WTM #1107: Yodel in HiFi Prelim

wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies

06 September 2010 // 16.30-18.30

Listen Now!

“Have you ever heard him yodel / not like the Scandinavian’s yodel / in the mountains of Norway / but how the Africans yodel / in the Pigmy nation… / With a million voices blending / conversing soul to soul / during the middle passage / You can hear the voices / each nation on the ship / was Leon’s out of his mouth / from deep within / with an east St. Louis spice / and a smooth Harlem tone… / He was a mouth sorcerer / who had magic from within.”
• Poet Abiodun Oyewole (Last Poets) on Leon Thomas

Greeting > Solo Burundi Girl
Nils Juhan > Johan Anders Baer
Whoa Buck > C.B. ’88’ Cook
Shawnee Stomp Dance > Shawnee Tribe
Ku-Ku Jodel > PolkaBjørn & Kleineheine
MARKADO > Fred Panopio
Chime Bells > Fred Panopio
Rock n Roll Yodeling Guy > Sakura Teng and The Quests
Kalifornia Knacky Murders > Mysterious Asthmatic Avenger [My Mother Killed Rock and Roll / Ken Rock]
Indian Love Call > Ho Lan [Echo From Deep Valley / Mandala]
Echo From Deep Valley > Ho Lan [Echo From Deep Valley / Mandala]
Crazy > Erika Stucky [Suicidal Yodels / Traumton]
All I Really Want To Do > Erika Stucky [Suicidal Yodels / Traumton]
Jodelen is Mijn Leven > Olga Lowina [16 Successen / Polydor]
Jeowi > Edelschwarz [Alpine Härte 1 von 2 / Lawine]
Bring Me Edelweiss > Edelweiss [A Sound-Attack Straight from the Alps / GiG]
Pygmy Divorce > Francis Bebey
The Hip Cowboy > Slim Gaillard
Spaced Cowboy > Sly & The Family Stone
Little Ole Country Boy > Parliament
Jodelende Postiljon > De Limbergse Zusjes
Umbo Weti > Leon Thomas [Leon Thomas in Berlin / Bluebird]
De Jodel Disco > Slijpers vs Migras vs Jodel Jerry vs Alpenzusjes [Slijpers Disco / Telstar]
Babu Samjho Ishare > Kishore Kumar
Thep Thida Tan Kandal > Sinn Sisamouth
Yodel Lady Blues > Tomi Fujiyama
Lavado Cerebral > Alfredo Gutierrez
Jodelend Fluiter > Bobbejaan Schoepen

My new book YODEL IN HIFI is almost complete. In the process I have met and talked to some unique people who happen to do that thing with their voices… Inviting strangers into the skanky lair known as the studio of Radio Patapoe, however, is a bit like inviting guests to jump into the tar pits, dip a toe into an active volcano, enter a bar after 100 patrons have puked all of their alcoholic consumptions and all of their cheap take-out onto the musty, wobbly furniture…

Exc. From the book:

In September 2010, two Norwegian filmmakers [Eivind Tolas & cameraman] came by to document my radio show in a dingy, underground studio, somewhere in the clandestine heart of Amsterdam. I decided to spin only yodeling songs – a dangerous decision at most radio stations but here it seemed perfectly normal, rebellious, and ridiculous – and, may I add, glorious. I presciently – or just coincidentally – played “Ku-Ku Jodel” by the comical Norwegian duo PolkaBjørn & Kleine Heine, with astute comic delivery of more than adequate yodeling. They interrupted me to point out that they were making a documentary about this very duo as they journey to meet their yodeling heroes including the reclusive Franzl Lang, arguably the world’s most famous technical yodeler. The studio smelled of questionable bodily fluids and wet dog fur and, after wrestling with the perpetual mysteries of donated malfunctioning sound equipment, we began to soar.

In 2002, I received an uncredited yodel from yodeling poet Jack Collom and DJ Sam Fuqua and was instantly transfixed. I tracked it down to Johan Anders Bær. For a radio show I quite unconsciously arranged some yodels – “Yakut Song,” Lioudmila Khandi [Siberia]; “Nils Juhan,” Baer [Norway]; “Shawnee Stomp Dance,” Shawnees [North America]; “Whoa Buck,” CB Cook [African-American]; “Cutting Trees,” Kaluli [Papua New Guinea], Sylvester yodeling [Switzerland], and Tuvan throat-singing [Mongolia]

Fred Panopio (1939-2010) singer, comedian, actor with a characteristic polio limp rose to fame due in great part to his 1970s Fili-cowboy style of singing-yodeling can be heard in various early films  like “Teen-age Crush” [1960] or rough-and-tumble Filipino Westerns like Omar Cassidy and the Sandalyas Kid [1970] and Pitong Gatang [1992] for which he yodeled “Pitong Gatang” and the theme song for “Tatlong Baraha,” while his best yodeling was on “Markado” which has a Harry Belafonte feel with a style somewhere between Slim Whitman and Eddie Arnold.

