Album: Various artists

Stranded in the USA, TRIKONT
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The Independent Culture

As ever, America's musical heritage is more lovingly cared for outside its own shores than within its brusquely defended, security-seeking "homeland". Following up its frequent forays into obscure gospel, country, jazz and blues, the German label Trikont here offers a similarly fascinating survey of early emigration songs from the wide spectrum of European, Caribbean and Central American cultures that flowed into the country throughout the last century, many culled from old 78s. The 26 tracks constitute a collage of overlapping diaspora, from cultures as musically disparate as Ireland (Pat White's "I'm Leaving Tipperary"), Trinidad (Wilmouth Houdini's "Poor But Ambitious"), Puerto Rico (Conjunto Tipico Ladi's "A Puerto Rican Peasant in New York"), Switzerland (Hans in der Gand's "Song of Homesickness"), Ukraine (Pawlo Humeniuk's "Ukrainian Wedding in America") and Greece (Rita Abatzi's "America, You Ruined Me") - an extraordinary tapestry of hope, loss, anticipation, homesickness, pride and disillusio

As ever, America's musical heritage is more lovingly cared for outside its own shores than within its brusquely defended, security-seeking "homeland". Following up its frequent forays into obscure gospel, country, jazz and blues, the German label Trikont here offers a similarly fascinating survey of early emigration songs from the wide spectrum of European, Caribbean and Central American cultures that flowed into the country throughout the last century, many culled from old 78s. The 26 tracks constitute a collage of overlapping diaspora, from cultures as musically disparate as Ireland (Pat White's "I'm Leaving Tipperary"), Trinidad (Wilmouth Houdini's "Poor But Ambitious"), Puerto Rico (Conjunto Tipico Ladi's "A Puerto Rican Peasant in New York"), Switzerland (Hans in der Gand's "Song of Homesickness"), Ukraine (Pawlo Humeniuk's "Ukrainian Wedding in America") and Greece (Rita Abatzi's "America, You Ruined Me") - an extraordinary tapestry of hope, loss, anticipation, homesickness, pride and disillusion. It's a portrait of an era when America was regarded as a haven for the world's dispossessed and persecuted, rather than as the pre-eminent agent of dispossession and persecution, and deserves to be heard over there as a timely reminder of the original melting-pot principles underpinning its culture.

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