in this fascinating biography on Nina Simone by Alan Light, the late singer also speaks, through the many documents from her legacy of private correspondence and diaries. This brand new book is part of a revival on the artistry and life of Nina Simone, a militant and successful but also troubled singer who became an icon of American jazz & blues.
Director Cynthia Mort of ‘Nina’, the film released earlier this year in the US received a lot of criticism by casting the lightly colored actress Zoe Saldana, who does not resemble the singer physically and had to be transformed rather drastically to perform as the ‘blackskinned’ Nina Simone.
Then of course there was the Netflix documentary ‘What Happened, Miss Simone’ by Liz Garbus on which the book by Alan Light is based.
Ms Simone, known as one of the last great jazz divas, was also a committed civil rights activist in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, fighting oppression as a black woman from the segregated southern US states. Songs like “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women” became iconic statements of that period.
As a young jazz piano player and singer, Nina Simone was quickly discovered and found immediate success. She became a millionaire and a star on the American and international stages and performed in numerous television shows. But at the same time Simone began to become more and engaged with the emerging black protest movement of nonviolent protest of Martin Luther King to the racial separatism of Malcolm X. Her rants about racial discrimination in America from the stage alienated her public.
On April 21st 2003 hundreds of mourners gathered in the southern French town of Carry-le-Rouet to pay their last respects to legendary US jazz and blues singer Nina Simone (born Eunice Waymon 1933)
South African singer Ms Miriam Makeba, a close friend of Ms Simone, was among those in attendance at the funeral in the Our Lady of the Assumption church at Carry-le-Rouet, just west of the port city of Marseille.
“She was not only an artist but also a freedom fighter,” Ms Makeba said before taking a seat inside the church next to Simone’s 36-year-old daughter Lisa for the ceremony.
“Nina Simone was a part of history. She fought for the liberation of black people. It is with much pain that we received the news of her death” read a message sent from the South African government.
At her request, Ms Simone’s ashes were spread in several African countries.
Hello World. Today’s post is a longread so may I suggest to take your time.
At the start of February the SA Menswear Fall 2016 Week took place in Cape Town, as in other capitals of the world. After Paris, Milan and London, the African continent sets its mark on international fashion. Fashion is flourishing as never before in Africa, a legion of ambitious young fashion designers are evolving towards national and international recognition and showing their collections to local and foreign buyers and press. The first rows are complemented by an enthusiastic young audience of bloggers and fashionistas eager to see the latest fashion.
And the amazing thing is that this actually sells. A new black middle-class has the money and interest to actually buy the clothes of African designers. Design boutiques and ultra-luxurious shopping centres offer a shopping extravanga never seen before and are popping up around the big South African cities. Should you be looking for a 40’s Christian Dior jacket, a Balenciaga ballgown from the 50’s, or Jordache bellbottoms, then your retro fix will be satisfied at The Flea Market at the Market Theatre in Newtown, the cultural hub of Johannesburg.
But it’s more than just expensive designer clothes or original vintage haute couture. Fashion is hot not only for style-concious hipsters but is regarded as a highly effective way to create an own identity. It is also a firm confirmation that one who dresses well has style. And the young ‘bornfrees’-the generation that was born after 1991-have style, radiate confidence and success. Besides that, African traditions and the heritage of the ancestors are en vogue.
That is reflected in the book The Black Photo Album / Look at Me: 1890-1950 by Santu Mofokeng (Published by Steidl in 2013. ISBN 978-3869303109)
For this book Santu Mofokeng collected private photographs which urban black working and middle-class families in South Africa commissioned between 1890 and 1950, a time when the government was creating policies towards those designated as “natives”. Painterly in style, the images evoke the artifices of Victorian photography. Some of them are fiction, a creation of the artist in terms of setting, props, clothing and pose – yet there is no evidence of coercion. We believe these images, as they reveal something about how these people imagined themselves. In this work Mofokeng analyses the sensibilities, aspirations and self-image of the black population and its desire for representation and social recognition in times of colonial rule and suppression. The Black Photo Album / Look at Me: 1890-1950 is drawn from an ongoing research project of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
DREAM BIG, ACT COOL
Every year The Street Cred Festival brings a buzz to Johannesburg, an excitement in street-culture that unites the hottest and cool young fashionistas and designers. Streetgangs like the Swenkas, Smarties (Soweto), Isokothan (a gang modeled after the Urhobo People of Niger Delta) show that their passion for fashion is not only obsessive by clothes but at the same time their style manifests a passive aggressive form of resistance.
