Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking for the Exit: Buddha Sounds and "Let Me Go"

Today's random tune is by Buddha Sounds, an Argentina-based electronic group formed in 2002. With five albums under their belt, they have also had their songs featured on a number of TV shows and movies (such as Sex and the City, and they have performed in a number of countries in South America. You can find this song, Let Me Go, on their 2005 album Buddha Sounds, Vol. 2. It is a perfect end to 2016, as we let the year go and move into a new revolution around the sun.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Light Inside: MC Yogi and "Temple Light"

Today's random tune is by Nicholas Giacomini, a Bay Area hip hop artist and yogi who promotes themes of Hindu religion and philosophy in hip hop under the name of MC Yogi. Giacomini began rapping at 13 and, while living in home for at-risk children at age 17, he became a practitioner of yoga after his father took it up. His songs are often bhajans, or devotional songs, celebrating one or another of the Hindu deities. At other times, he provides interesting history lessons on the lives of important historical figures within Hinduism, such as Gandhi. Even when he is doing nothing but beatboxing, his songs can sound like mantras or prayers. This song, Temple Light, can be found on MC Yogi's 2012 album Pilgrimage. It is dedicated to Megan's father John Kamerick, who departed this world about a year and a half ago and whose birthday is today.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Modena City Ramblers and "Canzone Dalla Fine del Mondo"

For Mike's birthday, we have an Italian band doing Irish music. Irish music in Italian, that's crazy talk, you say! But here it is. Canzone Dalla Fine del Mondo is by the Modena City Ramblers. Started as a hobby in 1991 by a group of friends that wanted to play Irish music together, the Modena City Ramblers (or MCR) is an Italian folk band heavily influenced by Celtic themes and is often classified as folk rock. A band with an open lineup, they have had several people leave and return sporadically. They are outspoken in their left wing politics, and their lyrics often speak out against the Mafia and fascism. They have released 14 albums and 5 EPs. Canzone Dalla Fine del Mondo is from their second album, 1996's La Grande Famiglia, and can also be found on their 1998 live album Raccolti. You can also find the song on the 1999 Putumayo compilation Dublin to Dakar: A Celtic Odyssey.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Andes-Step: Nicola Cruz and "Colibria"

Some electronica/techno inspired by the native folk music of Ecuador comprises our random tune for today, Colibria. The artist is Nicola Cruz, an Ecuadorian producer who started as a drummer and then went to school as an audio producer. Cruz draws on traditions, particularly the indigenous roots of his home country, and filters it through his contemporary vision. He has dubbed (pun intended) his music "Andes-step." Colibria can be found on Cruz's 2015 album Prender el Alma.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

So Silly: Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo with "Muita Bobeira"

We bring you some Brazilian music for today's random tune. Muita Bobeira, is performed by Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo. Luciana Souza is a Brazilian jazz singer and composer. A native of São Paulo, she has an impressive arts pedigree as the daughter of poet Teresa Souza and singer-composer-guitarist Walter Santos. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a jazz composition degree, and from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Masters. She started her career by singing commercial jingles at the age of three - and besides jazz she has worked in European classical music with a number of orchestras in the US and Europe. She has been nominated for Grammy Awards in jazz categories twelve times, and has recorded with a number of well-known jazz musicians. Romero Lubambo is a Brazilian jazz guitarist from Rio de Janeiro who has lived in the US since 1985. He has recorded with many famous jazz musicians and has most recently been playing with Trio da Paz. He might be best known for his contribution to the song Doce de Coco performed by Yo-yo Ma and Paquito D'Rivera on Ma's Apassionata CD. Muita Bobeira can be found on the Luciana Souza album Duos II (2005).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Praise: San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble and "Hanacpachap Cussicuinin"

Today's random song is called Hanacpachap Cussicuinin, and is performed by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE). 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 by 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. Hanacpachap Cussicuinin can be found on their 1996 album Native Angels. It is an ode to the Virgin Mary, and is considered the oldest printed polyphonic hymn in the New World. Its lyrics are in the Quechua language and contain many metaphors about love and nature grounded in the Quechua culture.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Electric Africa: Burkina Electric and "To Mi To Zi"

Burkina Electric "To mi to zi" by pyrolator

Merry Christmas! The randomizer didn't favor us with a Christmas tune today, but here's a funky tune from the country of Burkina Faso! Burkina Electric is one of the first electronic acts from Africa. they were formed in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2007 for a tour of Austria, but they are now largely based in New York City. They have released two studio albums. This song, To Mi To Zi, can be found on their 2011 release Paspanga.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Riding It Out: Kate Northrop and "Storm Clouds"

Today's random tune is called Storm Clouds and is performed by Celtic harpist Kate Northrop. She studied Celtic harp at Bennington College in Vermont and in Aberystwyth, Wales under Delyth Evans. Northrop began a touring career in 1988, and in 1992 started composing her own original works. Storm Clouds is from her debut album Roots and Wings (1992). You can also find it on the compilation CD Celtic Ladies (2008)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Icing ISIS: Bassekou Kouyate and "Abé Sumaya"

Our random tune today is from Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, called Abé Sumaya. Bassekou Kouyate is a Malian musician who specializes in the ngoni, a string instrument made out of a calabash gourd. He comes from a line of musicians - his father was also an ngoni player and his mother was a praise singer. His wife, Amy Sacko, sings on this song. You can find Abé Sumaya on his 2015 album Ba Power. It is a song of defiance that declares that the fundamentalist Islamists will never take over Mali.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hoofing It: Susana Baca and "Se Me Van Los Pies"

Today's random tune is by Susana Baca, a Peruvian singer who is widely credited with reviving the Afro-Peruvian musical tradition. She grew up in a small coastal fishing village and recounts on her website how black families came together with music. She heard Cuban music and the music of Celia Cruz, and as she states on her website, "....The culture, music, and our whole selves are all about the mixture of Spanish Indian and African cultures." Baca has won two Latin Grammys, and in 2011 she was named Minister of Culture, only the second Afro-Peruvian to sit on the Peruvian cabinet. She also founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo, which collects, preserves and encourages the creation of Afro-Peruvian culture, music, and dance. Her music often utilizes traditional instruments, including the jawbone of a burro, gourd, wooden box, and clay pot, and her singing has been described as "spiritual", even if she is not singing about anything religious. This song, Se Me Van Los Pies, can be found on her 2000 album Susana Baca.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's Bumpin': Brooklyn Funk Essentials and "Bop Hop"

