Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (3/23 – 3/29)


Or lack of record store update I should say…

What a week. By the end of it, I was really looking forward to our usual Saturday morning routine. Mr. Richard has been so busy with doctors and chasing the damn insurance company, his reviews have been sparse so he does apologize. I’ve also been busy with work and my manager announced he was moving to Philly, which as exciting as it’ll be for him, I’m pretty bummed. It’s also spring and still shitty out. My apologies for the language on here, but honestly, it’s been a long, torturous winter.

Then Saturday hit. The roomie was still feeling under the weather, it was a snowy, rainy day and I just still felt lazy. I didn’t even wake up until 11:00 and then just sat on the couch watching movies for a few hours. We didn’t leave the house, instead focusing on cleaning and organizing the house. Boring, I know, but needed.

In other news, I’m going Over the Edge again this year! If you’ve been following for the last year or so, you know I participated in this fundraiser last year and I think it would be really awesome if some of my followers donated! I usually hate to ask for things, but this is for the Special Olympics, a foundation I 100% believe in. You can check out last year’s rappel HERE and donate HERE if you’d like!

If you’ve been following on social media, you know I’m hoping to not only meet my goal but surpass it by at least a few hundred. Every $500 I raise covers one athlete in Massachusetts. I’ll be posting more about the event throughout the next few months and am even thinking of a raffle on Instagram!

A Peek Inside The Music Room Part Two


The clean up and finishing of the record room took a bit longer than I hoped but I should have known better since I do procrastinate a bit. There was a lot to do, and I documented each step so check it out!

CrateCleanAndPaint

Mr. Richard painted all the new crates we picked up. This meant all of the albums needed to be taken down and stored until the paint dried. Daria helped us out which is unusual, seeing as she normally avoids the camera like it’s going to attack her. Unless she’s eating cheese or trying for the bacon, then she’s so distracted she doesn’t care.

While everything was being put away again, it was the opportunity I needed to make sure everything was alphabetized. I had never organized the various artist albums so those all needed to be done and sometimes, albums get moved a little to the left, a little to the right so it was good to double check everything again. There were also stacks upon stacks in the living room that needed to be put away! Did you check out the videos on Instagram and Facebook that I posted while organizing? If not, hop on over to my social media pages. The videos are time lapsed so they’re really quite interesting.

Below is a collage of the room right before we started putting in the finishing touches. We had to run out and get a few more crates so everything would fit so it seemed like the right time to snap a few pictures to show how far I had come. Just about every 12″ was put away and our new curtains were also on the way. Of course they came on a day when  Mr. Richard and I were both out. That almost never happens!

RecordRoomHalfWayDone

After the new crates were in place, the 12″ disc section was done (aside from stuff that’s in the living room in the to-be-catalogued pile) but there was still some work to do. The 7″ discs are still being cataloged so there’s some piles that didn’t fit where they should have. I tried to shelf as many of these piles but it’s hard to do since I can only catalog about 50 every two weeks. Anybody want to help me out? I have such a specific process, the roomie can’t even really figure it out!

RecordRoom001

As the weeks went on, I did get more put away and finalized some of the décor choices. The top right is a collage down the left wall of the room, the top pictures being the first shelving unit you see when you walk in. As you walk down that side of the room, you reach the second shelf for singles. As you can see, a ton of the piles are put away on the shelves and the curtains made it up!

RecordRoomDaybed

Across from that wall is our daybed. Without my day job and the employee discount, I wouldn’t have been able to outfit the bed with all the pillows. It makes it super cozy and the large one is great for pulling onto the floor to sit on while you thumb through the crates. As much as I have a distain for having to help customers, the employee discount makes it worth it!

RecordRoomDecor001

With all the different pillows, texture on the curtains and records themselves, the room has turned into this really comfortable, homey slightly bohemian place. You’ve see the yellow submarine decal before, but I managed to set out some books and hang the record frames too. Obviously, there’s still some work to do and I’m excited to set out some of our art on the shelves, but I’m really happy with the progress.

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (3/16 – 3/22)


I really didn’t get many albums this week and actually, I didn’t go into a store at all! Sneaky Mr. Richard was in town for a doctor’s appointment and made his way to Underground Hip Hop. They actually got an album back in and set it aside so it was good he snuck over there while I was at work even if I was a little peeved he didn’t call me for a lunch break. I mean, geeze, I work two blocks away! The purchases were a little more expensive than we normally spend per disc, but definitely worth it.

The Plastic Ono Band with RZA was a disc both the roomie and I were interested in but it was never in stock. Since they knew Mr. Richard would be back for it, the guys set it aside for us when it came back. I guess this means we’re leaving our mark on record stores everywhere!