Although financially limited this young generation wants to create their own look, to show the world an interpretation of Africa, a tribute to their ancestors while looking forward to the future. It is hopeful and positive. What is Africa, Who am I as an African, those are the big questions that engage this new generation. Bloggers like Sartist reflect the search for a new horizon of fashion and dopeness.
LES SAPEURS & NYC GANGSTA STYLE
Each new movement has obviously predecessors. Les Sapeurs became somewhat of a household name in Congo in the 60’s with their brash dandyism. In New York it was designer Dapper Dan of Harlem who created the flamboyant look and style of rappers like LL Cool J and other heroes of the early hip hop scene in early 80’s.
Right on 125th street in Harlem USA, sat a custom high-end clothing boutique owned by Mr. Dapper Dan. Before Kanye, Juelz, Fabolous and some other well known rappers wore Gucci and Louis Vutton, Dapper Dan in the 80’s and 90’s planted the seed for fashion in the hip hop culture. He created one of a kind customized high-end clothing that incorporated highly recognizable accessory logos like those of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, featuring them in non-traditional ways. His pieces were sold for thousands of dollars, and created a sense of what’s cool, what’s new in the streets and ‘in hip-hop’.
The designer describes his way of working as ‘sampling’, an unique interpretation of mixing existing designs and logos with his own interpretation. Dan Dapper ” I opened my workshop in ’82. First I would take little garment bags by Louis Vuitton and Gucci and cut them up, but that wouldn’t suffice for complete garments. So I said, “I have to figure out how to print this on fabric and leather.” I went through trial and error. I didn’t even know we were messing with dangerous chemicals—the U.S. government eventually outlawed the chemicals I was using. We made these huge silk screens so I could do a whole garment. A Jewish friend of mine helped me science out the secret behind the ink, and that was it.”
His designs specified the look of hip-hop artists, sporters and those incurred by gangsters. “Gangsters. That’s who I grew up with. Middle-class blacks couldn’t accept what I was doing—you had to be of a revolutionary spirit. Who would be more like that than gangsters? And who would have the money? Hip-hop artists didn’t have any money. They used to wait until the gangsters left the store before they could come in and ask what the gangsters wore. Everybody follows the gangsters. The athletes came before the hip-hop artists. Mark Jackson, Walter Berry. I’ve got pictures of NBA players that I can’t even remember their names. The athletes had money earlier that the hip-hop artists.
FAVORITE CREATION: The “Alpo Coat” [for drug dealer Alberto Martinez] and the Diane Dixon coat [for Olympic athlete Diane Dixon].
Ozwald Boateng is a London fashion designer of Ghanaian descent and co-founder of Made in Africa Foundation, which supports and funds studies for large-scale infrastructure projects across Africa.
Boateng is known for his classic British menswear, done in warm colors. He is considered one of the most successful designers of men’s fashion in recent years. His big break came in 2005 when he worked as designer for the French fashion house Givenchy and dressed actor Jamie Foxx for the Oscars.
His first show in Ghana caused a small revolution. Just like in 2013 during NYC Fashion Week where Boateng showed mainly African prints processed in classic men’s suits on black models. Boateng’s explains his vision on style; “Colonialism has done little good for Africa but it brought the typical Western sense of style and elegance to Africa. Mixed with local traditions this sensibility created a truely new African identity.”
During the same week in NYC South African born designer Gavin Rajah brought the fantasy element of fashion back to the runway with creations that were eclectic and high glamour. Again, black models ruled the catwalk.
