Tuesday, March 20, 2012

13 more paintings makes 100

Okay, that's all of them. I'm off to Ohio to hang all these paintings and meet you back here for the Top 100 2012!
Some info on these paintings, from left to right, top to bottom:

Anne Grimes, 12" x 12", oil on wood.
For many years the second best represented US state in the Top 100, after New York, has been Ohio. It is no different this year, and than I’m not even considering the four tunes by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was born in Columbus, as from Ohio. Not that I keep charts of where people are from, but since I brought it up, I consider Kirk a New Yorker. What’s new about Ohio this year is that there’s, beside the regular home town rockers, traditional music as well. One of my last loans as a member of the Columbus Metropolitan Library was this handsome book with a cd tucked inside of it called Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music. All the stories and all the music are from Ohio and were recorded on location by Anne Grimes. A few songs she performs herself on a dulcimer but most songs are sung by older Ohioans who learned the songs from even older Ohioans. The first track on the cd (and maybe therefor also the top 100 song) is The Homestead Strike performed by Rueben Allen. The song was recorded in Zanesville in 1953.

Delia Derbyshire, 10" x 8", oil on canvas board.
The BBC launched an eight part series about the live and work of Ms. Derbyshire that I watched with great pleasure. She worked for the BBC as a composer and sound engineer throughout the sixties and into the seventies and is best known for her collaboration with Ron Grainer on the theme for the BBC series Doctor Who. To refresh one's ties with universal consciousness you should watch the Doctor Who theme on YouTube. (Play it loud for the best connection!). Pink Floyd more than just quoted from this on their classic One of These Days. While you're at it...

Malcolm Mooney, 4" x 4", oil on wood.
I’ve hardly seen any live music the past year. It’s a shame, I should go out more, but I live in a city with nothing much going on. If I were in New York I would surely see a lot more music. The last time I was in New York, almost a year ago, I saw Michael Mooney at an art opening at White Columns. One of the featured artists was Mr. Mooney himself. Sculptures. Malcolm Mooney was vocalist and one of the original members of the legendary German band Can. He now heads a band called The Tenth Planet but the performance was him assisted by just one of Tenth Planet. Earlier that day I bought a picture disc by Malcolm Mooney at the White Columns booth at the International Art Fair in Chelsea. I took it to the gallery to have him sign it. I was not the only one. A German collector, an artist too, who sells records for supplemental income brought along the complete set of Can records Mooney performs on to sign. I ended up drinking with the German dude, forgot his name, sorry...

Issa Coulibaly, 10" x 7.25", oil on wood, 2012.
There is some confusion about the identity of the Issa Coulibaly whose tape Dit Trih Issa was published by Brian Shimkovitz for Awesome Tapes from Africa. In the notes to the music, Brian Shimkovitz writes that this cassette is from Guinea. There is however another Issa Coulibaly from Mali, who lives (and performs) now in the US. The readers’ comments to the post seem to suggest that the two are the very same person. I have to say that images of Issa Coulibaly (who teaches at Brown University) don’t look a whole lot like the Issa Coulibaly on the tape. But it’s sometimes hard to tell— individuals’ appearances can change over the years. It has to be two different people though. Prof. Coulibaly is a Master Djembe Drummer while our Coulibaly plays a balafon (which is sort of  drum too, I guess).
The balafon is yet another instrument I hadn’t painted yet.

Tony Schwartz, 10" x 6.25", oil on wood, 2012
The sound recording is taken from yet another Folkways’ release, in full– Nueva York: A tape documentary of Puerto Rican New Yorkers. Conceived, recorded and edited by Tony Schwartz. The recording of the church performance here is an outtake of a section that follows and interviews the congregation on a Sunday in 1956. After his spell with Folkways Schwartz (1923-2008) went on to become a guru of the new electronic media in the early 1970s.

