Tuesday, January 31, 2017
A Cajun Louisiana band brings us today's random tune, The Corner Post by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Founded in 1988, the band takes its inspiration from Cajun traditional legends Dewey Balfa, Belton Richard and Walter Mouton. However, the music of Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys has grown into a style that is distinctly Cajun but also unique and personal. They sing almost exclusively in Cajun French. They have been nominated twice for Grammys in the Best Traditional Folk Album category, and in 2013 Steve Riley took home a Grammy as part of The Band Courtbouillon, a Cajun jam band featuring Riley, Wayne Toups and Wilson Savoy. Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have released 11 albums to date as well as one compilation album. The Corner Post can be found on The Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys (2008).
Monday, January 30, 2017
The random tune today is by an Irish musical powerhouse. The Flowers of Magherally is performed by Altan, a band originally formed in County Donegal by vocalist and fiddler Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her husband Frankie Kennedy in 1987 after the pair initially released a pair of albums as a duo. They named the band after a lake in County Donegal. County Donegal has a rich tradition of Irish music and styles, and Altan made this music available to the world and in the process became known worldwide with a popularity to match The Chieftains. Kennedy died of Ewings sarcoma in 1994, leaving Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh to keep the band going. Altan has recorded and toured with fellow countrymen The Chieftains, and other musicians such as such as Enya, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt and Alison Krauss. The Flowers of Magherally can be found on their 2006 release The Red Crow, and on the compilation album Celtic Wonder (2005).
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Cajun mainstay Bruce Daigrepont brings us the random tune for today, called Acadie À La Louisiane. Daigrepont, born in New Orleans, started learning guitar at age five and banjo at age ten, and at 20 began to devote himself to learning French accordion. He formed his own Cajun band in 1980 and began appearing at the regular fais-do-do dances at New Orleans' Maple Leaf Bar on Thursdays. In 1986 he moved the fais-do-do to the world famous Tipitinas on Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas Streets - and he continues to play it every Sunday from 5 - 9 pm. He and his band play homemade instruments and sing all of their songs in Cajun French, and they have built up a very loyal fan base. You can find Acadie À La Louisiane on his 1989 album Coeur des Cajuns, though we actually found it on a sample album by Putumayo called Louisiana Music Sampler.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Simrit Kaur, who sings our random tune for today, is a Grecian-born artist adopted into a Greek family in the South Carolina. She later learned that her biological mother is a well-known singer in Greece, and that her great-grandmother is the Greek singer Tula Demetriou. As a child, her adopted family encouraged her with music lessons and she sang in her Greek Orthodox church choir. She is also trained in percussion and piano. With a haunting voice, she has topped world music charts many times and is the CEO of her own recording label. She is also a student, practitioner and teacher of both Kundalini and Naad yoga. Among her fans, she counts Belinda Carlisle of the 80s band The Go Gos. This song, Sat Narayan, can be found on her 2016 album Songs of Resilience.
