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.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Renegade: Capercaillie and "Outlaws"

Our song today is by Capercaillie, a Scottish band founded in the Argyll region of Scotland in the early 1980s. Known for their mixing of traditional Gaelic tunes with modern recording techniques and instrumentation, Capercaillie started as a purely traditional band. In the 1990s, they began mix in funk bass lines, synthesizers and electric guitars into their repertoire of traditional tunes, but lately have been going back to more traditional instrumentation while retaining a light fusion feel to their music. In 1992, they recorded the first Scottish-Gaelic song to crack the UK Top 40. They have released eleven studio albums, four of which have made the UK Albums chart, and one live album. They also have two compilation albums and have performed on two soundtracks. This song, Outlaws, can be found on their 1992 album Get Out, and on the 1998 compilation album Dusk Til Dawn.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jumping to the Zouk: Jean-Philippe Marthely and "Reté"

Today's random tune is by Jean-Philippe Marthely and is entitled Reté. Jean-Philippe Marthely is a zouk singer from the French island of Martinique. Since 1981 he has been the lead singer of the Caribbean music group Kassav'. As the frontman for that group, he is known for his high energy and getting the audience very involved in concerts. He has also released six solo albums. Reté can be found on an album from 2000 called Jean-Philippe Marthely, though it was released much earlier on 1985's Touloulou. It can also be found on Putumayo Presents: The Best of World Music - World Dance Party (1994).

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ends in a Broken Heart: The High Kings and "Galway Girl"

The High Kings bring us a Steve Earle tune for our random song for today. Formed in Dublin in 2006, The High Kings play Irish folk. They are very multi-instrumental, often playing as many as thirteen instruments during their concerts, and they are known for their close harmonies. They have self-dubbed their music "folk 'n' roll" and while they mostly concentrate on traditional Irish songs, they are also known for their arrangements of songs from other genres as exemplified by this song, Galway Girl, You can find Galway Girl on their 2014 album Friends for Life.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dream On: Liber Terán and "En Tu Soñar"

Our random song for today is by Liber Terán. En Tu Soñar is a track from his 2008 album El Gitano Western. Liber Terán is a founding member and former lead singer and guitarist of the Mexican band Los de Abajo, which focused on Latin ska, rock, salsa. reggae, cumbia, Son Jarocho and banda sinaloense. As a solo artist, Terán has expanded his repertoire to explore classic rock and roll and Balkan influences.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Maybe the Dawn: Zeb & Haniya with "Ahaan"

Our random song today is by Zeb and Haniya, a female Pakistani duo and 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. This song, Ahaan, is from their debut album Chup! (2010).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mashup: Boy Gé Mendes and "Cumba Iétu"

Today's random song is by a Senegalese musician of Cape Verdean descent. Gerard Mendes, who is known more popularly as Boy Gé Mendes, was born in Dakar, Senegal and raised in the expatriate Cape Verdean community there. He was steeped in the music of his culture such as morna and coladeira, but also exposed to music from other parts of Africa including Senegal, Mali, Guinea and other African countries of the region, as well as rock, R&B and Cuban music. Moving to France, he formed Cabo Verde Show with his brother and other musicians. The band eventually became one of the most popular Cape Verdean act of all time. His influences still range widely due to his extensive travels in countries such as the United States, Brazil and West Africa and one of his children, Mika Mendes, has become a well-known zouk singer. You can find this song, Cumba Iétu, on his 1998 CD Lagoa, a remixed version on his 2011 CD Best of Boy Gé Mendes, and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Cape Verde (1999).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Subcontinental Brass: The Bollywood Brass Band and "Deva Deva Kalayami (Molly's Bar Extended Alaap Mix)"

