Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Not Swinish At All: Orbestra and "Norway"

Norway by Orbestra on Grooveshark

Today's random song is Norway, by Orbestra. Orbestra was formed in 1989 by eight classical musicians who wanted to record the folk music of different cultures in Africa, Colombia, Macedonia, Shetland and Spain. Their instrumentation consists of clarinet, cello, bassoon, double bass, tarambuka, teppan, mbira, bamboo flute, trombone, and violin accompanied by voice. Norway can be found on their 1992 CD, Transdanubian Swineherds' Music.

Monday, March 30, 2015

C'mon Mon Chere: Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band with "Co Fa"

Today's song is a Louisiana zydeco song, but it almost sounds like it has a reggae feel. Co Fa is by Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band. Frank is a native of Louisiana, and started his Soileau Zydeco Band in 1990. They have put out thirteen studio albums and one live album. Co Fa can be found on Putumayo World Music's 2000 compilation CD Zydeco.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Leaning Pop: The Perishers and "Sway"

Today's slow rock, randomly chosen tune is brought to you by The Perishers, a Swedish indie-rock band formed in 1997. The band got a big break in 2005 when they were hand picked by Sarah McLachlan to open for her on her Afterglow tour. They have also been highlighted on soundtracks to American television shows such as The O.C., One Tree Hill, Greek and Veronica Mars. This song, Sway, is from their 2005 EP by the same name.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Seasoned: The Forefathers and "Solstice"

Solstice by The Forefathers on Grooveshark

The Forefathers, the performers of today's random tune, are a four piece American instrumental band based in Orlando, Florida and formed in 2005. They perform ambient world rock fusing genres such as Celtic, new age, afro-beat, folk and rock. This song, Solstice, is from their 2006 self-titled and debut CD, The Forefathers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bag It Up: Cristina Pato and "Jota de Pontevedra"

Jota de Pontevedra by Cristina Pato on Grooveshark

Our random song today is by Cristina Pato. Pato is a Galician pianist, composer and also the first Galician female bagpiper in Spain to record a solo album. She holds a doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano, and degrees in piano performance and music theory from the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona. She has collaborated with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble, Arturo O'Farrill, The Chieftains, Paquito D'Rivera, The World Orchestra, Damian Woetzel, Lil Buck, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Osvaldo Golijov and has been guest artist in more than 20 recordings. This song, Jota de Pontevedra, is from her 2013 album Migrations.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hopefully At Least Once a Week: Wayne Toups and Zydecajun with "Lovin' When They Can"

You are really going to be dancing to today's random tune! Lovin' When They Can is by Wayne Toups and Zydecajun. Songwriter and accordionist Wayne Toups is one of the most successful Cajun musicians in America. He was born in Crowley, Louisiana and started playing accordion at 13. He was soon winning local contests, and later began to combine Cajun music, zydeco, R&B and rock into a genre he labeled Zydecajun. Though he released his first album in the 1970s, his first album with the Zydecajun sound was 1986's Zydecajun. Besides releasing 16 albums and providing soundtracks for movies such as Steel Magnolias, Toups has also collaborated with such artists as Mark Chestnutt, Sammy Kershaw, Alan Jackson, George Jones and Garth Brooks. Loving When They Can is from his 1991 album Fish Out of Water. I dare you not to dance to this one!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Space to Surf: Matorralman and "El Taxi del Mañana"

Feel like some electronic surf music with a space theme? Today's random song is just for you! El Taxi del Mañana is from Matorralman's 2010 album Guataque Estelar. The product of Mexican composer and producer Miguel Rizo, the band incorporates surf rock, French yé-yé, psychedelia, and a lot of twang guitar into a type of space pop. Matorralman lists Hammond Grooves, 60's garage, freakbeat, soul, psych, funk, porno beats, exotica, and lounge as influences, and takes as its inspiration European teen sexploitation films of the 1960s and 70s. The music is meant to be party music, says Rizo. Judge for yourself - are you dancing yet?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Severe Asphalt Rash: Dervish and "Drag Her Round the Road"

