The May Day Orchestra | Ota Benga

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Ota Benga

by The May Day Orchestra

Defying an exact genre classification, a variety of instruments support a set of songs about the strange journey of Ota Benga's life. Layers of guitars, strings, horns, drums and a lead pedal steel work to tie together the larger story.
Genre: Rock: Experimental Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Never A Fair Wind Home
6:20 album only
2. Dreamed Another Circus
4:23 album only
3. Forced March
3:43 album only
4. Death Walks Along This Road
2:54 album only
5. The Irish Orphan
3:47 album only
6. Forced March II
6:50 album only
7. The Horror
4:24 album only
8. The Spectacle
3:11 album only
9. The Execution Of Sir Roger Casement
2:24 album only
10. The Suicide Of Ota Benga
8:22 album only


Album Notes
The May Day Orchestra is a collective group of musicians formed from several Saint Louis bands. Songwriter Tim Rakel of The Union Electric and members of the bands Tenement Ruth collaborated on this recording. Guest appearances by members of Theodore, Grace Basement, Rusty Nail and The Rats And People Motion Picture Orchestra also lend their different styles to a common vision of presenting original music.

This particular musical piece revolves around the historical figure for which the record is named. Ota Benga was a pygmy man who was taken from the Belgian Congo and brought to the United States as part of the 1904 World's Fair in Saint Louis. The songs on the record follow his journey from family tragedy and slavery to life as an anthropology exhibit. While the songs give some history of the Congo, layers of instrumentation connect the parts of the story and provide some sonic landscapes as well.

The May Day Orchestra:
Tim Rakel - vocals, guitar, banjo, kalimba, shruti box
Melissa Anderson - guitars, vocals, lap steel, bass
Dave Anderson - pedal steel, trumpet, banjo, keyboard
Josh Weinstein - acoustic bass
Mary Williams - drums
and guests
JJ Hamon - trombone
Chad Ross - accordion
Brien Seyle - fiddle, viola
Kevin Buckley - fiddle

Music by The May Day Orchestra
Words by Tim Rakel
Published by Trashcanvas (ASCAP)

Recorded by Kevin Buckley
Mastered by Carl Saff
Cover Painting by Dana Smith

Rankoutsider Records (2010)
Outsider 31 (also available as a double vinyl LP)

The May Day Orchestra
PO Box 63098
Saint Louis, MO 63163



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