DO NOT MAKE WHAT IS THERE, MAKE WHAT IS NOT THERE
Is the motto of label ACF (Art Comes First/Always Cut First). ACF is an exciting innovative concept that typifies the New Black Dandyism.
In their vision a modern day gentleman stands for Energy, Style, Power and Pride.
With a collection they call “Dance”, Sam Lambert & Shaka Maidoh of the ACF now launch Avec ces Freres. Avec ces Freres inaugural range sees the duo manifest the authentic spirit of the ACF within a focused assortment of interrelated styles. The essential root of the ACF’s style fraternity is their shared vision of the modern gentlemen in a new age. Elemental to this notion is a zealous commitment to travel and the belief that a near constant state of travel leads to a near constant state of learning. Travel is a journey of discovery. Discovery is the porthole to knowledge. -And the sensation experienced during moments of true discovery and the acquisition of knowledge is equal parts cerebral, physical and spiritual. Discovery delivers “little hits of wonder”, it injects a lasting spring in our step and it makes us want to smile and smile, to jump and jump, to dance and dance.
Lambert and Maidoh have worked to vitalize this simple notion in a fresh travel-friendly wardrobe crafted with intelligence, curiosity and good intention.
From the press release of their Autumn/Winter 15 Lookbook
Dark Models dominate World’s Fashion Weeks catwalks…
Jimi Ogunlaja -Sunday Times 7 Feb 16
Akuol De Mabior-sunday times 7 feb 16
SA Menswear Week Autumn 2016
There are 50 shades of grey, and perhaps even more shades of black. And the blacker the better as South African designers scramble for darker-hued models who are regarded as ‘edgy and classy’. About half the models at the South African Menswear Autumn/Winter 2016 in Cape Town were very dark. They walked for designers including Craig Jacobs, Julia M’Poko of Mo’Ko Elosa and Jenevieve Lyons.
Popular on local runways is Jimi Ogunlaja, a Nigerian-born model and the face of 46664 Apparel, who has been walking ramps in South Africa for brands including Fabiani, Carducci and Craig Port since 2008.
Source; The Sunday Times 7th February 2016
During the Paris Fashion 2016 Week black models also graced the Balmain Fall 2016 Ready to Wear catwalk, although the look and wide choice of models was based on the now platinum Kim Kardashian West. Her husband Kanye was sitting front row. His fashion-show-slash-record-listening-slash-party in New York last month drew 20,000 New Yorkers into Madison Square Garden on a freezing Thursday afternoon. The premiere of Yeezy Season 3 and stream of his new album, The Life of Pablo, proved to be the event of the New York Fashion 2016 week—with people lining up hours beforehand to enter. Young, old, invited or not, Kanye fans patiently waited for the doors to open. And once they did it was madness. The power of commercial streetstyle!
Lupita Nyong’o, one of the hottest black actresses of the moment walked onstage of the Late Night With Seth Meyers-talkshow in a tomato red Balmain power suit. Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan actress and film director. She made her American film debut in 2013 in Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave. She won an Oscar for her supporting role as Patsey. But movie stars, popstars or fashion designers with African roots are not the only forces to dominate fashion in 2016, the biggest influence remains the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.
in addition to MP Flapp’s previous posts here is his updated report on diggin’ in Tokyo & Osaka -December 2015.
Sometimes the best trips to look for records happen more by chance than design. This is one of those. It’s December and the year is running out. I’ve still not taken a proper holiday. Where’s best place to go to score some vinyl, chill a little, eat well and tactically avoid the commercial excesses of the season? It might come as a surprise that Japan would be the answer.
It’s actually a good time to go. It’s out-with the regular tourist season, the flights tend to be a bit cheaper, the hotels tend not to be fully booked, the shinkansen not overly busy, the weather can have an autumnal air, the shops are open every day and many record stores have end of year sales combined with the fact they pull out their top stock for the lure of the salary man’s bonus.
