Cocoringo's Circadian Sounds: Ethiopian Edition


Give us this day our "daily" song


The Making of Backroad Carnival, chapter 6: Pigeon Man


I used to live in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, overlooking the Bassin de la Villette, a neighborhood replete with cultural barges, movie theaters, breweries and more. When the weather is nice, huge crowds of people come hang on the canal to play boules and myriad other games, have jam sessions, et “pour prendre l’apéro”. […]

The Making of Backroad Carnival, chapter 5: Tattered Flag


As one might expect, I was listening to a lot of Congolese music when I came up with the intro riff of this tune. It then sat around in my mind for a while before I conjoined it with a few other musical ideas. It’s sort of soukous, pop, and blues all wrapped into one […]

The Making of Backroad Carnival, chapter 4: Hawk On A Haystack


Hodgepodge This tune is a good example of what happens when a bunch of ideas get mixed up in a bubbling cauldron and put on low heat for a year or three. I’m pretty sure I started hashing out the clawhammer banjo part based on various old-time motifs. It’s in Cumberland Gap tuning (fDGCD, capo […]

The Making of Backroad Carnival, chapter 3: Sell You My Soul


Inspiration In May 2014, I went on an epic field recording trip through the heartland of Ethiopia with a team of non-academics led by Quino Piñero and Jonathan Banes. The goal was to get 1) lots of footage for the beautiful film Roaring Abyss directed by Quino, and 2) high quality audio for a groovy compilation […]

The Making of Backroad Carnival, chapter 2: Picayune Baliverne


Picayune Baliverne. The title comes from two words I like a lot that could roughly translate as “Insignificant Nonsense”. I thought this was an amusing way to kick things off. Here are the actual definitions. Picayune: 1. adjective informal petty; worthless. 2. noun a small coin of little value, especially a 5-cent piece. 3. informal […]

The Making of Backroad Carnival, Chapter 1: The Artwork


The next series of posts will dig into my new album, Backroad Carnival. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get into the nitty gritty to a) explain how the musical ideas took shape, b) unpack some of the themes raised in the lyrics, c) recount some of the stories/anecdotes that spawned some of […]

Damakase, Ethiopian groove


Having terribly neglected this blog for a while, I’m back. This hereby marks the end of my Ethiopia-based posts (of which there have been far too few due to poor internet in country and life getting in the way!). As a last, bittersweet nod to my former life in Addis, here are a few clips […]

RIP Ethiopian Box Guitarist Mesfin Abebe


The death of the great Ethiopian box (acoustic) guitarist/singer Mesfin Abebe spurred me to revive this blog. A couple of years ago I had developed a project to interview and record Mesfin (and other box guitarists) that never saw the light due to personal and professional reasons. Now it will unfortunately never see the light, […]

Field Recording Trip in the Ethio-hinterlands: Day 10 of 10


Ouch. Due to other projects and general negligence on my end, it’s taken me over 2 months to tackle the final episode in this mini-series. Let’s hope things improve from here. May 20, 2014 Unbeknownst to me, this was to be my final full day on the recording trip. I hadn’t yet booked my return […]

Field Recording Trip in the Ethio-hinterlands: Day 9 of 10


Exhausted from the previous day’s work, we lazily drank coffee and ate inqulal firfir before packing the vehicle and driving to Sekota to try and find Quino’s phone, which he had forgotten at the ful place. Perhaps due to the generally languid state of the group, the drive back was even more nerve-racking than the […]