Ethiopiques/Hava Nagila

Cross-posted from BobFromBrockley

It’s a while since I did one of these, partly as YouTube and Spotify and all these other web 2.0 things have displaced the good old fashioned mp3 blogs which flourished in the second half of the noughties. But here goes.


From Magnet Magazine, I am glad to discover the lovely, quirky Leonard Cohenesque singer songwriter Mirel Wagner. Slightly affected and mannered for me, but I like her:

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Espoo, Finland, Mirel Wagner is a young songwriter who creates minimal-yet-enchanting folk blues. Her self-titled debut album (on Friendly Fire) is full of haunting lyrics that express her larger-than-life thoughts. You’ll be taken back by this 23-year-old’s vocals and captivated by her songs. “No Hands” (download) is light-hearted and has some great acoustics.

Also from Ethiopia by way of elsewhere are Debo Band, again from Magnet Magazine:

This 11-member Boston band, led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, incorporates traditional scales and vocal styles with American soul and funk. You’ll hear violins, accordions, horns and drums… Download “Asha Gedawo,” off the group’s self-titled debut (out July 10 via Sub Pop), below.

“Asha Gedawo” (download).

Hava nagila

“Hava Nagila” (הבה נגילה) is such a malleable song, almost as much as Miserlou. One of my favourite versions is the mambo version by “Juan Calle and his Latin Landsmen” from 1961 (youtube). This features a couple of the best Latin musicians ever, Ray Barretto and Charlie Palmieri, as well as Willie Rodriguez, Doc Cheatham, Clark Terry, and Wendell Marshall. Apparently, Calle is actually Italian-American jazz banjo player John Cali. This was collected on the Idlesohn Society for Musical Preservation reissue Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos.

More recently, via Dani Deahl, I was thrilled to come across Kick Around Sounds‘ snare-heavy remix (mp3), a kind of reggaeton/moombahton version with a Dem Bow rhythm, the (slightly slowed down?) horns revealing the missing link between Bukovinian and cumbia rebajada.

Also just recently, I heard (at Star Maker Machine, under the theme of dance music) the Boban Marković Orkestar live version. Marković, who I think I’ve posted before on this blog, is a Roma flugelhorn player from Serbia, and this instrumental version is superb. (Mp3/stream/purchase.)

I’ve also long been a fan of the Italodisco version (YouTube) by Azoto (aka Celso Valli) from 1978 (the album was big in Turkey as well as Italy, and featured a version of “Zorba’s Dance”. New to me, though (via This Blouse), is the remix by Norway’s Prins Thomas and Todd Terje, who do it all sultry and futuristic. (Mp3/stream.)


About bobfrombrockley

South London family man. Eating bacon bagels on the 171 bus, listening to Johnny Cash while reading Hannah Arendt, the kid next to me playing dubstep on his telephone. Mostly politics at http://brockley.blogspot.com and mostly music at https://bobsbeat.wordpress.com

2 comments on “Ethiopiques/Hava Nagila

  1. […] Loves A Tourist. It’s edited from suggestions he made to my last post. Parents and employees, be carefuly before you click some of […]

  2. […] this time with music supplied by Noga who blogs at Contentious Centrist, based on comments made to my last post, and an e-mail from […]

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