Here's a look back at sounds of summers past, with a review of EMI's series of Balearic compilations, and for a bit more mystery and diversity, mixes that focus and include Balearic styles from Test Pressing. If the whole "Balearic" thing is confusing, Boiler Room TV has a nice write-up with photos from the period to set the mood, where the music was a mix of mixture of soul, reggae, rock, pop, and Latin, mixed with chill out, lounge and dance music. [more inside]
Six Degrees Records is a record label based in San Francisco that represents a range of "world music" sounds. You can dig into their discography through official mixes from the label or the usual array of samplers on Soundcloud, or listen to a ton of complete albums from 17 artists and groups on Bandcamp, from Malian guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Touré to the man who made the label, Karsh Kale, who is considered one of the pioneering figures in defining the Asian Underground genre, to the Brazilian singer/songwriter, Céu and the Iranian singer and musician, Azam Ali. If this is all too overwhelming, just grab the free 10-track sampler.
Cheb i Sabbah's family has announced his passing at the age of 66. His unique world music creations have been cherished by dancers, trancers, and thinkers alike for decades. [more inside]
An effortless melding of Malian and western styles topped off by the gorgeously smoky voice of Fatoumata Diawara. The infectiously brisk tempo, chiming guitar artistry and tight, rapid fire harmonies of Shirati Jazz. The warmly grounded choral expression of South Africa's Black Umfolosi. The delicate, calmly unfolding wellspring of melody (starting off with a classic Morricone spaghetti-western quote!) of kora master Toumani Diabate. The loping, balafon-driven groove over which the majestic, declamatory voice of Oumou Sangare soars. The classic, Cuban-inspired rhumba (but with the distinctively African feel and sound) of Orchestra Baobab... all these modern treasures of African music and much, much more from Africa and beyond at the World Circuit Soundcloud page. Enjoy the ride!
The Francesco Albano Open Ensemble performs selections from Peter Gabriel's Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ [All Music/Discogs] at Castel dell'Ovo, a 6th-century seaside castle in Naples Italy. Track list and instrumentation inside. [more inside]
Sephardic Music: A Century of Recordings is a discographic website charting the recording of Sephardic secular and liturgical songs. It includes great sections on 78 rpm recordings, early repertory, and modern recordings. Samples of songs are littered throughout, but many can be found in the Appendix section on 78 labels (at the bottom of the page) and the Songs section of the Appendix. There are many other parts of the site to explore, but the Bibiliography deserves a special mention, as does this page providing samples of 125! different recordings of the popular song A la una over the past 100 years.
In April 1998, Ninja Tune duo Up Bustle & Out traveled from Bristol to Havana. They were greeted by legendary flautist Richard Egües, who would be their guide to meeting and recording a number of Cuban musicians over the next two months. The result was the two-volume Rebel Radio: The Master Sessions, an adventurous meeting point between 'the smokeyness of Bristol and the coolness of Havana'. UB&O's Rupert Mould kept a journal which he would later publish as The Rebel Radio Diaries.
After more than 15 years on hiatus, the punk-spawned, world-music-defining Dead Can Dance released their eighth album Anastasis one month ago. The reunited act are on a world tour. [more inside]
78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
Abney Park has evolved from their goth beginnings into the "quintessential" steampunk band, complete with industrial dance and world music influences. Also, they created a pen & paper role playing games Airship Pirates based upon their song Airship Pirates .. [more inside]
Root Hog or Die has an extensive collection of links to world folk music repositories. There are over 60, with days and days of music to listen to. Some are comprised of field recordings, some are from old 78s, and some are from more contemporary sources, so you'll have to use your judgement about which you're comfortable visiting. The sites cover everything from Hmong music to Ossetian music to Northwest Fiddle Field Recordings.
"I soon learned that if I was asked to play something over again, it meant that they didn't understand it, not that they liked it."
"But this wasn't quite enough and so then I got the idea of having all thirteen of the lowest tones of the piano played together... In other words, I was inventing a new musical sound later to be called 'tone clusters'... Anyway, this was my professional debut as a composer." Henry Cowell's musical autobiography. Cowell was one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music, described by John Cage as "the open sesame for new music in America." In this hour-long program recorded four years before his death in 1965, compositions from every stage in Cowell's career are contextualized and discussed by the man himself.
