Articles on this Page
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Bobby Osborne – Ori...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Fela Kuti – Expensi...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Fela Kuti – Ikoyi B...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Satomimagae – Kemri...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Laska – Ceiling Zer...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Shannon – Let The M...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Albin de la Simone ...
- 08/03/17--01:18: _Azymuth – Pure: Bes...
- 08/03/17--02:33: _Elvis Costello – No...
- 08/03/17--03:31: _Shane Nicholson – L...
- 08/03/17--04:31: _B.B. King – Here’s ...
- 08/03/17--04:40: _The Best Reggaeton ...
- 08/03/17--05:13: _Deolinda – Outras H...
- 08/03/17--05:31: _Bright Phoebus Lal ...
- 08/03/17--06:02: _YESTERDAY’S THOUGHT...
- 08/03/17--06:45: _(Country) Matraca B...
- 08/03/17--06:51: _George Gershwin RHA...
- 08/03/17--07:30: _Eagles Of Death Met...
- 08/03/17--07:30: _George Thorogood – ...
- 08/03/17--08:02: _Life, Death, and Go...
- 08/03/17--01:18: Bobby Osborne – Original (2017) Lossless
- 08/03/17--01:18: Fela Kuti – Expensive Shit / He Miss Road (Remastered 1999)
- 08/03/17--01:18: Fela Kuti – Ikoyi Blindness / Kalakuta Show (Remastered 2001)
- 08/03/17--01:18: Satomimagae – Kemri (2017)
- 08/03/17--01:18: Laska – Ceiling Zero (2017)
- 08/03/17--01:18: Shannon – Let The Music Play [Japan LP] (1984)
- 08/03/17--01:18: Albin de la Simone – L’un de nous (2017) [Hi-Res]
- 08/03/17--01:18: Azymuth – Pure: Best Of Far Out Years 1995-2006
- 08/03/17--02:33: Elvis Costello – North (2003/2017)
- 08/03/17--03:31: Shane Nicholson – Love and Blood (2017)
- 08/03/17--04:40: The Best Reggaeton Hits (2017)
- 08/03/17--05:13: Deolinda – Outras Histórias (2016)
- 08/03/17--06:02: YESTERDAY’S THOUGHTS για το τέταρτο άλμπουμ τους “Paper Ship”
- 08/03/17--06:51: George Gershwin RHAPSODIE IN BLUE 1969 (DDR Amiga)
- 08/03/17--07:30: George Thorogood – Party of One (2017)
- 08/03/17--08:02: Life, Death, and Gondang in Tobaland
Year Of Release: 2017
Label: Compass Records
Genre: Bluegrass, Americana, Country, Folk
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
Total Time: 34:05
Total Size: 253 MB
01. Bobby Osborne feat. Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan and Alison Brown – They Call the Wind Maria (4:00)
02. Bobby Osborne feat. Ronnie McCoury, Josh Williams, Robbie McCoury and Del McCoury – Goodbye Wheeling (3:27)
03. Bobby Osborne feat. Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes, Dale Ann Bradley and Darrell Scott – Kentucky Morning (4:30)
04. Bobby Osborne feat. Sierra Hull, Trey Hensley, Stuart Duncan, Alison Brown, Rob Ickes and Claire Lynch – I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You (4:39)
05. Bobby Osborne feat. Vince Gill and Molly Tuttle – Make The World Go Away (3:04)
06. Bobby Osborne – Just In Case (2:34)
07. Bobby Osborne feat. Sam Bush, Jim Hurst and Todd Phillips – Don’t Be Cruel (2:33)
08. Bobby Osborne feat. Sam Bush and Michael Cleveland – Eight More Miles (2:58)
09. Bobby Osborne feat. Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan and Alison Brown – Country Boy (3:06)
10. Bobby Osborne – Pathway of Teardrops (3:21)
