Three weeks ago I was in Berlin, Germany. I would like to say a big post is coming with details but it is still stuck in the wishful thinking area of my future plans.

Zurich on My Mind

Kleenux – Dolly Dollar

Zurich on my mind.
A city that has produced awesome musicians and rockers who happen to be female.

Wemean – Krasivaja Riba

Touching the waters of the River Limmat has always been a dream of mine.

Read more about Kleenex (known as Liliput in the US) here.
Listen to more Wemean songs here.

Te Vahine

Te Vahine-Tubuai Choir (click to listen)

I must press myself to write blog posts when I’m inspired. I often wait too long, needing more time to do research or frustrated by my struggles with grammar. Often times the posts never get done, they remain ideas in my head, the words long forgotten in the subsequent days.

This is one such post. I’ve wanted to share this song since this blog started, it was going to be part of series of posts examining how the rhythm of certain songs matches the rhythm of travel of the respective music makers. Te Vahine is one example. The rowing of the canoes, the sloshes of water against the vessel as it is propelled by dozens of arms and the energy of the ocean, I imagine these things gave this song it’s extraordinary rhythm. This song is so heavy with it, so compelling in it’s undulating movement of voices that I can’t listen to this song without some part of my body following the beat. It’s believed music was used by Polynesians as a form of oral tradition and to aid in canoe navigation. I would imagine the rhythm was equally as important as the words.

The song is performed here by the Tubuai Choir from the Polynesian island of Tubuai in the Austral Islands near Tahiti. While most of the island music suffers from the crush of Christian missionary zeal which systematically stamped out indigenous sounds and references from the natives’ musical repertoire, Te Vahine is one song that sounds like it could have been sung prior to the arrival of The London Missionary School. It lacks the touch of Mormons which makes it much more listenable than the rest of the album.

From the liner notes:

This old song is about a warrior woman, Te Vahine, using the power of the sky to dispute a high warrior on his declaration of war. She challenges him by taking his spear from him.

Egyptian Lover, Part 2

Egyptians practicing the fine art of rock throwing, January 25, 2011.

I’m been enthralled by Al Jazeera’s live feed of the uprising in Egypt. Riot cops running from protesters, folks celebrating on top of army tanks, lots of burning stuff and fires in Cairo!

It only makes me pine for my faux-Egyptian connections even more. But just this week, I learned an extraordinary fact, one that gives hope to my far-fetched dreams of an Mexican-Egyptian heritage. According to Chicana musician Lysa Flores who recently participated in an Egyptian group art exhibit, Citizen, Participant “Egypt sent 20,000 troops to Mexico in the 1860′s to help Mexico boot out Maximilano and none of those Egyptians returned…” What? Could it be that perhaps, one of those soldiers could’ve been related to the grandfather I never knew and recently tried to find in Guadalajara? Probably not, but I still feel the nostalgia when gazing at the Eye of Horus.

Amr Diab-Omal Eih

All this revolution and uprising needs some musical accompaniment so how about some Arabic Pop/Al Jeel music by one Egypt’s most popular artists, Amr Diab? His sorta dorky style is quite charming, too bad he’s all slick and dolled up now. The 80s was the BEST time for Arab Pop, in my opinion.

One of his most popular songs, was previously featured on the blog here. And of course, EVERYONE knows this song, Nour El Ain.

Oh, you’ve all been waiting for this Egyptian Lover? Why didn’t you say so?

The Egyptian Lover – Egypt, Egypt


Egyptian Lover, Part One


Revuelta en Argelia

Revolt in Algeria

In 2001, I visited Euskadi, also known as the Basque region which is kinda, sorta part of Spain but don’t say you are in Spain if you happen to find yourself there because the locals will either give you a super long history lesson or a dirty look. In Bilbao, the city most known for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, a citywide anarcho-punk conference was taking place. We didn’t know exactly where it was happening, we just followed the crusties and their dogs to various locations. The local anarcho-punks were quite friendly and freely shared their cheap wine and coca-cola concoctions i.e. kalimochos with us as we hung out waiting for the workshops to begin.

One of the gigs was taking place at a squat at the edge of town. A girl on the street pointed us in the general direction. We hopped on a train, saw a guy carrying some anarchist zines and asked if we could follow him. As we walked through a quaint little neighborhood, the zine guy asked an old man who was hanging his laundry out the window if he knew where the “punk squat” was and the old man without hesitation said “The kids are down that way.” My mouth dropped open, this would never happen here! Then the zine guy introduced us to some South American punk guy who it was assumed we’d have stuff in common with because: We were both from the Americas? Both mestizos? Who knows? But the S.A. punk was a nice guy.

At the squat, there were more kalimochos to be had. There were all kinds of tables offering various sorts of things like zines, CDs, t-shirts. One stall was a woman selling homemade postcards with scenes of riots and other insurrectionary images, like the one above. I bought this one cause they were smashing up a cash register. But I swear, for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what country “Argelia” was, duh.

I got in a lenthy conversation with a heavy metal communist guy with long blond hair, or at least it was an attempt at conversation because the Basque Castellano was a bit difficult for me to understand. He was a collective member of the squat and was telling me all about their private bar which I listened to in wide-eyed amazement. You mean, it’s a squat and a bar? Fucken Europeans have all the fun, hrrrmph! Next thing I know, there’s a Korean newscaster and cameraman asking me if I’m really from California. Yup, you read that right. What was a Korean news show doing at a edge-of-town squat for an anarcho-punk show, you might ask? Well, earlier I’d seen them wandering around Bilbao and from what I heard later, they came across the colorful bunch of punks (2001 was the year 1977 came back in style for European squatting scene) and thought, hey these people will make a good story for our Korean morning show! So like us, they followed the crusty rainbow across the city and through the subway to the big old squat which at one time had been some kinda airplane hanger. Someone told them we came all the way from California for the conference (which wasn’t exactly true) and since I spoke English, they interviewed me. (I wonder if I ever made it onto Good Morning Korea?) Then later the music started. I had my postcard, a belly full of kalimocho and one anarchist/communist debate in broken Spanish under my belt. It was a good night.


Rioting spreads across Tunisia; unrest also reported in Algeria, Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2011.

Southern California Anarcho Punk Fest Tour
, Saturday, January 29, 2011.