Friday, January 27, 2017
I won't highlight a tune under a minute, so today's random tune just squeaks through. Dubi Dubi Dubi is a short tune 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. Dubi Dubi Dubi is from their 2011 album Not So Commercial, which is a Grammy nominated EP of outtakes from their hit 2009 album Commercial.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
In today's random tune we highlight a band with New Mexican connections. Sol y Canto is a pan-Latin group led by Puerto Rican-Argentine singer and bongo player Rosi Amador and New Mexican guitarist and composer Brian Amador. The group includes musicians from Uruguay, Panama, Peru and Argentina. Formed in 1994, the band delivers unique compositions and sometimes quirky interpretations of Latin music. They have won a "Best of Boston" music award, and Brian Amador was the first Latino to be chosen by Boston's Celebrity Series to compose a Latin orchestral suite. The band seeks to connect Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences in music, poetry, humor and playfulness. This song, Hasta la Luna, is from their 2008 CD Cada Día un Regalo.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
A song based on a folk hero is our random tune for today, and is performed by Gogol Bordello. Gogol Bordello was formed in 1999 in the lower east side of Manhattan, and is known for their sound of gypsy-inspired music mixed with punk and dub. Originally called Hütz and the Béla Bartóks, they changed their name when they realized nobody knew who Béla Bartók was. Instead, Gogol is the last name of classical Russian-Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol, and bordello is a gentlemen's club. The band tours relentlessly, and cites Parliament-Funkadelic as one of their main influences. They have released nine studio albums. This song, John the Conqueror (Truth is Always the Same), references the folk hero with magical powers from African-American folklore, and is also the name of a root used in folk magic for sexual spells and gambling spells. You can find it on Gogol Bordello's 2013 CD Pura Vida Conspiracy.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Take a little Indian raga and add a generous helping of Sufi trance music and you have our random tune today. Allah Hoo is by Baraka Moon, a Pakistani, Indian, Australian, American band which fuses the music listed above with a dash of didgeridoo, global drums and guitar to create music that transcends boundaries. Legend has it that they were founded on the night of a full moon eclipse in 2008. Allah Hoo can be found on their 2011 CD Baraka Moon.
Monday, January 23, 2017
The duo, Naked Rhythm, which brings us today's random tune is a collaboration between producer/percussionist Alex Spurkel and producer/percussionist Avi Sills. In forming Naked Rhythm in Los Angeles in 2003, their goal was "a vision of breaking down borders and bringing the world together with cross-cultural music and dance. By seamlessly fusing exotic world music and percussion with contemporary electronic dance grooves." Their music has entertained the likes of Sting, the Black Eyed Peas and Diana Ross. You can find this song, Moon Over Ala Nar, on their 2006 album Frequency.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Today's tune is by the Afro Celt Sound System, and is called Where Two Rivers Meet. The Afro Celt Sound System is a world group mixing African and Celtic sounds and which fuses modern electronic dance rhythms with traditional Irish and West African songs. The group was formed by British producer Simon Emmerson and afro-pop star Baaba Maal in 1991. Since then they've been proclaimed a world music supergroup, and have collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Plant, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Ayub Ogada and many other pop and world stars. Where Two Rivers Meet can be found on their 2016 album The Source.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Our random tune for today is by the Finnish band Gjallarhorn. Gjallarhorn was formed in 1994 in a Swedish-speaking portion of Finland and performs world music based in the folk music and traditions of that region. As such, their music tends to be Swedish in nature, but based in acoustic folk music unique to the Ostrobothnian area. Gjallorhorn is also known for their use of the hardanger fiddle, an eight or nine string violin (as compared to four strings on a standard violin), and lead singer Jenny Wilhelm's singing technique called kulning, a technique based on Scandinavian cattle herding calls consisting of high pitched wordless tones designed to be heard over long distances. The band's name derives from the name of the horn of the Norse god Heimdallr, who blows the Gjallarhorn signaling the last battle of the Norse gods. This song, Norafjelds (Mountain Poem), can be found on their 2006 release Rimfaxe.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Today's song, entitled Que Deus Me Perdoe, is by Portuguese fado artist Mariza. Mariza was born in Mozambique before it gained independence from Portugal, and she is of mixed Portuguese and African heritage. When she was three her family moved to Lisbon and while young she began learning to sing in many styles, including jazz, gospel and soul. She adopted fado at the insistence of her father, who felt it would give her more acceptance in the Portuguese community. After the fado's most famous interpreter, Amália Rodrigues, died in 1999 Mariza was asked to perform a tribute in her memory, which led her to record a fado album. Fado was starting to regain popularity, and her album sold an astounding number of copies. She has since focused on fado, has released seven albums and has sold over a million records worldwide. Que Deus Me Perdoe appears on her debut album Fado em Mim (2002).
