By Cory Doctorow at 6:40 am Fri, Jun 17, 2011
Work Song From Postal Employees in Ghana (MP3)
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
I ran across this recording in a World Music course a couple of years ago. It still pops into my head every once in awhile.
This takes me back to my undergrad years at UF – As many others, I was introduced to this song through a music appreciation class.
I saw the Caitlin Corbett Dance Company do a dance set to this piece of music that brought down the house in Boston a few years back. It’s a classic tune.
I had a world music course in college that used this tune as an example. It’s been 10 years since I’ve heard but I always remembered it. I love it!
Just the thing to listen to while you’re reading this:
Wow, that’s amazing, and yes, beautiful. Thanks for posting it.
It’s a little hard for me to picture. I’d love to see a video of this happening.
Awesome. I’ve been sharing this with people for about 5 years ever since I heard it in a World Music course using Jeff Todd Titon’s materials. It’s been stuck in my head ever since. Just like Jeff Todd Titon’s catchy name.
Seeing something like this happen spontaneously or observing the variety of dances and complex songs that happen during church services just as a matter of course without direct leadership and practice always impresses upon me the power of culture to change what humans are good at.
If you’ve ever been to a church full of white, middle-class people in North America, you know that they can’t keep a call and response song going correctly half the time and most have stopped singing songs with two parts occurring semi-concurrently. The lack of a tradition where everybody can be a performer and an active participant in music and art really shows. If you try to get people involved, it just gets awkward, unless you’re dealing with little kids, but then they grow up to become exactly like the parents.
Art has become for most people in so-called Western culture something you observe, and in the case of music, sometimes something you imitate, without creating anything new. Artists and other people who excel are held up on pedestals as something unattainable.
That’s so true, unfortunately.
WFMU is the best.
My freshman roommate in college had a world music course CD from high school with this on it. Since he only owned three or four CDs (the others were Meat Loaf, Simon & Garfunkel and a high school a cappella group), I heard this a LOT.
That was lovely! As soon as I turned it on the two two-year-olds in my house grabbed a tambourine and an empty bucket and drummed along. :)
Greek Rural Postmen and their Postmarks came from well back in the pack to win the most boring book title. STAMP COLLECTING ROCKS. imho
I’ve got this bookmarked. Was alerted to it by boingboing some time back ^_^
This tune travels, in perpetuity, along the deepest circle of my consciousness! I first heard it on a collection of anthropologists’ field recordings at the Yale Music Library in 1996, and, along with the demolishing “Qichua mother’s lament,” this song immediately and permanently entered some part of me that remains, still, beyond the bumbling grasp of words. I whistle this one all the time. Many Ghanaians have stopped me to ask how I know the song – apparently it’s the melody of a popular Ghanaian hymn. So I’m told. Wow. I am totally blown away to see this song anywhere outside my own head.
That’s awesome! I love how the stamping is part of the song. It’s a great rhythm.
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