Back in the early days of Napster, users would often chat and exchange music through recommendations. One memorable musical exchange occurred with a Kurdish guy who had emigrated to Germany. I recommended Ozomatli which he loved and he offered lots of Kurdish popular music in return. One song that stood out from the rest of the pro PKK tunes I ended up downloading from him was a song titled “Kurdish Disco.” I’m a sucker for anything “disco” but this song was exceptional for the time, it combined a traditional Kurdish folk tune with dance beats. It seems some of the traditional Kurdish rhythms are quite close to disco/dance beats and the combination of these two styles sounds quite complimentary. Perhaps now this song wouldn’t be a big deal as this kind of global meshing is pretty standard in the DJ world. Continue reading →
It can be argued that St Patrick’s Day is like a local holiday in my neighborhood, despite the fact there is no sizable Irish community in this area. Here in Lincoln Heights, it’s common to see people wearing shamrock paraphernalia all year round. As was recently pointed out to me, stores in Lincoln Heights will stock green colored clothing more frequently as it tends to sell more quickly than other colors. Shamrocks magically grace the walls after long weekend nights, spreading the luck of the Irish throughout our little hood. Continue reading →
Despite my lack of religiosity, I tend to be a somewhat superstitious person which I blame on my Mexican Catholic upbringing. For that reason things that shouldn’t bother or scare me, like ghost stories, the dark and forests, sometimes do.
For instance, I recently purchased two mid-century nightstands from a thrift store here in Lincoln Heights. I kept these nightstands in my garage for a little while, then moved them into my house and when I went to clean them, I made an unfortunate discovery: an old doll. Not just any doll, a doll that looked like some kind of voodoo priestess (see photo above). Okay, so I know it’s unfair of me to call her “voodoo” when she’s wearing the traditional dress of the Caribbean but it’s not the kinda doll you want to find randomly in an old piece of furniture.
When I first pulled it out of the drawer, my boyfriend said out loud what I had been reluctantly thinking: â€œoh, oh brujeria!â€ He said it as a joke of course, but it planted that tiny seed in my mind that grew into irrational thoughts. Why was the doll still in the drawer? Why didn’t the workers at the store discover it? The doll, which looks like it’s from the 1950s is remarkably preserved. Has it been stuck in the drawer all this time?
Finally, a tiny bit of rational thought broke through my tense, muddled mind and I mustered the courage to pull the doll out of the drawer and stick it in my cabinet of knick-knacks. It’s something I should have done weeks ago but didn’t have the nerve. I hate being superstitious and silly but it’s one part of myself that will probably stick with me for a very long time…whether I like it or not. [I wrote this a week ago and now the doll doesn’t seem so scary but kinda cute, huh?!]
Despite being super popular in Europe during the 70s and 80s, German disco group Boney M were never all that famous here in the US. I first heard about them many, many years ago from a young Iranian co-worker who would talk about them endlessly and was shocked that they were never well known in the U.S. She had asked me to find her some of their music but despite my music collecting skills, I had no luck in locating any of their albums. Finally, I found some of their music, in of all places, on a Vietnamese mixtape I bought in a small Chinatown music store. Soon afterwards, I discovered one of their albums in my dad’s extensive record collection. Like my co-worker, I was hooked! Boney M’s music was catchy, infectious and even delivered social messages with their disco beats. Most of their songs are about folk heroes, rebels and historical events.
Their videos and performances have been an extra treat. The lead singer’s Michael Jackson like moves, along with his profuse perspiration lead one to believe certain substances might have been involved in fueling his on stage energy. See for yourself:
Daddy Cool-Boney M
Children of Paradise is another favorite and this is what it was like to go to school in the 80s, sorry if you missed out.
As I was driving around this morning, I noticed an unusually high number of cars with their lights on. When I pointed this out to my passenger, he claimed this is a Leap Year Day tradition. He’s been known to pull my leg, so I’m asking all of you, have you heard of this practice? Any other Leap Year Day traditions I should know about?