Johnny Clegg & Juluka - A Johhny Clegg and Juluka Collection (1996)

«How wonderful to finally be able to refer to apartheid, South Africa's former policy of brutally enforced racial exclusion and oppression, in the past tense! However, it is important to never forget how it was back then, and this album provides a virtual time capsule of an audacious period during the long, bitter battle for equality. In the '70s, a white, English-born, South Africa-based singer named Johnny Clegg spent several months living among the Zulus, learning their music and dances. When he returned to urban pursuits, he and Sipho Mchuno, a local black musician, had the guts, or inspired insanity, to start an interracial band. They called themselves Juluka (Zulu for "sweat"), and eventually achieved widespread popularity among South African blacks and whites alike. But, even so, their existence was a threat to the status quo and they lived in constant danger of arrest or worse. As their fame grew, they reached audiences throughout the world with their incongruously joyous blend of conscious lyrics, mbaqanga (township jive), traditional Zulu folklore, and hook-laden Western pop. The present compilation of ten infectious tunes gathered from six albums makes it very obvious how this gentle insurrection gained so many adherents. Mchuno eventually left in search of a more traditional sound while Clegg went on to found a later group called Savuka, but together they had fired a well-aimed shot straight into the evil heart of apartheid when it was very dangerous to do so, and lived to tell the tale.» (AMG)

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Thierry "Titi" Robin - Un Ciel de Cuivre (2000)

«Thierry Robin, known as “Titi”, the self-taught musician born at the end of the fifties in western France, has created a musical world for himself instinctively assimilating elements in response to his need to express himself. The two worlds in which he has navigated daily and that have both directly and deeply influenced him are the gipsy and oriental cultures.

Before the World Music trend was born, these communities were open and encouraging to him while French mainstream music struggled with his approach. Arab and gipsy community celebrations provided him with the opportunity to test his original musical sound against these rich traditions from which he took his inspiration while never imitating them, obstinately looking for the best way in which to express himself as a contemporary artist. The musicians accompanying him were almost all from these minority groups. The two artists of major importance to him were the flamenco cantaor Camaron de la Isla and the Iraqi master oud player Munir Bachir.

At the beginning of the eighties he began to compose in an extremely personal style that has stayed with him since. In 1984 he produced himself (playing the guitar, the oud and the bouzouki) in a duet with Hameed Khan, the Indian tablas player from Jaipur, performing both on stage and in local festivities, clubs and oriental restaurants. His repertory (instrumental) grew little by little, just as the foundations of his improvisational style. […]While working on the instrumental duo with Hameed Khan, mixing melodic improvisations and light-hearted rhythmical duels, Thierry Robin met the Breton singer Erik Marchand, a representative of what he considered to be the richest folk and traditional culture to be found near his region of birth. Together they would develop a repertory of compositions using quarter tone modes and the marriage of the Taqsîm style of oriental modal improvisation and the Gwerz, the very ancient monophonic lament that the singer is one of the few to preserve alongside Yann Fanch Kemener. Ocora Radio-France sent them into the recording studio: An Henchou Treuz (1990) was awarded the Charles Cros Academy Grand Prize. It was the beginning of the meeting of two duos that would turn into the “Erik Marchand Trio”, for which Thierry Robin composes and arranges the best part of its repertory. […]

With this group, Titi Robin had become known above all as an oud player. Gitans, released in January 1993, would better define the musician’s world, introducing the bouzouki and guitar player. It is a homage by the artist to the gipsy community that taught him so much. […] In 2000 “Un ciel de Cuivre” was released, an album that Titi Robin believes best represents his musical universe in all its diversity. Fifteen guest musicians include Farid “Roberto” Saadna, Gulabi Sapera, Keyvan Chemirani, François Laizeau, Renaud Pion, Negrito Trasante, Francis-Alfred Moerman,… Speaking of this album, Titi Robin said : “This new record is not performed by a precise orchestra, unlike Payo Michto or Kali Gadji, that precede it. It bears witness to the diversity of my influences and, I hope, to the coherency of my aesthetic universe. Gipsy cultures, both Mediterranean and Balkan, are still very present, but this is above all a personal vision of the world that I want to express through these musical marriages that make up my everyday life. This album, just like the record Gitans released in 1993, is a voyage, each melody has a particular flavour, each rhythm a story, the geography of its cultural origins is a mirror image of the traveller’s inner landscape. There are intimist melodies and festive rumbas, grief-stricken chants and a gipsy lullaby, highly-orchestrated dance music and calm trios, snowy mountains and sunny shores, blood, spices and honey, and many other things that you may discover before I do…”.» (Read moreFrançais)

