On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Radio Tarifa – Rumba Argelina (1993)
Radio Tarifa was a Spanish World music ensemble, combining Flamenco, Arab-Andalusian music, Arabic music, Moorish music and other musical influences of the Mediterranean, the Middle Ages and the Caribbean. The name of the ensemble comes from an imaginary radio station in Tarifa, a small town in the Spanish province of Cadiz, Andalusia, the closest part of Spain to Morocco.
We say farewell to Italy today, dear reader, and make our way over to Spain for our latest ensemble. Radio Tarifa were formed in the late 1980s and trying to pinpoint their genre is complex. Combining a range of musical influences from the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and even back to the Middle Ages, the group very much did things their way. We join them in 1993 with the release of their debut album, Rumba Argelina, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the title track.
The title translates as Algerian Rumba with the rumba being a hybrid of Spanish/African influenced rhythmic dancing that originated in Cuba. The song itself seems to be a combination of cultural traditions along with a romance that has fallen by the wayside. The singer tells us of a girl who won his heart but he is no longer in love with her now as she is old and balding. Nice. The song uses repetition of flowing rivers and fishing for something, perhaps metaphorical searching for one’s true love. This one has proven to be a rotten catch though.
Although I am not 100% sure of the meaning behind Rumba Argelina the music here is delightful. The group sound as if they are using a range of instruments with a catchy melody to complement Benjamin Escoriza’s vocals. The group’s opening album proved popular in Europe upon release and they retained a loyal following until a hiatus in 2006. They have yet to return and the death of Escoriza in 2012 at the age of 58 means we are unlikely to hear Radio Tarifa again. Shame.
Favourite songs so far: