Saturday, February 28, 2015
A new country we haven't represented before serves up our random tune for today. The Kočani Orkestar is a Macedonian Romani gypsy brass band who play a funked up version of Balkan brass band music directly descended from the music of Turkish army bands. This song, La Llorona (the video spells it wrong), refers to the weeping female who drowned herself in despair after a jilted love, and was turned away from the gates of heaven and not allowed to return until she finds her children. This legend is found in Latin myth throughout Hispanic America , and I can only assume that The Kočani Orkestar reference the legend from Romani/gypsy populations in Spain. La Llorona can be found on The Kočani Orkestar's 2008 CD The Ravished Bride.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Old Blind Dogs, performers of our random song Soup of the Day, are a Scottish band which plays traditional Scottish and Celtic music with influences from rock, reggae, jazz, blues and Middle Eastern music. They are known for performing songs unique to northeast Scotland and singing in the unique Doric dialect of the Aberdeen area. Soup of the Day can be found on the Old Blind Dogs 1999 album The World's Room.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
We dip into the acting world for today's random tune. Idris Elba is an actor, producer, rapper, singer and DJ from the United Kingdom. While best known for his roles in the television show The Wire and his turn as Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, he recently released his 2014 album Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela, with songs inspired by the Mandela film. This song, One, features British/Ugandan spoken word artist George Mpanga, also known as George the Poet, and can be found on Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Today's song is by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, also known as IZ. Kamakawiwo'ole, who died in 1997, was a Hawaiian singer, songwriter and sovereignty activist. He is best known in the rest of the United States for his soulful reinterpretation of Somewhere Over the Rainbow but his influence on Hawaiian music through his ukelele skill, combined with his ability to combine traditional Hawaiian music with jazz and reggae, remains strong to this day. He started his career playing with his brother, Skippy, and others in a group called Makaha Sons of Niʻihau. This group recorded fifteen albums that featured a blending of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music and was a key component of the Hawaiian Renaissance of 1970s and 80s. Skippy died in 1982 of a heart attack related to obesity, and Kamakawiwo'ole suffered the same affliction. At one point he weighed 767 pounds. However, he started releasing solo albums in 1990, winning awards for Hawaiian music. His music was also notable for its political themes, often calling for Hawaiian independence. He released four solo albums before his death at age 38 of complications related to obesity. Hawaiian flags flew at half staff upon his death and his coffin lay in state in the Hawaiian capitol - he was only third person accorded this honor and the first non-politician. This song, Men Who Ride Mountains, can be found on his debut solo album Ka ʻAnoʻi (1990), The title refers to surfing.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nawal brings us the random song for today. A musician from Comoros, she takes the traditional music of Comoros and incorporates influences from African and Arabic traditions. She sings in Comorian, French, Arabic and English, and she is a multi-instrumentalist. Nawal is one of the first women from her country to take the international stage and she is known today as "The Voice of Comoros." This song, Leo ni Leo, is from her 2007 album Aman.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Today's song is by Latvian band Iļģi, which calls itself the most famous world music band from Latvia. Iļģi was formed in 1981, during the days of the Soviet regime in Latvia, and their focus was on the folk music of Latvia. They traveled around the country looking for folk songs that had never been recorded. In looking for these folk songs, they also uncovered tradition and history that the Soviet government found dangerous because delving into folklore was seeing as an act of dissidence. Their concerts, in which they wore traditional costumes and played traditional Latvian instruments such as the kokle (stringed instrument) and the dūdas (a type of bagpipe) had to be approved by government officials and any perceived non-compliance from regulations could result in a canceled concert or a ban. For a while, their name and that of other folklorists was forbidden to be mentioned in the media. Thus, the band and their work and music were hidden from much of the public for years.
