Sunday, November 30, 2014

Psychadub: Baba Zula and "Fayiman Cuneyt"

On a trip to Turkey about four years ago, Megan and I had a choice. Baba Zula was playing a concert, but a Sufi group was doing a service where outsiders were allowed to come. Eventually we decided on going to the Sufi service. It was fascinating, but we were also left with wondering what the Baba Zula concert would have been like.

Today's random song is by Baba Zula with Mad Professor. Founded in 1996, Baba Zula is a Turkish alternative group that creates a psychedelic sound combining traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub. At the core of their sound is the saz, a Turkish bouzouki-like stringed instrument with a bright, high-pitched sound. Baba Zula became well known outside of Turkey when they appeared in the 2005 documentary Crossing the Bridge, and have since performed in many high profile world music festivals. They have released eight albums. Mad Professor is a Guyanese dub music producer and engineer known for original productions and remix work. He is a leading figure of dub's second generation and as such has been a leader in bringing dub into the digital age. Fayiman Cuneyt is from Baba Zula with Mad Professor's 2003 album Psychebelly Dance Music.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Eastern Themes: Paul Avgerinos and "Lily of the Valley"

The Global Music Randomizer appears to be on an Eastern theme. Today's random tune is Lily of the Valley by Paul Avgerinos. Avgerinos is an American composer, performer and producer whose genres include new age, ambient, space, world, World Fusion, electronic and drone. Avgerinos attended Johns Hopkins University's Peabody School of Music where he studied bass violin. His albums are blends of well known and obscure acoustic and electronic instruments. He is known for using Romantic and Impressionist techniques, and he has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Jewel, Run DMC, Willie Nelson, Deana Carter and The Celtic Tenors. Lily of the Valley is from his 2007 CD Garden of Delight.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkish Tragedy: Zi Punt and "Sunset From Maiden's Tower"

Sunset from Maiden's Tower, by Zi Punt, is a little interlude song that is our random tune for today. Zi Punt is a Turkish group made up of Oguz Kaplangi, Chi K. and Orange who mash up electro and rock. Oguz Kaplangi produces Zi Punt as well as other groups and gives concerts in Turkey and abroad. Chi K is originally from Turkey but she spent five years in New York City singing at Bard College. Orange is the stage name of Istanbul based, New Zealand born musician and video artist Reuben de Lautour. He studied music at Princeton and DJ'd in New York and New Jersey before moving to Istanbul. He is on the faculty of the Istanbul Technical University. Sunset from Maiden's Tower can be found on the 2007 compilation Istanbul Calling Vol. 2.

The title refers to an Istanbul landmark. The Maiden's Tower legend is that a Turkish emperor consulted an oracle and learned that his daughter would die from a snake bite on her 18th birthday. To protect her, he built the tower, which sits on a small island about 200 feet from land, and kept her there. On her 18th birthday, the emperor brought a basket of fruit to his daughter. Delighted, she reached in to get some fruit and was bitten by an asp which was hiding under the fruit in the basket. She died in her father's arms, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ancient Truckstops: Loreena McKennitt and "Caravanserai"

Today's song will take us to the east. Caravanserai is by Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian known for her soprano voice. She is a composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. She released her first album in 1985, and since then has gone on to release nine studio albums and five live albums which have sold 14 million copies worldwide. Her songs have also been featured in television and movies. The title of the song refers to way stops for caravans of goods traveling along the Silk Road. They were, in essence, protected ancient versions of the truck stop where the caravans could bring their camel trains and goods inside for the night to protect them from outlaws, and where other goods could be traded or purchased. Megan and I visited a rug shop in Kuşadası, Turkey that was located inside a former caravanserai and it was pretty cool - it looked like small walled castle - which it essentially was. Caravanserai is from McKennitt's 2006 album An Ancient Muse, in which she explores Celtic and Arabic musical elements as she imagines a journey along the Silk Road.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Club Moon Rising: Jason Rivas and "Black Moon (Original Club Mix)"

A bit of the club comes to you today for our random world tune. Black Moon (Original Club Mix) is by Jason Rivas. Jason Rivas is a professional DJ who began his career in the 1990s and has released over 300 records as a producer of house music for various labels. He has also been remixed by many international artists. Black Moon can be found on The Balkan Club Night Vol. 2 (2011).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Picture This: Brother and "Photograph"

Photograph by Brother on Grooveshark

A little bit of a rock song for your random tune of the day. Photograph is by the Australian band Brother, which incorporates Celtic rock, mongrel rock, Australian rock, didgeridoo and vocals into a melange of interesting music. The band is made up of the Richardson brothers, who grew up in Bathurst (120 miles west of Sidney) and attended the Scots School where they learned to play pipes. They formed Brother in 1992 and began playing pubs in Sidney. After their first album was released, they were invited to open for Joe Walsh during his tour of Australia. Two of the brothers have since left the band, and it mainly tours the United States while returning to Bathurst for regular performances. Photograph can be found on their 2005 album Pax Romana MMV.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Big Fun: Warren Storm and "Jambalaya"

Happy Monday! Today's post is a nice little number - a Cajun/zydeco version of Jambalaya by Warren Storm. Storm is a drummer and vocalist who is a pioneer of the style known as "swamp pop." Storm was born Warren Schexnider in Abbeville, Louisiana and learned to play drums and guitar from his father. In the 1950s, he performed with Larry Brasso and the Rhythmaires. He also befriended Bobby Charles, and often went to New Orleans to hear R&B which greatly influenced his drumming style. He founded his own R&B and early rock group in the mid 1950s and had a couple of songs break into the Billboard Hot 100. He continued to perform swamp pop and rock, and was a founding member of The Shondells (not the Tommy James group). During the 80s and 90s, he performed regularly at various Louisiana dance clubs, and underwent a resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s when he joined the Lil' Band O' Gold, a sort of Louisiana all-star group. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Jambalaya can be found on the 1992 compilation Cajun and Zydeco Mardi Gras.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wassup?: Samite and "Wasuze Otya?"