The sly fox of a roommate also picked up:

Tall Black Guy vs. Al Green

Doomstarks

and Dandy Teru

This was a pretty quick weekly update, but my car stalled out on my way out on Saturday. The GMC dealership is closed until Monday so I’m stuck at home and at the mercy of mom to get things done this weekend. She’ll go all concerned mom on me and I’ll get the “you spend too much on albums” lecture if she knows!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A Post On Irish Music


While I do know a bit about the history of Irish music, especially when it comes to the dances since my best friend growing up participated in them, I do wish I knew more. I guess that’s what’s nice about this blog, I get to share memories and learn a lot more about music and musicians. This post will talk a little about the history of Irish music and look back at the Irish musicians I have in the collection.

Oh and for those of you not familiar with the holiday since you live abroad, we’ll cover judge a smidge on the history of the holiday!

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.

The indigenous music of the island is termed Irish traditional music. It has remained vibrant through the 20th, and into the 21st century, despite globalizing cultural forces. In spite of emigration and a well-developed connection to music influences from Britain and the United States, Irish music has kept many of its traditional aspects and has itself influenced many forms of music, such as country and roots music in the USA, which in turn have had some influence on modern rock music. It has occasionally been fused with rock and roll, punk and rock and other genres. Some of these fusion artists have attained mainstream success, at home and abroad.

In recent decades Irish music in many different genres has been very successful internationally. However, the most successful genres have been rock, popular and traditional fusion, with performers such as: Rita Connolly, The Cranberries, Enya, Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats, Richard Harris, Andy Irvine, Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, U2, and so many more achieving success nationally and internationally.

Some of the above mentioned artists, I don’t have yet on vinyl, but I would love to. I try to keep a good international selection in my collection and there’s a lot more that I could buy to represent Ireland. As you may know, I have U2, Sinéad, Bob Geldof and Van Morrison, so please use the tags to explore what singles and songs are in the collection.

For Bostonians, especially Irish ones, one tradition is seeing the Dropkick Murphys. I’ve never been as I’m kind of a bandwagon fan, knowing only their most popular songs (although those get me for their ties to Boston) but I did baby sit for my friends the other night so they could see the annual St. Patrick’s Day show.

I got a picture sent from the show to prove the new mom was having fun so check it out!

StPattyHOB2015

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (3/9 – 3/15)


This last Wednesday, Mr. Richard was going to run out and have himself a record store day so he could surprise me when I got home from work that day, but I ended up leaving work early and came home sick. Since I was going to be home right after his appointment, he held off until we could both go this weekend. It was nice because we ended up making out with a TON of albums from Garnick’s this week.

First, we picked up a number of colored discs. They were sitting in a pile, waiting to be hung up on the wall, no sleeves or anything. The bright colors called our names so we had one of the guys play a few of the discs and since they did play relatively well, we bought six different colors, mostly dance tracks. I’m going to have a rainbow week to highlight the colored vinyl, hot off yesterday’s post so be on the look out for that in a few weeks!

Then, I had to move to the back and see what we were bringing home from our bag of albums that we’ve set aside. The bag is literally bursting at the seams because we have found so many great albums that we need to bring home but can’t yet afford. Also, it’s great when my birthday and Christmas roll around so my family can easily pick up vinyl and know what I’ll like. We always try to bring home something from this pile. This week it was:

Mary Jane Girls

Linda Ronstadt

Breakfast Club Soundtrack

I-Tones

The soundtrack to Roots

And really, so, so much more!

We then moved to the back room, well, one of them. There’s a stack of albums that Robert’s giving us a great deal on and first pick at.

Harry Belafonte

Wes Montgomery

A few various artists discs

Sha Na Na

Oh, and of course there was a line by the register and that’s conveniently where the nice new albums are. I really, really wanted a whole bunch of these, but at $15 – $40 a clip, its hard to splurge on them. Snoop Dogg called to me though when I was trying to decide between a bunch. I think it was mostly because we have two other albums from him and I’d like to complete the discography before moving on to other artists.

Last night, I had to baby sit for a friend. Okay, I 100% didn’t have to, I willingly offered. She’s one of the only babies I’ll chill with. As a gift for watching lil’ M, my friends gave me a Grateful Dead album and some yummy, yummy wine. See how cute she is?!? Side note: She tends to pull the blanket in front of her while trying to fall asleep, I obviously kept pulling it back because I’m paranoid about fibers and suffocating and what not! I don’t want you thinking I just tossed a fuzzy, heavy blanket on this cutie’s head!

