Friday, December 21, 2007

Charles Wakefield Cadman was an American composer who was fascinated by Native American culture. He wrote a successful series of atmospheric song cycles inspired by his studies of tribal music, which today are typically dismissed as naive, romantic misapprehensions of a strikingly unfamiliar world.

If that isn't a good blanket description of the entire musical genre of Exotica, it isn't far from the mark. For my current project, UKEBOX EXOTICA, I've been rummaging around the discard bins of popular music for lost threads of this enduring fabulist tapestry, one dominated today by the legacies of Martin Denny and Les Baxter. The work of Charles Wakefield Cadman proves to be a rich source of melody and mood.

For a little while I'll be posting here a GarageBand arrangement of The Rainbow Waters Whisper, the third in his 1913 cycle of four songs, "Idyls Of The South Sea." As soon as I figure out a ukulele part for me to play, I'm taking it down, so check it out now.

Charles Wakefield Cadman "Idyls Of The South Seas" III The Rainbow Waters Whisper - arranged by Steven Strauss

Here's a 1937 TIME article about gum chewing Charlie Cadman.

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