Saturday, December 6, 2014

Songs the Swahili Sing

Juma Bhalo
10" x 8", oil on canvas, 2014
A second track in the top 100 from the LP Songs the Swahili Sing: Classics from the Kenya Coast on John Storm Roberts' Original label is from the taarab master Mohamed Khamis Juma Bhalo.  Known as the King of Taarab "professor JB" passed away in April of this year, Bhalo was born in 1942. The LP was recorded by Roberts in the early 80s and released in 1983. Juma Bhalo's song is Kem Kem.
Finishing up the last paintings for the top 100 just got an enormous boost with the purchase of a boxful of used canvases in various sizes at a per-pound thrift store in Fort Myers. Somebody who was into painting abstract geometric almost minimalist paintings must have given up. All paintings were unsigned and simply not interesting enough to research who it was that donated all these canvases to the Goodwill store. The smaller canvases, it appears, were painted by someone else. At least the top layers, superimposed on rough geometric designs, are such that they were either the artist's playful sketches or given to perhaps a family member to play with. I didn't gesso out the canvases but on this Juma Bhalo painting the ground has been almost totally obscured. Yesterday's painting of Ros Sereysothea shows more of the 'found' background.

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