Some music I’ve been listening to lately: McIntosh County Shouters, U-Carmen soundtrack, and Wildbirds & Peacedrums

I researched a bit of the Gullah Geechee culture somewhat recently especially after watching the movie Daughters of the Dust and checking out some of Miss Trudy’s Sierra Leone travel vlogs. I wanted to know about some of the musical parts of the culture and didn’t realize a number of African American spirituals came from that autonomous group. One band known as the McIntosh County Shouters who’ve been around for decades and preserve a lot of the Gullah songs as well as the culture. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t have actively listened to them when I was younger, but I’ve been gaining more appreciation for other types of music. I even bought one of their albums and saw some of their concert videos on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/YELZepKtr1I

I got to see U-Carmen earlier this year. For those of you that have never heard of that movie, it’s a South African adaptation of Bizet’s famous Carmen opera. Not only is this set in the 00s and in a different country, the entire opera is actually done in the Xhosa language (the X is pronounced by clicking). It was a very fascinating take on that classical work. In the movie, all the actors actually sing live on set instead of lip-synching to pre-recorded performances. I would definitely recommend the movie and soundtrack. This song in particular is a Xhosa cover of “Habanera” which is a song a lot of you know even if you don’t know anything about opera or classical music. Just listen to the melody, and you’ll instantly recognize it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjThbylqXdI

Here’s a band I found out about somewhat recently after finding out that they’ve collaborated with the Congotronics Vs Rockers project. It was a superband involving Congolese bands (mainly from Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars) and various musicians from all over the world. Two of those musicians happened to consist of the Swedish married couple known as Wildbirds & Peacedrums. I’m a sucker for experimental forms of music and I didn’t think anyone can make a band with just vocals and percussion. They’ve got some avant-pop and jazz kind of vibes with their minimalist approach to music which I found to be unique. I was also a fan of the stop motion filming in this music video.

I’m glad I still have an appreciation for music in these stressful times. Hope you like these selections.

Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. II: The Queen Is False and Her Hive Is Deluded

Lyrics:

Such a naughty girl typical in copying imagery
Not from precambrian times, but from 2018
I wouldn’t blame your man or blaming fire
But your employers who were accomplices
It sucks to be you abducting the black house
While you call your vanity project a “gift”
Your daughter must be so proud of you
Your shame ya mobali ya mobali [Lingala for “To the right, to the right”]
Oh wait, you have none
You may be called a queen, but I see a phony
Keep thinking you’re a survivor

[Lingala]
Ozali mokonzi mwasi te
Ozali nkosi te
Ozali Nzambe te!


Welcome to part 2 of my Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis trilogy which is all about one of the biggest pieces of cat burglary, cinematic plagiarism, and cultural appropriation ever! This is actually the most recent example of this ravenous plagiarism. Shout-out to Inskidee for that term!

This song is about Yannick Illunga AKA Petite Noir. He’s a Belgium-born avant-pop musician of Congolese and Angolan descent who is based in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2018, he recorded an EP called La Maison Noir (The Black House) and released a long-form music video containing most of the songs, but adding a narrative and incorporating visuals from African culture. They filmed it straight in the Namib desert which covers his current home country and it’s next door neighbor Namibia. I think you might like this short musical of sorts.

Then one year later…Mickey Mouse happened to have a certain diva as an accomplice…

Image result for petite noir beyonce

LOOK OUT, BEYHIVE! I’M GOING TO BASH YOUR FAKE GODDESS AND THAT OVERRATED MOVIE FRANCHISE!!

Wow, just wow! The Petite Noir video was barely a year old before Disney and the former Destiny’s Child member managed to rip off his music video when the newest iteration of Nala decided to release her video for “Spirit” for the Lion King remake. Here are some images from both videos.

Beyonce

Do you honestly believe that Beyonce, Jake Nava, Jon Favreau, or anyone at Disney didn’t see the Petite Noir video? Do any of you think it’s some little coincidence that both videos would take place in the desert and have traditional African clothing in red and blue? Come on, people. This isn’t like “Mbube” or a certain Osamu Tezuka anime/manga series (we’ll get to that in a certain post!) which both predate the internet. This was from 20-freaking 18. This was stupid and the denial is just facepalm-worthy. JUST OWN UP TO IT! No, just because Beyonce had African musicians on her vanity project of a companion soundtrack doesn’t give her a right to steal from another musician from the continent. Also, notice how that album is called “The Lion King: The Gift” and the Petite Noir’s video is called “La Maison Noir: The Gift and The Curse“. Think about it! Here’s a good link about that plagiarism issue and some of the online reactions.

The song was an experimental acoustic-ish track, but I got to use effects to my mbira to give it an electric sound to it. I was listening to a ton of Konono No. 1 and Kasai Allstars before writing and recording, so that instrumental choice was highly influenced by them using amplified thumb pianos in most of their songs. Besides that, I use Petite Noir references and a bunch of Beyonce references in the lyrics. See if you spot them.

After this piece of thievery, we’re going to get to the big example of this plagiarism marathon. It will be hard not to have some pride in this work and in part 3, all you anime fans are going to love me even though you can guess what the last part will be about. :3

La Maison Noir: The Gift and the Curse is property of Petite Noir and Red Bull Music. The screenshot is from YouTube.

The Beyonce picture is from Timeslive.

The screenshot comparison is from WiseAfri. The La Maison Noir screenshots are property of Petite Noir and The Spirit screenshots are property of Disney.

Friendship Friday: Fafhrd

https://fafhrd.bandcamp.com/

Meet Connor Eck AKA Fafhrd.

He’s an experimental musician from my home state of Illinois. I’ve known him for years ever since he told me about his band Suzy LaRue & The Ruthless Ooze when they were starting out as a band. Fafhrd does a lot of synthesizer, dark ambient, and even some avant-pop based pieces across his discography. Most of his albums are free or pay-what-you-want on his Bandcamp page.

-Curtis