New York Music Daily

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Please Help Stop the Unconstitutional and Dangerous HR6666

The greatest threat to our society is not a mysterious virus. It’s a seemingly innocuous bill, titled HR6666, introduced into the US House of Representatives on May 1. This is not a joke or some kind of heavy metal numerological Beavis and Butthead hocus-pocus. That’s really the number, sponsored oddly enough by a Democrat, Bobby Rush of Illinois.

Dubbed the TRACE Act, it authorizes funding for tracking and tracing people who may (or may not) have been exposed to the coronavirus. The devil is in the lack of details. The most egregiously obvious omission is who actually gets the proposed, annual hundred billion dollar budget. The Centers for Disease Control, under the direction of the Secretary of Health and Human Services are in charge, but the bill is otherwise vague on who might be an “eligible entity.”

Just the sheer amount of money involved means that this is going to be a vast enterprise. The firestorm of fear that has spread across the web in response to this reflects the possibility that the bill will be used as a pretext for separating families in the case where someone tests postitive and can’t isolate sufficiently. Without specific conditions, and a sunset clause – which it doesn’t include – there is too much room for potential abuses to let this go to the Senate.

Tracing and tracking diseases is actually old news. It’s standard operating procedure when someone contracts something rare and deadly like the plague or ebola, and it was employed throughout the AIDS crisis. But this bill could easily be used, for example, to deputize private companies as a germ gestapo. Constitutionally, the Federal government is barred from doing home invasions – but private contractors, deputized under an emergency, could act with impunity.

Never mind who they might sell your data to….or what those unnamed entitities might do with it. You do the math.

Considering the notorious unreliability of coronavirus testing (the common cold is a coronavirus, for example), it’s hardly a stretch to imagine the nightmare this could create, especially as far as urban dwellers are concerned. Even the richest New Yorkers seldom have more than a single bathroom in their apartments, eliminating a person’s ability to self-quarantine if there are other people living there (regardless of the fact that if someone in a household has coronavirus, the odds of the others already being infected are about 99%). Please share this far and wide and contact your Representative TODAY to stop HR6666.

New Takes on Rare, Otherworldly Klezmer Recordings to Ease Your Lockdown Pain

Among the glut of musical webcasts that have sprung up since the beginning of the lockdown, one of the most fascinating and entertaining ones is klezmer violinist Ilana Cravitz‘s Nign a Day project, streaming daily at her webpage. She’s assembled an allstar team of string players from around the world, each playing a half-hour solo program of lively dances and party music from the legendary Moishe Beregovski collection. Many of the artists involved offer insights into the nuts and bolts of these stark, ancient songs as well as the occasional archival clip.

Beregovski was a Russian counterpart to Alan Lomax. Beginning before World War I and continuing until about 1950, Beregovski assembled a vast collection of Jewish folk tunes from across what was then the Soviet Union. Tragically, that heroic preservation work essentially cost him his life. Stalin found out about him and had him imprisoned in the gulag in 1951. In 1956, his health broken, Beregovski was released; he died in obscurity five years later.

His collection of wax cylinder recordings was rediscovered in Kiev after the fall of the Soviet Union and has since become a source of global fascination. Cravitz’s project is at about the halfway point now; New York’s Zoe Aqua and Deborah Strauss are featured on May 14 and 15, respectively. The performances are archived at Cravitz’s youtube channel. Thanks to May 10 guest Alicia Svigals for the heads-up about this.

Irresistibly Edgy, Catchy, Psychedelic Tropical Dance Sounds From Superfonicos

Texaas-Colombian band Superfonicos play slinky tropical psychedelia. They’re part cumbia, part skaragga, part Afrobeat and part classic descarga too: there’s no other band on the planet who sound like them. Their debut album Suelta is streaming at Soundcloud. There haven’t been a lot of albums released lately, but this has got to be one of the best short albums of the year. It’s got a million textures to tickle the synapses – and you can dance to all of it.

It’s hard to figure out what that trebly, reverbtoned instrument that opens the first track is: turns out it’s reverb guitar, sax and gaita flute all at the same time. With wry reggaeton-infuenced lyrics, gracefully syncopated bass and hypnotically shuffling drums and percussion, it’s as catchy as it is hypnotic. That seems to be the point of the record.

The second track, Ethiopian Dust is a dusky gem, with an undulating clave beat, bracingly chromatic sax over trippy wah-wah guitar effects blipping through the mix, a brief guitar solo leaving a trail of sparks. Merecumbe is a straight-up oldschool disco groove with jagged merengue accents, biting Afrobeat brass and an even more searing guitar break.

With its chugging organ, shuffling drums and spare, dubwise bass, Rio Negro is closer to straight-up Afrobeat – until the instruments build an echoy web and the band make a cumbia out of it. The swaying, riff-driven Sigo Palante is the loudest track here. They close the album with the title cut, rising from a toxic cloud of noise to a a funky wah guitar groove with a couple of reggaeton breaks, a metalish guitar solo and punchy minor-key horns all around. Let’s hope we get an even longer album from these guys – singer/gaitero Jaime Ospina, guitarists Erick Bohorquez and Andres Villegas, bassist Nico Sanchez and percussionist Daniel Sanchez – next time around.