Today's tune, Deva Deva Kalayami (Molly's Bar Extended Alaap Mix), is by London-based Bollywood Brass Band. Formed in 1992 to play with the Shyam Brass Band at a London festival of street music, they have continued to perform and record focusing on traditional Indian music and Bollywood music. Their musical styles include Bhangra, Hindi film music, Punjabi folk, wedding songs and qawwali spiced with slight jazz influences, traces of other world music, and a pinch of modern dance music. They boast more than 10 musicians and often augment their numbers with dhol drums from the Dhol Foundation. They also have a parallel performing group called SamBhangra! which plays Brazilian and Indian music and also features both Indian and Brazilian dancers. You can find Deva Deva Kalayami (Molly's Bar Extended Alaap Mix) on their 2016 album Carnatic Connection.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Good Joik for You: Adjagas and "Hás It!"

Today's random tune is a joik. Really. Called Hás It!, it is performed by the Norwegian Sámi group Adjagas. Joiks are highly spiritual songs that may have few or no lyrics, do not rhyme and do not have a definite structure. Subjects can range in topic but are usually about something important to the individual singer. They can also be highly personal - in the north of Scandinavia individuals are often given their own personal joik at birth. The songs are often accompanied by the reedpipe known as the fadno, the Sami drum, and sometimes the bagpipes called the sak-pipe and the wal-pipe. One might also see the trumpet-like instrument called a lur, and the zither called a harpu and in the more modern bands, more modern instrumentation. You can find Hás It! on Adjagas' 2009 album Mánu Rávdnji.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

About a Lute: A Moving Sound and "Dombra"

A Moving Sound performs today's random tune, called Dombra. A Moving Sound is a Taiwanese music group formed in 2000 when vocalist Mia Hsieh met guitarist Scott Prairie. The group writes original compositions based on Taiwanese, Chinese and other Asian traditional music and using traditional instrumentation such as the erhu (Chinese fiddle), the zhong ruan (lute) and traditional dance and vocalization. They have served as a gateway into a genre called Pan-Asian music which the magazine Global Rhythm described as being delicately balanced between worlds. They have released four albums. Dombra can be found on their 2006 release Songs Beyond Words. This video was made at the 2012 WOMAD festival.

Friday, March 3, 2017

From Ireland to Montana: Solas and "Far Americay"

Our random tune for today is by Solas. Solas, whose name means "light," was formed in 1994 in Philadelphia to play traditional Irish tunes and the original compositions of its members. In 1996 they got their first national exposure on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion radio show and that same year recorded their first album. They are still active despite many personnel changes. This song, Far Americay, can be found on their album Shamrock City (2013). The song is a kind of lament within a concept album which follows a man from Ireland to the Butte, Montana mines.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In a Brazilian State: Angelique Kidjo and "Bahia"

Happy birthday to my partner in this show, the legendary Megan Kamerick! The equally legendary Angélique Kidjo sings the random tune for today, Bahia. A Grammy award winning singer-songwriter from Benin, Kidjo regularly makes world lists of notable and inspiring African women and as one of the world's greatest musicians. She is known for an astonishing variety of musical influences from diverse musical personalities and an array of genres. She sings in four languages (Fon, Yoruba, French and English) as well as her own personal language. After a childhood in Benin listening to traditional Beninese music as well as other world stars such as Fela Kuti, James Brown, Miriam Makeba, Jimi Hendrix, Hugh Masakela and Stevie Wonder, among others, she began her musical career in Benin before moving to Paris in 1983 where she was discovered and signed to a major label. She has put out at least 15 albums. She does various forms of advocacy for UNICEF, African girls' education, hunger and third world health, among other things. Bahia can be found on her 2002 album Black Ivory Soul, and on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Women of Africa (2004). This video is from a live performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Bahiarefers to the state in Brazil, where Kidjo teamed up with Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian musicians to write songs for the album.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Father Dearest: Old Blind Dogs and "Young Edward"