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Oran, Algeria (1930s)

Cheikha Remitti - Aux Sources du Raï (1994)

«Definitely the first Lady of rai, Cheikha Remitti was born Saadia in the small town of Relizane in Oran. She was orphaned at an early age and as a young woman, made her daily bread by working as a dancer with a group of cheiks who performed rural music in the streets of Oran. She subsequently began to sing, performing husky and sensuous songs about the hard living and hard loving of the Algerian poor. Such songs were not new; indeed, they were a traditional feature of Algerian women's private wedding celebrations, but Remitti was one of the first to make the songs public and commercially viable, eschewing all the protocols of decency in singing of physical passion and lust. At first by word of mouth, Remitti's fame began to spread; she gained her name after buying her fans round after round of drinks to the call of "remettez" (fill them up) in a bar she happened upon during a rain storm. Remitti recorded her first records in 1936 and had to suffer criticism from the more orthodox of Muslims as well as the colonial French rulers and later from the Marxist government of post-Independence Algeria, although she had sung in support of the latter during their long struggle for national self-determination. Nevertheless, Remitti remained popular during her long years of active performing and recording. She enjoyed a revival of interest in the 1990s.» (The Leopard Man’s African Music Guide)

«They call Cheikha Remitti (the Cheikha is an honorific) the grandmother of rai for a reason -- she began singing in 1936, and since then has consistently pushed at the boundaries and limits of rai, even as she's helped define it. This live set, recorded at the Institut Du Monde Arabe in France, doesn't include versions of her earliest recordings, from 1952, but does include her singing the song which brought her to both fame and notoriety, "Charrag, Gataa," a song that broached the taboo subject of virginity, and suggested it was something best done away with, daring words from a woman in Algeria at that time. That song established her, and four years later "Debri Debri" consolidated her position as the first lady of rai. Accompanied here by gasba, derbouka, and guellal, she sings through some of her catalog (she's been a prolific composer over the years). This is real roots rai, with no affectations or modern thoughts, but the sound of Oran that's always been the bedrock of Remitti's music, with the undulation of the desert and the rich Berber past. In other words, it's probably not for someone who's just discovered rai or Remitti: this is very hardcore, demanding time and patience. But it's obvious the audience is entranced, clapping along, whooping in the appropriate places, and relishing this rare opportunity to hear someone who's become one of the genre's legends exploring her past.» (AMG)

Interview with Cheikha Remitti here

Other Profiles: العربية / Français / Deutsch / Italiano

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Armenian Navy Band - Natural Seeds (2005)

«Music is considered a crucial means of communication by the founder of The Armenian Navy Band, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, a percussionist and vocalist of Armenian descent. Arto claims music as his instrument of choice to express his highest aspirations: love, respect and truth.

The Armenian Navy Band’s compositions are all originals of Arto Tunçboyaciyan which, he insists, “have the sound of my life”. This music is founded on Armenian and Anatolian musical traditions and infused with jazz and contemporary culture. Arto’s compositions embrace sounds from generations past as well as present this is what he calls “avant-garde folk”. As such, the Armenian Navy Band represents the synthesis of Arto's musical journey and life experiences.

The Armenian Navy Band is composed of twelve of the finest of Armenia’s contemporary musicians, ranging in age from 20 to 45. The instruments include the traditional – duduk, zurna, kemanche, kanun – and the contemporary – trombone, alto sax, tenor, soprano sax, trumpet, bass, drums, keyboard and piano. Together with the unique vocals and percussion and sazabo of Arto, the band’s sound is a sort of aural journey from the past to the future.

The band’s first European tour in February/March 2000 was successfully received in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain. Their next tour, later that year, included Sardinia, France, Bruxelles and Holland, ending with a stop in Istanbul for the recording of the album New Apricot under the Turkish label Imaj Müzik. This was followed by another brief tour in March 2001 and an extended European Summer/Fall tour through to November 2001.

