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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coming Back to Life: Rahul Saxena, Shaan, Shreya Ghosal, Sunidhi Chauhan, and Udit Narayan with "Deewangi Deewangi"

Our random tune for today, Deewangi Deewangi, is from the soundtrack to the Bollywood production Om Shanti Om, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone with the playback singing by Rahul Saxena, Shaan, Shreya Ghosal, Sunidhi Chauhan and Udit Narayan. Actually, in this video of the song from the movie, over 30 current Indian Hindi film stars make cameos and perform with the main stars. The movie is a supernatural romantic film set in Bollywood in the 1970s and in the 2000s. Whenever I (Mike) see a Bollywood video like this, I often wish my life were like a Bollywood musical - beautiful women and handsome men, tragedy and comedy, all mixed with great production numbers. You can find Deewangi Deewangi on the Om Shanti Om soundtrack (2008).

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Darkness: Tish Hinojosa and "Noche sin Estrellas"

Our random tune for today is by Tish Hinojosa, a south Texas Mexican-American singer-songwriter. Originally from San Antonio, Hinojosa sings traditional Mexican folksongs and her own compositions in both Spanish and English. She accompanies herself on guitar, playing right-handed even though she is naturally left-handed. This song, Noche sin Estrellas, can be found on her 1994 album Destiny's Gate.

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Somebody's House: Beausoleil and "Chez Varise Connor"

Chez Varise Connor is the title of today's random tune, and it is brought to us by Beausoleil. Founded in 1975, Beausoleil 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 Cajun music and their techniques. He even encouraged some to resume performing. They are one of the few Creole/Cajun groups to win a Grammy. Chez Varise Connor can be found on their 1997 compilation The Best of Beausoleil.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

All the Bad on Earth: The Touré-Raichel Collective and "Alkataou"

The Touré-Raichel Collective brings us our random tune for today, called Alkataou. 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. You can find Alkataou on The Touré-Raichel Collective's 2012 debut release The Tel Aviv Session.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taste of Deceit: Puerto Plata and "Sabor de Engaño"

José Cobles, a Dominican musician who goes by the nickname of Puerto Plata, sings and plays today's random tune. Puerto Plata'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, Sabor de Engaño, can be found on Plata's first internationally distributed CD, Mujer de Cabaret, released in 2007.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Imaginary Worlds: Banda Crebinsky and "Pui! Pui! Pui!"

Today's random tune is called Pui! Pui! Pui! and is performed by Banda Crebinsky, a band that imagines itself as an escapee from an imaginary film in an imaginary universe. Their music, styled as "eclectic fool" or "popular music of a non-existent country," is yet high energy and very polished. Banda Crebinsky hails from Spain, and Pui! Pui! Pui! can be found on their 2011 album Crebinsky.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lysistrata Solved That: Khaira Arby and "Goumou"

Khaira Arby brings us today's song, called Goumou. From the northern deserts of Mali who resided in Timbuktu and had to flee after the fundamentalist Islamic takeover of that city. Often called the Queen of Desert Rock, she is a cousin to the great Ali Farka Touré. She uses a varied assortment of instrumentation, such as electric guitar, calabash, traditional violin, acoustic guitar and drumming, and she sings in languages such as Sonrai, Arabic and Tamashek. She is the only singer in her family, and started singing when she was eleven years old. Before working with her own band, she performed with the Troupe du Cercle de Tomboctou and later the Troupe Regionale de Gao. Goumou is from her 2013 release Timbuktu Tarab. The song, vocalized in Sonrai, asks why men go to war when the women are so beautiful.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Way Out There: Red Baraat and "Horizon Line"

Red Baraat brings us the random tune for today, called Horizon Line. 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. Horizon Line can be found on their latest release, Gaadi of Truth (2015).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Dark Sea: Cirque du Soleil and "Mer Noire"

The random tune for today comes from Cirque du Soleil. Mer Noire, along with the entire soundtrack of Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas (Bellagio Hotel) water and stage show O, was composed by Canadian Benoit Jutras. Jutras' eclectic music combines worldbeat, classical, rock, trip hop and electronica, and the score of O is no exception, with instrumentation that includes classical Western, erhu (Chinese violin), bagpipes, African guitar, African kora (harp), Colombian guitar, cello, ancient woodwinds and a wide variety of percussion instruments. Mer Noire can be found on the soundtrack for O, released in 1998.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Rowing Toward Land: Te Vaka and "Te Vaka"