Daddy issues figure prominently in today's song, a murder ballad called Young Edward by the Old Blind Dogs. Old Blind Dogs were formed in 1990 when the three founding members met on a "buskers holiday" in the Scottish Highlands. The band was originally distinctive as it represented the music and traditions of Northeastern Scotland and sang in the dialect of Aberdeen and the region. The band focuses on traditional Scottish and Celtic music, with influences from rock, reggae, jazz, blues and Middle Eastern rhythms. Young Edward can be found (as Edward) on their 1999 CD The World's Room, and in this live version (as Young Edward) as heard on their 2005 CD Old Blind Dogs Play Live.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Here Hangs a Tale: The Modena City Ramblers and "La Fola Dal Magalas"

Irish-Italian? Italian-Irish? La Fola Dal Magalas is by the Modena City Ramblers. 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. La Fola Dal Magalas is from their second album, 1996's La Grande Famiglia.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Self-Affirmation: Nitin Sawhney and "Accept Yourself"

Self-acceptance is the theme of today's random tune. Accept Yourself is by Nitin Sawhney, a British Indian musician, producer and composer. Combining Asian and other themes with jazz and electronica, he explores themes of multiculturalism, politics and spirituality. As a child, Sawhney studied piano, classical and flamenco guitar and tabla. After meeting up with acid-jazz keyboardist James Taylor and joining his quartet, he also began working with tabla player Talvin Singh and formed the Tihai Trio. After dropping out of school, Sawhney formed the comedy group The Secret Asians with friend Sanjeev Bhaskar and developed the award winning BBC comedy show Goodness Gracious Me. After, he refocused on music and released his debut album in 1993. He has released nine albums, has contributed scores for stage, screen, television and video games, and has remixed a wide variety of artists including Sting, Jeff Beck and Paul McCartney. Accept Yourself can be found on Sawhney's 2013 album OneZero.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Changes: Anoushka Shankar and "Metamorphosis"

Our random song for today is called Metamorphosis and is by the daughter of a legend. Anoushka Shankar is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, who was an Indian sitar player and companion to The Beatles. She is also the half sister of performer Norah Jones. Anoushka Shankar is a famed sitar player in her own right. She began training to play sitar under her father at age seven, and by age ten she was accompanying him on tanpura in his performances. She gave her first public performance on sitar at 13, accompanied by tabla player Zakir Hussain. At fifteen, she assisted in the production of Ravi Shankar's landmark Chants of India, and producer George Harrison put her in charge of notation and conducting the accompanying musicians. She signed her first record deal at 16, and released her first album, Anoushka, in 1998. After her second album, she took time off from recording to concentrate on building a career outside of her father's ensemble. In 2007, she collaborated with Karsh Kale on an album mixing classical Indian sitar with electronica. Since then, she has had a prolific and very creative period as an artist and performer. Metamorphosis can be found on her 2013 album Traces of You, which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2014 for Best World Music Album.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Playing in Water: Cirque du Soleil and "Jeaux D'Eau"

The random tune for today comes from Cirque du Soleil. Jeux D'Eau, 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. Jeux D'Eau can be found on the soundtrack for O, released in 1998.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sing of the City: Khaled and "Wahrane"

Today's random song is by by Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, an Algerian raï singer and songwriter known by his stage name Khaled. 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, Wahrane, can be found on his 1994 album Khaled. The song is about his native city of Oran.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Usual State: Da Lata featuring Baba Maal and Nina Miranda with "Distracted Minds"

Today's tune is called Distracted Minds and is performed by British band Da Lata and features Baba Maal and Nina Miranda. Da Lata, formed in 1994, combines Afro-Brazilian influences with music inspired from London. They have released three albums as well as supplying remixes of other artists' work. Baaba Maal is guitarist and percussionist who is known as one of Senegal's most famous musicians. He sings primarily in the Pulaar language and is the foremost promoter of the Pulaar-speaking community. He has released seventeen solo albums, and was also one of the founders of the Afro-Celt Sound System. Nina Miranda is a British singer-songwriter. A native of Brazil, she was raised in England and France. She has worked with a variety of other artists, including Nitin Sawhney, Cirque du Soleil, Bebel Gilberto, and others, and was a member of the bands Smoke City, Shrift and Zeep. Distracted Minds can be found on Da Lata's album Serious (2003).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rajasthani Mystery: Saraswati Devi Dhandhada and Heeralal Dhandhada with "Dasi Mharo Maroodo"

