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.