Sunday, April 02, 2006

I Want My MP3

Cover for Byrne and Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Here's a couple of semi-topical freebies for yah; both worth a download:

Good ol' Billy Bragg, the closest thing we have living to an honest-to-God folkie protest singer; he's recorded an adaptation of Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues" called "Bush War Blues." It's both tongue in cheek and dead serious and you can download it free from Yep Roc Records [mp3]. It was recorded just the other day. Ah, Internets, how marvelous are thy ways.

Then, via Boing Boing, there's word that David Byrne and Brian Eno's 1981 masterwork My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is being rereleased, along with several extra tracks. Via Creative Commons license, Byrne and Eno are even making multitracks from two of the songs available for interested folks to remix. What's missing, however, is one song entitled "Qu'ran" that disappeared shortly after the album was originally released. Blake Leyh explains why, having tracked down the following explanation from enoweb:
The Islamic Council of Great Britain had approached the record company with a complaint about the use of the “found” material [a ritual chanting of the Holy Koran. Actually, I’m surprised that anyone got permission to even tape it in the first place]; There are some expressions of Islam in which *all* music is considered “haram” [I think that’s the Arabic term, anyway] - or against the teachings of the Koran. There is an argument about whether or not Mohammed (pbuh) stated that “music” for use in certain Islamic festivals or special occasions *is* allowable, but that’s for folks who know the Surahs better than I.

At any rate, the Islamic Council voiced its strong disapproval of having the original source material used in the way it was used ... , and in the days of watching the Fatwahs fly back and forth, Eno and his pals deemed it meet to exclude it. “Very Very Hungry” was added instead. However, my copy of it includes both, so some other judgements must have been made later.
For a short time, Leyh is linking to the song [MP3].

So, interestingly enough, in choosing to download that second song - or not - you may be making a small, but pointed moral statement. What that statement is, of course, depends on your point of view.

Anyway, if you've never heard Bush of Ghosts, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It still sounds bracingly current today, and clearly influenced many musicians in its wake.

You can also watch the video for Mea Culpa on the site dedicated to this anniversary edition.

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