Monday, May 29, 2017

Take Wing: Rahim Alhaj and "Fly Away"



Iraqi musician Rahim AlHaj, who originally came to Albuquerque as a refugee, brings us the random tune for today. Rahim Alhaj is an oud player and composer. He began playing the oud at age nine and soon revealed a great talent for the instrument. A political activist against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, he was forced into political exile, first in Syria and Jordan and finally in the United States. Resettled in Albuquerque, he was told to report to a job. As an oud master, he assumed that he would be teaching music, and asked where the job was. "McDonalds," he was told. We think he was better off staying with his first love, music. He combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary stylings and influences. This song, Fly Away, can be found on his 2013 album Journey.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nocturnal Wanderings: The Afro Celt Sound System and "Even in My Dreams"



Our song today is called Even in My Dreams. The song is by The Afro Celt Sound System, which fuses modern electronic dance rhythms with traditional Irish and West African songs. The Afro Celt Sound System were 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. Even in My Dreams can be found on their 1999 release Volume 2: Release.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Seductress: Värttinä and "Lumotar / The Enchantress"



Värttinä performs today's random tune, called Lumotar / The Enchantress. Värttinä is a Finnish folk group founded in 1983 by sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen, who had performed together reading poetry in the 1970s. In 1983, the sisters entered a youth arts contest with their poetry reading. They made it into the finals that first year. The next year they decided to refocus on singing and they won the event. They brought on some male members in 1985 and entered the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, becoming known as the group that sings high and loud. Many children in their hometown were now eager to join the band, and finally Värttinä had to establish a new group for the youngest children to join. 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 14 albums, including 3 compilation albums and one live CD. You can find Lumotar / The Enchantress on their 2012 album Miero.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Foot Street: Maldita Vecindad and "Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión)"



Our random tune for today is brought to you by Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, a Mexican rock band. Often known simply as Maldita, or Maldita Vecindad (the Damned Neighborhood), they one of the most influential bands in Mexico and are known as pioneers of rock en español. They have a sound that draws upon many influences, including ska, rock, and traditional Cuban styles such as bolero and son, and is also drawn from their urban and working class origins. You can find this song, Fut Callejero (Pura Diversión), on the compilation album Nacional Card 2010 and on the 2011 compilation Rock Mundial.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hush and Sleep: Mariana Sadovska and "Three Lullabies"



The song for today is by Germany-based Ukrainian actress, singer, musician, composer and recording artist Mariana Sadovska. Emerging from the theater world in Lviv, Ukraine, Sadovska worked in theater and theater production and led ethnomusicology trips and arranged cultural exchanges with numerous countries. She moved to New York in 2001 to be a music director with theater company La Mama. During this time she also began working on her own solo performances. She released her first solo CD in 2001. This song, Three Lullabies, is from her 2001 debut CD Songs I Learned in Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Rain Knows You Don't Walk Alone: Los Amigos Invisibles and "La Lluvia Sabe Que no Andas Sola"



Today's random tune, La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola is 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. La Lluvia Sabe Que No Andas Sola is from their 2011 album Not So Commercial, which is a Grammy nominated EP of outtakes from their hit 2009 album Commercial.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sounds Like a Fun Place: Capercaillie and "Finlay's"



Funky? Scottish? Capercaille brings the funk to a Celtic tune! Capercaillie is a Scottish folk band formed in the 1980s. They are named after the Scottish wood grouse. They perform traditional Gaelic songs along with songs in English of their own composition or by others, and often mix traditional songs with modern recording techniques, rhythms and instrumentation. At first sticking fairly closely to traditional styles and instrumentation, in the 1980s they added funk bass lines, synthesizers and electric guitar to traditional songs. In 1992, their EP A Prince Among Islands was the first Gaelic language record to reach the top 40 of the UK singles charts They have since been moving back toward more traditional music while retaining a slight fusion sound. This song, Finlays, is from their 1997 album Beautiful Wasteland, and this version of the song is from their 2002 Live in Concert album (they end this version of Finlays with a snippet of Puirt a Beul, a song from their 1987 album Crosswinds). BTW: This is the band that started my long foray into world music after I saw them in the early stages of their career at Milwaukee's Irish festival in the late 1980s.