Folks, for the next 8 days or so this is going to be short and sweet because as you're reading this, I am probably on the road to Texas for the US Thanksgiving holidays. I will return with my searing wit, my cutting analysis, my lyrical posts that seem almost like unto poetry, on December 1st. However, I have scheduled these posts to occur every day while I'm gone, so you will not miss out on one day of your random world music tunes (unless the Internet fails me).

The random tune for today is Wasuze Otya? by Samite. Samite Mulondo is a Ugandan percussionist who grew up in the city of Kampala as a member of a socially prominent family. Though his mother's side of the family was musical, his father took a dim view of a musical career. Samite continued, and after Idi Amin's rule he fled the country (his brother was killed during this time). He ended up in Nairobi, Kenya where he became a musician. He taught himself the saxophone in six days after lying to the African Heritage Band about his ability to play it. He eventually turned to the thumb piano and kalimba of his native Uganda. While in Nairobi, he met his American wife and eventually moved to upstate New York. In 1997 he returned to Uganda as part of a PBS documentary, and was reunited with his family. His father asked him to speak at his brother's memorial service, and he asked if he could play his flute instead. His father reluctantly agreed, and then cried when he heard his son play for the first time and gave him his blessing. Wasuze Otya? can be found on Samite's album Silina Musango (originally released in 1996) and can also be found on the Putumayo compilation Music from the Coffee Lands (1997)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Unknown Turkish Musician: Nur Ceylan and "Böyle Olur Mu"

Böyle Olur Mu by Nur Ceylan on Grooveshark

For those of you who actually read this blog, I want you to know that posts are going to be short and sweet for the next week. I am currently traveling, and will be in Texas until next weekend. That means that you will notice a lack of my wit, wisdom, bon mots, humor and other sundry items that make this blog the powerhouse of the global music world. I will be back with all of that by December 1st, but never fear, I have posts scheduled to take you through this week, with all the wonderful randomness out of my world music library that you could hope for.

Today's random tune is by Nur Ceylan. Unfortunately, I can't find any real information on Nur Ceylan for you, other than that the individual is a Turkish musician. This song, Böyle Olur Mu, was one of the featured songs on the documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005), a film tapestry of the sounds of Turkish music in Istanbul. The film was narrated by German musician Alexander Hacke and songs were recorded using a portable recording studio. Böyle Olur Mu can be heard on the soundtrack to the documentary (2005).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ancestral Trance: Christine Salem and "Komor Blues"

The random song for today is Komor Blues by Christine Salem. Salem is from the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, a French territory about 120 miles southeast of Mauritius. Her music centers around "maloya," the traditional music made up of work songs and chants of the former African slaves of the island. These songs are percussion driven and of the call and response type and are often used to induce a trance where one communes with their ancestors in a musical gathering called "servis kabaré". The music was illegal on the island until 1981, as it was considered by the Catholic Church to be "devil's music" and by the authorities as a political threat. In fact, a woman singing this type of music upset some of the older generation, because it was also generally seen as "men's music." Salem came upon the music while attending a servis kabaré, and she became hooked. She has received international acclaim for this music, and has performed at WOMAD. Komor Blues can be found on her 2013 release Salem Tradition.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blowing Out the Eardrums: The Battlefield Band and "The Moleskin Kilt/The Empty Glen"

The Moleskin / The Empty Glen by Battlefield Band on Grooveshark

It was bout three or so years ago, maybe four, that we had an opportunity to have The Battlefield Band on our KUNM Global Music radio show. Megan and I didn't know what to expect. It was a last minute request by a concert promoter that we knew to bring them on the show - they were going to be playing a concert the following evening in Albuquerque. When they came in, probably about 10:15 pm, they looked like ordinary guys carrying instrument cases. We got them set up around the studio, and they sat at the mics with their instruments out. Megan interviewed them a little after throwing together some information about them. They were promoting their new album called Zama Zama: Try Your Luck. At some point they began playing, and that's when things got interesting. The bagpiper took out his pipes and began to warm them up, silently breathing into the mouthpiece. When they were ready to go, a drone started as he began to squeeze his bag and then they started, and he started really blowing. He had placed himself in the corner of the room, away from any mics, but the sound was deafening. If you've never been close to a set of bagpipes indoors, it's enough to blow the top of your head off when they really get going. Needless to say, Megan was trying to adjust the mic levels to come to a point where you could hear the guitar and the fiddle and the other instruments over the bagpipes, and to keep the levels at a decent place without going too hot and causing the mics to cut out. It was a pretty amazing evening. At another point, they played The Auchengeich Disaster, a song that I find extremely haunting. No bagpipes in that, but fiddle and a haunting voice. I won't easily forget that evening.

The Battlefield Band is a Scottish traditional music group founded in 1969. They are noted for the mix of bagpipes with other instruments, and their renditions of traditional songs and new material. While the band has gone through several lineups, their formula remains the same - bagpipes, electric keyboards (unusual for a traditional band) and no percussion (again, unusual). They have released 31 albums and have been nominated for many awards. The Moleskin Kilt/The Empty Glen can be found on their 2006 CD The Road of Tears, which has a theme of displacement and voluntary and forced emigration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dances: Mexican Institute of Sound and "La Kebradita"

"Come on baby, let's do The Twist." One of the first songs I think I remember in my life was The Twist. As I did a little reflecting on today's random song, which is named after a dance called La Quebradita, I started tallying up some songs in my head. I was amazed at how many I could think of that were named after dances. The Twist, obviously but then there were others. I can remember the Loco-Motion, the Hustle, the Electric Slide, the Boot Scootin' Boogie, the Watusi, the Time Warp, and the Macarena, to name a few. There are a lot. Just listen to the song The Land of 1000 Dances and you can hear Wilson Pickett go through a whole list of them. It seems like we like to sing about dancing and styles of dances almost as much as we like to sing about love, or women.

And what is La Quebradita? It is a dance that requires a lot of strength to perform. It's name refers to a "little break," in which the male partner lowers his female partner almost to the floor and then jerks her back up. However, there is a lot more going on there. The dance is very fast, and the examples I've seen make it look like the male partner whips the female partner around on her feet, with lots of acrobatics such as throwing her in the air and catching her. Sometimes she is thrown into spins, sometimes into flips. It's not an old person's dance by any means.

