Thursday, July 06, 2006

I left something very important out of blog number two--the explanation for various and sundry weirdness in the presentation

I have to use a voice operated gizmo to write. If this message suddenly becomes completely loony, it is not because I'm off my head but because the program made a mistake and I did not notice. The same applies to all sorts of errors and omissions. It's wonderful software, but it does have its limitations --great for playing surrealist consequences though Posted by Picasa

It appears that I'm certainly not prime blogger material! Having written my first entry back in June, I decided this was ridiculous --nobody was going to read it because they'd never find it, and so on and whining on . So thank you, Zinb both for your kind words and for your existence.

Last time around wears I included on ancient photograph of me with theBrazilian singer, Flora Purim.Here's the pair --me with Airto Moreira. Or, "Airto and Hairto."

As a matter of fact I don't have a lot at the moment on my mind as regards music at the moment ,though I've been listening to a lot.I'd like to go on about the European classical composers whogot left out of my world thanks to a fortunately waning obsession on the part of the recording Italian composer Paisiello whose piano concertos , may not match Mozart his pea but certainly outshine Mozart in a more humdrum mood.Yet there's very little of his music on record.

Grasshoppering rapidly, I. also recently have been have bee ecstatically rediscovering some of the great Jamaican mento ofthe early 1950s,. Several CD rereleases have popped up quite recently. I haven't heard them all, but please don't pass up "Boogu Yagga Gal" in particular. I had some of its tracks in the original 78 rpm form . My mother was staying with the governor of Jamaica,whose wife , was an old friend of her, and when she mentioned that she had to get me some records,she was introduced to aim and she was told would certainly set her right. She didn't mention his name in her letter to my father describing the meeting, butfrom internal evidence he was very obviously Edward Seaga. I'm mildly surprised that she ended up with the likes of Bedasse and Lord Flea. For a future prime minister the man had good taste.

For some reason what has been much on my mind recently is the question of the British royal family,the House of Lords and such, including the idiotic suggestion that Britain abandon it's powerful unwritten constitution. A Bill of Rights is one thing, but it seems to me as plain as a pikestaff most of the US' most intractable problems come from that sacred cow (fanfare!Fireworks!) The Constitution. As for the royal family, every country needs a head of state. One that changes every so often is not very impressive, and surely we have anough evidence that a head of state who is also a partisan pol AND commander in chief has almost unimaginable potential for disaster. Anyway, why ditch one of the world's finest tourist attractions?

As for the House of Lords,it seems to me it has never been more of an asset. It may not totally represent the country as a whole, but then nor does a houseful of professional politicians. Members of the House of Lords do all sorts of jobs, whereas politicians only do one. Even without being particularly anti-politician, it seems to me that the advantage in a second chamber that keeps an eye on the first one not being created in the same way is obvious. I'm all for different sorts of peers -- life peers and so on --though life peerages should not be available to people of the political persuasion. But in God's name,not a second house chosen in the same way as the first.

Next time,a rant on a different subject (on what, I have no idea) Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 12, 2006

For some years I've been wondering why I have this extraordinary sense of gloom, not to say doom, whenever anybody urges me to set up a blog. Well, now I know. The wretched site won't let me use my name in any way that would help anybody who was interested in my work from finding his or her way here.

So for the record--my name is John Storm Roberts. I havea reasonably interesting, and some people think even useful, life as a result of whichI am regarded as an international expert on the popular music of the African Diaspora, and particularly on the influences on everybody else of Latin American music. This is not bragging --if you'd asked the questions I did, you'd have stumbled across the same answers. As to the internationa expert bit, that just means that the handful of JSR buff's are spread (extremely thinly) across several continents.

As a matter of fact my interests range well beyond other people's music. If I ever figure out how to do a profile, I'll have more to say about myself. Meanwhile, the photo top right was taken 30 years ago, when I was writingon things Latin for the Village Voice and the one without the beard is the Brazilian singer, Flora Purim.

Most recently, I've been pursuing the issue of Jelly Roll Morton's "Spanish tinge"by which he was talking about the Mexican and Cuban influences on Ragtime and jazz. All I'll say on that for the moment is that all the jazz history books have left out one third of the story, which goes way back in the 19th century, even before Louis Moreau Gottshalk.

More on this, cats, PG Wodehouse, family history, the curse of Celticity, Indian food,music of all sorts and conditions, the incorrectness of using "Kiswahili" as if it were the English word for the excellent language spoken over large chunks of East Africa, and other matters both unimportant and less important.

Plus if I can figure out how to do it, lots of photographs, musical and otherwise. I've been scanning a century's worth into my computer and somebody else should suffer too.

Meanwhile, TTFN

John Storm Roberts

PS I have to use a voice operated gizmo to write e-mails. If this blog suddenly becomes completely loony, it is not because I'm unusually off my head but because the program made a mistake and I did not notice. Why is a computer like a snake? Posted by Picasa