Sunday, January 31, 2016

Backup No More: Göksel and "Ayrilik Günü"

Our random tune today, Ayrilik Günü, is performed by Turkish singer Göksel. Born in Istanbul as Göksel Demirpençe, Göksel initially studied philosophy, but quit university to pursue a career in music. She was a backup singer to Sezen Aksu and Sertab Erener, both very famous female Turkish artists. She released her first solo album in 1997, and has since had nine album releases (one of which was a best-hits album allegedly released by her record company without her permission or participation). She has challenged some other barriers in that area of the world by performing with Greek group Omega Vibes at a concert in Babylon (Turkey and Greece have been historic enemies). You can find Ayrilik Günü on Göksel's 2003 release Söz Ver and on Putumayo Presents: Turkish Groove (2006).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Top of the Morna: Mayra Andrade and "Kenha Ki Ben Ki Ta Bai"

Today's random tune is by Mayra Andrade, a Cape Verdean singer who lives in Paris. A well traveled child because her father was a Cape Verdean diplomat, Andrade is multilingual but usually sings in Cape Verdean Crioulo, a creole language based on Portuguese. She is often praised for her modern interpretation of Cape Verde's morna music, and has been compared to the great Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora. This song, Kenha Ki Ben Ki Ta Bai, can be found on her 2011 live album Studio 105 (the video is live footage of the recording used on the album).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bewitching: Värttinä and "Lumotar / The Enchantress"

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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yiddish Tango: Fortuna and "Tango Idishe"

Tango Idishe is today's random tune. The song is performed by Fortuna, a Brazilian-Jewish singer and composer who originally sang pop music but had her life change after a trip to Israel in 1991 where she first heard Sephardic music. After intensive research, she began to bring back to life many forgotten songs and has performed them in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and the United States. She has released five albums over her career. Tango Idishe can be found on her 2011 album Novo Mundo, and on the 2007 compilation Putumayo Presents: Tango Around the World.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Must be Some Girl: Paco de Lucía and Ricardo Modrego with "La Niña de Puerta Oscura"

We have some flamenco for today's random tune, called La Niña de Puerta Oscura, as performed by the great Paco De Lucía and Ricardo Modrego. Paco de Lucía was a Spanish flamenco guitarist, composer and producer who was a leading proponent of the nuevo flamenco movement in Spain and helped legitimize it. Ricardo Modrego was a Spanish flamenco guitarist who recorded three albums with a young Paco de Lucía. This song was first released on the album 12 Éxitos para 2 Guitarras Flamencas (1965) by Ricardo Modrego and Paco de Lucía, and was released on the movie soundtrack to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Note: We had a tune by Paco de Lucía just a couple of weeks ago. Ordinarily I don't play two tunes in a month by the same artist, but since this was a duo I felt it was different enough.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Strong Reaction: Işın Karaca and "Hor Görme Garibi"

From the United Kingdom comes today's tune, Hor Görme Garibi by Işın Karaca. Born in Britain, Işın Karaca's parents had emigrated from Turkish Cyprus. Karaca began her career as a backing vocalist for the great Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, who helped Karaca release her debut album. Known primarily as a pop star, Karaca released a series of albums that consisted of arabesque covers. Hor Görme Garibi is from the first of her arabesque themed albums, called Arabesque (2010).

Monday, January 25, 2016

Take a Number: Maria Rita and "Agôra Só Falta Você"

Today's random tune is titled Agôra Só Falta Você. It is sung by Brazilian artist Maria Rita, who is the daughter of the great Brazilian artist Elis Regina. She began her singing career at age 24 and released her first album in 2003 with the first cut being a symbolic nod to her mother and her mother's generation of musicians. It was a platinum success worldwide and made her an international star. She is known for her own jazzy vocal style - she considers Ella Fitzgerald an influence. Agôra Só Falta Você can be found on Maria Rita's eponymous first album (2003).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Perfect Song for Winter: Bob Marley and the Wailers with "Coming In from the Cold"