The Armenian Navy Band’s 2004 album Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seeds is a nearly 50-minute-long composition in eleven parts, which is dedicated to nature. Natural Seeds takes the listener along part of the path of life that Arto Tunçboyaciyan and his musicians have traveled. The recording equally represents the return to the origins of the musical “seed” of the The Armenian Navy Band; the tremendous joy and affection which the band’s musicians feel with and for each other in the here and now of their life together – also outside the recording studios and stages; as well as the hopeful, self-confident view to the future. For Arto Tunçboyaciyan, the project Sound of Our Life is a never-ending musical documentation of the future.» (WorldMusicCentral)

If you like Natural Seeds, check also New Apricot.

Official Site: click here

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Iva Nova - Iva Nova (2003)

«Iva Nova was formed in St.Petersburg in 2002, when five young Russian ladies met to create a new collective of musicians.

All of them had had vast experience of playing at gigs with various groups and having found themselves to be really kindred souls, they started off their joint career, naturally and courageously combining the tunes and instrumentation of traditional Slavonic music with the energy and attitude of punk.

Their original songs with tunes and lyrics based on the riches of the folklore, are catchy and sensitive. Fuzzy dirt-simple guitar riffs and explosively frenetic percussion supported by the poignant bass and the energy of jazzy accordion fill their performance with both rural restlessness and urban craziness.

Iva Nova's sound is driving and powerful, their live acting is cheerful and often humorous: this high-spirited music will hardly leave anybody untouched.» (More info at MoreZvukov.nl)

Official site: http://www.iva-nova.ru/

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Afro Funk - Body Music (1973)

I don’t know much about this rare LP, except that Afro Funk were from Ghana and Body Music was released by Kabana Records in 1973 (presumably, both in their own country and in the UK). It’s a nice example of Afro-funk, anyway, worthy of your attention. Have fun!

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Note: Please, before asking me to reupload a file, check all the host sites – one or two links could still be active, even if the others are not. Thanks, Radu


Postcards from Italy (58) - Parco del Valentino, Torino

Ravi Shankar - India's Master Musician (1963)

«One of Ravi Shankar's first Western recordings – made at London's Abbey Road Studios in 1963 (a full two years before George Harrison was introduced to Shankar's music) and originally released in the U.S. on the tiny jazz-oriented indie World Pacific – India's Master Musician makes some slight concessions toward the untutored Western audience. The liner notes are almost teacherly in their dry explication of Indian musical forms, and the five brief pieces (the longest, "Raga Charu Keshi," clocks in at a mere 13 and a half minutes, which by the expansive standards of Indian classical music is downright Ramones-like in its brevity) do little more than introduce a theme, suggest some variations, and conclude. Yet for all that, there is no attempt here to dumb down this difficult but rewarding music for Western ears, and the occasional resemblances to Western musical forms, like the almost jazz-like call-and-response section between Shankar and his sidemen, tabla player Kanai Dutt and tamboura player Nodu C. Mullick, are entirely coincidental. This is an excellent introduction not only to Ravi Shankar, but to Indian classical music in general.» (AMG)

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Batata y su Rumba Palenquera - Radio Bakongo (2003)

«Fans of Afro-Latin roots music will love this album. Setuagenarian percussionist, singer and songwriter Paulino Salgado “Batata” hails from the village of San Basilio de Palenque, hidden away in an isolated mountain range close to Colombia's Caribbean coast. This is the legendary “village of the Cimarróns”, founded four centuries ago by Africans who had escaped the slave port of nearby Cartagena. They successfully defended it from attack by the Spanish, who eventually gave up and “granted” them their freedom.

Batata and his excellent band specialise in son palenquera and champeta, and may already have come to your attention through the inclusion of the track Ataole on the Champeta Criolla Vol. 2 compilation. That CD focussed largely on Cartagena's sound system based form of champeta, a newish hybrid style which cannibalises pan-African and indigenous Colombian influences, spicing them up with mucho shouting and sometimes irritating use of trashy effects. What might be a lot of fun at a rum-fuelled street party makes for a sometimes wearing experience in other contexts. Thankfully Batata's band stick to a much rootsier groove, employing tiple, accordion, brass, twinkling soukous guitar, plenty of drummers and call-and-response vocals to create their hypnotic grooves.

