Sunday, April 30, 2017

Let the Light Shine: DakhaBrakha and "Kolyskova"

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

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

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

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

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Monkey Business: Ozomatli and "Chango"

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Witchy Woman: Hekate and "Morgan le Fay"

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Going Underground: Transglobal Underground and "International Times"

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

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

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Liar: Katia B and "Parece Mentira"

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Devotion: MC Yogi and "Pranam"

Our random tune today is by MC Yogi, a Bay Area hip hop artist and yogi who promotes themes of Hindu religion and philosophy in hip hop whose real name is Nicolas Giacomini. Giacomini began rapping at 13 and, while living in home for at-risk children at age 17, he became a practitioner of yoga after his father took it up. His songs are often bhajans, or devotional songs, celebrating one or another of the Hindu deities. At other times, he provides interesting history lessons on the lives of important historical figures within Hinduism, such as Gandhi. Even when he is doing nothing but beatboxing, his songs can sound like mantras or prayers. This song, Pranam, can be found on MC Yogi's 2012 album Pilgrimage.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Watchamacallit: Darryl Labrado and "Da Kine"

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Piping Hot: Söndörgö and "Hulisination"

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

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

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

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

Today's random tune is by Baba Zula in collaboration with Mad Professor, and is called Cecom. Founded in 1996, Baba Zula is a Turkish alternative group that creates a psychedelic sound combining traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub. At the core of their sound is the saz, a Turkish bouzouki-like stringed instrument with a bright, high-pitched sound. Baba Zula became well known outside of Turkey when they appeared in the 2005 documentary Crossing the Bridge, and have since performed in many high profile world music festivals. They have released eight albums. Mad Professor is a Guyanese dub music producer and engineer known for original productions and remix work. He is a leading figure of dub's second generation and as such has been instrumental in bringing dub into the digital age. Cecom is from Baba Zula with Mad Professor's 2003 album Psychebelly Dance Music.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicken Little: Kobo Town and "Joe the Paranoiac"

Kobo Town brings us the random song for today, called Joe the Paranoiac. Founded by Trinidadian/Canadian Drew Gonsalves in 2004, Kobo Town refers to the neighborhood in Port Au Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where calypso was conceived and first performed. Kobo Town blends calypso music with other Caribbean music, as well as genres such as ska, reggae, dub, rapso, zouk and hip hop. Gonsalves moved to Canada from Diego Martin, Trinidad & Tobago with his mother when he was thirteen. She was a Canadian citizen who was escaping her abusive marriage. He turned to music and poetry to deal with his situation and feelings of exile. He studied history and political science at Carleton University before taking up music as a career. Joe the Paranoiac can be found on Kobo Town's 2013 album Jumbie in the Jukebox.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Entrancing: Niyaz and "Hejran"

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bluesin': Kalaban Coura and "Mali"

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

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

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

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

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Like a Lion: Mamak Khadem and "Heydar"

The random song for today comes from Iranian-American musician Mamak Khadem. Khadem has been called "one of the wonders of world trance music" by the Los Angeles Times, and works from a base of Persian classical music and poetry to weave a sound steeped in ancient tradition but also completely new. Heydar is from her 2007 album Jostojoo (Forever Seeking), and while she continues to use Persian classical music and poetry as her foundation, on this album she has widened the scope of the music to include rhythmic and melodic strains from other countries. She collaborates on Heydar with Turkish musician and composer Ömar Faruk Tekbilek, whose own style builds on Sufi traditional music using traditional instrumentation such as ney, saz, oud, kaval, and zurna but also takes inspiration from ambient electronic music.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Crazy Talk: Balqees and "Majnoun"

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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

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

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

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

Reggae establishes our cool vibe for today. Pimper's Paradise is by Bob Marley and the Wailers, a reggae and ska band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Many of the band's early songs were recorded with the aid of Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. The Wailers were known for recording some of the most notable reggae songs in history. Tosh and Wailer left the band in 1974, leading to a revamped Wailers lineup. Marley died in 1981 of malignant melanoma, and Tosh was killed in a gang holdup at his home in 1987. You can find Pimper's Paradise on Bob Marley and the Wailers' 1980 album Uprising.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

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

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