Something is poppin’ in the state of Denmark.
Troels (of Firehouse Sound) recently hipped me(space) to Lady Smita, a Roxanne Shante song-embedding dancehall diva who makes punaany-power traxx with digital Danish producers like Maffi, uses Boba Fett for her profile pic, and starts her heroes list like so —
Which made me think: the MIA is a timely meme, an interesting meme, a catchy meme. May a thousand more poco / pomo riot grrl DIY media-savvy MCs bloom. (E.g.)
a little closer to home (but still on the internet), I recently stumbled upon this funky, dancehall-inflected, chintz-synth-trumpet wielding “dhol beat” over at the webpage for one of my favorite local Indian restaurants. (Haven’t made a proper announcement yet, but I moved back to Cambridge not long ago, which I’m v happy about.) Inman Square’s Punjabi Dhaba is the bomb, if you didn’t know. Good, cheap eats & bhangra videos on repeat. & what a treat it was to find this fine splash music. I’ve already played it out twice. Nice!
Unattributed, “Dhol Beat”
http://www.myspace.com/bollyclassics = go-go whirl media archive (episode 4,526,367) !!
4 thoughts on “The People in Your Neighborhood”
A couple of months ago I was defending Timbaland for sampling third-world music but can I just say how much MIA doing a fairly similar thing annoys the hell out of me?
The difference is that she doesn’t just take a few seconds of a song and put them in a modern setting, but instead takes whole classics and does fuck all to them except record her voice on top! Like her new single (on fairly heavy rotation at the moment) – it’s essentially the entirity of “Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aja Aja” from Bhappi Lahiri’s soundtrack to Bollywood classic “Disco Dancer” – Intro, backing track, bridges, chorus… There don’t seem to be any modern overdubs in the mix and all she’s done is record new verses. Now that’s fucking creativity leaching if anything, no matter how much she’s paid for it.
I dunno, Birdseed. For me, what’s most annoying about Timbo’s sampling of the “third world” — as discussed here recently — is that he conceals it so much. At least in MIA’s case it’s often — esp in this case — clear what the source materials are, and I think we could hear her version of “Jimmy” as an homage and a “cover” of sorts. Whether we like her version is another question, but I’m not sure we should object simply based on the approach. (For instance, I find it interesting and occasionally delightful when rappers take pre-existing songs and rap over them, without changing a thing!)
Given my love of reggae’s riddim method and history of deeply referential cover songs and allusions, I can hardly object to someone doing this sort of thing in another genre. On top of all that, it’s quite clear that MIA’s “Jimmy” has intro’d a lot of new listeners to the Lahiri original (which in its own way displays a rather cavalier attitude toward musical borrowings). We can’t say the same for “Big Pimpin” really, except insofar as legal challenges have brought Timbo’s sources to light.
Ah, well… Given that my “music blog” is mostly an M.I.A. fan blog, you can guess what my opinion is on this. I will say that I don’t quite get “Jimmy” or why, out of all of M.I.A.’s new songs, this was supposed to be the big hit.
But I think her other Indian film music references are quite brilliant and have led me (and other people, I hope) to some great original sources. Coincidentally, a few hours before I checked the latest exchange of comments here, I tracked down a clip of the R.P. Patnaik song from the film “Jayam” that M.I.A. samples in “Bird Flu” and I posted the videos for both songs.
I developed a new appreciation for “Bird Flu” when I saw how she changed the context around Patnaik’s music but remained faithful to it in a way. I think that’s part of the pleasure in finding out or knowing when an obvious sample is used. And, yes, she intro’d me to Patnaik’s music, which is very good all by itself.
Anyway, have to agree with Wayne on his points here…
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