Music From Many Lands

1. One Morning Soon

       I wrote and copyrighted this song in l970, and sold it along with a batch of other songs to Manny Greenhill, whose Folkore Entperises managed Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Doc Watson,  my guitar teacher and guru, Reverend Gary Davis (see my Rolling Stone story about him in the Past Dispatches), and many other fine country blues and folk artists, and still does, although Manny, who was a lovely man, passed away a few years ago, and it's now run by his son Mitch Greenhill (who is a one hell of a fingerpicker in his own right). In those days, I was living in Westchester County, and I used to sing it with Penny Cline, a big woman from West Virginia who has a gorgeous voice and later became a follower of Swami Mukdananda and changed her name to Nada, under which name she has recorded, I've heard, some hauntingly beautiful Hindu devotional songs. Nada/Penny and I have been out of touch for decades, and I'd like to get together with her and see how we'd do the song now. I originally conceived of it as a kind of  gospel song, but  over the years, as I've been absorbed other influences, it's become more African. The chord progression is  D A G A, the opposite of La Bamba (D G A G) and the same as in many Zairian rumbas, although I play it at a slower, more soul tempo.

       The first version was recorded in the winter of 2003  in Mario Sinai's studio in Montreal. I sing and play my sweet Mexican classical guitar, made in Paracho (the town in Michoacan devoted to guitar-making), in two interweaving tracks, and the kids in the chorus are sons Oliver and Zachary, and a girl  named Kayleigh Choiniere (with an accent grave on the first e), who lives up the street from us in the arrondissement of Mile End. This spring we are hoping to record the song properly and make a video of it with my old friend Kate McGarrigle producing and Abbey Neidick and Irene Angelico's DLI Productions filming and Borza Gomeshi recording.

       This March, 2004, I was in Bamako, soaking up the extraordinary music scene and reporting a Dispatch on Mali, which is one of the world's poorest countries but actually one of the richest, with one of the richest musical mosaics and ancient traditions in wood-sculpture. But the Sahel is desertifying. This Dispatch, which I am in the process of writing, is about both the music and the desertification. I stayed with Toumani Diabate, the great master, the Ravi Shankar, of the kora, the West African 21-string harp, and one afternoon, his fabulous guitarist, Fantamady Kouyate (acute accent on the e), and I recorded a Malian version of "One Morning Soon," which is on the second cut. 

Songs are in MP3 format, to save to your hard drive, right click and select Save As.
To simply listen, click on the links below assuming you have a MP3 player.
"One Morning Soon" - Montreal Version recorded with my sons.
"One Morning Soon" - Mali version, with Fantamady Kouyate on guitar
 

      Those who stumble onto our site and this song are welcome to record their own version and e-mail it to us at AlexShoumatoff@Shoumatopia.com, and if we like it, we'll put it up. 
 

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This section remains currently under construction as we are beginning to re-record some of Reverend Gary Davis's unreleased songs and some of my songs.

We are beginning to prepare for posting a l970 tape of Reverend Davis, a l970 tape of a Jamaican woman named Cinderella Robinson singing religious songs, a l976 tape of Menkranoti Indian women in the Amazon chanting in the dawn in the Men's Hut, and a l980 tape of Efe pygmies in the Ituri Forest 

For now, you can tune in to the Past Dispatches' Music From Many Lands Section and read the Rolling Stone Profile of Rev. Davis  Click here to see it

 

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