In La Kebradita, the Mexican Institute of Sound slows the beat down a bit. The Mexican Institute of Sound is Mexico City-based producer and DJ Camilo Lara's electronic music project. Fusing Mexican folk music with modern sounds, MIS is part of a growing movement in Mexican music. Lara started with mixing music for holiday mix tapes, and after getting enthusiastic receptions for his creations, began making musical collages under the moniker Mexican Institute of Sound while relying on samples of Mexican classical music. He has released four albums, with a fifth due next year. La Kebradita is from his 2007 CD Piñata.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tropical Fever: Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 with "Pais Tropical"

Pais Tropical by Sergio Mendes on Grooveshark

I remember back in the 70s and listening to AM radio because that's all we had back then, and being fascinated by a song called Fool on the Hill. I didn't realize it was a Beatles song at the time, I just thought that the song was exotic (probably due to the bossa nova beat) and those lovely female voices. The song was a cover, actually a reinterpretation, by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66. The two female singers were Lani Hall (wife of Herb Alpert) and Karen Philipp (later to play Lt. Dish on two episodes of MASH). Listening to the song in the present, I am still very captivated by the rendition, largely because I love Brazilian music and largely because it takes me back to that turbulent but hopeful time. While the Beatles version of the song is melancholy, it seems impossible to have a bossa nova or samba song that is anything but upbeat with a touch of naivete and very little of the saudade that characterizes some other types of Brazilian music. I mentioned it once before in this blog and I'll mention it again: if I go to heaven I want to hear lots of Brazilian music there.

Of course, perhaps such a feeling about life comes from living in a "pais tropical" like Brazil. Today's song, Pais Tropical, is a throwback and also from the legendary Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66. Mendes is a Brazilian musician who plays bossa nova infused with jazz and funk. One of the early practitioners of bossa nova in the late 50s in Brazilian nightclubs, he played with his mentor Antonio Carlos Jobim as well as many American jazz musicians who toured Brazil. He formed and played in some Brazilian bossa nova bands, but it was Brasil '66, which featured two American female singers (Lani Hall and Karen Phillipp) and songs in both Portuguese and English but with that bossa nova beat, that brought him to the attention of the world. Their first album, Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, went platinum and the band had successive hits performing songs by Burt Bacharach, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Simon and Garfunkel. His later work has featured collaborations with R&B, pop and hip hop artists such as The Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder. Pais Tropical is a song celebrating life and music in a tropical country, and is from the 1971 album of the same name and the 1972 album Foursider. I dare you not to dance or at least sing along!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Remembrance of the Road: Dervish and "The Trip to Sligo"

The Trip to Sligo by Dervish on Grooveshark

The Trip to Sligo, today's random song, is one that I can identify with because I made the trip to Sligo from Belfast by bus one beautiful sunny day in the late 1990s. Ireland is a beautiful country, and we rolled through the hills of Northern Ireland toward the coast. I was with three Germans, and our plan was to get out at Sligo and hitchhike down to Galway. For a number of reasons this was a bad idea but we did it, splitting up into two groups of a man and a woman so that we would be able to get rides. It took a long time.

Because of this, I never stopped in Sligo, which was a pity because Sligo was the childhood and spiritual home of one of the most illustrious poets of the English language, William Butler Yeats. Despite the fact that he only really spent his childhood there, Yeats was buried in County Sligo after a long literary, political career and somewhat tempestuous personal life. Here is a poem by him that I think relates to today's song and mentions Sligo as well:

The Fiddler of Dooney
by William Butler Yeats

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney.
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.
I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.
When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;
For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.  

Fiddling (and fluting with guitar accompaniment) is a part of today's song.  Dervish is a traditional Irish band from County Sligo described by the BBC as an "icon" of Irish music. Formed in 1993, they represented Ireland in 2007 in the finals of the Eurovision song contest. They have also been known to stand for their principles. In 2012 they canceled tour dates in Israel and announced a cultural boycott of the country, which in turn led to a negative backlash at home. The Trip to Sligo is from their 1997 album Live in Palma, and is a set of reels.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Supplication: Cathie Ryan and "Understanding Love"

The random and appropriate tune for a Sunday is Understanding Love by Cathie Ryan and written by Ryan and Gerry O'Beirne, is a supplication for strength to Mother Mary whose soul was pierced by the "sword of sorrow" and who "carried on." The singer, "a banished child of Eve" who needs "to feel [her] courage" beseeches Mary to "still the fear" with her "understanding love." I know that when I have trouble sleeping at night, I repeat the Hail Mary remembered from my childhood as a kind of mantra to put me back into dreamland, and regardless of whether it is her intervention or just the soothing words repeated in my mind over and over again, it works!

Cathie Ryan is an Irish-American native of Detroit, Michigan who was exposed early to Irish musicians such as Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers, as well as American musicians such as Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves and Hank Williams. In her childhood she idolized her father, a tenor, who taught her how to interpret and honor songs by knowing their histories and contexts. She was also exposed to the music of Appalachia from neighbors who had migrated to Michigan to work in the auto factories and gained an appreciation for the likes of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, as well as the local music out of Motown. Moving to New York, she learned more about traditional Irish music from her then husband singer-songwriter Dermot Henry and mentor Joe Heaney. After graduating from CUNY with a degree in English Literature and Secondary Education, she began teaching at Lehmann College in the Bronx, but left the classroom behind as her singing career began to blossom. She still continues to teach workshops in traditional Irish singing and Irish mythology and folklore. Understanding Love can be found on her 1998 album The Music of What Happens.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Little Local Cred: Sol y Canto and "Como Volar"

Como Volar by Sol y Canto on Grooveshark

New Orleans is the only city that I've lived in that I can truly say was a music hotbed. Of course I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a little while during college, and there was a lot of music that came out of San Francisco and Oakland, especially as rap and hip hop became big. Milwaukee was known for some interesting music, but certainly wasn't a hotbed in terms of huge acts known on a national stage (except for maybe The Violent Femmes). San Antonio had some good music, with some Texas singer-songwriters and Tejano musicians, who lived in the area but many of them were known in the way that a lot of the indie music folks were known. But New Orleans took its music seriously, and many of its musicians were superstars in New Orleans, and highly regarded everywhere else in the country. Part of it was New Orleans' status as the place where jazz was invented, and part of it was its contributions to everything from jazz to R&B to rock. One could just go out for an evening of music in New Orleans and know that history was being kept alive in the music.

