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Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds from Iraq Vol. 2 VA
In 2005, Sublime Frequencies released Choubi Choubi: Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq, and in the ensuing years it has become one of the most beloved and venerable titles in their catalog. Now almost 10 years later, this highly-anticipated second volume is finally here. Compiler and producer Mark Gergis has once again put forth a revelatory and poignant collection of Iraq's national folk music. What has happened to Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion and eventual occupation? Endless death, destruction and chaos, the complete take-down of a functional and sovereign secular government (regardless of your opinion on that government), puppet installations, contrived sectarian divisions, the wholesale looting of culture, rampant opportunism, and apparently no lessons learned -- all at the Iraqi people's expense. Naturally, music has continued to be produced in Iraq -- however, since 2003, musicians and artists have been consistently targeted and attacked by extremists, who have also bombed music shops and forced the closing of venues and music halls. The musical style most prominently focused on in this volume is the infamous Iraqi choubi, (pronounced choe-bee), with its distinct driving rhythm that feature fiddles, double-reed instruments, bass, keyboards, and oud over its signature beat. Choubi is Iraq's version of the regionally popular dabke, another celebratory Levantine folkloric style of rhythm and line dance. What really defines the Iraqi choubi sound are the crisp, rapid-fire machine-gun style percussive rhythms set atop the main beat. To the uninitiated, they sound almost electronic. Sometimes they are, but more often this is the work of the khishba -- a unique hand-drum of nomadic origin (aka the zanbour -- Arabic for wasp), which appears across the board in many styles of Iraqi music today, with extensions of it also heard in Syrian and Kuwaiti music. Among other styles featured in this volume are Iraq's legendary brand of mawal -- an ornamental vocal improvisation that sets the tone of a song, regardless of the style, and the outstanding Iraqi hecha, with its lumbering and determined rhythm pulsing beneath sad, antagonized vocals -- as heard on tracks A4 and B2. The tracks on this collection were produced during the Saddam era -- between the 1980s and early-2000s. An important goal within the Iraqi Baathist agenda was to promote its brand of secularism, which saw the establishment of cultural centers, and a fostering of the arts. Music was more encouraged, albeit more institutionalized than ever -- particularly folkloric and heritage music such as choubi. In an Iraqi army comprised of seven divisions, Saddam referred to singers as the eighth. Still, unless a rare level of stardom has been achieved, being a singer or musician isn't usually encouraged or viewed as a respectable lifestyle in much of the Arab world. It's often those deemed social outsiders that tend to find their niche in music -- particularly the "party music" heard on this collection. Among them are the Rom Gypsy Iraqis (known as Kawliya in Arabic). A number of female singers wear masks and adopt pseudonyms to protect their identities, as some are runaways or prostitutes making ends meet in the seedy nightclub scene. Occasionally, they end up with successful recording careers. Sajida Obeid, who has appeared on both volumes of Choubi Choubi! is an example of a talented Kawliya singer from the nightclub scene of the 1980s who rose to choubi infamy in Baghdad. Choubi inevitably invokes tawdry connotations within Iraqi society (cheap nightclubs for the lower classes, outcast gypsies and singing prostitutes), but in fact, many calibers of Iraqi singers and ensembles have recorded and performed the music. Unofficially, choubi can be called the national dance of Iraq. Though some may deny this claim (mostly due to its reputation and stigma), at most Iraqi weddings you'll find people from all walks flaunting their best choubi moves. Iraqi music has always had a way of transcending religious groups and ethnicity, collectively shared between Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and myriad other Iraqi minorities. In 2013 sadly, this diversity and unity within Iraq is increasingly fragmented, but traditions continue throughout the internationally displaced diaspora. Limited edition 2LP set in a heavy gatefold jacket with beautiful artwork and liner notes by Mark Gergis.
DAVID HARRIS: Small Path Music (with Laurent Jeanneau)
Small Path Music was shot on location in Southeast Asia in 2010 with Laurent Jeanneau on his relentless quest to capture audio recordings of vanishing indigenous music from ethnic groups of this vast region. The documentary (shot over a period of eight months) takes us travelling with Laurent in the field through remote northern Laos and Yunnan Province of Southwest China and invites us into the world of the folk artists he explores. From shamanic rituals to love songs, historical epics to lamentations, his microphones document what he discovers there. Laurent tells us of the state he finds these artists in today, how this music speaks to him, and we learn what drives the urgency of his work. As perhaps the most committed and accomplished procurer of rare and threatened music from this part of the world, Laurent recounts experiences from a decade of recording in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China, and we gauge his perspective on the musical traditions of the area. We see how he relates to them and how his work has led his life in new directions. Along this journey he met his wife, Tanding and together they established a recording label (Kink Gong) to release their field recordings. Sublime Frequencies is pleased to present this unique story shot by filmmaker David Harris about the man behind the Ethnic Minority Music album series. 56 minutes, 16:9 NTSC DVD all regions, English with Mandarin subtitles.
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OMAR SOULEYMAN: Dabke 2020: Folk & Pop Sounds of Syria
LP version. Sublime Frequencies is pleased to present the second volume of Northeast Syrian dabke music from legendary vocalist Omar Souleyman and his group. This record was compiled by Mark Gergis to coincide with the Sublime Frequencies UK/European tour in May and June of 2009, featuring live performances by Omar Souleyman himself. Culled from dozens of cassettes recorded in Syria from 1999-2008, the music here is an extension of Omar's Highway to Hassake: Folk & Pop Sounds of Syria (SF 031CD) release, touching on some previously-unheard angles. Their trademark serpentine synthesizers, electrified bouzok (traditional stringed instrument) and driving rhythms forge a severe form of "new wave dabke" with a live energy and integrity that captures the essence of the Syrian Northeast; one-of-a-kind Syrian dabke party tunes, regional atabat-styled crooners, and unbelievable Iraqi party jams. This is the limited edition LP version packaged in a heavy-duty tip-on jacket.
Order from Forced Exposure: http://
Order from Forced Exposure: http://