23 Jan

Sydney Recording Studios: History of Flamenco

Sydney Recording Studios: Flamenco’s origins are a subject of much debate because it has only been documented for the past two hundred years, and the word Flamenco, which applies to the song, the dance and the guitar, did not come into use until the 18th century. Much of what we know before this time comes from stories that have been passed down through families, in a similar way to the flamenco song itself.

Sydney Recording Studios: Flamenco Origins

Although many of the details of the development of flamenco are lost in history, it is certain that it originated in Andalusia and that from the VIII to the XV centuries, when Spain was under Arab domination, their music and musical instruments were modified and adapted by Christians and Jews, and later by gipsies becoming a hybrid music separate from the musical forms which created it.

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Recording Studios Sydney: Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB)

Recording Studios Sydney: MPB is a short for “Música Popular Brasileira” (translated: “Brazilian Popular Music”). And as the name suggests, it is a very varied and multifaceted genre and it is also by far the biggest genre within Brazilian music. In practice, MPB is any kind of Brazilian music, that is neither traditional folk music, nor fits into any other clearly defined genre, like for example bossa nova, rock, manguebeat or soul. Generally MPB brings together elements of various Brazilian musical styles, often mixed with different kinds of international music genres.

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20 Jan

Recording Studio: New Orleans Music History II

Recording Studio: New Orleans Music History Part II … He points out that while the rest of the antebellum South was trying to stamp out any remnants of African culture slaves might cling to, New Orleans’ city fathers tried to regulate it, allowing at least a small venue for traditions to continue and evolve. For instance, slaves were allowed to congregate, make music and dance in Congo Square, an area that is today part of Louis Armstrong Park on North Rampart Street on the edge of the French Quarter.

“This was not your typical American city, there was much more of a Mediterranean mentality here,” Raeburn says.

Recording Studio: Home of the free people of colour

In addition, New Orleans was home to the largest population of free people of color during the slavery era. Many of these people had access to the European musical traditions, and in some cases formed the bands that played at the city’s balls and concerts. To this cauldron, the waves of history added spiritual music from the church, the blues carried into town by rural guitar slingers, the minstrel shows inspired by plantation life, the beat and cadence of military marching bands and finally the syncopation of the ragtime piano, America’s most popular music for a time in the early 20h century. Sampling from and experimenting with all of these diverse influences, New Orleans musicians added the touchstone ingredient of improvisation to produce something completely new.

Jazz defied the then-dominant Western musical tradition of following a composer’s music precisely, and replaced it with a dedication only to following a feeling or emotion in music.

Recording Studio: Buddy Bolden

Buddy Bolden, Sidney Bechet, Bunk Johnson, Jellyroll Morton, Kid Ory, King Oliver…
Historians generally point to Buddy Bolden, a cornet player, as the first recording studio jazz musician. Beginning around 1895, he assembled a band that was popular at New Orleans street parades and dances and included musicians who would later become prominent figures in early jazz development, including Sidney Bechet and Bunk Johnson. Bolden’s personal theme song was called “Funky Butt” and today the jazz club on North Rampart Street of the same name pays him tribute. He was followed by a long list of recording studio musicians who each left their stamp on the evolving style of jazz in the early part of the 20th century, including Joe “King” Oliver, Kid Ory and Jelly Roll Morton, generally considered the first great jazz composer.

Recording Studio: Jazz Diaspora

While rooted in New Orleans, the city’s jazz pioneers traveled extensively for work. This artistic diaspora was accelerated when the city’s official red light district, Storyville, was ordered closed by the federal government in 1917, thus shuttering the saloons and bordellos that had proved such reliable venues for early jazz musicians. Wherever the musicians went, they played, and the sound stuck, later evolving on its own into differentiated styles in Chicago, New York, Kansas City and West Coast cities.

“The original jazz idiom started in New Orleans, and it spread,” says Raeburn. “As it spread, it changed, but the original sound came from New Orleans.”

