I went to Womadelaide yesterday, and in my opinion the best music on offer this year was that of Rokia Traoré. She sings mostly in the West African language of Bambara and sometimes in French, and my purchase of her album Tchamantché is the first time that music sung in an African language has been added to my CD collection.
The only disappointment is that the coverslip doesn’t contain complete English translations of the songs. English translations are provided for the songs in French, but for those in Bambara the original lyrics are followed by what I take to be a very loose French paraphrase (often much shorter than the actual song) and then an English translation of the French. I would like to have complete English translations of all the Bambara songs, because it’s fun to follow along and learn something about another language in the process. (If anyone reading this can help out, drop me a line.)
Below is an updated list of what I’ve got in my CD collection, in approximately the order in which I acquired my first album from a given artist.
- Flanders and Swann. I was raised on their songs a child and given the CDs for my eighteenth birthday, so I’ve had them a while. Album titles are “At the Drop of a Hat“; “At the Drop of Another Hat“; “The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann“.
- Ian McNamara. Host of the long-running radio show Australia All Over. When I was young we’d often have the cassette tape albums playing in the car, and as an adult I bought a CD copy of the first album for nostalgic reasons. It is titled simply “Ian McNamara’s Australia All Over“.
- Miscellaneous Irish. The CD “Celtic Magic: Eleven Irish Instrumentals” contains music by Joanie Madden, John McGann, Jerry O’Sullivan, Altan, and various other artists. I bought it in a shop many years ago.
- Coleman and Bartle. Folk musicians from Tasmania. The album “Circle Me” is mostly religious; the album “Sunrise After Tilling” mostly not. I encountered them in 1997 at a National Christian Youth Convention back in the day.
- Jimmy Gregory. The CD “West Along the Road” is an favourite of mine — I’ve played it often ever since I bought it by Internet order in the late nineties. It represents folk music at its best.
- Robin Huw Bowen. A world-class player of the Welsh Triple Harp. I have two CDs, purchased in the late nineties by Internet order. These are “Telyn Berseiniol fy ngwlad” (The Sweet Harp of my land) and “Hela’r Draenog” (Hunting the Hedgehog).
- Stewart Dudley. One occasionally (in bookshops, airports, etc) comes across stands where you can press a button to hear an excerpt from a corresponding CD. Stewart Dudley’s music is one of those sold in this way, and I’ve bought two of his albums: “Afterglow” and “The Distant Shore“.
- Kíla. A unique blend of sounds with influences from just about everywhere, including Irish traditional, modern, and some eastern music. I have three Kíla CDs, all bought at previous Womadelaide performances, namely “Tóg É Go Bog É“, “Lemonade and Buns” and “Luna Park“. Lyrics (when present) are in Irish Gaelic.
- Gjallarhorn. The CD “Ranarop: Call of the Sea Witch” was another that I acquired at Womadelaide one year. This is a band from the Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, and they play traditional Scandinavian folk songs (mostly in Swedish, occasionally Finnish or even Norwegian) with a bit of help from a didgeridoo.
- Surkuy. A band from Bolivia, playing songs in Spanish. I have the album “Ritmo Del Corazon“, which was being sold unofficially at Womadelaide one year (officials actually intervened and stopped them from playing, but I’d heard enough to want a CD).
- Oysterband. The album “Here I Stand” from this folk rock band was given to me as a gift. [Update 2010: Later I bought myself an original.]
- Meir Banai. A singer of Hebrew pop songs. I was introduced to his music by an Israeli friend, and subsequently bought the album “In Between” by Internet order.
- Cecile Corbel. A folk singer from Brittany. In her repertoire are songs in English, French, Breton, Irish, etc. I bought the album “songbook1” when she performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival last year.
- David Hudson. This music is sold the same way as Stewart Dudley’s. I have the album “Guardians of the Reef” with its atmospheric blend of flute and didgeridoo.
- Rokia Traoré. This is where we started, with my purchase yesterday of her album “Tchamantché“.
In addition to the artists listed above, I have a number of singles from various other artists stored on my hard drive.