Saturday, May 31, 2008

Toubabou




One of my favorite things about Montreal is that is the least uptight place within 350 miles of NYC. People are not constantly scurrying about, they spent a lot of time sitting in cafes, loafing on patios, and generally hanging out.

However, Montreal has an extremely high percentage of terrible, terrible hippies. White dreads, cargo pants, nose rings, body odor. I was gonna post some funny hippy pictures and say mean things, but then I decided I was too mature for that...

If you want to go hippie watching in Montreal, you can easily start at Tam-Tam. Tam-Tam is a drum circle, you know like in the parking lot before a Grateful Dead show? Kinda like that… A lot of people grooving to the music, doing interpretive dances, and playing with complicated juggling thingies and generally being much happier about being alive than I've ever been...




If anyone knows what either of those things are, please e-mail me, I am thoroughly baffled…

Toubabou is a band led by one of the founders of the Tam-Tam, Michel Seguin. Naturally, he plays percussion in this ensemble. Toubabou was essentially an off-shoot of the Ville Emard Blues Band, sharing many members (including Seguin) and a similar stoned vibe and a love of genre blending improvisations. Toubabou was formed for a live concert on the Plains of Abraham, south of Quebec City in August of 1974. Seguin assembled a group around the nucleus of the V.E.B.B. and also brought in drummers from Mali and Senegal, giving the proceedings a heavy rhythmic flavor. The concert was recorded and released as Toubabou’s first LP, “Le Ble et Le Mil.”

By the time Toubabou recorded their first studio LP in 1975, I believe the African drummers were no longer present and were replaced by Haitian drummer Georges Rodriguez. However, the record is much cleaner and tighter than the live LP, with more focused energy and less rambling. Of course, a little of the magic of improvisation is lost, I kind of wish they had an inbetween album, but they don’t…


Every single song is loaded with tons of great hand drums. The music framing these frequent drum excursions is sort of a fake afro-beat with a heavy prog bent (boy, that sounds like something that should either intrigue the hell out of you or send you running to the hills).
There aren’t much in the way of vocals, just some chanting and moaning on the crazy intense songs and some wordless wailing on the more mellow ones. It sorta sounds like a more New Age version of the singing Flora Purim does on those Return to Forever albums. The female singer is Lisa Cousinou, more well known for her work with her ex-husband Luc Cousineau as Les Alexandrins, and later as Luc et Lisa.

Though I dislike hippies, I love psych, funk, and afro-beat. And like a stoned, smelly, shoeless, spinning hippie, nothing makes me happier than heavy bongos and drums. With that in mind, toke one up and turn this up LOUD.

Toubabou- J'Freak Assez

2 Comments:

Blogger S.ébastien said...

The gadget the girl's handling is a somekind of a toy. A complex 3D shape (a structure recalling the US building at Expo 67) made of small articulated segments, it can be easily spread to it's full shape (sometimes a couple meters wide). I'll try and get the full name.

Thanks for Toubadou! Their flutist was actualy involved in the Labelle & Angelil (Celine Dion's husband/manager) album I posted yesterday!

May 31, 2008 at 9:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger petergunn said...

ha, thanx for the info... will def check this labelle & angelil stuff...

i know him from the baronets, did not realize he kept going...

June 3, 2008 at 12:07:00 AM PDT  

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