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Early Mento Style

Posted by riffy 
riffy
Early Mento Style
March 02, 2006 08:38AM
Roots ultimately evolved from mento. Some of the earliest recordings were of trinidadian and west indian islanders. Calypso and mento are a mixture of all caribbean styles that survive from island to island. Mento was being recorded as early as 1918, but not in JA. New York of all places. Near 1949 the first recordings in JA began by a white brother named Ken Khouri. His fascination with the music resulted in him using his home system to record peoples' voices for 30 shillings. He then, with the help of Graham Goodhall built the first recording studio in jA. It was demure with wooden sides and a zinc roof. To keep noise down and make recording efficient, they usually recorded at night.

By the time recording Mento became possible on an industrial level, rock-steady and ska beats were hitting the masses in dance halls and americanized be-bop clubs.

"The mento is a dance rhythm which emerged from the negro slaves of Jamaica WI. This rich Jamaican folk music is also influenced by the white british colonisers. This dance rhythm is interwoven with afrikan and european melodies with words added from that generation to this generation since the 1800's. A music comprised of violins, drums, flutes, clarinet, horse or donkey jawbone, plus a spoon or a fork gainst a grater to form a orchestra of sounds..(authentic) This mento music has survived in the island of JA to present day, which portrait stories of people, location, country or events. The mento is similar to the rumba beat of Cuba (a doubling of the bass) while other caribbean music like calypso from Trinidad. It has two beat to the bar similar to the south america "samaba" mento, one of the early music that came out during the second world war exclusively to JA & this music was used in celebrations for her majesty queen elizabeth 11 of england in the 1900's & Prince and Princess. Other popular tourists resorts inna caribbean since, play it, now foreigners have been inclined to accept this "authentic rhythm" mento."

choices:

Wilmouth Houdini (goota luv Wilmouth)
Count Premeir
Lord Libby
Count Lasher
Dennis Syndre
Night Food - unidentified artist on JA Mento authentic recording CD
Ethiopia - unidentified artist on JA Mento authentic recording CD
Country Gal- uniden.......

Does anyone know of current day performers of this style that might come to SNWMF?

chow mein ( inna memory of Stanley Ivan Chin, a pioneer of the music )

Jah live
riffy
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 02, 2006 08:59AM
Also Stanley Motta was probably the first one to record JA locals, but the cylinders were sent to England for processing. Respect to Mr. Motta!
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 02, 2006 08:51PM
no fans of mento?
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 12:29AM
By the time recording Mento became possible on an industrial level, rock-steady and ska beats were hitting the masses in dance halls and americanized be-bop clubs.

Not really correct in as much as as you've mentioned regarding Motta the acetates were flying to and fro, and 78rpms, and later 10" lps (in the late 50s) were coming back from the likes of Decca in the Uk. Mainly being sold to uptown people and the early tourist trade to begin with however.

Stanley Chin is still alive and well, living in the US, and has re-released a large ammount of his catalogue on a set of cdrs, which are being sold via the Cdbaby website.

Alerth Bedasse (my favourite singer) is also still alive and well and in Jamdown, he was recently interviewed by Dan Neely.

Even before the moment when recording became a possiblity artists like Bedasse were selling song sheets on the streets there in Kingston, much like song writers and singers did on the streets of London in the 1800s, can you imagine what that would have sounded like, people listening to songs written that day or week about a local piece of news, being bought by passers by to play at home later. Bedasse says this is how he started out.

There are quite a few of the old boys out there and the Jolly Boys still perform as a group. The Rod Dennis Mento Band is another group who easily spring to mind. Believe it or not they had a hit Lp out on Penthouse only a matter of a few years ago, after Chakka Demus hit with a version of 'Nobody's Business' a Mento standard.

there is a lot out there for those who love this music, only this week Trojan announced the release of a Mento compilation. Since the release of the Heritage Cd album 'Boogu Yagga Gal' there has been a slow but increasing release of Mento material. Boogu Yagga though remians a highlight of restoration and deep sleeve notes,all Chin productions.
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 12:32AM
p.s. For some reason and no one knows why, people call Ivan Chin 'Stanley Ivan Chin' i have been told by a very reliable source that there is no Stanley in his name, though he IS called Ivan S Chin. No one apart from Ivan (apparently) knows what the S stands for. I had also reffered to him as Ivan Stanley and before that Stanley Ivan, but it just ain't so. I even have his signature on a letter in support of that .. it's just a thing that seems to have become adopted by all without question..
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 12:34AM
And I called him Stanley in an earlier post, I really must stop doing that.

