Monday, May 29, 2017

Take Wing: Rahim Alhaj and "Fly Away"



Iraqi musician Rahim AlHaj, who originally came to Albuquerque as a refugee, brings us the random tune for today. Rahim Alhaj is an oud player and composer. 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, Fly Away, can be found on his 2013 album Journey.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nocturnal Wanderings: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Even in My Dreams"



Our song today is called Even in My Dreams. The song 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. Even in My Dreams can be found on their 1999 release Volume 2: Release.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Seductress: Värttinä and "Lumotar / The Enchantress"



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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Foot Street: Maldita Vecindad and "Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión)"



Our random tune for today is brought to you by Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, a Mexican rock band. Often known simply as Maldita, or Maldita Vecindad (the Damned Neighborhood), they one of the most influential bands in Mexico and are known as pioneers of rock en español. They have a sound that draws upon many influences, including ska, rock, and traditional Cuban styles such as bolero and son, and is also drawn from their urban and working class origins. You can find this song, Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión), on the compilation album Nacional Card 2010 and on the 2011 compilation Rock Mundial.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hush and Sleep: Mariana Sadovska and "Three Lullabies"



The song for today is by Germany-based Ukrainian actress, singer, musician, composer and recording artist Mariana Sadovska. Emerging from the theater world in Lviv, Ukraine, Sadovska worked in theater and theater production and led ethnomusicology trips and arranged cultural exchanges with numerous countries. She moved to New York in 2001 to be a music director with theater company La Mama. During this time she also began working on her own solo performances. She released her first solo CD in 2001. This song, Three Lullabies, is from her 2001 debut CD Songs I Learned in Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Rain Knows You Don't Walk Alone: Los Amigos Invisibles and "La Lluvia Sabe Que no Andas Sola"



Today's random tune, La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola 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. La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola is from their 2011 album Not So Commercial, which is a Grammy nominated EP of outtakes from their hit 2009 album Commercial.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sounds Like a Fun Place: Capercaillie and "Finlay's"



Funky? Scottish? Capercaille brings the funk to a Celtic tune! Capercaillie is a Scottish folk band formed in the 1980s. They are named after the Scottish wood grouse. They perform traditional Gaelic songs along with songs in English of their own composition or by others, and often mix traditional songs with modern recording techniques, rhythms and instrumentation. At first sticking fairly closely to traditional styles and instrumentation, in the 1980s they added funk bass lines, synthesizers and electric guitar to traditional songs. In 1992, their EP A Prince Among Islands was the first Gaelic language record to reach the top 40 of the UK singles charts They have since been moving back toward more traditional music while retaining a slight fusion sound. This song, Finlays, is from their 1997 album Beautiful Wasteland, and this version of the song is from their 2002 Live in Concert album (they end this version of Finlays with a snippet of Puirt a Beul, a song from their 1987 album Crosswinds). BTW: This is the band that started my long foray into world music after I saw them in the early stages of their career at Milwaukee's Irish festival in the late 1980s.

Monday, May 22, 2017

What's Spanish for Choogling: Los Lonely Boys and "Born on the Bayou"



A classic cover of a classic recording is our random tune today. Los Lonely Boys brings us Creedence Clearwater Revival's Born on the Bayou. An American Chicano band born in Nashville but located in San Angelo, Texas, Los Lonely Boys combine rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country and Tejano music into a melange they call "Texican Rock 'n Roll." They are Grammy-winners for their 2005 song Heaven. You can find Born on the Bayou on the 2016 tribute album Quiero Creedence.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

For the Homies: The Pleb and "One for Senegal"



Today's random tune is by Moreno Visini from Italy whose music comes by way of Africa. Also known as The Pleb and DJ Zeb), Visini is from from Northern Italy but left home at age 14 and ended up in London, where he learned electronic programming and sequencing, and where he was heavily influenced by Asian and Arabic music. In the mid 1980s, he was invited to join the American alt-rock band The Indians, but after they disbanded in 1994, he went back to experimentation with electronica and world music. This song, One for Senegal was inspired by the song Amadou Tilo by Senegalese band Touré Kunda in honor of a fallen brother who had died of a heart attack on stage in 1983. Visini heard it late one night in his apartment and was transfixed. He sampled the song, a mostly a capella, rootsy style of track, and put a funky Afrobeat drum rhythm and guitar riffs under it. The surviving members of the band have greatly admired Visini's interpretation of their song. You can find One for Senegal on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: African Groove (2003).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beautiful Day: Erkan Oğur and İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu with "Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm"



Erkan Oğur, along with İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu, brings the random tune for today, called Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm. From Turkey, Erkan Oğur is a pioneer of fretless guitars, and invented the first fretless classical guitar. As a composer, he combines the ancient traditional sounds of Turkey with Turkish folk and classical music. He is also considered a master of the kopuz and bağlama lutes. İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu is a Turkish bass player who has made many albums and has worked a lot with Erkan Oğur. You can find Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm on their 1998 album Gülün Kokusu Vardi.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bittersweet: The Mexican Institute of Sound and "Sinfonia Agridulce"



Today's random tune is a cover of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony by the Mexican Institute of Sound called Sinfonia Agridulce. MIS, as the group is also known, is Mexico City-based producer and DJ Camilo Lara's electronic music project. Fusing Mexican folk music with modern sounds, MIS is part of a growing movement in Mexican music. Lara started with mixing music for holiday mix tapes, and after getting enthusiastic receptions for his creations, began making musical collages under the moniker Mexican Institute of Sound while relying on samples of Mexican classical music. He has released four albums, with a fifth due next year. Sinfonia Agridulce is from his 2009 CD Soy Sauce.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Within Reason: Fiji and "Anything You Want"