Recording Studio New Orleans

Recording Studios: New Orleans Music History I

Recording Studios: New Orleans has always been different, complex and intriguing, so it’s fitting that jazz, the musical style the city created and gave to the world, should follow the same tune.

Recording Studios: New Orleans and the origins of Jazz

Jazz is a byproduct of the unique cultural environment found in New Orleans at the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the vestiges of French and Spanish colonial roots, the resilience of African influences after the slavery era and the influx of immigrants from Europe. The ways these cultures mingled, collided and evolved together in the Crescent City produced America’s most distinctive musical style.

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19 Jan

Recording Studios Sydney: History of Bossa Nova III

Recording Studios Sydney: However, despite the commercial success of the genre locally and abroad, bossa nova’s dominance in pop culture would soon be challenged at home and in North America by shifts in both societys.

Recording Studios Sydney: Bossa Nova during the Military Dictatorship

The hopeful years under President Kubitschek would be consequently followed by a period of military dictatorship. Censorship would soon become a serious issue for all artist and musicians were no different. Some fled the nation and the ones that stayed were drawn to write music fuelled by the economic and social strife brought on by the drastic change in political idealogy. Bossa Nova’s dreamy themes of dreamy beaches and beautiful women would soon be viewed as being out-of-step with the reality of the country.

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Sydney Recording Studios: History of Bossa Nova II

Sydney Recording Studios: With the release of the “Girl from Ipanema” – a song crafted by Jobim, Gilberto, and Vinicius, Bossa nova’s grasp would soon extend pass the borders of Brazil, further up to North America.

Sydney Recording Studios: the girl from Ipanema

The success of the song and the album it came from would be unprecedented at the time. “The Girl from Ipanema” would become a world-wide hit, being one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, translated several times over and even win the Grammy for record of the Year. To this day it’s still one of the most recognisable songs of that time and is still being covered by musicians from all genres.

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18 Jan

Sydney Recording Studio: History of Bossa Nova I

Sydney Recording Studio: In Portuguese “Bossa Nova” roughly translates to “new trend” and that’s exactly what it was from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Since then though, the music genre originating in Brazil has become much more.

Sydney Recording Studio: Bossa Nova Beginnings

Every story has a start and some main characters. If the mid-20th century was the setting the main protagonist of this tale would be Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim (or Tom Jobim) and Vinicius De Moraes.

Sydney Recording Studio: Joao Gilberto

The first of the trio, Joao Gilberto is often credit it as the “creator” of bossa nova. Having received a guitar in his early teenage years, an initial interest would blossom into an obsession. For more than a decade he would endlessly play his guitar like a possessed man. Even in the face of poverty and depression, he would continue to strum his guitar.

In his late 20’s he started to develop the technique and sound that would soon become bossa nova. It was at this time that he was credited with writing the first bossa nova song, “Bim-Bom.” The song inspired by the side to side movement of the hips of the women he watched walk up and down the banks of the San Fransisco River in Brazil. Both in composition and conception it represents the easy-going, relaxed but sophisticated nature of bossa nova.

Sydney Recording Studio Joao Gilberto

“Bim-Bom” is a classic in the genre and a seminal song for modern music but it was another song that really sparked the flame that would lead to the widespread popularity of bossa nova. This was “Chega de Saudade.” Though Joao Gilberto was involved in this track he was neither the composer nor the creator of the lyrics for this song those titles belonged to the other two main characters: Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius De Moraes, in that order. Released in 1959 its significance is double fold – the popularity it garnered raised the profile of the music in Brazil and it also represents one of the earliest collaboration between the three forefathers of bossa nova.

This collaboration and the work of other musicians of the time would launch bossa nova right into the mainstream, making waves not only in the sphere of music but also of culture in general. Bossa Nova’s rise to prominence neatly coincided with a period of national pride and optimism instigated by progressive leader, President Juscelino Kubitschek. Though somewhat opposed by traditionalists and critics, it’s breezy feel and light-hearted themes of beauty and romance were very much in keeping with the near euphoric mood amongst the young, middle class section of Brazil society, and captured the spirit of a nation, if not only for that moment.