Saturday, December 04, 2010
Postcards from a record store
Online record stores can only aspire to the atmosphere and serendipity of their bricks and mortar counterparts. As is shown by my photos of La Corde Sensible in Prades, France.
Prades was, of course, the adopted home of Pablo Casals. But La Corde Sensible is a working record store rather than a museum and its stock of used discs ranges from rock on vinyl to Philip Glass operas on CD.
My serendipitous discoveries on the shelves of La Corde Sensible included a deleted 1999 2 CD set of the singer, composer and guitarist Enrico Macias in concert with l'ensemble Foundok. Enrico Macias was born in 1938 to a Jewish family in French Algeria. During the Algerian War of Independence in 1961 Enrico Macias' father-in-law the musician Cheikh Raymond Leyris was assassinated by the National Liberation Front (FLN) and Macias went into exile in France. He has not been permitted to perform in the country where he was born since then and this is a reminder of how little we know of Algeria today despite the massive impact the Algerian war of independence had on post-war France.
The 1999 album that I found in La Corde Sensible is a tribute to Raymond Leyris, who is better known as Cheikh Raymond. Raymond Leyris, who was an Algerian Jew, specialised in the style of Arab-Andalusian music known as malouf and was a grand master of the oud and singer; there is a useful French documentary about him here. Raymond Leyris was widely respected by both Jews and Muslims and he was given the honorary title of Cheikh meaning Arab elder. His assassination was intended to send a message of fear to Jews living in Algeria and it triggered an exodus of Jewish Algerians to France.
* In Chance Music on Sunday Dec 5 composer and new technology guru Jeff Harrington talked about his time working in the worlds first record store, Liberty Music in New York and about how he met Frank Sinatra there. Listen to the podcast here.
** Postcards from a Bruges record store with lots of atmosphere and serendipity here.
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