Remember those blogs from the late ’00s and early ’10s like Mutant Sounds and Holy Warbles? They were the fucking best. They shared music that you either never knew existed or knew about but thought “there’s no way I’ll ever get to listen to that.” I’m pretty sure a decent chunk of my digital music collection came from those sites. It’s a shame the zeitgeist has passed. Not only have those sites been taken down but the once ubiquitous MediaFire and RapidShare download links have long since expired.

Sometime last week, I stumbled across Bolingo (aka Anthems for the Nation of Luobaniya). It’s mostly focused on traditional Indian with a hefty dose of African, Middle Eastern, and various Asian jams. The site is still there and the dude has made sure all the download links still work. But even better is that most posts have high quality scans and a ton of information about the artists, labels, release variants, and all that good stuff. It’s a fucking treasure. But this time, I wasn’t about to let all of this go the way of Cosmic Hearse.

I downloaded every record (which includes scans of the jacket, liner notes, etc) and I downloaded a mirror of the entire site. 200+ records (mostly 320k mp3s), over 30 GB, and all of it was either untagged or horribly tagged. And while I’m incredibly thankful this music was made available, I couldn’t re-share it in that kind of condition.

I spent a considerable amount of time making sure everything had a track number, track title, artist, album title, date (if available), and embedded cover art. That was time-consuming enough on its own but I’m kind of a stickler for making sure that 1, diacritics are transcribed correctly and 2, artist information is as accurate as possible. The problem with the diacritics was that some were kind of obscure and I had some trouble just identifying them (like a handwritten “ɛ” or “ɔ”) which made it difficult finding them on Graphemica.

The artist info wasn’t super challenging, it’s just that the information I needed wasn’t something I could just copy from Discogs, so I had to *ZOOM* *ENHANCE* some of those liner notes to identify Kiko, Alberto Hotou, & Souzy as the people who performed “Hanga Rahi A Akou.” It’s possible that some are labeled as “Unknown Artist” where the performer is, in fact, mentioned in the liner notes, but the only reason that would happen is if the liner notes weren’t in English. Anyway, it’s cool if you don’t really care about my attention to detail but I kind of hope you do.

Here you go.
3MB file: bolingo.torrent
1.7MB file: bolingo.torrent

Also, here’s a zip of the site mirror… just in case.

I can’t believe I didn’t include a single line about exactly what music is in this collection (and also that so many of you downloaded it regardless!). Let me remedy that. Most of the records that are just a single artist (instead of a compilation or whatever), are Indian. A few big names like Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Amir Khan, M.S. Subbulakshmi, and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan as well as a bunch of musicians I’ve never heard of like Pandit Narayanrao Vyas, Geetashree Sandhya Mukherjee, and Rasiklal Andharia.

Then there’s a ton of field recordings and anthologies like the series of Unesco/Musicaphon releases (A Musical Anthology Of The Orient, An Anthology Of African Music, An Anthology Of South-East Asian Music, Musical Sources, Musical Atlas, Anthologie De La Musique Des Peuples, Music Of Oceania, Première Anthologie De La Musique Malienne, etc). There’s also a bunch from The Living Tradition series on Argo recorded by Deben Bhattacharya and The Music Of Africa series on Kaleidophone recorded by Hugh Tracey.

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9 comments on “200+ Rare International Records

  1. This is amazing… thank you!!!

  2. >Mutant Sounds and Holy Warbles

    You. I like you.

    Chances are you might like Dream Weapons.
    They’re also in the same vein as those old music blogs of yore; just read their about section.

    Also, if you’re interested in picking over some more music blogs that aren’t really active anymore but still have active dl links, I’d recommend checking out Urban Bowerbird and Kadao Ton Kao (especially between 2012 and 2016)

  3. >Here you go.
    >3MB file: bolingo.torrent
    >1.7MB file: bolingo.torrent

    What exactly is the difference between the 3MB file and the 1.7MB file?

  4. antigravitybunny Aug 5, 2021

    The only difference is the size of the pieces in the torrent file. I originally created the 3MB file with 256k pieces but someone mentioned their torrent client couldn’t add torrent files that were larger than 2MB. So I made another torrent with 512k pieces to get the torrent file smaller, down to 1.7MB. Both torrent files download the same exact data.

  5. antigravitybunny Aug 5, 2021

    Hell yeah, I love Dream Weapons! I didn’t know about those other two you linked, though. Thanks a ton!

  6. So, I’ve got to share some more music blogs. You may or may not already be aware of these, but if you already are, then these are for those listeners out there in radioland… is still actively posting and has a massive backlog isn’t actively posting and dl links may be hit or miss, but still lots of good stuff there

    and of course WFMU’s Beware of the Blog still has all kinds of fun weird things to pick over

  7. I’ve found your posting of The Columbia World Library Of Folk & Primitive Music

    Is there any chance you could make a torrent of those, too?
    I tried importing them into iTunes, but only (most of) the India album would. I have no idea why they won’t import. Any ideas? Maybe the tagging?

  8. antigravitybunny Aug 9, 2021

    No idea what’s going on there. I updated the zip file with my current mp3s, so try downloading it again (same download link) and see if that changes anything.

  9. I did a fresh redownload of The Columbia World Library Of Folk & Primitive Music and still no luck.
    I had to use a tool called MP3val to try see what was going wrong, and most keep coming back with an error like “Wrong number of MPEG data bytes specified in Xing header (7357918 instead of 7353376)” so the mp3s are corrupted. :(

    Also, relatedly, I did find this
    All the dl links are dead, but there are plenty of embedded mp3s of the World Library Of Folk & Primitive Music and some other field recordings by Deben Bhattacharya. Funnily enough, the post here name drops Bolingo and the Anthems for the Nation of Luobaniya blog, so things have come full circle.

    Thanks again, and best of luck digital crate digging.