I’ve been to Japan more than once to buy records, so have a collection of maps and notes put together over the years with some valuable local assistance as a starting point. Having someone locally to point you in the right direction helps a lot, like anywhere else shops open, close and move, so one year’s good spots don’t necessary hold true for the next.
Until a few years ago the best guide to finding stores was the “Record Map”, a Japanese text only book detailing the locations of record and CD stores in almost every city in the country. It was never fully comprehensive, but as a guide it was invaluable. It ceased to be published in 2013. However, a sign that interest in stores and buying used music may be picking up is that the book is back on the shelves as a new and updated edition as of December 2014. The publication date was a bit late for this expedition as I was already on the ground when the book hit the shops.
This trip I’ve decided to focus on two locations: Tokyo and Osaka. Fly in to Tokyo spend some days there, travel to Osaka for a few more days, then return to Tokyo for a couple of days, before flying home on New Year’s Eve.
In my opinion, even if you drive, the best way to get between and around these cities is with the aid of the JR Rail Pass. Once you have the pass (the voucher is bought in advance of travelling to Japan) you are free to travel on any JR train. There are some exceptions with travelling on the shinkansen. The pass isn’t valid for a small number of superfast trains. However, the majority of shinkansen you can travel on by just making a reservation prior to boarding.
One thing I did differently to previous trips was to take a cheap Wi-Fi enabled tablet device. Given the short notice of the trip all I had was a rough plan with nothing fixed. Unlike a number of other countries cafes and bars tend not to have free Wi-Fi. All the hotels I stayed in had free Wi-Fi. So with this in mind all I did was firm up a plan for the day the night before and make sure any maps and the like were in an off-line form for browsing on the hoof.
3 Tokyo main areas for record shopping
For the first few days in Tokyo I usually focus on three main areas: Shibuya (with a side trip to Shimokitazawa), Shinjuku and Ochanomizu (with a side trip on foot to Jinbouchou). It’s a fairly easy circle of stores on the metro and in each of the areas there are enough shops dominated by the spread of Disk Unions to make finding your feet and common titles fairly easy. Disk Union is the dominant used music chain in Tokyo. However, in the vicinity of the stores in Shinjuku and Ochanomizu there are some other great independent stores well worth checking. Sadly a few of the regular spots in the Jinbouchou area (Turntable for example) have closed.
Although at least in Turntable’s case the entity still exists. Admittedly off the high street. Enan (the former proprietor of Turntable), having shut the physical store still operates privately and through the pop-up one day record sale. I made it to one such record sale in Jinbouchou. The record sales are usually held in a bar or small hall for one day with a few sellers offering a limited set of stock from boxes. The sale is usually wrapped in a very social setting with both sellers and buyers soundtracking the event by playing records for each other whilst discussing music. More of a house party style event in a bar than a formal record fair. The sales seem to be a welcome new trend, with the stock available and those selling varying from event-to-event.
to OBI or not to OBI
There have been some changes in the records available and the prices since my last trip. As of 1st April 2014 sales tax went up to 8%. It’s often possible to see the price less tax and with tax on the price sticker on the record. Very few stores add the tax on unexpectedly, so what you see on the sticker is the price. One type of record I collect is the Japanese vinyl editions of what might be classed as well known releases (David Bowie, Brian Eno, Scott Walker etc). These are the LP versions wrapped by an OBI strip round the cover with an insert or booklet specifically made for the edition. Complete, these records would appear to have become much harder to find over the years and a bit more expensive than they used to be. There are a few that have eluded me for more than one trip now. A complete copy of Fripp and Eno’s “Evening Star” in theory should be relatively straightforward to score. It isn’t. There are plenty of clean copies of great titles at super cheap prices, but complete top copies are becoming a challenge.
That said there is no shortage of records from about every conceivable geographical location and genre available in almost every store. There are some highly specialist stores that focus on a specific range of music, but in general most stores are across the board. It’s the main reason I come. It’s not just the availability and price of records (which is usually very competitive), but the fact you can zip round town on public transport and without really trying visit anywhere between ten and fifteen stores in any one day and do the same again the next without covering the same ground twice.