SleepyM

Let Me Make You A Rainbow


I only found one other blog post (okay, I didn’t really hunt that hard), that had a history of colored vinyl, so I’m going to ask about it next time I’m at Garnick’s. Robert knows so much, I’m hoping to get a first hand history rather than copy and paste something from the internet. Since I didn’t find as much information as I wanted, I’m just going to show off a bit and share the other site so you can check it out for now. I hope to get a more complete glimpse at all the colored vinyl we have so keep checking back!

About Vinyl Records had a post from 2013, Color Me Intrigued, which you can check out HERE. It covers the first colored discs in the early 1900s up to the 1970s resurgence.

I’ve found that today, Record Store Day drives the upswing in colored and shaped vinyl’s popularity. It is a lot of fun to hunt for new colors or designs and there’s a bunch of albums I want to add to the collection because of this. It could be just a novelty, but I don’t care, I love it.

RedFox

First album up is a newly purchased Red Fox 12″ single. I love the deep red!

311Yellow

I didn’t photograph an orange album since we’re still organizing the room and I’m not sure which stack it’s in at the moment, but I do have some deep yellow 45s. Above is the 311 one we got a few months ago and I’m pretty sure we also grabbed the Stryper one then too!

StryperYellow

PinbackGreen

If you’ve been following along, you might recognize this green disc. It’s a Pinback single and since green is my favorite color, I’m especially drawn to the disc’s color. This was one of the roomie’s discs from before we met too.

BlueVinyl

On to blue! Robert at Garnick’s was going to hang this on the wall at the store but we purchased it instead. Look for the actual post on this 12″ single soon.

RedNoiseBlueDisc

I also have this older blue single from Bill Nelson’s Red Noise. Blue albums are just so stunning!

image

There are just so many purple discs to pick from. For 7″, I wanted to show off Prince again since it is Prince month after all. Below is a 12″ single from the same pile Robert had planned to hang on a wall. It pays very well, but single the vinyl is veiny, it’s hard to really show it off unless you hold it up to light.

PurpleVinyl

I also found this beautiful, more opaque disc that’s a marbled pinkish hue. It’s another new addition to the collection and I’ll go a bit more into detail tomorrow during the Weekly Wrap Up.

PinkVinyl

PsychicTwin

Lastly, the opposite of the traditional black disc. White. Above is an opaque single from Psychic Twin and on the translucent side (I guess there are some green hues to it, but play along here people) we have a House of Magic disc below. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through the rainbow. Be on the look out for a future post on colored vinyl and formats soon and as always, check out Instagram for more pictures!!

HouseofMagic

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (3/2 – 3/8)


I really didn’t do much this week, just spent the time wishing it felt like spring. I sent the roomie to RRRecords when he was downtown on Wednesday and we were supposed to meet up at Underground Hip Hop in Boston on Friday but that was about it.

Mid week, the roomie scooped up two various artists disc and an album of cat sounds, which drives our cats absolutely nuts. Dawson stands in front of the TV and tries to catch invisible birds coming out of the speakers. He’s not the brightest bulb…

The various artists discs included The Roots, Young Jeezy, Big K.R.I.T., The Dream, KRS-1, Shaggy, Jermaine Dupri and more. One is a Record Store Day release and is on clear vinyl!

UGHHMarch

I say we should have met at UGHH because he took a wrong turn off the subway. I was flipping through some stacks and it felt like he should have been there so I called. “Um, I’m by Tremont, where are you” he said so I ran out to find him knowing he was a few blocks away now. We had to get to one of my work things so we didn’t head back in. I guess its good for my wallet that way since there was at least four albums I wanted.

That night, I had a work POD outing, which is when the company pays for a team to go out and get silly together. I dragged Mr. Richard along and am now worried that my co-workers like him more than me. I suppose the margaritas and beers were a bit too much for us to get an early start on the weekend so we skipped the normal Saturday crate digging experience. Always worth it to switch it up and hang with good people.

 

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (2/23 – 3/1)


This will be a pretty quick update since I just completed the monthly wrap up yesterday and only have two stores to talk about. Did you check out the monthly wrap up post? Last month was super busy and actually ended up being a lot of fun despite the record cold.

I sent Mr. Richard out to RRRecords again. I really like what he picks out by himself, but I have to set tighter budgets since he always goes over by a few bucks! He scooped up a ton, but Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Masta Killa and Lil’ Kim top my picks for the week!

