Saturday, April 30, 2016

And We the Dust in It: Depedro and "Como el Viento"

Depedro brings us the random tune for today, called Como el Viento (Like the Wind). A longtime Spanish session musician, founding member of the rock band La Vacazul and soul band 3000 Hombres, Depedro (also known as Jairo Zavala) also performed with the band Calexico in their live shows, Zavala recruited Calexico as his backing band for his debut album Depedro and recorded the bulk of the album in Tucson, Arizona in 2007. Depedro was released as a CD in 2009. The album's songs are influenced by Mexican music, rumba, son, African music, reggae, blues and salsa among other world sounds. You can find Como el Viento on that album.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Da Bau Master: Ancient Future and "Ja Nam"

Today's random song post features Ancient Future and their reggae-style song Ja Nam. The group was founded in 1978 by Matthew Monfort as a world fusion band. World fusion is a blending of old music traditions with modern forms such as jazz, rock or reggae. It is now a 28 piece orchestral group whose members have taken it upon themselves to study with master musicians from all parts of the world and then using the knowledge to create the Ancient Future sound. They also feature master musicians from other cultures in their songs. For example, on this song you can hear Vietnamese artist Bui Huu Nhut on the dan bau, a one string Vietnamese instrument with a whammy bar. Ja Nam can be found on their 1994 album Asian Fusion and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Asian Lounge (2005).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Post-Punk Congolese: Mbongwana Star and "Shégué"

Our random tune for today is performed by Congolese and Kinshasha-based band Mbongwana Star. Formed by two of the members of Staff Benda Bilili after that group disbanded, the group is known for their fusion of Congolese rhythms, European post-punk and a lot of almost grating electronics. They don't even sound like an African band other than in the Congolese lyrics...and indeed the "Mbongwana" in their name means "change." You can find this song, Shégué, on their 2015 release From Kinshasa.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ageless: R. Carlos Nakai and "Dawn's Mirage: Echoes of Time"

Noted Native American flautist R. Carlos Nakai performs today's random tune, Dawn's Mirage: Echoes of Time. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Nakai is of Navajo and Ute heritage. Given that his music is so peaceful, it is hard to believe that he started out his musical career at Northern Arizona University playing brass instruments in a marching band, and that he enlisted in the US Navy as a sophomore so that he might play with the US Navy Band. After passing the audition, he was 28th on the Armed Forces School of Music waiting list, but an auto accident damaged his mouth and made it impossible for him to play brass. Not long after his accident, he was presented with a traditional cedar flute as a gift, and challenged to master it. And master it he has! Drawing from Native tradition but also blending Native music with that of other cultures, Nakai has created the only two Native American albums to be certified gold and platinum. He has worked with musical luminaries such as American composer Philip Glass, Israeli cellist Udi Bar-David, Tibetan flautist Nawang Khechog, American flautist Paul Horn and slack key guitarist Keola Beamer. He has been inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Dawn's Mirage: Echoes of Time is on his 1993 platinum album Canyon Trilogy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I'll Play It: Sylvia Martens and "Fliegen Wie Neil Armstrong"

The performer of our random song today, Fliegen Wie Neil Armstrong, is Sylvia Martens, a German pop singer who made her debut in 2005 singing "Schlager" music, pop or electronic music that are either sentimental ballads or light pop with lyrics about love and relationships and feelings. Fliegen wie Neil Armstrong can be found on her 2011 album Spiel Mich! (Play Me!).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spacy Carnival: Galactic, Big Chief Juan Pardo and the Golden Comanche with "Ha Di Ka"

Galactic, a New Orleans jam band, brings us Ha Di Ka - their reworking of a Mardi Gras Indian song. Formed as an octet in 1994, they make music based on their influences of hip hop, electronic, world music, rock, blues and jazz. Ha Di Ka is off of their album of Carnival inspired music titled Carnivale Electricos (2012) and features Mardi Gras Indian big chief Juan Pardo and his tribe The Golden Comanche on vocals.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Last Days of Disco: Biddu Orchestra and "Eastern Journey"

Today's song is by the Biddu Orchestra. Biddu is an Indian-born England based producer, composer, songwriter and singer. He is considered one of the pioneers of disco, Euro-disco and Indian pop. His international breakthrough came in 1974 when he produced Carl Douglas' international hit Kung Fu Fighting. Not long after, he started producing orchestral disco albums under the name Biddu Orchestra. He is responsible for making the careers of Tina Charles and Jimmy James, and influenced British new wave bands such as The Buggles. When disco declined in the West, he found a new market in countries in Asia and produced many hits there. In the 2000s, he has reoriented toward more spiritual and Eastern-oriented themes. This song, Eastern Journey, can be found on the compilation Putumayo Presents: Asian Lounge (2005).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

