Archive for August, 2008


Who are you, dear readers ?

31 August 2008

After five months and thirty posts (and not a lot of comments… yet), I was wondering who is reading me. Here are some questions about you and about the blog, I’m impatient to read your answers in the comments !

  • How did you discover my blog ?
  • What kind of other musical style are you into ?
  • Do you even like yodel, if yes why ?
  • Is there any kind of yodel you’re eager to discover: American yodels, Swiss yodels, yodels from odd countries, yodels in rock, in country, in children’s music, in jazz, in blues, in classical music, yodels in movies, yodels in commercials, others ?
  • Do you want other eerie things like throat singing or whistling ?
  • Do you have great yodels you’d like to share ?
  • Would you be interested to write guest posts ?

Thanks for your answers, any suggestions are welcome !

Yodelingly yours, Daisy Montana


Do they yodel in DR Congo ?: Wendo Kolosoy

31 August 2008

Antoine Kalosoyi, known to all as Wendo Kolosoy, was born in 1925 in northwestern Congo, then under Belgian colonial rule. He became an orphan in his early childhood and was taken to live with the Christian Brothers where he began to sing and play guitar. Expelled by them because of the lyrics of his songs, he became a professional boxer and worked as a sailor but soon started a career as singer in the mid 40s with his band, Victoria Bakolo Miziki. His first succes came with Marie-Louise in 1948, a song he would re-record many times. He was the first superstar of Congolese music and the founder of the Congolese rumba. He decided to stop performing in the 60s because of the political situation of the country and because he didn’t want to sing praises of Mobutu. In the 90s, he restarted his career and recorded new albums, a bit like the Buena Vista Social Club. He died on July 28, 2008.

He sings in this old-fashioned style, with a hoarse voice, swirling guitars and short but vigorous yodels that became his trademark. He could yodel from the beginning of his career, even if I found no evidence of that in the recorded songs, but I’m sure lots of vinyls must exist somewhere. Here’s what he says in an interview:

AW: So did you already [in the 50s] have that high head voice, then? Your trademark yodeling sound?

WENDO: Yes. To find this voice was not easy. Lots of people were after me to know how to do that, even poor [Grand] Kalle.

AW: Who inspired that?

WENDO: Nobody. I don’t know how I got that. It’s a gift from God. People really went for that, especially the little ones. They would ask me in the street. “Wendo, Wendo. How do you do that? How can I do that?”

So here are songs recorded in 1999 in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and in 2002 in Kinshasa with the remaining members of his old orchestra, Victoria Bakolo Miziki. It were favorable sessions for yodels it seems, I found most of them in these songs. I included two older versions of songs as example of his early style but they don’t contain any yodel.

Youyou aleli veka (1999, with Victoria Bakolo Miziki)

Paul Kamba (1999, with Victoria Bakolo Miziki) and Paul Kamba atiki biso (1950, Ngoma 234)

Marie Louise (2002, with Rumbanella Band) and Marie Louise (cha cha version from 1958, with Beguen Band, Ngoma 1842)

Victoria Apiki Dalapo (2002, with Victoria Bakolo Miziki)

Soki oyoki Victoria (1999, with Victoria Bakolo Miziki)

Essengo Ya Ngai Wendo na Moundanda (2002, with Antoine Moundanda playing the likembe thumb piano)

Link 1: biography and discography


Interlude: do they yodel on other blogs ?: Big Rock Candy Mountain

26 August 2008

Big Rock Candy Mountain presents this week a post about Thee Mysterious Asthmatic Avenger, a very strange person who is probably from France and… who yodels in My name is Jesus. I remember I found the site of this singer some time ago, in one of my many google searches about yodel, but I didn’t have a blog yet.


Do they yodel in the USA ? (or is it in China ?): Abigail Washburn

24 August 2008

Another woman, another style, another time.

