The old, weird Uganda?
October 26, 2007 9:27 AM   Subscribe

What is your country's equivalent of The Anthology of American Folk Music?

I'm looking for traditional folk music (ie. vocal and instrumental indigenous music, preferably from the first half of the twentieth centry) from various countries with multiple artists in various genres all together on one disc or in one box.

I've bookmarked this thread, and I've consumed many of the Putumayo CDs, but I'm looking for new and specific recommendations to expand my musical horizons.
posted by 1f2frfbf to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can hear Greek rebetika here. The advertizing seems quite obstrusive but maybe it can point you in the right direction. I am not the expert on Greek folk music but it parallels our weird old America quite closely; the music arose in the under-class in the first half of the 20th century, only later catching on among the upper class. The Greeks consider it their blues.
posted by creasy boy at 9:42 AM on October 26, 2007

Try the stuff at Smithsonian Folkways.
posted by MsMolly at 9:53 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: Check out the life and music of Hamish Henderson.
posted by fire&wings at 10:13 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: This is the one for Mexico. It's researched, maintained and published by the National Anthropology and History Institute. The site (I think) it's only in Spanish, if you need a bit of a hand with what to look for there (where to click) send me a Mefi Mail.

You might also want to take a look at Pentagrama, a record company specialized in Latin American and general folk music. There, in the artists section you should browse Oscar Chavez, Mono Blanco or los Parientes de Playa Vicente, to give you a few examples.
posted by micayetoca at 11:08 AM on October 26, 2007

While we are at it, I'll point you to two songs that are related to the question: El Feo, which is a traditional Zapoteca song, sung in Zapoteco and Spanish, and La Palma, originally written by Mono Blanco, first mentioned on the comment above.

Disclaimer: these were posted by me to Metafilter Music.
posted by micayetoca at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Anything specific MsMolly? I'm familiar with their American Folk and Hawaiian music, but not so much anything else.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:20 AM on October 26, 2007

Sorry, I'll stop after this one, but after posting the other comments I remembered Corasón, another independent record company that publishes great Mexican folk music, most notably, a three CD anthology of Mexican Son and Juan Reynoso's records, a violin virtuoso there are just no words to describe.

I would also recommend this record, which is a compilation of Purepecha singers. Sweet, mellow songs, sung in a beautiful language.

One last recommendation, though it is not a compilation, is that you check out Stonetree records, without a doubt the best resource for Belizean music. Specially the Paranda album.
posted by micayetoca at 11:21 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you go to a music store that has one of those listening stations like red dot, do a search for Alan Lomax. Besides doing American folk and blues recordings he traveled the world and did lots of world folk recordings, many of which are available as albums representing a specific country or region.
posted by drezdn at 11:33 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: If you can handle sound collages from festivals, shortwave radio and streetvendors alongside your traditional folk, you will love Sublime Frequencies releases. The label, co-founded by former Sun City Girl Alan Bishop, documents music that is certainly more challenging than Putumayo or the Rough Guide series.
The scope is fabulously broad; SF covers Asian, African and Middle Eastern pop and traditional music. The DVDs are on point too; they document without some pretentious westerner overdubbing the music and trying to explain it all. I watched Nat Pwe: Burma's Carnival of Spirit Soul and loved it.
posted by quelindo at 11:55 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cecil Sharp was a leading figure in the early C20th folk revival in Britain - he's worth a look, if you're interested in slightly less exotic folk music...
posted by dogsbody at 5:21 PM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: Pardon the lack of links, I'm on dialup.

Dust to Digital is putting out a compilation this month called The Black Mirror, which is a CD of dubs of 78 rpm records put out all over the world from 1918 to the 50s. I was at the release party tonight, and the curator, who owns a record store here in Baltimore, played a bunch of the stuff and it was all fabulous, and nothing like the warmed over Putamayo crap that feels like it was recorded in the back of a Prozac factory. The cd should be quite good, and he's traveling around doing more shows to promote the thing. (We got the hear the first ever recording of a Gamelan, for instance.) He's going to be in Asheville next week, and probably in Atlanta, since that's where the label is located. There's a Myspace page called The Black Mirror for the thing that lists the tour dates.

He also had for sale (but I didn't have any cash) 5 or 6 discs of dubs off other of his 78s, stuff that won't be on the CD release. He played some of it and it was great. It would amount to a kind of Anthology, recorded around the same time, all around the world. My guess is he'll sell the cds, $6/each, at all the shows. If you can't make any of them you could call his record store here in town, The True Vine on 36th street in Baltimore MD, and ask for Ian and describe the cds I'm talking about and he'd probably sell them to you.
posted by OmieWise at 7:43 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I know of Cecil Sharp, good reading, but did he's a little too early to have every curated any music collections or done any field recording (that I know of, anyway, I'd love to be proven wrong).
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:44 AM on October 27, 2007

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