Batata belongs to a famed dynasty of drummers and got his first break in the 1960s when he joined Toto la Momposina's group and toured with her for the next two decades. She's also recorded a number of his songs. The sleevenotes tellingly describe him as “the Wendo Kolosoy of Colombia”, and like that grand old man of Congolese rumba, he has a deliciously off-key lived in voice.

There is also good use of several guest musicians from the Congo and Nigeria – the parts of Africa which the Cimarróns originally came from – thus completing the trans-Atlantic circle of influence that gave rise to this vibrant music. Africa in America offers up yet another wonderful surprise.» (BBC)

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Cacai Nunes - O Avesso (2006)

A great instrumental album from Brazil, introducing us to the multi-faceted and fascinating sound of the viola caipira, made available by the artist himself in his nice blog Acervo Origens.
Bravo, Cacai!

«Pernambucano criado em Brasília, Cacai Nunes é parte de uma geração de músicos que vem desenvolvendo uma linguagem musical contemporânea, com a cara de Brasília. A cidade em que se criou serve de inspiração: moderna, arrojada, diferente e com influências culturais de todo o país. Brasília é campo fértil para o surgimento de uma personalidade musical nova.

Cacai Nunes começou seus estudos de viola caipira em 2001 na Escola de Música de Brasília com Marcos Mesquita. Em 2003 passou a estudar e, posteriormente, trabalhar com Roberto Corrêa revisando sua obra em partitura, que seria publicada no livro Composições.

A viola caipira foi trazida para o Brasil pelos portugueses ainda na época da colonização e rapidamente se misturou às culturas aqui presentes. Por isso, a viola é muito popular no Brasil e usado em todo o território nacional, tocada de maneira variada, conforme as tradições de cada região. Isso faz da viola caipira um instrumento muito rico em possibilidades, fortemente identificado com as tradições populares.

Cacai Nunes, lançou em agosto de 2006 seu primeiro disco intitulado O Avesso, apresentando suas composições, ora solo, ora com arranjos para banda, com toques mais modernos e arrojados. No cd, arranjos de Pixinguinha, Chiquinha Gonzaga e Dilermando Reis, ganham nova cara na viola caipira.» (more at CacaiNunes.com)

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Docteur Nico & l'Orchestre African Fiesta (1975)

«Hailed throughout Africa as "le Dieu de la Guitare," Nicolas Kasanda was born of Baluba parentage on 7 July 1939 in Mikalayi in the Kasai province of the then Belgian Congo. His father played accordion. In 1950, aged 11, Nico was introduced to Opika Studios by his cousin Tino Baroza and older brother Mwamba Déchaud who were session musicians there. At 14, he joined Joseph Kabaselle's African Jazz. In 1957 he took up electric guitar and can be heard playing electric guitar on 'Sophie ya motema,' recorded in 1960. In 1961 he temporarily split with Kabaselle and formed African Jazz Aile Nico before returning to Kabaselle in 1962 and 1963. (Vincent Luttman cautions that some of the early Surboum African Jazz recordings of this period thought to be featuring Nico are played by Tino Barozo. Luttman also points out, very perceptively, that Nico's later signature choppy guitar style when he is chording behind a vocalist, is based on Manu Dibango's piano technique: which was his own unique version of the montuno piano style he brought to collaborations with Kabaselle.) Young Nicolas Kasanda graduated with honours from high school and went on to college, while keeping his night job as Leopoldville's hottest young guitarist. He taught auto mechanics at the Christian Brothers school in N'djili district, Kinshasa, which earned him the nickname 'Docteur.'

Nico quit teaching and broke away from African Jazz to form African Fiesta in 1963 with Tabu Ley Rochereau, brother Déchaud, Kwamy, Mujos, Depuissant on conga and bassist Joseph Mwena. The band was joined by Roger's brother Faugus Izeidi on third guitar, with Paul Mizele and a Congolese woman singer (with a Greek name) Photas Myosotis ("Forget-me-not") on vocals; Dominique "Willy" Kuntima doubled Jeef Mingiedi on trumpet. [Information from Gary Stewart's book Rumba On The River.] When Rochereau split in 1965 to form African Fiesta National, Nico reformed his group as African Fiesta Sukisa, which existed until 1973. They ruled the roost in the late sixties, with endless hits. However, in 1969, the entire band, except his brother Déchaud, walked out because they felt they weren't getting their due. Nico quickly assembled a new band that included Josky Kiambukuta and Lessa Lassan on vocals. Bopol Mansiamina joined on guitar in 1970 and they kept it together for a few more years. Success eluded Docteur Nico in later life and he drank heavily, leading to his early death in a Belgian hospital on 22 September 1985. His improvisations are so surprisingly fluid and ecstatic that he truly earned the nickname 'God of the Guitar.' » (Muzikifan – Click for an almost complete discography)

