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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carnival Vibes (Something Else! on Wtnr for 9/1/2011)

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Hello folks!  Just returned from the "madness" that is called Notting Hill Carnival in London!  Frankly, I find that the maddest things are the numbers of people and the facial expressions of the police officers.  Naturally, because of the recent unrest in London sparked by a police shooting in Tottenham there were extra security measures put in place--as there should have been.  However, I would think that a more racially diverse police representation would be the order of the day given that: 1. there was a (perceived) racial element to the police incident 2. Notting Hill Carnival is mostly a celebration of West Indian (Caribbean) culture and many of the people in attendance are non-white.  I say "more" because I only saw 3 officers of color. I'm sure there were more, but given how much I walked around to hear different soundsystems, I would have expected to encounter more than three.  That said, Carnival felt safe, fun and the only threat I felt was from the police themselves.  Passing through rows of police officers who could choose to search anyone without warning is a bit unnerving for someone who comes from a country where one of the rights guaranteed is freedom from "unreasonable search and seizure (4th Amendment to the USA Constitution.)  OK, let's get to the music...

One of the lovely things about Carnival is the various types of music one can hear there.  One of the static soundsystems I heard was Latin Rave Street Jam  and they were playing music much like our opener, "La Banda"by The Spanish Harlem Orchestra.  One can also hear fusions of styles like the next few tunes in the show, "Ay Y N'ama (DJ Day Remix)" by Mo' Horizons, "Un Día Soleado (Akai One's "Donde Estan Mis Vacas" Mix)" by Los Chicos Altos or "Un Pueblo Unido (Uproot Andy Remix)" by Thievery Corporation which incorporate hiphop beats and/or heavy bass which has roots in dancehall reggae.  "Juggling" by Hackney (East London) act The Ragga Twins is more like a fusion of hiphop and dancehall and would totally fit into the sound of Carnival.  It is a UK classic and comes from a great album titled Reggae Owes Me Money. "Knockdown" by Timothy Wisdom is a tune that was featured in a set I played at "Fiesta En La Calle," Movimientos London's event at Cruz Del Rey (Camino Kings Cross.)  That same set also featured "Un Día Soleado (Akai One's "Donde Estan Mis Vacas" Mix)" by Los Chicos Altos, "Un Pueblo Unido (Uproot Andy Remix)" by Thievery Corporation (played earlier in this show) and the next track, "Get Up (Andy Taylor Remix)" by DJ Tzinas.  Switching gears a bit, "Afrogrooves" by Blaze is a soulful house track I recently re-acquired during my UK trip.  Blaze has always been a major part of the US garage sound I've played for years.  The next three tracks are all from new releases, "Wake With The Day" by Koyla ft. Zaki Ibrahim, "Sweetness Is (Original Mix)" by Peven Everett and "Chasing Brooklyn With Hollywood" by LA homie, DJ A-Ski.  Speaking of re-acquisition, "The Name Of Fela Will Always Stand For Freedom" by Jessica Lauren was a track I used to have on 10" vinyl and spun a lot a few years ago.  The artist was kind enough to hook me up with the track recently, but let's hope someone can put it back in print again!  For you diggers out there, the 10" looks like this and I think it also came out on this cd.  Next up, latin funk track "Black & Brown Boogie" by José Mangual and the closer is a collaboration between producer Rogall and former Fela Kuti drummer, Tony Allen--"Rogallen" from Allenko Brotherhood Ensemble.  The sample at the beginning is Roy Ayers speaking from one of his collaboration with Fela, "2000 Black" from Music Of Many Colors alternated with Gil Scott-Heron from his intro to "Brother" from Small Talk At 125th & Lenox.
Enjoy, stay safe and see you soon!

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