Brooklyn Funk Essentials bring us the random tune for today, called Bop Hop. Brooklyn Funk Essentials is a music collective that mixes jazz, funk, soul, Latin, drum & bass, ska, afrobeat, house, Anatolian melodies and hip hop, it features musicians and poets from different cultures. The band was conceived in 1993 by producer Arthur Baker and music director and percussionist Lati Kronlund, and they have released five albums. You can find Bop Hop on their debut album Cool and Steady and Easy (1995).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seize It: Aldebert and "Carpe Diem"

Our random tune today is dedicated to Pauline Hess, Mike's sister who is providing great elder care to his mom. It's her birthday today, and she could kind of use a carpe diem moment once in awhile. So today's song, Carpe Diem by French singer-songwriter Aldebert, is completely appropriate. Aldebert is a native of Paris raised with the music of Georges Brassens, Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Brel - whom he credits with influencing his own music. He studied photography, but decided to devote his talents to his love of chanson. He released his first album in 2000 and began touring Europe. He performed over 300 concerts in four years, and won the prestigious Radio France award for Best Chanson Singer in 2003. He is now considered a leading exponent of the nouvelle chanson movement. The song references the famous scene in the movie Dead Poets Society, and is about a girl who opens the eyes of the singer to a wider world view and yet teaches him humility. You can find Carpe Diem on Aldebert's 2004 album L'annee du Singe and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Paris (2006).

Monday, December 19, 2016

Living the Highlife: Celestine Ukwu and "Igede"

Today's random tune is in honor of Mike's mother Shirley Hess, who turns 85 years old today. The song is called Igede, and is performed by Celestine Ukwu and his band. A Nigerian highlife musician, he began his career in the 1960s with the Paradise Rhythm Orchestra, then launched his own band called the Music Royals. The Biafran War caused the band to go on hiatus for three years, but in 1970 they resurrected themselves as the Philosophers National, and became known for several songs in the early and mid-1970s. His music is generally described as softer and more laid back than most highlife music, and he tended to feature piano, vibraphone and pedal steel guitar. The songs that his band played were generally around the topics of social evils and the need for peace. Celestine Ukwu tragically died in an automobile accident in 1977. Igede can be found on the 2003 compilation album Rough Guide to Highlife. The song is based in Igbo folklore, and was a smash hit in 1971.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Down on the Homestead: The Wicked Tinkers and "Shenavallie Farm"

Today's random song is by the Wicked Tinkers, an American Celtic group formed in 1995 at the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles. They have appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Ferguson accompanied them on drum during that performance) and on the show Arrested Development. In addition, MMA fighter Keith Jardine has used one of their songs as his entrance music. They have released nine studio albums. This song, Shenavallie Farm, can be found on their 2007 album Rant.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We Are Two: Bomba Estéreo and "Somos Dos"

Bomba Estéreo, a Colombian band, players our random tune today - a song called Somos Dos. The band's roots go back to 2001 when a loose collection of musicians began performing under the name of A.M. 770 and combining traditional Colombian rhythms with salsa, cumbia, electronic beats and dance music. The band coalesced under their current name in 2005 and released a debut album in 2006. Their followup album in 2008 led to their being voted by MTV Iggy (MTV's outlet for alternative world artists) as Best New Band in the World in 2010. They have performed in numerous music festivals in the US, including South by Southwest, Coachella, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival as well as other venues around the world. They have released four albums. Somos Dos can be found on their newest 2015 release, Amanecer. The song celebrates the coming together of two hearts.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Come with Me: Capercaille and "Coisich a Ruin"

Today's song is by Capercaillie, a Scottish band founded in the Argyll region of Scotland in the early 1980s. Known for their mixing of traditional Gaelic tunes with modern recording techniques and instrumentation, Capercaillie started as a purely traditional band. In the 1990s, they began mix in funk bass lines, synthesizers and electric guitars into their repertoire of traditional tunes, but lately have been going back to more traditional instrumentation while retaining a light fusion feel to their music. In 1992, they recorded the first Scottish-Gaelic song to crack the UK Top 40. They have released eleven studio albums, four of which have made the UK Albums chart, and one live album. They also have two compilation albums and have performed on two soundtracks. This song, Coisich a Ruin, can be found on their 1991 album Delerium, on the 1998 compilation album Dusk Til Dawn, on the 2002 live album Live in Concert, and on the 2004 anthology Grace and Pride.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Some Day: Franck Biyong and "We Shall Overcome (Yoruba Soul Remix)"

The random song for today is by Cameroonian musician, bandleader and record producer Franck Biyong. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, percussion, keyboard) who made his name first in Afrojazz, he is also an innovator - creating a new genre that fuses rock, electronica and African beats that is known as Alternative Afro-Electro Rock or Afrolectric. He was born in France, but grew up in Gabon, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. His interest in guitar stems from his fondness for American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. At age 14, he moved to England where he played with various rock bands. The death of Fela Kuti in 1997 spurred his return to France at age 24, where he sought to honor Kuti's death by forming a 15 piece band called Massak, but which also began to create Afrolectric. This song, We Shall Overcome (Yoruba Soul Remix) can be found on his We Shall Overcome (Yoruba Soul Remix) - EP (2009)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Poetry to Our Ears: Rasha and "Azara Alhai"

Today's song is called Azara Alhai and is performed by Rasha, a Sudanese singer who vocalizes everything from Arabic poetry to Sufi music and even underscores with hints of reggae. Rasha worked in theater, television and radio at the start of her career but was always interested in making music her primary vocation. To gain greater opportunities, she moved to Cairo in 1991 and then went to Spain where she began working on her debut album. That album centers around oud and percussion, enhanced by bass and backing guitar, also throwing in at times violins, accordions and a Sudanese big band. Topping it all are Rasha's vocals. The album, Sudaniyat, was subsequently named by Folk Roots magazine as one of the 10 best of 1997, and is where you will find Azara Alhai. You can also find it on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Arabia (2008)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Breezy: Mercan Dede and "Moya Alitu"