MrRichardGarnicks

After the trip to the butterfly garden yesterday, we hit up Garnick’s, per our usual Saturday afternoon routine. Robert had set aside a ton of $1.00 albums for us. It was really hard  to narrow down the selection but we picked out seven from there and a few from our bag of more expensive albums. We managed to limit ourselves down to:

Ashadu

Johnny Kemp

Mandingo

More Duke Ellington

Two Errol Garner albums

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake

Patti Page

A various artists jazz disc

Mae West with Duke

Dionne Warwick

Welp, that’s it! Like I said, this was a quick wrap up since I had such a big monthly wrap up yesterday. What do y’all think I should be on the look out for this week while we crate dig?

GarnicksSelfie

End Of The Month Wrap Up: February 2015


Between all the snow we had in February, the roomie and I did make it out quite a bit. Of course, you know about all the trips to record stores because you’ve been following along and know I do a weekly summary. Right?!? Of course, there was Garnick’s but Mr. Richard went to RRRecords for me and we made it to Bull Moose in Portsmouth together. As the crate digging trips are regular, we also wanted to get out and have some new experiences.

MeMrRichardGreenPorno

First up this month, we went to go see Green Porno live in Boston. Are you familiar with the act? If not, it’s a bit educational, a bit sexy and absolutely hilarious. We used to watch the TV show while we were in college so it was like a flashback going to see the show. The actual performance itself was part lecture, part performance art and featured some of her TV clips like her hamster, duck, dolphin and praying mantis.

image

We were a bit high up, but despite the above photo, it really wasn’t that blurry. We saw everything on stage from the puppets, to the screen to Isabella recreating some of her films, like when she used tomatoes to symbolize eggs in her mouth and sprayed herself in the face to show how a certain fish reproduces. Mr. Richard and I laughed harder than we have in a long time while still learning a ton.

We had other plans to spend “Pal-entine’s Day” (I just made that up, ripping off Lesley Knope’s Galentine’s) but the snow hit. I won’t bore you with more images of my trash cans covered in snow, but check out the past updates if you’re visiting this blog from outside the north east. It’s been quite the month for snowfall here and I certainly haven’t lived through anything like it.

Luckily all of our plans could be moved, like a trip to the Butterfly Garden a few towns over and a few dinners we have certificates for. Look for those little adventures next month! Our luck did take a turn for the best and we avoided any bad weather for our trip to Maine.

YorkMaineCoast

I mean, it was cold, obviously. This is winter in New England people, but bundled appropriately, we trekked out, stopping in Portsmouth for some crate digging (again, check out some of the previous weekly updates for more).

In Maine, we stayed right on the water, a gift from his parents. We arrived early and pulled over to go for a little walk along the beach. Obviously, most stairs were blocked off, but just staring out was peaceful enough. It was so calming! Below is a little collage of the ocean, the top picture being sunset of our first night, the middle being early the next day and bottom of a lighthouse we visited.

PanoMaine

We got to the hotel, Anchorage Inn, and it was beautiful. There was a heated indoor pool with bar, fitness room and in the summer, a playground. The only slight hiccup was we planned our trip over school vacation. We got into the room and barely had the bags off our shoulders when the phone rang. Assuming it was the front desk to say they forgot something or ask if we were okay, I answered. Screaming. I hung up.

Ring, ring. “Is your refrigerator running?” comes out of what I best could guess was a six year old. I hung up again and thought of Dave Chapelle. “I don’t like people playing on my phone!” and called the front desk. It took one more prank call before it ended. We were settling in and as funny as it would have been to a younger me, I wanted to relax damn it!!

TastyThaiKittery

After we got the chance to settle in, we ventured back out for some dinner. Obviously, a lot was closed for the winter but we drove into Kittery and found this amazing Thai restaurant, Tasty Thai. It was a bit of a drive but every single bit was worth it.

We eat a ton of Thai food, like, we’ve probably tried 90% of the Thai in Boston and at least 80% in Lowell and a lot in New Hampshire, Vermont and other random places but this was hands down the best. Mr. Richard even went as far to say it was better than anything he had in Vancouver when he was there for school. He never says that! I mean, he compares everything to there and nothing ever compares, but this was a total 180!

The Thai rolls were crispy and perfectly filled, curry puffs to die for and the pad Thai was plate licking delicious. We even considered stopping back there on the way home to get three orders of the curry puffs and 500 side orders of the peanut sauce.

LighthouseMaine

We woke up early and headed north before turning back to Massachusetts. We ended up at a lighthouse where we both snapped some great pictures. It was about 10 degrees cooler there and five times as windy so we could only stay so long. The view was still breathtaking and we managed to catch some beautiful lighting and sat in the heated car a moment to take it all in.