It goes without saying any of the Disk Unions are worth visiting. The stock turns over frequently and there is always a good range of records for every pocket. Of the independent stores in Shibuya I would recommend a visit to both Sonota (aka Manual of Errors) and El Sur Records. The former is a haven for the most obtuse mondo style records you’ve ever seen whilst the later has a broad range of world music with a healthy selection of African recordings (more CDs and less vinyl these days). One stop on the Keio Line on the express train from Shibuya is Shimokitazawa. Two notable spots here are Flash Disc Ranch for the selection of US used records combined with the sensible pricing policy and Yellow Pop whist not big is always good for turning up 80s alternative titles in top condition. The best Disk Union for Jazz is at Ochanomizu. A short walk from there in Jinbouchou is Record Sya. The store has existed on three floors for many years and is a great source for Japanese releases across almost every genre.
After all the digging for records you probably want a music related break for a drink. Tokyo has a wealth of unique music related café/bars. It’s really just a matter of finding them that is often the problem. Very few of these are often at street level and hence noticeable is passing. One distinct highlight of this trip was a visit to Sound Cafe Dzumi in Kichijoji. An upper floor haven for improvised and free jazz stoked with music and literature from the proprietors (Izumi Hideki) own archive. In addition to the Free Music Archive making regular radio broadcasts from the café they host frequent live performances.
Sad news came last friday when Ouagadougou was the centre of terrorists attacks claimed by an African branch of Al Qaeda. The hostage crisis ended in The Splendid Hotel with a total of 27 deaths.
Inbetter times Burkina Fasowasknownasarelatively peacefulcountry. ThepredominantlyMuslim countrylocated inthe West Africanregionisaffected more oftenrecentlyby the violence ofjihadistmilitias.Butpreviouslythe countryremained relativelyspared fromjihadistviolence, unlike neighboringcountries like MaliandNiger.
Itcomes asno surprise to know that many French artists in the 60s and 70s went to Burkina Faso to perform or record music with local artists. Like Serge Franklin whose artistic itinerary starts in France in the 60s as an author-songwriter when he published several 45s under his own name. The singer quickly became a studio musician as a sitar player and accompanied singers like Gilles Vigneault and Georges Moustaki at the Bobino theater in Paris, respectively in 1966 and 1969.
In 1971 Serge Franklin traveled to India where he perfected his skills on sitar under the pseudonym Adjenar Sidhar Khan. As a lover of primitive stringed instruments, Franklin recorded a rather remarkable album in Ouagadougou, featuring mainly local instruments like the cora, balafon, zanza and the bow.
The album contains a beautiful version of ‘Licha Wetche’, a traditional song that was popular with many artists. See also the Bleached Zulu
“Pour Recevoir Vos Amis Comme À Ouagadougou, Afrique” by Les Griots was released in France as part of the series Exotissiomo in 1975. It is a collection of traditional songs, field recordings and newly written material by Serge Franklin, performed by local musicians.
happy birthday Surinam! The former Dutch colony celebrates 40 years of independency today.
During the festivities swinging music will be heard on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It seemed appropriate to me to select 10 personal favourite tracks from my own collection to celebrate this festive day here in Amsterdam and Surinam. May these gems be heard around the world, as far as Paramaribo…Kawina, Kaseko, disco, surinam soul, latin, mambo …all from different decades and representing the most typical styles of Surinamese music.
At the same time I would like to pay attention to a special book which recently appeared; “Sranan Gowtu’ by Diederik Samwel. Published by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in association with record label Top Notch which already released two compilations with the stars of the Surinamese music in 2013.
The first step in the revaluation of Surinamese music started in 2013 with the collector ‘Sranan Gowtu’ with songs from six different decades. The compilation is packed with Creole music, calypso, Kaseko music, winti songs, salsa, soca, dancehall to the timeless pop hit ‘Wasmasjien! ” by Trafassi. Besides digitally and on CD this compilation is also available in gorgeous red and green vinyl.