Today's random song is by Mercan Dede, and is titled Moya Alitu. Dede is a Turkish musician and DJ, also known as DJ Arkin Allen, living in France who draws inspiration from Sufi music. He is a composer, player of the ney (a Turkish flute) and the bendir (a hand drum), and he fuses traditional Turkish acoustic music and other eastern musics with electronic sounds, horns, dance beats and his Sufi spirituality. Moya Alitu is from his 2007 CD Breath.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dreaming of You: Stan Getz and João Gilberto with Antonio Carlos Jobim and "Vivo Sonhando"

Today's random song is from a classic Brazilian jazz album by Stan Getz and João Gilberto. The song, Vivo Sonhando, also features Antonio Carlos Jobim. Stan Getz was an American jazz saxophonist known as The Sound because of the warmth of his tone. João Gilberto is a Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist whose recordings established the Brazilian genre of bossa nova in the late 1950s. Antonio Carlos Jobim was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. His songs were instrumental in the creation of bossa nova. You can find Vivo Sonhando on the seminal jazz album Getz/Gilberto (1964). This is also the album that introduced the world to the Jobim classic The Girl From Ipanema. The album won Grammy Awards in 1965 for Best Album, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, and Best Engineered Album (non-classical) as well as Record of the Year for The Girl From Ipanema. It is ranked number 446 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Just a Touch: Sonzeira with Gabriel Moura and "Um Toque"

The random song today comes from a project put together by London-based producer, record label owner, record collector and DJ Gilles Peterson. A longtime fan of Brazilian music, Peterson assembled a collection of Brazilian musicians under the name of Sonzeira and recorded in Rio de Janeiro with the likes of Seu Jorge and Elza Soares. The album features old and new songs, and was hailed as a classic by The Guardian. This song, Um Toque, is our favorite from the album and features an upbeat Carnival tempo and vocals by Gabriel Moura. You can find Um Toque on Sonzeira's album Brasil Bam Bam Bam, released in 2014. Give it a listen - you will start your day, or end your day, or pick up your day with a smile on your face and dancing in your feet.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Enough is Enough: Emel Mathlouthi and "Yezzi"

Today's song is by Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian singer-songwriter who penned and recorded two songs, Ya Tounes Ya Meskina and Kelmti Horra, that became anthems for the Tunisian Revolution. She began writing songs as a student, but became frustrated by the lack of opportunities and the political apathy of her classmates. Eventually she moved to Paris after the Tunisian government banned her songs from radio and television. However, bootleg copies of her performances in France circulated through Tunisia, and her songs had an impact on the 2010 uprising against the government. Her debut album, Kelmti Horra, was released in 2012 to critical acclaim, and that album is where you can find this song, Yezzi (Enough).

Friday, December 9, 2016

Backrub: Nilgül and "Pış Pışla"

The random tune for today, Pış Pışla, is by Turkish singer Nilgül Badakal, who goes by the stage name of Nilgül. She began her music career in Istanbul in 1998 after attending college in Izmir, Turkey. The Wikipedia translation is difficult to follow, so we cannot find much more information on her. She has released five solo albums. Pış Pışla can be found on her 2005 album Pervane, and on the compilation Putumayo Presents: Turkish Groove (2006).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Not Contradictory At All: Teresa Cristina and Grupo Semente with "Para Não Contrariar Você"

Today's tune is by Brazilian singer Teresa Cristina and Grupo Semente. She began singing in bars in Rio de Janeiro, doing interpretations of samba by various artists. In 1998 she began singing in the Bar Semente, accompanied by a band. The bar adopted her as their prime attraction, and her group became known as Grupo Semente. You can find this song, Para Não Contrariar Você, on the 2009 compilation Putumayo Presents: Brazilian Cafe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

No Tatonka: Zakir Hussain and Mickey Hart with "Dances with Wood"

Zakir Hussain and Mickey Hart bring us today's random tune, a percussion tune entitled Dances with Wood. Zakir Hussain is an Indian tabla player, producer, actor and composer who has won many awards in both India and the US. Mickey Hart is an American percussionist who was one of two drummers for the Grateful Dead, and who has been very influential on the global music stage as an archivist, recording global musical traditions on the edge of extinction. Hart recorded an album called Planet Drum in 1991 on which Hussain was a featured performer. In 2007, both drummers along with Nigerian percussionist Sikiru Adepoju and Puerto Rican percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo released Global Drum Project to great acclaim and backed it up with a successful world tour. You can find Dances with Wood on the Global Drum Project (2007).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stop This Killing: Baracutanga and "Deja de Matar"

New Mexico's Baracutanga and their song Deja de Matar (Stop This Killing) graces our random tune for today. Made up of musicians from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and the United States, they are past winners of the New Mexico Music Awards Albuquerque Song Competition. They play infectious music of South America incorporating rhythms of Brazil, Peru, Colombia and more, and their name is an African voicing that means "people dancing," and hearkens back to the percussive instruments brought by Africans to South America. Through their music, they hope to overcome barriers of discrimination by building bridges between the north and south. You can find "Deja de Matar" on their 2015 debut album Importados. This award winning song is a plea to stop violence written in the aftermath of the James Boyd killing by the Albuquerque police, and includes a rap by Albuquerque poet Hakim Bellamy.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Romani Dreaming: Kočani Orkestar and "Sahara Dreams"

Today's song, Sahara Dreams, is by the Kočani Orkestar, a Macedonian Romani brass band. The band takes Balkan brass band styles that are descended from Ottoman army brass bands, along with gypsy tunes, Turkish rhythms, and a little bit of Latin styles, and really funks it up. You may recognize their music from the movie Borat - a song was used without their authorization and they are currently suing for compensation. Sahara Dreams can be heard on their 2008 CD The Ravished Bride.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Arun Almighty: God Tussi Great Ho soundtrack and "Tujhe Aksa Beach Ghuma Du"

Straight outta Bollywood comes this random tune for the day. Tujhe Aksa Beach Ghuma Du is from the 2008 movie God Tussi Great Ho, a flop at the Indian box office but moderately successful on home video. Starring Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sohail Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, it is the story of a man named Arun who wants to win the love of a woman he works with named Alia, but as things don't go his way, he blames God and claims he can do better. God grants all his powers to Arun for 10 days to see if he can prove himself. Arun first makes things better for himself, but God intervenes and chastises him. After listening to prayers, Arun decides it is too time consuming, and grants everyone's wish, thereby losing Alia to a rival. God steps in and gives the chastened Arun a do-over in life, and as expected, he wins Alia. If this sounds like an Indian version of the Jim Carrey film Bruce Almighty, the similarities have been noted by critics. Tujhe Aksa Beach Ghuma Du is sung by playback singers Wajid and Amrita Kak. You can find it on the God Tussi Great Ho soundtrack (2008)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tugs at the Beard: The Chieftains and "An Poc Ar Buile (The Mad Puck Goat)"

