Saturday, July 28, 2018

Taj Mahal And Keb' Mo'

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Friend Steve Dear sent this review of Taj and Keb' Mo's July 27 (2018) concert in Eugene, Oregon: "They were wonderful. Taj is clearly in poor health, barely making it across the stage on his own two feet."

Dear Steve,

While trying to learn more about Taj's health I was rivetted by his Wikipedia entry.

After studying agronomy - and three years managing a mixed crop cum dairy farm - Taj confronted a tough choice between farming and music.

Also from Wikipedia: Taj Mahal believes that his 1999 album Kulanjan, which features him playing with the kora master of Mali's Griot tradition Toumani Diabate, "embodies his musical and cultural spirit arriving full circle." To him it was an experience that allowed him to reconnect with his African heritage, striking him with a sense of coming home.[4] He even changed his name to Dadi Kouyate, the first jali name, to drive this point home.[22] Speaking of the experience and demonstrating the breadth of his eclecticism, he has said:

"The microphones are listening in on a conversation between a 350-year-old orphan and its long-lost birth parents. I've got so much other music to play. But the point is that after recording with these Africans, basically if I don't play guitar for the rest of my life, that's fine with me....With Kulanjan, I think that Afro-Americans have the opportunity to not only see the instruments and the musicians, but they also see more about their culture and recognize the faces, the walks, the hands, the voices, and the sounds that are not the blues. Afro-American audiences had their eyes really opened for the first time. This was exciting for them to make this connection and pay a little more attention to this music than before.[4]"

YouTube hosts the entire Kulanjan album:

Finally, I encourage you to listen to Taj and Keb' Mo's cover of "Squeeze Box" which "19 Miles From Davis" has started to rehearse. Pete Townshend doesn't like to perform "Squeezebox" which, according to what I've read, is The Who's longest-running chart single. (Wanna record it with me "long distance?")
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