07 May 2007

Monday's mp3: From underground to Underground

I recently was asked to research a rumor. Downtown Olympia, the whispers said, may be laced with secret tunnels. I had my doubts, but the local theorists bolstered their tunnel visions with enough shreds of truth to afford some credibility, mentioning known tunnels beneath The Evergreen State College and surmising that the tunnels ran from the state capitol building to certain establishments downtown. A relic of Prohibition days, perhaps, with Legislators sneaking off for a drink and a little gypsy jazz.

So I put on my investigating shoes and overcoat and hat with the little press card, and set off sleuthing. I roughed up some reluctant sources at city hall (well, okay, I phoned them) and got squat for my efforts.

The story went nowhere. And I won't get paid a dime for my work. I should have suspected the truth, not least because much of downtown Oly is built on fill in what used to be the Deschutes River delta, and would be below sea level. Still, there's an enticing romance about the idea. Maybe the tunnels are there, and someday one of my sources will talk.

Until then, the word-association lobe of my brain is going this direction: tunnels=> underground=> Underground (the 1995 Emir Kusturica's movie)=> Balkan brass bands=> "Brass Unbound" (an out-of-print 2000 book subtitled "Secret children of the colonial brass band)=> Slobodan Salijevic. Which brings us to the music.

[mp3] Slobodan Salijevic: A Moj Babi

According to the notes, this recording was made at the Guca brass band festival in 1986. Barely 18 years old, Salijevic earned a Golden Trumpet for this recording of a traditional Serbian song. And his Gypsy family band from the village of Prekodolce later would provide the music in all Kosturica films. You can hear more of Salijevic's music on the compilation Golden Brass Summit.
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