Bobby Osborne is one of bluegrass music’s true innovators. His trailblazing work with The Osborne Brothers, who charted 13 Billboard Country top 100 hits in the 1960s and ’70s, took the sounds of the banjo, mandolin and Bobby’s one of a kind tenor voice to a mainstream audience. Even at 85 years old, when Bobby Osborne could be resting on his many laurels, he is still driven by a desire to push the musical envelope. This album features an all-star cast of pickers and singers collaborating with Bobby on an eclectic set of songs. Relative newcomers Sierra Hull and Trey Hensley team up with stalwarts Stuart Duncan and Todd Phillips on grass’d up versions of Paint Your Wagon’s "They Call The Wind Maria" and the Bee Gees’ "I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You." The never before recorded Darrell Scott song "Kentucky Morning," featuring Rob Ickes, gives a nod to Bobby’s heritage while the cover of "Make the World Go Away" with the lush twin fiddles of Buddy Spicher and Matt Combs evokes Music Row circa 1962. Bobby’s touring band the Rocky Top X-Press, with sons Wynn, Robby and Bobby Osborne Jr., deliver an updated version of the Osborne Brothers’ classic "Pathway of Teardrops" while Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, together with Josh Williams and Missy Raines, collaborate on a version of the obscure Mel Tillis song "Goodbye Wheeling." Additional performers include Sam Bush, Vince Gill, Jim Lauderdale, Del McCoury, Darrell Scott, David Mayfield, Molly Tuttle, Bryan McDowell, and Kenny Malone. About the new music Bobby has this to say: "We [The Osborne Brothers] didn’t want to sound like nobody else. And that’s the way I want to be on this CD, too."
Title: Expensive Shit / He Miss Road
Year Of Release: 1999
Label: Wrasse Records
Genre: Jazz, Funk, Afrobeat
Quality: FLAC (Tracks)+CUE, LOG
Total Time: 01:03:55
Total Size: 427 mb (+5%rec.)
Expensive Shit 1975
01 – Expensive Shit 13:14
02 – Water No Get Enemy 11:00
He Miss Road 1975
03 – He Miss Road 10:47
04 – Monday Morning in Lagos 11:15
05 – It’s No Possible 17:37
The post Fela Kuti – Expensive Shit / He Miss Road (Remastered 1999) appeared first on MusDL.
Title: Ikoyi Blindness / Kalakuta Show
Year Of Release: 2001
Label: Wrasse Records
Genre: Jazz, Funk, Afrobeat
Quality: FLAC (Tracks)+CUE, LOG
Total Time: 00:59:56
Total Size: 399 mb (+5%rec.)
Ikoyi Blindness 1976
01. Ikoyi Blindness 15:08
02. Gba Mi Leti Ki N’Dolowo (Slap Me Make I Get Money) 14:13
Kalakuta Show 1976
03. Kalakuta Show 14:31
04. Don’t Make Garan Garan 16:04
The post Fela Kuti – Ikoyi Blindness / Kalakuta Show (Remastered 2001) appeared first on MusDL.
Year Of Release: 2017
Label: White Paddy Mountain
Genre: Electronic, Indie, Folk, Ambient
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 36:01 min
Total Size: 101 MB
01. Bulse 04:30
02. Odori 03:04
03. Leak 03:56
04. Mebuki 03:42
05. Tenjoh 01:56
06. Kata 03:14
07. Fumi 04:02
08. Ato 03:58
09. Onami 02:07
10. Clashi 02:58
11. Sara 02:34
Satomimagae structures her world with the solitary sound of her acoustic guitar and smoky vocals laid upon ethereal textures. Her upcoming 3rd album, Kemri, is to be released on White Paddy Mountain this June and is a continuation of her previous efforts. As the record progresses there is a noticeable warmth, as if the temperature is slowly rising toward the listener. Coming back to reality from a suburban daydream, Satomimagae’s cold and rational poetry will echo in your ears like a mirror that captures our modern-day lives. The soundscape is more refined than her previous record “koko”, by a one-shot play-and-sing style. It was recorded similarly to classic folk or blues records and layered with the use of field recordings, drone, and distorted synthesizers.
Ongoing from her last work, Chihei Hatakeyama cooperated FX-making, and sound-making on this recording.
Satomimagae took in charge and did her own mixing on more than half of the songs.