Now I live in New Mexico, whose contributions to music are less august. A look at Wikipedia's List of People from New Mexico reveals only nine entries under music (one of which is John Denver and another is Jim Morrison). A notable omission from the list is The Shins, who were from Albuquerque and had some hits in the early 2000's. Another omission is Bo Diddley, who was a deputy sheriff in Los Lunas, New Mexico and spent the last years of his life between Albuquerque and Archer, Florida. But the fact that even many New Mexico residents don't know some of these facts goes to show that music is not a major industry in this state. Most of the music I listen to comes from outside the state and except for a killer world music festival, I don't find myself going out to seek local music too much. Perhaps that is a fault of mine, but that's been my reality. There are some good bands here, such as Wagogo, Mala Maña and the Red Light Cameras that I enjoy when I hear them, but music doesn't seem to be the driving force here that it was in New Orleans.

So it feels like a pleasure that I get to highlight a world music (Latin) band with a New Mexican connection on this blog. Sol y Canto is a pan-Latin group led by Puerto Rican-Argentine singer and bongo player Rosi Amador and New Mexican guitarist and composer Brian Amador. The group includes musicians from Uruguay, Panama, Peru and Argentina. Formed in 1994, the band delivers unique compositions and sometimes quirky interpretations of Latin music. They have won a "Best of Boston" music award, and Brian Amador was the first Latino to be chosen by Boston's Celebrity Series to compose a Latin orchestral suite. The band seeks to connect Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences in music, poetry, humor and playfulness. This song, Como Volar, is from their 2008 CD Cada Día un Regalo.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homage: Selim Sesler and "Kurdili Hicazkar Longa"

Kurdili Hicazkar Longa by Selim Sesler on Grooveshark

The random tune for today is also an homage to a man called by The Guardian "the Coltrane of the clarinet." Selim Sesler was a Turkish clarinetist of Romani descent. He originally learned how to play the zurna, a simple woodwind instrumentthat accompanies a drum in Turkish folk music, but later switched over to the clarinet. At 14 he began to play for weddings and other social gatherings, and only learned to read music when he was conscripted into the Turkish military. Moving to Istanbul in the 1980s, he played for social gatherings and in restaurants, improving his skills and joining up with other Romani musicians. After meeting him in an Istanbul nightclub after a performance, Brenna MacCrimmon offered to do an album with him. The resulting tour brought him international exposure in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, yet he was still relatively unknown in Turkey. His improvisations of Romani wedding and dance music gained him acknowledgment as the main interpreter of Romani music. Turkish audiences finally were introduced to him in two movies, Head On and the documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul. Sesler died in May, 2014 waiting for a new heart after a long battle with coronary artery disease. This song, Kurdili Hicazkar Longa, is from the soundtrack to Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2006).

Playlist of Random World Tunes in October

Welcome to the playlist of random world and global tunes from October, 2014 highlighted in this blog. The playlist is on, and you don't need an account to play it. Musicians and bands highlighted in October are:

Robi Kahakalau (United States-Hawaii)
Ana Tijoux (France/Chile)
Vusi Mahlasela (South Africa)
Ojos de Brujo (Spain)
Baka Beyond (United Kingdom/Cameroon)
Ian Oliver featuring Eastenders (unknown)
Rachid Taha (Algeria/France)
The Mediaeval Baebes (United Kingdom)
Ich + Ich (Germany)
Sevara Nazarkhan (Uzbekistan)
Dadou Pasquet (Haiti)
Madredeus & Banda Cósmica (Portugal)
Buckwheat Zydeco (United States)
Cleopatra & Hakim (Egypt)
Soneros de Verdad (Cuba)
Paolo Conte (Italy)
Balkan Beat Box (Israel) Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys (United States)
Aromates with Michèle Claude & Mael Guezel (France)
Bendeniz (Turkey)
Afro Celt Sound System (United Kingdom/Ireland/Mali/Senegal)
Djivan Gasparyan (Armenia)
The Val-Rays (United States)
Old Blind Dogs (Scotland)
Los de Abajo (Mexico)
Sportfreunde Stiller (Germany)
Great Big Sea (Canada)
Capercaille (Scotland)
Charanga Cakewalk (United States/Mexico)
Las Ultrasónicas (Mexico)
Frigg (Finland/Norway)

Enjoy the randomness of it all!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Forgetting: Malika Zarra and "Amnesia"

Amnesia by Malika Zarra on Grooveshark

In this song, Moroccan/French singer Malika Zarra sings about a type of amnesia, one in which you forget what you are.  In this context, it's a cultural and ethnic amnesia.  It is an amnesia when people try to play in to the dominant culture, and perhaps feel accepted when they are really aren't.  "Who the hell do you think you are?" is always just below the surface.  That treatment, especially over generations, wears one down so that in the end, even though they tried to assimilate, they find that their children are playing the djembe (a native African instrument), as Zarra eloquently sings.

To me the lyrics seem to be a damning indictment of cultural assimilation, though I'm not so certain that assimilation can't happen.  The United States has been a place where some groups, Italians and Germans for example, have assimilated even though they faced initial resistance and discrimination.  However, they were white.  Ethnic minorities have had a more difficult time, and assimilation into the dominant culture as sometimes been shaky at best partly because American culture has been notoriously unwelcoming to non-whites - slavery, discrimination, and segregation have been the impediments to those groups who may have wanted nothing more than to assimilate.  And of course, no group wants to completely leave their cultural heritage behind, yet to non-whites, Americans have almost demanded it.  The dominant culture thinks it's quaint to be Irish American or German American and hold onto those old world traditions.  The dominant culture often thinks that non-white traditions are alien, suspicious and perhaps even a bit dangerous despite the fact that we often borrow the cuisines, the festivals and other aspects of the cultures.  In this case, it is impossible to completely amnesiac - if the dominant culture doesn't completely trust you, you seek comfort in what you know.