MeLighthouseInME

It was so windy, Mr. Richard was photographing the lighthouse while I was coming up from exploring off the pavement and the wind blew his phone down onto me! I’m surprised he managed any pictures of the lighthouse since the parking lot was full of seagulls. He loves them and must have snapped a dozen or so reference pictures for more stencils he’ll cut!

SelfiesFromMaine

We both don’t particularly like our pictures taken, but I did get a few throughout. Above is our little collage of ice cream and beer in the hotel, selfies while walking the beach, free breakfast and a little gambling on the way home.

NEAquarium

This last week, I went out to a bridal expo with a friend from work. It was at the aquarium, free to go with free food and wine! We expected a sort of time share pitch to get her to have her wedding there, but we pigged out and ran around the aquarium taking full advantage of the child free zone.

NEAquariumPenguins

The food was amazing, pasta, bacon wrapped scallops and jerk chicken! It was a bit strange to eat so much seafood in front of the fish but that’s the circle of life I suppose! I definitely want to somehow go back when it’s this empty so I can get more close up pictures of all the sea life, but who knows when I’ll have that chance again…

NEAquarium2

This morning, for Rare Disease Day, Mr. Richard and I spent the morning at the Butterfly Place in Westford, Massachusetts before going out to the record store. It was so beautiful!

ButterflyTrip

We so many different butterflies! It was spectacular! They had some small birds as well, but since it’s winter the plant life wasn’t as full. We’re definitely planning a trip back in summer when it’s more lush. I’d also like to get my friend up here with her baby. I think she’d be in awe!

YellowButterfly

It was also really warm so it was a really, really great treat to bask in the 80 degree temperature. I didn’t want to leave. If you’re in the Boston area, get up here to Westford. Right now on TravelZoo.com you can even get a great deal!

BlueButterfly

I hope you like the pictures, there’s larger versions on Facebook so make sure you’re following along! Check it out in the sidebar of the blog or by clicking HERE. I try to keep all the social media pages current and a bit more personal. For instance, on Twitter, I’m using today to shout out different rare diseases in honor of the roomie! Check it out and raise awareness! #RareDiseaseDay2015

ButterflyTrip2

Appropriation And Bastardization


The ideas of appropriation and bastardization often weigh on my mind, as I do listen to a ton of music from outside my culture. It also is in part because my dad always made sure I knew the origins of songs and beats. To me, there seems to be this very fine line be appropriation and bastardization in music. The difference being that I view appropriation as an outside mainly using a culture to make money or headlines and bastardization is a step further, like in case of black face. There’s obviously no direct line in the sand for you to cross from one to another and I’m certainly not an expert on the matter.

The thought of appropriation often poses questions I struggle with. What would I do if I had a music career? Likely a sound more influenced by hip hop that Greek folk songs. Is that okay? How do you balance your influences and how you present yourself on stage? The combination of yes people and more money can corrupt people into creating an image to be trendy, so would that happen to me? If I were a musician, I could see myself getting the same criticism as Iggy Azalea does because I love my Timberland boots, use the word y’all as it’s more gender neutral and would be a supporter of legalized recreational marijuana (its stupid it’s not, especially with health benefits and alcohol being legal). I’m more obsessed with the idea of cultures and learning about each one than simply obsessing over one particular one. Sub cultures and underground scenes especially. How do you appreciate a culture and love it so much and not steal and bastardize it? Do you stay keep a distance and what’s the appropriate distance? Does that hurt or help this nation’s racism issue?

I don’t know if I’ll have answers in this post, but I want to touch the history, some current examples and give credit where it’s due. There will be a lot of text up front as we get through this sort of essay on the matter (just like college, ripping from Wikipedia), but I’ll be sharing links at the end and a few photos throughout. I’ll also break it up in sections according to the culture / time period being appropriated just to make it a little more readable. There’s a ton I’m going to leave out as well, but please do some research yourself or ask me in the comments! I’d love to hear from you and talk more.

The Start

In music, appropriation is the use of borrowed elements (aspects or techniques) in the creation of a new piece, and is an example of cultural appropriation (the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group).

Since at least the Renaissance, musicians, composers, music publishers have been part of a wide-ranging and continuous process of cultural appropriation that developed in the wake of the European colonization of America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. By the time Bach and Händel were writing their great instrumental works during the late Baroque, the rhythms and timings of these dances had already been appropriated, formalized and incorporated into the structure of elite European ‘art’ music. This trend continued in 18th and 19th century with folk-dance crazes.

