Archive for July, 2013


Angel Parra is part of a family of folk musicians from Chile, his mother was Violetta Parra and his sister Isabel Parra. They were important artists in the Chilean musical movement called Nueva Cancion. It was a movement that sought to find an intrinsically Chilean form of music by using the folk music that was a strong part of the lives of the poorer people of the country. Like many folk movements around the world it was a very political movement and it became inextricably linked with the left wing Popular Unity Government of Salvador Allende.

40 years ago, in September 1973 the Popular Unity Government was overthrown by a fascist coup led by General Augusto Pinochet and backed by the US. Allende was murdered as were many hundreds of others including teachers, students, doctors, social workers and musicians.
The most famous musician to be murdered was Victor Jara, the musical leader of the Nueva Cancion movement. Like many others he was detained and sent to the football stadium in Santiago. There he was tortured, his fingers broken, and finally killed.
There followed 17 years of fascist dictatorship during which indigenous forms of music, and the playing of indigenous instruments were banned.

Angel Parra plays his own songs on the first side of “Canciones Funcionales” (“Useful Songs”). The second side comprises covers of songs by Atahualpa Yupanqui, an Argentinian singer and songwriter whose ethnographic work in collecting Argentinian folk songs was much admired by the Nueva Cancion. His opposition to the fascist Peron government might also have been admired. For these tracks he uses guitarist Julio Villalobos who went on to play in the strangely named Blops, a Chilean psych band.

 
Angel Parra travelled abroad helping to maintain the Nueva Canción tradition in Chilean expatriate communities in Europe, North America, and Australia.

Thanks to Night Of The Living Vinyl for the information about Angel Parra.

Angel Parra – Canciones Funcionales (1969)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Advertisements

Odetta’s (and probably the folk music world’s) most ambitious album up to this point in time – and for some years to come – “Ballad for Americans and Other American Ballads” could only have come from Vanguard Records. The New York-based classical and folk label had already displayed the courage – in the midst of the era of the Red Scare – to sign and record the re-formed Weavers, Paul Robeson, and any number of other blacklistees, and here they were offering a provocative new recording, aimed at a new generation of listeners, of a piece well known as the work of a blacklisted performer and composer (Earl Robinson). The rendition of “Ballad for Americans” on this album is more sophisticated than the original by Robeson (which Vanguard also licensed for reissue). Music director Robert DeCormier carefully and ever-so-slightly smoothed out some of the more arch moments in the original work, so that it sounds less like late Depression-era agitprop than a more timeless mix of history, art-song, and folk music, but no less moving. In fact, where Robeson’s original, from the period of the run-up to the Second World War, seems like a historical artifact, Odetta’s rendition has a vitality and immediacy that puts it squarely in the thick of 1960, in the middle of the civil rights movement’s heyday, at a time when Robeson, because of age and infirmity, and years of fighting the government’s efforts to silence him, was in eclipse as an artist.

Odetta herself is a less mannered singer than Robeson, and calls less attention to herself and her persona than he ever did to his, thus leaving room for the song to be felt and enjoyed as a contemporary statement. The piece will always “belong” to Robeson, who made it famous on radio, record, and in movies, but Odetta’s version is a successful effort at extending its appeal to a new generation of listeners and perhaps setting it in a wider context, all while paying tribute to the original. And if that one work were all that this album had to offer, it would be enough, but the rest of the album is not filler by any means – accompanying herself on guitar (with Bill Lee on upright bass), her renditions of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land,” “Great Historical Bum,” and, especially, “Pastures of Plenty,” Merle Travis’ “Dark as a Dungeon,” and the traditional “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Hush Little Baby,” and more are all beautifully stripped-down performances, as minimalist in their sensibilities as “Ballad for Americans” is lushly produced and orchestrated. “Payday at Coal Creek” gives the singer a good workout in the holding of notes, and is a dazzling display of her vocal dexterity, and her adaptation of the Dvorák-derived “Going Home” would have made a perfect closer, a minimalist spiritual of intense delicacy and poignance – but then she is back, finishing with “Pastures of Plenty,” one of Guthrie’s finest creations, stretched out to four minutes in a rendition so ominous and provocative that it rates with the best this reviewer has ever heard (which are Guthrie’s own and Dylan’s early-’60s officially unreleased version).  