Just musings brought on from this song, Amnesia. Malika Zarra was born in Morocco and moved to Paris when she was young. She studied clarinet in school, but it was the similarity of the core of improvisation present in both Arabic traditional music and jazz that brought her to jazz music. She studied in jazz conservatories in Tours and Marseilles and began to appear at Paris jazz venues, drawing attention to herself by singing jazz standards in Arabic translation. In 2010 she moved to the New York City area. Her music is influenced by traditional Berber music, Gnawa music, Chaabi, French pop, jazz, house, funk, dance and traditional African music as well as individual artists including Farid al-Atrash, Umm Kulthum, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Thelonious Monk. She has released two albums. Amnesia is from her 2011 album Berber Taxi.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pioneers: Cherish the Ladies and "The Back Door"

One of the earliest Celtic bands that I listened to is, ironically, one of the trailblazing bands of Irish music.  And in a way, that's a shame, but in a way it's cool.  Irish music had long been the realm of the masculine when Mick Maloney, Irish musician and scholar, put together a concert series showcasing the finest Celtic female musicians, and created the group Cherish the Ladies.  Women of course have been a long staple of Irish music but for the longest time, all male groups dominated the Irish music scene.  For my money, however, women have provided some of the most compelling moments of Irish and Celtic music both traditional and contemporary, and with some exceptions I have found myself more attracted to Irish music where females have the primary roles or at least where they are a huge portion of the music.  In other words, a female just doing a vocal for an all-male band doesn't cut it for me.

I don't know why this is the case for me.  Perhaps it's just because I like the subtle differences that women bring to the music.  Perhaps I like the vocals because I like female voices with accents.  I just like it.  I cannot hear a Cathie Ryan or a Karen Matheson sing without paying attention.  I can't hear a fiddle by an Eileen Ivers or a Natalie MacMaster without paying extra attention.  The fact that there may have been extremely talented Celtic musicians overlooked by the music industry before them is incredibly sad, and makes groups like Cherish the Ladies all the more remarkable.

Cherish the Ladies was formed in 1985 to highlight the best female Irish/Celtic musicians in what was a male dominated genre. Led by Joanie Madden, an all-Ireland champion on flute and tin whistle, the band sold out their initial 1985 concert series. Since then, they've received international acclaim and have been the launching pad for many important Irish musicians including Eileen Ivers, Winifred Horan, Cathie Ryan, Heidi Talbot, Liz Knowles, Aoife Clancy and Deirdre Connolly. Originally made up of all Irish-American musicians, the current lineup consists of a mix of Irish-American and Irish musicians. They've released sixteen albums. The Back Door, vocalized by Cathie Ryan, is a song about undocumented Irish immigrants to the United States who come through "the back door," and could be easily refer to undocumented immigrants from all countries.  It can be found on their 1992 album of the same name.  The video is from a performance they did on an Irish variety show.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Going Provincial: Moussu T e Lei Jovents and "Embarcatz!"

In less than a year, we are thinking of going with some friends to France. I have never been to France - well, let me clarify. I've been in France, but I've never been to France. I was traveling on an itinerary and took a train from Austria through France, stopping in Paris to change train stations, and then on another train to the coast where I set sail for Ireland. So while I've been in France and seen some pastoral countryside and experienced the Metro in Paris while changing train stations, I didn't really spend any time there. In hindsight, that was stupid. I should have spent a few days in Paris at least. But I was young, on my first trip to Europe, and didn't have any sense that I could just make my own schedule and do my own thing.

I'm hoping to rectify that now. Some friends are planning to rent a place in Provence, and the plan is to fly into Paris and spend a week, and then spend another week in the countryside in Provence. We will join them for the trip. And what I am hoping for, besides seeing the sights that I need to see, is to hear some music. France has a wonderful music scene, with so many different kinds of musicians and groups from many genres, including North African, and I find myself really enjoying a lot of the French music I hear.

One of those groups that would be great to see is the provider of our random tune for today. Moussu T e Lei Jovents is a band that splits its time between Marseilles, a French commune called La Ciotat, and Recife, Brazil. They are inspired by the music of Marseilles between 1920 and 1930 and the melting pot that the city was and remains. They range musically from the blues to reggae to Brazilian music to music hall, and they are very comfortable singing in Occitan, the regional language of the southern third of France. They have released eight albums. Embarcatz! (All Aboard!), your tune for the day, is a really fun tune that you can turn up. The song is about traveling once bridges are burned and heading toward new adventure. As the refrain says:

In the world's great salad bowl
We'll add our pinch of salt
Here we are when the music starts
Let the ship sail away!
To the planet's great hymn
We want to bring our energy
Like a never ending groundswell
We will visit every port.

Embarcatz! can be found on their 2013 CD Artemis. The video starts out with a little movie with the music beginning about a minute into the video.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Musical Connections: Afsaneh Rassa'i, Hossein Alizadeh and Madjid Khaladj with "Mavaraon'nah, Avaz"

Mavaraon'nahr, Avaz by Afsaneh Rassa'I, Hossein Alizadeh & Madjid Khaladj on Grooveshark

In the miasma of the Middle East, where currently intractable enemies are holding their nose and working toward the same goals - not together at times - Iran stands as a country the West thinks it knows and it really doesn't. A highly complex society, currently calling itself a democracy but which has a lot of elements of theocracy, Iran holds most of the world's Shi'ite Muslim population. Its roots stretch back to ancient Persia, and in its modern formation, Iran may be the most important power player that the United States doesn't want to deal with as it tries to figure out how to fight the Sunni Islamic State gains in Iraq and Syria. While the US and Iran have the same goals of defeating ISIS, they have been intractable enemies for 3½ decades. Ordinary Americans probably know much more about Iraq than they do Iran given all of the media coverage we've seen of Iraq over two wars and an occupation. Yet this is a country that, for all its internal oppression and its maneuverings on the world stage, has contributed much to political and cultural environment. Their music, for example, has ranged from classical and traditional Persian music to psychedelic rock.