However, this is only the beginning. The purpose of Sranan Gowtu is not only to provide an overview of the range of beautiful Surinamese music, but also to go in depth with compilations of individual performers. So meanwhile the best work of Dear Hugo, Trafassi, Max Nijman, Papa Touwtjie and Kid Dynamite has been republished.
And here are my 10 favourite songs from Surinam….
Big Jones and his Kawina Band -Ala Pikin Nengre
from the soundtrack ‘Faja Lobbi ‘; a film by Herman vander Horst (1960)
a kind of ballad about the town of Paramaribo. In the introductory solo singing, all the children (ala pikin nengre) are called to go to the town (foto) to admire everything that may be seen there; the houses (hoso), the big ship (biggie boto), the factories, the machines, the cars, the shops (wenkri) etc. Finally we arrive at the market (wojo) where we find an endless variety of articles, and an equally wide variety of people.
Big Jones -Par’Bo Mambo
rare mambo track that celebrates life in the capital Paramaribo
Running small convenience stores in townships is a dangerous business for foreigners. Often serving their customers through locked gates, they are accused of spreading disease, stealing jobs and sponging off basic government services like electricity, running water and healthcare.
But as violence against them continues, the South African government insists that criminality is behind it, not xenophobia
Remember District 6?
In 1986, District Six – The Musical- by David Kramer and Taliep Petersen told the story of District Six in a popular musical which also toured internationally.
By the turn of the century District Six, originally known as the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town, was already a lively community made up of former slaves, artisans, merchants and other immigrants, as well as many Malay people brought to South Africa by the Dutch East India Company during its administration of the Cape Colony.
After World War II, during the earlier part of the apartheid era, District Six was relatively cosmopolitan. Situated within sight of the docks, it was made up largely of coloured residents which included a substantial number of coloured Muslims, called Cape Malays. There were also a number of black Xhosa residents and a smaller numbers of Afrikaans, whites, and Indians.
Government officials gave four primary reasons for the removals. In accordance with apartheid philosophy, it stated that interracial interaction bred conflict, necessitating the separation of the races. They deemed District Six a slum, fit only for clearance, not rehabilitation. They also portrayed the area as crime-ridden and dangerous; they claimed that the district was a vice den, full of immoral activities like gambling, drinking, and prostitution. Though these were the official reasons, most residents believed that the government sought the land because of its proximity to the city centre, Table Mountain, and the harbour.
On 11 February 1966, the government declared District Six a whites-only area under the Group Areas Act, with removals starting in 1968. By 1982, more than 60,000 people had been relocated to the sandy, bleak Cape Flats township complex some 25 kilometres away. The old houses were bulldozed. The only buildings left standing were places of worship. International and local pressure made redevelopment difficult for the government, however. The Cape Technikon (now Cape Peninsula University of Technology) was built on a portion of District Six which the government renamed Zonnebloem. Apart from this and some police housing units, the area was left undeveloped.
Since the fall of apartheid in 1994, the South African government has recognised the older claims of former residents to the area, and pledged to support rebuilding.
District Six also contributed mightily to the distinguished history of South African jazz.
Basil Coetzee, known for his song “District Six”, was born there and lived there until its destruction. Before leaving South Africa in the 1960s, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim lived nearby and was a frequent visitor to the area, as were many other cape jazz musicians. Ibrahim described the area to The Guardian as a “fantastic city within a city..In the late 50s and 60s, when the regime clamped down, it was still a place where people could mix freely. It attracted musicians, writers, politicians at the forefront of the struggle as the school Western province Prep were a huge help in the struggle, but the head boy at the time and an exciptionaly great help was . We played and everybody would be there.”
And the story continues with ‘District 9’, probably the most stunning sci-fi movie I have ever seen.
Released in 2009, directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham.
The film won the 2010 Saturn Award for Best International Film presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2009:
The story, adapted from ‘Alive in Joburg’, a 2005 short film directed by Blomkamp and produced by Sharlto Copley and Simon Hansen, depicts humanity, xenophobia, and social segregation. The title and premise of District 9 were inspired by events in District Six, Cape Town during the apartheid era. The film was shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto, presenting fictional interviews, news footage, and video from surveillance cameras in a found footage format.