Tracklist:

A Ballad For Americans
B1 This Land
B2 Old Smoky
B3 Hush Little Baby
B4 Dark As A Dungeon
B5 Great Historical Bum
B6 Payday At Coal Creek
B7 Going Home
B8 Pastures Of Plenty

Odetta – Ballad For Americans And Other American Ballads (1960)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Odetta’s (and probably the folk music world’s) most ambitious album up to this point in time – and for some years to come – “Ballad for Americans and Other American Ballads” could only have come from Vanguard Records. The New York-based classical and folk label had already displayed the courage – in the midst of the era of the Red Scare – to sign and record the re-formed Weavers, Paul Robeson, and any number of other blacklistees, and here they were offering a provocative new recording, aimed at a new generation of listeners, of a piece well known as the work of a blacklisted performer and composer (Earl Robinson). The rendition of “Ballad for Americans” on this album is more sophisticated than the original by Robeson (which Vanguard also licensed for reissue). Music director Robert DeCormier carefully and ever-so-slightly smoothed out some of the more arch moments in the original work, so that it sounds less like late Depression-era agitprop than a more timeless mix of history, art-song, and folk music, but no less moving. In fact, where Robeson’s original, from the period of the run-up to the Second World War, seems like a historical artifact, Odetta’s rendition has a vitality and immediacy that puts it squarely in the thick of 1960, in the middle of the civil rights movement’s heyday, at a time when Robeson, because of age and infirmity, and years of fighting the government’s efforts to silence him, was in eclipse as an artist.

Odetta herself is a less mannered singer than Robeson, and calls less attention to herself and her persona than he ever did to his, thus leaving room for the song to be felt and enjoyed as a contemporary statement. The piece will always “belong” to Robeson, who made it famous on radio, record, and in movies, but Odetta’s version is a successful effort at extending its appeal to a new generation of listeners and perhaps setting it in a wider context, all while paying tribute to the original. And if that one work were all that this album had to offer, it would be enough, but the rest of the album is not filler by any means – accompanying herself on guitar (with Bill Lee on upright bass), her renditions of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land,” “Great Historical Bum,” and, especially, “Pastures of Plenty,” Merle Travis’ “Dark as a Dungeon,” and the traditional “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Hush Little Baby,” and more are all beautifully stripped-down performances, as minimalist in their sensibilities as “Ballad for Americans” is lushly produced and orchestrated. “Payday at Coal Creek” gives the singer a good workout in the holding of notes, and is a dazzling display of her vocal dexterity, and her adaptation of the Dvorák-derived “Going Home” would have made a perfect closer, a minimalist spiritual of intense delicacy and poignance – but then she is back, finishing with “Pastures of Plenty,” one of Guthrie’s finest creations, stretched out to four minutes in a rendition so ominous and provocative that it rates with the best this reviewer has ever heard (which are Guthrie’s own and Dylan’s early-’60s officially unreleased version).  

Tracklist:

A Ballad For Americans
B1 This Land
B2 Old Smoky
B3 Hush Little Baby
B4 Dark As A Dungeon
B5 Great Historical Bum
B6 Payday At Coal Creek
B7 Going Home
B8 Pastures Of Plenty

Odetta – Ballad For Americans And Other American Ballads (1960)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Until his death, Vladimir Vysotsky was a prophet without honor in his own country; although he wrote more than a thousand highly popular songs, he died without an official record release to his name. The reason for this studied neglect lay in the political tenor of his material. Vysotsky, who began performing in the 1960s, was quite critical of the Communist regime, and his lyrics took position on the Soviet status quo. His songs derived from the blatny pesny (literally, delinquent song) tradition, with its celebration of sex, drink, and street fights. Informally distributed cassettes ensured Vysotsky a wide and enthusiastic following. After his death, in 1980, Gorbachev granted his music an imprimatur and a 20-album retrospective was released.

Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Russian actor and poet, who wrote biting satire and performed his compositions to a rapt Russian audience. His social and political satire shed much needed light on the ironies and hardships of Soviet life. Walking a fine line between rebellion and conformity, he became immensely popular and died prematurely of alcoholism. The outpouring of grief upon his death was enormous and his music was issued in many forms – first cassette and vinyl, now CD.

Tracklist in English:

1. Fastidious Steeds
2. She’s Been to Paris
3. 07 (Trunk Line)
4. Crystal House
5. Peak Mountaineer
6. Here Paws of Fir-Trees Are Shivering
7. It’s Not Evening Yet
8. In a Cold Weather
9. Moscow-Odessa
10. Variations on Gypsy Themes
11. That’s Us That Make the Earth Go Round
12. Black Pea-Jackets
13. “Yak” Fighter Plane
14. Well, My Hands’ Quivering Has Disappeared
15. March of the Miners
16. The Ships Ride and Then Set Course
17. Song About Transmigration of Souls
18. Song About Nothing, Or What Has Happened in Africa
19. Morning Exercises
20. White Silence

Vladimir Vysotsky – Selected Songs (Melodija)
(256 kbps, small front cover included)

Until his death, Vladimir Vysotsky was a prophet without honor in his own country; although he wrote more than a thousand highly popular songs, he died without an official record release to his name. The reason for this studied neglect lay in the political tenor of his material. Vysotsky, who began performing in the 1960s, was quite critical of the Communist regime, and his lyrics took position on the Soviet status quo. His songs derived from the blatny pesny (literally, delinquent song) tradition, with its celebration of sex, drink, and street fights. Informally distributed cassettes ensured Vysotsky a wide and enthusiastic following. After his death, in 1980, Gorbachev granted his music an imprimatur and a 20-album retrospective was released.

Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Russian actor and poet, who wrote biting satire and performed his compositions to a rapt Russian audience. His social and political satire shed much needed light on the ironies and hardships of Soviet life. Walking a fine line between rebellion and conformity, he became immensely popular and died prematurely of alcoholism. The outpouring of grief upon his death was enormous and his music was issued in many forms – first cassette and vinyl, now CD.

Tracklist in English:

1. Fastidious Steeds
2. She’s Been to Paris
3. 07 (Trunk Line)
4. Crystal House
5. Peak Mountaineer
6. Here Paws of Fir-Trees Are Shivering
7. It’s Not Evening Yet
8. In a Cold Weather
9. Moscow-Odessa
10. Variations on Gypsy Themes
11. That’s Us That Make the Earth Go Round
12. Black Pea-Jackets
13. “Yak” Fighter Plane
14. Well, My Hands’ Quivering Has Disappeared
15. March of the Miners
16. The Ships Ride and Then Set Course
17. Song About Transmigration of Souls
18. Song About Nothing, Or What Has Happened in Africa
19. Morning Exercises
20. White Silence

Vladimir Vysotsky – Selected Songs (Melodija)
(256 kbps, small front cover included)

Stepan (Sten’ka) Timofeyevich Razin (1630 – 1671) was a Cossack leader who led a major uprising against the nobility and Tsar’s bureaucracy in South Russia.

Razin originally set out to loot villages, but as he became a symbol of peasant unrest, his movement turned political. Razin wanted to protect the independence of the Cossacks and to protest an increasingly centralized government. The Cossacks supported the tsar and autocracy, but they wanted a tsar that responded to the needs of the people and not just those of the upper class. By destroying and pillaging villages, Razin intended to take power from the government officials and give more autonomy to the peasants. However, Razin’s movement failed and the rebellion led to increased government control. The Cossacks lost some of their autonomy, and the tsar bonded more closely with the upper class because both feared more rebellion. On the other hand, as Avrich asserts, “[Razin’s revolt] awakened, however dimly, the social consciousness of the poor, gave them a new sense of power, and made the upper class tremble for their lives and possessions.”
At the time of the Russian Civil War, the famous writer and White emigre Ivan Bunin compared Razin to Bolshevik leaders, writing “Good God! What striking similarity there is between the time of Sten’ka and the pillaging that is going on today in the name of the ‘Third International.'”

Don Cossacks were Cossacks who settled along the middle and lower Don.

This album is a best of compilation of the “Don Kosaken Chor”, referring to these historical issues, featuring 15 tracks recorded between 1954 and 1970.

Tracklist:

1. Stenka Rasin 5.25
2. Still ruht der See 2.05
3. Zwei Kosakenlieder 2.09
4. Reitermarsch 2.02
5. Hindulied 3.45
6. Der Kuckuck 2.35
7. Ave Maria 2.59
8. Legende von den 12 Räubern 6.38
9. Matrosenlied 2.17
10. Alter Walzer 5.51
11. Lescinka (Kaukasische Melodie) 3.59
12. Russischer Tanz 1.55
13. Lied vom Terek Fluss 4.33
14. Die Wolga entlang 4.09
15. Guten Abend, gut‘ Nacht 2.10

(256 kbps, small front cover included

Stepan (Sten’ka) Timofeyevich Razin (1630 – 1671) was a Cossack leader who led a major uprising against the nobility and Tsar’s bureaucracy in South Russia.

Razin originally set out to loot villages, but as he became a symbol of peasant unrest, his movement turned political. Razin wanted to protect the independence of the Cossacks and to protest an increasingly centralized government. The Cossacks supported the tsar and autocracy, but they wanted a tsar that responded to the needs of the people and not just those of the upper class. By destroying and pillaging villages, Razin intended to take power from the government officials and give more autonomy to the peasants. However, Razin’s movement failed and the rebellion led to increased government control. The Cossacks lost some of their autonomy, and the tsar bonded more closely with the upper class because both feared more rebellion. On the other hand, as Avrich asserts, “[Razin’s revolt] awakened, however dimly, the social consciousness of the poor, gave them a new sense of power, and made the upper class tremble for their lives and possessions.”
At the time of the Russian Civil War, the famous writer and White emigre Ivan Bunin compared Razin to Bolshevik leaders, writing “Good God! What striking similarity there is between the time of Sten’ka and the pillaging that is going on today in the name of the ‘Third International.'”