We have some Indian classical music from Rajasthan today for your random tune. The musicians are Saraswati Devi Dhandhada and Heeralal Dhandhada, and the tune is called Dasi Mharo Maroodo. However, I can't find any information on the musicians or the song. So, sit back and enjoy the song, which can be found on the 2008 album Mehala the Palace: Classical Music of Rajasthan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

French Flamenco: Gaspar Claus and Pedro Soler with "Sale la Aurora (Por Serrana)"

Today's song, Sale la Aurora (Por Serrana), is an instrumental that mixes the contemporary with flamenco. It is performed by a father/son duo. Gaspar Claus (son) is a French cellist who plays improvisational, contemporary, flamenco and pop music and who has collaborated with a number of well known musicians. Pedro Soler (father) is a celebrated French flamenco guitarist who learned and performed with the great masters of flamenco guitar with an emphasis on an "archaic" style that emphasizes dynamics and sonority. Sale la Aurora (Por Serrana) can be found on their 2016 album Al Viento.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Go with the Gut: Dissidenten and "Instinctive Traveler (Funk.Ed Up Mix)

One of the bands that is considered a leader of the worldbeat movement is on tap for our random tune for today. Dissidenten are a German rock/electronic band known for their collaborations with Middle Eastern, African and Indian musicians. The band was founded in 1981 by German musicians, and the band released their first album in collaboration with Indian musicians after a one year tour of India. They then moved to Morocco to record their second album in 1982, again collaborating with local musicians, particularly the band Lem Chaheb. In 1986, they moved to Spainand repeated the process, and again in 1989 when they moved back to Morocco. The band, which had a hiatus, reunited in 1995 and released another album. Since then, they have toured and performed at festivals, and have participated in a documentary and an opera. Their song Instinctive Traveler can be found on their 1997 album of the same name. This version, Instinctive Traveler (Funk.Ed Up Mix) can be found on the 2001 album Dissidenten Remix.ed: A Worldbeat Odyssey and on the compilation Putumayo Presents: World Lounge CD (2002).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Must be Comfy: Flue and "Velvet Pant"

The random tune for today is by a group called Flue, of which I cannot find any information. So, you get to sit back and enjoy today's song, called Velvet Pant. You can find it on the 2007 album Istanbul Calling, Vol. 2 (Ethnic Electronic).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Don't Tread On Me: Khaira Arby and "Sourgou"

Khaira Arby brings us today's song, called Sourgou. From the northern deserts of Mali, Arby 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. Sourgou is from her 2013 release Timbuktu Tarab. The song recounts the Tamasheks’ struggle against colonial domination.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ways of Seeing: William Gutierrez and "Visions"

Native recording artist William Gutierrez, who is a flute maker and musician of Dineh and Ute heritage, brings us the random tune for today. There isn't much information on him personally that I've been able to find, though his flutes are highly prized. This song, Visions, can be found on his 1995 album Eagle Canyon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shades of Blue and Green: R. Carlos Nakai and "Dreamscapes: Turquoise World"

R. Carlos Nakai brings us the 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, Dreamscapes: Turquoise World is on his 1993 platinum album Canyon Trilogy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sleeping In: Pascal Parisot and "Je Reste au Lit"

