Jan 1 2022

David Byrne Presents: Mambo’s for Master T

By Todomundo

Song Artist Purchase
Mambo No 5 Perez Prado
Mambo Sinuendo Ry Cooder
Mambo No 5 Lou Bega
Oye Como Va Tito Puente
Asia Minor Machito
Mambo en Sax Perez Prado
Hong Kong Mambo Tito Puente & His Orchestra
Mambo Infierno Machito & His Afro-Cubans
Mambo Manila Tito Rodriguez
Cao Cao Mani Picao Celia Cruz
Mambo Gozon Tito Puente
Babarabatiri Machito
La Loteria King Bongo
Doundari Africando
Cucala Celia Cruz, Johnny Pachecho
Mambo del Politecnico Perez Prado
Yerbero Moderno Celia Cruz
Yemaya La Sonora Matancera, Celia Cruz
I'm Too Sexy Right Said Fred
Agua Pa' Mi Celia Cruz
Ran Kan Kan Tito Puente
San Fernando Beny More
Mambo Caliente Arturo Sandoval, The London Sound, Geoffrey Simon
Marilyn Monroe Mambo Perez Prado
The Ketchup Song Las Ketchup
Baile Mi Mambo Tito Puente
Relax & Mambo Machito Y Sus Afro-Cubanos
Y Mi Negro Esta Cansao Celia Cruz, La Sonora Matancera
Bonito y Sabroso Beny More
Que Rico El Mambo Perez Prado
Cachita Orquesta Aragon
Mambo UK !Cubanismo!
Mambo Lupita Perez Prado

Professor Robert Farris Thompson passed away in November, and this playlist is dedicated to him. Technically, he was a professor of what he referred to as “Afro Atlantic art and culture” at Yale University. But his interests and influence reach wider than art history- they encompass dance, philosophy, music, dress, poetry and spirituality.

I first came across his writing when Brian Eno and I were recording a record called My Life In The Bush of Ghosts. We both were reading his book “African Art In Motion”, which emphasized the contexts of where the masks and costumes came from - he pointed out that isolating an object from it’s ritual and performance context is to remove much of it’s meaning. To a performing musician like myself - this made perfect sense. It would be like trying to understand the power and meaning of rock and roll, or hip hop from looking at the stage costumes without hearing the music or seeing the show…

Dr Bob’s writing is enthusiastic, energetic and poetic- as if Kerouac were channeling Coltrane- riffing on Afro Atlantic dance, music, culture - jumping to wide ranging inferences - seeing the rhythm in fabrics, the philosophy and moral authority in gesture and dance.

From the Yale Alumni Magazine:

(Young Thompson is in Mexico with his parents)

That evening, in the hotel dining room, “I heard this bee-DEEM-brakata, extraordinary offbeat music. I asked the waitress, What’s that? She said mambo.”

On that day, says Thompson, “My life changed. Mambo irradiated me with classical Afro-Atlantic music, and there was no turning back.”

(this is why this playlist is mambo centric- the mambo he heard was The Newpaper Mambo-La Camisa De Papel. I couldn’t find it on streaming. It is a surreal image of a guy wearing the headlines on his shirt- tropical surrealism you can dance to- no wonder Bob was smitten)

For Thompson, to study Afro-Atlantic music—and body language, visual arts, and dance—is also to study Afro-Atlantic philosophy. Petra Richterova ’10PhD, one of his graduate students, explains: “In the West, Africa is seen as not having a philosophy, because what we see as philosophy is primarily text-based. In the Afro-Atlantic world, however, existential quandaries tend to be embodied in the language of gesture, dance, music, and fashion.” To understand Afro-Atlantic values and beliefs, “we have to become literate in this nonverbal language. If you want to know Afro-Atlantic philosophy, go to a Miles Davis concert.”

One of Dr Bob’s notebooks-

From the same piece

Two New York City cultural centers have put together a tribute to Thompson called “Que Rico Mambo! Que Rico Robert Farris Thompson!” From the amplifiers sound the opening drumbeats of “Mambo en Sax,” by the Cuban-born mambo popularizer Pérez Prado.

Thompson takes the microphone to give a tour of the piece. “The trumpet is building some sort of staircase, some sort of ecstatic staircase, and it will be picked up and change mambo forever.” Now Thompson tells the audience to listen for “a little bit of Schoenberg,” a subtle dissonance “like heat lightning in Jersey being observed from Manhattan. Pérez Prado did the impossible. He made dissonance popular. He put it into a groove.”

https://yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/2919-professor-of-mambo

I got to know Dr Bob in the early 80s. When Talking Heads released Remain In Light- I added a bibliography to the press release- what I had been reading at the time. Among the books was African Art In Motion. A bit pretentious of me, maybe, but as a result Thompson reached out to me and we eventually became friends (and maybe a few more folks read his books?). We’d go to voudoun and santeria ceremonies here in NYC, and when I began my planning to make a documentary on the afro brazilian spiritual practice Candomble - Bob connected me with people in Bahia who were invaluable. My world view was changed- and I think I was changed as a person as well.

Thompson has written many books- if you’re curious, “Flash Of The Spirit” is a good concise introduction to his work. It encompasses music, art, dance, philosophy, dress, cuisine and of course ritual and spirituality.

-DB

Apple Music: Click Here

Spotify Music: Click Here

STREAM "MAMBO 101: RULE OF THE COOL"-

A short film about Prof Robert Farris Thompson, by David Byrne and the late director Jonathan Demme

CLICK HERE FOR STREAMING

Jan 1 2022

David Byrne Presents: Mambo’s for Master T

By Todomundo

Song Artist Purchase
Mambo No 5 Perez Prado
Mambo Sinuendo Ry Cooder
Mambo No 5 Lou Bega
Oye Como Va Tito Puente
Asia Minor Machito
Mambo en Sax Perez Prado
Hong Kong Mambo Tito Puente & His Orchestra
Mambo Infierno Machito & His Afro-Cubans
Mambo Manila Tito Rodriguez
Cao Cao Mani Picao Celia Cruz
Mambo Gozon Tito Puente
Babarabatiri Machito
La Loteria King Bongo
Doundari Africando
Cucala Celia Cruz, Johnny Pachecho
Mambo del Politecnico Perez Prado
Yerbero Moderno Celia Cruz
Yemaya La Sonora Matancera, Celia Cruz
I'm Too Sexy Right Said Fred
Agua Pa' Mi Celia Cruz
Ran Kan Kan Tito Puente
San Fernando Beny More
Mambo Caliente Arturo Sandoval, The London Sound, Geoffrey Simon
Marilyn Monroe Mambo Perez Prado
The Ketchup Song Las Ketchup
Baile Mi Mambo Tito Puente
Relax & Mambo Machito Y Sus Afro-Cubanos
Y Mi Negro Esta Cansao Celia Cruz, La Sonora Matancera
Bonito y Sabroso Beny More
Que Rico El Mambo Perez Prado
Cachita Orquesta Aragon
Mambo UK !Cubanismo!
Mambo Lupita Perez Prado

December Radio David Byrne Presents: Gospel for the Holidays

More Info