Today's random song is by George "Fiji" Veikoso. Originally from Fiji but raised in Hawaii, and known by his performing name of "Fiji," Veikoso is a reggae, hip-hop, R&B and jazz vocalist. Encouraged by relatives to pursue his musical dreams, he joined the Fijian band Rootstrata in 1987 but fled to Hawaii during the 1987 Fijian coups d'etat. He has won numerous awards, and may be more recognizable as the voice who sang the theme song, Let Me Be the One, with Glenn Medeiros for the hit TV show Baywatch, and as an actor in the 2002 surfer film Blue Crush. You can find this song, Anything You Want, on his 1999 album Grattitude, and on the 2003 album The Best of Fiji.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Saharan King: Khaled and "Ki Kounti"



Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, an Algerian raï singer and songwriter known by his stage name Khaled, brings us the random song for today. He started recording in his early teens under the name Cheb Khaled and since has become a superstar and the most well-known Algerian performer in the world - he is usually labeled "The King of Raï." This song, Ki Kounti, can be found on his 1997 album Sahra.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hates Roadrunners: Kan'Nal and "Coyote"



Today's song, Coyote, is by Kan'Nal. First formed in Guatemala in 2001, Kan'Nal describes its music as "tribal psychedelic rock." The band now operates out of the Boulder, Colorado area. They tend to play numbers that are long, sprawling and make use of flamenco-style guitar playing and a thrumming bass over didgeridoo and percussion. The band is currently on "indefinite hiatus" as members pursue individual projects. You can find Coyote on their 2008 album Myth Magic.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Journeying Together: Byron Metcalf and "Clan Travelers"



Today's random tune is called Clan Travelers and is performed by Byron Metcalf, an award winning musician (percussion), recording artist, shamanic practitioner and ceremonial leader. He has played as a musician on a number of albums, including Kenny Rogers' The Gambler, in top concert venues and on television. Since 1988 he has focused his music on the healing arts, and he has combined his musical gifts with a career as a transpersonal guide and educator, shamanic practitioner and researcher. He has a PhD in transpersonal psychology, as well as a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He is also a certified graduate of Grof Transpersonal Training and Eupsychia Institute’s Psycho-Spiritual Integration programs. Clan Travelers can be found on his 2001 album Not Without Risk, and on the 2006 compilation album Nataraja.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Laughing Stars: The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) and "Las Estreyas Se Rien"



The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) brings us our random tune for today, called Las Estreyas Se Rien. SAVAE is a unique ancient vocal music ensemble that is accompanied by early and traditional instrumentation. They made their debut in 1989 presenting Latin music from the colonial period. Its artistic director, Christopher Moroney, has penned arrangements and new compositions for the group by delving into ancient history and cultures. The group has been featured on national radio shows and has toured the United States and around the world. Las Estreyas Se Rien can be found on their 1996 album Native Angels.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Search for Home: Alsarah and the Nubatones with "Ya Watan"



Our random tune today is by Alsarah and the Nubatones, and is called Ya Watan. A Sudanese-American singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist, Alsarah and her family fled Sudan when she was eight during the 1989 coup. Settling in Yemen, they were again forced to flee in 1994 during the Yemeni civil war. They found political asylum in Boston, where she sang in world music choirs and attended a performing arts high school. She then studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Alsarah formed Alsarah and the Nubatones in 2010 after serving as the singer of the Zanzabari band Sound of Tarab for six years in New York City. The band consists of Alsarah and her sister Nahid on vocals with backing musicians. Alsarah has also been featured in the documentary Beats of the Antonov. You can find Ya Watan as a single released by Wonderwheel Recordings in 2016, and on their 2016 album Manara. The song is an ode to the search for a home.

Friday, May 12, 2017

About a Girl and Love: Luisa Maita and "Fulaninha"



Our random tune for today, Fulaninha, is by Luisa Maita, a Brazilian singer-songwriter. 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. You can find Fulaninha on her 2010 release Lero-Lero.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wearing a Medieval Hoodie: Clannad and "Robin (The Hooded Man)"



Today's random tune is from the soundtrack to a British TV series called Robin of Sherwood. The music to this series was provided by Clannad, an Irish band whose music draws from Celtic, traditional Irish, new age, folk and folk rock. The band was formed, according to local story, when Ciarán, Pól, and Máire Brennan were performing late at night in their uncle's pub and a police sergeant walked in - they feared a summons but instead he had a form to participate in a music contest. After winning a local folk festival, they scored a record contract. Subsequent years saw them shooting to fame, providing music for television and film and collaborating with superstars such as Bono. They are considered pioneers in the fusion of Celtic and new age music, creating an earthly yet spiritual sound. This song, Robin (the Hooded Man), is from their 1984 album Legend, which is all of the music from the British TV series Robin of Sherwood.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prince of the Kora: Prince Diabaté and "Mignabele"



Mignabele, our random song for today, is by Prince Diabaté, a griot from Guinea in West Africa. His father was a kora player who broke tradition and also taught Diabaté's mother to play, and Prince Diabaté gained proficiency by accompanying his parents to their concerts. At age 16, he braved outraged soldiers and his own fear to throw himself with his kora at the feet of Guinea's president to play a special song for him - the touched president personally sponsored his musical education. Diabaté takes as inspiration traditional Mandingo and Malinké music, but he also borrows from reggae, rap, blues and funk. He has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the kora," and he is responsible for creating the sound he calls Mandingo reggae. Mignabele can be found on his 2006 album Djerelon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shades of the Lost Herds: 7th Generation Rise and "Buffalo Wild"



7th Generation Rise is a band of like-minded Native American musicians that play what they describe as indigenous soul music that combines culturally conscious lyrics and spoken word with genres such as rock, folk, funk, contemporary and traditional. They believe in music as a tool for social change, to address environmental and universal injustices and to share and promote cultural and human diversity. The band is led by Good Shield Aguilar. This song, Buffalo Wild, can be found on their 2015 album The Fifth World.