Today's tune is by The Chieftains, an Irish ensemble formed in Dublin in 1962 and who developed their music primarily around the distinctive sound of the 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. This song, "An Poc Ar Buile (The Mad Puck Goat)" is from their 1999 album Water from the Well. The song's lyrics are a humorous tale of a man who meets an angry goat that chases him. Somehow he ends up on the back of the goat, causing a priest to mistake the man for the Devil himself.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What Should I Do: Los Tradicionales de Carlos Puebla and "Dilema"

Today's random song comes from a revolutionary band, in more ways than one. Along with his band Los Tradicionales (or sometimes Sus Tradicionales), Carlos Puebla defined the sound of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. A largely self-taught musician on guitar, he began performing in the 1930s, and soon began singing about the hardships and oppression that existed in Cuba. In 1959, when Castro entered victorious into Havana, it made such an impression on Puebla that he began writing songs that chronicled the revolution and disseminated its values. His success in Cuba led to a tour of over 35 countries and the band's reputation as the unofficial musical ambassadors of Cuba. The departure of Che Guevara from Cuba in 1965 led him to write his most famous song, Farewell. Puebla retired due to ill health in 1988 and died a year later - the band's leadership passed to Octavio Abreua and the band renamed themselves Los Tradicionales de Carlos Puebla. This song, Dilema, is recorded by Los Tradicionales de Carlos Puebla, and is a reflection on seeing someone cry and the depth of feeling that results in the one who is observing the other's grief. It can be found on the 1997 compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Music from the Coffee Lands.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bosnian Beauty: Divanhana and "Emina"

Today's song, Emina, is by Bosnian band Divanhana. Formed in 2009 by students of the Sarajevo Music Academy, Divanhana presents the traditional music of Bosnia and Herzogovina, and the wider Balkans, with influences from jazz, pop and 20th century classical music. They were invited to perform at WOMEX in 2012, and have released three albums to date. Emina can be found on their 2013 CD Bilješke iz Šestice. The lyrics are by the Bosnian Serb poet Aleksa Šantić (1868-1924) who wrote about the beauty of his neighbor, the Muslim girl Emina Sefić. The song is a svedalinka, a type of traditional music from Bosnia and Herzogovina which is slower in tempo and sung with great passion and fervor. Some of the lyrics:

"A wind blew from the branches down her lovely shoulders
Unraveling those thick braids of hers.
Her hair gave off a scent of blue hyacinths,
Making me giddy and confused!"

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Many Strata: Red Baraat and "Layers"

Our random tune for today, called Layers, is by Red Baraat. Founded in 2008 by Sunny Jain, Red Baraat hails from Brooklyn and has been called one of the best party bands around by NPR. An eight piece outfit, they feature instrumentation such as the dhol, drumset and other percussion, sousaphone and other horns. They have played a variety of festivals around the United States and the world. Layers can be found on their latest release, Gaadi of Truth (2015).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I Like That: Silva and "Sou Desse Jeito"

Pop singer Silva, from southeastern Brazil, provides us with an easy listening tune called Sou Desse Jeito for today's random tune. The song is from an album dedicated to the planet Jupiter which he released this year. Silva is influenced by house, bossa nova, ambient and R&B, and on the Júpiter (2016) album, Silva plays most of the instruments and aims for music that is easy-listening and full of good vibes. We couldn't find much personal information on him, so just sit back and enjoy the music!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Right Stuff: Rahim AlHaj and "Maqam Rast"

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dancing Woman: Puerto Plata and "Mujer de Cabaret"

Today's random song is by Puerto Plata, the stage name of José Cobles. Puerto Plata is a Dominican artist who's music and singing is reminiscent of guitar music heard in the Dominican Republic in the 1930s and 40s, before it was stigmatized by dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, who preferred accordion-heavy merengue tipico. By the 1960s, after Trujillo's assassination, Dominican guitar music began to develop into bachata. Plata does not play bachata, however, but a music closer in style to contemporary Cuba, even though it is inspired in the Dominican past. In addition, Plata's band features some of the Dominican Republic's finest musicians, such as guitar legends Edilio Paredes and Frank Mendez. This song, Mujer de Cabaret, can be found on Plata's first internationally distributed CD, Mujer de Cabaret, released in 2007.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Funk Dancing: Luisa Maita and "Desencabulada"

Luisa Maita, a Brazilian singer-songwriter, brings us our random tune today. Born into a musical family in São Paulo, Brazil, she learned to sing samba and bossa nova as well as her father's compositions, and her professional career began at age seven singing jingles. She founded her first band, Urbanda, in 1999 and began collaborating with musicians from her generation. A collaboration with Brazilian singer Virginia Rosa, who recorded two of Maita's songs for one of her albums, encouraged Maita to continue writing songs. In 2010 she recorded her solo album Lero-Lero, which led National Public Radio to hail her as the "New Voice of Brazil." Her music draws inspiration from the samba, but also pop influences such as Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder. This song, Desencabulada, is from her 2010 release Lero-Lero.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pinkie Promise: Zucchero and "It's Alright (The Promise)"

Today's random song, It's Alright (The Promise), is by Zucchero Fornaciari. Often called simply Zucchero, he is an Italian singer-songwriter inspired by blues, gospel, soul and rock who writes ballads and R&B boogie-style pieces. Over three decades, he has established himself as "the father of the Italian blues," has sold over 60 million records, is one of the few European blues artists who enjoys international success, and has been given the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He has collaborated and performed with many international artists, including Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others. It's Alright (The Promise) can be found on his 1994 album Miserere.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Floral: Paul Avgerinos and "Lily of the Valley"

Today's song is Lily of the Valley by Paul Avgerinos. Paul 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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Shoes: Kate Rusby and "The Cobbler's Daughter"