Today's random song is Coming In from the Cold by Bob Marley and the Wailers, a reggae and ska band 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. Coming In from the Cold can be found on the Bob Marley and the Wailers 1980 album Uprising.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hopelessy Devoted: Pangea and "M'ganga's Devotion"

Pangea brings us the random tune for today, titled M'ganga's Devotion. Pangea is a project of Dan Lacksman, a Belgian composer and sound engineer. He has mixed and produced albums in a variety of genres, such as pop, rock, jazz, classic, dance and electronica. He is a co-founder and member of the avant-garde electronica group Telex, and a producer of the world music group Deep Forest. On the whole, Pangea was formed to make world music more accessible to European and American audiences. You can find M'ganga's Devotion on the 1996 album Pangea.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Political Science: Amadou & Mariam with "Polotic Amagni (La Politique, C'est Pas Bon)"

The random tune for today is by blind Malian duo Amadou & Mariam. Vocalist Mariam Doumbia lost her sight at age 5 due to untreated measles, while guitarist and vocalist Amadou Bagayoko lost his sight at age 15. They met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, and discovered that they had similar interests in music. Their music has developed from early sparse recordings consisting of guitar and vocals to a mix of traditional Malian sounds combined with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. This style has been dubbed "Afro-blues." This song, Politic Amagni (La Politique, C'est Pas Bon), appears on their 2005 CD Dimanche à Bamako (Sunday in Bamako), which was produced by world and Latin music star Manu Chao. The song translated to English appears to decry the bad things found in politics, such as violence, ignorance, lies and force.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mercy Now: Srikalogy and "Give Me Your Mercy (Hey Govinda Dubstep Remix)"

A little change of pace for today's random tune comes in the form of a dubstep remix of a Srikalogy tune called Give Me Your Mercy (Hey Govinda Dubstep Remix). Srikalogy, along with Srikala, are the performing names of Srikala Kerel Roach, a DJ. MC, producer and percussionist who is the son of West Indian parents and who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Influenced early by hip hop, reggae, dub, and R&B, he expanded his range to include rock, blues, pop and jazz. At 18 seeking to end a cycle of self-destructive behavior, he entered a monastic life at an ashram on the Lower East Side of New York City which was steeped in the Bhakti yoga tradition and transcendental sound vibration. He transitioned out of monastic life after 6 years and began studying audio engineering and began releasing albums in 2011. He has also collaborated with other groups, notably the Earthrise SoundSystem. He appears regularly in New York City with his jazz funk fusion band, The Flowdown, He seeks to bring hope and inspiration with his music, culminating in a message to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of life. Give Me Your Mercy (Hey Govinda Dubstep Remix) can be found on his 2014 album Kirtan Sessions: Volume One.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Black Gold of the Sun: A Peace of Ebony and "Vadzimu"

Today's song is by Zimbabwean group A Peace of Ebony, entitled Vadzimu. A Peace of Ebony was a group of five musicians, all young, talented and innovative who were led by rapper/activist Herbert Schwamborn. They were especially influential on young Zimbabwean performers. In 1994, after winning the prestigious Radio France International Discoveries prize, the members went their own ways, with their lead singer, Chiwoniso, going on to front her own band. Vadzimu has multi-lingual lyrics and encourages Africans to celebrate and assert their cultural identities. You can find Vadzimu on the 2003 compilation Putumayo Presents: African Groove.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Now More Than Ever: Mariana Sadovska and Kitka with "To the Lake"

The haunting random tune for today is by Mariana Sadovska and Kitka. Mariana Sadovska is a Germany-based Ukrainian actress, singer, musician, composer and recording artist. Emerging from the theater world in Lviv, Ukraine, Sadovska worked in theater and theater production and led ethnomusicology trips and arranged cultural exchanges with numerous countries. She moved to New York in 2001 to be a music director with theater company La Mama. During this time she also began working on her own solo performances. She released her first solo CD in 2001. Kitka is a California-based group of all female singers that focuses on Eastern European women's vocal traditions. Their name means "bouquet" in Bulgarian and Macedonian. Begun in 1979, they have contributed to major motion pictures such as Braveheart, Jacob's Ladder and Queen of the Damned and have appeared on many national radio shows around the world. This song, To the Lake, can be found on the 2007 album The Rusalka Cycle: Songs Between the Worlds, a vocal theater project and collaboration between Kitka and Sadovska that addressed the horror of the Chernobyl accident. The Rusalki are spirits of women who have died untimely or unjust deaths that reside uneasily in the earth. The project's theme is a summoning of these spirits to appease them and ask for their mediation between living humans and their environment.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Special Nobody Special: Moussu T e lei Jovents and "Forever Polida"