Drag Her Round the Road by Dervish on Grooveshark

Our random song for today is from Dervish. Dervish is a traditional Irish band from County Sligo described by the BBC as an "icon" of Irish music. Formed in 1989, 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. Drag Her Round the Road is from their 1997 album Live in Palma, and is a set of reels consisting of The College Groves, Launching the Boat, Milliners Daughter, and the title reel, Drag Her Round the Road.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Was Not Was: Bob Marley and the Wailers with "Johnny Was"

It's funny how some songs, even when they are almost 40 years old, still have relevance today. Johnny Was, by Bob Marley and the Wailers, is one of those songs. Sung from the perspective of a person comforting a woman in the street who has just seen her son shot down by a stray bullet, it seems to me like echoes of the past coming to shine a spotlight on our present. After the events of Ferguson and other places, including my home of Albuquerque, have highlighted the biased ways in which some areas are policed and how some law enforcement officials view certain minorities, it is almost as if Bob Marley and the Wailers were warning us not only about their present but our future. It's uncanny and eerie, and also sad that 40 years after this song was released, this song could still be relevant.

Bo Marley and the Wailers is a reggae and ska band was formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Many of the band's early songs were recorded with the aid of Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. The Wailers were known for recording some of the most notable reggae songs in history. Tosh and Wailer left the band in 1974, leading to a revamped Wailers lineup, and Marley died in 1981 of malignant melanoma. Johnny Was can be found on the Bob Marley and the Wailers 1976 album Rastaman Vibration.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A New Song: Daniel Viglietti and "A Desalambrar"

Uruguay is the source of today's random tune by Daniel Viglietti. A folk singer, guitarist, composer and political activist, he is a main exponent of Uruguayan popular song and the Nueva Canción of the 1960s and 70s. He co-founded the culturally important record label Ayuí/Tacuabé, and he engages in research to preserve, promote and support Uruguayan music. In 1972 he was imprisoned by the Uruguayan government because of his activism, which was leftist and focused attention on the social situation in Uruguay. His imprisonment brought him international support, including support from Jean-Paul Sartre. Rumors of his mistreatment were so rife that the Uruguayan government brought him out to prove that his hands were not hurt, and Viglietti complained that his treatment was much better than other Uruguayan political prisoners. He lived in exile in Argentina and France, returning to Uruguay in 1984. His own music mixes elements of classical music with Uruguayan folk music and other Latin American styles. This song, A Desalambrar (To Tear Down Fences), can be found on Viglietti's 1968 album Canciones Para El Hombre Nuevo and on the 2004 compilation album Uruguay: A Desalambrar.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Backup No More: Depedro and "Equivocado"

Spanish musician Depedro, also known as Jairo Zavala, brings our random tune for today called Equivocado. A longtime session musician, founding member of the rock band La Vacazul and soul band 3000 Hombres, he also performed with the band Calexico in their live shows, Zavala recruited Calexico as his backing band for his debut album Depedro and recorded the bulk of the album in Tuscon, Arizona in 2007. Depedro was released as a CD in 2009. The album's songs are influenced by Mexican music, rumba, son, African music, reggae, blues and salsa among other world sounds.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Balkan New Mexico: Beirut and "The Gulag Orkestar"

Our random tune of the day had its roots right here in New Mexico! The Gulag Orkestar is by Beirut, a band initially formed as a solo project by Albuquerque-born Zach Condon and later expanded into a full band. Condon recorded the bulk of Beirut's debut album, Gulag Orkestar, in his bedroom and finished the album with the assistance of Neutral Milk Hotel and A Hawk and a Hacksaw's Jeremy Barnes. The strength of the recordings brought Condon a contract with Ba Da Bing Records under the name of Beirut, and the album was released in 2006 in conjunction with some live shows in New York - Condon recruited some friends to play the concerts and they became the band Beirut. Beirut has released three albums, the last in 2011, and Condon has been involved in several side projects. The Gulag Orkestar is from Beirut's 2006 debut CD, Gulag Orkestar.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Basking: Jaka and "Glow"

Glow by Jaka on Grooveshark

A New Mexico band provides us with our random tune today. Jaka is an afro-pop funk dance band begun by Dan Pauli in the mid 1990s. They play ancient songs and modern compositions using a mix of contemporary and traditional instruments, such as mbira and marimba. The band has a fluid lineup around five core musicians, and also offers marimba and drumming classes at their Santa Fe studio. Glow is from their 2014 album Glow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And How!: Ni Hao! and "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?"