Title: Ceiling Zero
Year Of Release: 2017
Genre: Alternative Rock, Folk, Indie
Quality: 320 / FLAC (tracks)
Total Time: 46:41
Total Size: 107 / 263 Mb
1. Creatures (04:46)
2. Painting Circles (04:10)
3. Not That Great (04:45)
4. I Am Not Afraid of the Sunrise Anymore (04:14)
5. The Experiment (03:43)
6. Stop and Go (06:04)
7. Parking Lot (05:08)
8. Rush (05:59)
9. Caught Up (03:21)
10. The Haunting (04:31)
LASKA provides the perfect soundtrack for embracing the beauty in pain. Songwriting sisters Hannah Mae, Bex and Mookie weave influences of Alternative and Desert Rock with raw emotion in their songs. They are all confident vocalist knowing what each will bring to the table to sing lead, but also support one another with beautifully hard-hitting harmonies. Topping off the harmonic sheen is an instrumental arsenal including violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and cello. Combine this with an un-apologetic rhythm section in tow, including Evan Middlesworth on electric guitar, Zach Brawford on drums, and Ethan Schmidt on Bass, and the whole of this band is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Ceiling zero is about the confusing times that are commonly experienced throughout life whether it’s accidentally breaking somebody’s heat, breaking your own, finding someone who makes you realized its all worth it, or discovering it on your own.
We write to figure out how we feel and usually find out we’re not alone in those feelings
"LASKA’S music just finds the place within you that’s the most vulnerable and pulls out into the open."
Title: Let The Music Play [Japan LP]
Year Of Release: 1984
Label: Polydor Records [28MM 0347]
Genre: Latin Freestyle, Disco, Hi-NRG
Quality: WavPack (image+.cue+scans) [32Bit/192kHz]
Total Time: 37:50
Total Size: 1,89 GB
01 Let The Music Play 3:17
02 Sweet Somebody 5:05
03 Someone Waiting Home 4:43
04 Give Me Tonight 6:10
05 My Heart’s Divided 4:30
06 It’s You 4:06
07 One Man 3:50
08 Let The Music Play (Re-mix) 6:09
Title: L’un de nous
Year Of Release: 2017
Label: tôt Ou tard
Genre: French Pop, Chanson
Quality: flac lossless / flac 24 bits – 44.1Khz
Total Time: 00:38:17
Total Size: 204 / 396 mb
01. Le grand amour
02. Dans la tête
03. Les chiens sans langue
04. Une femme
05. Embrasse ma femme
06. À midi on m’a dit
07. La fleur de l’âge
08. Ma barbe pousse
09. L’un de nous
10. Pourquoi on pleure
11. À quoi (avec Sabina Sciubba)
A French pianist, composer, and performer, Albin de la Simone was born in Picary on December 14, 1970. Best known for his collaborations with such musical mainstays as Vanessa Paradis, Feist, Mathieu Boogaerts, and Salif Keita, de la Simone has also managed a respectable solo career, releasing a number of albums of his own. The first of his long-players, Albin de la Simone, emerged in 2003. A follow-up followed in 2005 — Je Vais Changer — the same year that he managed to score a nomination for a Prix Constantin. A tour would soon follow, and as 2005 gave way to 2006, de la Simone decided to pursue inspiration for his next work by secluding himself on the island of Bali. The resulting work would not see the light of day for a few years, but de la Simone kept himself busy, collaborating on the soundtrack to the nature documentary Symphony Animale and joining the aforementioned Paradis on her 2007 tour. The work developed in Bali finally hit the streets in the spring of 2008, entitled Bungalow! A tour in support of the album rounded out that year for the up-and-coming musician.
