The Snake

Jean Kassapian The Snake 45 (Kassap, 197?)

With a long "sssssssssssssssssss" The Snake starts and BAMM! one thunderfuck of a funky beat comes in, some clapping, and then Jean Kassapian and his flute. Someone in the background shouts, "Yeah!" and it is quite an understatement. Intended as a belly dance tune, The Snake is one of the best funky instrumentals ever made. Of course it all starts with the beat, which, as I just said and you will soon hear, is a monster, perfect in the pocket drums which like the best funky drums are a meal all by themselves. The flute creates a great atmosphere; it throws the Middle Eastern sound into the song. Snake-like? Sure, but not while taking away from the groove.

I am guessing that Jean Kassapian is Kassap Records of Toronto, Canada. The two references to Kassapian the musician that I've found tell me that he was a multi-instrumentalist, though his main instrument was not the flute but the guitar. He has played on other people's records and regularly gigged in Ontario, mostly backing up belly dancers. The record has some notoriety among club dejays, though more people tend to talk about it than have heard the song. Now you get to hear it. I've chosen not to post the B-side, a pleasant enough belly dance tune, but nothing spectacular.

Dig that bass drum! Rump shakin!
Very cool!
youch! cheers, ears!
Unbelievably cool. Thanks for this.
Did you know what it was when you picked it up?
"Did you know what it was when you picked it up?" To answer your question, I had an idea that it was belly dance music due to the guy's last name, Kassapian, which I assume is Armenian. There are many Armenian North Americans that play Middle Eastern/belly dance music. And the B side is pretty much what I expected. However there was nothing to prepare me for the Snake's massive funky beat. That was luck, made possible by know a little about music (like the N.American Armenian belly dance connection) and willing to take a chance on shit.
Great post and I love this tune! I am really into the snake charmer flute and was wondering if you have heard of anything else with this vibe. I'm trying to compile a mix of snake charmer music with snake charming sax or flute. I have both volumes of "Sounds of the Indian Snake Charmer" album that the guy from Wolf Eyes released and a few other tracks that I gathered from other random corners of the web. Please let me know.
Thank-you all for the great comments about my father who sadly passed away in 1996. I have his whole collection of music ranging from reel to reel to cassette tapes and I would love to transfer them to mp3 and share some of them with you.

Jacqueline Ischouhi Kassapian
My wife the bellydancer has adopted this track for a lot of her practice sessions. Wonderful find!
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