Don Cossacks were Cossacks who settled along the middle and lower Don.

This album is a best of compilation of the “Don Kosaken Chor”, referring to these historical issues, featuring 15 tracks recorded between 1954 and 1970.

Tracklist:

1. Stenka Rasin 5.25
2. Still ruht der See 2.05
3. Zwei Kosakenlieder 2.09
4. Reitermarsch 2.02
5. Hindulied 3.45
6. Der Kuckuck 2.35
7. Ave Maria 2.59
8. Legende von den 12 Räubern 6.38
9. Matrosenlied 2.17
10. Alter Walzer 5.51
11. Lescinka (Kaukasische Melodie) 3.59
12. Russischer Tanz 1.55
13. Lied vom Terek Fluss 4.33
14. Die Wolga entlang 4.09
15. Guten Abend, gut‘ Nacht 2.10

(256 kbps, small front cover included

Alles wandelt sich

Alles wandelt sich. Neu beginnen
Kannst du mit dem letzten Atemzug.
Aber was geschehen ist, ist geschehen. Und das Wasser
Das du in den Wein gössest, kannst du
Nicht mehr herausschütten.
Was geschehen ist, ist geschehen. Das Wasser
Das du in den Wein gössest, kannst du
Nicht mehr herausschütten, aber Alles
wandelt sich. Neu beginnen Kannst du
mit dem letzten Atemzug.
 
 


 
Gina Pietsch, born Juli 22, 1946, is a german singer and actress. She was a member of the “Oktoberclub” and was later part of the group “Jahrgang 49”. She studied German and music at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig . At the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin she sudied chanson in the class of Gisela May. At the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch” i Berlin she studied acting, besides others with Ekkehard Schall as her teacher.

Gina Pietsch took part in numerous radio and television productions. In 1973 she released togethr with Gerry Wolff the album “He hör mal zu – Lieder des anderen Amerika” (“Hey listen to me – songs of the other America”) ​​on the Amiga label. In the following years she played at  many theatres. Literary and musical recitals based on texts by Brecht, Goethe, Heine, Bachmann and Brown and evenings on Helene Weigel, Mikis Theodorakis and Rosa Luxemburg are part of her repertoire.  Since 1992, G. Pietsch is lecturer in singing and interpretation at the Hochschule für Schaupiekunst “Ernst Busch in Berlin. Since 2009 she is involved politically in the Vereiniung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes -Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschiten (“Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime – Federation of anti-fascists”).
Here is a 1991 recording of Brecht texts accompanied by Hannes Zebe (piano, keyboard) nd Jürgen Kupke (clarinet).
 

(256 kbps, cover art included)

At the start of the 20th century when the industrial revolution took hold in Berlin, popular culture evolved in parallel, including music. Afer the first world war the German republic not only politicized, it also danced. Frantically – at least in Berlin. There the entertainment industry boomed in the 1920s. There were the risqué naked shows and the so-called amusement cabarets, but serious theater also blossomed and cinema became popular. The situation was described as a heady mixture of sekt, smoke, sex and satire.

This fertile culture of Berlin extended onwards until Adolf Hitler rose to power in early 1933 and stamped out any and all resistance to the Nazi Party. German cabaret and jazz clubs really died out by the mid-1930s. From the 20s to about 1934/5, things were sweet, but the rise of Nazism really killed off the German music-scene. A lot of the popular German jazz-tunes of the 20s and 30s were all written by Jewish songwriters and musicians. Not only did the musicians and songwriters have to flee with the rise of Nazism, but all their music was destroyed. It became illegal to perform, purchase or play “non-Aryan” music.

VA – Berliner Nächte 1930 – 1943
(256 kbps, cover art included)

At the start of the 20th century when the industrial revolution took hold in Berlin, popular culture evolved in parallel, including music. Afer the first world war the German republic not only politicized, it also danced. Frantically – at least in Berlin. There the entertainment industry boomed in the 1920s. There were the risqué naked shows and the so-called amusement cabarets, but serious theater also blossomed and cinema became popular. The situation was described as a heady mixture of sekt, smoke, sex and satire.

This fertile culture of Berlin extended onwards until Adolf Hitler rose to power in early 1933 and stamped out any and all resistance to the Nazi Party. German cabaret and jazz clubs really died out by the mid-1930s. From the 20s to about 1934/5, things were sweet, but the rise of Nazism really killed off the German music-scene. A lot of the popular German jazz-tunes of the 20s and 30s were all written by Jewish songwriters and musicians. Not only did the musicians and songwriters have to flee with the rise of Nazism, but all their music was destroyed. It became illegal to perform, purchase or play “non-Aryan” music.

VA – Berliner Nächte 1930 – 1943
(256 kbps, cover art included)