One well-known example of cultural appropriation into the European classical music genre arose from the 18th century fad known as “Orientalism”, in which music, architecture, costume and visual arts from “Oriental” cultures became highly fashionable. One of the most enduring artifacts of this fad is the third movement of Mozart’s popular Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331, known as the Rondo alla turca (“rondo in the Turkish style”).

Late 1800s and Early 1900s

Beginning around the turn of the 20th century, the invention of sound recording and motion pictures enabled American mass-entertainment culture to begin to develop into a major global economic and cultural force.

Simultaneous with this process, two emerging streams of non-Western music—African-American music and Latin music—were discovered by American and European audiences, and they were rapidly appropriated by the mainstream music industry. Over the next hundred years these two broad genres were to have a massive transformative effect on the structure of popular music and the direction of the music industry.

In the 1890s working-class dancers, composers and musicians in the La Boca area of Buenos Aires in Argentina invented a daring and sensual new dance style which was dubbed the tango. It took Argentina by storm and after reaching New York during World War I it became an international sensation.

More or less simultaneous with the tango craze, a novel African-American style known as ragtime emerged in the United States. Ragtime introduced African-derived syncopated (“ragged”) rhythms into Western music and enjoyed a tremendous international vogue over the next twenty years, as well as exerted a huge influence on the subsequent development of jazz. Ragtime and then early jazz transformed American popular music—the work of songwriters like George Gershwin was crucially shaped by their appropriation of influences from African-American music—and these genres also strongly influenced many European classical composers.

Early America Appropriates Hawaiian Music That Appropriates Croatian Music

Alongside the emergence of jazz, beginning around 1915, Hawaiian music reached the mainstream pop market in the United States. The Hawaiian style (or, more often, Western imitations of it) became a major music fad, retaining a significant audience following from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Hawaiian music was itself a complex mixture of European, native Hawaiian and other Polynesian influences. This is well demonstrated by the work of one of the founders of the genre, Queen Lili’uokalani (1838–1917), the last Queen of Hawaii (pictured below) before the monarchy was overthrown. A musician and composer, she is credited as the composer of the unofficial Hawaiian anthem “Aloha ‘Oe”. She indeed wrote the lyrics and arranged the music but in fact she appropriated the tune from a Croatian folk song called “Sidi Mara na kamen studencu”.

Lili'uokalani

Latin Music: Samba, Rumba and Jazz Have a Ménage à Trois

In the 1930s, the “Latin invasion” that had begun with the tango took off again when American jazz, dance music, and popular song were revolutionized by the “discovery” of other music forms of the Caribbean, Central and South America, a process that was triggered by a significant influx of migrants to the United States from Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands in the 1940s.

The blending of Latin rhythms and instrumental jazz was pioneered by established American musicians like Duke Ellington. Latin beats rapidly became an essential part of the rhythmical vocabulary of American popular music, providing composers and musicians with a vastly enhanced repertoire of beats and meters. During the 1930s and 1940s, newly appropriated Latin music genres created a series of music movements and dance crazes, including the merengue, the samba, and the rumba.

In 1944 The Andrews Sisters appropriated the song “Rum and Coca-Cola”, which had originally been recorded by Trinidadian musician Lord Invader in the 1930s. The Andrews Sisters’ version sparked a new fad for this infectious new style, calypso. The craze reached its apex of popularity in the mid-1950s with the release of the hugely successful Harry Belafonte single “Banana Boat Song”.

In the late 1950s, repeating the impact of the tango, a seductive new music style called bossa nova emerged from Brazil and it soon swept the world, exerting a huge effect over the course of Western pop and jazz over the next decade and beyond. Nothing better illustrates the lasting impact of this hugely popular genre than the archetypical bossa song, “The Girl From Ipanema”, written in 1962.

The Lion Doesn’t Sleep: Solomon Linda

One of the more controversial examples of cultural appropriation, the pop song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, came during the 1950s. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was actually an unacknowledged rewrite of the song “Mbube” by Solomon Linda.

A copy of Linda’s recording reached the American musicologist Alan Lomax; he passed it on to his friend Pete Seeger, who fell in love with it, and it was Seeger who was mainly responsible for popularizing the song in the West. Seeger recorded a version of the song with his noted folk group The Weavers in 1952, retitling it “Wimoweh” (an inaccurate transliteration of the song’s original Zulu refrain, “uyimbube”). They scored a US Top 20 hit with their studio version, and had further success with a live version, which led to it being covered by The Kingston Trio in 1959.

The Weavers’ Carnegie Hall version of “Wimoweh” became a favourite song of The Tokens—they used it as their audition piece when they were offered a contract with RCA Records—and this led to them recording it as their first RCA single. However, it was at this point that the lyrics were re-written by the band’s producers (who took full credit for the song) and it would be several decades more before the full story of the appropriation of Solomon Linda’s work became widely known. Sadly, by then Linda had long since died in poverty. Solomon Linda is shown below.

