various artists,
Caribbean Voyage -- Tombstone
Feast: Funerary Music of Carriacou

(Rounder, 2001)

For me, the voyage wasn't what I expected and the feast -- a starvation diet. I felt like a musical vegetarian at a cannibalistic roast. While I often appreciate cultural music, I found it extremely difficult to enjoy these funerary offerings. I felt more like I was on the funeral pyre, than a thankful observer. Not to say that these artists don't beat a mean drum. They do!! Yet, the drum here, for me, is too reminiscent of a bad migraine.

For those who are less susceptible to assume bomb shelter position at repeated loud noises and shrieking, here is the hit list: "Tim Bwai-o (Kalenda)" by May Fortune, et al; "Nu Sa Webe Nu (Cromanti)" by Willie Joseph, et al; "Ovid-o, Pa Garde (Scotch Igbo)" by Manny James, et al; "Igbo Ginade-o (Scotch Igbo)" by Pashin Andrew, et al; "Jimmy Lunde (Temne)" by an unidentified lead singer, et al; "Madame Kistan (Cherup)" by May Fortune, et al; "Tibite Gounde (Cherup)" by and unidentified singer et al; "Amway, Beke, Mwe Ba Connet (Old People's Kalenda)" by Jemina Joseph, May Fortune, et al; "Ai Alli Hunde (Juba/Bele Kawe)" by Mannie James, et al; "Lora You No Married (Bele Kawe) by May Fortune, et al; "Lazar, Ai, Lazar (Hallecord)" by an unidentified singer, et al; "Sese Ani-o (Hallecord) by Tida Lazarus, et al; "Djerika-o (Arada)" by May Fortune, et al; "Maria L'Abbe (Manding) by May Fortune, et al; "C'est Mwe, Nani Moko (Moko)" by an unidentified singer, et al. These were recorded in the field by folkologist Alan Lomax in 1962.

The best thing about this CD is the map of the Carribean on the back cover. The worst thing, unfortunately, is the music. If I had to pick a favourite song, I'd have to be able to figure out where one screaming, head-banging melody ends and another begins. And I can't.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 21 July 2001

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