FROM EGYPT: Umm Kulthum is loved across the Arab world, but her legacy belongs to Egypt. Here is “Biography of Love”, a passionate, epic performance with music by Baligh Hamdi and the words of poet Morsi Jamil Aziz.
youtube.com/watch?v=DrJ4DUP1os

FROM INDIA: Watch the hands! Alla Rakha is a legend whose mastery of the tablas is absolutely mesmerizing and incomparable. And hereditary: as we can see in this recording where he performs with his sons.
youtube.com/watch?v=yZ1lRTdqWH

FROM ALBANIA: Dritëro Agolli was an Albanian postmodernist writer who is best remembered for his satirical rendering of quixotic apparatchik Zylo. Meanwhile, his poetry still speaks to the heart, adorned yet blunt.

FROM JAMAICA: We love it when people genuinely love the country they’re from. Here is the reggae legend Bunny Rugs (of the band Third World) celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence.
youtube.com/watch?v=PllKjgJ1fZ

FROM CZECHIA: There are few filmmakers who can create a mood as affecting and meaningful as Věra Chytilová. The feminist powerhouse’s “Daisies” is an absolute must: but her career deserves proper inquiry for those who want to know more about Eastern European feminism

FROM IRAN: Bozorg Alavi had to live in exile, away from his homeland, both during the Pahlavi and after the revolution, when things turned regressive. However, his work is at the heart of Iranian literature.

FROM RUSSIA: Pyotr Konchalovsky sired a whole dynasty of people shaping the many facets of Soviet and Russian culture: numerous writers and filmmakers. His own heritage is in the eloquent portraits of friends and family.

FROM US: Anna May Wong was the first Chinese-American actor to gain prominence at home and internationally, including starring alongside Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express”. Her career was hindered by the racism and segregationism of the industry and the society.

FROM CUBA & US: When Herbie Hancock subbed for Chick Corea in Mongo Santamaría’s band at a Bronx nightclub one evening, this legendary rendering of “Watermelon Man” with conga drums was first played: here recorded in 1980.

youtube.com/watch?v=bUvj9qYP_J

FROM US: Langston Hughes dedicated his poem “Kids Who Die” to Angelo Herndon, a Black communist sentenced to a chain gang for organizing industrial workers in Atlanta—but also many others then and now who lose young lives fighting.

FROM KABARDINO-BALKARIAN REPUBLIC: Aside from being a giant of literature and education in his home republic and the whole of the Soviet Union, Alim Keshokov was also in charge of communicating with authors from Asia and Africa.

FROM SWEDEN & FRANCE: Bengt Lindsröm a Swedish-born artist who lived in France most of his life yet returned to his homeland to die is best known for his sculptures. But we adore his amazing paintings, too: full of life and mischief.

FROM NEW ZEALAND: Author Janet Frame narrowly escaped a lobotomy when her first book was awarded a prestigious prize—the story of every prophet in a nutshell, where every prophet is considered mad until bureaucratic acknowledgment.

FROM US: When people talk about New Orleans music they usually mean jazz and rhythm & blues. But you can’t forget bounce, a type of hip-hop that originated in the city’s housing projects, and Big Freedia, the artist who popularized it.
youtube.com/watch?v=FtU1zjRuTd

FROM RUSSIA: Valery Gavrilin carefully studied the folk musical traditions of Russia and then created his own compositions. “Perezvony” mixes satire with mythology and was inspired by the prose of Soviet writer Vasily Shukshin.
youtube.com/watch?v=b89PG_myqC

FROM US: Alice Neel’s portraits are remarkable and plentiful, but we especially love those one of Harlem’s kids through the years: African-American, Puerto-Rican and Dominican, little grown ups with sad soulful eyes that know the world.

FROM BELGIUM: Marcel Broodthaers approached art like an adventure, a practical joke and a jolly good time. It’s pure pleasure to consider the many turns his mind took when plotting each work, be it a lion in a frying pan or the traditional Belgian pot of mussels devoured.

FROM ARMENIA: Composer Tigran Mansurian created the music to films by some of the most important Armenian directors, including Parajanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates”. This composition, “Melody of Love” reminds us of a crystal spring in the mountains

youtube.com/watch?v=gXZWH_BNk6

FROM RUSSIA, IZHORIAN PEOPLE & FRANCE: “Flames of Paris” ballet on the French revolution by composer Boris Asafyev was first performed in Leningrad in 1932 to Vasili Vainonen’s choreography. This is from the Bolshoi revival by Ratmansky/Belinsky
youtube.com/watch?v=6N4wLEKlsE

FROM JEWISH PEOPLE, RUSSIA & US: Abraham Wolkowitz sought inspiration for his paintings in other art, his biggest two inspirations being the poet Walt Whitman and the dancer—and his collaborator—Isadora Duncan. No wonder his works are filled with breathlessness and movement.

Show older
Masthead

All the news that's fit to toot. Sign up here.