Ken Khouri's son cliamed that it was his Dad that recorded the first tunes on the island, and took his maching all over the place to do so.
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 12:36AM
oh and..

Night Food - unidentified artist on JA Mento authentic recording CD = This is Alerth Bedasse, he also recorded a tune called night Food Recipe.
Ethiopia - unidentified artist on JA Mento authentic recording CD = This is lord Lebby
Country Gal- uniden....... = and this is Harold Richardson with Charlie Binger & his Quintet
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 03:36AM
bmd writes > "Not really correct in as much as as you'vementioned regarding Motta the acetates were flying to and fro..."
- not sure what you mean there...
All I meant was by the time heavy recording(as in runnins in JA, not England) was underway, newer sounz were emerging pon da scene..i.e. rock-steady and ska. I wasn't implying anymore or less...but I suppose that notation lends itself to the idea that mento was left behind, so to speak, as all eventually are. As far as his son making claims...let us clear up, who wrote the Booga Yagga sleeve notes, Chin? Because it is duly noted within the sleeve notes you speak of that Ken Kouri was the first along with Stanley Motta.

bmd wrties > "Ken Khouri's son cliamed that it was his Dad that recorded the first tunes on the island, and took his maching all over the place to do so."
This is not a claim, it's a fact and by no means esoteric.
Interesting bout Chakka, didn't know..same witta name mixup regarding Mr.Chin. I had no idea he's livin well inna states. & thx for head-sup onna unknown cuts. They're not listed on the CD, where'd you get'em, if you don't my asking.
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 03:57AM
I located mi copy of Booga Yagga. The acknowledgements read:

"...The notes and lyric transcriptions were originally done by Richard Noblett and extensively revised and supplemented by Daniel T. Neely, Herbie Miller, Ron Geesin, John Cowley and Tony Barker. However, any error of fact or inference is the responsibility of Richad Noblett....." so, it appears that it's public knowledge Ken Kouri was in fact one of the fisrt along with Motta.

Jah live
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 04:33AM
these little innocent melodies and rhythms burn my fragile mind.

MENTO is sweet like fresh water
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 04:56AM
"Mama look a boo boo" is a tight cut by Slim Henry, check it out!
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 05:48AM
Ethiopia - Lord Lebby

For those who think mento is always lightweight music, check this one out
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:18AM
I would like to see Stanley Beckford...

riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:35AM
Also check Green Guava Jelly by Lord Libby, it's haunting.
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:35AM
sorry.....that's green guava dumplin
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 01:48PM
If I recall correctly the mention of Khouri being th first to record in Ja, and his transporting of the equipment over the island comes from the sleeve notes to the recent Count Owen re-issue on Cd.
I can't recall where I have those tunes right now, I'm at work on the works keyboard and pc, the Lebby tune is on boogu Yagga, the Charlie Binger is a mota tune I think, and is possibly on Mento Madness,.. I also have a couple of cds from Richard Noblett of Mota rariies, so perhpas it's on here instead. Ron Geesin lives bout 10 minutes aay from where I do, and his son and I recorded some music toether way bck in the early 90s. I had no idea that he was into Mento until I saw his production credits on that heritage release.

MIKE TURNER, have you heard Shaw Park Blues? it's a Motta tune, and utilises EXACTLY the same tune as our mutul favourie roots classic... Etheopia.
bmd
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 01:50PM
Riffy, could you therefore argue that Roots Music ultimately came from Quadrille? Now THAT would be an amusing turn up... not only is half Jamaican patois Scottish in origin, but turns out so is their most famous musical export!!!
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:12PM
LOL- that would be a stretch indeed. I would say some infusion of quadrille along the line has occured. lol...

As far as current day runnins, Scottland has a very proactive Ras community that's why ya hear dem so..

btw, the word "quadrille" (latin for equestrian macrame')and probably derived from the Spanish word "cuadrilla", which simply means four.) has many definitions depending on context.
bun
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:31PM
riffy, have you revealed yourself as the one Jah Mike?

I have always wondered...
bun
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:32PM
On 2nd thought, you couldn't be Jah Mike...
riffy
Re: Early Mento Style
March 03, 2006 06:35PM
You are correct, I am not Jah Mike. jus curious, why would he disguise himself?
bun
Re: Early Mento Style
March 04, 2006 01:07AM
Oh, he just moved back to town recently, around the time you started posting.
Nice to see some locals about.
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