Jace Clayton, better known as DJ /Rupture (previously on mefi), interviewed last month for the avclub. He discusses his use of Colombian cumbia music, collaborating with Dutch guitarist Andy Moor of The Ex, and a concept record with his Spanish electro-string quartet Nettle. The concept? Stephen King's The Shining transported to an abandoned luxury hotel in Dubai.
"Radiodiffusion Internasionaal is devoted to the evolution of popular music from Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia and the proliferation of Western influences on these non-Western cultures. The focus is primarily the music from the mid 60's to the mid 70's." (Description from the front page of the site.) Slightly differently formatted version of the website here. Nice set of links, too (scroll down to the Words and Pictures section).
World Passport Music – 75 hours of free world music in mp3/podcast format. Afrobeat, Cuban Diaspora, Haitian Kompa, Salsa, Highlife, Rumba Congolaise, Kinshasa-Nairobi Sounds, Afrijazz, Calypso, Hawaiian, American Jazz Roots, Yoruban Ejeki Jo... Let’s Dance!
Badi Assad has some incredible technique goin' on (YouTube) and charisma to burn. The 41-year-old Brazilian singer and guitarist comes from a musical family and has been signed to a pretty prestigious North-American record label. Of course these days there is the obligatory Wikipedia entry and her MySpace page. Here's an interview (from ten years ago) wherein she discusses her music. So far as I can see those hips and those lips and those fingertips don't lie. [Much more Badi Assad on YouTube]
OH NO! THERE GOES TOKYO! GO GO GODZILLA! (Nearly) every Godzilla soundtrack. (Thanks to my girlfriend for hipping me to this)
Hamza el Din, hailed as "the father of Nubian music," has died. El Din's death has not yet been reported in the news, but I'm told he passed away from complications of brain surgery. It's a great loss for music lovers all over the world. "Escalay," performed on oud with the Kronos Quartet on their album Pieces of Africa, is probably his best-known work, but "Ollin Arageed," his haunting piece for handclaps and tar -- a goatskin drum -- was played numerous times onstage with the Grateful Dead, who championed el Din's music and jammed with him at the Great Pyramid in 1978. Eclipse provides an excellent introduction to his work, the ethereal sounds of one of the oldest continuously-inhabited regions on the planet. In the 1960s, el Din's own home village in Egypt was drowned underwater by the construction of the Aswan Dam, as archeologists tried to save what they could.
Congotronics! Mawangu Mingiedi, 72, a musician and truck driver from Kinshasa, was simply trying to allow the music of his street band, Konono No. 1, be heard over the traffic and street noise, but when he fashioned home-made amplifiers out of junkyard parts he created something raw and distorted with a sound all its own (quicktime). (via MonkeySARS, where an MP3 awaits you)
No Condition is Permanent. World music, and African music in particular, often falls into two categories: pleasant and inoccuous, or the fetishized other. Even speaking of "African" music is misleading. Senegalese mbalax doesn't sound that much like Camaroonian makossa. And I don't say this as some great authority; I'm still just at the beginning of the learning curve. So come along with me. There's the broad Benne Loxo du Taccu, the sidebar of Mudd Up!, the great (and self-explanitory) African Hiphop, Stern's Music (this link going to a more accessible Thione Seck), Aduna (for Francophones— my middle-school French gets me by, but I'm really there for the music), Du Bruit (more Francophones, with an emphasis on vinyl sharities), and Worldly Disorientation (which covers all sorts of world music, but has some excellent African stuff). Have I missed anything great? Recommend it in the thread. I tend to prefer the psychedelic and dubby stuff more than straight folk styles, but that's me.
Every audience seems to be niche audience these days but this guy (not forgetting this guy) were the goods. I was reminded of them when a friends sent me this link from Germany. Made my day, it should at least raise a smile. (Guitar players may want to weep) And there seems to be a lot more of it out there than I had suspected, predictably in France and Holland, but even places like Argentina, Finland, and Japan . America does her part, and count on Britain to be encyclopaedic on the subject Okay, some are better than others, but they all have heart. Just now I could almost wish to live in Southern California just for this