Monday, May 8, 2017

I Never Meet Mine: Trevor Gordon Hall and "New Year's Resolution"



A little out of context, but every day could be the start of a New Year, right? Today's random song is called New Year's Resolution and is played by guitar virtuoso Trevor Gordon Hall. From Philadelphia, Hall has been rated one of the top 30 guitarists under 30 by Acoustic Magazine and is known for using almost all parts of the instrument in his compositions which range from edgy, driving rhythms to soft melodic phrases. He is the creator of the Kalimbatar, a unique combination of guitar and the African finger piano known as the kalimba. Hall has earned the respect of such musicians as Graham Nash, Dar Williams and Will Ackerman. He also always experiments, and some of his latest offerings include electric guitar and electronica. New Year's Resolution can be found on his 2008 CD Finding My Way.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

You Could Put an Eye Out: Gaelic Storm and "Slingshot"



Performed by Gaelic Storm, today's random song is a medley of tunes called Slingshot. Gaelic Storm. Gaelic Storm is an American Irish band formed in 1997 in Santa Monica, California. They play traditional Irish and Scottish music, as well as original music in the Celtic and Celtic rock genres. Gaelic Storm got a huge break in 1997 when they were cast as the steerage band in the blockbuster movie Titanic. They have burnished their resume by touring aggressively and adding new instrumentation to their ensemble, such as Uileann, Highland and Deger (electronic) bagpipes. Slingshot can be found on their 2006 album Bring Yer Wellies.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Always Welcome: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain"



Today's random song is by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African male choral group. Made world-famous by their collaboration with Paul Simon on his Graceland album in the 1980s, they were formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 and are one of South Africa's most prolific recording groups. Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo out of his family after having a dream in which he heard traditional Zulu harmonies (called isicathamiya). They became so good that they were forbidden to enter isicathamiya competitions after winning a number of them. The group currently comprises a number of Shabalala's sons, cousins and close friends, The group is very socially active, particularly in teaching young South African Zulu children about their music and culture through the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Foundation. You can find this song, Rain Rain Beautiful Rain, on their 2004 album The Very Best.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Benin Party: Laurent Hounsavi and "Mindé Sè"



Mindé Sè is the name of our random tune today, performed by Laurent Hounsavi and his band. Hounsavi is from Benin - so if you are confused by the music which sounds Caribbean you are allowed to be. After winning an award for best young talent in Benin at 15, he moved to Paris at age 17 where he performed in the Metro, cafes and bars while he earned a degree. He released his first CD, a four song EP, in 2000 and later that year drew 50,000 at a concert in Benin. Hounsavi is an African salsa musician who sings in all three Beninese languages (Fon, Yoruba and Goun) and his songs have been marketed in over 100 countries. He has also shared the stage with many other famous African, Afro-Cuban and salsa musicians. You can find Mindé Sè featured on the Putumayo compilation World Party, released in 2007.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Accordion to Him: Samuel Le Hénanff and "C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne"



Today's song, an instrumental called C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne, is by Samuel Le Hénanff. Recognized as one of the best diatonic accordionists of his generation, Hénanff is from Brittany and is steeped in the Breton language and music. Conscious of preserving the music of his region and culture, he studies musicology and is engaged in collecting music to preserve and record. He performs solo, in a duo and in a trio. You can find C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne on his 2009 album Accordion Diatonique.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Berber Shop in France: Lo'Jo and "Alger"



Lo'Jo, a French band that performs songs drawing from world music, gipsy music, North African music and French folk songs, brings us the random tune for today entitled Alger. Lo'Jo began in 1982 in the French city of Angers and performed locally for several years - with a rotating cast of band members and alongside acrobats, street actors, mimes and dancers. They became known worldwide in the 1990s after touring around Europe and appearing in New York City. In 1995 they solidified their lineup by adding Berber musicians Yamina Nid El Mourid and her sister Nadia - which opened the band to influences from North African music. Alger can be found on their 2012 album Cinéma el Mundo.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Children Cry Out: Te Vaka and "Tamaiti Uma"



The random tune for today is called Tamaiti Uma and is by the Oceanic group 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. Tamaiti Uma can be found on their 2011 album Havili. The song's title means "all children."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dying Flames: The Wicked Tinkers and "Last Embers"



Didgeridoo is on the plate in this song by the Wicked Tinkers, an American Celtic group formed in 1995 at the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles. They have appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Ferguson accompanied them on drum during that performance) and on the show Arrested Development. In addition, MMA fighter Keith Jardine has used one of their songs as his entrance music. They have released nine studio albums. This song, Last Embers, can be found on their 2007 album Rant.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Let the Light Shine: DakhaBrakha and "Kolyskova"



DakhaBrakha, a band from Ukraine that presents the styles of several different ethnic groups, including Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instrumentation, brings us a tune called Kolyskova. DakhaBrakha's name is a combination of two Ukrainian words meaning "give" and "take." All the groups members are graduates of the Kiev National University of Culture and Arts, and DakhaBrakha was originally a project of the avant-garde theater project called Dakh. This theatricality is embodied in their shows, including their on-stage costuming. Kolyskova can be found on their 2014 album Light.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lost: Emel Mathlouthi and "Ma Ikit (Not Found)"



Our random song today is by Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian singer-songwriter who penned and recorded two songs, Ya Tounes Ya Meskina and Kelmti Horra, that became anthems for the Tunisian Revolution. She began writing songs as a student, but became frustrated by the lack of opportunities and the political apathy of her classmates. Eventually she moved to Paris after the Tunisian government banned her songs from radio and television. However, bootleg copies of her performances in France circulated through Tunisia, and her songs had an impact on the 2010 uprising against the government. You can find this song, Ma Ikit (Not Found) on her debut album, Kelmti Horra, released in 2012 to critical acclaim.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Rockin' to the East and West: Buckwheat Zydeco and "Tutti Frutti"


