Monday, April 19, 2021
Friday, April 16, 2021
|Albanian mourners, Spiro Shetuni|
Back then I was in middle of compiling a cd with examples of cry singing, mostly funeral laments. Throughout the world existed (still exists but disappearing) this practice of mourning through song and I had gathered examples from Ireland (where it's called keening to Papua New Guinea, and everywhere in between. Albania was not included in that collection but had I known the existance of this recording I would have certainly included it on the cd, and would have contacted Shetuni in the process.
The image of the wailing Albanian women I found in Death Rituals in Albania: An Anthropological Review by Gentian Vyshka and Bardhyl Cipi, published on Antrocom an online journal of Anthropology in 2010. Vyshka and Cipi used the 1985 photo courtesy of the Albanian Film Archive, Tirana.The caption reads: "The wailing ritual and laments in Southern Albania are led from a professional mourner, a woman that might be not a relative of the dead, and hired for that function." The caption also reaffirmed me that I was painting Albanian women. I had started this painting already without some of the context and I was not sure if all 8 individuals were women. I've painted half the photo, the four people on the left in the picture.
|Ashaninka Indian, Josefat Roel Pineda|
The Ashaninka songs, at #66 in the Top 100 2020 was also part of the Top 100 2019. In 2019, while painting the illustration, I did do some contextual research as to what I was listening to. The track Ashaninka songs are actually two short songs that appear on a project initiated by Mickey Hart (of the Grateful Dead) for the Library of Congress called Endangered Music Project. The first cd of which is called The Spirit Cries: Music from the Rainforests of South America and the Caribbean (Rykodisc 1993). The sections on the cd involving the Peruvian Indians Shipobo and Ashaninka were recorded in 1963 and 1964 by Enrique Pinella and Josefat Roel Pineda. I may assume that Pinella, a Peruvian avant-garde composer, was responsible for the Shipobo recordings and Pinella for the Ashaninka but I can't be sure. The otherwise well documented CD does not distinguish. While writing about bot sets of recordings last years I spoke about Pinella and omitted Pineda. Now, while focusing on the Ashaninka only, I'm reversing this and chose a portrait of Pineda to include in the drawing of an Ashaninka woman. The woman I depicted is anonymous, as are the performers of the Ashaninka songs. The photo source I used comes from the Goteborg Ethnographic Museum and I found it on a Brazilian website documenting Amazonian tribes. I could not find photographs made by either Pinella or Pineda during their field recording sessions in the Amazon region of Eastern Peru. I commented in the text on the Ashaninca last year on the tattos seen in older, vintage, photographs of many Ashaninka women. Beautiful face tattoos that have now been replaced by face painting. Talking about tattoos: I can't get this image out of my head of the tattoos on the back of Grimes, the partner of Elon Musk. She covered her back in abstract, very expressive white marks resembling doodles or scribbling, or the style of Antonin Artaud's drawings or Alberto Giacometti's. I saw it on the Daily Mail this morning. They probably put it up to feed the disgust people have for the ultra-rich extravagant escapades. To shock their viewers. I found the tattoos rather impressive. Easily one of the best non-tribal or ceremony related tattoos I've ever seen.
|Iglulik Inuit, Jean-Jacques Nattiez|
Friday, April 9, 2021
|Indianerinnen mit kind (Shuar)/Michael J. Harner|
The Shuar, generally better known by their previous name Jivaro, were one of the most violent tribes written about in the anthropological history. They were head hunters, the source of the once collectable shrunken heads. (Earlier I wrote about the practice of infanticide among the Shuar.) The Jivaro warriors were feared throughout the region by their enemies but also by their own women. While the status of women throughout the world is usually not anywhere near the status of equality, the Jivaro women were worse off. Beatings were common. Only later in life, when widowed, or when they were children they could live in relative freedom. The suicide rate of Shuar women were among the highest in the world. Yet, their songs are among the sweetest and happiest I've encountered. Michael J. Harner recorded several dance songs and lullabies that are included on the Folkways LP 'Music of the Jivaro of Ecuador' along with war songs and other songs by men. Shaman's songs were recorded too. One freedom Shuar women enjoyed was to become a shaman. Not many neighboring tribes had female shamans. Harner was the first to study the Shuar in depth in the 1950s, earlier records are anecdotal, biased, or tainted by biased interpreters from neighboring tribes. Rafael Karsten, in the 1930s was the first anthropologist to attempt a study of the then called Jivaro, but later had to admit to Harner that all his information came from a translator belonging to a tribe not friendly to the Shuar. Harner tracked this individual down for his research and corrected Karsten's otherwise useful data. The photograph I used for this image was taken by Karsten in 1930. Harner, later in his career, became known for his research and books on (neo)shamanism and other spiritual new age practices. Shuar Social Dance Song (2): Female Chorus in #63 in the Top 100 2020.