Solomon-linda

Civil Rights Helped By Appropriation?

Around the time folk was becoming popular, many performers and fans also came to acknowledge African-American music—especially blues and gospel—as a vital element of folk, ultimately contributing to the breakdown of entrenched industry prejudices that had for decades divided the record market into separate ‘pop’ (white) and ‘race’ (black) markets. This connection led to the folk music movement playing an important part in the accelerating civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. On stage, many African American ‘folk’ performers were able for the first time to perform side-by-side and as equal attractions with white performers, as evidenced by the multiracial lineups at American folk scene’s peak annual peak event, the Newport Folk Festival.

Free Love Means Global Appropriation (But Especially Indian)

Western pop musicians first began to explore the music of other cultures in the mid-sixties, when they began to mix Western electric pop with influences taken from the traditional music of India and other North African / Middle Eastern / Asian countries. The interest in “ethnic” music by groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, combined with their worldwide popularity, encouraged other performers and a growing number of record buyers to seek out recordings of non-Western music.

An example of the Rolling Stones’ influence by ethnic music comes in 1968. Guitarist Brian Jones recorded the Master Musicians of Jajouka in the village of Jajouka in northern Morocco. Although there was some criticism of the electronic treatments Jones applied to the recordings in post-production, the LP was one of the first recordings released in the pop market that showcased traditional Moroccan music.

In early 1965, during a tour of America, David Crosby of The Byrds introduced George Harrison to the sitar and the traditional classical music of India. George was captivated by the sound of the instrument; he soon developed a profound interested in Indian music, culture and spirituality, and sparked a trend by taking sitar lessons from Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. In October 1965 Harrison made pop history when he played a sitar on the Beatles’ recording of the John Lennon song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.

beatles_sitar

Other musicians were attempting similar fusions at the time. Brian Wilson, for example, used a koto on one of the songs on The Beach Boys’ classic Pet Sounds LP, but arguably no other single recording had the instant and worldwide impact of “Norwegian Wood”. Another early use of the sitar in pop was on The Rolling Stones’ hit single “Paint It, Black”, released in May 1966.

Jamaica’s Influence

Another world/pop crossover style that emerged in the 1960s was Jamaican ska. It gained a considerable following in the United Kingdom, especially in the mod and skinhead subcultures, thanks to artists such as Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker. An example of a song influenced by Jamaican ska you probably know would be the ska-influenced “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles. At the same time, Desmond Dekker became the first Jamaican musician to score a number 1 hit in the UK with the 1968 reggae song “Israelites”.

Reggae was a distinctive local style that evolved in Jamaica, although its development had been strongly influenced by earlier American soul and R&B. Reggae became widely popular in the UK mostly thanks to Jamaican-born singer-songwriter Bob Marley, who was one of the genre’s main founders and one of its most prolific and consistent songwriters. Reggae’s popularity in Britain was greatly assisted by the fact that a large number of black immigrants from the Caribbean had settled in England since the end of World War II.

In 1972, Johnny Nash scored a major international hit with the reggae-styled “I Can See Clearly Now” (with The Wailers as his backup band). His follow-up single “Stir It Up” was penned by Bob Marley. The style gained wider popularity that year with the cult success of the Jamaican movie The Harder They Come, which starred reggae musician Jimmy Cliff, who also wrote and performed much of the soundtrack album.

Hardertheycome

Internationally, the most successful appropriators of reggae for mainstream pop audiences were the British band The Police, who scored a string of hit singles and hit LPs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with pop songs played in a reggae style, such as “Walking on the Moon”.

South American Music Is “Discovered”

Another important landmark in the growth of the world music genre, and one which is often overlooked, came in 1970 with the popular Simon & Garfunkel single “El Cóndor Pasa”, taken from their multi-platinum selling Bridge Over Troubled Water LP. Like Harrison’s use of sitar, Paul Simon’s use of Andean folk instruments (including the pan flute) was a pop music “first”. His evocative English-language adaptation of a traditional 18th-century Peruvian folk melody by Jorge Michelberg gave many listeners their first taste of the flavor of Peruvian folk music.

Paul Simon Strikes Again

In 1986, Paul Simon re-emerged as a catalytic figure when he revisited the world music / pop fusion concept he had first used on “El Cóndor Pasa” in 1970. His influential, multi-million-selling Graceland album bore the unmistakable stamp of Simon’s recent discovery of South African township music, and he recorded the album with leading South African session musicians and the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. These musicians performed on the subsequent concert tours, as did two other special guests, exiled South African music legends Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. Simon received some criticism for his decision to record in South Africa (which was being economically boycotted by most Western nations for its Apartheid policies).