But Still Roots: Gina Chavez with Eliza Gilkyson and "Todo Cambio"

A Texan bilingual Latin folk singer, Gina Chavez is the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner. Her range of styles include cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton, and folk. Shye did a volunteer year in El Salvador and continues her work with the people there. She is joined on this song, Todo Cambio, by Austin-based folk singer Eliza Gilkyson, You can find Todo Cambio on Chavez' 2014 album Up.Rooted.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Plant Squash: Keren Ann and "Jardin d'Hiver"

Singer, songwriter, composer, producer and engineer Keren Ann brings us the random tune for today, called Jardin d'Hiver. Born in Israel, she moved to Paris when she was eleven . She since is based in Paris, Tel Aviv and New York City. She has released sic solo albums and her music has been covered by other artists. Her songs have also been featured in TV series such as Gray's Anatomy, Big Love and Six Feet Under. She is fluent in English, Hebrew and French. Jardin d'Hiver, (the name translates to winter garden) can be found on her 2004 album Not Going Anywhere.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

One Man Ambassador: Salif Keita and "Iniagige"

Today's random song is by Salif Keita, an albino afro-pop singer from Mali known as "the golden voice of Africa" and a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire. Cast out by his family because of his albinism (a sign of bad luck in his culture) he moved to Bamako where he joined the renowned Super Rail Band de Bamako and then the famous Les Ambassadeurs. He moved to Paris in 1994 to reach a wider audience. In his music, he combines traditional West African styles with influences from Europe and the Americas, and uses a variety of African traditional instrumentation along with more modern instruments. He has since returned to Mali where he continues to make music and has released critically acclaimed albums. This song, Iniagige, can be found on his 2002 album Moffou.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Day Is Now: Ebru Gündeş and "Bir Gün Olacak"

Today's random tune takes the flavor of Turkish pop. Born in Istanbul, Ebru Gündeş was forced to discontinue school after her primary years because of financial difficulties. Luckily, her voice was discovered when one of her relatives took her to be heard by a record label executive, who was impressed and introduced her to music producers. Gündeş sings tragic arabesque songs which lie at the core of Turkish pop. She is not only popular in Turkey, but also in Azerbaijan. She is also highly regarded in Iran due to the large Turkic minority there and has been called one of Iran's favorite singers. Most of her albums have been highly successful. Not only has she appeared on television as a singer, she is now an actress in a Turkish comedy series and was host of the hugely popular Mega Show, which was your standard variety show. She also was a guest judge on Popstar Alaturka, a talent show along the lines of American Idol or The Voice. Her career has been somewhat hampered by health issue - she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1999 entailing two operations - but she is back in full health. This song, Bir Gün Olacak, can be found on her 2011 album Beyaz.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mystery Group: PPSH and "Balkanize (Original Mix)"

A little dance music for our random tune today. Balkanize (Original Mix) is by PPSH, I can't find much about the band, so you'll just have to listen to and move to the music. You can find Balkanize (Original Mix) on The Balkan Club Night #2 [Disc 2] (2011)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Yes, Today: Patsy Torres and "Hoy Que No Estas"

Patsy Torres brings us the random tune for today, called Hoy Que No Estas. 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 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. Hoy Que No Estas can be found on her 1997 album ...Bien Protegida.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hall of Fame Bulgarian: Valya Balkanska and "Vchera si Maiche Otidoh"

You've probably never heard of the artist, Valya Balkanska, who performs our random tune today. But you should, as she is one of the human voices that may eventually be heard by aliens should they ever run across one of the two Voyager spacecraft leaving our solar system. A Bulgarian folk singer, she was known locally for her wide repertoire of over 300 songs. Her rendition of the song Izlel e Delyu Haydutin was chosen to be included on the Golden Records included on the two Voyager spacecraft. She is a recipient of Bulgaria's highest honor, the Stara Planina Orden, and is a member of Bulgaria's Walk of Fame. This song, Vchera si Maiche Otidoh, can be heard on her album Glas ot Vechnostta.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Dutch O' the Green: BZB and "Ik Vond Mezelf Terug"

BZB, the band which plays today's random tune, is an interesting group from the Netherlands. Founded in 1992 in the Dutch town of Volkel, they were originally a garage band that took much influence from metal, particularly the band Zymosis. However, over the years the influence of metal has decreased in favor of Irish folk. Listening to this song, Ik Vond Mezelf Terug (translates into something like "I Found My Way Back"), you hear just the slightest bit of their metal past along with their take on an Irish folk song, leaving them sound a little like an Irish punk band with a fuller rock sound. You can find Ik Vond Mezelf Terug on their 2009 CD Volgens Bartjes!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Melody Pure and True: Bob Marley and the Wailers with "Three Little Birds"