|Marjorie Shostak/!Kun San man|
Monday, April 5, 2021
|Sylvia Saghorekao and Sabina Seso|
|Deben Bhattacharya and Tangkhul Great Story Teller|
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Friday, March 26, 2021
|Yamana man holding oar|
The Yamana, or Yaghan people were the southernmost inhabitants of the earth. They are often grouped with the Selk'nam people as well other groups that lived in Terra del Fuego in the south of both Argentina and Chile, but they are a distinct other group with their own unique language. I've written a lot about the Selk'nam before as I have been intrigued by their remarkable traditions of body painting and the cosmogenesis it enacts. I reproduced two photographs of Selk'nam people, taken by Martin Gusinde in the early 1920s, in my art appreciation textbook You are an Artist. It was also Martin Gusinde who was the first to record the Selk'nam as well as their neighbors to the south the Yamana. Canto Yamana, at #58 in the Top 100 2020, is a recording from 1923 of a shaman. When Gusinde writes about the music of the Yamana he talks about boatmen songs. The singing of the Yamana, according to the early anthropologist Erich von Hornbostel, is the most primitive of the world, using only two notes.
|Baker Lake Eskimo and Laura Bolton|
While the drawings for the Top 100 2020 continue to be made until all 100 are done, I started the Top 100 for the year 2021 already. The Top 100 2021 exhibition is scheduled for next summer in Dublin, Ohio and I felt like starting early. I also didn't paint much for a while and now with my studio in working order it is really nice to be out of the house. (A lot of activities, such as my job, are still being done from home.) I had a plan. The concept for the new 100 paintings was to paint double portraits, featuring the musician on one side of the canvas, and the one who recorded it on the other. I figure the juxtaposition is an interesting one. I have now one done and a second one started. I'm still not 100% sure how to tackle certain aspects, like text, in the painting. I experimented here but may change the markings later. The 1 in the top right corner means it's number 1 in the Top 100 2021. This may change because the making of the list for this year is in progress. I am certain, however, that Girl's Game, sung by Agnutnak and Matee, two-fifteen year old Inuit women from Baker Lake, Canada, will be part of the list when it is final. The song was recorded by Laura Bolton in 1974 at Baker Lake and appeared on the Folkways album The Eskimos of Hudson Bay and Alaska. The photograph I used to paint the young woman was taken by Bolton and was included in the liner notes for the record. The song was also listed last year. When I painted an image for the Top 100 2020 I used the same photo. I did include the rest of the family then.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
|Karin Johansson-Edvards, Matts Arnberg, and Elin Lisslass|
Thursday, March 18, 2021
|Anna Balint Puskas|
|Babinga woman performing Yeli|
Sunday, March 14, 2021
|Gardu(?), 14x11 inches, 2021|
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
|Jofirsti Lungisa playing a musical bow|
The Top 100 2020 contains a larger than usual number of repeats from the year before and again a great number of tunes from 2020 will be repeated again in 2021. There's plenty of different music I play but those recordings that make up the playlist from which I compile my thoughts on the origin of music is getting more established as time goes on. And so do my thoughts. The playlist is front and center of my music appreciation path. At some point when I have enough time and ambition I am going to collect and edit my writings on this subject as they appeared in this blog and other places and compile them into a cohesive paper forming a theory on the origin of music, of art, and creativity. The theory is a meditation on all the big questions concerning the origin and nature of being using insights from hundreds of others. The theory itself is far too big and broad for one person to research. The theory that is forming in my hand circumnavigates materials handily available on line and is not depending on independent research at all but rather on the implications of the sounds on the playlist. And empathy. I haven't posted much recently but have continued the work towards completing the illustrations for the Top 100 2020. The nine works shown here are all from this year and are done on 11 x 14 drawing paper. Ink is the most common material used throughout but a number of other media have also been used. Represented are numbers 45 through 53:
- 45: Jofirsti Lungisa – Nandel'ekhaye
- 46: San, Tin Can Bow Solo
- 47: Yeyi "Hut Song" by thirteen young girls and children from Cameroon
- 48: Norma Tanega – You're Dead
- 49: Ya'ak Keodaeng and Ya'Seu Keodaeng – Teum singing
- 50: Sun Ra and His Akestra featuring June Tyson – Space is the Place
- 51: Nellie Echalook and Rebecca Natialuk – Katajjait
- 52: Grande danse, ahidus by a mixed chorus of Ben aissa Berbers
- 53: Bell'ilba (lullaby) by a Kel ansar Tuareg mother
|!Kung San playing a hunting bow|
|Bamboo on the Mountains (cover), Frank Porschin|
|Sun Ra, preparation sketch for stencil|
|Sun Ra, stencilprint (A/P)|
|Nellie Echalook and Rebecca Natialuk|
|Tuareg mother and child, Bernard Lortat-Jacob|
Sunday, December 13, 2020
|Gond Ceremonial Group, 11x14, ink on paper, 2020|
I had fun drawing a group, instead of usual individual. I could explore rhythmic mark making. I'm thinking already about next year's concept even though this year's isn't even half way finished yet. The exhibition of the Top 100 2021 is already scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ohio during the summer of 2022 even though the work for it has not started yet. The works on 14x11 paper that I'm working on right now will exhibited during the spring of next year in my own The Top Archive and Studio space.