Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Many Strata: Red Baraat and "Layers"

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I Like That: Silva and "Sou Desse Jeito"

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Right Stuff: Rahim AlHaj and "Maqam Rast"

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dancing Woman: Puerto Plata and "Mujer de Cabaret"

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Funk Dancing: Luisa Maita and "Desencabulada"

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

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

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Floral: Paul Avgerinos and "Lily of the Valley"

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AfroBrazilian: Bixiga 70 and "Niran"

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Winter Lightning: Baka Beyond and "I See Winter"

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Island Beauty: Ray Kāne and "Honolulu Harbor"

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Slithering: Golem and "I'm a Snake"

Wow, a song out of low self-esteem! Today's song, called I'm A Snake, is brought to us by Golem. A rock-klezmer band, Golem was created in 2000 in New York City by Annette Ezekiel Kogan, who serves as bandleader, vocalist and accordionist. The band describes their music as Eastern European Jewish folk-rock, and combines elements of rock, punk, and klezmer with lyrics in mainly English, Yiddish and Russian. The name of the band refers to the monster created out of clay to protect the Jewish people, and turned back to clay when it got out of control. The band calls themselves a collective monster that approaches traditional music with respect, but without timidity and resistance to change. I'm a Snake can be found on Golem's 2014 CD Tanz.

Friday, November 18, 2016

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sounds Like a Dance: TerraTara and "Kootenay Kombu"

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dark Skies: Jason Rivas and "Black Moon"

Our random world tune has a club beat today! Black Moon (Original Club Mix) is by Jason Rivas. Jason Rivas is a professional DJ who began his career in the 1990s and has released over 300 records as a producer of house music for various labels. He has also been remixed by many international artists. Black Moon can be found on The Balkan Club Night Vol. 2 (2011).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Forerunner: The Prodigals and "Spancil Hill"

The Prodigals, an American punk band begun in 1997, bring us Spancil Hill, which the was the original song that Ghost Riders in the Sky was based upon. The band describes their music as jig-punk and can be classified with other Irish music influenced punk bands such as The Pogues and Black 47 in their merging of traditional Celtic melodies with rock rhythms. The band's melodies are carried by a button key accordion with bass and drum underneath. Spancil Hill can be found on their 1999 album Go On.

Monday, November 14, 2016

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quechua if You Can: Pukaj Wayra and "Chrisimanta"

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Telling Stories: Maura O'Connell and "Stories"

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dreamworld: Aurélia and "Le Rêve de Hulluhuk"

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paddle Me: Lurdez da Luz and "Ping Pong"

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

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

Senegalese singer, guitarist and songwriter Habib Koité brings us our song today. Habib Koité is based in Mali and his band, Bamada, is a West African supergroup made up of many well-known musicians. Koité tunes his guitar to a pentatonic scale and plays it on open strings, much like the one would play the African ngoni. His music can be reminiscent of both blues and flamenco, two styles he has picked up in his musical career. He also has an intimate and relaxed vocal style that makes his music sound calm and even moody. Born to musician parents, he learned how to play by watching and listening. After graduation from the Bamako Institute of the Arts, he formed Bamada in 1988. He began touring outside of Africa in 1994, and his music got a huge boost when three of his songs were included with the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. He has released eight albums - his latest came out in 2014. This song, Sin Djen Djen, is from his 2001 CD Baro. The song celebrates Mali's musicians and efforts to preserve Mali's music for younger generations.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Telling Stories: Souad Massi and "Raoui"

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

Saturday, November 5, 2016

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

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

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

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Going South: Inflame and "Sur (Fandangos)"

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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

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