Title: Pure (Best Of Far Out Years 1995-2006)
Year Of Release: 2006
Label: Far Out Recordings
Genre: Brazilian Jazz
Quality: FLAC (tracks) / MP3
Total Time: 01:58:58
Total Size: 761 MB / 271 MB
01. Brazymuth [04:57]
02. Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser [06:13]
03. Larajeiras [05:15]
04. O Lance [05:31]
05. Quem Com Quem [04:45]
06. Carambola [07:18]
07. Saudade Do Doutor [04:32]
08. Antes Que Esqueca [01:11]
09. Juntos Mais Uma Vez (Together One More Time) [03:44]
10. Chameleon [07:26]
11. Carnival [08:48]
12. Xingo [02:09]
13. Morning [03:24]
14. Tempos Do Parana [07:51]
01. Pieces Of Ipanema (Mark Pritchard Remix) [08:22]
02. Amazon Adventure (Jazzanova Remix) [08:02]
03. That’s Today (London Elektricity Remix) [08:25]
04. Faca De Conta (Roni Size Remix) [07:04]
05. Laranjeiras (Afro Latin London Mix) [07:49]
06. Roda Piao (Spiritual South Remix) [06:04]
First of all I want to say that Azymuth is my favorite Brazilian Jazz group since 1976 and I’ve been following their career for all these years, but this compilation leaves me a bit dissapointed, and not because of Jose, Alex and Mamao; but because of the producers.
I’m almost positive that they must have picked the songs in this CD, and it would’ve been very interesting to have left that task to Azymtuh. Therefore the result here is nothing but commercial, not necessarily what we as fans want to hear; and second, all those remixes on the second disc, are mutants; they have no recognizable form from the original tunes, and they’re remixes that don’t tell you much; just !!poom!! !!poom!! !!poom!! but not real Jazz content. I think once again that producers are more interested to try to market Azymuth to other groups by compromising the group’s quality; let them do what they do best; good music.
P.S. I even think that groups like BossaCucaNova could do a way better job than those british DJs at mixing music from legends like Azymuth; they have no concept/depth of real Brazilian music. ~ Papetti — Amazon.com
FLAC / Hi-Res | 876 MB | LINKS
North, Elvis Costello’s 20th album of new material, follows the deliberately classicist When I Was Cruel by a mere year, but it feels more the sequel to 1998’s Burt Bacharach collaboration, Painted From Memory, or even 1993’s roundly ignored classical pop experiment, The Juliet Letters. Costello has abandoned clanging guitars and drums of Cruel — abandoned rock & roll, really — to return to a set of classically influenced songs, all “composed, arranged and conducted” by the man himself (on The Juliet Letters, he was merely the composer and voice). The songs on North are pitched halfway between traditional torch ballads and arty contemporary Broadway writers such as Stephen Sondheim. This isn’t so much a shift in direction after When I Was Cruel as much as it is an extension of the Bacharach album (in this context, Cruel seems like the aberration), but it’s also a reflection of Costello’s new love for Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall. It’s not just that North is somewhat of a song cycle, starting with the despair of a failed relationship and ending with the hope of a new love, but that it’s somewhat written in the style of Krall’s music: self-consciously sophisticated and slightly jazzy. Ultimately, North is not jazz-pop; it’s classical pop, with Costello more interested in the structure, arrangement, and words of the song rather than mere catchiness. It’s a very writerly album, in regards to both the music and lyrics. Consequently, it takes a bit of effort to get into the album, since it purposefully lacks hooks and songs as immediate or tuneful as those on Painted From Memory or “Jacksons, Monk and Rowe” from The Juliet Letters. This is not a flaw, per se — it’s simply what the album is, a collection of subtle songs performed with an elegant understatement. Unlike The Juliet Letters, North never feels like an exercise, nor does it feel like Costello has something to prove. It’s a specific, personal album with serious ambitions that it fulfills. If the album ultimately winds up being something to listen to on occasion rather than a record to spin repeatedly, that doesn’t make Costello’s achievement with this song cycle any less admirable.
FLAC | 234 MB | LINKS
In sound, structure, intent and realisation Nicholson’s new album needs to be seen in the context of artists such as Jason Isbell and Matraca Berg rather than, say, Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence.
It’s partly in the music which straddles rock, country and a kind of soul that is stripped of groove but not feeling. It’s called Americana often enough but it could just as easily be called earthy: coming from somewhere exposed and dreaming of more, yet tethered by the real.