Marseilles band Moussu T e lei Jovents bring us the random tune for today, called Forever Polida. The band splits its time between Marseilles, a French commune called La Ciotat, and Recife, Brazil. They are inspired by the music of Marseilles between 1920 and 1930 and the melting pot that the city was and remains. They range musically from the blues to reggae to Brazilian music to music hall, and they are very comfortable singing in Occitan, the regional language of the southern third of France. They have released eight albums. Forever Polida is a simple song of love for someone who is special because they are nobody special. It can be found on Moussu T e lei Jovents 2006 album of the same name.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

We Should Always Have It: Glen Hansard and "High Hope"

Glen Hansard sings today's random global tune, called High Hope. Glen Hansard is an Irish musician, vocalist, songwriter, and actor. He is the guitarist for the group The Frames, and one half of the folk-rock duo The Swell Season. Hansard quit school at age 13 to start busking on the streets of Dublin. He appeared in the 1991 film The Commitments as guitarist Outspan Foster. In 2007 he starred with The Swell Season partner Markéta Irglová in the film Once. The songs in Once were composed by Hansard and Irglová, and they won an Academy Award for Best Song - the movie was made for only €112,000, but saw significant financial and critical success. Hansard says that his music is influenced by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. He is also a devotee of the Hindu deity Krishna. You can find High Hope on his 2012 album Rhythm and Repose.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Does She Have a Sister?: The Luminescent Orchestrii and "Neptune's Daughter"

Today's random tune is by The Luminescent Orchestrii, an experimental group based in the United States and founded in 2002. Their oeuvre consists of music influenced by Middle Eastern, gypsy, and traditional European music along with Appalachian fiddles, hip hop beats and an attitude often found in punk bands. They often use instruments that they have modified to create their sound. This song, Neptune's Daughter, can be found on their 2009 album of the same name.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Lot in a Name: The Touré-Raichel Collective and "Touré"

The Touré-Raichel Collective brings us our random tune for today, called Touré, featuring Frédéric Yonnet on harmonica. The Touré-Raichel Collective developed out of a chance airport meeting between singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré of Mali and pianist Idan Raichel of Israel. Promising to perform together, they fulfilled the promise in 2010 at the Tel Aviv Opera House. An impromptu session the day after at a recording studio led to three hours of improvised musical recordings and was the birth of the collective. French musician Frédéric Yonnet is known as "Prince's killer harmonica player" for his work with the musical icon, and he has also performed legendary harmonica duels onstage with Stevie Wonder. You can find Touré on The Touré-Raichel Collective's 2012 debut release The Tel Aviv Session.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Musical Path: Le Trio Joubran and "Masâr"

Today's tune is called Masâr and is by Le Trio Joubran. Le Trio Joubran is made up of brothers originally from Nazareth and now dividing their time between Nazareth, Ramallah and Paris. The trio play their songs using the oud, and focus on traditional Palestinian music. While the eldest brother, Samir, had a solo music career before the Trio, they had an auspicious beginning, playing their first performance in the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Masâr can be found on their 2010 release Majâz.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Zealand-New Mexico: NRG Rising and "Hear the Rhythm"

We go to some Kiwi reggae today for our random song. NRG Rising is a female-led reggae band based in Hamilton, New Zealand. It was founded by Benita Tahuri and her two daughters, Anahera-Pono and Honey, and her partner Bevin Hira. They describe themselves as "...the world’s first mother and daughters trio to front fresh, fun and conscious world music with a reggae feel and flavours of R&B. We happened upon them in Albuquerque at the Sandia Tram, where they made an impression because of their indigenous tattoos - indigenous Maori from New Zealand are exploring connections with Native American tribes and so they were touring New Mexico to build those connections. This song, Hear the Rhythm, can be found on their 2011 CD From Darkness Into Light.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Drowning in Flamenco: Paco de Lucia and "Entre Dos Aguas"