Abigail Washburn is American but she has studied Chinese language and music. She integrates these influences in her music that is also inspired by the traditions of the Appalachian like old time and bluegrass. She played first in Uncle Earl, then made a solo album and is now part of the Sparrow Quartet (Béla Fleck, Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee are the other musicians). Together they made a wonderful album oscillating between american old time and chinese classical music. And she yodels ! Her yodels are completely different from the ones of Carolina Cotton, they are long and languorous, dreamy and quite celestial.

In Overture, the non-lyric vocals have a yodel style, along the sounds of the banjo that is infused with oriental style. She does it again in Great Big Wall in China, with her fragile and delicate voice. And the rest of the album is great too, it is one of my favourites for the moment ! Go buy it, you won’t regret it.


Great Big Wall in China

Link 1: Abigail Washburn’s official site, with her discography

Link 2: myspace

Link 3: review of the album

Link 4: Great Big Wall in China live


Do they yodel in the USA ?: Carolina Cotton

17 August 2008

There are not a lot of woman yodelers on this site… yet ! So this is a post about Carolina Cotton, the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell, who is a very fine yodeler, even better than Patsy Montana or Rosalie Allen say some ! Her songwriting and yodels are indeed very good, original and fresh.

Carolina Cotton was born as Helen Hagstrom on October 20th, 1929 in a Sweedish-American family and was raised in a farm in Arkansas, before her family moved to San Francisco in 1937. As a little girl, she loved going to the movies to see westerns and listened to the radio, singing along the songs and even trying to yodel. She soon began to sing and yodel in revues (and even appeared at the 1939 San Francisco World Fair) and relocated in 1944 to Hollywood where she played in movies and joined the Spade Cooley Orchestra. It was at that time “the” place for western swing. She had the opportunity to compose a lot of songs and tour with the bands of famous musicians like Tex Williams, Bob Wills or even the Sons of the Pioneers. She would say that she was their only “daughter”.

By the mid-50’s, she got married and had children and performed less and less to concentrate on her family. She became a teacher and worked in a department store. She passed away on June 10th 1997, leaving her recordings and movies.

My selection of songs is a bit arbitrary: songs with yodel in the title… I love to yodel and Mockingbird yodel were recorded in 1946 for the King label with Hank Penny and his band. The first song was written by Carolina, the second one by her former bandleader Dude Martin. I love to yodel was used in at least four films: Apache Country where Gene Autry yodels her tune, Smoky River Serenade, where she played… herself, Texas Panhandle, with the Spade Cooley Band and I’m from Arkansas. Yodel mountain was a Snader Telescription, recorded with Bob Wills in 1951. Yodel, yodel, yodel was used in another Gene Autry film, Blue Canadian Rockies. The song came out in december 1953, at the moment Hank Williams died and didn’t have a lot of publicity because of that.

And then also Nola, recorded in the same session as Yodel, yodel, yodel, because it is the showcase of her yodeling talent ! You have the illusion her yodel is echoing across the mountaintop: it is in fact due to the “sound-on-sound” technique, a technological breakthrough in times before multitracking.

Her yodels are full of joy and humor, clear and crisp, and her lyrics are often about the relations between man and women, but told in a very clever way. And now some trivia: she said she preferred to yodel in her bare feet, so she “could get a good toe-hold” when she yodeled !

I love to yodel

Mockinbird yodel

Yodel mountain

Yodel, yodel, yodel


Link 1: her fansite, full of information written by her family, and an album, also available on itunes

Link 2: Binge Discs with lots of interesting albums, and this Carolina Cotton album

Link 3: her page on IMDB

Link 4: Snader Telescription of Three miles South of Cash, Bob Wills and Carolina Cotton, with interesting links about the telescriptions.

Link 5: youtube clips

(thanks Bart for the info !)


Interlude: do they yodel on other blogs ?: Music for Maniacs & Schadenfreudian Therapy

11 August 2008

On Schadenfreudian Therapy this week, there’s a complete LP of Elton Britt and on Music for Maniacs, there’s this strange song about a yodeling Chinaman by George Van Dusen. Just go there to listen !