Today's random tune is from three Iranian musicians, at least two of which are considered to be masters of their craft. Mavaraon'nah, Avaz is by Afsaneh Rassa'i, Hossein Alizadeh and Madjid Khaladj. I couldn't find much information about Afsaneh Rassai, but Hossein Alizadeh is a leading Iranian classical composer and musician, and an instrumentalist on the tar and setar. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in contemporary Persian music. Madjid Khaladj is an Iranian percussionist living in France and an architect that has devoted himself entirely to music. Along with playing alongside some of the greatest names in Persian music, he also scores film. This song, Mavaraon'nahr, Avaz is from the 2006 CD Musique du monde: Musique Iranienne - Sâz-é Nô.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Billy Club: Cop & Thief and "Balkan Beat"

I have never really been into the club scene. I must seem like the most boring person on the planet but really, I'm not. In fact, there are some things about the club scene that make me wish I was. The club scene seems like a hotbed of sexual energy as everyone is out there on the dance floor, sweating away as they move their bodies in close proximity to one another. And I'm a red-blooded, if a bit on the old side, American male that finds the thought of women dressed in tight clothing dancing somewhat titillating. But I've always thought of the music as being pretty much interchangeable, more for dancing than for anything else, with a beat that kind of beats you over the head like a policeman's billy club. Yet, even the music has been evolving, and one of the interesting things has been the sampling of Balkan music into club beats. And even more interesting to me is that it's become popular. Perhaps that was why I was able to find a whole collection of Balkan club music and even find some pieces in it that are interesting, not tedious.

The random tune for today is a club tune should have strobes and colored lights flashing along with it. If you don't have that going in your living room when you play the song, just pretend that you are in a club with a lot of bodies grinding around you. Balkan Beat is by Cop & Thief, which is a DJ or a pair of DJs from Italy. But I'm not too sure because I can only find minimal information on them on the web. The tune is heavy on the beat like a club tune, with lots of Balkan brass thrown in. You can find Balkan Beat on World Presents The Balkan Club Night #2 (2011). Enjoy!

P.S. Don't tell my wife about my visions of hot, tightly dressed women in the club. Let's just keep that between you and me.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It Ain't Just Chump Change: Playing for Change and "Gimme Shelter"

I've spent the better portion of my life now trying to get a handle on this elusive term "community." When I graduated from college, I joined a volunteer organization whose four pillars were community, social justice, spirituality and simple lifestyle. I lived in a community of people, all of us doing work in inner-city Milwaukee with not-for-profit organizations, and we tried to build community. In that case, community meant pooling our resources, collaborating with each other, sharing common duties, and above all listening and interacting with each other in a shared vision. I did this for two years, and I realized that community is hard. First of all, community is based around consensus, and it is very difficult to reach a consensus once you get past two people. Either someone is going to obstruct because they don't get what they want, or someone is going to roll over to appease everyone and be secretly angry that they didn't get what they wanted. Since then, I've tried to modify what community means. Can one be in a community while living apart from people? We call our neighborhoods, our towns, even our cities "community" but when you add numbers, it seems to me that elements of true community go away. I'm still trying to find a happy medium because I think that ultimately, a real community could bring me a lot of happiness but, it has to be something less than living with people and getting stuck with their bathroom mess, and something more than just a cluster of buildings together.

One description of the Playing for Change project is that it is building a world community through music, and certainly it has some of those aspects of community. It has a collaborative vision, it has brings together diverse people, and the product that results is an intermingling of many talents. It also probably has to have some top-down organization - I'm not sure a consensus was reached on the songs that they play. However, even if it isn't a community in the strictest sense of the word, I think I can live with it because man, do I like the music and I love the concept.  And I really love this cover of The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter.

Playing for Change is project to connect the world through music. Created by American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson, the project records musicians around the world playing one element of each of the songs they record. They then build, layer by layer, the song by melding the recorded parts, each with the individual interpretations of the musicians involved. They have since developed the Playing for Change Band which tours, and they have built the Playing for Change Foundation, which funds the construction of music and art schools around the world. In this video, you'll see the contributions of a variety of musicians recorded in their countries including:

Greg Ellis (United States)Venkat (India)Roberto Luti (Italy)
Washboard Chaz (United States)
Roselyn Williams (Jamaica)
A.S. Ram (India)
Sidney Santos (Brazil)
Tamika McClellan (United States)
Mamady Ba Camara (Mali)
Massamba Diop (Senegal)
Sherieta Lewis (Jamaica)
Courtney "Bam" Diedrick (Jamaica)
Sean "Pow" Diedrick (Jamaica)
Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (Sierra Leone)
Seenu M. (India)
Taj Mahal (United States)
Andrae Carter (Jamaica)
Char (Japan)

You can find Gimme Shelter on the album PFC 2: Songs Around the World (2011) - it is a CD and DVD combo.  Playing for Change's version is dedicated to all the lost, homeless and forgotten people in the world.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Eyes Have It: Amr Diab and "Nour El-Ain"

I'm a typical guy. I miss a lot of things. For instance, I will often ask my wife where the peanut butter is located. "Right there in front of you!" And it magically appears, because it was there the whole time but for some reason, my guy brain decided to remove it from the picture - as if my mind opened up an organic version of Adobe Photoshop and decided to remove all the pixels that coincided with peanut butter. Which is why I rarely notice eyes. I've noticed that women are often very attentive to eyes. I've had women come up to me and comment on my blue eyes, as if they'd seen them shining from across the room and came like a moth to the flame. And I'm thinking "hey, you have eyes! That's so cool!" So it's funny to me to hear a song, like today's Nour El-Ain, extolling the eyes of another person, because it just isn't what I do. Of course I notice eyes from time to time, particularly if they have some kind of deformity, but also if they are out of the ordinary. I probably would have noticed Liz Taylor's violet eyes to die for, and certainly I would notice the red eyes of an albino, but for the most part, I'm just kind of clueless. Sorry ladies...

