XAPO.

I recently bought Deez to Blues, the new album by the wonderful bassist Mario Pavone, and was struck by some of the song titles, in particular “Deez,” “Xapo,” and “Ocbo.” Google is no help with the first and last because of competing acronyms and hip respelling respectively, but xapo gets some good linguistic information… too much, in fact. It’s evidently a word in Basque, Uzbek, and Portuguese, though it’s not in my dictionaries, so I don’t know what it means in any of them. In Nahuatl it means ‘perforated, pierced.’ It’s part of a couple of compound verbs in Pirahã. In New Caledonia, u xapo means ‘spirit of him.’ It’s the name of a hill tribe in Vietnam. And it’s doubtless other things as well. But what it means to Mario Pavone, I have no idea. All I can tell you is that the album is a delight, a marriage of tradition and modernity, adventurous without ear assault, melodious without moldy-figgery. As Troy Collins says in a rave review for All About Jazz, “Deez to Blues is a high water mark in a consistently exceptional discography.”

Comments

  1. I’m a little surprised that you didn’t see a xapochapeau (or chapéu) connection.

  2. For the curious:
    Basque: xapo ‘a little’, adv. source

  3. Thanks!

  4. Since no one who actually knows has weighed in, I’ll risk embarrassing myself with a guess. Is xapo Portuguese baby-talk for ‘frog’ (sapo)? sapo dot pt is an ISP in Portugal with the obvious mascot.

  5. Eric Christopherson says:

    ‘…in particular “Deez,” “Xapo,” and “Ocbo.” Google is no help with the first and last because of competing acronyms and hip respelling respectively’ – don’t you have that backwards?

  6. Good catch!

Speak Your Mind

*