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.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Get Your Drink On: Boban & Marko Marković Orchestra with "Sljivovica"

Boban Marković is a Serbian Romani trumpet player and brass ensemble leader frequently recognized as the greatest trumpet player to emerge from the Balkans. The Boban Marković Orchestra has been one of the leading Balkan brass bands in Serbia over the last 17 years. They have won several of the most important prizes ("Golden Trumpet", "First Trumpet" and "The Best Orchestra") at the Guča trumpet festival, called "Dragačevski Sabor" which has been held every August in Central Serbia's town of Guča since 1961. Boban Marković's son, Marko, has played with the band since 2002. Marko was said to practice ten hours a day before joining with the band. During the two years he spent touring with the band, Marko became the main soloist and arranger of the renamed Boban & Marko Marković Orchestra at age 17. This song, Sljivovica, can be found on the Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra's 2013 album Gipsy Manifesto. The song celebrates the national drink of Serbia.

Friday, February 10, 2017

And the Lord Did Grin: San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble and "Dixit Dominus"

The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) brings us today's random tune, called Dixit Dominus. 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. Dixit Dominus can be found on their 2004 album El Milagro de Guadalupe.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Eternal Scent: Paul Avgerinos and "Rose of Heaven"

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

No Product Used: Rhiannon Giddens and "Black Is the Color"

Rhiannon Giddens brings us today's random tune, titled Black Is the Color. She is a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and a multi-instrumentalist (violin, banjo) and singer. She began her musical career in folk, competing in Scottish fiddle competitions, attending contra dances and performing as a member of the string band Sanfoka Strings and the traditional group Gaelwynd. Since forming the Carolina Chocolate Drops in 2005, she is currently the only remaining original member still active in the group. In 2013, she embarked on her solo career. In 2015, she released Tomorrow is My Turn, an album with songs originally made famous by artists such as Odetta, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Nina Simone, and Giddens was praised by Wall Street Journal as "a significant talent" by the Wall Street Journal and "one of the bright new lights" by the Los Angeles Times. In 2016, Giddens became the first American honored as Folk Singer of the Year by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Black Is the Color can be found on Giddens 2015 release Tomorrow is My Turn, and is a traditional folk song from Appalachia and is part of a traditional repertory of Celtic music artists but has been sung by artists as varied as Jo Stafford, Nina Simone, and Natacha Atlas.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Exploring Connections: Carlos Núñez and "Feira de Mangaio"

Your random tune today is by Carlos Núñez Muñoz, 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, as well as appearing with them on their album Santiago which focused on Galician music. He continues to tour, play in large and small venues and release recordings. This song, a well-known Brazilian song called Feira de Mangaio, can be found on his album Alborada do Brasil (2009) and on his 2014 album Inter-Celtic.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Before Uber: Sharlene Boodram and "Joe Le Taxi"

Today's random song, Joe Le Taxi, is sung by Sharlene Boodram of Trinidad and Tobago. I couldn't find much information on Sharlene Boodram other than she is the daughter of one of Trinidad's most famous auto racers, Frankie Boodram. She apparently blends British and and American styles with the music of Trinidad and the Caribbean. She also began her singing career at ten years old, scoring a hit song in Trinidad. She gets some accompaniment on this song from Trinidadian rapper Mysta Vybe. We found Joe Le Taxi on the compilation Rough Guides: A Guide to the Rough Guide Music Series (2001).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Take In the Beautiful Air: The Chieftains with Sinead O'Connor and "He Moved Through the Fair"

Whatever you may think about Sinead O'Connor - she has a set of pipes. This beautiful song, title changed from the feminine to the masculine, is called He Moved Through the Fair. It is performed by O'Connor with The Chieftains. Sinead O'Connor is an Irish singer-songwriter who rose to fame in 1990 on the strength of her rendition of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U. She has been known as much for her controversial statements, gestures, and opinions as she is known for the strength of her music. O'Connor began her career as lead singer for the band Ton Ton Macoute, which was inspired by world music but which thrived on O'Connor's stage presence and singing. She was soon signed to a recording contract, and put out her first album, The Lion and the Cobra, in 1987. It reached gold record status and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. She has since released nine more albums, the latest in 2014. 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. He Moved Through the Fair can be found on The Chieftains' 1995 album The Long Black Veil, and is an air of some antiquity found in many versions throughout Ireland and Scotland. It has been recorded many times by a wide variety of artists such as Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Alan Stivell, Art Garfunkel, Mary Black and Josh Groban - a solo O'Connor version can be found on the soundtrack to the movie Michael Collins.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Beauty Inside: Golem and "Miskayt"

So what happens when two people, unfortunately challenged in looks, happen to meet? Today's song, called Miskayt, answers that question. The song is presented by rock-klezmer band Golem, which was created in 2000 in New York City by Annette Ezekiel Kogan, who serves as bandleader, vocalist and accordionist. The band describes their music as Eastern European Jewish folk-rock, and combines elements of rock, punk, and klezmer with lyrics in mainly English, Yiddish and Russian. The name of the band refers to the monster created out of clay to protect the Jewish people, and turned back to clay when it got out of control. The band calls themselves a collective monster that approaches traditional music with respect, but without timidity and resistance to change. Miskayt can be found on Golem's 2014 CD Tanz.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tango in the Dark: Hugo Diaz and "Mi Buenos Aires Querido"

Today's tune is a tango by Hugo Diaz called Mi Buenos Aires Querido. Hugo Diaz was born in 1927 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, and lost his sight at age 5 after being hit by a soccer ball. He learned to play harmonica, and two years later after surgery restored his eyesight, he was already playing for a local radio station. He played mostly with friends from his youth, and after his debut in 1944 he scored a series of record contracts. He worked mainly in tango with deep roots in rural music. In the 1970s his musical legacy reached its apex. His daughter, Maria Victoria, was an important part of the Argentine rock and roll scene of the 1980s. Hugo Diaz died in 1977. Mi Buenos Aires Querido can be found on the 2012 retrospective album Tangos, on the 2006 various artist compilation Tango and Tangueros, and on Putamayo Presents: Tango Around the World (2007).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Completion: Moreno Veloso and "Um Passe a Frente"

Today's random song is called Um Passo a Frente and is sung by Moreno Veloso. The son of Brazilian musical legend Caetano Veloso by his first wife, Moreno Veloso had stellar musical influences including his godmother Gal Costa. He studied physics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, but turned to music as his profession. While his songwriting debut was at age 10, it wasn't until 2000 that he released his first album. Um Passo a Frente can be found on his 2014 album Coisa Boa.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

People Watching: Zaz and "Les Passants"

Les Passants is the title of the random song of today. It is sung by French singer-songwriter Isabelle Geffroy, known by her stage name as Zaz. Mixing jazzy style, French variety, soul and acoustic genres, she became famous on the strength of her first album, the eponymously named Zaz (2010). After a childhood steeped in music education she started her musical career in 2001 singing in musical groups and as a backup singer. She released Zaz in 2010 to great acclaim, especially her single Je Veux, and has since won awards and has toured extensively. She has released two more albums since, Recto Verso and Paris. Les Passants can be found on her debut album Zaz (2011).