Today's random tune is an instrumental called Entre Dos Aguas. It is performed by Paco de Lucia, who was a virtuoso flamenco guitarist composer and producer from Spain who was a leading proponent of the nuevo flamenco style. He was well known for his fast picados (fingerstyle runs) and juxtaposing picados and rasgueados (flamenco strumming) with more sensitive styling. He also added jazz influences that put him on the leading edge of nuevo flamenco and flamenco-jazz fusion in the 1970s. He died at age 66 of a heart attack in 2014. He has been called by Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton "a titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar" and by Dennis Coster "one of history's greatest guitarists." You can find Entre Dos Aguas on de Lucia's 1986 album of the same name.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Stars Look Very Different Today: Seu Jorge and "Rebel Rebel" (In Honor of David Bowie)

As you probably heard, David Bowie passed away yesterday and tributes to his musicianship and legacy have been all over Facebook feeds and the wider media. We don't have much to add. I (Mike) was a latecomer to Bowie's music, but as a friend of ours, Sanford Allen, put it in a short but poignant Facebook post, one had to appreciate the restlessness that led Bowie to constantly reinvent himself and his music, which I agree is the way that life should be lived. For musicians, a heartfelt cover of your music is a sincere form of flattery, so, we are posting this beautiful cover of Rebel Rebel by Brazilian artist Seu Jorge.

What Happened?: Patsy Torres and "Que a Pasado"

Patsy Torres brings us the random tune for today, called Que a Pasado. Patsy Torres is a Tejana artist from San Antonio, Texas who started performing and singing at a young age and who was discovered while still in high school. Seeing music as a way to finance her college studies, she recorded her first album while in school. Her website claims that she was the first Tejano artist to film a music video, and the first to play Tejano music on a nationwide television broadcast. She continues to play music, but she also recently earned a PhD in educational and organizational leadership and is active in many San Antonio organizations, as well as promoting her Positive Force Tour concerts for young people. She has been inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S Hall of Fame. Que a Pasado can be found on her 1997 album ...Bien Protegida.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Looky, Loki: Annbjørg Lien and "Loki"

From Norway comes today's random tune by Annbjørg Lien. A player of the hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle), violin, and nyckelharpa, Lien first became known in Norway in the mid 1980s by combining traditional Norwegian music with jazz and rock. She is also a member of the String Sisters, a group of female string players from six different countries. This song, Loki, is from her album Baba Yaga (2000), and references the trickster god of Norse mythology.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Gypsy Violin: Beltuner and "Intro Opus 7"

Today's random tune is by Beltuner, a French band started in 2001 by four young self-taught musicians. First concentrating on gypsy swing, Parisian bal musette, tango, Yiddish and Balkan music, they found a unique sound by mixing the styles and adding in jazz, classical, rock, world music and funk. They are also known for their free-wheeling and energetic concerts. This song, Intro Opus 7, highlights the violin playing of Jeremy Tordjman and can be found on their 2010 CD Album #2.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Here Kitty Kitty: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Big Cat"

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

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Especially in My Green Tea: Paul Avgerinos and "Jasmine"

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Not Enough: Leni Stern and "Gnate Yone"

Today's random tune is by Leni Stern, a German electric guitarist, singer and ngoni player. Born in Munich, she took an early interest in music. She formed her own acting company as a teen, performing radical productions, but eventually chose music over acting as a profession and went to the United States to attend the Berklee College of Music to study film scoring. She moved to New York City in 1981 and formed a band of her own in 1983 that included Paul Motian and Bill Frisell. She has received numerous awards and honors, including Gibson's Guitar Female Jazz Guitarist of the Year five consecutive times. She has released fifteen solo albums. Her cover of Laura Nyro's Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp was featured on the Laura Nyro tribute album Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro. Her most recent work has explored guitar and vocal with indigenous sounds of accomplished West African musicians such as Bassekou Kouyate, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabaté, Baaba Maal and others. She is featured in the documentary Last Song Before the War about the Festival au Désert in Mali. Her voice has been described as "like Marlene Dietrich borrowing Billie Holiday's phrasing." This song, Gnate Yone (How Many Times) can be found on her 2013 album Jelell.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Best of 2015 Featured on the Global Music Show on January 4th

