Ethnic 78s come to life on the Internet | Bleader

Ethnic 78s come to life on the Internet



Ian Nagoski
  • Ian Nagoski
In recent years—thanks in large part to amateur music blogs—popular interest has surged in early examples of international music originally released on 78 RPM discs. For many decades, record companies in the U.S. released music from all over the world—some recorded abroad, some by immigrants living here—and marketed it to immigrant populations hungry for the sounds of home. Record companies in Europe, Asia, and Africa were doing the same, putting out everything from traditional music to various stripes of pop. For the most part, all of that music has been lost to time, and despite occasional efforts like Yazoo's great The Secret Museum of Mankind series, it seemed unlikely that anyone but record collectors would ever get to hear this stuff. That's all changed in recent years, of course, as great blogs like Excavated Shellac and DIY producers like Ian Nagoski have taken matters into their own hands.

Today NPR Music posted a fantastic feature called 78 78s: In Search of Lost Time, put together by Nagoski—whose label Canary has released great albums by Marika Papagika and Abdul Karim Khan. It's a four-plus-hour streaming program, consisting of 78 tracks and commentary. I've only just started listening, but Nagoski is an excellent researcher and historian, and this program is about the best way you could dream of to get led down the rabbit hole of historical ethnic music.

Today's playlist:

Machito, El Padrino (Fania)
Larry Polansky, The World's Longest Melody (New World)
Sway Machinery, The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1 (JDub)
Ted Lucas, Ted Lucas (Riverman Music)
The Modest Jazz Trio, Good Friday Blues (Pacific Jazz)