Today's tune is by Buckwheat Zydeco, a zydeco riff on an old rock standard, Tutti Frutti. Buckwheat Zydeco was the stage name of Stanley Dural, Jr. He got the name "Buckwheat" from his childhood resemblance to a character on the Our Gang film shorts. Dural's father was an accomplished Creole accordionist, but Dural preferred rhythm and blues, and actually started out backing artists such as Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Joe Tex. He started his own funk band in the early 70s with some success, but then began backing zydeco legend Clifton Chenier as an organist and discovered the popularity of zydeco. His relationship to Chenier led him to take up the accordion, and after a year he felt confident enough to start Buckwheat Zydeco in 1978. Buckwheat Zydeco opened for and collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, and was one of the few zydeco bands to achieve mainstream success. Unfortunately, Stanley Dural, Jr. died of lung cancer in September, 2016 at the age of 68 - one of many of a long line of musicians that died in their late 60s last year. Tutti Frutti is on his 1992 album Turning Point.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Monkey Business: Ozomatli and "Chango"


Today's song is by Ozomatli, which plays Latin, hip hop and rock music. Now a six piece ensemble, Ozomatli was formed in Los Angeles in 1995 and have made a name for the wide range of styles that they play such as salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap and other genres. Their name comes from the Nahuatl word for the monkey astrological symbol from the Aztec calendar - Ozomatli is the god of dance, new harvest, fire and music. They got an early break when Carlos Santana used them for his opening act on his 1998 Supernatural tour. They are also known their social and political activism, including fighting for Latino and workers' rights. This song, Chango, is from their 1998 debut album Ozomatli, and a live version can be found on their 2005 album Live at the Fillmore.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Witchy Woman: Hekate and "Morgan le Fay"



Today's random tune is called Morgan le Fay and is by Hekate, a band from Koblenz, Germany that was founded in 1991 as an experimental atonal project. The band combines music from other historical periods with modern styles. The band is named after the Greek goddess of necromancy and ghosts. Hekate performs music from the folk, classical and medieval genres and combines them with modern electronic sounds using percussion, historic instrumentation, guitars and synthesizers, and the lyrics often reference myth and legend. They sing in multiple languages, including French, English, Yiddish and German. You can find Morgan le Fay on their 2004 album Goddess (Luxus Edition).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Going Underground: Transglobal Underground and "International Times"



Today's tune is by world music legend Transglobal Underground. A London-based collective that fuses Western music with Asian and African musical styles (often called world fusion or ethno techno), Transglobal Underground was formed in the early 1990's and to date has released 10 albums along with five compilation and remix albums. The first four albums featured Egyptian-Belgian singer Natacha Atlas, and many other musicians have moved through the collective over the years. The group has a reputation for elaborate stage shows that include dramatic costumes, belly dancing, endless percussion and members of the group disguised as Nepalese Temple guardians. This song, International Times, can be found on their 1994 album of the same name. The song has a lot of different remixes - we were introduced to the song as the One by the Drum Mix but we couldn't find that online - we believe this version is the original. If you are interested in the One by the Drum Mix, it can be found on the compilation album Digging the Underground (2016).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cracking Down: The Modena City Ramblers and "Giro di Vite"



Italian band Modena City Ramblers brings us the tune Giro di Vite for our random tune today. Started as a hobby in 1991 by a group of friends that wanted to play Irish music together, the Modena City Ramblers (or MCR) is an Italian folk band heavily influenced by Celtic themes and is often classified as folk rock. A band with an open lineup, they have had several people leave and return sporadically. They are outspoken in their left wing politics, and their lyrics often speak out against the Mafia and fascism. They have released 14 albums and 5 EPs. Giro di Vite is from their second album, 1996's La Grande Famiglia.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

No Peace When You're Hungry: Keyboard and "Peaceable World"



Today's random tune is a little bit of rare funk. The song, called Peaceable World, is performed by Keyboard, a one-off band made up of session musicians who were used extensively on Nigerian producer Odion Iruoje's recordings in the 70s. The main musicians were Nigerian session musicians Brodricks Majuwa and Isaac Digha, and they were joined by Beninese musician Ignace de Souza and Jonni Wood. The album that the song is from, Hungry Man (1978), is extremely rare, and when Soundway Records got the rights to reissue the album in 2014, the reprint was limited to 1000 vinyl copies only.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Liar: Katia B and "Parece Mentira"



Katia B brings us our random song for today, called Parece Mentira. Katia Bronstein is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, actress and dancer. Known primarily for her dancing in successful dance shows from the age of 17, she has switched her career over to music with an eclectic style that ranges from hip hop to bossa nova. While her four albums to date have had success overseas, they are not as well known in Brazil. Parece Mentira can be found on her 2005 CD Mais Uma/One More Shot, and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Brazilian Lounge (2006).

Friday, April 21, 2017

Devotion: MC Yogi and "Pranam"



Our random tune today is by MC Yogi, a Bay Area hip hop artist and yogi who promotes themes of Hindu religion and philosophy in hip hop whose real name is Nicolas Giacomini. 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, Pranam, can be found on MC Yogi's 2012 album Pilgrimage.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Delivered by Amazon: The Mediaeval Baebes and "Love Me Broughte"



Love Me Broughte by the Mediaeval Baebes is our random tune for today. The Mediaeval Baebes began in 1996 when a group of friends led by Katherine Blake of Miranda Sex Garden broke into a North London cemetery and sang a capella in flowing white robes and leaf garlands. They soon became an ensemble, and their first album, Salva Nos, shot to number two on the classical charts. It not only are they very talented, they are also very beautiful women. The group has since had many incarnations. They sing in an array of obscure and ancient languages, and have placed three albums in the top ten of the classical charts and participated in the BBC's television series The Virgin Queen. Love Me Broughte is from their 2003 CD Mistletoe & Wine. It tells the story of a person who has found their love.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It's Spring: Karen Ruimy and Youth with "Primavera"