Today's song, The Cobbler's Daughter, is by English singer-songwriter Kate Rusby. Described as a "superstar" of English acoustic musicians, and often called "the Nightingale of Barnsley" (after her home town), Kate Rusby was born into a musical family and learned to play guitar, fiddle and piano. She became the lead vocalist of the all-female Celtic band The Poozies before she broke through in her own right in 1995 on a collaborative album with fellow Barnsley native folk-songer Kathryn Roberts. She recorded her first solo album, Hourglass, in 1997. She was married in 2001 to Scottish musician and former Battlefield Band member John McCusker. She has since divorced and married Northern Irish musician Damien O'Kane, with whom she has two daughters and a dog named Doris who is often a part of Rusby's stage banter. The Cobbler's Daughter can be found on Rusby's 1999 album Sleepless.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AfroBrazilian: Bixiga 70 and "Niran"

Today's song is called Niran and is performed by Bixiga 70, a Brazilian band from São Paulo that plays music based in elements of jazz, African, Afrobeat, Brazilian and Latin music. Their name refers to the address of the studio where the band was born in 2010. They take as inspirations African musicians such as Fela Kuti and Mulatu Astatke, as well as Brazilian musicians such as Gilberto Gil, Pedro Santos, Os Tincoãs, Baden Powell and others. In 2014, they received the Award of Brazilian Music. This video is a live performance of Niran, which can be found on Bixiga 70's 2015 album III.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Winter Lightning: Baka Beyond and "I See Winter"

One of the more established "world" groups brings us our random tune for today. Baka Beyond, formed in 1992, calls themselves "the original Afro-Celtic dance band," probably to distinguish themselves from the Afro Celt Sound System which formed around the same time. Baka Beyond fuses Celtic and other western styles with the traditional Baka music of Cameroon. It started when vocalist Su Hart and her husband, Martin Cradick (guitar, bazouki and mandolin), went to Cameroon to live with the Baka pygmy tribe to record their music. At first Hart and Cradick worked with English musicians to try to recreate the Baka music sounds and integrate it into their music. However, as the group evolved it began to include more musicians from African countries such as Senegal, Sierra Leone, Congo, Ghana and Cameroon. The group has also kept its relationship with the Baka people, returning regularly to record their music and integrate with the music created by the band. The band donates much of its profits to rainforest preservation and at the request of the Baka tribe, has built a music recording studio in their tribal area and has helped the tribe deal with various social and health issues in their villages. The BBC's Andy Kershaw has said that Baka Beyond's music may be the definition of world music. This song, I See Winter, can be found on their 2008 CD Sogo (the album's title refers to a drum used to call the lightning spirit during droughts).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Island Beauty: Ray Kāne and "Honolulu Harbor"

Today's random tune is by Ray Kāne, a legendary Hawaiian slack key guitarist. Kāne's middle name, Kaleoalohapoina'oleohelemanu, loosely translates as "the voice of love that comes and goes like a bird and will never be forgotten." His deceptively simple guitar style, coupled with unique ways of brushing, plucking, hammering on and pulling off the strings resulted in his "nahenahe" or sweet sounding music that he always felt should be played or sung from the heart. He was one of the first slack key masters to play public concerts and tour widely, and made his first recordings in 1961. In 1987, Kāne was honored as a national living treasure by the National Endowment of the Arts. Ray Kāne died in 2008, but his music lives on. This song, Honolulu Harbor, is from his 1998 CD Wa'ahila.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Slithering: Golem and "I'm a Snake"

Wow, a song out of low self-esteem! Today's song, called I'm A Snake, is brought to us by Golem. 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. I'm a Snake can be found on Golem's 2014 CD Tanz.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Musician Cousins: Zeb & Haniya and "Seh Na Sakay"

Zeb and Haniya, a female Pakistani duo, bring us the random tune for today. Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam are cousins who began writing music together when studying at Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College in the US. Zeb began singing at age 8 and studied under Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. Haniya is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. They began crafting music in the basement of Zeb's dorm between 2000 and 2003 with a rough version of a song called Chup. After an enthusiastic response from their college community, they recorded a version of Chup and another song titled Yaad. The songs spread on the internet and made it to Pakistan's radio airwaves. They released their debut album Chup! in 2008 and following the album's success began to do live performances. Zeb and Haniya have been hailed as one of the first, if not the first, all female band in Pakistan. They sing mostly in Urdu, and their songs, though often with a pop feel, draw on Pashto and Dari folk traditions and the music of artists such as Suzanne Vega, Turkish artist Barış Manço and Muddy Waters. Today's song, Seh Na Sakay, is from their debut album Chup! (2010).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sounds Like a Dance: TerraTara and "Kootenay Kombu"

Today's random tune, Kootenay Kombu by TerraTara, is from a Canadian musician who formed the all-female group Mahzu and who also writes and performs her own material. She is backed by a Jamaican drummer while she performs on guitar and mandolin. Her music contains elements of folk, gypsy, blues and world music. In case you are wondering about the song title, Kootenay is a region of southeastern British Columbia. It is also the name of a Native American/First Nations tribe in British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. Kootenay Kombu can be found on TerraTara's 2010 album Mahzu, though we got it off the Oasis World Radio Sampler Vol 10, No. 4.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dark Skies: Jason Rivas and "Black Moon"

Our random world tune has a club beat today! 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 15, 2016

Forerunner: The Prodigals and "Spancil Hill"

The Prodigals, an American punk band begun in 1997, bring us Spancil Hill, which the was the original song that Ghost Riders in the Sky was based upon. 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. Spancil Hill can be found on their 1999 album Go On.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Road Tripping: Eastenders featuring Shady Sheha with "On the Ride"

Today's random tune is by Eastenders featuring Shady Sheha. Eastenders is a collaborative multicultural music project led by German DJ Stefan Mueller (aka DJ Eastenders) and Turkish producer and musician Cem Buldak (aka Afrit). They create an exotic blend of European club with oriental flavors inspired by music of the Middle East, Turkey, Eastern European gypsies and India - and using Eastern instrumentation. Shady Sheha is an Egyptian musician living in Germany who was a contestant on the talent show Germany's Looking for a Superstar. This song, On the Ride, is about forging your own road, staying on it, and making sure you always keep moving. It can be found on the Eastenders 2004 CD Along the Path and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: North African Groove (2005).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quechua if You Can: Pukaj Wayra and "Chrisimanta"

