I just want to preface this first entry by saying that this has been one of the most difficult blog entries to write. I guess I didn't realize how difficult it is to really write about music. Maybe because music is intangible in the first place. But maybe also because the more I try, the less qualified I feel to be trying to specify the things in music I like. I was tempted to just insert "I like sounds" and then just link to the mp3s. Instead, I came up with a little something like this...
Music is great. Rumba-type rhythm and bass are great. Afro-pop is apparently great (it and I are only recently acquainted). Superbly skilled guitarists are great. What more do you need to know?
I guess I could mention that bands who can captivate an audience live are great.
My first encounter with the Occidental Brothers was last November at the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, when they opened for Andrew Bird. I usually try not to expect much from opening bands whose names I don't know. Just because taking the "aim low and never be disappointed" slogan has helped to cushion life's hard knocks, or whatever. But then I went to this show. And had to try my hardest not to a) dance and b) kidnap the guitarist, which are both valid indications that I really like something.
Then Andrew Bird played and I bought an Andrew Bird t-shirt but nothing else involving the Occidental Brothers. Shame on me. And then I left the show and basically forgot about this crazy afro-pop band. Until last week, that is, during what I am going to call the mid-winter blues, when I was really in need of a pick-me-up. I can't even remember what possessed me to Google the Occidental Brothers. I think I was just perusing a playlist when it hit me that I needed to hear them again. And then I was listening to the sound files and realizing that an active beat, some diatonic harmonic motions and some jazzy sounds were what I needed.
Here are some sounds of the Occidental Brothers.
mp3: Bomboko Awuti Na New York
mp3: Eso Pele
(according to iTunes, I have listened to this song 23 times in the last three days)
mp3: Makozi Ya Mboko
More can be found at the Occidental Brothers' sound page.