Sing Me A Song of Songmy

The following is from Alexander Mika’s class presentation:

Freddie Hubbard and İlhan Mimaroğlu (1971)

Hubbard (1938-2008) – jazz trumpeter, known mostly for bebop, hard bop, and post-bop. This album, his third with Atlantic Records, was by far his most experimental, as he was known to be brilliant, but more conservative, which makes his appearance on this album surprising. His next album, First Light, recorded that same year, reflects his return to his more traditional style.

Mimaroğlu (1926-2012) – Born in Turkey, moved to New York to study musicology. Known for his compositions of electronic music. Worked as a producer at Atlantic Records, and it was his influence that made this high-budget, highly controversial album possible.

The Album Art

Cubist Painting – parallel to the experimental nature of the album and its sound…

The Album, As a Whole: Form

  • Montage – one piece flows into the next, creating a virtually seamless 48 minute experience
  • Juxtaposition – poetry, prose, electronic music, Freddie Hubbard’s quintet, the Soviet Anthem — anything’s game!
  • Fusion of jazz and musique concrete (experimental music that incorporates seemingly unrelated things)

The Album, As a Whole: Content

  • The Vietnam War – primary message of the album is antiwar protest, particularly against the US military slaughtering of 400 innocent civilians. Title is reference to “Son My,” the village in S. Vietnam in which the massacre took place. “Monodrama” beginning bears resemblance to the helicopters.

  • Sharon Tate Murder – First song titled “Threnody for Sharon Tate,” who was killed by members of the Manson Family cult.
    • “I feel I can hold a guitar, I know I can hold a know, I think I can kill…” juxtaposition of the women that committed the murder, and the soldiers going to Vietnam to kill.

  • Kent State shootings (1970) – “What a Good Time for Kent State” slow, piano with voice narration, then the quintet and protest sounds/singing, then quiet.


And Yet, There Could Be Love:

The title bears a hopeful tone, but does the song itself reflect this? As opposed to suggesting that there is a possibility for love, it is more mournful over the fact that we have not chosen love, but continue to kill and massacre innocent people.  

Works Cited

Ilhan Mimaroglu & Freddie Hubbard’s “Sing Me a Song of Songmy”

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