One of the most recognizable and loved reggae songs from a legend is on tap for the random song today. Three Little Birds is 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. Marley died in 1981 of malignant melanoma, and Tosh was killed in a gang holdup at his home in 1987. While Three Little Birds was on the 1977 album Exodus, it wasn't a hit until released as a single three years later.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Swingin': Beltuner and "Swing 124"

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, Swing 124, can be found on their 2010 CD Album #2.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reappearance: Kourosh and "Ghazal"

We have an oldie for today's song. Ghazal is by Kourosh Yaghmaei, a guitarist, singer and one of the early pioneers of rock music in Iran. He first learned music on the santur and followed traditional Iranian music, but became interested in Western music that he heard on the radio, such as Bach. Listening to rock bands, he taught himself guitar, and in the early 60s joined a rock group called The Raptures, which played covers of Western rock bands such as The Kinks, The Beatles and The Monkees. In the early 70s he started his own band, with his brothers as members. He got his musical ideas by combining Iranian melodies, instrumentals, vocals, and tones with Western harmonies, scales, and modes. He had great success until the Iranian Revolution and a ban on his performances. He did not perform much for three decades, both within and outside Iran. His albums were only allowed to be re-released during the 1990s, though the Iranian diaspora has been very aware of his music. In 2011, the compilation album Back from the Brink - Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock from Iran (1973-1979) was released and brought him international attention. You can find Ghazal on that album.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lend Me Your Ears: Synaulia and "Synphoniaci"

Today's random tune is going to sound a little strange. Synphoniaci is an interpretation of what the music of ancient Rome sounded like, played on instruments that Romans would have at their disposal. The group that plays it, Synaulia, is a team of musicians, archeologists, paleorganologists and choreographers that use historical research to present as accurately as possible ancient Roman and Etruscan music. Founded by Italian paleorganologist Walter Maioli and choreographer and anthropologist Nathalie Van Ravenstein in conjunction with the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the group originally concentrated on the reconstruction of ancient wind and stringed instruments. With the lack of musical notation from the Roman period, the musicians and researchers have relied on the capabilities of the various instruments and their melodic and harmonic possibilities, along with reliance on iconography, textual analysis, social studies and customs to recreate what the music of ancient Rome and Etruria might have sounded like. The group has provided music for movies focusing on the era, most notably Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Synphoniaci can be found on their 2003 album Music from Ancient Rome Vol. 2 (String Instruments).

Monday, April 11, 2016

Unfulfilled Desire: Kiran Ahluwalia and "Jaag Na Jaag"

Today's random tune is performed by Kiran Ahluwalia, a singer of ghazals (ancient Arabic poetry) and Punjabi folk songs. She was born in India, raised in Canada and now lives in New York City. Kiran Ahluwalia immersed herself in Indian classical music and ghazals from age seven and spent a decade of deep and intense study with her guru in the 1990s. Her music has developed and provided innovation of the ghazal music genre, often through the introduction of non-traditional instrumentation and styles such as the Portuguese fado guitar, sub-Saharan percussion, Celtic fiddle, Pakistani qawwali vocals, Afghani rhubab and African blues. She has also collaborated with other world artists such as Rez Abbasi, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq and electronica group Delerium. This song, Jaag Na Jaag, is from her 2007 release Wanderlust.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's Coming Down: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Beautiful Rain"

Today's song is from a world group mixing African and Celtic sounds. Beautiful Rain 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. Beautiful Rain can be found on their 1999 release Volume 5: Anatomic.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Planting the Seed: Ayub Ogada and Trevor Warren with "Kodhi"

A duet by Ayub Ogada and Trevor Warren is our random tune of the day. Ayub Ogada is a Kenyan singer from the Luo tribe who plays a variety of instruments in both traditional and modern Kenyan styles. After moving to London in 1986 and busking for two years, he was asked to play at Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival where he got his big break when his original 10 minute slot was extended to a full set after the preceding band canceled and he won over Peter Gabriel himself. He recorded his first album for Real World Records in 1993, and toured extensively with Gabriel and WOMAD. Trevor Warren is an English musician who traveled to Kenya at the invitation of Ogada and while there recorded enough material of the two of them playing and singing together to create an album. The result was 2015's Kodhi ("seed" in Luo), and this song is the title track.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Better Feed It: Dervish and "The Hungry Rock"

Our random song for today is from Dervish. Dervish is a traditional Irish band from County Sligo described by the BBC as an "icon" of Irish music. Formed in 1989, they represented Ireland in 2007 in the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. They have also been known to stand for their principles. In 2012 they canceled tour dates in Israel and announced a cultural boycott of the country, which in turn led to a negative backlash at home. The Hungry Rock is from their 1995 album Playing with Fire. It was also recorded on their 1997 album Live in Palma and on their retrospective compilation Decade (2001).