This outing was originally released in 1967 (with sides reversed) under the title African Fiesta sous la direction du Docteur Nico

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Tcheka - Nu Monda (2005)

«Following the recent eruption of great women singers from Cape Verde, along comes a new sound from a young man named Tcheka. Having penned the opening and closing tracks for Lura's acclaimed debut album, this summer he will tour with the great "barefoot diva" Cesaria Evora, who brought Cape Verde to the world on the waves of her soulful morna. While the world has heard the female voice emanating from the Cape Verdean islands, Tcheka, fed and nurtured by these women, brings a new perspective with his album, Nu Monda.

While alluding to the musical traditions of his native island of Santiago, Tcheka's sound is entirely unique to his personal style. As a young boy, he performed alongside his father, a popular violinist at the island's village dances and festivities. But it was the songs of the women that appealed to him. He was enchanted by the beat of batuque, a traditional style rich with collective memory and popular identity, originally developed by Santiago's women to get around the ban on drums by the Church and the Portuguese colonial authorities. Batuque was first played by women after work in the fields. Sitting in a circle, they tapped on a bundle of cloth, normally made of piled loincloths that they rolled up and held between their legs. The style is still played in Santiago today, though some aspects have been adapted. Young Tcheka heard these rhythms and dreamt of widening the appeal of batuque, turning it into a beat that everyone would love. And so he continued the trend that the women began by improvising and adapting tradition, taking the time-honored rhythms out of the fields and transposing them to guitar.

The island of Santiago is one of ten in the Cape Verdean archipelago, a former Portuguese colony midway between Portugal, Angola, and Brazil, not quite African nor European, but influenced by both. Too far apart for a convenient and safe boat ride and too expensive to fly between, islanders rarely travel from one island to another. This isolation gives each island its own unique musical style and blend of influences. Santiago is considered the "most African" of the islands, and a new, homegrown style is emerging in Tcheka's music – a different sound from the sweet sorrow of Evora's morna, which is related to Portuguese fado and Brazilian modinha.

"Nobody knows where Tcheka's style came from," says Paris-based Jose da Silva, who manages both Tcheka and Evora and has done much to bridge Cape Verdean music with the rest of the world. "His town has one bar and nobody there sounds like Tcheka. It is a mystery."» (Read more at RockPaperScissors)

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Postcards from Italy (56) - Rome

L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio - Sona (2006)

«15 musicians from 11 countries and 3 continents, speaking in 8 different languages thrown together to create an absolutely novel music. World Music in the true sense of the word, music from Planet Earth, the globe in its entirety. The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio represents a unique experience, perhaps the first of its kind. Each musician brought to the orchestra their instruments and personal backgrounds of traditional music creating a fusion of cultures, old and new sounds, unknown instruments, memories, distant yet universal melodies, and voices from around the world. And when the orchestra begins to play, rhetoric goes out the window, swept away by the sheer carnal and visceral force of their music, which eclipses vague discussions of “good” and “right”. It is evocative music that manages to be free and structured at the same time, bound to millennial traditions and yet open to the future. Music that gets hands clapping and entrances a broad range of listeners, from the more refined to the more distracted. Music you can sing to, dance to, and listen to in peace and quiet. Music that belongs to everyone, for everyone. The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio is a “product” without a target. A marvellous anomaly in the contaminated sea of pop music that can’t be pigeonholed into a specific category. There’s an entire world there for the understanding and enjoyment: free your minds and listen. Since its debut in November 2002, the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio has performed in over 250 concerts in Italy and abroad including New York, Buenos Aires, Paris, Melbourne, Vienna, the Berlin Jazz Festival, Köln, Nuremberg, and Switzerland. It has produced 2 CDs, their debut album L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio in 2004 and Sona in 2006, as well as the CD Made in Piazza Vittorio which can be found in the special edition DVD set. “The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio” is also the name of our feature-length film: a film-diary that narrates the genesis of the Orchestra.» (OPV’s MySpace site)