Today's random tune is by Amr Diab, who is an Egyptian singer and composer of pop music. A winner of the multiple music awards, he is known as the "Father of the Mediterranean Sound," referring to his blend of Egyptian sounds and textures with Western rhythms and instrumentation. When you listen to his music, you can catch touches of flamenco and raï blending with Western pop and traditional Arabic music. He is also a pioneer in video, being the first Egyptian artist to appear in music videos and helping to popularize them in the Arab world. He has also appeared in film. He was recently criticized during the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt for maintaining his silence and moving to London during the tumult, but after Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was deposed he recorded a song called Masr A'let (Egypt Has Spoken) and released it in conjunction with a video showing many of those who had died, and established a charity he established to help rebuild Egyptian society. He has released 28 official albums. This song, Nour El-Ain, extols the eyes of a lover and the glow she puts into his eyes. It can be found on his 1996 album of the same name, and on the Putumayo North African Groove CD (2005).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

At the Gates: Deolinda and "Entre Alvalade e as Portas de Benfica"

All I know about this song is that it's title refers to being at the Alvalade and Benfica gates. At least that is what Google Translate tells me. But when I run the lyrics through Google Translate, they don't make much sense to me.

This random tune of the day is from a Portuguese band. Deolinda formed in 2006 when the brothers Pedro da Silva Martins and Luis José Martins asked their cousin Ana Bacalhau to sing on a few songs they had written. Realizing that her voice fit perfectly with their songs, they formed Deolinda and rounded out the band with her husband José Pedro Leitã. Their first album, Canção Ao Lado (2008), reached number 3 on the Portuguese charts, and their followup album, Dois Selos e Um Carimbo (2010), hit number 1. During this period, the band performed a song called Parva que Sous at their concerts which was a social criticism of Portugal and the lack of opportunities for young people. Most of Europe was going through a financial crisis, and youth unemployment was enormous, especially in poorer EU countries. The song became an anthem among economically hurt youth in Portugal and went viral on social media, with bootleg copies of concert performances shared in great numbers. Deolinda released their third album, Mundo Pequenino, in 2013.

The band's style is inspired by fado, but they have made numerous departures from the form. While fado utilizes Portuguese guitar, the band does not. Deolinda's songs are often contain social criticism, and can be lively, upbeat, ironic and humorous which does not fit the usual melancholy style of fado either. Fado performers often dress in black when performing, but Deolinda does not. Perhaps they are defining a post-fado or neo-fado style? This song, Entre Alvalade e as Portas de Benfica is from their 2010 release Dois Selos e Um Carimbo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

African Signals: Habib Koite & Bamada with "Tere"

One of the things that has surprised me in my education into world music is the place that Senegal and Mali occupy presently in the music coming out of Africa. Partially, my surprise comes from my recent efforts to compile a directory of the world music that I have (these efforts have actually made these daily random tunes possible). When I catalog music from Africa, it is actually a surprise if the music isn't from Senegal or Mali or related to those countries in some way. Actually, that's not completely true - Algeria also has a thriving music scene (though it comes across as more Arabic/Middle Eastern music than what I would regard as African music), as does South Africa. And, in the 70s Nigeria and Ghana were the African music powerhouses. But Mali in particular seems to have a huge variety and depth of music, from the desert nomad traditions in the north of the country to the more African music traditions of the south. I just find myself typing Mali a lot. And Senegal's music tradition is also strong - a lot of this has to do with Youssou N'Dour but there are other fine musicians coming out of Senegal as well.

One musician that straddles both countries is Habib Koite. Koite is a Senegalese singer, guitarist and songwriter based in Mali whose band, Bamada, is a West African supergroup made up of many well-known musicians. Koite tunes his guitar to a pentatonic scale and plays it on open strings, much like the one would play the African ngoni. His music can be reminiscent of both blues and flamenco, two styles he has picked up in his musical career. He also has an intimate and relaxed vocal style that makes his music sound calm and even moody. Born to musician parents, he learned how to play by watching and listening. After graduation from the Bamako Institute of the Arts, he formed Bamada in 1988. He began touring outside of Africa in 1994, and his music got a huge boost when three of his songs were included with the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. He has released eight albums - his latest just came out in 2014. This song, Tere, is from his 2001 CD Baro.

New Combined Playlist for September Random Songs

KUNM Random Global Music September 2014 from mhessnm on 8tracks Radio.

I've compiled all the songs that I highlighted in September into an playlist. You can get to the playlist by clicking above or at the following link - you do not need to have an 8tracks account to hear the playlist.

Artists highlighted:

Carlos Piñana (Spain)
Karsh Kale (United States)
Balkan Beat Box (Israel)
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys (United States - Cajun)
Ebo Taylor & Uhuru-Yenzu (Ghana)
The Mediaeval Baebes (United Kingdom)
Mexican Institute of Sound (Mexico)
Albert Pla (Spain)
Systema Solar (Colombia)
Black 47 (United States)
Loreena McKennitt (Canada)
White Fort (Russia)
Charanga Cakewalk (Mexico/United States)
Liber Teran (Mexico)
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba (Mali)
Ray Kāne (United States - Hawaii)
Sa Ding Ding (China)
Nei Lopes (Brazil)
Hapa (United States - Hawaii)
Afro Celt Sound System (United Kingdom/Ireland/Senegal/Guinea)
Auli (Latvia)
Barons of Tang (Australia)
Mercan Dede (Turkey)
Väsen (Sweden)
Osibisa (Ghana)
Jake Shimabukuro (United States - Hawaii)
Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba)
Bombino (Niger)
A Moving Sound (Taiwan)
Värttinä (Finland)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chance Meetings: The Touré-Raichel Collective and "Azawade"

Chance plays a huge role in our lives, and history wouldn't have been the same without chance meetings. Would we have ever heard of Lewis Carroll had he not by chance met a young girl named Alice who inspired him to Wonderland? Where would Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet be today if the Titanic had not had a chance encounter with an almost 90 years prior to the movie? What would rock music be like today had John Lennon not met Paul McCartney at a church party, or if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, former school chums, had not bumped into each other on a train years later? What would our lives look like if Woz hadn't met Jobs?

