Tag Archives: audio obscurities

Karumanta – Without You

Release Name: Without You
Release Year: 200?
Identifiers: E.I. 359-CD
Format: CD
Country of Release: Somewhere south of Texas….
Genre(s): Panpipe pop covers

I haven’t done one of these in a long time. This doesn’t mean that I simply have not been visiting charity shops, boot sales and other places where junk collects, oh no I simply have been wasting my precious money on other rubbish.

I picked this CD up to simply make up some numbers with a small pick up from a local favorite shop of mine which calls itself the last chance saloon of charity shops. I kind of chanced on the CD hoping that it would be a rare occasion where I pick up something someone genuinely wants, a lá this Bolivian world music CD, which made someone very happy.

Well I lucked out with this one. I usually generally avoid pan-pipe music because well… must I really explain.

So what do Karumanta bring to the table with this release. 14 tracks of pop covers with, you guessed it, pan pipes! 14 tracks (12 of which are quite popular in the western world) of covers, all with low-budget karaoke backing tracks (why must this be a common theme?). No singing here, just pan pipes.

Admittedly the pan pipe blowing isn’t too terrible, aside from the general nature of the instrument being annoying for more than 30 seconds, and I do find covers of popular tracks using traditional instruments rather amusing. However throughout this album all I can think of is that South Park episode where the boys decide to start their own pan pipe (or should I say Peruvian flute) band to make some money.

Considering that episode aired in 2008, and this album was released somewhere after 2001 with the book referencing this bands works as far back as 1995, I do wonder what it was that finally stopped pan pipe music from being trendy.

3/5 as its an interesting listen at least.

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Belle Canto - Whipser of Angels

Belle Canto ‎- Whisper Of Angels

Release Name: Belle Canto ‎– Whisper Of Angels
Release Year: 200?
Identifiers: WEWOW.CO.UK 10171
Format: CD
Country of Release: England
Genre(s): Opera Pop, Classical Crossover

OK, I can’t go to hard on this. The CD has a clear intention, to raise money for a breast cancer charity – so my critical tongue will have to rest.

Belle Canto are a musical duo comprising of Michelle Crozier and Kyla Lingley. On this CD of 11 tracks they sing various popular Opera hits such as Ave Maria and Quando M’en vo and some more ‘pop’ tracks such as You Raise Me Up (popularised by Irish boy-band Westlife). This isn’t really anything that I would say I am keen on, or even remotely interested – but in the interests of this project I have listened to a few tracks.

What you get are two very talented singers, accompanied by the typical karaoke 80s Casio demo track style backing tracks. A shame but keeping in mind that this was likely done on a very small budget, I’ll let it pass.

Using the wonders of the internet both Michelle and Kyla are still pursuing their respective musical careers, however they do not appear to be performing as the duo.

The release is nicely produced in that we have a properly pressed CD (courtesy of WeWow) in a full size jewel case. My release is signed with the comment To Roger, Best Wishes Michelle x Kyla xo which would likely indicate that the CD’s were distributed at some kind of live event. A website also is stated on the back however it is no longer registered and Archive.org’s WayBackMachine doesn’t have any useful captures of it, as it appears to have been made during the Flash player phase of web development of the late 2000’s.

I think raising money for charity through the joy of music is a fantastic idea, and I wish there were more options out there to support it. The supported charity for this release is Breakthrough Breast Cancer (reg. charity number 1062636), who are still going but under a new brand name of Breast Cancer Now.

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Unknown Artist – PopSkool

Release Name: PopSkool
Release Year: 1991
Identifiers: PV2169FC
Format: Cassette
Country of Release: England
Genre(s): Pop, Karaoke

When I first came across this tape I was pretty convinced it would have been sold in an Early Learning Centre (ELC) for the 91/92 sales season. I can’t find anything to support this assumption so for now we will have to simply consider that this was for sale elsewhere (like Woolworths maybe). How did I come to that assumption, well I for one remember owning and all of my friends owning tapes like these – playing them back in novelty shaped cassette decks.

So what is it?

Imagine those sound-a-like records that seemed to be popular back in the 1970s… now imagine the tracks being sung by pre-teens with ametuer levels of talent. That is Popskool, I mean it’s on the cover Kids Sing the Hits in PopSkool (sick early 90s spelling of school there, totally RAD!). Apparently this was included with a VHS tape which I am still to locate, which might give a bit more context to why this cassette was made. However I doubt there really needs to be a reason for this to exist; it was sold to parents who had just bought their kid the latest in portable audio technology (I recall kids styled walkmans being popular even into the late 90s) but didn’t want to shell out on expensive albums or compilation tapes. This tape was the answer, easy, cheap and kid friendly entertainment which could only be enjoyed by a child.

I can’t be too mean, these are kids and I bet in 91 they were having a whale of a time recording these songs, but I don’t think there is anyone over the age of 12 that thinks the talent on show here is anything better than what you might find at any UK pub doing a karaoke evening on a Thursday night.

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