Friday, October 26, 2007

A Number of Names - Sharevari



"The Scene" is the name of a long-running local dance program in Detroit that ended in the early 80s. An economic upswing there contributed to the rise of a black middle class which in turn generated an audience for tracks like 'Sharevari' by A Number of Names.

One of the founding tracks of Detroit techno, the track is was named after a local club night, which had taken its name from a french clothing label, Charevari, and the spelling was changed to avoid trademark conflict.

- The artist name stems from a paternity problem - when they were supposed to be interviewed on the air by a radio DJ a whole crowd of people showed up who then could not agree on what the name of the group was - "A Number of Names" means there was no name, and thus no father for the song.

see here for more info on the group.

- Interestingly enough, the name 'Charevari' shows up in Madame Bovary: At the opening of the novel when young Charles Bovary is first asked by the teacher what is name is, he blurts out
stupidly Charbovari - the students then taunt him by repeating the name. A scholarly footnote to the passage notes:
"they are enacting a spontaneous collective pun. Originally the charivari was a serenade of rough music made by a crowd of villagers banging on kettles and pans under the windows of the newly-wed couple. It was used especially to deride an incongruous marriage."

So at the birth of American techno, there's already a kind of mockery of marriage and fatherhood - the rise of electronic music and its sample-remix culture taking apart the previous shapes of artistic parentage.

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