Official Site: http://www.orchestradipiazzavittorio.it/

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Ojos De Brujo - Vengue (2001)

«Originally more of a collective than a band, the Barcelona-based flamenco fusion group Ojos de Brujo, which translates to Eyes of the Wizard, came together in the mid-'90s when guitarist Ramon Giménez began playing with likeminded experimental musicians like singer Marina "La Canillas" Abad and percussionist Xavi Turull, trying to find out what kind of sound they could create. In 1999, as an official group, Ojos de Brujo issued their first album, a completely self-produced and self-recorded release, Vengue. With a lineup that consisted of Giménez; Abad; turntablist DJ Panko; percussionists Sergio Ramos, Turull, and Maxwell Wright; and guitarist Paco Lomeña, Ojos de Brujo went on to record (again, all aspects of the process were done by the band) 2002's Barí, which was followed by an extensive world tour. Besides increasing their fan base, the tour also introduced them to other musicians from around the world. These meetings inspired the bandmembers to continue developing their sound, and their next album, 2006's Techarí, saw the inclusion of Cuban trumpet player Carlos Sarduy.» (AMG)

«Ojos de Brujo is one of the most strikingly original bands of the new millennia. There is no one quite like them; not only because of their vibrant, seemingly supernatural musicality, but also because of their radical contemporary edge and strong collective spirit. They reflect their Spanish and gypsy roots, but travel light years beyond the traditional flamenco sound.» (more at SixDegreesRecords)

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Piet Mondrian - Still Life with Ginger Jar II

Piet Mondrian, Still Life with Ginger Jar II. / Stilleven met gemberpot II (1911/12). Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 120 cm. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague, Netherlands.

The Klezmatics - Possessed (1997)

«The Klezmatics take one of the wildest approaches to klezmer, the traditional dance music of the Eastern European Jews. Although their music is heavily influenced by the recordings of Abe Ellstein and Dave Tarras in the 1940s and 1950s, their lyrics comment on a wide variety of political and social issues and have led the group to be labeled "the planet's radical Jewish roots band."

Much of Possessed is a collaboration with Tony Kushner (the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright of Angels in America). He contributes lyrics to two songs, and the second half of the album was designed as a musical score for his play A Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds (an adaptation of Jewish folk tales by S. An-ski). The marriage of artistic sensibilities is perfect. The Klezmatics' ethos is at once deeply traditional and deeply progressive. Their music is a lively engagement with Jewishness itself, inflecting Eastern European klezmer music with other genres so seamlessly that it seems misleading even to name the other influences (classical, Dixieland, bebop, Middle Eastern folk, modern rock...). Their song catalog includes religious traditionals, but it also includes original Hebraic odes to marijuana and homosexuality. All of which is very much in line with Kushner's endless quest to sort out his own disparate influences as a gay, Jewish, democratic-socialist, Louisiana-born, New York-adopted artiste. The collaboration has afforded the Klezmatics an opportunity to expand their palette. While there is plenty of their familiar frenzied spiritual party music, there is also some gorgeously evocative minor-key mysticism. The titular theme of possession is, on its face, a reference to the ghost story in A Dybbuk, but it's best explained by Kushner in his smart, funny, gushing liner notes. "Are we not possessed," he asks, "by the multitudes we contain, not only multitudes of observant and unobservant brave martyred ancestors...but of all the cultures through which we have wandered, which we have helped to shape, in which we were at home and never at home?" That's a pretty good description of the Klezmatics' music, which is itself a singularly Jewish assimilation of multitudinous influences.» (AMG)

Scheda di presentazione in Italiano

Official site: http://www.klezmatics.com/

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Dabin Gabiré - Afriki Djamana: Music from Burkina Faso (1994)