French songwriter and singer Pascal Parisot brings us today's random tune, titled Je Reste au Lit. From the Vosges, France Pascal Parisot fell in love with guitar and Brazilian music at age 12 after listening to a record called 12 Studies for Guitar that had compositions by Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos and performed by Andrés Segovia. Hearing this album led him to enroll in music school and learn to play. He started his musical career as an accompanist, but after releasing his first album in 2000 became much happier as a musician, playing his own songs. In 2009, he began adding songs that would appeal to younger audiences to his repertoire, and has now become a singer that reaches all ages levels with his music and stage performances. Je Reste au Lit can be found on on the compilation album Putumayo Presents: Paris (2006).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In It to Win It: Machel Montano and Skinny Fabulous with "Go Hard"

Machel Montano performs today's random tune, Go Hard, with help from Skinny Fabulous. Machel Montano, from Trinidad, is a soca artist, actor, producer and songwriter who, in 1987, was the youngest finalist ever to win the Caribbean Song Festival in Barbados. He is the frontman for the group HD Family and for the band Xtatik, and has a 30 year career in the music industry which has allowed him to record with many major Caribbean and outside acts such as Wyclef Jean, Calypso Rose, Pitbull, Ariana Grande and Busta Rhymes. He is noted for fast-paced, high energy and unpredictable stage performances, and his high profile has helped spread the popularity of soca music around the world. Skinny Fabulous, from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, is the stage name of soca artist Gamal Doyle. Doyle has developed a style of soca music strongly influenced by dancehall. Originally a chanter, he switched to soca music about a decade ago. In 2008 he won the St. Vincent Soca Monarch title and has won numerous awards since, as well as touring the countries of the region and exciting crowds with his stage performances. Go Hard can be found on Machel Montano's 2016 release Monk Evolution.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Running Silent and Deep: The Russian Red Army Choir and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"

This random number, It's A Long Way to Tipperary, is the Red Army choir singing an Irish tune which was used in the movie Das Boot. Whether the song was recorded in the 1940s or specifically for the movie I haven't been able to determine. The Red Army Choir, however, has two incarnations.

The first is known officially as the Alexandrov Ensemble and consists of a male choir, an orchestra and a dance ensemble. It was founded in 1928, possibly by Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov and encouraged by Stalin, or possibly as a combined effort in which Alexandrov ended up as artistic director. They initially did tours, entertaining the troops in far flung regions of the Soviet Union and mostly performing original Soviet music. In 1948 they performed an unforgettable concert of German and Russian music in Berlin (prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall), and in 1990 they joined Roger Waters' performance of The Wall to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. In December 2016, the Ensemble was hit with tragedy when 64 members, all but three of its choir, perished in the crash of a military airplane carrying them to perform a concert in war-torn Syria.

The second is known as the MVD Ensemble, which was founded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1939 and which was founded to serve and sustain the Soviet state by lifting the morale of troops by glorifying the revolutionary ideal. In the past few decades, it has modernized its repertoire and performed on all continents, and in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi it performed a cover of Daft Punk's Get Lucky and released a cover of Pharrell Williams' Happy. It has received a "Star Platinum" on the avenue dedicated to great Russian artists.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stealing Hearts: Asha Bhosle and "Le Gayi"

A Bollywood legend sings today's song, called Le Gayi from the movie Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). The singer is Asha Bhosle, one of the most famous Indian playback singers of all time. Over her seven decade career, she has sung for over 1000 Bollywood films, though she also has a wider repertoire which include pop, ghazals, bhajans, Indian classical music, folk songs, qawwalis and Rabinda Sangeets. She herself has estimated that she has sung over 12,000 songs in her lifetime, in over 20 languages, and the Guinness Book of World Records has said that she is the most recorded artist of all time. Interestingly enough, though she has sung for so many movies, she made her acting debut in 2013 in the movie Mai where she gained critical acclaim. The song describes first seeing the person who takes one's heart away. We've included two videos - the first is Asha Bhosle singing the song for a television show.  It is apparently blocked from being shown on Blogger but clicking on the video it will allow you to go to YouTube to see it.  The second is the production number from the movie with an actress lip-syncing to Asha Bhosle.