YES YES YÂ’ALL, and you donÂ’t stop! ItÂ’s the moment youÂ’ve been waiting for. I am happy to bring you the results of the 2006 Inaugural Sepia Mutiny Macaca Music Poll. It took me some time to compile the results, a task made both necessary and pleasant by the high quality and fabulous diversity of your submissions. The best part of all, for me, was that you forced me to listen to a whole lot of music IÂ’d never heard of, or not gotten around to hear. Dhanyawad, bahut dhanyawad, for expanding my ears.
After weeding out submissions of music that came out earlier than 2006, and disregarding entries of a trollish or spamlike nature, we were left with 56 valid ballots. They seem to divide evenly among men and women, confirming that music geekery is a democratic and universal condition. Regulars and lurkers are evenly represented as well. The full list of voters is at the end of this post.
And now…drumroll please…the results:
Your favorite music of 2006 came from Gnarls Barkley, the dynamic duo project of Atlanta hip-hop mavericks Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse. Their song Â“CrazyÂ” was a ubiquitous hit of 2006, the yearÂ’s best song according to Rolling Stone, and the album, Â“St. ElsewhereÂ” made numerous criticÂ’s lists. It seems like the Sepia crowd agrees.
Tied for second place were Ali Farka TourÃ©, for his beautiful final album Â“Savane,Â” and Â– and this one surprised me Â– the Russian-raised, New York-based Â“antifolkÂ” singer Regina Spektor, for her album Â“Begin to HopeÂ” and the song Â“Fidelity.Â”
Fourth place went to the Â“OmkaraÂ” soundtrack featuring the song Â“Beedi.Â” This was the highest ranked desi entry, rounding out a very cool top foursome of alt-hip-hop, African, alt-folk, and filmi.
The cluster of acts tied for fifth place only underscore the diversity: Arctic Monkeys, Decemberists, Ghostface Killah, the Â“GuruÂ” soundtrack, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, John Legend, Kailash Kher, Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado, The Roots, and TV on the Radio.
Lots of music direct from the desh. The filmi mavens loved the music from Â“Omkara,Â” Â“Guru,Â” and Â“Rang de Basanti.Â” Several other Hindi and Tamil films earned isolated mentions.
The top individual artist from desh was Kailash Kher for his album Â“KailasaÂ” as well as specific song contributions to films. Jai Singh, Msichana and Sonia Kaur all enthusiastically recommended this brother, and IÂ’m thrilled they did. I didnÂ’t know of him, and I love what IÂ’ve now heard.
Again a whole bunch of individual artists earned single mentions, and you can be sure weÂ’ll be tracking their work and writing posts about them when the time is right!
Â“WHO YOU CALLIN’ MACACA???Â” DIVISION
macacas diasporic desis were all up in this piece. Among the four favorites were two who do desi-infused music, Karsh Kale and Susheela Raman, one in a folk band, Nicky Mehta of the Wailin’ Jennys and one who leads a good olÂ’ rock and roll band, Ramesh Srivastava and his band Voxtrot.
Also getting their propers were, among others, MC Kabir, Prasanna, and our own SriramÂ’s Duology Band. From across the water, Red Snapper tips us to Britons Vijay Kishore and the band Bat for Lashes, featuring Natasha Khan.
BEST OF THE REST
Acts earning multiple mentions that I havenÂ’t listed yet included DeVotchKa, Hot Chip, Justin Timberlake (donÂ’t hate!), Lady Sovereign, Lupe Fiasco, Osvaldo Golijov, Strokes, Tom Waits, The Weepies, and Yo La Tengo.
In all, you recommended 161 different artists, groups or soundtracks, from genres including rock, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, jazz, opera, folk, filmi, African, Latin, Sufi and more.
Some of you took the time to write comments alongside your submissions. ThereÂ’s some really good music criticism out there in Sepia-land. But the comment that really struck me the most wasnÂ’t to do with a specific song or artist. It was about the way people experience music in real life: spontaneous, disorganized, and free of the curatorial biases of critics, labels, genres, tastemakers, and year-end lists. From the real world of Virginia where she does the LordÂ’s work edumaca(ca)tinÂ’ the youth, Coach Diesel reports:
My kids are mixing Punjabi MC/ Bhangra mixes with live snare samba rhythms on the playing field. The bandleader sets up turntables, a DVD player/burner and then they mix it up with the marching band. So we got samba (Brazilian), Bhangra (Indian) and Southern American Hip-Hop when the Bandleader starts rhyming along with the steppers, who add percussion.
AND FINALLY… THE IST AWARD
You KNOW folks were late submitting their ballots, and you KNOW they played the IST card to excuse their procrastination. But the IST prize goes to Terence, whose entry arrived this morning. Sorry, man, IÂ’m done with my spreadsheet. But your choices matched up nicely with the final list!
A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THE VOTERS
Maximum respect to: Abhi, AC, Ali, Amelie-Freak, Ankur, Arti, Arun, Ashvin, AT, Brimful, Camille, Cicatrix, Coach Diesel, Daniel, Deepa, Deepak, DesiDancer, Dhaavak, DJ Drrrty Poonjabi, Drac, DTK, Hemant, Hemu, Himali, Jai Singh, Jeet, Kenyandesi, Kurma, Milind, Msichana, Neal S., Neale, Neha, Nik, Nikhil, PG, Pied Piper, Pooja, Rano, Red Snapper, Rekha, Saheli, Sarosh, Shireen, Shodan, Shree, Shruti, Sonia Kaur, Sriram, Suneer, Talia, Tamasha, Tapti, Taz, Tony, Ylrsings.
If anyone would like to help make this post more interactive, please suggest links or web pages for the various artists in the comment thread.
Peace to James Brown! WeÂ’ll play again next year!