Friday, April 18, 2008

Think of One

There is a lot of really good music out there, and when I say out there, I don’t mean in Los Angeles (or Canada for that matter). If you think about it, most Americans stick to American music, or every so often get crazy when there’s a new British Invasion. It’s a shame really, as there a lot of different traditions out there that could add to our musical palette. In face, if you look back in history you’ll realize that other countries have been much more accepting of our music than we have been of theirs. For example, think of the massive exodus of jazz greats to Europe. Then again, we do listen to Irish drinking songs on St. Patrick’s Day.

At the turn of the month, Belgium collective Think Of One released their latest creation, Camping Shaâbi. The group is organized around leader and composer David Bovee, and whereas their last album was flavored with Brazilian music, this album circles around a collective love of Moroccan shaâbi. If you’re not familiar with shaâbi (and I wasn’t before hearing this album), it’s a modern day popular style of music that’s derived from traditional Berber music. To imbue it with a sense of authenticity, the group has brought five Moroccan musicians into the fold to collaborate with.

The product has an exotic flair to it that refreshingly feels most definitely UN-American. Instead of just copying a cultural tradition though and recording it as their own, Think Of One mixes in other diverse elements to claim it as their own. There are jazzy horns here and there to make exclamations, note altering electronica, and dub and hip-hop influences as well. On top of it all are vocals sung in Flemish, Arabic, French, and some English here and there (try below). If you’re at all familiar with OppressorZap Mama (who coincidentally is also Belgian), Think Of One is working of the same page.

Visit their website, their label Crammed Discs, and become their friend on MySpace.


Zap Mama - Yelling Away : Ancestry In Progress

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