From Japan, the random song for today is Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? by Ni Hao! Ni Hao! is an all female rock band originally composed of drummer Green Reo and bassists Red Ariko and Blue Yukari. After releasing a number of mini-albums in the early 2000s, they released their debut full-length album in 2005. The band has since become a duo after the departure of Green Reo in 2007 and is on an extended hiatus while Blue Yukari raises her son. Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? can be found on their 2005 debut album Gorgeous.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On the Main Line: Paolo Conte and "Chiamami Adesso"

I don't mean to rain on the St. Patrick's Day parade with an Italian artist, but if I am to keep to randomness, well, sometimes it will indulge me and other times not. Today, it gave me an Italian tune.

Paolo Conte, who we've highlighted before, 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. This song, Chiamami Adesso, can be found on his 2003 album Reveries.The song is an appeal for an ex-lover to telephone.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dooby Dooby Do: Los Amigos Invisibles and "Dubi Dubi Dubi"

The random tune today just fits my criteria - I will not highlight a tune under a minute - but it still seems a bit short. Still, I gotta go with the randomness. Dubi Dubi Dubi is a short tune 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. Dubi Dubi Dubi is from their 2011 album Not So Commercial, which is a Grammy nominated EP of outtakes from their hit 2009 album Commercial.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quite Chill: Rökkurró and "Það kólnar í kvöld...(It's Getting Colder Tonight...)

Today's random tune takes us to Iceland. Rökkurró was founded in Reykjavík in 2006 and released their debut album, Það kólnar í kvöld... (It's Getting Colder Tonight...) in 2007. Rökkurró has since released two more albums. Their music has been described as dreamy soundscapes, luscious palettes, graceful compositions, meticulously crafted, complex, and smooth sonic textures rounded out by a warmth transmitted through the fragile yet smooth and engaging vocals of Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir. This song, Ferdalangurinn, is from 2007's Það kólnar í kvöld... (It's Getting Colder Tonight...).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Turning Back the Tide: Deolinda and "Se Uma Onda Invertesse A Marcha"

Portugal is our destination today in our random tune, Se Uma Onda Invertesse A Marcha by Deolinda. 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 began 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 affected 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? Se Uma Onda Invertesse A Marcha is from their 2010 release Dois Selos e Um Carimbo.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Oi Vey!: 8th Day and "Ya'alili"

The random tune is a fun pop tune by a band called 8th Day, an Hasidic band from Los Alamitos, California formed by brothers Shmuel and Bentzion Marcus in 2004. The brothers grew up in a musically inclined, ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish home and the original band was formed as a fun family project. However, the band has since become a favorite on the Jewish music scene. The group draws its inspiration from traditional Jewish music, but also incorporates other styles such as power pop, blues and reggae. Bentzion Marcus describes his band as klezmer-funk-rock with additional styles ranging from Middle Eastern, rock, folk, country, jazz and blues. The band has released five studio and one live album. This song, Ya'alili, became a minor YouTube viral hit on its release, and can be found on the band's 2011 album Chasing Prophecy.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Blast of January: Preet Brar and Miss Pooja with "January"

January by Preet Brar & Miss Pooja on Grooveshark

Today's random tune comes all the way from India. January is by Preet Brar and Miss Pooja. Preet Brar is a Punjabi singer who incorporates humorous elements into his songs and also has a few scrapes with the law. Miss Pooja is an Indian actress and singer who is widely credited with reviving Punjabi duet singing and is the biggest selling female bhangra artist in India and abroad. She has released over 70 duets with different male singers, and her prodigious career includes over 3000 singles, over 300 albums, over 800 music videos and five films. January can be found on the their 2007 album Petrol 2.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Magic Flute: R. Carlos Nakai and "Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home"

Today's random tune should help awaken you. Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home is by noted Native American flautist R. Carlos Nakai. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Nakai is of Navajo and Ute heritage. Given that his music is so peaceful, it is hard to believe that he started out his musical career at Northern Arizona University playing brass instruments in a marching band, and that he enlisted in the US Navy as a sophomore so that he might play with the US Navy Band. After passing the audition, he was 28th on the Armed Forces School of Music waiting list, but an auto accident damaged his mouth and made it impossible for him to play brass.

