For Unawful Canal Knowledge

Some linkythinky things:

  • Peter Scholtes just wrote an extensive piece on reggaeton for City Pages. Rather than simply rehearsing the well-worn narrative, Peter brings in the voices and stories of performers and enthusiasts in the Minneapolis/St.Paul reggaeton scene, giving new texture to a story whose contours have become all too familiar. He includes a large photo gallery and youtube vids, and he even recommends my Dembow mix! (Since I still believe in a “strategic” moratorium on animalizing teh Other, however, I’m not so sure about the “Reggaeton Animal” title, or what it refers to, for that matter — though that’s probably not Pete’s fault. Props to City Pages at any rate for providing so much space — for text and other media — not to mention publishing four-letter words.)
  • An article like Pete’s could be written about every large (and maybe small) city in the US at this point. (Editors take note.) If we characterize reggaeton’s story to date as one of translation, gestation, and commercialization, the next chapters would seem to be pointing toward localization, appropriation, and hybridization. (Pardon the Latinate litany, which not only is unwieldy but implies that all these processes are not always [already?] ongoing; better to “think them” as dynamically interacting rather than sequential.) Fueling as it is fueled by the youtubification of translocal cultural practice, reggaeton will not be running out of gasolina anytime soon.
  • Writing for the Germaican reggae magazine Riddim, Christoph Twickel offers up the most comprehensive piece on Panamanian reggae I’ve seen to date. He covers a lot of ground: demographics on Panama (esp w/r/t Caribbean immigration); connections to roots reggae and Rastafari, bolero and calypso; an overview of early and important as well as contemporary performers, recordings, and venues; the place of New York in Panamanian reggae (and El General’s career specifically); class, race, and gender/machismo, etc. Not bad for a 2500 word piece. Only catch is, you gotta read German to understand it. Verstehen Sie mich?
  • Er, apropos (passend?) — have you heard the triphoppy downtempo track I made by sampling all the phrases about not knowing German from a How to Speak German instructional cassette? (Most of us ethnomusicologists vergleichende Musikwissenschafters, you see, are glucky enough to have to learn German in grad school — it being one of the field’s foundational languages.) The simple (stupid?) joke of the track is that the speaker marshals an increasingly impressive storehouse of Deutsch phrases in order to express his utter ignorance of the language. I made it before visiting my friend Martin in Munich in late spring of ’01, which is why the guy asks, appropriately, “Wann kommen wir in Muenchen an? (When do we arrive in Munich?)” at the beginning (and end).
  • All this Panama talk — before the German tangent, naturlich — reminds me that there are some cool timelapse videos of the canal floating around. But since they don’t tend to have audio accompaniment (what would timelapse audio sound like?), I recommend watching the one below while listening to a production c/o El Chombo, Panama’s biggest reggae(ton) producer and just maybe the guy behind the infamous “Chacarron” (which would also make good accompaniment to canal footage, which — apparently — can also be viewed in realtime):