FolkWorld article by Eelco Schilder:

The labour of the global village label

An introduction to a catlogue of a special label

Already in the fifties there existed special record labels that specialized in the recording of traditional music from all over the world. World famous is the folkways label that issued thousands of records, varying from children songs from inner Angola, Dutch songs from the lowlands to the sound of frogs from all around the world. Today there are still a few labels active that search for traditional music world wide or like the Global village label, that specialize in re-issueing old recordings from 1928 up to 1989.

It started when the company president found a bunch of old Jewish records and loved the sound of them. Nowadays Global village has a catalogue with a few hundred recordings of traditional and ethnic music. Especially Jewish music seems to have found its way to this label.

On global village (number 105) you can find Ruth Rubin singing Yiddish songs from the holocaust. An intriguing document. Rubin doesn't only sing songs she also tells poems and gives introductions on a few occasions. She tells that a song like Ani ma-amin was sung on the way to the gas chambers. This makes this cd a important historical document. Abe Schwartz (cd 140) was born in Rumania and played his violin between 1910 and 1940 in several orchestras and with different artists. The recordings are from old 78-t records and that can be heard. Sometimes its difficult to concentrate on the music because of the surface noise from the old records. A nice document but not as touching as Ruth Rubin.

Besides Jewish music also Eastern Europe, Middle East and Russia are important sources for the Global village label. Victoria Hazan sings on the cd Todas mis esperansas (cd 115) songs from Judeo-Spanish and Greek-Turkish origin. The recordings are made around 1940 and in remarkably good condition. A strong voice with intriguing original music.
Music from Siberia is the central theme on the cd: Sing till the sunsets. (cd2504) This cd contains several recordings of Siberian folk-ensembles and shows that Global village is also doing some fieldwork. Beautiful, pure music, that is so rarely heard in the western world.

Global village also tries to record new cd's with artists that still bring music from their own ethnic background. Mariana Sadovska brings songs she learned in Ukraine (cd819). Sadovska makes it very clear that she didn't learn these songs from a book but from specific women she met in her live. She realizes that one day she also has to teach these songs to other people so that the tradition lives on. This cd is a first step to make sure the songs won't be forgotten. She accompanies herself on Harmonium. A friendly cd sung with a strong but sweet voice. I have some other Ukrainian music sung by older people and that impresses me more because they are able to put more emotion to their beautiful songs. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this cd very much and I'm surprised by the way Sadovska is able to give power to her music.

Erevan is a music ensemble from Armenia and on their cd my heart for you (cd818) they bring Kef music from the Armenian community of Michigan. A strong example of the many ethnic groups that live in the United States and still knows about their cultural background. A nice ensemble but not very inventive. Some songs are known and brought in a conservative way. Mostly they are just other versions of traditional material. Well-played but not surprising.

How different it is with the electrocarpathians. Their cd Umpires of straw (cd820) brings Slavic music collected in the Midwest in a warm new way. They call their selves on the cd sleeve: California surfer gypsy punk rockers. Wow! Don't ask me to repeat that! A group of young musicians that mixes traditional ballads and dances, with light rock music. Not like the title suggested punk or heavy rock. No. It's a friendly and respectful mixture that could use a bit more fire on some occasions but has a nice overall sound.

Rosyln Bresnick-Perry made New-York stories (cd 176) no songs but she tells short stories about thriving and surviving in a village called New York. A nice historical document that is recorded in 1996 and is quit recent. It must be great to hear these stories in 2099. They tell with a bit of humor about daily live in a normal area of this big village. I think this cd is most interesting for people who know New York at least a little bit. For others it can be hard to understand everything she tells about.

These eight cd's gives a small impression of the Global village label and what you might expect from their cd catalogue. If you want to know more about their recordings or need a free catalogue please visit their web page:


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