Lotte Lenya, 10" x 8", oil on canvas board, 2012.
My friend Sue Harshe of the band Fort Shame, and formerly with Scrawl played a concert featuring compositions by Kurt Weill. She had arranged the music for piano solo while translating some of the lyrics in English. I have quite a collection of Lotte Lenya (married to Kurt Weill, and the most important interpreter of his music) records and I decided that I would pass on the most famous of these records to Sue. It’s the one featuring on the sleeve to Bob Dylan’s masterpiece Bringing it All Back Home. One of my favorite tracks on the record is Seerauber Jenny from the Dreigroschen Oper. Not having the record anymore I recorded the original 1930 version for the top 100 tape. Nothing wrong with that either.

Asakawa Maki, 8" x 5", oil on wood, 2012.
Strange Fruit was once, a long time ago, a number one in my top 100. Billie Holiday was the singer. Nina Simone did it too, she hit the list just two years ago with that song (be it far from #1). And now it’s back, and the singer is… Asakawa Maki. Ms. Maki (1942-2010) is a blues singer, some cult hero in her native Japan. She’s done House of the Rising Sun too, as well as many other standards. But she wrote her own too, and sang it all with her trademark smoky voice. In almost all her photos on line she smokes a cigarette. In all her photos she maintains a sort of James Dean kind of cool. In the video for Strange Fruit she tries to looks like Billie Holiday and even without the gardenia she does manage to look like her a lot. Lots of the credit on Strange Fruit goes to that wonderful three minute piano intro by Yamashita Yosuke.

Miki Tanabe of Guitar Vader, 7" x 4", oil on wood, 2012.
I’ve been slacking a while on my upkeep of Japanese pop music but since following the Bodega Pop blog last month I’ve taken a crash course to get up to date. I Love I Love Love Love You by Guitar Vader but it is actually more than ten years old! Where have I been! It comes from the cd Die Happy!

Kipsigis woman in traditional dress, 20" x 10", oil on canvas, 2012.
One of three tapes that I copied from Awesome Tapes from Africa in 2011. I could not find any information about Solomon Monori or his Chemaner Band, or the cassette Chepkunyuk, not at the Awesome Tapes from Africa comment section, not on the entire web, except that they’re Kipsigis, and the Kipsigis are my friends (see #21, Chemirocha). Together with the lady in the Chemirocha painting this young woman depicted here makes a dancing Kipsigis duo. The Kipsigis, by the way, live in Kenya.

SKVLT, 10" x 5.25", oil on wood, 2012.
This track kind of functions as a vestige of the black metal, punk, and noise recordings in previous editions of the Top 100. When I still lived in Columbus I often attended some of the many noise concerts in town. SKVLT is from Massachusets and was brought to my attention by Ryan J. from Columbus through his blog Friends and Wieners. He posted this song after a concert SKVLT did in Columbus.

Image from Kroncong: Early Indonesian Pop Music, 10" x 8", oil on canvas board, 2012.
The last post ever published by the beloved Holy Warbles site was an item on the cd Kroncong: Early Indonesian Pop Music, Vol. 1. After Holy Warbles went down their friends at Ghost Capital picked up where they had left it, and the lady in the painting came along with. I assume they found her inside the booklet of the cd. I don’t know if it’s one of the singers on the cd or just any woman. Who knows, it may even be an image of Ismanto, the singer in my top 100 list.

Oliver Lake, 11.5" x 8.25", oil on wood, 2012.
After After Jeremiah’s Wed (#10), A Little Tom’s a Dangerous Thing is the second track from that curious record by Children of the Sun called Ofamfa. Children of the Sun was a BAG (Black Artists Group) project out of St. Louis, MO. Other notorieties (Joseph Bowie for example) are affiliated with BAG but Oliver Lake is the only well known musician on the Ofamfa record.

Michael Hurley, 4" x 4", oil on wood, 2012.
The customary Michael Hurley song this year is the closing track of the cd Ancestral Swamp. Hurley (b. 1941, Bucks County, PA) is a singer songwriter on the fringes of the music industry. His first record was First Songs recorded on the same reel to reel equipment that recorded Leadbelly’s last sessions by Moses Asch for Folkways Records. I saw and met Michael Hurley during a music festival in Nelsonville, Ohio.

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