For those of you who can't see tuning in to the Global Music Show at the ungodly hours of 10 pm to 1 am, you can always catch it on the KUNM two-week archive ( Just put in Monday, January 4 at 10 pm and hit play. Here's the playlist from last night with artist (country), song, album. The vast majority of these songs were released in 2015. J Hus (UK), Lean & Bop, Lean & Bop Holy Forest (Gambia/US), Africa Calling, Africa Calling Bomba Estéreo (Colombia), Somos Dos, Amanecer Nneka (Nigeria), Believe System, My Fairy Tales John Jones (UK), Banks of Newfoundland, Never Stop Moving Mekaal Hasan Band (Pakistan), Megh, Andholan Vieux Farka Touré & Julia Easterlin (Mali/US), Masters of War, Touristes Ibeyi (France/Cuba), Stranger / Lover, Ibeyi Nafees Ahmed Khan & Ustad Hamid Ali Khan (Pakistan), Piya Dehkan Ko, Coke Studio Season 8 Alejo Garcia (Colombia), Peregrino de tu Cielo, Putumayo Presents: Music of the Andes Bixiga 70 (Brazil), 100% 13, III Parov Stelar (Austria), Demon Dance, The Demon Diaries Disc 1 Ludovico Einaudi (Italy), Nazzu Nazzu, Taranta Project Wizkid (Nigeria), Ojuelegba, Ayo Zakir Hussain (India), Jig O' Beer and Chai, Distant Kin El Naan (Spain), Charro del Marinero y la Estrella, Código de Barros Pascuala Ilabaca y Fauna (Chile), Diablo Rojo Diablo Verde, Putumayo Presents: Music of the Andes Auntie Flo (Scotland), Dance Ritual II, Theory of Flo Mop Mop (Italy), Let I Go, Isle of Magic Francesca Belmonte (UK/Ireland), Your Sons, Anima X.A.O.S (Greece), Pontos Blues, Xaos Daby Touré (Mali), Debho, Amonafi Fèmina (Argentina), Buen Viaje, Traspasa Karam Abbas & Mai Dhai (Pakistan), Aankharli Pharookai, Coke Studio Season 8 Tape Five (Germany), Bad Boy Good Man, Tonight Josephine! Parov Stelar (Austria), Sally's Dance, The Princess Pt. Two Caravan Palace (France), Wonderland, Carlou D (Senegal), Begge Sa Reew, A New Day Nicola Cruz (Ecuador), Colibria, Prender el Alma Owiny Sigoma Band (Kenya/UK), Owour Won Gembe, Nyanza Ayub Ogada & Trevor Warren (Kenya/UK), Kodhi, Kodhi Novalima (Peru), Madretierra, Planetario

Departure: Moya Brennan and "Sailing Away"

Today's random tune is by Moya Brennan and is entitled Sailing Away. In an interview, she describes the song as invoking the feelings of Irish people during the 1800s as they emigrated from their homeland, possibly never to return. An Ireland native, Brennan comes from a musical family (one of her sisters, Eithne, is better known as the singer Enya) and the family's band Clannad have been credited with creating the contemporary Celtic sound. Brennan is the eldest of the siblings, and started her own solo career in 1992. She is often classified as Celtic or New Age, though she feels uncomfortable with the New Age label as her music often has Christian themes. She has recorded 25 solo albums, her music has been featured in film, and she has collaborated with numerous other musicians in a variety of genres. She has also been very candid about her life - in her autobiography The Other Side of the Rainbow she recounts her upbringing in her family and her struggles with alcohol, drugs and an abortion which made her reevaluate her life and become a committed Christian. To help others with similar problems, she has given much to philanthropic endeavors and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Christian Blind Mission. Sailing Away can be found on her album Two Horizons (2004) and on the 2011 live album Heart Strings.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Love Beyond Death: Niamh Parsons and Loose Connections with "The Briar and the Rose"

