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City Of Paramaribo with Suriname river (right) and Commewijne River (left) Atlantic Ocean(front)

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Wi Egi Prisiri (70's winning march based on traditional music)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Orchestra Washboard lead Lieve Hugo - Langa Bere Emi CD '90


Orchestra Washboard to me is one of the best traditional bands ever from Suriname. It consisted of some of the best musicians Suriname had to offer.
This group was immensely popular and they did not know how to stop when they got started and the party was going, that's how this song came to life, improvised just to keep the party going and it kept evolving every time, consisting of traditional Suriname songs from way back passed on by earlier music generation.

Washboard mostly played at house parties in the early years. I cherries the memories I have regarding this band in connection with my grandmothers 70th birthday (Nov 1969), they played like crazy that night and I've never heard "Langa Bere" played better then they did that night.
"Langa Bere" is a saying we use in Suriname for something that keeps on going and going. It can also mean boring, but listening you'll know it's not the case with this song.

This music style is called "Bigie-Pokoe" meaning "Big/Large/Grand - Music/Rhythm/Cadance".
This sound started somewhere in the 1930's under the influence of marching bands, military brass and jazz bands, that's why the horns are so prominent. Don't you just love the sax player.

This version was recorded in 1970 during the Holland tour. You can hear the mix of Winti and Kawina elements which where already there in the '30. Listening to the horns answering the sax in some parts as the backing vocals traditionally do in winti/kawina which is also the case in this song.

The group broke up in the mid 70's if I remember well and most of the members started there own groups ( 5 or 6) mostly in The Netherlands, both lead singers started a solo career with there own band and really made it.

Washboard sometimes played for hours and hours, they had spare musicians that took over when one was tired, just needed to go to the bathroom, maybe saw someone at the party he had not seen for a while or just wanted to dance which frequently occurred during ballads, when they had there eye on one of the partying ladies.

Some of the musicians played several instruments, so after an hour you could see the drummer playing bass or some other instrument.
It was great just watching them.
The rapid swelling of the rhythm and the constant changing you hear at the end sometimes went on for 15 minutes.
But enough of my walk down memory lane.
Enjoy 15 minutes of dancing pleasure.