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Today's random song is by Playing for Change, a project to connect the world through music. Created by American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson, the project records musicians around the world each playing one element of each of the songs they record. The producers then build, layer by layer, the song by melding the recorded parts, each with the individual interpretations of the musicians involved. They have since developed the Playing for Change Band which tours, and they have built the Playing for Change Foundation, which funds the construction of music and art schools around the world. This song, Biko, is a protest song originally recorded by Peter Gabriel. It can be found on Playing For Change's 2009 album Songs Around the World.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Today's tune is by the French ensemble Aromates and its leader and percussionist Michèle Claude. The ensemble fuses the ancient and contemporary, uses old and new instruments, and explores into gypsy and Cuban rhythms and jazz in its music. It's first album, Jardin des Myrtes (Garden of Myrtles - 2005), features traditional Arab-Andalusian songs played by the musicians on traditional instruments. The music takes you straight back to an Umayyad court in Spain - you might even be in the presence of the Caliph himself. Today's tune, Ritournelles can be found as the 8th track on Jardin des Myrtes.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Portuguese band Deolinda brings us today's random tune, called Não Tenho Mais Razões. Deolinda was formed in 2006 when the brothers Pedro da Silva Martins and Luis José Martins asked their cousin Ana Bacalhau to sing on a few songs they had written. Realizing that Bacalhau's voice fit perfectly with their songs, they created Deolinda and rounded out the band with her husband José Pedro Leitã. The band's style is inspired by fado, but they have made numerous departures from the form. While fado utilizes Portuguese guitar, Deolinda does not. Deolinda's songs often contain social criticism, and can be lively, upbeat, ironic and humorous which does not fit the usual melancholy style of fado either. Fado performers often dress in black when performing, but Deolinda does not. In their flouting of convention they are helping define a post-fado or neo-fado style. Não Tenho Mais Razões is from their 2010 release Dois Selos e Um Carimbo.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Our random tune for today is by a Ghanaian artist named George Darko. Darko, from Ghanaian royalty, helped popularize the form of highlife music called Burger-highlife, which was created by Ghanaian immigrants to Germany and is considered a native German music. Burger-highlife is a crossover music created by Ghanaian and German musicians that features elements of highlife, disco and funk music, and it developed an entire subculture. Darko and his Ghanaian band, Golden Stool, moved to Germany in the 1970s - Darko went solo after arrival in Germany and then formed the Bus Stop Band in 1982. In 1988 he returned to Ghana and was made a tufuhene (paramount chief). This song, Hi Life Time, can be found on The Rough Guide to Highlife (2003) and other collections.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Today's tune, Late in Life, is by Wayne Toups and Zydecajun. Songwriter and accordionist Wayne Toups is one of the most successful Cajun musicians in America. He was born in Crowley, Louisiana and started playing accordion at 13. He was soon winning local contests, and later began to combine Cajun music, zydeco, R&B and rock into a genre he labeled Zydecajun. Though he released his first album in the 1970s, his first album with the Zydecajun sound was 1986's Zydecajun. Besides releasing 16 albums and providing soundtracks for movies such as Steel Magnolias, Toups has also collaborated with such artists as Mark Chestnutt, Sammy Kershaw, Alan Jackson, George Jones and Garth Brooks. Late in Life is from his 1991 album Fish Out of Water.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Beth Patterson brings us today's random tune, Waltzes: Hauling Coffee/The Road to Guapiles. From Lafayette, Louisiana, Beth Patterson is a singer-songwriter who starts from a base of Irish and Celtic music and adds a few drops of Cajun, worldbeat and progressive rock. She began her career playing Cajun bass and as a classical oboist, and studied traditional Irish music and ethnomusicology at University College Cork in Ireland. She finished a bachelor's degree in music therapy at Loyola University in New Orleans, and she took up the Irish bouzouki which is now her preferred instrument. She was a founding member of the Poor Clares, an Irish ensemble that opened to rave reviews in New Orleans, and she has also released four solo albums and two with the Poor Clares. You can find Waltzes: Hauling Coffee/The Road to Guapiles on her 1999 album Hybrid Vigor.