It’s time once again to showcase a mix of new releases that I’ve been enjoying. We begin with the L.A.-based group UNA and a new single called “Vacancy.” This Charles Webster remix (I always liked his work) really caught my ear when I heard it on the air. Look for a full-length album called Noise of the Wing, coming soon.
British singer Hollie Cook next performs a bubbly track called “Survive,” from a forthcoming album Vessel of Love. She is daughter of Paul Cook, the Sex Pistols’ drummer from long ago. I love her voice, the ska-inflected rhythms of her songs, as well as the production.
Master musician Hama Sankaré serves up some propulsive Malian modal groove from his new release Ballebe / Calling All Africans. Although Sankaré has been in the business for 40 years—recording with many of the great Malian artists—this is remarkably the first CD out under his own name. Robert Plant, famous lead singer of Led Zeppelin, then sings the title track from his new CD, Carry Fire. It’s a serendipitous segue from Malian music, which is the source of the blues. Plant loves both kinds of music.
We follow with Portuguese star Gisela João from a new fado collection, Queens of Fado: The Next Generation. Fado, the national song form of Portugal, can be an acquired taste, but once it bites you, you’re hooked. The music is both soft and intense, with a rich, almost classical filigree. The new collection on U.K.’s ARC Music showcases all the new artists on the fado scene. For fans of Amalia Rodrigues, Mariza, and Ana Moura, this new compilation is a must.
One of Brazilian music’s most interesting players, multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal plays multiple overdubbed flutes on our next track, taken from a lost 1976 session unearthed by Far Out Records in England. Then, busy French horn player Ken Wiley is joined by the crème de la crème of the L.A. jazz elite on his new album. Gil Evans always featured multiple French horns in his signature arrangements, and I love the warm sound of the instrument in jazz.
Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia’s new ECM double-CD Pelagos caught my attention with a wonderful interpretation of a song beloved by Arab cultures in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East—Lamma Bada Yatathanna. I’ve heard versions from Spain’s Radio Tarifa, Lebanon’s Fairouz, and even opera giant Placido Domingo recorded a version. We wrap it up this week with the great Kenyan band Orchestre Les Mangelepa with a reissue on the Strut label. It’s great African dance music, full of joy and positive energy.
Check out the softness and the intensity of fado music in Gisela João’s “Meu Amigo Está Longe”:
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 11/3/17
- UNA / “Vacancy” (Charles Webster Remix) / Single / Self Release
- Hollie Cook / “Survive” /Vessel of Love / Merge Records
- Hama Sankare / “Middo Wara” / Ballebe / Calling All Africans / Clermont Music
- Robert Plant /“Carry Fire” / Carry Fire / Nonesuch Records
- Gisela João / “Meu Amigo Está Longe” / Queens of Fado: The Next Generation / ARC Music
- Hermeto Pascoal / “Natal (Temas das Flutas)” / Viajando Com o som (The Lost ‘76 Vice-Versa Session) / Far Out Recordings
- Ken Wiley / “Mingling” / Urban Horn Project / Krug Park Music
- Stefano Battaglia / Lamma Bada Yatathanna” / Pelagos / ECM
- Orchestre Les Mangelepa / “Kanemo” / Last Band Standing / Strut
(Gisela João photo courtesy of HM Musica Marketing)