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The Anchovy in Music & Dance
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We start with the celebratory Turkish horon (anchovy dance), but regret to report that most of the references to the Anchovy found in Unanchovy popular music tend toward the anti-Anchovy position. Still, the evidence points to a widespread awareness of the Anchovy, for how else could we serve as a reference point?
—Alice, The Anchovy Schoolmarm

One who bills himself as Mr. Hamsi the Anchovy ("originally from Black Sea") informs us that "'Hamsi' (fresh anchovy) is the prince of all fish known to Turks. Black Sea People know forty-one ways of making hamsi, including hamsi borek, hamsi pilaf, hamsi corn bread, and hamsi dessert!" This one-page site (mostly in Turkish) also includes a short raucous video clip of men dancing the horon, or round dance, characteristic of the Black Sea's coastal and inland areas and quite different from folk dances done in other parts of the country due to its tempo, rhythm and measure. The horon includes the spectacular men's Black Sea line dances in which the dancers execute unbelievably intricate footwork while at the same time jumping, squatting and shimmying, moving like a hamsi (anchovy) with their hands held shoulder-level and drooping like a sheaf of corn. Horon melodies are performed with a kemence, a small three-stringed fiddle made of wood, a small type of zurna known as a cura-zurna and a bagpipe-type instrument called the tulum. The accordion is also employed in the Artvin area. In general the horon is performed to a 7/16 measure, although 2/4, 5/8 and 9/16 can also be found.

Barry Manilow says:
"I think my music is like anchovies — some people love it, some people get nauseous." (Readers Digest, March 2003)

The great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) smoked 60 cigarettes a day, and hung anchovy fillets round his neck as a talisman to protect his voice. He died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 48.

From Mexican-born U. S. composer Daniel Catán, the composer of Florencia en el Amazonas, comes "an intoxicating new opera about love lost and found. Infused with exotic Caribbean rhythms, Salsipuedes, a tale of Love, War, and Anchovies tells the saga of two couples whose lives are dramatically altered on their wedding day when their tiny island country declares war on Nazi Germany." With libretto by Eliseo Alberto and Francisco Hinojosa. Performed by the Houston Grand Opera, October 29-November 14, 2004.

From Frank Zappa's "Advance Romance," recorded live at Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas, May 20-21, 1975, with Captain Beefheart and the Mothers of Invention, from the album Bongo Fury (1975):

No more money, boy
I shoulda knew
(You know I told ya)
(I know you told me)
(You didn't listen to me)
(But I couldn't listen to you!)
Told you 'bout the anchovies . . .

In 2003, Chaiwat Monattarapadung, calling himself Anchovy, released the album Jump Across the High Wall. In 2005 he released his second album, Inspiration. Monattarapadung describes his music as a blend of electronic, rock, new age, instrumental, and world beat. You can download many of these songs free via the preceding links.

Mr Anchovy formed in 2003: self-described as a four-piece band full of adrenalin, their live shows never slowing throughout the entire set! Live Drum & Bass with a mouth-watering mix of funk-driven guitar, percussion, keyboards and electric violin. If you like dancing you'll love Mr Anchovy!"

Punk rocker Jello Biafra, with the group Nomeansno, cut a track titled "Falling Space Junk (Hold the Anchovies)" in the 1980s (by your reckoning). It was included in the movie soundtrack for Terminal City Ricochet (1990).

The J. Geils Band performed and recorded a song titled "No Anchovies, Please." In the recorded version, something called "backwards masking" was used; the message, when played backwards, congratulates the listener for being stupid enough to have thought to play the record backwards, potentially ruining his/her turntable, whatever that may be. This may signify that, in the songwriter's opinion, those who don't like anchovies lack intelligence.

Singer-songwriter Tori Amos, describing herself:
"I know I'm an acquired taste—I'm anchovies. And not everybody wants those hairy little things. If I was potato chips, I could go a lot more places, but I'm not." (Emphasis added.)

The following was posted to the newsgroup bit.listserv.down-syn:

The Pizza of the Night

From: "Gregory R. Richards"
Date: 1995/07/08

I wrote this one when Bridget [his daughter, we presume] needed to be fed pizza. Now, she feeds herself and she is starting to sing along. Greg.

Sung to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night":

Pizza, pizza
I like to eat pizza.
Pizza, pizza
You like to eat pizza.

Open up your mouth
And I'll put some pizza in.
It will taste good if it's thick crust or it's thin.

Better than bologna.
Mushrooms, che-ese
Makes you palate pleased.

Round or square is fine
When we have our pizza time,
And I get to eat some right along with you.
'Cause pizza is a real good food to chew.

Close you eyes and remember
All that baby food,
What a bunch of mush you just liked to eat.
But now pizza is such a pleasant treat.
We can dream of it with or without meat!

Peppers, onion
Order me a fast one.
Load it up, please
but sans the (yucch) anchovies.

Now don't you dismay
When it's time for us to pay
For the pizza that was customized just right.
Just bite into the pizza of the ni, i, i, i, ight.
(Emphasis added.)

© Copyright 1995 by Gregory R. Richards

(This shows how, innocently yet insidiously, parents pass their biases on to their offspring. By the way, we confess ourselves intrigued by the fact that Bridget "needed to be fed pizza." Does this food have medicinal value? Or was the occasion what we of the Anchovy call "egg-layer's night off"? —The Schoolmarm).

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Illustrations © copyright 1997 by Annika Eklöf. All rights reserved.