Pukaj Wayra brings us our random tune for today, called Chrisimanta. Pukaj Wayra is a band of native musicians from Bolivia that sing and play traditional instruments such as the zampona and toyo (pan flutes), quena and tarka (Indian flutes), wankara (big drum) along with guitar and charango. Their music often addresses passion, joy, despair and oppression based on their experience as native Indians in Bolivia. You can find Chrisimanta on the 1993 album Music from Bolivia.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Telling Stories: Maura O'Connell and "Stories"

Today's random tune is by Irish singer and actress Maura O'Connell. Maura O'Connell is known for contemporary interpretations of Irish traditional music, influenced by American country music. Born and raised in Ennis, County Clare in a musical family, she worked at her family's fish shop until she started music as a full-time career. She performed country music in the local folk scene with Mike Hanrahan as a duo called Tumbleweeds. In 1980, as vocalist for the Irish group De Danaan, she toured the US and got very interested in American experimental roots music and eventually moved to Nashville in 1986. There she met newgrass pioneers Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas, who produced most of her subsequent albums. While her first album didn't make any waves, her second gained her a Grammy nomination. In addition to her solo work, she has collaborated with a number of famous Celtic, folk, pop and country artists. She also was cast as a Irish migrant street singer in the movie Gangs of New York. You can find this song, Stories, on her 1995 album of the same name, and on the compilation album Putumayo Presents: Women of the World - Celtic (1995).

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dreamworld: Aurélia and "Le Rêve de Hulluhuk"

Today's random tune is called Le Rêve de Hulluhuk (The Dream of Hulluhuk) and is performed by an eclectic folk band from Belgium called Aurélia. Aurélia is a trio that uses primarily violin, guitar and percussion but often you will hear other, more exotic instrumentation as a supplement in songs. Le Rêve de Hulluhuk can be found on their 2010 album The Hour of the Wolf.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paddle Me: Lurdez da Luz and "Ping Pong"

The random song for today is by Brazilian rapper, singer and hip hop artist Lurdez da Luz. She is a member of the Mamelo Sound System who began her solo career in 2009. Her video for I Walked was nominated for best Brazilian music video in 2011. This song, Ping Pong, was released as a single in 2013 and can be found on the compilation album Rolê: New Sounds of Brazil (2014).

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fly Swatter: Bo Dollis, Monk Boudreaux, Kermit Ruffins and Rebirth Brass Band with "Shoo Fly"

Some New Orleans music royalty comes together for a rousing song featuring Mardi Gras Indians and brass. Shoo Fly is performed by Mardi Gras Indian chiefs Bo Dollis and Monk Boudreaux, with Rebirth Brass Band and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins. Bo Dollis was the big chief of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians, and he passed away in January 2015. Monk Boudreaux was also a member of the Wild Magnolias until 2001 when he left the group due to disputes with the manager over payments. He is currently big chief of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians. Kermit Ruffins is an American jazz trumpeter who is influenced by Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan and has been known to hit a high C on his trumpet. He is the leader of the Barbecue Swingers, a traditional jazz quintet, and he not only plays at his shows but often cooks barbecue for the crowd. He also co-founded the Grammy Award winning Rebirth Brass Band in 1983 while attending high school in New Orleans' Treme neighborhood. The band combines traditional New Orleans brass band music with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Shoo Fly can be heard on The Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday Showdown CD (1992).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Music of Nature: R. Carlos Nakai and "Resonance: The Sacred Reed"

We hear from R. Carlos Nakai in our random tune today. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, R. Carlos 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. This song, Resonance: The Sacred Reed is on his 1993 platinum album Canyon Trilogy.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Preservation: Habib Koité and Bamada with "Sin Djen Djen"

Senegalese singer, guitarist and songwriter Habib Koité brings us our song today. Habib Koité is based in Mali and his band, Bamada, is a West African supergroup made up of many well-known musicians. Koité 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 came out in 2014. This song, Sin Djen Djen, is from his 2001 CD Baro. The song celebrates Mali's musicians and efforts to preserve Mali's music for younger generations.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Telling Stories: Souad Massi and "Raoui"

Today random tune is by Souad Massi. An Algerian singer, songwriter and guitarist of Berber descent, she currently lives in Paris where she relocated after receiving anonymous death threats in her home country. Those threats were apparently related to her participation in the Algerian rock band Atakor in the 1990s. Her musical influences always included Western style, and during her youth she immersed herself in American country and roots music. These styles influenced her later solo work, and her music has been compared favorably to American folk music. She sings in classical and Algerian Arabic, French, Berber and occasionally English and she while she incorporates elements such as rock, country and Portuguese fado into her music, she also has used some interesting instrumentation like the oud and African musical stylings. This song, Raoui, can be found on her 2002 album of the same name, and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Women of Africa. The song's title means "storyteller."

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I've Been There: Riva Starr feat. Nôze and "I Was Drunk"

Riva Starr is the stage name of East London DJ, producer and studio owner Stefano Miele. A native of Naples, he put in extensive time as a highly sought-after DJ on some of the world's biggest stages. He's opened for Jamiroquai, collaborated with Fatboy Slim and earned praises from Gilles Peterson. Not just a DJ, he often takes music put out by original artists down other paths entirely. This song, I Was Drunk, is from his 2009 album If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade. It can also be found on the 2011 compilation The Balkan Club Night #2. It features Nôze, a duo made up of French musicians Nicolas Sfintescu and Ezechiel Pailhès that explores the fusion of electronic music with jazz and classical music elements.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cutting: Aromates and "Epee Tranchante (Sharp Sword)"

Aromates, which gives us our tune today, is the ensemble put together by Michele Claude, a French percussionist. Their music straddles both time and space, sitting between Occident and Orient, traditional and modern, composition and improvisation. This song, Epee Tranchante (Sharp Sword), comes from the 2005 Aromates album Jardin de Myrtes, which explored Arab-Andalusian music of the 9th through the 19th centuries.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Going South: Inflame and "Sur (Fandangos)"

A mix of two traditions is featured in today's random song by Inflame, a New York City quartet that got together a few years ago and realized they had something with a combination of traditional flamenco and classical Indian music. Featuring mandolin, flamenco guitar, tabla, flamenco cajon and darbuka, Inflame creates a new sound that still sounds rooted in the traditional. This song, Sur (Fandangos) can be found on Inflame's eponymous 2013 release.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Come off Your High Horse: Jannat and "Hadret Elmohem"

