Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Saturday, October 28, 2006

YouTube, iPods and Internet Artistry

Unlike most teenagers for whom virtual interaction with strangers via MySpace is as natural as, well, speeding tickets, I am still amazed when I find myself interacting with someone who I only “met” on the Internet – could be someone who commented on this blog … or even someone I “know” only from the cover of a music CD.

I had 2 separate but similar experiences with this recently.

Two weeks ago, I was trying to create a music video playlist on YouTube to mimic my favorite iPod playlist.

I was searching for a video of Pagode do Maracanã by Kátia Moraes, a phenomenal Brasilian singer now living in LA. You can hear the song (and others) here.

So, I was searching for her video, and failing.

But I did discover a backstage video of Katia and her fellow bandmembers in Pure Samba rehearsing. Among the comments below the video was a poster named “katiamoraes.” Right, so I emailed her. And soon found myself enjoying an ongoing exchange with an artist who up until that moment I had only admired silently from afar. Weird, and wonderful.

My first encounter with Internet artistry was even stranger.

I had lost a cassette tape with one of my all-time favorite albums by a now defunct reggae/ska band called the Blue Riddim Band.

The tape I lost was "Alive in Jamaica” – a live recording of their 1982 concert at Jamaica’s annual (and legendary) Reggae Sunsplash.

A brilliant musical moment under a full moon. And I only had an empty cassette box as a painful reminder of it.

Enter the Internet. I googled the band and sent “out of the blue” emails to anyone who had mentioned them online. Crazy … but not useless. I found someone on MySpace who has mp3 versions of all the songs on "Alive in Jamaica," as well as an earlier album. Jackpot! In celebration, I posted a favorite Blue Riddim song on my blog (where it remains).

Hit play and enjoy Nancy Reagan

Not long after that, I received my own “out of the blue” email from someone named Howard -- he was the original guitarist in Blue Riddim Band. We exchanged a bunch of emails about the band, their Sunsplash concerts and how on earth I ended up so obsessed with their music and a lost tape. Even got me hooked up with some underground concert tapes of Blue Riddim.

Cool ... and totally unimaginable without the Internet.


Katia Moraes said...

HI Jeff,
The "backstage video" at the Ford Theatre presents musicians from another project of mine called "Pure Samba" (not Sambaguru members). They are: Ted Falcon on violin (special guest that nite), Rebecca Kleimann on flute (also a guest that nite) and Mitchell Long on acoustic guitar.
All the best,
Katia : )

Jeff Kaplan said...

Thanks, Katia! My mistake. And I'm very happy that Ted, Rebecca and Mitchell now make their official appearance. There seemed to be much joy among you as you riffed backstage.

And as you know, I can't say enough about your music. I just love it!

Jeff Kaplan said...

Oh, and I've corrected the blog entry so Pure Samba is properly noted.

Thx again and best wishes for the holidays. I know you have a busy schedule of gigs. Enjoy!

Richard Johnson said...

Lived in Kansas City in the '80's and loved this band. I've recenlty been singing the Nancy Regan song out of no where and am dying to find this album. Was hoping iTunes might have it, but alas NO! These guys were great with all the horns, ska sound. We need to find ways of getting them back or at least getting their albums in a place to fans can re-discover this great contributer to the history of Reggae music.

Jeff said...

Thx Richard!

I can email you a mp3 file of Nancy Reagan if you like. Just email me with your email -- mine is near top of my blog homepage.

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Hey Jeff,
I would really like to get copies of the mp3's you mentioned. I've been trying to find Blue Ribbon Band music files for a few years now. I saw them perform as Blue Riddim Band and later as Strategic Dance Initiative. I've lost my vinyl & cassette tape. I'm trying to find the songs from two albums; Restless Spirit and Live from Jamaica. I would be thankful for information on those files. Regards, Kelly

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff,
I used to play keyboards with Blue Riddim Band back in the summer of 1985, right around the time of the Grammy nomination. What a fine bunch of cats and stellar true to the real vibe of Jamaican Reggae! I just learned tonight that Scotty has passed away and I am heartbroken. The 56 cities I did with the band made up the most memorable summer of my life !
Jimmy, the B-3 guy

Jeff said...

Thanks, Jimmy. You are now the 2nd former member of Blue Riddim to contact me since I posted my affection for the band. The other member was Howard, the band's original guitarist.

Some great things never die. I count Blue Riddim's music among them.

Anonymous said...


Great news, a bunch of the Blue Riddim guys got together recently and recorded a new CD. Howard and Jimmy both did thier tracks long distance. It's primarily dub versions of some of their favourite Studio One riddims. I've heard the first five tracks and they're killer. BTW, there is a live show on itunes now. Drop me an email and I'll link you up.