Moroccan-born performer, writer, dancer and philanthropist Karen Ruimy provides our random tune today, called Primavera. Now living in Paris, Karen Ruimy was a banker who changed her career at age 30 and became a writer. In that career she has published two books and is a contributor to Huffington Post and Harpers Bazaar. She became a professional dancer at age 38 and has produced several dance shows. She has also released two albums. Primavera is from her dance show ZIK'R, and can be found on the soundtrack for the show (2015). The song features UK producer and musician Martin Glover, also known as Youth, who co-created ZIK'R with Ruimy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Watchamacallit: Darryl Labrado and "Da Kine"



This song with a reggae groove is performed by Darryl Labrado, a Hawaiian musician who became a teen star. I couldn't find a ton of information on Labrado at present, but an article about Labrado's early years details a hard life marred by a family with poverty, substance abuse, and physical abuse. Things were so bad that growing up Labrado didn't live in a house with running water, but had to use a waterfall nearby, and the roof leaked so much that Labrado and his brother kept having to move their bed to keep it from getting wet. However, he was discovered at age 10, put out his first single at age 11, released his first video at 14 (which promptly won best music video at the Hawaiian Music Awards and aired on Hawaiian Airlines for four years) and that same year released his first album and this hit single, Da Kine. You can find Da Kine on Labrado's 1999 album Shaka the Moon, and on the 2000 various artists compilation Island Roots. The title of the song refers to a very versatile term in Hawaiian Pidgin English.

Monday, April 17, 2017

To the Wars: Celtic Woman and "Siúl a Rún"



Celtic Woman performs today's random song, called Siúl a Rún. Celtic Woman was founded in 2004 by David Kavanagh, Sharon Browne and former musical producer of Riverdance, David Downes. Five female Irish musicians who had never before performed together were recruited to perform both traditional and modern music - the intent was to build upon the popularity of such Irish performers as Enya, Moya Brennan and Clannad. Over the years the lineup has changed a lot - the group has ten former members and is currently made up of Máiréad Carlin, Susan McFadden, Éabha McMahon and Tara McNeill. Celtic Woman has been named Billboard's World Music Artist of the Year six times, and has seventeen albums to their name. Siúl a Rún is a traditional lament from the point of view of a woman whose lover has left on his military career and her desire to support him. The title can be translated as "Go, My Love" and the song is one of the most widely sung in the traditional Irish repertoire. You can find this version on Celtic Woman's 2016 album Destiny.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Piping Hot: Söndörgö and "Hulisination"



Today's random tune is from Hungary and is performed by the group Söndörgö. Concentrating on South Slav music to preserve the musical traditions of Serbs and Croats along Hungary's southern border, they perform as a traditional tambura band supplemented with accordion, flute and percussion and have been making waves in the global music scene with their renditions of music that inspired classical composers such as Bartok. Founded in 1995, they are different from usual Slavic oriented bands in that they don't use brass. They have played many major festivals (including Albuquerque's own Globalquerque) and have released five albums to date. This song, Hulusination, is from their 2014 album Tamburocket: Hungarian Fireworks, and refers to a Chinese pipe used in the song.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Exile's Song: Dorothy Masuka and "Zoo Lake"



Today's random tune is by South African legend Dorothy Masuka, a jazz singer born in southern Rhodesia in 1935. Of mixed Zulu and Zambian heritage, her health necessitated a move to South Africa in 1947. She began singing, and by 19 she was touring South Africa with singers she admired as a girl. In the 1950s, she was a very popular singer, but then her songs began to take a more serious turn, and in the 1960s the South African government began to pay more attention and they even brought her in for interrogation. Some of her songs were banned, and a song about Patrice Lumumba led to her 31 year exile in London. Masuka sings in both the Ndebele and Sindebele languages. This song, Zoo Lake, was made in London during her exile and can be found on the compilation album London is the Place for Me 4.

Friday, April 14, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life: Wal Santana and "Que Vida É Essa (Que Pega Pega No Pé)"



Feeling psychedelic? Our random tune is just the thing for you! Que Vida É Essa (Que Pega Pega No Pé) is by Wal Santana. Information on Wal Santana is scarce but I was able to piece together that this song was his first single. He played music in styles such as Música popular brasileira (or MPB: a style which revisits Brazilian styles such as samba and regional music and combines them with foreign influences like jazz or rock), funk and disco. You can find Que Vida É Essa (Que Pega Pega No Pé) on his debut album of the same name (1973) and on the compilation album Rough Guide to Psychedelic Samba (2015).

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Not to be Confused with CentCom: Baba Zula and "Cecom"



Today's random tune is by Baba Zula in collaboration with Mad Professor, and is called Cecom. Founded in 1996, Baba Zula is a Turkish 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 Guyanese dub music producer and engineer 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. Cecom is from Baba Zula with Mad Professor's 2003 album Psychebelly Dance Music.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicken Little: Kobo Town and "Joe the Paranoiac"



Kobo Town brings us the random song for today, called Joe the Paranoiac. Founded by Trinidadian/Canadian Drew Gonsalves in 2004, Kobo Town 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. Joe the Paranoiac can be found on Kobo Town's 2013 album Jumbie in the Jukebox.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Entrancing: Niyaz and "Hejran"



Today's song is by Niyaz, an Iranian-Canadian musical duo created in 2004. Their music is a mixture of Sufi mysticism and trance electronica, and adapts Persian, Indian and Mediterranean poetry, songs and folk with Western electronica. They write their own songs, and also adapt lyrics from poets such as Rumi, Obeyd-e Zakani, Amir Khusrow and Khaju-ye Kermani and source folk material from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and parts of Asia. They sing primary in Urdu and Persian, and occasionally in Turkish. This song, Hejran, can be found on their 2008 album Nine Heavens.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bluesin': Kalaban Coura and "Mali"



