‘Aumbabuluba Balmambi’: The onomatopoeia that ushered in ‘rock and roll’

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admin April 9, 2022
Updated 2022/04/09 at 12:06 PM
‘Aumbabuluba Balmambi’: The onomatopoeia that ushered in ‘rock and roll’
'Aumbabuluba Balmambi': The onomatopoeia that ushered in 'rock and roll' Listen to this article

Just as no one has been able to dispel the exact definition of the explosive Little Richard’s “Aumbabuluba Balmambi” rock and roll, Nor has anyone been able to explain its meaning better than Nick Cohn. That scream, that indecipherable onomatopoeia that says more than 10 verses, that seeps through bones and explodes like a rocket into the brain and entrails, would never have been explained if Kohn’s book hadn’t come out in 1969. Not Required, which under the same title as the spectacular scream that took Elvis Presley’s version to infinity and beyond, it became an instant classic. The volume managed to capture the essence of the sound that quickly came to be called pop and was composed, in the words of the British author, of “crude, powerful, tremendously loud electric guitars that arrived in the space age as musical monsters”. and immediately destroyed all conventions up to that time.

Through his deep thinking and spirited teaching style, Nick Cohn’s book changed the lives of many people as well.

Those guitars changed the lives of the generation that grew up after World War II, opening up a world of possibilities. Through his keen thinking and enthusiastic teaching style, this book also changed the lives of many. “It could never be so surprisingly simple”, says Cohn, when writing about fifties pop, which was first molded with school. rock and roll, The sentence can also be a good belt phrase for your book. umbabuluba balambamb, golden age of rock and roll, a wonderfully simple act that combines a fun, honest and fresh reading with a very personal and candid approach. Publishing house La Felguera is now recovering it with the passion of the subversive spirit with which it was born in the midst of a countercultural wave when pop was already of legal age and in the case of Spain, when this movement was still a flash one. On the horizon of a society that lived in the tormented black and white of Francoism.

As stated in the introduction to the re-issue, it was published in Spain by Nostromo Publishing House in 1973, thanks to the impetus of Manuel Arroyo-Stephens, who founded the Turner Bookstore in Madrid, founded by Franco Reigns. Sold censored books and who became translators of English origin. Over time, the book was discontinued and became a collector’s item for music lovers, such as this one. One Lost of a Pioneer rock and roll, being found at exorbitant prices in vintage stores. That’s why this re-issue has now been given a celebratory character and a grateful preface has been added by writer Kiko Amat, a Spanish firm that has done most to spread the value of pop culture. “Cohn came to popular music and said, before anyone else, this is this and this is for it. It’s called pop. Go ahead and use it, man,” Amat writes.

Nick Cohn is pop. The son of historian Norman Cohn and a teenager who spent his days in the fifties writing music magazine articles in a record store and in London and Newcastle clubs. what in, he was 22 when he posted Aumbabuluba Balambambi. And his book, therefore, pops out from all sides, from top to bottom. His merit is not only in teaching the virtues of that musical movement. underground, which tackles sex without complications and the rage of juvenile delinquency, but in living it in the first person, tells anecdotes of his encounters with certain musicians and, in particular, the last of that socio-cultural explosion. reaches the secret. Each page is even more exciting than the last to explore the fascinating power of youth culture through music. “The only thing that was taboo was boredom,” he says.

Nick Cohn’s visionary analysis is astonishing when he concludes that pop will end with “no screaming or kicking”, “polite applause in large theaters” and “plastic forms and masterpieces that make music”.

The book goes from the brutal dismemberment of Elvis Presley – “the symbol that pops need and the exclusive property of Teenager” – and the legacy of all pioneers until 1969, the year of Woodstock and the beginning of the end with the death of The Beatles and the Dream hippie, On that date, Cohn locks himself in a cabin in Ireland so that he can write the book and have it delivered in record time, with a conclusion: not only has pop become boring, but it has become a part of the “sophisticated elite”. Purpose is “a prefabricated product”. And his visionary analysis is astonishing when he concludes that pop would end with “no screaming or kicking”, “gentle applause in great theatres” and “music creating plastic forms and masterpieces”. “None of this interests me,” he says. “Because I lean toward the image, toward the heroic…and toward a sound that should be loud, fun, erotic, Passionate, a little epic”. Kohan may have thought of committing suicide due to the disruption of indie and post-punk.

The best art always carries a contradiction. If Elvis was a revolutionary of everything without any claim, then Cohn was the anti-music who became the great musical signature of his time and those to come. The last thing he wanted was to give intellectual gravity to popular music and end up giving a philosophy of how to understand it, how to relate to it. His thinking is still illuminated because of his humour, but also because of his combative attitude. Write like you are the genius behind a song. With the same courage, with the same goal, more—and this is something important—with the same prejudice he doesn’t like. This is often referred to as its “own metric system”. Kohn’s belief is needed to show his fears to give more value to his passion. Thus he dismisses without half measures turn -“oldest Publicity of all time” – for Bob Dylan – “He annoys me so much, he frustrates me” – for Brian Wilson pet sound —“He had become so arrogant and wanted to run so precious that he lost his hat” – for the Motown or Laurel Canyon scene. He is indestructible in his pop militancy and the man behind the book is always seen, something that, while not shared or discredited by such blunt views, is appreciated, even more so in these politically correct days. in.

No book has been so important to appreciate the best era of popular music. In recent times, the closest thing, though not quite the same, is the bird’s eye view of Bob Stanley. Yes! Yes! Yes!, The History of Pop from Bill Haley to Beyoncé. Furthermore, critics such as Grail Marcus, Simon Reynolds or John Savage have produced great socio-cultural reflection essays; Musicologists such as Charlie Gillett, Peter Guralnik or Peter Doggett have left scholarly works of historical depth, and composers such as David Byrne have given valuable views on the art of music. But Nick Cohn’s got none: In the heart of pop. It was the first and probably the only one.

book cover

Author: Nick Cohn.

translate: Manuel Arroyo-Stephens and Sylvia Palacios.

Editorial: Felguera, 2022.

draft: Soft cover (404 pages, 23 euros).

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