More then a great science fiction action thriller it’s a social commentary. Replace the word “alien” with any legal or illegal inhabitant of a township and the message the movie was conveying becomes clear. Not for the squeamish.
Osaka is just over three hours from Tokyo by shinkansen. Unlike Tokyo Shin-Osaka where the shinkansen arrives is about 20 minutes from downtown Osaka by metro. Namba is a recommended spot to find a hotel as two large groupings of records stores exist in this area. The first is roughly between Shinsaibashi and Yotsubashi metro stations. The second is south-west of the main Namba railway station. Between the two there are in excess of twenty record stores. A third area with about five stores exists just south of Nakazakicho metro station.
Complementing the stores, from 26th December for four days, the Hanshin Department Store at Umeda plays host to a record fair. Recommended for the fact many stores not based in Osaka are represented at the fair. The stores from Osaka who sell at the fair tend to use it as a means to offload excess stock at sensible prices. It is still worth visiting the stores in person as many of the more obtuse or rare records remain in store and not at the fair. The fair is a bit different to European fairs in the organised loosely by genre/theme across a number of tables. None of the sellers are present, but their stock is tagged up according. You basically build up a pile of records from across all the sellers. Go to the inspection area where you can check the records, returning any that are not up to scratch. Then proceed to the check-out areas where you pay for and get your finds bagged. A bit odd the first time you do it, but I have to say it is fairly efficient.
Possibly the biggest difference between Tokyo and Osaka for record shopping is that there is less need for public transport. You can for the most part walk between stores and as such Osaka is a fairly laid back shopping experience. The shops are as equally well stocked as Tokyo, but there are just slightly less of them.
Some recommendations? Bamboo Music is closest to Nakazakicho metro station and a little out of the way, but is always worth a visit for the Jazz, soul and funk based selection. One of those stores with something for every pocket and quite a few titles you only ever see on-line. At the other end of town near Namba station you’ll find Naka Records. The store is a good starting point for the area as it often has a map for the other stores in the vicinity, and is a great source of lounge, easy and Japanese 45s. A short walk from Naka you’ll find Wild One Records. A delight of a store for Folk and Progressive rock music fans. The store is sensibly priced and has something for every pocket. Heading up to Shinsaibashi there is a great little club based music port of call called Rare Groove Records. Again the shop stocks a great range of LPs, 12s and 45s. They also have flyer map for the other stores in that area, a number of which are in the same building. A short walk from here and close to Yotsubashi metro station you’ll find Maru Ka Batsu. The store has existed for some years and has a great stock of 80s focused punk, alternative and industrial music. It’s well stocked in other areas too, but the aforementioned genres are always a distinct highlight. I often make this the last top of the day as at the end of the street the store is on you’ll find craft beer bar Kamikaze. It’s always a pleasure to drink there at the end of the day.
As short as this piece is you’ve probably guessed that with not too much effort and a bit of time it’s possible to discover a fantastic range of stores with an equally eclectic stock of records at a range of prices that makes record collecting available to every type of buyer. It’s not all about finding super rare records for three figure sums of money, but discovering new music that excites you and at a price you can afford. Saying that, if luck’s on your side you might just find that grail along the way by chance…
List of Five Independent stores in Tokyo. All of the following stores can easily be found via Google. Flash Disc Ranch and Yellow Pop both in Shimo-Kitazawa. Record Sya in Jinbouchou. Sonota (aka Manual of Errors) and El Sur Records both in Shibuya.
List of Five Independent stores in Osaka. All of the following stores can easily be found via Google. Bamboo Records, Naka Records, Wild One Records, Rare Groove Records and Maru Ka Batsu
The Record Sale. A good resource for finding information on occasional record sales is http://www.oneboxrecordfair.com/. As well as organising the One Box Record Fair the site highlights other similar events.