Today's random tune is by Kalaban Coura and is entitled Mali. Kalaban Coura is a group that was formed by Belgian guitarist Quentin Dujardin in 2008 after he had to make an unexpected extra stay in Bamako due to lost luggage. He spent the time staying with painter Oumar Cisse and in the process met Kalil Sidy Haïdara, a pianist vocalist who heard Dujardin playing the guitar. He rounded out the group with Moroccan vocalist and violinist Jalal El Allouli and they put out an album. Mali can be found on their album Aigabani (2013) and on the compilation album Putumayo Presents: African Blues (2012).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It Was Dry Here: Annbjørg Lien and "Villvinter (Wild Winter)"



Norwegian fiddler Annbjørg Lien brings us the random tune for today. A player of the hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle), violin, and nyckelharpa, Lien first became known in Norway in the mid 1980s by combining traditional Norwegian music with jazz and rock. She is also a member of the String Sisters, a group of female string players from six different countries. This song, Villvinter (Wild Winter), is from her 2005 album Prisme.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Why I Do Sit Ups: Peter Pozorek and "Belly Off"



Some Balkan brass in a nice swinging beat for the random tune today. While I assume that Pozorek is a DJ, I can't find any information about him online...I can't even find what country he is from. Anyway, enjoy this tune, Belly Off, from the 2011 compilation The Balkan Club Night Vol 2.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Walk Like an Egyptian: Nickodemus and "Cleopatra in New York City (Zim Zam Mix)



Cleopatra in New York City (Zim Zam Mix) by New York City-based DJ Nickodemus is on tap today, which has a nice beat with an Arabic feel. Born and raised between Queens and Long Island, Nickodemus credits his parents and a music-filled household with inspiring his lifelong love of music. He discovered hip hop on the radio and began to experiment with mixing music while also becoming an accomplished breakdancer. His music education continued as he frequented clubs and block parties. He eventually did a residency for the Giant Step Company where he developed his own style and which allowed him experience as support for luminaries like Gil Scot Herron. In 1998, however, Nickodemus and his friend Mariano really made their names by setting up the Turntables on the Hudson parties at the Chelsea Piers. You can find Cleopatra in New York City (Zim Zam Mix) on Nickodemus' 2006 album Endangered Species.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Like a Lion: Mamak Khadem and "Heydar"



The random song for today comes from Iranian-American musician Mamak Khadem. 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. Heydar is from her 2007 album Jostojoo (Forever Seeking), and while she continues to use Persian classical music and poetry as her foundation, on this album she has widened the scope of the music to include rhythmic and melodic strains from other countries. She collaborates on Heydar with Turkish musician and composer Ömar Faruk Tekbilek, whose own style builds on Sufi traditional music using traditional instrumentation such as ney, saz, oud, kaval, and zurna but also takes inspiration from ambient electronic music.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Crazy Talk: Balqees and "Majnoun"



Our random tune for today is from the United Arab Emirates. Majnoun is sung by pop-singer Balqees Fathi, who sings professionally under her first name and is of mixed Yemeni and Emirati heritage - her father was a well known Yemeni musician. There is not much more information about her other than she started music at an early age. She has released two albums, and recently got married in late 2016. Majnoun is the title song of her 2013 debut album.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pretty Chill: Dady Mimbo and "Bouba (Cool)"



Dady Mimbo brings us the random song for today, called Bouba (Cool). Originally from Cameroon but now living in France, Dady Mimbo is percussionist, author, composer and interpreter. He is particularly passionate about the djembe, which he taught himself. Prior to becoming a musician, he was a successful dressmaker and designer who employed 12 people, but he moved to France at 22 to pursue music. He released his first album in France in 2001. You can find this version of Bouba (Cool) on the 2003 compilation Putumayo Presents: African Groove - he has a new version of the song on his 2015 album Djambo Way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Frankly Scarlet: The Pogues and "Turkish Song of the Damned"



Our random tune for today is by The Pogues, a Celtic punk band from London. Formed in 1982, The Pogues became internationally prominent in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band was originally fronted by Shane MacGowan, who left in 1991 due to drinking problems. The band has since been fronted first by Joe Strummer and then by Spider Stacy. The band broke up in 1996 after releasing their final album Pogue Mahone, but reformed in 2001 and has been playing regular gigs but has no plans to record a new album. The Pogues music is influenced by punk, but uses traditional Irish instruments such as tin whistle, cittern, mandolin and accordion. The band's name comes from "Pogue Mahone," an anglicized version of an Irish phrase meaning "kiss me arse." This song, Turkish Song of the Damned, can be found on their 1988 album If I Should Fall From Grace with God. The video was created by a longtime Pogues fan and artist who represents the song as a graphic novel.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I Pimp World Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers with "Pimper's Paradise"



Reggae establishes our cool vibe for today. Pimper's Paradise 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. You can find Pimper's Paradise on Bob Marley and the Wailers' 1980 album Uprising.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Something I Never Carry: Karim Baggili and "Pay Cash"



Today's random tune is by Belgian-Jordanian artist Karim Baggili. A composer and oud player, Baggili started with electric guitar at 16 but acquired an oud at the age of 20 after a visit to Jordan. He won first prize at the Open Strings festival in Germany in 2000. He is a regular performer in Belgium and abroad, and has released five albums. This song, Pay Cash, can be found on his 2010 album Léa & Kash.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Webs We Weave: David Burkhart and "Iktome"



Some native American flute music is our random song for the day. Iktome is by David White Cloud Burkhart. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information on him. The title of the song refers to the spider trickster of the Lakota people who represents the intersection and confusion of wisdom and folly. While he is usually a spider, he can take any shape including that of a human who wears red, yellow and white paint with black rings around his eyes. One should avoid his gaze, unless one wants trouble to find oneself. He is said to have invented language and is considered a patron of new technology. In fact, one legend says that he will eventually spread his web over the world, which is taken by some Lakota to symbolize telephone wires and the World Wide Web. You can find Iktome on David Burkhart's 2007 album Ina Maka.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wistfulness: Cirque du Soleil and "Nostalgie"