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Only One: Moussu T e lei Jovents and "Per Soleta Companhia"

Marseilles band Moussu T e lei Jovents bring us the random tune for today, called Per Soleta Companhia. 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. Per Soleta Companhia can be found on Moussu T e lei Jovents' 2006 album Forever Polida.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Graze on this One: Hugh Masekela and "Ngena-Ngena"

Today's random tune is performed by Hugh Masekela. A trumpeter, cornetist, flugelhornist, composer and singer, Masekela began singing and playing piano as a child, but took up the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play a trumpeter modeled on Bix Beiderbecke in the movie Young Man with a Horn. His music has always reflected his life experience during South Africa's apartheid era, and through his music he reached a large portion of the population living through the oppression. He helped form and played with the groundbreaking group The Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz group to record an LP. He is known in the United States for his interpretation of the 5th Dimension's Up, Up and Away (1967) and his hit Grazing in the Grass (1968). He was once married to singer Miriam Makeba, and he toured with Paul Simon in support of his Graceland album. He has also worked with African artists of all stripes, and he is involved in a number of South African social initiatives. This song, Ngena-Ngena, can be found on his 1992 album Beatin' Aroun de Bush, and on the 1999 compilation The Best of Hugh Masekela on Novus.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

All Rise: Kobo Town and "The Trial of Henry Marshall"

The Trial of Henry Marshall, our random tune for the day, is by the group Kobo Town. Founded by Trinidadian/Canadian Drew Gonsalves in 2004, the band's name refers to the neighborhood in Port Au Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where calypso was conceived and first performed. Kobo Town blends calypso music with other Caribbean music, as well as genres such as ska, reggae, dub, rapso, zouk and hip hop. Gonsalves moved to Canada from Diego Martin, Trinidad & Tobago with his mother when he was thirteen. She was a Canadian citizen who was escaping her abusive marriage. He turned to music and poetry to deal with his situation and feelings of exile. He studied history and political science at Carleton University before taking up music as a career. The Trial of Henry Marshall can be found on Kobo Town's 2013 album Jumbie in the Jukebox.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Knowing in Reality: 2raumwohnung and "Ich Weiß Warum"

Today's random tune is by 2raumwohnung (the "2" is pronounced "zvay"), called Ich Weiß Warum (I Know Why). 2raumwohnung is a German electro-pop duo formed in 2000 in East Berlin by Inga Humpe and her life partner Tommi Eckart. Their band name means "two-room apartment." Though many of their songs were originally used in commercials, they had their biggest hit with the release of their album 36 Grad (36 Degrees) in 2007. Ich Weiß Warum is from one of their earlier albums, 2002's In Wirklich, and it can also be found on the Putumayo World Groove compilation (2004).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bad Choices: Kirsty MacColl and "Wrong Again"

Today's random tune is by an artist taken away too young. Kirsty MacColl was an English singer-songwriter who recorded many pop hits in the 1990s, and made notable appearances on other hits. Married to producer Steve Lillywhite, she 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 to speedboats, 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 the, 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. This song, Wrong Again, can be found on her 2000 album Tropical Brainstorm.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Moor Music: Françoise Atlan, Mohammed Briouel and L'Orchestre Arabo-Andalou de Fes with "La Mujer - Soubhana"

Today's song is by Françoise Atlan, a French singer born into a Sephardic Jewish family. She undertook musical studies, eventually finishing with degrees from St. Etienne and Aix-en-Provence conservatories. She has a natural voice, and is known for singing "nawbas" usually reserved for male singers. She has performed solo and in groups, notably with the group Aksak that concentrated on Turkish, Greek and Armenian songs. As a solo artist, she is considered one of the best performers of Sephardic romance songs. She is joined on the recording by Mohammed Briouel and his L'Orchestre Arabo-Andalou de Fes. Briouel is a Moroccan musician who focuses on Arab-Muslim music and Sephardic music. You can find this song, La Mujer - Soubhana, on the 2003 album Andalussyat, which explores the different types of music in Andalusia in Moorish Spain.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Venezuelan Tribal House: DJ Baba and "Eshu"

Today's song is a house number by Venezuelan DJ BaBa. Though I couldn't find much information on him, his record label calls his music a "dynamic Tribal House" sound and says that he puts the groove back into the house scene. This song, Eshu, is from his 2014 EP release Callejero.