The collapse of the Soviet system freed Iļģi from all restrictions, and also probably freed them from strict adherence to folk music. Musicians being musicians, Iļģi wanted to explore what they were capable of musically and they began to transition from a pure folk band to a post-folk band, where the music became infused with other influences besides Latvian folk. Iļģi still remains true to the traditions - the member of the band who has been with them longest teaches Latvian folk traditions to school children, for example. However, they continue to find their way as a post-folk band. For awhile they went to completely electric instruments, but a new generation of music lovers in Latvia have been demanding to hear more of the traditional music, and Iļģi has been going back to the old instruments. Their music has been described as reflective and meditative in some songs, and upbeat and full of vitality in others. They've been honored many times both in Latvia and abroad. This song, Ai Māte, Ai Māte (Mother Oh Mother), is from their 2006 award winning album Ne Uz Vienu Dienu, a collection of wedding songs.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
We had The Prodigals a few days ago, and now our random tune is from The Pogues, a Celtic punk band from London. Formed in 1982, The Pogues became internationally prominent in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band was originally fronted by Shane MacGowan, who left in 1991 due to drinking problems. The band has since been fronted first by Joe Strummer and then by Spider Stacy. The band broke up in 1996 after releasing their final album Pogue Mahone, but reformed in 2001 and has been playing regular gigs but has no plans to record a new album. The Pogues music is influenced by punk, but uses traditional Irish instruments such as tin whistle, cittern, mandolin and accordion. The band's name comes from "Pogue Mahone," an anglicized version of an Irish phrase meaning "kiss me arse." This song, A Pair of Brown Eyes, can be found on their 1985 album Rum, Sodomy and the Lash as well as many compilation and "best of" albums.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Today's random song is by Kirpi (Hedgehog), the performing name of classically trained Turkish clarinetist Bülent Altinbas. I can't find much more information on Altinbas, but this tune, Winds of Melody or Wind's Melody depending on translation, can be found on the compilation CD Turca Lounge, Volume 1 (2007).
Friday, February 20, 2015
Yo mama is here. At least, the random tune for today is by Zap Mama, the music act of Belgian artist Marie Daulne. Daulne sings in polyphonic and Afro-pop styles, infusing harmony with African vocal techniques, as well as throwing in some hip hop. Much of her musical inspiration comes from her roots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where her Belgian father was killed during the Congo Crisis. Her Congolese mother and all the children were airlifted to Belgium, where she grew up in a household infused with Congolese culture but also in a society where there were few black people. Her first musical influences were African songs her mother sang, European music, especially French, and later blues, reggae and hip hop. In 1984, she returned to Congo to learn about her heritage and trained in pygmy onomatopoetic techniques. First conceived of as an a capella quintet, Zap Mama has evolved to just Daulne's voice and instrumentation. This song Hello to Mama, can be found on Zap Mama's 2009 CD ReCreation.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
In these times when immigration is being debated, the focus of today's random tune is timely. The Immigrant is by The Prodigals, an American punk band begun in 1997. The band describes their music as jig-punk and can be classified with other Irish music influenced punk bands such as The Pogues and Black 47 in their merging of traditional Celtic melodies with rock rhythms. The band's melodies are carried by a button key accordion with bass and drum underneath. The Immigrant can be found on their 1999 album Go On.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
For the next two weeks I will be in California helping care for my mom. However, because I am a fayner mensch, I have put together two weeks of random music to cover the daily song.
Today's random tune is from the band Golem and is called My Horse. A rock-klezmer band, Golem was created in 2000 in New York City by Annette Ezekiel Kogan, who serves as bandleader, vocalist and accordionist. The band describes their music as Eastern European Jewish folk-rock, and combines elements of rock, punk, and klezmer with lyrics in mainly English, Yiddish and Russian. The name of the band refers to the monster created out of clay to protect the Jewish people, and turned back to clay when it got out of control. The band calls themselves a collective monster that approaches traditional music with respect, but without timidity and resistance to change. My Horse can be found on Golem's 2014 CD Tanz.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Today's random tune is from Turkey. Unfortunately, I won't be able to tell you much about the artist, Necip Yilgin, because I can't find too much material about him. He is a graduate of the Turkish State Music Conservatory, and served as choir director at the Istanbul University Faculty of Law. He is a music director, arranger, composer and performer. This song, Konyali, refers to a folk dance from the city of Konya in Turkey, and can be found on the album Sound of Cappadocia. Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey.
Monday, February 16, 2015
We go to India today for the random tune from a hit movie. Ringa Ringa by A.R. Rahman, Alka Yagnik & Ila Arun was one of the memorable songs from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. A.R. Rahman is an Indian composer, musician, singer-songwriter, producer and philanthropist. He is notable for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. He has also won two Academy Awards and two Grammies for his work. Alka Yagnik is a noted Indian playback singer whose career has spanned three decades. Ila Arun is a popular Indian actress and Rajasthani folk and folk/pop singer. Ringa Ringa can be found on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack (2008).