«Gabin Dabirè è nato a Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso da una famiglia di sangue reale del gruppo etnico Dagari e approda in Europa, prima in Danimarca e poi in Italia, alla metà degli anni ‘70, per completare gli studi superiori. Immediato il suo contatto con un ”area” musicale alternativa europea, le cui vie lo conducono fra il ‘77 e il ‘78 a lunghi soggiorni di studio in India. A Milano nel 1983 crea il Centro Diffusione Promozione Cultura per promuovere la musica e la cultura africana. Nel 1986 si trasferisce in Toscana, nell’area del Chianti (dove vive tuttora), e l’anno seguente pubblica il suo primo CD, “Kontomé”; alcuni anni dopo, nel 1994, pubblica il suo secondo CD “Afriki Djamana” per l’etichetta Amiata Records. I lavori da lui pubblicati contengono perlopiù composizioni originali ispirati a ritmi e sonorità tradizionali ma con giri armonici caratteristici della moderna musica dell’Africa occidentale.» (Musica dei Popoli)

«Gabin Dabiré's music has universal appeal, it speaks beyond the narrow confines of Burkina Faso or even Africa. […] However, he is truly original in layering various sounds over each other. Each song is indelibly stamped with Dabire's unmistakable trademark tapestry whereby the sound of one instrument is woven into the next, creating sparkling sound waves.

Born in Bobo Dioulasso in the African state of Burkina Faso, Gabin Dabire’s first experiences in music were taking lessons from and playing with the great masters of the traditional music of Burkina Faso. In 1975 he travelled to Denmark and it was while studying there that he was first exposed to alternative European and contemporary music. In 1976 he toured in Italy and afterwards embarked on a study trip of chordophones and Indian percussion. In 1979 his collection of ethnic music of Western Africa was published by the cultural association and music group ‘Futuro Antico’, which he co-founded. In 1980 he formed the group ‘Yelbuna’ with some musician friends of his country, and performed with them in several Italian cities.

In order to consolidate the wide-ranging activities he was involved in, including music, cinema and theatre, he founded the ‘Centro Diffusione Promozione Cultura’ (Culture Promotion Diffusion Centre) in Milan in 1983. This enabled him to present various aspects of African Culture. In 1986 he moved to Tuscany with his family where he organised concerts, produced the record Futuro Antico and completed the recording of his first Cd Kontome (Spirits), which was released the following year. In 1992 he started to expand his repertoire to include crossover music, resulting in a successful collaboration with the Gregorian choir Santa Cecilia.

In 1994 his second Cd entitled Afriki Djamana was released by the label Amiata Records. The multi-faceted career of this composer and musician has caused him constantly to research new timbres and sonorities. He has kept his African origins despite using instruments of other continents and working with western musicians.

The group ‘Gabin Dabire and Musicians’ is inspired by Dabire’s compositions, using harmonies that maintain the character of African music. The collaboration with the saxophone player Daniele Malvisi and the drummer and percussionist Paolo Corsi, who are both very open minded towards new musical horizons, has allowed Gabin Dabire and his brother Paul to explore sonorities and rhythms that have created music that is unique.» (Wikipedia – Click for complete discography)

Other useful links:

Dabin Gabiré’s Official Site

Amiata Records Secret World Catalogue

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Gang Chenpa - Voices from Tibet (1999)

«Muziek uit het land van de sneeuw. Puuren zuiver. Helemaal zoals het tot veertig jaar geleden in Tibetgeklonken heeft. Zo willen Namgyal Lhamo, Kelsang Chukie Tethong enTobden Gyamtso van Gang Chenpa – ‘Mensen uit het land van de sneeuw’ – zingen. In het huidige Tibet is dat vrijwel onmogelijk. Veertig jaar Chineseoverheersing heeft haar sporen nagelaten. Daarmee is het traditioneleTibetaanse repertoire in Tibet zelf in één klap obscuur geworden.

De generatie die de afgelopen decennia in Tibet is opgegroeid, kent detraditionele liederen niet meer van eigen horen, laat staan door zezelf te zingen. Traditionele instrumenten, zoals de dragnen – deTibetaanse luit – en de gyumang – een veelsnarig hakkebord – wordensteeds minder bespeeld.

Gang Chenpa bestaat uit Tibetaanse zangers in ballingschap. Dezusters Namgyal Lhamo (1956) en Kelsang Chukie (1957) kwamen als kindal naar India. Vanwege de betrokkenheid van hun vader bij het verzettegen de Chinese annexatie van Tibet, werden zij in de jaren zestiggedwongen hun geboorteland Nepal te verlaten. Tobden Gyamtso (1964)raakte eind jaren tachtig betrokken bij anti–Chinese demonstraties inde Tibetaanse hoofdstad Lhasa, werd gearresteerd en vluchtte beginjaren negentig naar India.

