  And even five days after the Kobe earthquake, Komura’s wife is still engrossed in the TV footage from Kobe.  She never leaves the set.  He doesn’t see her eat or even go to the bathroom.  When he returns from work on the sixth day, she is gone.  She has left a note to the effect that she’s not coming back and that she wants a divorce.  Komura’s wind is knocked out of him. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: GOGOL BORDELLO-Tiny Desk Concert #66 (June 28, 2010).

I had heard a few minutes of Gogol Bordello before this concert but it was during a TV show that I was half watching.  When I sat down and listened to this show, I was blown away by hem and immediately bought two of their CDs. Gogol Bordello is a multi-piece, multi ethic band that plays rocked-up Russian folk music (mor or less).  The sound is very traditional, with a kind of gypsy edge sprinkled onto it.  I’m not sure how many people are in the band, or how may people showed up for this concert but it sounds like about 100 in the tint room.  This is also the longest Tiny Desk show that I’ve heard (it runs almost 25 minutes).

The band plays five songs (and there’s a little chatting in between) and as the session goes on the band gets more rowdy (and more fun).  The video (also available at the same site) shows the singer sitting in the laps of the NPR folks and jumping on some desks and just having a blast.  And even though I enjoy shoegazing music, this is the kind of rollicking fun that I would love to see in concert.

The songs are political, but not overtly so, it’s more of a communal feel, of people uniting (which is indeed political).  I think they could get old kind of quickly, but in small doses the band is energizing and wonderful.

[READ: March 27, 2011] “U.F.O. in Kushiro”

This story was originally published in the March 19, 2001 issue and was inspired by the incidents of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan.  It was reprinted here to memorialize the recent earthquake in Japan.  The story is accompanied by rather devastating photos (and some surreal ones) of the aftermath of the earthquake in Kobe.

The story (translated by Jay Rubin) opens a few days after the Kobe Earthquake.  And even five days after the Kobe earthquake, Komura’s wife is still engrossed in the TV footage from Kobe.  She never leaves the set.  He doesn’t see her eat or even go to the bathroom.  When he returns from work on the sixth day, she is gone.  She has left a note to the effect that she’s not coming back and that she wants a divorce.  Komura’s wind is knocked out of him. (more…)

Read Full Post »