I'm not trying to suggest that today's random tune, a collaboration between Israeli and Malian musicians, is of the same caliber, but it's fascinating that sometimes chance meetings lead to some really good things. Azawade is by the The Touré-Raichel Collective, which developed out of a chance airport meeting between singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré of Mali and pianist Idan Raichel of Israel. Promising to perform together, they fulfilled the promise in 2010 at the Tel Aviv Opera House. An impromptu session the day after at a recording house led to three hours of improvised musical recordings and was the birth of the collective. In 2012 they released their debut album, The Tel Aviv Session, on which this song, Azawade, appears.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day of the Dead: Norrda and "Infinite Face"

Tonight I'm doing our Global Music Show (10 pm - 1 am Mountain time on KUNM 89.9 Albuquerque/Santa Fe or live stream at The show will focus on the Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, as well as All Souls Day and Halloween. For the last couple of days, I've kind of immersed myself in musical death - finding songs that reference death or ghosts or remembrance or lamentation or even joyful songs about death and dying. As you may know, this time of year many believe the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest, and the dead walk among us. Seen or unseen, the dead have role to play in our lives. Perhaps we allow this veil to be torn open because we want to be reminded of those who have gone before us, and to remember our relationships with them. In that way, we allow the dead to have some power in our lives, and that power can be good or it can be destructive. I'm not sure I believe that the dead physically haunt us, but I do believe that they can haunt us if we let them do so. What I like about Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead is that it turns something that could be negative into a positive, a loving remembrance of the people most influential in our lives and allows the spirit of them to be with us for a little while. I like that Halloween mocks the demons and evil that we are ordinarily afraid of by costuming the most vulnerable members of our population, our children, often as those that scare us most. I will admit it, I fear death. But, I fear it less at this time of year when I see the festivities, the ofrendas, and I get a little comfort that no matter what, I still have my honored deceased as a part of my life.

In many years, our song for today, Infinite Face, would have made it to my list for the show, but I had such a selection of good music that it was left out. The lyrics fit right into the spirit of the show tonight - it could easily be about death...

no pain my love
nothing's left to suffer anymore
no rain my child
earths are full from top to the core
with rage and hate
and the gaze of the infinite face
we come and we go
pray for the road
can't find a way
help for your lost soul

no pain my love
nothing's left to suffer anymore
no rain my child
earths are full from top to the core
with rage and hate
and the gaze of the infinite face
we come and we go
pray for the road
can't find a way
help for your lost soul

we were in greed
black and deep
this hole inside of me wants everything
calls it the needs
we throw the seeds
wait them to grow and get us freed
from rage and hate
and the gaze of the infinite face
we come and we go 

Norrda is a Turkish ensemble that takes their name from the Swedish word for North. The band creates their musical fusion from the musical backgrounds of the members of the band and one of the band members resides in Sweden. Their first album, Infinite Face, features melancholy lyrics sung by a young woman accompanied by an eastern flavor of percussion and guitars. Infinite Face, with lyrics in English, can be found on their 2007 CD of the same name.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Suffused Beauty: Ottmar Liebert and "Morning Light"

I am not a morning person and I should be. I should be up and at them in the morning because there really is nothing like morning light. It has been a constant wherever I have lived - as the hint of the sun slowly appears on the horizon, or behind the mountains, or at the edge of the plains, the light in the sky moves from dark blue to pink to blazing orange, and then as the sun appears, long shadows suddenly appear only to shorten. The earth is diffused with a glow, and in a place like New Mexico where I live, it changes the very color of the landscape, contrasting the natural colors of rock and sand against each other and against sky and and river.

Today's random tune is by a somewhat controversial artist who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ottmar Liebert, originally from Germany, began studying classical guitar at eleven years old and flamenco guitar at fourteen. He played rock music in Germany before moving to the United States and eventually settling in Santa Fe in 1986. He released his first album in 1989, and initial sales were so good a remastered version was released in 1990 under the title of Nouveau Flamenco. This angered flamenco artists, who felt that Liebert's work was a poor imitation of not only traditional flamenco but also the Flamenco Nuevo movement to reinvent flamenco music. This left Liebert to explain that while his music has elements of flamenco, he was required by his record company to come up with a label for it and felt that flamenco was the closest description that people would know. Liebert cites influences such as Carlos Santana, Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, Robert Fripp, Jeff Beck and Miles Davis. He has released 28 albums, of which 11 are certified gold or platinum. This song, Morning Light, can be found on his 2008 album Scent of Light.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Put that Horn in your Pipe: The Chieftains and "Brafferton Village: Walsh's Hornpipe"

Today's song, randomly chosen, is from a holiday CD. I actually had second thoughts when it popped up as the random pick, but a couple of things swayed me to keep it as today's song and not randomly pick another. First, it doesn't sound like a holiday song. It's short, only 1 minute and 24 or so seconds, and it's a fast hornpipe, so fast that it almost sounds like a reel. Second, well, since Halloween is over I am just betting, though I haven't been to a store, that all of the shops and stores have taken down their Halloween stuff and have already put up Christmas decorations, put out Christmas goods, and are starting to play Christmas music. I find it difficult to stomach that crass commercialism means that we will be hearing Christmas carols in US stores and seeing holiday commercials on television for the next 2 months, but that's the way it is.

In the meantime, enjoy this song, from a holiday CD, that can really be played at any time of the year. The Chieftains are an Irish ensemble who introduced the wider world to Irish music. The Chieftains were formed in Dublin in 1962 and played their music primarily around the distinctive sound of uileann pipes. They took their name from the title of a novel by Irish author John Montague. Besides releasing several critically acclaimed albums, they are just as well known for their collaborations with such artists as Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor and Roger Daltry. They have released 44 albums. Brafferton Village: Walsh's Hornpipe is from their holiday themed album The Bells of Dublin (1991), on which also appeared Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, the McGarrigle sisters, Marianne Faithfull, Rickie Lee Jones, Nanci Griffith and Burgess Meredith.

A little PS: Megan got this CD a long time ago. I had never heard Irish Christmas music before she introduced me to this album. The Christmas music I grew up with was the schmaltzy Christmas music of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams and Nat King Cole. This album opened me to different types of holiday music, and as a result we have a nice little collection of non-traditional holiday music, including some really interesting ones from all different genres. Thanks, Megan, for enlarging my world so long ago.