Sunday, February 15, 2015
A bit of random flamenco today from Manitas de Plata, a French flamenco guitarist who flouted flamenco rhythmic conventions and achieved worldwide fame. He was born Ricardo Baliardo in 1921 in a gypsy caravan in southern France. He began his career playing in an annual gypsy pilgrimage in Carmargue, France but only agreed to play for a wider public ten years after the death of preeminent gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Pablo Picasso, on hearing him, exclaimed that Manitas de Plata was "of greater worth than I am!" He became known in the US in the 1960s, and he was father of many members of the renowned Gipsy Kings. He died in November, 2014. This song, Toringa, can be found on the 2014 album Flores de Mi Corazón.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
The random tune today is about a phenomenon that we won't see for a few months (unless you are in the southern hemisphere). Summer Storm is by Jonaé, a band from Nashville, begun in 2005, and made up of Californian guitarist/composer Jody Alan Sweet, West Virginia fiddler Renaé Truex, and Swedish percussionist Tom Moller. Jonaé combines diverse instrumentation such as violin, cello, viola, acoustic guitar and a variety of percussion instruments such as cajones, djembes, and mondo drums with electrifying rhythms and haunting melodies. Summer Storm can be found on their 2005 album Into the Blue.
Friday, February 13, 2015
The random tune for today is from the great South African jazzman Hugh Masekela. A trumpeter, cornetist, flugelhornist, composer and singer, Masekela began singing and playing piano as a child, but took up the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play a trumpeter modeled on Bix Beiderbecke in the movie Young Man with a Horn. His music has always reflected his life experience during South Africa's apartheid era, and through his music he reached a large portion of the population living through the oppression. He helped form and played with the groundbreaking group The Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz group to record an LP. He is known in the United States for his interpretation of the 5th Dimension's Up, Up and Away (1967) and his hit Grazing in the Grass (1968). He was once married to singer Miriam Makeba, and he toured with Paul Simon in support of his Graceland album. He has also worked with African artists of all stripes, and he is involved in a number of South African social initiatives.
This song, Open the Door, is from his album Revival (2005) and can also be found on the Putumayo compilation Jazz Around the World (2009). It also features the South African group Malaika, which is described as post-kwaito (kwaito is a variant of house music featuring African sounds and samples), post-mbaqanga (mbaqanga is a South African musical style with roots in the Zulu culture) and neo-soul (a modern form of soul/R&B incorporating jazz, funk, hip hop, pop, fusion and African music) Note: The video looks like it runs 8 minutes, but the song actually ends at 5:10.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Throw-Wayyyy-Back Thursday: San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) and "Esta es Cena de Amor Llena"
A real blast from the past is in today's random tune fitting with Throwback Thursday. The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) went back to colonial Mexico. This tune, Esta es Cena de Amor Llena, was written by Tomás Pascual in the 16th century. The lyrics refer to the Mass:
This is a supper full of love,
this is a supper of love.
When we are in this supper there is love,
and it is love that He has ordained as a great glory.
Since such a supper has been created
it has been maintained for all.
This alone unites us
because it includes His essence.
SAVAE is a unique ancient vocal music ensemble that is accompanied by early and traditional instrumentation. They made their debut in 1989 presenting Latin music from the colonial period. Its artistic director, Christopher Moroney, has penned arrangements and new compositions for the group, that has involved delving into ancient history and cultures. The group has been featured on national radio shows and has toured the United States and around the world. Esta es Cena de Amor Llena can be found on their 2000 album El Milagro de Guadalupe.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
It's all about that brass...the Raya Brass Band, that is. Started in 2008, this band calls itself "The Balkan Sound of NYC." The Raya Brass Band draws its musical inspiration from the Balkans, obviously, but also punk rock, out jazz and other international musical styles. This song, Shapkarevo Kasapsko Oro, can be found on their 2013 album This Train Is Now. The video is a live performance of the song.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
2raumwohnung. Let's see you say that three times. They provide the random tune for today, called Ich Weiß Warum (I Know Why). 2raumwohnung is a German electro-pop duo formed in 2000 in East Berlin by Inga Humpe and her life partner Tommi Eckart. Their band name means "two-room apartment." Though many of their songs were originally used in commercials, they had their biggest hit with the release of their album 36 Grad (36 Degrees) in 2007. Ich Weiß Warum is from one of their earlier albums, 2002's In Wirklich, and it can also be found on the Putumayo World Groove compilation (2004).