Not long after his accident, he was presented with a traditional cedar flute as a gift, and challenged to master it. And master it he has! Drawing from Native tradition but also blending Native music with that of other cultures, Nakai has created the only two Native American albums to be certified gold and platinum. He has worked with musical luminaries such as American composer Philip Glass, Israeli cellist Udi Bar-David, Tibetan flautist Nawang Khechog, American flautist Paul Horn and slack key guitarist Keola Beamer. He has been inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home is on his 1993 platinum album Canyon Trilogy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Texas Pirates: The Corsairs and "Santy Anno"

Santy Anno by The Corsairs on Grooveshark

Aaargh! The Corsairs sail in, once again, and put a shot over our bow! I remember seeing The Corsairs at some festival in San Antonio years ago and purchased their album. This is not the 60s doo wop group, but an American a cappella group that sings sea shanties and pirate songs. I can't find too much on them except that they've released a number of albums, each named after a color - for example, The Red One, The Black One, etc. Apparently a few lovers of all things pirate and the sea think that of all the groups doing pirate songs and sea shanties, The Corsairs are the best. This song, Santy Anno, is from the group's 1998 debut album, The Red One. It's a sea shanty referring to, of all things, General Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico - yes, the same one who stormed the Alamo.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Devotion: Sangeeta Kar and "Meera Nachire"

Meera Nachire by Sangeeta Kar on Grooveshark

Indian classical music is the destination of our random tune today. Meera Nachire is by Michigan-based and award winning Indian singer and dancer Sangeeta Kar, the founder and artistic director of the Sangeetayan Institute of Dance and Music of India. She has degrees in classical Odissi (the oldest dance form in India), Hindustani classical vocal music and English literature. She was trained in Odissi dance by Padma Vibhushan Kelucharan Mahapatra and in music by Deepak Basu. Meera Nachire is a Hindu bhajan and can be found on her 1998 album of the same name.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Silver Slipper: Fantcha and "Cinderela"

Today's random song is by Cape Verdean songstress Fantcha. Fantcha was born in the Cape Verdean city of Mindelo and took to music at an early age - learning to sing while accompanied by her brothers' guitar and cavaquinho. At 10, she caught the attention of Gregorio Gonçalves, also known as Ti Goy, one of Cape Verde's most famous composers. He not only took her under his wing and taught her musically, but he also introduced her to the legendary Cesaria Evora, who also taught Fantcha much about music. After a brief recording stint in Portugal, Fantcha moved to New York City. Her evolving music style includes Portuguese, African and Cuban inflections, and she sings mornas with a rich, sensuous voice befitting their mournful topics. However, she can also get people to dance, especially when she gets going on her coladeras. Cinderela can be found on her 1997 album Criolinha and on the Putumayo compilation CD Cape Verde.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Down Under: The Battlefield Band and "Out in Australia at Last"

Out In Australia At Last by Battlefield Band on Grooveshark

Today's song is by a longtime Scottish folk group. 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. Out in Australia at Last can be found on their 2006 CD The Road of Tears, which has a theme of displacement and voluntary and forced emigration.

Friday, March 6, 2015

He's Got the Power: Ashwin Batish and "Raga Rock"

Raga Rock by Ashwin Batish on Grooveshark

How about something different and fun? Today's random global tune should fit the bill. Raga Rock is by Ashwin Batish. Batish is an accomplished sitar and tabla player. Originally from Mumbai, India Batish is the son of composer and Bollywood playback singer Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish. Ashwin Batish was a child prodigy who started playing music on the dholak drum, then the tabla at age 10, but he fell in love with the sitar at age 12. He began to learn sitar through lessons taught by his mother and by listening to Ravi Shankar albums. He also learned some guitar and enjoyed playing Western music by The Beatles, Pat Boone, Cliff Richard and others of the 60s era. After joining his father in England, he began to learn North Indian classical music and composition. His training was rigorous, but Ashwin realized he had to study diligently because he found himself uncomfortable playing in front of audiences. Batish moved to the US in 1973 with his father, and played music with him at their family restaurant. In 1986, he released his debut album called Sitar Power #1. A sitar fueled fusion of Indian and Western rock music, it brought him much attention and a recording contract. He currently runs his own record label that focuses on publishing all of his family's music, and he teaches music in Santa Cruz, California at his Batish Institute of Music and Fine Arts. Raga Rock can be found on his 1986 release Sitar Power #1.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love in the Rainforest: Hapa and "Kahea U`ilani"