Our random tune for today comes from Cirque du Soleil. Nostalgie, 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. Nostalgie can be found on the soundtrack for O, released in 1998.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Delight and My Comfort: Niamh Parsons and "An Páistin Fionn"



For today's random tune, Niamh Parsons presents us with An Páistin Fionn from her 2000 album In My Prime. A singer of contemporary and traditional Irish music, Parsons started her solo career in Belfast in 1990. She had previously been a member of the band Killera in the 1980s with her husband. She was asked to sing for President Bill Clinton and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in Washington DC, and has made several television appearances in Ireland. An Páistin Fionn can also be found on the 2005 compilation album Celtic Wonder. The song title means "The Fair-Haired One."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

So Sweet: Cibo Matto and "Sugar Water"



Today's random song is by Japanese pop/trip-hop/hip-hop/Shibuya-kei group Cibo Matto. Cibo Matto (Italian for Crazy Food) was formed in 1994 in New York City by Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori. They originally focused their songs around food, but with the addition of band members Sean Lennon, Timo Ellis and Duma Love they expanded their repertoire. The band became very popular in the United States but surprisingly less so in Japan even though the founding members are Japanese expatriates. They have released three albums, two EPs and five singles as well as a compilation. This song, Sugar Water, can be found on their 1996 album Viva! La Woman. The video was directed by Michael Gondry, who received an Academy Award as a screenwriter for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My First Radio: Atto & the Majestics with "Transistor"



Our random tune for today is by Atto & the Majestics and is called Transistor. Atto Attie is one of Mexico's most recognized rock musicians. Originally starting in a metal band as a teenager in Mexico, he moved to Los Angeles and studied guitar and bass at the Musicians Institute of Technology and then to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music. He recorded his first disc at this time, 14 Rounds with the Killer Blondes, which is still heard on college radio airplay. He returned to Mexico in 2000 and began hooking up with other musicians there, eventually forming Atto & the Majestics in 2006. Transistor can be heard on the album Bifocal, which was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 best Latino albums of 2011.

Just a warning...the video contains some sexual and some violent images.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vigo is a City: The Chieftains with Carlos Núñez and "Dublin in Vigo"



Today's tune, Dublin in Vigo, is by The Chieftains with Carlos Núñez. The Chieftains are an Irish ensemble formed in Dublin in 1962 who developed their music primarily around the distinctive sound of the uileann pipes. They took their name from the title of a novel by Irish author John Montague. Besides releasing several critically acclaimed albums, they are just as well known for their collaborations with, including Sinead O'Connor, such artists as Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Roger Daltry. They have released 44 albums. Carlos Núñez Muñoz is a Spanish/Galician musician who usually goes by the name Carlos Núñez. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays the gaita, the Galician bagpipe, Galician flute, ocarina, Irish flute, whistle and low whistle. He was born in Vigo, Spain and began to play bagpipes at eight. He met Paddy Maloney of The Chieftains in his late teens and performed with the band, becoming known as the band's 7th member. Dublin in Vigo is off of the Chieftains 1996 album Santiago which focuses on Galician music.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Music Cures Crazy: Anda Union and "Boomborai"



A group from China sings and plays today's random tune, called Boomborai. Anda Union is reviving a music that had almost been forgotten in China by combining traditional tunes and styles from both Inner and Outer Mongolia and creating an innovative new kind of music. They combine music from all the tribes that Genghis Khan united, and as music gatherers they dig deep into Mongolian history, folklore and traditions. Their goal is to re-engage young Mongols with their culture and language. You can find Boomborai on their 2011 album The Wind Horse. The song is a story about a miracle cure of a young woman who had lost her mind. Her father was taking her to see the shaman when his cart broke down, and he began to sing a song of sorrow while walking around the cart. The villagers joined in, and at that point the young woman quietly got up and began to sing and dance with them, apparently cured.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Life of Riley: Loreena McKennitt and "Banks of Claudy"



Today's random tune, Banks of Claudy, is a Riley ballad performed by Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian known for her soprano voice. She is a composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. She released her first album in 1985, and since then has gone on to release nine studio albums and five live albums which have sold 14 million copies worldwide. Her songs have also been featured in television and movies. Banks of Claudy can be found on McKennitt's 1999 album Elemental. In Riley Ballads, a young man leaves his girl for a long time, often years. When he returns, he disguises himself and to test her faithfulness, tries to get her to marry him (he's disguised, so she doesn't know it is really her lover). Riley ballads usually end with her refusing marriage, whereupon the young man reveals himself, and all is forgotten and forgiven.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Desert Trance: Steve Shehan and Baly Othmani with "Tarre (Awalin Almad Saras)"



Today's tune, Tarre (Awalin Almad Saras) is by Steve Shehan and Baly Othmani. Steve Shehan is a Franco-American composer and percussionist known for his mastery of the percussion instrument known as the hang. He has released eight solo albums, seven albums as part of the Hadouk Trio, and three with collaborator Baly Othmani. The late Baly Othmani was an oud player, poet and singer and a legend in the Djanet region of Algeria. Tarre (Awalin Almad Saras) can be found on their album Assarouf, initially released in 1997.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It Probably Helped: The Specials (The Special AKA) and "Nelson Mandela"



An 80's dance tune by The Specials is our random tune for today. The song Nelson Mandela had political significance, as it called for the South African government to free the political icon who founded the African National Congress. The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2-Tone and ska band with political and social themes in their songs and characterized by their mod rude boy outfits. They had 7 consecutive UK Top 10 hits 1979 and 1981, but split up after three original members left the band to form Fun Boy Three. In 1982 remaining members of the band renamed it The Special AKA but the band had numerous lineup changes. In 1993, the original lineup reunited, and the band has come together for various events since then, and even released a live album in 2013 - though a studio album has not been released since 2001. Nelson Mandela can be found on The Specials (The Special AKA)' 1984 release In the Studio. The song is upbeat and draws on South African musical influences, and has been listed by The New Statesman as one of the top 20 political songs ever recorded.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chickenhawks: Vieux Farka Touré and Julia Easterlin with "Masters of War"