Do they yodel in Papua New Guinea ?: the Huli

10 August 2008

Huli Wigman from the Southern HighlandsDo they yodel in such a remote place as Papua New Guinea ? Yes they do ! The country is inhabited by different ethnic groups, most of them live very isolated.

The Huli are the most important ethnic group in the Southern Highlands province. They are characterised by their headdresses: at great ceremonies, singsings, men wear big wigs made of human hair and they paint their faces red and yellow, the colors of the birds of paradise.

They yodel in different occasions. Here are two examples: the first one (Ho) is an exchange of calls between men in the mountains. It was recorded by Charles Duvelle (a renowned French field recorder) in 1974 in the Yugu of the Huli group in the region of Hedemari (a sub-district of Koroba, in the Southern Highlands district). It comes from the Philips Prophet cd Papua New Guinea. Huli (Highlands).

The second type of yodel is Mali iwa. It is a war song and ritual dance, sometimes accompanied by drums and with yodel that sometimes imitate the cry of the paradise bird. Here are three versions. The first one is from the same cd as above, recorded in 1974. The two others were recorded between 1992 and 1993 by Manuel Gomes and are edited on the cd Music of Papua New Guinea (Buda).

If I could find the lp Music of the Huli, Papua Niugini, edited by Musicaphon, I could propably give you more examples…



Mali Iwa

Mali Iwa 2

Link 1: Huli language and sociolinguistic change

Link 2: interviews of Charles Duvelle (in french)


Do they yodel in the USA ?: Faun Fables

3 August 2008

It’s not only in country music that you can find yodel. Other styles like rock, jazz, bues or soul include sometimes yodels in the songs. So what about the Faun Fables ? Singer Dawn McCarthy has the ability to yodel but she also experiences a lot with her voice, trying strange things, sometimes beyond reason or feasibility. Here is what her site says about her: “Dawn McCarthy is a writer, singer and theater artist whose work is a sea of gorgeous elemental nitty gritty; haunting melodies, breath, stomping, and natural theatricality led by the voice, rooted in the physical body. It is a crossroads where ancient ballad, art song, physical theater and rock music meet. Her lyrics speak to people of all ages about things like rugged housekeeping, street kids, growing old, sleepwalking and exiled travelers returning home.

And here is what she says about yodeling in an interview by Bart Plantenga: “My first inspiration was a woman ‘Liisa,’ from the old record ‘Liisa Yodels.’ … Certainly all the yodellers that’ve inspired me are of the swiss style – fast, melodic and doll-like, somehow. Can I also put in a vote here for pygmy yodelling? Which is quite a different character – almost entirely spiritual and waif sounding. Regarding other music, I am influenced by things that sound remote – growing out of some tree in a wood. Well, OK, that’s figuratively speaking – but I do love a variety of what seems to be obscure music. The melodies used in Norwegian folk music really rang true in me – they have no “scales” per se as traditional western music favors. I am biased toward any good vocal music; over the top singers, wild screamers, exacting polished singers that sound like a reed instrument…anything that guts or charms me… Brigitte Fontaine, Iva Bittova, Dimi Mint Abba, Demis Roussos, Eva Demarczek, Robin Williamson, a flamenco singer named Lole…

In Ode to rejection, the yodel sounds melancholic, eerie, mysterious but is also really melodious at the same time. Bliss is a traditional Swiss yodel song, but a strange one. Wait for a post about Erika Stucky and you’ll hear other things in the style. Mouse song is quite funny, with spoken word at the beginning and is also based on a traditional Swiss song. Honey baby blues is a traditional song that was played by Clarence Ashley or Doc Watson. It is in Appalachian old time style, with no yodel but falsetto.

Faun Fables:

Ode to rejection


Honey baby blues (all from Early Song, recorded in 1999)

Mouse song (from Family Album, recorded in 2003)

Link 1: myspace

Link 2: Drag City