Kahea V`ilani by Hapa on Grooveshark

Our random tune for today takes us to the beautiful Hawaiian islands with Hapa. The name Hapa means "half," and indeed one of the members, Barry Flanagan, is a white guy from New Jersey who is currently paired up with native Hawaiian Ron Kuala'au. Flanagan has been a consistent 30 year member of the duo. He started out partnering with Keli'i Ho'omalu Kaneali'i. Following Kaneali'i, Flanagan teamed with Nathan Aweau, who eventually left for a solo career. Flanagan then partnered with Hawaiian chanter Charles Ka'upu, who described Hapa's goal as helping revive the Polynesian language and to totally change the way the world perceives Hawaiian music. Unfortunately, Ka'upu died suddenly and unexpectedly in his early 50s in 2011. In its new incarnation Hapa continues to draw from jazz, folk, blues, bluegrass, Latin, flamenco, rock, Irish music and slam poetry as well as traditional Hawaiian music. Hapa's debut CD in 1995 became the biggest selling album ever by a Hawaiian group, and they have since released eight albums.

This song, Kahea U`ilani, can be found on their 2002 album In the Name of Love. The song's title translates as The Call of the Heavens. The lyrics are a beautiful evocation of love and the rainforest:

Coolness in the fine, gentle rain,
A tingling love within me.
There amidst the dew scattered by the breeze,
We embrace, we embrace the forest.
You are my precious lei,
An adornment to be worn forever
In the cool fragrance of the uplands.

Delighting in the forest,
The beauty in our love,
As we sway in the purple mist.
The story is told, of the beauty witnessed
In the purple mist of the upland.

In the forest where we delighted,
The beauty of the heavens calling.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

All in the Family: Joan Soriano and "Vengo de Lejos"

We go to the Caribbean for today's random tune. Vengo de Lejos is from Joan Soriano, a Dominican bachata singer and guitarist who blends modern and traditional bachata styles. The seventh of fifteen children, he began his music career with a self-made guitar fashioned from a tin can and some fishing line. After mastering his style of bachata playing, he began working as a session musician in Santo Domingo. His album El Duque de la Bachata won the Indie Acoustic Project's Best Worldbeat Album of 2011. Vengo de Lejos can be found on his 2012 album La Familia Soriano.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On De-Nile: Hisham Abbas and "Intil Waheeda"

Hisham Abbas, the singer of our random tune for the day, is an Egyptian pop singer from Cairo with a background in mechanical engineering. His music career took off with several Egyptian hits in the 1990s, especially Habibi Dah (Nari Narain) which featured Indian singer Jayashri. This song, Intil Waheeda, can be found on the 2001 compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Arabic Groove.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Swedish Dish: Darol Anger and Mike Marshall with Väsen and "Couscous"

Some American folk musicians mingle with Swedish folk musicians to create today's random tune, Couscous. Väsen is a Swedish folk music ensemble formed officially in 1990 for a music gathering in Norway. Väsen plays traditional instruments such as the nyckelharpa but it was adding a guitar that gave the band a unique sound. They play on this song with American mandolin player Mike Marshall, a leader in the New Acoustic Music movement that blends folk, bluegrass, jazz and world music. Also featured on the song is Marshall's longtime collaborator Darol Anger, an American violinist with an extensive background in jazz, folk and classical music. Couscous can be found on the 2007 album Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gimme Shelter: Zion Trinity and "Shelter of Yahweh"

Shelter Of Yahweh by Zion Trinity on Grooveshark

We aim a little high today, as the random selection has pointed our eyes to heaven. Shelter of Yahweh is by New Orleans female vocal group Zion Trinity. Established in 1997, Zion Trinity sings in the styles of reggae, funk, jazz, African ritual and others. They have opened for international acts such as Burning Spear, Lucky Dube and Rootz Underground. Shelter of Yahweh is from their 2003 album Eyes on Zion, an album that combines original reggae with traditional Orisha chants.