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12" 1980s 33 rpm Folk LP World music

Solitary bird in flight

There are times, here on Planet Vinyl, when inclusiveness is a challenge. Manuel’s syrupy strings. The testosterone-soaked roar of heavy metal. Not my thing, really – but all music is good music if it brings people joy, whether to millions of people or even only to the musician creating it. But yes, it is nice […]

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12" 33 rpm Choral Singing Folk LP World music

Something wonderful grew

Joseph Shabalala had a dream. He was to create a male voice choir which would sing with heavenly harmony and bring change to his land and to the world. All of which, for a black man in Apartheid South Africa in 1964, was preposterous. But Shabalala did form his choir, and though it took a […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Comedy Folk LP World music

Tough love

The Beatles throw a long shadow, such that other parts of the rich musical tradition of Liverpool can get a bit lost. Like many other ports and industrial centres, Liverpool drew waves of migrants in search of work. Each community brought their own music, and the result was a melting pot of influences from all […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Compilations Folk LP World music

When the boat comes in

If you were around in the 1970s you are likely to remember When the Boat Comes In, a television drama set in a working-class British town in the years after the First World War. It was a drama about disillusion. The men who returned from “the war to end all wars” struggled to deal with […]

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12" 1980s 33 rpm Compilations LP World music

Distributed in health-food stores

Back in the 1980s, there was a thing called “New Age”. It was a not-quite-religion, a mish-mash of spiritual practices and beliefs all broadly rejecting materialism and suggesting people slow down. Sort of Buddhism-lite, for prosperous Californians. It was a bit self-centred – long on attending health spas and short on volunteering at soup kitchens […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Classical LP World music

Admire the calligraphy

Hearing the traditional music of China is like admiring a piece of calligraphy hanging in a temple. It is beautiful, no question. Clearly, great skill is required in its execution. But it can’t be escaped that this is a minute fragment of a rich and complex culture. The daunting truth: without a lifetime’s study and […]

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1980s 45 rpm 7" Pop World music

Eclectic is the essence

There is a lot of hostility to migrants and movement just now. Sometimes it is cloaked beneath talk of security. Increasingly it is rank bigotry. In the struggle against aggressive nativism, I offer … Sandii and the Sunsetz. Yes, really. Sandra O’Neale was the child of a Japanese mother and an American father, a Navy […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Folk LP World music

Mountain music

The things I know about Nepal can be put in dot points: Mountains (generally, and one very big mountain in particular) Sherpas (who help rich westerners climb said mountains) Kathmandu (the city, not the clothing franchise) A Maoist insurgency Yaks That’s about it. Of the music of the people of Nepal, I had never heard […]