Today I had the great honor to visit and listen to records with Yale Evelev, president of the great music label Luaka Bop.
we listened to music, took some photos, had a healthy argument about the availability of music these days and the means to deliver the message of music.
At a certain point, Yale pulled out, what he considers “The Purest Music on the Planet”. It was Pygmy traditional singing recorded by the German “Baren Reiter” label, as part of the Barenreiter Musicaphon – An Anthology of African Music series.
I was completely psyched when I heard the first note of these recordings. I immediately recognized one of my all time favorite Jazz-Funk tracks, Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” from the 1974 album “Head Hunters”.
On the intro and outro of the tune, percussionist Bill Summers blows into a beer bottle imitating hindewhu, a style of singing/whistle-playing found in Pygmy music of Central Africa. Hancock and Summers were struck by the sound, which they heard on the ethnomusicology LP, The Music of the Ba-Benzélé Pygmies (1966), by Simha Arom and Genviève Taurelle.
It was a great revelation for me and another lesson in musical history.
Thank you Yale.
Click here to listen: Pigmy music