Sakura Teng [Ying Hua, 1948- ] Hugely popular Malaysian, Singapore-based, “A go-go Queen” songbird in the 1960s launched her career at the gigantic New World Amusement Park, venue for strippers, strongmen and cutesy chanteueses, was where Sakura Teng launched her music career at age 17 before a largely Malay and Singapore audience. She was also known for her yodeled interpretations of Western hits by the Beatles, Doris Day, John Lee Hooker and others.

Thee Mysterious Asthmatic Avenger: Masked avengers like Batman and Zorro are a strange, lonely breed, one-person operations – at once heroic and existential, alienated from society and paperwork, preferring flamboyant capes to Docker khakis. Even stranger, however, are one-man bands, the DIY all-in-one noisemaker-street minstrels. Folding strange into certified wacko entails welding a masked avenger theme to a one-man band concept. How about a surreal character playing ultra-real, close-to-the-bone rock ‘n’ roll? Add Frenchness!, asthma!!, humor!!!, and yodeling!!!!, and you have a recipe for pure aural derangements of the soul by a vrai troublemaker. I’d been fascinated by this French voodoobilly performer since I discovered his broken-down Website. In October 2008, I met him at Radio Patapoe’s clandestine studios in Amsterdam.
Ho Lan: “I heard it and started to do it,” Lan notes in a 2008 interview. “It is especially fun to yodel in the mountains where I used to spend a lot of time as a youth.” Her daughter, Hsia-Jung Chang, herself a musician, wrote in a 2009 letter that her mother “would sing into the waterfall to strengthen her voice and increase her range.” Lan adds: “Somehow it was as if I was trying to call out to someone, but no one in particular. I also enjoyed imitating bird sounds, I guess that’s where the whistling comes from.” Her entertainment repertoire coincidentally also includes whistling. “Going to school, I always had my shoes on when I left the house, but somehow by the time I got on the trail the shoes had come off and I would be whistling the entire way.”

Erika Stucky, [Y] a most unusual singer with the most common of Swiss last names, is never where you expect her to be. As a singer-yodeler-cabaretier she’s all over the place but always armed with a deadly earnest focus. She divides her life – uh, career – into tours and each tour is dedicated to one of her preoccupations: among others, Hendrix, the Woodstock Project with the Young Gods, renovated roots with Roots of Communication, the “Princess” tour – and her Suicidal Yodels project that addresses yodels as they’ve touched her and how they recombine in a post-mod existence, using storytelling, videos, solo yodels and duet yodels with Austrian trombonist-yodeler, Sebastian Fuchsberger of Global.Kryner. … Her modus operandi lies somewhere between stand-up liberation musicology and melodic Groucho Marxism.
We also heard Rotterdam’s Olga Lowina, cover girl of YODEL-AY-EE-OOOO and with lungs iron; German metal bang heads Edelschwarz doing their anthemic and quite enchanting yodeling; Edelweiss with their sampled house circa 1988, no doubt the most dubious re-use [abuse] of yodeling ever; one of the more intriguing yodelers this world has ever heard: Francis Bebey, Cameroonian [not Pygmy] ethnomusicolgist, novelist, poet and Pygmy-style yodeler; Slim Gaillard, one of my favorite musicians ever and a super hip yodel here; Sly was a California DJ who learned yodeling from the Soul Stirrers and used to yodel his DJ banter between songs; Parliament did some very cool yodeling, basically folding the notion of country yodeling, black and R&B into one song; the Dutch engaged in some questionable yodeling practices that bordered on the amusingly bad but good; Leon Thomas features again in this book because he is one of the best, most interesting and one of the most head-on unapologetic ululators of all time; Kishore Kumar has really begun to charm and impress even though I already featured him in YODEL-AY – the breadth and depth and vibrancy of his yodeling seems to know no bounds; Sinn Sisamouth is the famous mysterious “Cambodian funk yodeler” we find all over the Internet; Tomi Fujiyama, baritone-voiced and Nashville obsessed Japanese yodeler; Alfredo Guttierrez is simply one of the most astonishing yodelers around and he doesn’t even advertise himself as one; another great yodeler from an unexpected place is/was Bobbejaan Schoepen [RIP] who could yodel and whistle and pick and wear outlandish Nudie spangled outfits like no other – in 5 languages. All of the above are among my faves for one reason or another – it usually has to do with anomaly: yodelers living in an unexpected place in the world, yodeling in styles not expected of their kind or in genres not commonly thought of as conducive to yodeling. More will certainly follow…


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