Namgyal, Chukie en Tobden ontmoetten elkaar in 1996 in Argentinië opde filmset van Seven years in Tibet. Hun zang is in sommige scènes opde achtergrond te horen. Tijdens het langdurig verblijf in Argentiniëen het vele wachten tussen de verschillende scènes herkenden Namgyal,Chukie en Tobden hun geestverwantschap.
Alle drie willen ze de traditionele Tibetaanse muziek levend houden.Niet als doel op zich. Niet omwille van de traditie zelf. Maar omdatje, zoals Namgyal het zegt ‘geen ander kostuum moet aantrekken voordatje weet dat je eigen kostuum je lekker zit.’ Ze zingen en spelenTibetaanse licht klassieke liederen zoals die gezongen werden tijdensfeesten en partijen. Ze zingen liefdesliederen, bergliedjes, liedjesdie gezongen werden tijdens het werk op het land of in de werkplaatsen.

Gang Chenpa put uit de eerste hand. Namgyal, Chukie en Tobden hebbenhun liederen en hun zangtechniek geleerd van mensen die voor 1959 inTibet vrijuit konden zingen en spelen. Namgyal en Chukie kregen inDharamsala les van grootheden uit de Tibetaanse traditie, zoals dezangleraren Lhutsa en Majalhama, die inmiddels beide zijn overleden. Zezingen en spelen op dit album zoals ze dat ook op een podium zoudendoen. Geen enkele stem en geen enkel instrument is dubbel opgenomen.Tijdens het zingen voeren ze dezelfde rituele dansen op als ze tijdenseen optreden zouden doen – dat hoor je misschien niet, maar je merkthet wel aan de timing, aan het gevoel waarmee gezongen wordt, aan dediepgang van de muziek.

Gang Chenpa vult de leemte met The Voices of Tibet overtuigend. Vooralle muziekliefhebbers in de wereld. Maar vooral ook voor Tibetaanseoren – in het buitenland en zo mogelijk in Tibet zelf. Al zal datlaatste, gezien de politieke situatie, voorlopig nog een droom blijven.» (Musicworlds.nl)

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Mimesis II

Boubacar Traoré - Kar Kar (1992)

«Boubacar Traore has been dodging musical stardom for most of his life. People called him Kar Kar, “a nickname I got from playing soccer when I was young. People would yell 'Kari, Kari' – dribble, dribble – the name stuck with me.” In his youth, Boubacar Traore was known as the Malian Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley. People woke up every day to hear him singing on the radio. His most popular song at that time was “Mali Twist” which he has likened to a national anthem for the newly independent nation of Mali.

Traore put his music on hold for the better part of 20 years while he worked at other ventures he believed would better support his family. After the death of his beloved wife, Pierette, he moved to Paris for work, and re-emerged as a musician.

Traore is an artist who has affected an entire generation. His is the voice of a nation, its hopes and its fears. He is a storyteller, and his songs deal with daily living, the many facets of love, political conditions and solidarity. Sometimes they are small parables, resonant with meanings we'll never be able to understand, but clear to his friends. Perhaps the final words are best said by one of his peers, Ali Farka Toure: “If the maximum is five, I give ten to Kar Kar”.» (CalabashMusic)

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Levellers - A Weapon Called The Word (1990)

«The Levellers' first full-length release, after a well-received pair of EPs, falls somewhere in between the Mekons in the middle of their political-folky days and the hard-edged trad folk-rock of the Oyster Band, with a foreshadowing of Ani DiFranco's direct folk-punk as well. More rock than folk, but obviously rooted in traditional British folk idioms, A Weapon Called the Word is a tough, occasionally strident call to arms that wisely couches its agenda in unexpectedly catchy choruses and memorable melodies. From the fiddle-driven opener "World Freak Show" through the singles "No Change" and "The Ballad of Robbie Jones," the scruffy quintet play with the passion of folkies and the intensity of young punks. Some tracks work better than others […] but the best songs on A Weapon Called the Word have an astringent power.» (AMG)

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