Saturday, May 23, 2015

22. Paul Simon - Graceland

Flickr Download DeviantArt

The original album cover art design depicts Saint George from an ancient Ethiopian manuscript called a harag dating back to the late 15th century. Saint George is the patron saint of Ethiopia. There is a
cathedral of Saint George in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Saint George is often depicted in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian art where his icons are placed next to the Virgin Mary. One such
depiction is a mural in the church of Mengitsu Berhan Selassie in Gondar.

African art was the main influence of Proto-Cubism. The Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), one of the early cubist works of Pablo Picasso, the co-founder of the Cubist movement,
is classified under his African-influenced period.

The work above is a primitive study in cubism and an experiment of the use of the craquelure texturizing tool. The original album cover art design was halved and pasted at left.
The other half was pasted at right. It was reduced so that its outer frame would fit into the borders of the left half. My intention was not clear as I was doing this, but it 
transformed the horse into a galloping mood.

Here is the work of Pablo Picasso. The eyes are always facing up front even if the head is facing to the side.

Saint George slaying the dragon, a popular subject in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian iconography.

This is the original album cover art design.

No. 18, Entertainment Weekly, 100 Greatest Albums Ever; No. 43, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000; No. 71, Rolling Stone, The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time;
No. 85, Rate Your Music, The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 124, Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time.

Centre image from Ethiopia, The Christian Art of an African Nation: The Langmuir Collection, Peabody Museum of Salem by Elizabeth Cross Langmuir,
Stanisław Chojnacki, Peter Fetchko, Peabody Museum of Salem. Photo by Mark Sexton. Album produced by Paul Simon. Warner Brothers 1986.

Recorded between 1985–86, Graceland features an eclectic mixture of musical styles, including pop, rock, a cappella, zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga.
Simon created new compositions inspired by the recordings made in Johannesburg, collaborating with both African and American artists. Simon faced controversy
for seemingly breaking the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa at the time. In addition, some critics
viewed Graceland as an exploitive appropriation of their culture. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, combining the
music of Graceland and their own music.

Despite the controversy, Graceland was a major commercial hit. His highest-charting effort in over a decade, Simon's return to the forefront of popular music was
considered a remarkable comeback. It attracted rave reviews from music critics, won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and sold over 16 million copies
worldwide. Graceland has been called one of the best albums of the 1980s, and is present on list of "greatest" albums by multiple publications. It was added to
the National Recording Registry in 2007 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important." More

(A) The Boy in the Bubble - Graceland - I Know What I Know - Gumboots - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

(B) You Can Call Me Al - Under African Skies - Homeless - Crazy Love, Vol. II - That Was Your Mother - All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints

"Township Jive" (not in album) live from benbruch on YouTube.