Hip Hop Sparks More Debate

Hip hop music began as an underground urban phenomenon in the 1970s, achieved mass popular success by the late 1980s and early 1990s, and by the end of the century it had become dominant over rock as the largest selling style of pop music and the primary musical export of the United States.

The importance of musical appropriation to hip hop culture has often been controversial, with many legal challenges to uncredited samples, and heavy criticism for instances where paid samples simply copied the sound of the original song (for example, Puff Daddy’s sampling of a hit by The Police); however, many hip hop musicians and others have argued that sampling in hip hop is no different from the often uncredited appropriation white classical and rock musicians made of earlier black music styles such as jazz and blues, and that the DJ’s creativity, as well as that of the rapper, allows the song to depart significantly from the original sources.

Samples in hip hop are typically only brief snippets of the original, though they often utilize the most recognizable riff or hook of the song. Many hip hop songs sample other forms of African American music, as well. Hank Shocklee of the influential hip hop group Public Enemy has publicly debated the practice with funk bandleader George Clinton, who sued Public Enemy for sampling one of his songs without permission.

As of the 2000s, sampling has become a common form of appropriation in pop music, which has drawn increased influence from hip hop. For example, Barbadian dancehall/pop singer Rihanna’s 2006 hit “SOS” drew directly from the song “Tainted Love” by 1980s English synthpop band Soft Cell. Although both were successful on the Western pop charts, the two acts may have been seen to reflect very different cultures before the appropriation.

At this point, you’d think we would have moved past appropriation as music has become this melting pot, especially with the help of the internet. Access to music is easier than ever but that’s another subject. It seems that appropriation has become more apparent in our pop stars these days. I’m going to focus on some links about our leading pop ladies so you can get more than one opinion.

8 Most Cringe Worthy Acts of 2014: Some of these artists will pop up again, but I did like this list for including a man, although I don’t believe it’s the best example. I thought I had read somewhere that Pharrell actually had a tiny, tiny amount of Native American heritage but I could be wrong on that “fact”. The headdress is also an unfortunate common incident among young, white Hollywood so to single him out is a bit unfair. It’s also a really relevant list, being from just last year.

Bust.com Breaks Down Appropriation In Pop Music: This is fantastically and passionately written. It made me uncomfortable at times, but at times, talks on race can be. You gotta get your big girl pants on and read through, listening to the words as you read. The body part does leave me with some mixed feelings.

Obviously, big back sides have been glorified on black women and I don’t think we should glorify one body forever now but as a white girl that’s all booty, I do love kind of love that we can openly admit to loving a good rump. I’ve always been bottom heavy and used to get teased about it so having role models that embrace their curves, no matter their skin color has helped me get over and self conscious issues. Also, I get to sing about myself with Kanye lyrics so who wouldn’t feel better about themselves after that?

She got a ass that’ll swallow up a g-string
And up top, unh…
Two bee stings

I do think the promoting of overly unrealistic and uniform body types is unhealthy though so I guess I come at it from a more general body image acceptance side.

Katy Perry: Top Offender: Here’s things you’ll never see me do: corn rows (I did as a kid, sorry!), don any sort of tint to my skin, or anything Katy Perry does. Her tunes are catchy, sure, but she just trend hops with her videos ripping off a culture each time. A friend is getting married in Jamaica next year and I do keep threatening to crash her wedding dressed as a typical white tourist with vacation rows. Yes, she’s compared me to Riff Raff. She also prematurely made fun of me for the sunburn I’d get.

BigThink.com: Quicker read than this post, but I think everything is at this point. Definitely dig the focus on male artists as these links are mostly focused on female artists.

The Daily Dot: I appreciate that this one gives examples of white artists successfully not crossing the line. Sometimes, I do agree with the Iggy criticism and sometimes I don’t. I know I wouldn’t rock a culture’s traditional wear unless requested by a gracious host or required in a holy area, but sometimes I feel like she comes from a true place and is just a bit misguided. I think they want to brand her as a rapper, but she skirts the genres in a fast flow pop sound. It also seems like the focus on her appearance is more than other white rappers or hip hop artists because she’s female and it is a pretty male dominated genre.

That’s it everyone! I do hope y’all stuck through the post and enjoyed learning more about the history of music. I know it was a doozy but I feel it’s important to try and open the discussion and work with one another. If you have anything to add, let me know in the comments!