TVD Recommends: A DC Record Store Listening Party With Electric Cowbell, Lost Origin Sound Series, and The Vinyl District, 4/6

On Sunday, April 6, The Vinyl DistrictLost Origin Sound Series and Electric Cowbell Records will do a listening party tour of local Washington, DC-area brick-and-mortar record stores from 12PM-6PM.

We’ll play Ancient Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs from Aleppo in its entirety and be giving away free download cards for the album and have free coffee courtesy of local small batch coffee roasters, Zeke’s Coffee. The album will be released on Record Store Day April 19, 2014.

12:00PM Som Records
1:00PM Crooked Beat Records
2:00PM Red Onion Records
3:00PM Hill and Dale Records
4:00PM Blue Groove Soundz
5:00PM CD Cellar

What do two old-school punk rock drummers have in common? Apparently they both share an interest in ancient Sufi chants from Syria. On Record Store Day, April 19, 2014, Electric Cowbell Records and Lost Origin Sound Series join forces to release a limited-edition album titled “Ancient Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs from Aleppo” by a secretive group of Sufi musicians known as NAWA.

Jim Thomson, one of the original drummers for Gwar and SST band Alter Natives, runs Electric Cowbell out of his home in Arlington, while keeping a small warehouse in Brooklyn.

He met Frodus drummer Jason Hamacher through an email introduction by Brian Lowit, who manages Dischord Records. Dischord started distributing the eclectic world music catalog of Electric Cowbell when Thomson became a local DC-area resident in 2011. Hamacher recalls, “I wanted to make an album for 2014 Record Store Day but had no idea what to do. Brian Lowit told me Dischord distributed a world music label from Arlington, Electric Cowbell, that did really well for past Record Store Days. I set up a meeting with Electric Cowbell in hopes of getting insight on my vision to release a 4-volume series called Sacred Voices of Syria.”

Ancient Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs from Aleppo is a beautiful album of sacred Sufi chanting and haunting melodies captured in Syria months before civil war erupted in 2010. It was recorded by Jason Hamacher in the courtyard of a 500-year-old-house in Aleppo, one of the world’s oldest cities. There in 2009 in Aleppo, a small group of Sufi musicians known as NAWA banded together to preserve the nearly forgotten melodies, songs, and poems unique to the ancient city.

Hamacher heard about this secretive music group that practiced “the old traditions.” Intrigued by the mysterious description, Hamacher sought an introduction to the group through a mutual friend and became one of the first Westerners to hear NAWA preform. NAWA performed in public a handful of times before Syria erupted into civil war. The group’s displaced members are now scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East.

So the two label heads are now friends and comrades in arms. They are pleased to offer this rare gem of an album. Both feel that the project fits in with the original philosophy of Record Store Day in making a special record that’s exclusive to independent record stores to help drum up business.

This is not some overpriced, rehashed reissue stuffed in some inflated packaging. Because of sensitivity to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and devastating war in Syria, they wanted to present the album as a testament to the endurance of human spirit that has kept this music alive and made this recording possible.

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