From Ireland comes today's random tune by Niamh Parsons and the Loose Connections. The Briar and the Rose is a metaphor for love and the death that can't keep two lovers apart. Niamh Parsons is a Belfast, Northern Ireland native and is a singer of contemporary and traditional Irish music, Parsons started her solo career in Belfast in 1990. She had previously been a member of the band Killera in the 1980s and joined Loose Connections, her husband's band, in 1990. She has also toured with the band Arcady and guitarist Graham Dunne. She was asked to sing for President Bill Clinton and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in Washington DC, and has made several television appearances in Ireland. The Briar and the Rose can be found on the compilation album Celtic Wonder (2005) and on the compilation album Her Infinite Variety: Celtic Women In Music & Song Vol. 1 (2007)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Searching for You: Beausoleil and "Tous Les Deux Pour La Meme"

Today's song is by Louisiana Creole band Beausoleil. Beausoleil was founded in 1975, released its first album in 1977 and became one of the most well-known groups from playing traditional and original music in the Creole tradition of Louisiana. They have also gone beyond the traditional, incorporating rock and roll, jazz, blues, calypso and other genres. They are an extensive touring band, and they sing in both English and Colonial Louisiana French. The band takes its name from Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who led the Acadian resistance to British deportation from Canada and led 193 exiles to safety in Louisiana. The band almost didn't come to be - Michael Doucet, one of the founders, was going to New Mexico to study Romantic Poets, but he won a Folk Arts Apprenticeship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. As he puts it: "I traded William Blake for Dewey Balfa," and he sought out every living Cajun/Creole performer to learn what he could about their music and their techniques. He even encouraged some to resume performing. Beausoleil are one of the few Creole/Cajun groups to win a Grammy. This song, Tous Les Deux Pour La Meme, is from their 1995 album Vintage Beausoleil, and can also be found on their 1997 CD The Best of Beausoleil.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Murmurings: Los Cenzontles and "Murmullos"

From Southern California comes today's song by Los Cenzontles titled Murmullos. The band is heavily influenced by many types of Mexican regional folk, as well as country, blues and rock. The core members of the band were trained at Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo. The band itself dates back to 1989 when it was founded by Eugene Rodriguez during his artist residency, and the original goal was to introduce area youth to Mexican music and dance. He eventually incorporated the arts center in 1994, and Los Cenzontles released their first song, produced by Los Lobos, called Papa's Dream, which was nominated for a Grammy award. That same year, a fifteen year old girl who was a friend of many of the center's youth was brutally raped and murdered, leading the band to compose their second work, El Corrido de Cecilia Rios. The band released their first album in 1995, and has since collaborated with a variety of musicians, such as Jackson Brown, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, The Chieftains, Lalo Guerrero, Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano and Santiago Jimenez, Jr. as well as opening for Los Tigres del Norte, Los Lobos and Jaguares. The Arts Center currently has over 150 students weekly and the band members continue to do educational outreach in addition to their recording and performance commitments. Murmullos can be found on Los Cenzontles' 2012 album Regeneration.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pride of Guinea: Bembeya Jazz National and "Sabou"

Happy New Year! Today's random tune to start your year off right is by Guinean group Bembeya Jazz National, which began as a government-sponsored regional band in southern Guinea. The group gained fame in the 1960s for their afro-pop and are considered an important group in Guinean music. Basing their music in Guinean folk, particularly Manding music, they infused the traditional with jazz and afro-pop styles. After launching the careers of many musicians, including Sekou Diabaté and Sekouba Bambino Diabaté, they disbanded in 1991. However, they reformed in 2002 and recorded their first album in fourteen years. Their importance in Guinean music history was also the subject of a documentary. This song, Sabou, can be found on their 2011 album Bembeya and on Disc 1 of the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music (2002).