Friday, September 30, 2016

Hang Ten: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Riding the Waves"

Today's tune is by the Afro Celt Sound System, and is called Riding the Waves. The Afro Celt Sound System is a world group mixing African and Celtic sounds and which fuses modern electronic dance rhythms with traditional Irish and West African songs. The group was 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. Riding the Waves can be found on their 1999 album Volume 2: Release.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Will Live for You: Los Amigos Invisibles and "Vivire Para Ti"

Today's tune, Vivire Para Ti, is by Los Amigos Invisibles of Venezuela. Known for their blend of disco, acid jazz and funk mixed with Latin rhythms, the band was formed in 1991 in Caracas. Los Amigos Invisibles gained the attention of David Byrne's Luaka Bop label after they discovered a CD that the band had surreptitiously planted in a New York City record store, and Luaka Bop released the band's second album in 1996 which garnered many positive reviews. Their third album received a Grammy nomination as Best Latin Alternative album, and with it's success the band relocated to New York City permanently, eventually starting their own label. The band sings this song with Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican pop-rock singer who has become one of the most successful stars in Latin America. Vivire Para Ti is from Los Amigos Invisibles' 2009 album Commercial.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Little Devil: The Ricardo Herz Trio and "Saci"

Brazilian popular violinist Ricardo Herz and his trio brings us Saci for our random tune today. Ricardo Herz is a classically trained violinist from São Paulo who also received an education in jazz from the Berklee College of Music. His music uses Brazilian melodies as well as a varied rhythmic structure, such as choro, samba and variations. He has also conducted much research, leading to an in-depth knowledge of Brazilian music. Saci is from the Ricardo Herz Trio's 2012 album Aqui é o Meu lá. The title refers to the mythological Brazilian trickster with a magical red cap that rides dust devils.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Leading You Home: Hapa and "Like a Road"

Today's song is brought to us by Hapa. Hapa means "half," and refers to the fact that one of the members, Barry Flanagan, is a white guy from New Jersey who is currently working with Hawaii natives Kapono Nāʻiliʻili, Tarvin Edwin Lono Makia, and Radasha Ho`ohuli. Flanagan has been a consistent 30 year member of the duo. He started out partnering with Keli'i Ho'omalu Kaneali'i. Following Kaneali'i, Flanagan teamed with Nathan Aweau, who eventually left for a solo career. Flanagan then partnered with Hawaiian chanter Charles Ka'upu, who described Hapa's goal as helping revive the Polynesian language and to totally change the way the world perceives Hawaiian music. Unfortunately, Ka'upu died suddenly and unexpectedly in his early 50s in 2011. In its new incarnation Hapa continues to draw from jazz, folk, blues, bluegrass, Latin, flamenco, rock, Irish music and slam poetry as well as traditional Hawaiian music. Hapa's debut CD in 1995 became the biggest selling album ever by a Hawaiian group, and they have since released eight albums. This song, Like a Road, can be found on Hapa's 2013 album Malihini.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Okay, I Get It: Golem and "Love You All The Time"

Golem brings us today's random tune, called Love You All The Time. 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. Love You All The Time can be found on Golem's 2014 CD Tanz.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wormhole: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with "Arbaden (Maggie's Baby)"

Robert Plant, rock legend and former lead singer of Led Zeppelin, and his band the Sensational Space Shifters, bring us the random tune for today. The song is called Arbaden (Maggie's Baby) and is off of his world music-influenced album Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar from 2014 which was named one of the 50 best albums of 2014 by National Public Radio. Robert Plant formed the Sensational Space Shifters in 2012 and after a "soft-opening" to a crowd of 400 in Gloucester, England the band performed at WOMAD that same year. The Sensational Space Shifters include Gambian griot musician Juldeh Camara and Camara's frequent collaborator, English guitarist Justin Adams.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Foam Upon the Tide: Great Big Sea and "Demasduit Dream"

Today's song is by Great Big Sea, a band that was formed in 1989 under the name Newfoundland Republican Army and has become known for its rock interpretations of Newfoundland folk songs drawing from the island's Irish, Scottish and Cornish heritage. Every year between 1996 and 2000 they won East Coast Music Association's Entertainers of the Year until they stopped submitting their name to allow other bands to compete. They have also been nominated several times for the Juno Awards, Canada's top music awards. They have released nine studio albums, three compilation albums, and three live albums. This song, Demasduit Dream, is from their 1999 album Turn.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jumping: !DelaDap and "Le Shin"