The random tune for today is Te Vaka by the band Te Vaka. From the South Pacific and New Zealand, Te Vaka performs contemporary Oceanic music in a style they call South Pacific fusion. Founded in 1995 by Opetaia Foa'i, they have won a number of awards and have been labeled the most successful contemporary band playing Pacific music by the BBC. They use traditional instruments such as the pate and pa'u (drums) and most of their songs are written in the Tokelauan language, though some songs are in Samoan and Tuvaluan. Te Vaka was originally recorded in 1997 on their album Original Contemporary Pacific Music, and re-recorded on thei 2008 album Te Vaka.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Good One to Follow: The Maxwell Implosion and "Follow My Riddim"

The Maxwell Implosion brings the random tune for today. The Maxwell Implosion is really German DJ Torsten Heller, whose music mixes soundtracks from the 60s and 70s with jazz, lounge and bossa nova. He performed as a DJ in many countries before recording his own material, which due to his exposure as a DJ often includes contributions from well-known artists from around the world. This song, Follow My Riddim, can be found on his debut album Small Circle of Friends (2002).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No Lampshade: Forro in the Dark and "Lampião No Céu"

Today's upbeat random tune is provided by Forro in the Dark. A band from New York City made up of Brazilian expatriates, Forro in the Dark was formed in 2002 after a birthday celebration jam session at a New York nightclub. They were such a hit they became a weekly fixture and thus came to the attention of David Byrne (former lead singer of the Talking Heads), who collaborated with them on their first album. In their highly infectious music, they combine elements of the Brazilian dance music known as forró with rock, folk, jazz and country. You can find this song, Lampião No Céu, on their 2006 debut album Bonfires of São João. You also appear to get a bonus, as there seems to be a hidden track after the original song finishes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

With Bratwurst: Bock Rock and "Jukebox Baby"

How about some Krautrock for your random tune for today? I can't find much information on the band featured today, Bock Rock, so just sit back and enjoy the Teutonic take on this song, Jukebox Baby. You can find it on the 2005 album Krautrock Meisters: Hänki Pänkies.

Monday, October 3, 2016

As the Black Mill Turns: Ashley MacIsaac with Mary Jane Lamond and "Sleepy Maggie"

Juno Award winning and platinum-selling fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, accompanied by singer Mary Jane Lamond, brings us the random tune today called Sleepy Maggie. A Canadian artist from Cape Breton, Ashley MacIsaac is from a family of fiddlers - his sisters are all touring fiddlers and his cousin is Canadian fiddler Natalie MacMaster. In addition to his music, he is known as an openly gay musician, his struggle with addiction to crack cocaine in the late 1990s, and occasionally eccentric behavior. He has indicated a recent desire to enter Canadian politics. Sleepy Maggie is sung in Scots Gaelic by Mary Jane Lamond, a Canadian Celtic folk musician who presents traditional Celtic tunes in contemporary musical styles. Her vocals on this song first brought her to widespread public attention. You can find Sleepy Maggie on MacIsaac's 1995 album Hi™ How Are You Today? and on the 1998 compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Celtic Tides.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Major Influence: The Bothy Band and "Green Groves of Erin/Flowers of Red Hill"

Today's song, Green Groves of Erin/Flowers of Red Hill, is performed by The Bothy Band. Active during the 1970s, The Bothy Band became quickly known as one of the must influential bands playing Irish music. Formed in 1975 by former Planxty bouzouki player Dónal Lunny, he was joined by other famous Irish musicians such as Matt Molloy, Paddy Keenan, Paddy Glackin, Tony McMahon, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill. The group disbanded in 1979, but continued to serve as an inspiration for newer Irish bands - and the individual members went on to have continued successful careers with other bands and in solo work. You can find Green Groves of Erin/Flowers of Red Hill on 1983's The Best of the Bothy Band.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Caused a Hurricane: Karsh Kale and "Butterfly Effect"

Karsh Kale brings us the random tune today, called Butterfly Effect. Karsh Kale is an Indian-American musician considered one of the early developers of the Asian Underground genre of music, mixing such music as Indian classical with electronica, rock, pop and ambient music. He was born Uttkarsha Kale in West Bromwich, England and moved to Brooklyn when he was three. He took an early interest in tabla and music in general, spurred by his father who introduced him to traditional Indian classical music, rock and early hip hop. Kale taught himself the tabla, developing his "electric tabla" style. In 2000, he was invited by Bill Laswell to join Tabla Beat Science along with Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, Trilok Gurtu and Sultan Khan, and their album Tala Matrix is considered one of the most influential Asian fusion albums to date. About this time, Kale became the first Indian-American to be signed to a solo recording contract in the US, and released his first solo album Realize, with it's "Asian Massive" sound in 2001. He has written music for Bollywood and crossover films, television series such as HBO's True Blood, and with artists such as Sting and Norah Jones. Butterfly Effect appears on Kale's 2016 album Up.