Today's random tune is performed by Moroccan singer Jannat - one of the youngest female artists on the Middle East music scene. She is known to be able to sing in almost all Middle Eastern Arabic dialects. She is also known for her voice and for her love of Arabic classics. As a young singer, she won many contests and eventually found herself singing at the Cairo Congress of Arab Music and on the stage of the Cairo Opera House. She turned to singing professionally in the early 2000s. She has released four solo albums. This song, Hadret Elmohem, can be found on her 2013 album Hob Gamed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Transforming: Albert Pla and "El Lado Mas Bestia de la Vida"

For today's random tune, we have a cover of a Lou Reed classic. Albert Pla is a Spanish performer who sings in both Spanish and Catalan. He swings from controversial music to music that is very whimsical. His songs often touch on the choices between participation or leaving, whether that involves a relationship with a girlfriend, deciding who owns a piece of property, choosing to participate in a radical political group with a terrorist agenda. He is also an actor, having acted in films and on stage and his song Suffer Like Me is on the soundtrack of Pedro Almodóvar's movie Live Flesh. This song, El Lado Mas Bestia de la Vida is on Pla's 1995 album Assumes Fonollosa and can also be found on Putumayo's Cover the World compilation album (2003).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Horticulture: Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem with "The Garden Song"

Happy Halloween! Today's song is by two legends of Irish music, Liam Clancy & Tommy Makem. Tommy 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. Bob Dylan considered Clancy 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. This song, The Garden Song, was written by American David Mallett in 1975 and has been covered by the likes of John Denver, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and The Muppets. You can find it on The Makem and Clancy Collection (1980).

Sunday, October 30, 2016

That's a Long Time: Mamak Khadem and "Jostojoo (Forever Seeking)"

Iranian vocalist Mamak Khadem performs today's random tune, called Jostojoo (Forever Seeking). Mamak Khadem has been called "one of the wonders of world trance music" by the Los Angeles Times, and works from a base of Persian classical music and poetry to weave a sound steeped in ancient tradition but also completely new. While she continues to use Persian classical music and poetry as her foundation, she has widened the scope of her music to include rhythmic and melodic strains from other countries. You can find Jostojoo (Forever Seeking) on Khadem's 2007 album Jostojoo (Forever Seeking).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Riding the Bus: 70vierailijaa and "Tärkeintä On (Puutarhanhoito)"

Today's random tune is sung by 70vierailijaa, a band from Finland. From Helsinki, 70vierailijaa was formed when its members started recording covers of German pop duo Rosenstoltz in a small clothing room. Along the way, they created some original tunes and eventually dropped the cover songs. They are named after a Helsinki bus line. Their music has been described as "wonderfully broken Finnish indie rock with a translucent dream pop twist," whatever that means. You can find this song, Tärkeintä On (Puutarhanhoito), on their 2010 debut album titled 70vierailijaa.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Movin' to the Groovin': Laid Back and "Groovin' on a Feeling"

We're groovin' today with our random tune, called Groovin' on a Feeling. The performers, John Guldberg and Tim Stahl, perform together as a duo in Denmark called Laid Back. After initially meeting as members of The Starbox Band, they split from the group after the band was received poorly after performing as an opening act for The Kinks. They remained working together as Laid Back, and in a small Copenhagen studio they began to record tracks. They released their first album in 1981 which yielded a number one hit, Maybe I'm Crazy, in Denmark. The next year they released a single, Sunshine Reggae, which not only hit number one in their home country but also in many other countries of Western Europe. That single's B-side, called White Horse, became a hit in the US club scene. The duo was openly admired by the English band New Order, who copied their vocal style. They have released thirteen albums. Groovin' on a Feeling can be found on their 1999 album Happy Dreamer, and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: World Party (2007).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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

Our random tune of the day is from a Portuguese band. Deolinda was 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 Bacalhau's voice fit perfectly with their songs, they created Deolinda and rounded out the band with her husband José Pedro Leitã. The band's style is inspired by fado, but they have made numerous departures from the form. While fado utilizes Portuguese guitar, Deolinda does not. Deolinda's songs 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, October 26, 2016

Troubador: Pedro Yáñez and "Los Chanchos de Pedro Urdemales"

Today's random song is by Chilean artist Pedro Yañez, a musicologist and folklorist and a founding member of the legendary folk group Inti-Illimani. He was one of the creative impulses behind musical movements such as the Nueva Canción Chilena, the Nuevo Canto and Canto a lo Poeta. Pedro Yañez was introduced to the music of Violeta Parra and Atahualpa Yupanqui in his teens, and immersed himself in guitar and the life and music of peasants. While attending school in 1966, he met other musicians with whom he formed Inti-Illimani, but after a tour of Argentina he left the group and school to devote himself completely to music. He decided soon after that it was better to finish his studies, so he re-enrolled in college and also formed the duo Coirón with Valericio Leppe with whom he recorded an album. During this time, he was introduced to the guitarrón, and developed an interest in folk poetry. His music became centered more around a troubador style. In 1971, he joined the faculty of the University of Chile, teaching ethno-musicology, but the military coup in 1973 interrupted his career when he was kicked out of the university. He returned to rural Chile and continued to research folk music and oral tradition. He continues to play and perform, and in 2006 he rejoined Inti-Illimani as a guest musician on their album Small World. This song, Los Chanchos de Pedro Urdemales, can be found on his 1976 album Pedro Yáñez. El Canto del Hombre.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kinda Like Line Dancing with Hips: Black 47 and "Funky Ceili"

Today's song is by Black 47, a Celtic rock band from New York City with roots in reggae, hip hop, folk and jazz. Known for their Irish Republican sympathies, their name refers to 1847, the worst year of the Irish famine. Their music was initially embraced by both right- and left-leaning people as they sang songs with socialist lyrics and about everyday life in America, but their outspoken opposition to the Iraq War and other topics garnered them controversy and their outspoken Irish republicanism led to a reluctance by UK labels to promote or support their albums overseas. A series of tragedies also befell various band members in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After 9/11, the band began to play regular and emotional gigs in Manhattan to allow people grieving over the tragedy to have a voice. Their albums have almost all been critically praised, with their music given as examples of how Irish music can rock, and their lyrics drawing comparisons with Irish author James Joyce. Black 47 announced their disbanding after exactly 25 years of making music, and they released their final album, Last Call. Their disbanding is, according to their statement, not due to any internal band dissension but because they want to go out at the top of their game and on their own terms. This song, Funky Ceili, can be found on their 1993 album Fire of Freedom.