Monday, February 9, 2015
As we start a new week, a new random song is served up for you. Mina is by Mouss et Hakim, a group based in Toulouse, France formed by brothers Mustapha and Hakim Amokrane. The brothers were originally members of the band Zebda and they were also in the group 100% Colleagues. I can't find much more information on them. Mina can be found on their 2005 CD Ou le Contraire, and on the Putumayo compilation Euro Groove (2008).
Sunday, February 8, 2015
The random tune for today is called Hemingway, sung by Paolo Conte. Conte was born in Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy, and he began his music career as a vibraphone player traveling in local and touring bands. He started writing songs early on in his career with his brother Giorgio but eventually began writing on his own. His star rose in the 60s and 70s as he was the main creative songwriter behind hits of other well-known Italian artists. His solo career commenced in 1974. His songs are known for being evocative of colorful and dreamy Italian and Mediterranean sounds. His music is often jazzy, reminiscent of South America and French singers, and filled with a wistful melancholy. His music has also been used in many movies. Hemingway can be found on multiple albums, including Conte's 1996 CD Paolo Conte: The Best Of... where I first heard it. The song is a reverie, or reminiscence, of places that Ernest Hemingway referred to or frequented.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
The random tune for today, Saturday February 7th, is from Gotan Project. La Gloria is from their album Tango 3.0 (2010). Gotan Project, formed in 1999, is based in Paris and their music uses tango as a base but also incorporates samples, beats and breaks. Their name is a play on a famous tango compilation album called Tango Project released in 1982. The band's songs have been used in American film and television, and the band itself appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2012. The band has released three studio albums, a couple of live albums, and has been included on many compilations. The official video for La Gloria has the song at 3 minutes 12 seconds, though the version I have on iTunes is about 30 seconds longer. The song features an extended vocal by Uruguayan, Argentina-based football announcer Victor Hugo Morales, who mentions all band members by name and finishes with a long GOOOOOTAAAAAAN!!! instead of his trademark GOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!
Friday, February 6, 2015
One thing that has been a problem for me throughout my life is self-esteem. An artifact of my dysfunctional family past, it has dogged me throughout my life. I don't exactly put myself down, though I've even been known to do that on occasion, but I also don't really give myself any credit for things that I've done - even when others praise me. I deflect, I say that it's nothing, and don't accept any kudos. Over the years I've been working on being less critical of myself, and more accepting of the opinions of others about me. Yet, I still find myself at the age of 51 unable in many situations to "toot my own horn." All the praise of others are nothing unless one can praise oneself. All criticisms of others are magnified when one is too self-critical. To be at peace with oneself, one must accept oneself. It's a lesson I'm still learning.
Self-acceptance is also the theme of today's random tune from our archive. Accept Yourself is by Nitin Sawhney, a British Indian musician, producer and composer. Combining Asian and other themes with jazz and electronica, he explores themes of multiculturalism, politics and spirituality. As a child, Sawhney studied piano, classical and flamenco guitar and tabla. After meeting up with acid-jazz keyboardist James Taylor and joining his quartet, he also began working with tabla player Talvin Singh and formed the Tihai Trio. After dropping out of school, Sawhney formed the comedy group The Secret Asians with friend Sanjeev Bhaskar and developed the award winning BBC comedy show Goodness Gracious Me. After, he refocused on music and released his debut album in 1993. He has released nine albums, has contributed scores for stage, screen, television and video games, and has remixed a wide variety of artists including Sting, Jeff Beck and Paul McCartney. He also has his own world music show on BBC Radio called Nitin Sawhney Spins the Globe. "Accept Yourself" can be found on Sawhney's 2013 album OneZero. It sounds like he doesn't have any reason to be self-critical.
I really like this song! Sawhney's guitar playing, mixed with Indian flute and tabla, as well as the lovely voices of the three women make this song one that you'll listen to over and over.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
The random tune for today is by the great Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté. Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006, was a multi-instrumentalist and singer from Mali renowned as one of Africa's greatest musicians, and the person who represents the intersection between Malian music and the blues. Known as the African John Lee Hooker, his playing style on guitar was similar to Hooker's blues. He sang in several African languages, and won two Grammy awards. Toumani Diabaté is a Malian kora player who not only plays traditional Malian music but also has collaborated cross-culturally in blues, jazz, flamenco and other international styles with musicians such as Björk and Taj Mahal, among others, This song, Naweye Toro, is from their Grammy Award winning album (for best traditional world music) In The Heart of the Moon (2005).