Monday, May 22, 2017

What's Spanish for Choogling: Los Lonely Boys and "Born on the Bayou"



A classic cover of a classic recording is our random tune today. Los Lonely Boys brings us Creedence Clearwater Revival's Born on the Bayou. An American Chicano band born in Nashville but located in San Angelo, Texas, Los Lonely Boys combine rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country and Tejano music into a melange they call "Texican Rock 'n Roll." They are Grammy-winners for their 2005 song Heaven. You can find Born on the Bayou on the 2016 tribute album Quiero Creedence.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

For the Homies: The Pleb and "One for Senegal"



Today's random tune is by Moreno Visini from Italy whose music comes by way of Africa. Also known as The Pleb and DJ Zeb), Visini is from from Northern Italy but left home at age 14 and ended up in London, where he learned electronic programming and sequencing, and where he was heavily influenced by Asian and Arabic music. In the mid 1980s, he was invited to join the American alt-rock band The Indians, but after they disbanded in 1994, he went back to experimentation with electronica and world music. This song, One for Senegal was inspired by the song Amadou Tilo by Senegalese band Touré Kunda in honor of a fallen brother who had died of a heart attack on stage in 1983. Visini heard it late one night in his apartment and was transfixed. He sampled the song, a mostly a capella, rootsy style of track, and put a funky Afrobeat drum rhythm and guitar riffs under it. The surviving members of the band have greatly admired Visini's interpretation of their song. You can find One for Senegal on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: African Groove (2003).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beautiful Day: Erkan Oğur and İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu with "Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm"



Erkan Oğur, along with İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu, brings the random tune for today, called Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm. From Turkey, Erkan Oğur is a pioneer of fretless guitars, and invented the first fretless classical guitar. As a composer, he combines the ancient traditional sounds of Turkey with Turkish folk and classical music. He is also considered a master of the kopuz and bağlama lutes. İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu is a Turkish bass player who has made many albums and has worked a lot with Erkan Oğur. You can find Bugün Ben Bir Güzel Gördüm on their 1998 album Gülün Kokusu Vardi.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bittersweet: The Mexican Institute of Sound and "Sinfonia Agridulce"



Today's random tune is a cover of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony by the Mexican Institute of Sound called Sinfonia Agridulce. MIS, as the group is also known, is Mexico City-based producer and DJ Camilo Lara's electronic music project. Fusing Mexican folk music with modern sounds, MIS is part of a growing movement in Mexican music. Lara started with mixing music for holiday mix tapes, and after getting enthusiastic receptions for his creations, began making musical collages under the moniker Mexican Institute of Sound while relying on samples of Mexican classical music. He has released four albums, with a fifth due next year. Sinfonia Agridulce is from his 2009 CD Soy Sauce.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Within Reason: Fiji and "Anything You Want"



Today's random song is by George "Fiji" Veikoso. Originally from Fiji but raised in Hawaii, and known by his performing name of "Fiji," Veikoso is a reggae, hip-hop, R&B and jazz vocalist. Encouraged by relatives to pursue his musical dreams, he joined the Fijian band Rootstrata in 1987 but fled to Hawaii during the 1987 Fijian coups d'etat. He has won numerous awards, and may be more recognizable as the voice who sang the theme song, Let Me Be the One, with Glenn Medeiros for the hit TV show Baywatch, and as an actor in the 2002 surfer film Blue Crush. You can find this song, Anything You Want, on his 1999 album Grattitude, and on the 2003 album The Best of Fiji.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Saharan King: Khaled and "Ki Kounti"



Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, an Algerian raï singer and songwriter known by his stage name Khaled, brings us the random song for today. 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, Ki Kounti, can be found on his 1997 album Sahra.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hates Roadrunners: Kan'Nal and "Coyote"



Today's song, Coyote, is by Kan'Nal. First formed in Guatemala in 2001, Kan'Nal describes its music as "tribal psychedelic rock." The band now operates out of the Boulder, Colorado area. They tend to play numbers that are long, sprawling and make use of flamenco-style guitar playing and a thrumming bass over didgeridoo and percussion. The band is currently on "indefinite hiatus" as members pursue individual projects. You can find Coyote on their 2008 album Myth Magic.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Journeying Together: Byron Metcalf and "Clan Travelers"



Today's random tune is called Clan Travelers and is performed by Byron Metcalf, an award winning musician (percussion), recording artist, shamanic practitioner and ceremonial leader. He has played as a musician on a number of albums, including Kenny Rogers' The Gambler, in top concert venues and on television. Since 1988 he has focused his music on the healing arts, and he has combined his musical gifts with a career as a transpersonal guide and educator, shamanic practitioner and researcher. He has a PhD in transpersonal psychology, as well as a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He is also a certified graduate of Grof Transpersonal Training and Eupsychia Institute’s Psycho-Spiritual Integration programs. Clan Travelers can be found on his 2001 album Not Without Risk, and on the 2006 compilation album Nataraja.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Laughing Stars: The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) and "Las Estreyas Se Rien"