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Juan Gabriel, a Mexican singer-songwriter performs the random tune for today, called No Tengo Dinero. Juan Gabriel is the stage name of Alberto Aguilera Valadez, who was also known as Juanga and El Divo de Juárez. He is one of Latin America's biggest selling songwriters, and he holds the distinction of having the best-selling album of all time in Mexico. He wrote about 1800 songs during his prolific career, and in 2015 he was named by Billboard as one of the 30 most influential Latin artists of all time, and he is a member of the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame, the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, and the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, among his many other awards and honors. He also devoted 10-12 concerts per year to charity work, usually for orphans and underserved children. Gabriel passed away in August of 2016 at the age of 66. Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto called him one of Mexico's greatest musical icons upon hearing of his passing, and President Barack Obama said that his music transcended borders and generations. No Tengo Dinero can be found on many albums...we got it from the 2014 album Mis Número 1...40 Aniversario.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Albuquerque's own Le Chat Lunatique brings us the random tune for today. Le Chat Lunatique is an Albuquerque band who style themselves purveyors of "filthy, mangy jazz." Their inspiration is the Hot Club of France, mixed with some western swing, Latin rhythms, reggae and "anything else we damn well please." This song, Cri du Chat, is from their debut 2008 release Demonic Lovely.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Depedro brings us the random tune for today, called Miguelito. A longtime Spanish session musician, founding member of the rock band La Vacazul and soul band 3000 Hombres, Depedro (also known as Jairo Zavala) also performed with the band Calexico in their live shows, Zavala recruited Calexico as his backing band for his debut album Depedro and recorded the bulk of the album in Tucson, Arizona in 2007. Depedro was released as a CD in 2009. The album's songs are influenced by Mexican music, rumba, son, African music, reggae, blues and salsa among other world sounds. You can find Miguelito on that album.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Our random tune today is by Beausoleil and is called J'ai Été au Zydeco. 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. J'ai Été au Zydeco, which means I Went to the Zydeco, can be found on their 1997 compilation The Best of Beausoleil. The tune is inspired by an older tune called J'ai Été au Bal (I Went to the Dance) and uses a chorus lifted from an even older song called Z'haricots Sont Pas Salé (The Beans are not Salty) from which the name "Zydeco" derived ("Z'haricots"), according to Chuck Taggert in the liner notes to the album.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Värttinä, a folk group from Finland founded in 1983 by sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen, provides our random tune for today. In 1983, the sisters formed Värttinä and entered a youth arts contest reading poetry. They made it into the finals that first year, and the next year they switched to music and won the event. They added some male musicians in 1985 and entered the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, becoming known as the group that sings high and loud. 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 16 albums, including 3 compilation albums and one live CD. You can find this song, Raijan Joiku, on Värttinä's 2016 album Viena. A joik is a type of personal or spiritual chant associated with the Sami peoples of the Nordic countries.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Our random tune for today is by the Earthquake Jazz Band, who we believe is from Kenya but we can't find any information on them. The tune is called Blasio Onyango, and is from the compilation CD Urgent Jumping! East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics (2016). East African music has long been overlooked because of the more famous music coming out of West Africa (highlife music and the like) but this song shows that East African music can hold its own. Enjoy!
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Today's random song is by Reeltime, an Irish quartet that brings percussive jazz guitar to traditional Irish music, with occasional touches of Texas swing and ragtime. Their 1995 debut garnered critical acclaim and Irish American News' praise as Best New Band and Best Female Vocalist for singer Mairin Fahy (who is also an All-Ireland award fiddle player. She played with the touring production of Riverdance, and joined The Chieftains on their 2007 tour, as well as creating her own show called Tara. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, and photographer Chris Kelly has also been part of many different compilations and has worked with many different groups. This song, Siúil a Rún, can be found on the 2005 compilation Celtic Wonder, and on Reeltime's self titled debut CD (1995).