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Just as Turkey is a crossroads between West and East, it is also a crossroads of musical styles. You can find music inspired from east of Turkey such as Persia/Iran and farther, or music from the south in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, to music inspired by the Balkans and the Romani populations there. The genres cover ancient to modern, classical to pop. It's a melange of music worthy of a country that has seen a plethora of cultures pass through it, each putting their indelible stamp on Turkish culture and society. In particular, Istanbul, which literally straddles the East-West divide, is home to all kinds of artists, musical and otherwise.
Today's random song is by Replikas, an experimental/psychedelic rock band from Istanbul. Featuring Gökçe Akçelik on guitar and vocals, Barkın Engin on guitar, Selçuk Artut on bass, Orçun Baştürk on drums and Burak Tamer on electronics, the band has released seven studio albums, one boxed set and one live performance album, as well as being featured on many compilations. The band has also made music for film as well as appearing in the documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul. This song, Şahar Dağı, can be found on the soundtrack to Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2006).
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
A little touch o' the Irish for you in today's random tune. Morning Glory is by Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. The song was clearly written before the Irish were willing to ignore church warnings and began using birth control - it is about a guy who regularly visits four sisters, the daughters of the landlord in the Cross Keys Inn, goes to war, and comes back to find the sisters four have made babies four that look just like him. Makem, who died in 2007, was a folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller known as the Bard of Armagh. Internationally acclaimed, he was a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. A baritone, he played a number of instruments including 5 string banjo, tin whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhrán and bagpipes. Liam Clancy, who died in 2009, was the youngest member of The Clancy Brothers. He was known for his powerful voice, and Bob Dylan considered him the greatest ballad singer ever and he was a hero to the young Dylan as he was learning his craft. He was a central figure in the folk revival of Europe and North America. Morning Glory can be found on Makem and Clancy's 1978 album Two for the Early Dew.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Listen to the KUNM Global Music Show tonight, February 2nd from 10 pm to 1 am Mountain time, on 89.9 KUNM Albuquerque/Santa Fe or at http://www.kunm.org. We will have a plethora of music from around the world including some of the newest releases. Be a citizen of the world, and tune in!
Our random tune today is from Srikalogy, which along with Srikala is the performing name of Srikala Kerel Roach, a DJ. MC, producer and percussionist who is the son of West Indian parents and who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Influenced early by hip hop, reggae, dub, and R&B, he expanded his range to include rock, blues, pop and jazz. At 18 seeking to end a cycle of self-destructive behavior, he entered a monastic life at an ashram on the Lower East Side of New York City which was steeped in the Bhakti yoga tradition and transcendental sound vibration. He transitioned out of monastic life after 6 years and began studying audio engineering and began releasing albums in 2011. He has also collaborated with other groups, notably the Earthrise SoundSystem. He appears regularly in New York City with his jazz funk fusion band, The Flowdown, He seeks to bring hope and inspiration with his music, culminating in a message to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of life. This song, Hey Govinda, Hey Gopal can be found on his 2014 album Kirtan Sessions: Volume One.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Our random tune takes us to South Africa with Le Tshephile Mang by South African jazz singer and afro-pop artist Judith Sephuma. The song is a plea for togetherness in the midst of disharmony. While it is certainly born out of the social and political environment of South Africa, it could also count for the United States today. As I read in the news the shameful treatment of certain sectors of American society, the shameful treatment of American Muslims at the Texas capitol only the latest example, I wonder when the people of the United States will realize that we are strongest when unified and together; therefore, we should reject the example set by our politicians. But in our political climate today, this simple and commonsense image seems to be be lost in recriminations and accusations and the lazy and easy willingness to point fingers and target rather than striving toward the harder but more constructive work of reaching out to those we don't usually engage or understand. Naivete? Maybe. Hope? Certainly.
Sephuma was born and raised in Polokwane, South Africa and moved to Cape Town in 1994 to study jazz singing. She won Best Jazz Vocalist in a major South African competition, which led to her signing with the African division of BMG. Le Tshephile Mang can be found on her 2001 album A Cry, A Smile, A Dance and on the Putumayo compilation album Women of Africa (2004).