A new take on an old classic is our random tune for today. Masters of War, written by Bob Dylan, is performed by Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré and American singer-songwriter Julia Easterlin. A Malian singer and guitarist. Touré 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 He has since released seven albums and has collaborated with other musicians from around the world, including Israeli Idan Raichel in the Touré-Raichel Collective. Julia Easterlin has been described by the Boston Globe as a one-woman a capella group due to her use of a looping machine that allows her to layer her own voice. Her musical style includes jazz, gospel and Southern folk, and she lists Björk and Philip Glass as influences on her music. Masters of War can be found on Easterlin's and Touré's album Touristes (2015).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Two Traditions, One Voice: The Touré-Raichel Collective and "Ai Houde Bakoi"



The Touré-Raichel Collective performs today's random tune, called Ai Houde Bakoi. 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 Ai Houde Bakoi on The Touré-Raichel Collective's 2012 debut release The Tel Aviv Session.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Many Shades: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Roomful of Teeth with "Green (Vincent's Tune)"



Today's random tune is by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, accompanied by Roomful of Teeth. The song is called Green (Vincent's Tune). Yo-Yo Ma is a Chinese American cellist, a child prodigy who has performed with orchestras around the world, and has also ventured out of traditional classical music to record American bluegrass music, traditional Chinese music, Argentine tangos and Brazilian music. His Silk Road Ensemble is a project to bring musicians together from countries associated with the historical Silk Road. Roomful of Teeth is a vocal ensemble whose mission is to mine the potential of the human voice. In pursuit of their mission, they study with masters of various vocal traditions including Inuit and Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, belting, Korean p'ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music and Persian classical singing. One of their members, Caroline Shaw, received a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for her composition Partita in 8 Voices. You can find Green (Vincent's Tune) on the 2016 album Sing Me Home, which Yo-Yo Ma describes as a tribute to culture and how it helps people meet, connect and create new things.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Tiny Peep: Malika Zarra and "Little Voice"



Our tune today, Little Voice, is performed by Malika Zarra. Zarra was born in Morocco to a Berber mother and a Moroccan father and she grew up in Paris though her family remained culturally Moroccan in the home. She became interested in jazz because she noticed its improvisational similarities to Arab music, and studied jazz in Tours and Marseilles. She began getting attention when she started singing jazz standards with her own Arab translations. She is influenced by styles such as traditional Berber music, Gnawa music, Chaabi, French popular music, jazz, house, funk, dance, and traditional African music, and her personal influences include artists such as Farid al-Atrash, Um Kalthoum, Warda Al-Jazairia, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby McFerrin, Thelonious Monk, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. You can find Little Voice on her 2011 CD Berber Taxi.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Missing Her Sailor: Karen Matheson and "Mi Le M' Uilinn"



Today's random sung is by Karen Matheson, a Scottish folk singer. A founding member of the band Capercaille, she has also had a successful solo career. She was also part of the acclaimed folk group L'Héritage des Celtes, with whom she sang lead vocals and as part of that group represented France in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest. Karen Matheson sings most of her songs in Scottish Gaelic, and has been counted as one of the most famous voices in Celtic music. In 2002, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to music and arts. This song, Mi Le M' Uilinn, can be found on her 1996 album The Dreaming Sea, as well as on many compilation albums such as Putumayo Presents: Women of the World Celtic II (1997), Holding Up Half the Sky: Voices of Celtic Women (2005), and Celtic Women 4 (2010). The song is the lament of a woman whose man has gone to sea.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's the Money: Tumi and the Volume with "Asinamali"



Tumi and the Volume, from South Africa, bring us a tune based in rap and hip hop for our random song. Tumi and the Volume was a hip-hop group that disbanded in 2012, consisting of Tumi Molekane, guitarist Tiago Correia-Paul, David Bergman on bass, and drummer Paulo Chibanga. They shared core members with Mozambican band 340ml. They released two studio albums and one live album. You can find this song, Asinamali, on their 2010 album Pick a Dream.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Rhythm of Air and Moisture: Mickey Hart and "Sky Water"



Mickey Hart brings us today's random tune, Sky Water. Mickey Hart is an American percussionist who was one of two drummers for the Grateful Dead, and who has been very influential on the global music stage as an archivist, recording global musical traditions on the edge of extinction. Hart recorded an album called Planet Drum in 1991 on which Hussain was a featured performer. In 2007, both drummers along with Nigerian percussionist Sikiru Adepoju and Puerto Rican percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo released Global Drum Project to great acclaim and backed it up with a successful world tour. You can find Sky Water on Hart's 1990 album At the Edge. At the Edge was the first album recorded by Hart with the ensemble that would become Planet Drum. Hart is accompanied on the song by longtime collaborator Zakir Hussain.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Just a Bit of Her: Jehan Barbur and "Biraz Sininle Biraz Kendimle"



Our random song today is by Turkish singer Jehan Barbur. Born in Beirut, Lebanon and having Christian, Arabic and Turkish descent, Jehan Barbur was raised in Iskenderun, Turkey. She wanted to study music, but her father's opposition led her to study American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University. At the university, she was also able to feed her interests in theater and music. She moved to Istanbul in 2002 to start her music career as a jazz vocalist - some encouraging words by Turkish composer and singer Bulent Ortaçgil led her to begin making her first album. She has since released five solo albums - the latest in 2016. This song, Biraz Sininle Biraz Kendimle, can be found on her 2009 album Uyan.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lost in Thought: Beausoleil and "La Valse des Jonglemonts"



Beausoleil brings us the random tune for today, called La Valse des Jonglemonts (The Pensive Waltz). 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. La Valse des Jonglemonts can be found on their 1997 compilation The Best of Beausoleil.