The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) brings us our random tune for today, called Las Estreyas Se Rien. 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. Las Estreyas Se Rien can be found on their 1996 album Native Angels.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Search for Home: Alsarah and the Nubatones with "Ya Watan"



Our random tune today is by Alsarah and the Nubatones, and is called Ya Watan. A Sudanese-American singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist, Alsarah and her family fled Sudan when she was eight during the 1989 coup. Settling in Yemen, they were again forced to flee in 1994 during the Yemeni civil war. They found political asylum in Boston, where she sang in world music choirs and attended a performing arts high school. She then studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Alsarah formed Alsarah and the Nubatones in 2010 after serving as the singer of the Zanzabari band Sound of Tarab for six years in New York City. The band consists of Alsarah and her sister Nahid on vocals with backing musicians. Alsarah has also been featured in the documentary Beats of the Antonov. You can find Ya Watan as a single released by Wonderwheel Recordings in 2016, and on their 2016 album Manara. The song is an ode to the search for a home.

Friday, May 12, 2017

About a Girl and Love: Luisa Maita and "Fulaninha"



Our random tune for today, Fulaninha, is by Luisa Maita, a Brazilian singer-songwriter. Born into a musical family in São Paulo, Brazil, she learned to sing samba and bossa nova as well as her father's compositions, and her professional career began at age seven singing jingles. She founded her first band, Urbanda, in 1999 and began collaborating with musicians from her generation. A collaboration with Brazilian singer Virginia Rosa, who recorded two of Maita's songs for one of her albums, encouraged Maita to continue writing songs. In 2010 she recorded her solo album Lero-Lero, which led National Public Radio to hail her as the "New Voice of Brazil." Her music draws inspiration from the samba, but also pop influences such as Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder. You can find Fulaninha on her 2010 release Lero-Lero.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wearing a Medieval Hoodie: Clannad and "Robin (The Hooded Man)"



Today's random tune is from the soundtrack to a British TV series called Robin of Sherwood. The music to this series was provided by Clannad, an Irish band whose music draws from Celtic, traditional Irish, new age, folk and folk rock. The band was formed, according to local story, when Ciarán, Pól, and Máire Brennan were performing late at night in their uncle's pub and a police sergeant walked in - they feared a summons but instead he had a form to participate in a music contest. After winning a local folk festival, they scored a record contract. Subsequent years saw them shooting to fame, providing music for television and film and collaborating with superstars such as Bono. They are considered pioneers in the fusion of Celtic and new age music, creating an earthly yet spiritual sound. This song, Robin (the Hooded Man), is from their 1984 album Legend, which is all of the music from the British TV series Robin of Sherwood.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prince of the Kora: Prince Diabaté and "Mignabele"



Mignabele, our random song for today, is by Prince Diabaté, a griot from Guinea in West Africa. His father was a kora player who broke tradition and also taught Diabaté's mother to play, and Prince Diabaté gained proficiency by accompanying his parents to their concerts. At age 16, he braved outraged soldiers and his own fear to throw himself with his kora at the feet of Guinea's president to play a special song for him - the touched president personally sponsored his musical education. Diabaté takes as inspiration traditional Mandingo and Malinké music, but he also borrows from reggae, rap, blues and funk. He has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the kora," and he is responsible for creating the sound he calls Mandingo reggae. Mignabele can be found on his 2006 album Djerelon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shades of the Lost Herds: 7th Generation Rise and "Buffalo Wild"



7th Generation Rise is a band of like-minded Native American musicians that play what they describe as indigenous soul music that combines culturally conscious lyrics and spoken word with genres such as rock, folk, funk, contemporary and traditional. They believe in music as a tool for social change, to address environmental and universal injustices and to share and promote cultural and human diversity. The band is led by Good Shield Aguilar. This song, Buffalo Wild, can be found on their 2015 album The Fifth World.