FLAC | 491 MB | LINKS
This 25-track CD of mostly previously unissued recordings are drawn from his sessions for Modern Records between 1954 and 1962. ‘Be Careful Baby’ is a rare thing – a B. B. King song that has never been released before in any version, while two tracks appeared on our 2014 RPM compilation ‘Speak Easy’. The version of ‘Catfish Blues’ is from a completely different session to the familiar issued version and from B. B. ‘s commentary appears to be the version he played on the road. There are many comments from B. B. and the band which provide an insight into the recording process and B. B. ‘s relaxed and informal manner in the studio. The CD ends with a previous unheard interview, recorded backstage at the Fillmore Ballroom in San Francisco with radio station KSAY at the 10/10 spot on your dial.
Title: The Best Reggaeton Hits 2017
Label: Checktime Records
Style: Ragga, Dancehall, Dembow, Salsaton, Bachata
Release Date: 29-07-2017
Format: CD, Compilation
Quality: 320 Kbps/Joint Stereo/44100Hz
Tracks: 30 Tracks
Size: 243 Mb / 01:46:19 Min
Outras Histórias es su cuarto álbum de estudio, tras Mundo Pequenino, publicado en 2013. Presentado en febrero de 2016, en él se atreven con nuevos sonidos y géneros sin perder por ello su inconfundible estilo que hace únicos a Deolinda. En el disco hay interesantes colaboraciones como las de Manel Cruz (de la desaparecida Ornatos Violeta), que aparece en dueto con Ana Bacalhau en el precioso tema "Desavindos", la de Dj Riot (Buraka Som Sistema) en "A Velha E O Dj", y el de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Lisboa dirigida por el Maestro Vasco Pearce de Azevedo, con los arreglos de cuerda escritos por Filipe Melo.
Página web oficial: Deolinda
01. Bons Dias
02. Manta Para Dois
03. Mau Acordar
04. Corzinha De Verão
05. Bote Furado
06. Desavindos (feat. Manel Cruz)
07. Canção Aranha
08. Avó Da Maria
09. Nunca É Tarde
10. A Velha E O Dj (feat. Dj Riot)
11. Pontos No Mundo
13. Bom Partido
14. Canções Que Tu Farias
15. Dançar De Olhos Fechados
320 kbps | 169 MB | LINKS
Domino are pleased to reissue Bright Phoebus – Songs By Lal And Mike Waterson on 4th August, this will be the first time since its release the album will be widely available. Additionally under the supervision of David Suff (Topic/Fledg’ling) and Marry Waterson (daughter of Lal), the album has been remastered from the original tapes.
Bright Phoebus, Lal and Mike Waterson’s 1972 folk-noir masterpiece, has long been recognised as one of British music’s legendary lost records. Following the parting of ways of The Watersons and freed from the strictures of folk orthodoxy, Lal and Mike Waterson’s love of words allowed them to serve the needs of their songs in ways that weren’t possible when singing already written songs.
Featuring performances from Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, amongst others, the album is now recognised as a forward-thinking benchmark for the genre. Fans include Arcade Fire, Stephen Malkmus, Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley – the latter two performed the record themselves in 2013 on the Bright Phoebus Revisited tour.
Matraca Berg Discography Жанр : Country Страна исполнителя (группы) :USA Год издания : 1994 - 2012 Аудиокодек : MP3 Битрейт аудио : 192 - 320 kbps Продолжительность : 05:27:10 Наличие сканов в содержимом раздачи : нет 01 - Things You Left Undone 02 - I Got It Bad 03 - Lying To The Moon 04 - I Must Have Been Crazy 05 - You Are The Storm 06 - Calico Plains 07 - Appalachian Rain 08 - Baby Walk On 09 - Alice In The Looking Glass 10 - Dancin' On The Wire #77 01 - Slow Poison 02 - Tall Drink Of Water 03 - Let's Face It 04 - I Won't Let Go 05 - Jolene 06 - Guns In My Head 07 - Waiting For The Sky To Fall 08 - Lying To The Moon 09 - Come To Momma 10 - River Of No Return #77 01 - Along For The Ride 02 - That Train Don't Run 03 - Back In The Saddle 04 - Here You Come Raining On Me 05 - Some People Fall Some People Fly 06 - Back When We Were Beautiful 07 - Sunday Morning To Saturday Night 08 - Good Ol' Girl 09 - Give Me Tonight 10 - If I Were An Angel 11 - Resurrection #77 01 - The Things You Left Undone 02 - I Got It Bad 03 - Lying To The Moon 04 - I Must Have Been Crazy 05 - You Are The Storm 06 - Calico Plains 07 - Appalachain Rain 08 - Baby, Walk On 09 - Alice In The Looking Glass 10 - Dancin' On The Wire 11 - Slow Poison 12 - Tall Drink Of Water 13 - Let's Face It 14 - I Won't Let Go 15 - Jolene 16 - Guns In My Head 17 - Waiting For The Sky To Fall 18 - Come To Momma 19 - River Of No Return #77 01 - Things You Left Undone 02 - I Got It Bad 03 - Lying To The Moon 04 - Calico Plains 05 - Baby, Walk On 06 - Back In The Saddle 07 - Appalachian Rain 08 - Back When We Were Beautiful 09 - Along For The Ride 10 - I Must Have Been Crazy 11 - Alice In The Looking Glass 12 - Eat At Joe's #77 01 - If I Had Wings 02 - You And Tequila 03 - Racing The Angels 04 - Silver And Glass 05 - Clouds 06 - The Dreaming Fields 07 - Oh Cumberland 08 - Your Husband's Cheating On Us 09 - Fall Again 10 - South Of Heaven 11 - A Cold, Rainy Morning In London In June #77 01 – Love’s Truck Stop 02 – Her Name is Mary 03 – Black Ribbons 04 – Foolish Flower 05 – Were Already Gone 06 – I Buried Your Love Alive 07 – Magdalene 08 – My Heart Will Never Break this 09 – Sad Magnolia 10 – Waiting on A Slow Train 11 – Fistful of Roses .
GREAT PERFORMANCE from DDR, great release of this perrformance, clear almost as CD today!
320 kbps | 185 MB | LINKS
I Love You All The Time: Live at The Olympia in Paris is a 2 disc live set from the band’s emotionally charged return to Paris. The line-up for this historic show features Jesse Hughes, Joshua Homme, Dave Catching, Matt McJunkins, Julian Dorio, Eden Galindo, and Tuesday Cross. This performance includes the tracks Complexity, Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang), Cherry Cola, Duran Duran cover Save A Prayer, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News) and many more.
320 kbps | 106 MB | LINKS
Rounder Records announces the first-ever solo album release from legendary guitarist/vocalist George Thorogood, titled PARTY OF ONE, which will be available worldwide on August 4. The album will feature 14 cuts of traditional blues, classics, and modern blues songs, from John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” to Hank Williams’ “Pictures From Life’s Other Side,” and The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” The CD version of the album will also include a Robert Johnson bonus track, “Dynaflow Blues.” Check out album preview HERE.
PARTY OF ONE was produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines (John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison, and Stevie Ray Vaughan), who reunites with Thorogood on the debut solo project, having produced several of Thorogood’s biggest albums to date (RIDE ‘TIL I DIE, THE HARD STUFF, THE DIRTY DOZEN). The album’s primarily acoustic instrumentation – including slide, Dobro, and harmonica – is performed entirely by Thorogood, raw and stripped down, with an intimate one-on-one feel.
This post is dedicated to the lives of Fernando Situngkir and Guntur Sitohang, two great men who I would have loved to meet.
Location: Sabungan Ni Huta, Situngkir Village, Samosir, North Sumatra
Sound: Gondang Sabangunan
The Batak Toba people of North Sumatra are famous in Indonesia for their musicality. As ethnomusicologist Julia Byl explains in her awesome “Antiphonal Histories: Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present,” music-making for the modern Batak Toba (also called simply “Batak” or “Toba” - I’ll stick to “Toba” from here) takes many forms, from acoustic guitar jams at local lopo tuak (palm wine stands) to singing in the choir at church, and from rocking the bass in a Toba pop band to playing the hasapi lute in the peppy gondang hasapi ensemble. Each of these musical moments can act as a window into the shifting identities and beliefs of a people with music in their veins.
