Monday, May 29, 2017

Take Wing: Rahim Alhaj and "Fly Away"

Iraqi musician Rahim AlHaj, who originally came to Albuquerque as a refugee, brings us the random tune for today. Rahim Alhaj is an oud player and composer. He began playing the oud at age nine and soon revealed a great talent for the instrument. A political activist against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, he was forced into political exile, first in Syria and Jordan and finally in the United States. Resettled in Albuquerque, he was told to report to a job. As an oud master, he assumed that he would be teaching music, and asked where the job was. "McDonalds," he was told. We think he was better off staying with his first love, music. He combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary stylings and influences. This song, Fly Away, can be found on his 2013 album Journey.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nocturnal Wanderings: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Even in My Dreams"

Our song today is called Even in My Dreams. The song is by The Afro Celt Sound System, which fuses modern electronic dance rhythms with traditional Irish and West African songs. The Afro Celt Sound System were formed by British producer Simon Emmerson and Afro-pop star Baaba Maal in 1991. Since then they've been proclaimed a world music supergroup, and have collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Plant, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Ayub Ogada and many other pop and world stars. Even in My Dreams can be found on their 1999 release Volume 2: Release.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Seductress: Värttinä and "Lumotar / The Enchantress"

Värttinä performs today's random tune, called Lumotar / The Enchantress. Värttinä is a Finnish folk group founded in 1983 by sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen, who had performed together reading poetry in the 1970s. In 1983, the sisters entered a youth arts contest with their poetry reading. They made it into the finals that first year. The next year they decided to refocus on singing and they won the event. They brought on some male members in 1985 and entered the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, becoming known as the group that sings high and loud. Many children in their hometown were now eager to join the band, and finally Värttinä had to establish a new group for the youngest children to join. In 1987, at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, they were chosen "Ensemble of the Year," and in 1988 they released their first album. In the early 1990s, they moved to Helsinki and began training at the Sibelius Academy and perfecting their skills. The band first performed traditional Finnish folk songs, but in the mid-1990s began playing its own original compositions. Over the years the band has had many forms and lineup changes, and is currently made up of three female vocalists and three acoustic musicians. They have performed worldwide to international acclaim and have released 14 albums, including 3 compilation albums and one live CD. You can find Lumotar / The Enchantress on their 2012 album Miero.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Foot Street: Maldita Vecindad and "Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión)"

Our random tune for today is brought to you by Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, a Mexican rock band. Often known simply as Maldita, or Maldita Vecindad (the Damned Neighborhood), they one of the most influential bands in Mexico and are known as pioneers of rock en español. They have a sound that draws upon many influences, including ska, rock, and traditional Cuban styles such as bolero and son, and is also drawn from their urban and working class origins. You can find this song, Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión), on the compilation album Nacional Card 2010 and on the 2011 compilation Rock Mundial.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hush and Sleep: Mariana Sadovska and "Three Lullabies"

The song for today is by Germany-based Ukrainian actress, singer, musician, composer and recording artist Mariana Sadovska. Emerging from the theater world in Lviv, Ukraine, Sadovska worked in theater and theater production and led ethnomusicology trips and arranged cultural exchanges with numerous countries. She moved to New York in 2001 to be a music director with theater company La Mama. During this time she also began working on her own solo performances. She released her first solo CD in 2001. This song, Three Lullabies, is from her 2001 debut CD Songs I Learned in Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Rain Knows You Don't Walk Alone: Los Amigos Invisibles and "La Lluvia Sabe Que no Andas Sola"

Today's random tune, La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola is by Los Amigos Invisibles of Venezuela. Known for their blend of disco, acid jazz and funk mixed with Latin rhythms, the band was formed in 1991 in Caracas. Los Amigos Invisibles gained the attention of David Byrne's Luaka Bop label after they discovered a CD that the band had surreptitiously planted in a New York City record store, and Luaka Bop released the band's second album in 1996 which garnered many positive reviews. Their third album received a Grammy nomination as Best Latin Alternative album, and with it's success the band relocated to New York City permanently, eventually starting their own label. La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola is from their 2011 album Not So Commercial, which is a Grammy nominated EP of outtakes from their hit 2009 album Commercial.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sounds Like a Fun Place: Capercaillie and "Finlay's"

Funky? Scottish? Capercaille brings the funk to a Celtic tune! Capercaillie is a Scottish folk band formed in the 1980s. They are named after the Scottish wood grouse. They perform traditional Gaelic songs along with songs in English of their own composition or by others, and often mix traditional songs with modern recording techniques, rhythms and instrumentation. At first sticking fairly closely to traditional styles and instrumentation, in the 1980s they added funk bass lines, synthesizers and electric guitar to traditional songs. In 1992, their EP A Prince Among Islands was the first Gaelic language record to reach the top 40 of the UK singles charts They have since been moving back toward more traditional music while retaining a slight fusion sound. This song, Finlays, is from their 1997 album Beautiful Wasteland, and this version of the song is from their 2002 Live in Concert album (they end this version of Finlays with a snippet of Puirt a Beul, a song from their 1987 album Crosswinds). BTW: This is the band that started my long foray into world music after I saw them in the early stages of their career at Milwaukee's Irish festival in the late 1980s.