Monday, May 8, 2017

I Never Meet Mine: Trevor Gordon Hall and "New Year's Resolution"



A little out of context, but every day could be the start of a New Year, right? Today's random song is called New Year's Resolution and is played by guitar virtuoso Trevor Gordon Hall. From Philadelphia, Hall has been rated one of the top 30 guitarists under 30 by Acoustic Magazine and is known for using almost all parts of the instrument in his compositions which range from edgy, driving rhythms to soft melodic phrases. He is the creator of the Kalimbatar, a unique combination of guitar and the African finger piano known as the kalimba. Hall has earned the respect of such musicians as Graham Nash, Dar Williams and Will Ackerman. He also always experiments, and some of his latest offerings include electric guitar and electronica. New Year's Resolution can be found on his 2008 CD Finding My Way.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

You Could Put an Eye Out: Gaelic Storm and "Slingshot"



Performed by Gaelic Storm, today's random song is a medley of tunes called Slingshot. 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. Slingshot can be found on their 2006 album Bring Yer Wellies.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Always Welcome: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain"



Today's random song is by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African male choral group. Made world-famous by their collaboration with Paul Simon on his Graceland album in the 1980s, they were formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 and are one of South Africa's most prolific recording groups. Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo out of his family after having a dream in which he heard traditional Zulu harmonies (called isicathamiya). They became so good that they were forbidden to enter isicathamiya competitions after winning a number of them. The group currently comprises a number of Shabalala's sons, cousins and close friends, The group is very socially active, particularly in teaching young South African Zulu children about their music and culture through the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Foundation. You can find this song, Rain Rain Beautiful Rain, on their 2004 album The Very Best.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Benin Party: Laurent Hounsavi and "Mindé Sè"



Mindé Sè is the name of our random tune today, performed by Laurent Hounsavi and his band. Hounsavi is from Benin - so if you are confused by the music which sounds Caribbean you are allowed to be. After winning an award for best young talent in Benin at 15, he moved to Paris at age 17 where he performed in the Metro, cafes and bars while he earned a degree. He released his first CD, a four song EP, in 2000 and later that year drew 50,000 at a concert in Benin. Hounsavi is an African salsa musician who sings in all three Beninese languages (Fon, Yoruba and Goun) and his songs have been marketed in over 100 countries. He has also shared the stage with many other famous African, Afro-Cuban and salsa musicians. You can find Mindé Sè featured on the Putumayo compilation World Party, released in 2007.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Accordion to Him: Samuel Le Hénanff and "C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne"



Today's song, an instrumental called C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne, is by Samuel Le Hénanff. Recognized as one of the best diatonic accordionists of his generation, Hénanff is from Brittany and is steeped in the Breton language and music. Conscious of preserving the music of his region and culture, he studies musicology and is engaged in collecting music to preserve and record. He performs solo, in a duo and in a trio. You can find C'est dans la Ville de Bayonne on his 2009 album Accordion Diatonique.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Berber Shop in France: Lo'Jo and "Alger"



Lo'Jo, a French band that performs songs drawing from world music, gipsy music, North African music and French folk songs, brings us the random tune for today entitled Alger. Lo'Jo began in 1982 in the French city of Angers and performed locally for several years - with a rotating cast of band members and alongside acrobats, street actors, mimes and dancers. They became known worldwide in the 1990s after touring around Europe and appearing in New York City. In 1995 they solidified their lineup by adding Berber musicians Yamina Nid El Mourid and her sister Nadia - which opened the band to influences from North African music. Alger can be found on their 2012 album Cinéma el Mundo.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Children Cry Out: Te Vaka and "Tamaiti Uma"



The random tune for today is called Tamaiti Uma and is by the Oceanic group Te Vaka. From the South Pacific and New Zealand, Te Vaka performs contemporary Oceanic music in a style they call South Pacific fusion. Founded in 1995 by Opetaia Foa'i, they have won a number of awards and have been labeled the most successful contemporary band playing Pacific music by the BBC. They use traditional instruments such as the pate and pa'u (drums) and most of their songs are written in the Tokelauan language, though some songs are in Samoan and Tuvaluan. Tamaiti Uma can be found on their 2011 album Havili. The song's title means "all children."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dying Flames: The Wicked Tinkers and "Last Embers"



Didgeridoo is on the plate in this song by the Wicked Tinkers, an American Celtic group formed in 1995 at the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles. They have appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Ferguson accompanied them on drum during that performance) and on the show Arrested Development. In addition, MMA fighter Keith Jardine has used one of their songs as his entrance music. They have released nine studio albums. This song, Last Embers, can be found on their 2007 album Rant.