American Clavé | Kip Hanrahan

Kip Hanrahan A producer, a composer, a percussionist and facilitator, Kip Hanrahan has an uncanny ability to assemble remarkable musicians and apply their talents in interesting ways. The results are often magical. His records are as enigmatic as he is, and maybe that heightens the attraction and expectation. The results of his American Clavé productions have garnered a cultist reputation, yet a lot of people have heard them or at least of them. He chooses to remain in the shadows, an obscure figure that turns the knobs and brings it all together. Hanrahan’s recorded legacy speaks volumes of his knowledge and abilities to bring out the best of musicians that accompany him on his fantastic sojourns.

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Conjure | Bad Mouth | American Clavé

It was after the ninth or tenth concert in Japan in August 2003 when Leo pointed out what was clear: that through playing and living the new materiel Paris, March of that year through that concert in Tokyo, the new materiel had assumed the form of the band, and the band of the new materiel. Pulling my shoulder, Leo nodded and said what was clear: “It’s TIME.” And although the money took a minute to snap to (hey, it’s this buisiness…), when it did, so did the band, immediately assuming the right form. So, during a week in a New Jersey studio in January 2005, Conjure recorded itself pretty much like a live set. There were a couple of punches on missed cues, but not many. The band breathed with the same music, ease and shared cadences and emotions as when on tour. Yeah, Conjure live in the studio. Just a better lit stage. Ish is fond of pointing out that Conjure may be the longest running music / poetry project around, but I’m not really when it really started. There was a period before the first Conjure recording (1983) when he and I worked together on a few film projects – was that when Conjure really started? Anyway, I’m not sure it matters. The band, the music, the poetry, breathe right now, just like Ish’s magic-realist world outlook contained in his words (fiction, poetry, essays, activism, attitude…) – you can hear it in every turn of this music. Right? — Kip Hanrahan Continue reading

Kip Hanrahan | At home in anger | American Clavé

Players, in order of appearance: Dick Kondas – sound | Dafnis Prieto – drums, voice | Steve Swallow – bass | Alfredo Triff – violin | Milton Cardona – congas, percussion | Kip Hanrahan – direction, percussion, voice | DD Jackson – piano | Pedrito Martinez – congas | Robby Ameen – drums, percussion | Yosvanni Terry – percussion, sax | Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez – drums, percussion | John Beasley – piano, keyboards | Brandon Ross – voice, guitar | Bryan Carrott – vibraphone | Andy Gonzalez – bass | John Kilgore – sound | Fernando Saunders – voice, bass | Anthony Cox – bass | Mike Cain – piano | Xiomara Laugart – voice | Don Byron – clarinet | Roberto Poveda – voice, guitar | Craig Handy – sax | Lysandro Arenas – piano | Lucy Penebaz – voice. Produced by Kip Hanrahan. Engineered by Rick Kondas and John Kilgore at John Kilgore Sound, New York City January 2008 through April 2010, with sections recorded in August 2004. Mixed by Dick Kondas and Kip Hanrahan in 2010. Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City, April 2010. Packaging designed by Capoeira Graphics with additional work by East Works Graphics and Enja Graphics. Photograph on the cover taken by Alair O. Gomes. Continue reading

Milton Cardona | Bembé | American Clavé

Lucumi and Santeria A form of musico-religious expression of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks in New York, derived from beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Dahomey in West Africa. These beliefs were brought to the New World as a result of the Slave Trade. From voluntary organizations, known in Cuba as “Cabildos,”the Yoruba derived Lucumi, and other religious and secret societies of African origins emerged. Lucumi beliefs are characterized by complex relationships among the forces of nature, the pantheon of “Orishas,” concepts about the creation of the world and humanity. The framework for these beliefs is centered in a system of divination known as Ifa. Syncretism between Catholicism and African beliefs resulted in certain superficial changes in Lucumi, but despite such changes, adherents made attempts to maintain close identification with Yoruba practices by using the Yoruba tongue in religious contexts and by observing the function of the “Orishas,” as well as musical practices, and other aspects of their world views. The migration of Cubans to New York City led to establishing religious centers in New York and membership now includes Black and White North Americans, as well as Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latino groups. Yoruba is a tone language and a word can have several meanings. Special thanks to Kip Hanrahan, Nancy Hanrahan, Andy Caploe, Jon Fausty, group members, and most of all, my wife, Bruni Cardona. — Milton Cardona Continue reading

Kip Hanrahan | A thousand night and a night – (1- red nights | American Clavé

This disc (these nights?) are long and dense. It’s pretty much impossible to listen to the entire disc, intensely, in one’ pass, so a producer’s suggestion is to take a break (a nap?) at about the fifty something minute mark (after “Princess Dunya and Taj al-Muluk”) and resume listening with “Princess Dunya’s Nocturnal understanding.” The pieces and music on this disc needed to be here, in this night cycle, so as far as cutting is concerned, in this case, it doesn’t make sense to offer “less.” Anyway, nobody’s putting a knife to your neck and making you listen to everything. Listen to what you want of the offering. The stories on this disc were learned from the translations of the Arabian Nights by (the forty volume, unreadable) Burton (including Supplemental Nights). Dawood, Mardrus/Mathers, Pasolini, Borges, Zipes, and, (in ways the clearest) Haddawy and are told (sung) pretty much verbatim, as I understood them. There is no mercy, no justice, except in God, the Almighty, who created the Earth and all the Heavens, and all contained therein, including Evil, Pain and Suffering, with such exquisite Perfection.To the Pure, all Things are Pure. Continue reading

Horacio el Negro Hernandez & Robby Ameen | Robby and Negro at the Third World War | American Clavé

I guess we could start tracing this music to Negro in Cuba in the early nineteen-eighties, when, still a kid, he was arrested for playing Jack Bruce’s “Sunshine of Your Love” in Havana. Jack was thrilled, in fact, to find out about that music still being subversive somewhere in the world. But the deep subversive element of the story is also Negro defying rules and expectations and playing what he needed to play, in spite of the consequences. Given his intoxicatingly musical touch of subversive musical adventures (now, outside of Cuba, the adventure and chances, and their effect, are bigger and more fluid), and the defiance is just a small part of his musical genius. His musical ideas are spectacular. But, of course, there’s more. — Kip Hanrahan Continue reading