The Toba are often simply called “Batak,” which isn’t wrong but may make for some confusion. Batak is actually a blanket term for a handful of related ethnic groups around North Sumatra, from the Karo people (whose gendang kulcapi you may remember) to the Mandailing people in the southwest of the province. The Toba are the most numerous and consequently the most well-known of these Batak groups. Their homeland is the area around the massive Lake Toba, a lake filling the caldera of a huge super-volcano that erupted tens of thousands of years ago.
Unlike most of the rest of Sumatra, Islam by and large never found a strong foothold in these highlands; the Toba people practiced their own animist religion whose modern form is called Malim. However, by the mid-nineteenth century, German missionaries began to convert the Toba to Protestantism. They were wildly successful: today the Toba are predominantly, often fiercely, Christian. While Christianity has become a major aspect of Toba identity (to the point that some say that “To be Toba is to be Christian"), many traditional beliefs, especially when tied to adat or customs, never went away.
If we are to talk about Toba music-making, probably the music most tied to adat is gondang sabangunan. At the heart of a gondang sabangunan ensemble are five tuned drums called taganing. These single-headed drums (each with its own name - tingting, paidua ni tingting, painonga, paidua odap, and odap-odap) are hung in a row and played melodically, a pretty neat musical feature found only rarely in Indonesia (you might recall the rebana reong of Lombok!) These melodic taganing are joined by two bass drums called gordang and odap, four gongs (oloan, ihutan, panggora and doal) played to mark and divide rhythmic cycles, and one or two sarune, a double-reed aerophone whose melody closely mirrors that played on the taganing drums (Byl theorizes that the sarune, whose name is very similar to other double-reeds from India to Java, might have roots in the royal Malay ensemble called nobat.)
Gondang sabangunan (called simply gondang from here on because it’s a mouthful!) is exclusively played for pesta adat, or traditional ceremonies from funerals to Malim rituals. As ethnomusicologist Mauly Purba writes in his article on gondang and the church*, “its performance was/is an integral part of traditional Toba Batak religious and cultural practices, serving not only to accompany the ceremonial dancing of tortor at all adat feasts but, most importantly, as a communicative medium that strengthens relationships between individuals, groups of people, the gods […] and the ancestral spirits.” Even now when belief in ancestral spirits has largely been replaced by modern Christianity, the gondang continues to be played and respected as a highly spiritual music. While some church officials have in the past tried to ban the playing of gondang, the music’s roots in adat have meant that for a people as steeped in adat as they are in Christianity, gondang is not something that could be easily left behind.
Gondang is often played at ritual-filled pre-funeral events, with the pargonsi or musicians setting up in the songkor, a balcony-like space in the gable of the huge traditional Batak house, the rumah bolon. From up on high, the band plays as the gathered family performs the tortor dance down below. The music enlivens the tortor dance, and vice versa - it's almost unthinkable to have gondang without the requisite tortor. The dance's simplistic yet symbolic movements act together with the gondang as communicative media for the spirits.
Even as Batak music-making has grown and evolved to encompass everything from brass bands to gospel, the gondang sabangunan (and especially that wonderful set of tuned drums, the taganing) has remained a potent symbol of Batak Toba identity (you’ll even find Toba pop bands with taganing crowded by an array of cymbals and snare drums!) Unlike some forms of traditional music in Indonesia which seem to only get trotted out at government functions as an empty gesture towards “original [insert ethnic group here] culture,” I get the sense that gondang maintains its powerful, mystical presence in the world of Toba to this day.
Lake Toba was once firmly on the “Banana Pancake Trail,” the Southeast Asian equivalent of the hippie pilgrimage to India. If adventurous backpackers wanted to get to Java or Bali, they’d often head south (with a few ferries in between) by way of Sumatra, taking the long way down. I even remember my aunt and uncle regaling me with stories of their time in Toba on their mythical across-the-world trip back in the seventies.
It’s still a major entry in the Lonely Planet, but its heyday as must-visit destination for foreigners may be past. That didn’t stop me - I’d been fascinated by this part of North Sumatra since I moved to Indonesia years ago. I can talk about my time in Toba in terms of vacationing as that was my initial plan: to head to the hotel hotspot of Tuktuk on the huge island-within-an-island of Samosir and just play tourist for a while. As may be obvious, I travel a lot in Indonesia for Aural Archipelago, but rarely just to chill out.