!DelaDap brings us today's random tune, called Le Shin. From Austria, !DelaDap is a music project by Prague producer Stani Vana that began with an international cast of musicians that fused Roma music with jazz, electronica and pop. As of 2012, they have turned more toward urban pop music with elements of club and global folklore. Le Shin can be found on their 2006 album Dela Paji and on the 2008 compilation Putumayo Presents: Euro Groove.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Drowning in Love: e2k and "The Water is Wide"

The random tune for today is The Water is Wide by e2k. e2k grew out of the original English band Edward the Second. Edward the Second formed in 1980 as a world fusion, reggae and English folk band. The band made a conscious effort to steer away from a folk-punk fusion and instead gravitated toward Jamaican reggae based on similar harmonics and a shared folk tradition. In the early 90s they shortened their name to Edward II. In 1999 Edward II dissolved, but in 2000 some former members reformed as e2k, and brought in a Ghanaian instrumentalist and the lead singer and guitarist from the Albion Band. In addition, some other former members of Edward II have reformed themselves. The Water is Wide can be found on e2k's 2001 album Shift, and on the 2001 BBC compilation The Folk Awards.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Didn't Fall Far from the Banjo Tree: We Banjo 3 and "Bill Cheatum/Kitchen Girl/The Donegal Lass"

From Galway comes We Banjo 3 playing a variety of music mixed from Irish music, old-time music and bluegrass that they have labeled Celt-grass. The individual members of the current foursome are all award winning musicians, having taken All-Ireland titles multiple times on their respective instruments. This song, Bill Cheatum/Kitchen Girl/The Donegal Lass, can be found on their 2012 debut album Roots of the Banjo Tree.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mad Turkish Dub: Baba Zula and Mad Professor with "Islak Sevdahlar"

Today's song, Islak Sevdahlar, is brought to us by Baba Zula and Mad Professor. Founded in 1996, Baba Zula is an alternative group that creates a psychedelic sound combining traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub. At the core of their sound is the saz, a Turkish bouzouki-like stringed instrument with a bright, high-pitched sound. Baba Zula became well known outside of Turkey when they appeared in the 2005 documentary Crossing the Bridge, and have since performed in many high profile world music festivals. They have released eight albums. Mad Professor is a dub music producer and engineer from Guyana known for original productions and remix work. He is a leading figure of dub's second generation and as such has been instrumental in bringing dub into the digital age. Islak Sevdahlar can be found on Baba Zula with Mad Professor's 2005 album Duble Oryantal.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Not Pilaf: Väsen, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger with "Couscous"

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Flood of Emotion: Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina with "Águas de Março"

Today's song is by a giant of Brazilian music who is credited with developing the bossa nova style and a woman who, at the time of the recording, was considered Brazil's greatest living vocalist. Águas de Março (Waters of March) was written by Jobim as a series of images inspired by flooding streets during a rainstorm. On the strength of songs like this, and his most famous song Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema), his music crossed over from Brazil into the jazz repertoire of the United States. He collaborated with such jazz icons such as Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto and ushered a bossa nova craze into American culture. Elis Regina died at the age of 36 from an accidental drug overdose. She is widely considered to be one of Brazil's greatest singers, moving from bossa nova in the 1960s to tropicalismo in the 1970s. She was often at odds with the Brazilian dictatorship, insulated in part by her great popularity. Her funeral procession was followed by more than 100,000 people through the streets of Sao Paolo, all singing her songs. You can find Águas de Março on the 1990 album Bossa Nova - Trinta Anos Depois.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

All Hail the King: Celtic Crossroads and "King's Head Set"

Celtic Crossroads brings us today's random tune entitled King's Head Set. Celtic Crossroads began as a streetshow quartet in Galway playing traditional Irish music with a modern flair. As their following got bigger, they decided to make their show more formal. Over 400 musicians showed up at the audition, of which they hired nine. Still a street show, the crowds grew so large that the band was asked by city officials to move to a theater, at which they played to sold out crowds six nights a week. The group now travels the globe bringing their style of Irish music to the world. This version of King's Head Set can be found on their 2010 album World Fusion, and the video is from a PBS special devoted to the group and its music.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Square in Brussels: 8½ Souvenirs and "Place de Brouckere"

Today's random tune is by 8½ Souvenirs, an Austin band of the 1990s that disbanded about 2000. While called an American swing jazz band led by French-turned-American lead guitarist Olivier Giraud, it was clearly influenced by gypsy jazz and other European and Latin American styles. It's name came from the Fellini movie and the Django Reinhardt song "Souvenirs." This song, Place de Brouckere, is from 8½ Souvenirs' 1995 album Happy Feet, and was originally recorded by Django Reinhardt. The song is set to this video of birthday parties of people I don't know - I'm just using the video for the song as it's the only version out there on the internet.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Get Your Back Up Off The Wall: The Funkees and "Dance With Me"

