Sean-nós singing: a bluffer's guide. While the future of the Gaeltacht is in question, sean-nós singing is alive and well in Ireland and beyond. [more inside]
It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
Debo Band's Ethiopian pop music mixes traditional folk music with American soul and funk rhythms. Listen to their critically acclaimed self-titled album from 2012 for gems such as Akale Wube, Not Just a Song, Asha Gedawo, And Lay and Habesha.
"They come in and, they may bring their instruments in, lay it in the back room, come out and eat some peanuts, talk with us, get some coffee, trade knives, tell a few jokes, settle the world's problems, and eventually, play music if and when they want to."
The Barber Shop, Drexel NC.
The Barber Shop, Drexel NC.
My fellow Mefites, I implore you. Don't even think about clicking the more inside if you have anything pressing to do. [previously] [more inside]
Roger McGuinn was a member of the pioneering folk rock band The Byrds. He loves the traditional folk music he has been performing solo since the band's breakup in 1973. In this interview, he talks to NPR's Neal Conan about his career, his music and why he created The Folk Den Project (previously) - with over 200 readily downloadable songs, with lyrics and chords - to preserve traditional folk songs.
The Oakland-based Purple Silk Music Education program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing musical training to inner-city youth. One particular student in the program, Tyler Thompson, has been getting some press lately for his renditions of traditional Chinese opera (Vimeo link). (Chinese opera, previously on the blue)
Northumbrian Storyteller, No-age Musician and Ante-Folk singer Sedayne performs his own Primal Myth Reinvention of The Holly and the Ivy to the tune of Searching for Lambs. [more inside]
The Great Empire of China has a fantastic archive of traditional, classical and even modern Chinese music excerpts and several full musical suites, including some pieces from Chinese opera. National Geographic has a short breakdown on regional variations in traditional music in China. Chinese opera is very different than Western opera. Here are some great pictures of singers. [more inside]
The website of ethnomusicologist Robert Garfias is a treasure trove of mp3 sound recordings and short realplayer film clips of traditional music from all over the world, including Japan, India, Mexico, Turkey, Albania, Okinawa, Spain, Burma, Alaska, Sudan, Venezuela, Spain and many more. Garfias' field recordings are illustrated with his photographs.
You could read about carnival in Trinidad, or Appalachian traditions or Greek rembetika, or African-American yodelers or música Chicana, or choose from a couple of hundred other articles about traditional music and musicians at Musical Traditions. [previously]
Streaming video documentary films about American traditional music. Great American roots music films for free! Click and watch full length documentaries about the Popovich Brothers Tamburitza band of South Bend Indiana, Louisiana creole fiddler Canray Fontenot, the last Black medicine-show performer, sacred harp singing and much more. An amazing collaboration between folklorists and indie film makers.
Demythologizing The Blues. Blues reseacher and scholar David Evans breaks it down. Country blues as a living tradition tied to a rural black culture - there is something of that culture left - I think it's essentially over.--that's from this interview with David Evans--scroll past the autobiographical details for the meat and potatos. Paul Garon, of Race Traitor and Living Blues, has strong feelings about White Blues. Similarly, black writer Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor feels a chill amidst a white blues audience and asks Whose Blues Are They? Also, n a related and timely topic, here's Elvis Presley and the Impulse Towards Transculturation. (Hint: Elvis didn't sound black. Well, duh...) Originally in the NYT--no password needed now!--The Blues Dying In The Land Where It Was Born, and as a bonus, the New Yorker profile on an outfit I love to loathe, Fat Possum. Is is this guy's fault? And if you want to make the pilgrimage, let Junior's Juke Joint be your guide! (don't forget to make that unannounced drop in on raysmj!) Added bonus: R. Crumb's Charley Patton.
Alan Lomax, the legendary collector of folk music who was the first to record towering figures like Leadbelly, Muddy Waters and Woody Guthrie, died yesterday at a nursing home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 87. Mr. Lomax was a musicologist, author, disc jockey, singer, photographer, talent scout, filmmaker, concert and recording producer and television host. He did whatever was necessary to preserve traditional music and take it to a wider audience. (NY Times- Registraion Required) And... Additionally... And this. Also...