Toba seemed a good place to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I was aching to hear this amazing gondang music for myself, but I’d read that it was only performed for special, ritualistic ocassions, and I was guessing I wouldn’t have the luck to run into it during my few days in the area. So I took the ferry over to Tuktuk, got a cheap room at the closest hotel to the harbor, and rented a bike to explore the gorgeous countryside.
I’d only been on Samosir for a few hours when that familiar bug hit me. I’d just finished Julia Byl’s book on Batak music just weeks before, and had been drawn in by her stories of her time with the famous Sitohang family of Harian. Harian and the Pak Guntur, the Sitohang patriarch, was just a few hours away from Tuktuk on the shores of Lake Toba. I came here to relax, but a little visit to meet the famous Pak Guntur Sitohang couldn’t hurt, could it?
Soon enough I was zooming down the one main road of Samosir, heading towards that mythical village. It was a gorgeous drive, the glistening water of Lake Toba occassionally revealing itself on my right, spit up by rows and rows of the majestic peak-roofed rumah bolon Toba houses. It was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect driving weather.
I’d only been on the road for about an hour when I passed a huge roadside event, a crowd gathered under a giant blue tarp in front of a large rumah bolon. My motorbike almost skidded out as I slammed on the brakes: was that gondang I’d heard? I couldn’t pass this up.
I walked over to the crowd, afraid of appearing to invite myself to the party. Then I saw the open casket, and my trepidation intensified. This was not an event for roving tourists: it was a funeral. I looked to the balcony of the house, and there was the gondang band, jamming away as the crowd put their hands together as if in prayer and bounced to the beat.
I’ve crashed plenty of weddings, but I wasn’t sure if it was time to crash my first funeral: surely it was in bad taste? As I was mulling it over, I noticed a man waving, trying to get my attention. He’d seen the camera bag at my side, and was motioning for me to take a picture. I walked over to him, thinking I was getting the wrong message, but he said it clearly for me this time in Indonesian: “Go ahead, take photos. This is a celebration.” I looked across the crowd, and saw a guy with a huge, professional video camera shooting the whole thing. What kind of funeral was this?
I later met Juwita Situngkir, the granddaughter of the man whose life they were celebrating. Fernando Situngkir had lived into his nineties, with all of his children and grandchildren going on to live healthy, successful lives. I knew from Byl’s book that not all deaths in Toba society are met with wake-like celebration: in a heartbreaking chapter in the book, Byl describes how the untimely death of her young friend was met only with quiet mourning. However, the death of a person who has lived to old age with all children alive and successful is cause for a saur matua, the most elaborate of Toba funeral ceremonies.
I come from a culture where death is hidden as if in shame, where funerals are almost always intensely dour affairs. This was the first time I’d joined one full of smiles, selfies, and peppy music, and it was intoxicating. I spent the next few hours getting offered plates of freshly slaughtered buffalo meat, taking endless photos with beautifully made-up women, and hanging out with the gondang band up in the songkor terrace, squeezed between gongs. It was a great vantage point, looking past the suspended taganing at the dancing crowd below as the sound filled my ears, the guys smoking kretek after kretek and keeping time by tapping on empty bottles of Bintang beer.
As I left the party later that afternoon, I swapped details with Juwita, the granddaughter I’d met before. Later that week, I saw on Facebook that she’d posted pictures of her grandpa in his later years, a family man with a sweet, wrinkly smile. The feeling was bittersweet: I felt this strange sadness at having never met this stranger, while at the same time remembering the warmth of his family’s love for him, the joy I’d seen and heard at his saur matua. What a way to be remembered, with all-you-can-eat buffalo meat, dancing, and infectious music, a fitting celebration of a life that had been lived, in its own way, to the very fullest.
Thank you to Juwita and the Situngkir family for sharing that beautiful day with me, and to Julia Byl and Mauly Purba for their inspiring contributions to Indonesian ethnomusicology!
*Mauly Purba's article is called "From Conflict to Reconciliation: The Case of the "Gondang Sabangunan" in the Order of Discipline of the Toba Batak Protestant Church." Worth a read on JSTOR!