Monday, October 24, 2016

On My Transistor: 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.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wetness Brings Them Out: Mosquitos and "Rainsong"

Today's random tune is Rainsong by Mosquitos. Out of New York City and consisting of Brazilian singer JuJu Stulbach, guitarist Chris Root and keyboardist John Marshal Smith, the band's songs tend to be autobiographical musings on the relationship between Stulbach and Root. Rainsong refers to a sad style of Brazilian music (chorinho) on a sad, rainy day. You can find Rainsong on their 2003 debut album Mosquitos and on the 2004 compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Nuevo Latino.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

California Dreamin': The Thrills and "Big Sur"

A little rock to roll you through your day today! Today's song is called Big Sur and is by the Irish rock band The Thrills. Founded in 2001 in Dublin, The Thrills debut album in 2003 went to number one on the Irish charts and number three in the UK. The band takes as their inspiration the 60s and 70s classic American pop, complete with dreamy harmonies that call to mind California oceans and sunshine. You can find Big Sur on their debut album, So Much for the City (2003).

Friday, October 21, 2016

I'll Take It: MC Yogi and "Give Love"

MC Yogi, the artist who does our random tune for today, is the avatar of Nicholas Giacomini, a Bay Area hip hop artist and yogi who promotes themes of Hindu religion and philosophy. Giacomini began rapping at 13 and, while living in home for at-risk children at age 17, he became a practitioner of yoga after his father took it up. His songs are often bhajans, or devotional songs, celebrating one or another of the Hindu deities. At other times, he provides interesting history lessons on the lives of important historical figures within Hinduism, such as Gandhi. Even when he is doing nothing but beatboxing, his songs can sound like mantras or prayers. This song, Give Love, can be found on MC Yogi's 2012 album Pilgrimage.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love Your Mama: Daddy Roy the Messenger and "Mama Work Hard"

Some Jamaican reggae flavors our random tune for the day. Mama Work Hard is by Daddy Roy the Messenger, a Jamaican band led by Daddy Roy who grew up listening to and taking inspiration from pioneering reggae artists such as Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and others. Playing what they call "conscious reggae" with original lyrics, Daddy Roy the Messenger intend to promote positivity, strength and unity through their music. They have toured throughout the United States and Canada and have released five albums. You can find Mama Work Hard on their 2008 album of the same name, and on the 2007 worldbeat compilation The World Of 96.1 FM issued by Fairchild Radio.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Nice Patina with Age: The Copper Family and "Spencer the Rover"

Our random tune for today is sung by The Copper Family and is called Spencer the Rover. From England, they specialize in unaccompanied, traditional English folk songs and have been described as "the first family of English roots music." James and Thomas Copper first came to the attention of musical folklorists in 1898 and even then were considered something special because of their unaccompanied singing. Made honorary members of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, they were asked to write down the songs they knew, thus possibly preserving songs that might have been lost. In the 1950s, James and his son Ron were recorded by the BBC in a series of radio programs. With new generations of the Copper family, more members were added to the singing group and even now, further generations are singing as The Young Coppers and the family has been the subject of BBC programs for television as late as 2006. Spencer the Rover won a BBC Folk Award in 2001 and can be found on the 2001 album Come Write Me Down - Early Recordings of The Copper Family of Rottingdean and on the compilation album The Folk Awards 2001 which was put out by the BBC and Topic Records. It can also be found on the 2013 album Good Ale.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Striking Some Blows for Women: Mala Maña and Tres Golpes

Today's random tune is by Albuquerque group Mala Maña. An all-female voice and percussion ensemble, they focus on Latin American music with flavors of the African diaspora to the New World. Formed originally around a love for the music of Colombia's coastal regions, they play traditional music as well as their own original tunes. In their music, you can hear elements of Caribbean reggaton, African-American traditional, salsa, and Mexican cumbia. The band has had a fluid lineup, allowing them to explore music of different genres and as we can attest, are a favorite on the Albuquerque music scene. This song, Tres Golpes, is from their 2013 debut CD Mala Maña.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Not Waiting: Kirsty MacColl and "Nao Esperando"

Kirsty MacColl, an English singer-songwriter who recorded many pop hits in the 1990s, and made notable appearances on other hits, brings us today's song called Nao Esperando. Married to producer Steve Lillywhite, MacColl sang backup vocals on the recordings of many of the artists that he produced. She died in 2000 in a tragic accident in Cozumel, Mexico. While diving in an area restricted for swimming only, she was hit by a speedboat that had strayed into the area - she died saving her son who was in the boat's path. To give you an idea of the esteem she is held in, Billy Bragg always includes extra verses she wrote in covering his song A New England, a memorial bench has been placed in her honor at the southern entrance to Soho Square in London, and she is always heard on her guest vocal in The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, which has been voted as the fan favorite Christmas song on the VH1 video channel. Nao Esperando, can be found on her 2000 album Tropical Brainstorm.

Next One is September 6, 2017: Bebel Gilberto and "Harvest Moon"

Today's random tune is an amazing cover of an amazing Neil Young tune, Harvest Moon, rendered by Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto. A popular singer often associated with bossa nova, she is the daughter of João Gilberto and the singer Miúcha. Born in New York City in 1966 while her parents lived there for a brief time, she traveled as a child with her father and eventually settled in Rio de Janeiro with her mother, traveling back and forth between her parents in Rio and New York. Through her father she became acquainted with his collaborators Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, and Stan Getz. She also began singing with her mother, and at age seven made her debut on her mother's first solo album, Miúcha and Antônio Carlos Jobim. In 1979 she performed with her mother and Stan Getz at Carnegie Hall. She released her first album, an EP, in 1986, and her first full-length album of electronic bossa nova in 2000. She redefined her style in her second album, Bebel Gilberto, to an acoustic lounge style. In her third album, Momento, she fused both electronic bossa nova and acoustic lounge together. She continues to perform and record. Harvest Moon can be found on her 2014 release titled Tudo.