Friday, January 6, 2017
Today's random tune is by Ulf Lindemann, who goes by the stage name [dunkelbunt]. A German freelance musician, producer, bandleader and DJ, he is considered a pioneer in the fusion of electronic music with South European music, klezmer, jazz and swing. He is joined by Tanzanian artist Raf MC and Fanfare Ciocarlia, a 12 person Roma brass band known for their rendition of Born to be Wild on the film Borat. You can find this song, The Chocolate Butterfly, on the CD The Balkan Club Night (2011).
Thursday, January 5, 2017
A rock and roll legend and guitar lights up our random tune for today with some blistering solos. Carlos Santana is a Mexican-American musician whose band, Santana, pioneered the fusion of American rock and roll with Latin American music, highlighting Latin and African rhythms and instrumentation like timbales and congas. He started music in Mexico at five, learning violin and then guitar from his father, a mariachi musician, and he became very influenced by the music of Richie Valens, and blues artists like B.B. King, T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker. His guitar playing came to notice in 1966 when Paul Butterfield was unable to perform at the Fillmore West and Bill Graham was persuaded to ask Carlos Santana to fill in as guitarist with an impromptu band of musicians from Butterfield's band, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. After forming the Santana Blues Band (later shortened to simply Santana), he quickly gained a following on the San Francisco music scene, and in 1969 gave a memorable performance at Woodstock which led to the band signing with Columbia Records. The band churned out such hits as Oye Como Va and Black Magic Woman as well as others over the next few years, but their popularity fell into decline over tensions within the group and a lot of changeover in musicians. The 1990s and beyond has brought Santana back into the limelight due to radio-friendly and more pop-oriented music, often in collaboration with many of the hit artists of newer generations. This song, (Da Le) Yaleo is from his 1999 album Supernatural, which won nine Grammy Awards.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Me and the Moon is our song for today, performed by Gaelic Storm. 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. Me and the Moon can be found on their 2006 album Bring Yer Wellies.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Today's song, Yenna, is by the great Malian guitarist and singer Ali Farka Touré. Ali Farka Touré was a Malian singer, multi-instrumentalist and one of the most renowned African musicians. His music fits right into the intersection of traditional Malian music and North American blues. Known as the "African John Lee Hooker," he sang in several African languages, and was once ranked by a panel of critics for Rolling Stone magazine at number 76 of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and was ranked by Spin Magazine in 2012 as number 37 on the 100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time. In 2004, he became mayor of a small town and spent his own money on improving infrastructure. He died in 2006 of bone cancer. Yenna can be found on his 1992 album The Source.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Today's random tune is by an American band based in Denver called DeVotchKa. A four piece ensemble, their name is derived from the Russian word for "girl." Their instrumentation, besides guitar, drums and bass can include theremin, bouzouki, accordion and sousaphone. DeVotchKa started as a backing band for burlesque shows, and in particular traveled with and backed noted burlesque performer Dita von Teese. During this time they were also self-releasing records and touring in support of them which earned them an underground following. The band was eventually picked by the directors of Little Miss Sunshine to score the film which earned them a Grammy nomination for best soundtrack. The band, while essentially a rock ensemble, incorporates a gypsy punk feel into many of its songs. This song, Death by Blonde, is on their 2003 CD Una Volta.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
A very happy New Year's to you! Today's song is by two legends of Irish music, Liam Clancy & Tommy Makem. Tommy Makem, who died in 2007, was a folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller known as the Bard of Armagh. Internationally acclaimed, he was a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. A baritone, he played a number of instruments including 5 string banjo, tin whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhrán and bagpipes. Liam Clancy, who died in 2009, was the youngest member of The Clancy Brothers. He was known for his powerful voice. Bob Dylan considered Clancy the greatest ballad singer ever and he was a hero to the young Dylan as he was learning his craft. He was a central figure in the folk revival of Europe and North America. This song, In the Town of Ballybay, can be found on The Makem and Clancy Collection (1980). There is storytelling at the beginning, and the actual song begins around 2:20.