Uh huh. Today's retro funk song by The Funkees will get your booty off the couch or the office chair - wherever you are it'll be shakin'. The Funkees were formed in Nigeria in the 1960s following the Nigerian civil war, and immediately established themselves as a band delivering funky, upbeat and danceable tunes sung in English and their native Igbo language. They moved to London in 1973 and gained prominence in the West African and West Indian music scene before breaking up in 1977. This song, Dance with Me, can be found on their 1976 album Now I'm a Man and the retrospective compilation album Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77 released in 2012.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Indulge Me: Gaida and "Indulgence"

Today's random song is by Syrian singer Gaida, who has been dubbed "The Syrian Nightingale." Born and raised in Damascus where she awoke to the sound of her father's radio and was taught Middle Eastern songs word by word by her mother, she has crafted her songs to combine the elegance of Arab poetry with Middle Eastern vocal techniques and the sensibilities of her home in New York. This song, Indulgence, can be found on her 2010 album Levantine Indulgence.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Avoiding Pursuit: Maighread ni Dhomhnaill and "Amhran Pheadar Breathnach"

Today's song, Amhrán Pheadar Breathnach, is by Maighread ni Dhomhnaill, an Irish musician was brought up as a native Irish speaker in Kells, County Meath. Her family was a well known musical family and collectors of Irish music. She was part of the highly regarded group Skara Brae, which recorded only one album, but that album is considered a classic of Irish music because it first brought pop and guitars to traditional Irish tunes, and it was the first to include vocal harmonization in Irish traditional songs. Maighread ni Dhomhnaill gave up music for a while, studying nursing and raising a family, but has since come back to music, performing with the West Ocean String Quartet and joining her sister Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Moya Brennan and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh as part of the Celtic supergroup T with the Maggies. Amhran Pheadar Breathnach is from her 1991 album Gan Dhá Phingin Spré (No Dowry) and can also be found on the CD Putumayo Presents Women of the World: Celtic.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New World Angst: Culcha Candela and "Schöne Neue Welt"

From a Berlin dancehall, hip hop and reggae band comes our random tune for today. Culcha Candela was formed in 2002 and their songs tend to be of two types - party songs and those that tackle political issues such as today's song, Schöne Neue Welt. The song can be found on Culcha Candela's 2009 album Schöne Neue Welt, and has satirical lyrics about our culture of consumption, stating in the refrain "Welcome, welcome to our beautiful new world. What will be tomorrow is of no importance. We will celebrate until everything falls to pieces."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Memorials of those Gone Before Their Time: Joy Harjo and "For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash"

On this day of memorial for the events that happened in 2001, the randomizer picked another song of memorial. Today's song, For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, is part of the hard history of Native Americans. Native American poet and author Joy Harjo is a Muscogee Indian from Oklahoma. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and also played alto saxophone with her band Poetic Justice. She is credited with being a leader and force in what has been termed the Native American Renaissance of the late 20th century. The song is an homage to a member of the American Indian Movement who died under mysterious circumstances on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1976. You can find For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash on the Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice album Letter from the End of the 20th Century, released in 1997. The tragedy of people whose lives are taken before their time is sadly a common occurrence in this day and age...regardless of who they are or how they died, let us remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Better than Barbie Girl: Pangea and "Mangbetu Girl"

Pangea brings us our random tune today, called Mangbetu Girl. Pangea was a project of Dan Lacksman, a Belgian composer and sound engineer. He 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 and was one of the early pioneers of the genre. You can find Mangbetu Girl on the 1996 album Pangea.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Music from His Country: Vieux Farka Touré and "Doni Doni"

The son of the great Ali Farka Touré brings us today's random song, called Doni Doni. Vieux Farka Touré is a Malian singer and guitarist. He first took up guitar in secret because his father disapproved and enrolled in the National Institute of the Arts in Bamako. He released his first album in 2005 after getting permission from his father and the great Malian musician Toumani Diabaté - they also agreed to be on the album. Vieux Farka Touré plays primarily Malian music, but has also collaborated with other musicians from around the world, including Idan Raichel of Israel and Julia Easterlin, a singer/songwriter from the United States. Doni Doni can be found on Touré's 2013 album Mon Pays.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gypsy Mysterious: Gypsy Caravan and "Mystery"

Gypsy Caravan is an American band formed in 1991 by Bruce Beaton and Jeff Rees in Portland, Oregon. The band varies from four to 9 musicians, and sometimes fills in extra strings and percussion as needed. Their main focus is playing for the Gypsy Caravan Dance Company, and they play a variety of original music and tribal fusion for the company's productions. They also can be found playing in large musical productions and in smaller, more intimate venues. They have played WOMAD in Seattle in 2001 as well as hundreds of other festivals and gatherings. This song, Mystery, is from their 2004 album Quest.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Soul to Soul: Cheb Jilani and "Bahebakk"

Today's song is by Cheb Jilani, the stage name of Hussein Jilani, a linguistically versatile singer and one of Libya's most popular music stars. Taught by his father to sing Arab folk songs, he became known for his deft renditions of complex songs by Arab pop artists. He mastered classical Arab singing, and he also broadened his appeal across the Arab world by learning various Arab dialects. This song, Bahebakk, is a love song in which Jilani declares "I love my soul because it melted together with your soul." You can find Bahebakk on the 2005 compilation album Putumayo Presents: North African Groove.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Getting Hitched: Eileen Ivers and "Kitty's Wedding"

Today's tune is by Eileen Ivers, an American fiddler whose parents were Irish born. She was raised in The Bronx and took up fiddle at nine years old, studying under Irish fiddler Martin Mulvihill. Eileen Ivers first toured with the band The Green Fields of America. She later was a founding member of Cherish the Ladies and performed with them for several years. She joined the smash show Riverdance in 1985, replacing their original fiddler. She has also recorded an air that was used in the movie Gangs of New York, and she appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Some Mother's Son. She has released eight solo albums. This song, Kitty's Wedding, is from her 2016 crossover album Beyond the Bog Road, which features traditional Irish music along with American folk, blues and bluegrass.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Longing for Home: Tiris and "Tiris Nibreeha"

Tiris is a band that was formed by Sahwari refugees in refugee camps in Algeria. The band sings about love, loss and their struggle to return to an independent homeland in Western Sahara. They made an auspicious debut at the Festival au Desert in Mali in 2005, earning rave reviews and despite being scheduled for one performance, were brought back on the last night by popular demand. The band mixes traditional Sahwari music with other types of genres, including desert blues, flamenco, reggae and jazz. They also use modern instrumentation but include traditional instruments like tbal and tidnit. They have released one album. This song, Tiris Nibreeha (I Love Tiris), refers to the region of Western Sahara, known for its holy men, poets and musicians, that the band takes its name from, and can be found on their 2007 album Sandtracks as well as the 2008 compilation Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Arabia.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Children of the Windy City: Tribus Futuras and "Hijos del Viento"

Tribus Futuras brings us the random tune for today, called Hijos del Viento. Tribus Futuras, formerly known as Inca Pirca, was founded in Chicago in 1995 by husband and wife Luis and Susan Alban. They are both instructors of music at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and have performed extensively in the United States, South America and Europe. Hijos del Viento can be found on the 2014 compilation album Putumayo Presents: Music of the Andes.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Evicted: Capercaillie and "Four Stone Walls"

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, Four Stone Walls can be found on their 1993 album Secret People, and on the 1998 compilation album Dusk Til Dawn. The song refers to the Highland Clearances, in which aristocratic Scots landlords in the 18th and 19th centuries, often with help from the English, practiced wholesale and often brutal evictions of farmers in the Scottish Highlands which resulted in the enclosure of common lands and an agricultural switch from farming to sheep raising.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Shocking: Druid Sisters Tea Party and "Electricity"

Today's random tune is by an electic, Northern California all-female band called Druid Sisters Tea Party. They describe themselves as an organic world dance band that pulls musical flavors from all around the world, with sounds that include "tribal-jungle style dance drums, Celtic fiddle, gypsy cello, dreamy trance vocals, deep bass and hypnotic didjeridu," which they round off with "Goddess vocals." You can find their tune, Electricity, on their 2010 release Moon Juju.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Changing for the Better: Playing for Change with Keb' Mo' and "Better Man"

A special musical project called Playing for Change brings us our song for today, called Better Man. The main performer in this song is three-time Grammy winning blues musician Keb' Mo'. Keb' Mo' (Kevin Moore) was involved from the beginning with Playing for Change, which is a project to connect the world through music. Created by American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson, the project records street musicians around the world playing one element of each of the songs they record. They then build, layer by layer, the song by melding the recorded parts, each with the individual interpretations of the musicians involved. They have since developed the Playing for Change touring band, and they have built the Playing for Change Foundation, which funds the construction of music and art schools around the world. Better Man can be found on Playing For Change's 2009 CD Songs Around the World.