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Show #156: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted April 29, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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We start this week’s new releases show with the incredibly eclectic Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble. The Silk Road ensemble comprises so many different musicians and cultures. You have to credit the brilliance of Yo-Yo Ma — he’s a classical cellist, after all, he doesn’t have to stretch out like this — but I’m glad he does.
We …

African, Artist Spotlight, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My 1989 Interview with Papa Wemba

Posted April 27, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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As I wrote in a blog post earlier this week, Congolese rumba great Papa Wemba performed in L.A. a few times in the late 1980′s, first at the Executive Club and later as a star in an African musical at the Pantages Theater, in a show called Africa Oye. That’s where I caught him in 1989.
Africa Oye was extended into a two-week run, an …

African, Artist Spotlight, RIP »

Papa Wemba, Congolese Soukous Superstar and Sapeur RIP

Posted April 24, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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While most people are mourning the tragic death of Prince, I just found out that another great musician died earlier today. Congolese superstar Papa Wemba was performing onstage in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Saturday night when he collapsed. He was 66. It’s always sad to see one of your heroes die, and it’s even more poignant when they are younger than you.
I met Wemba (b. …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #155: Bach Cello Suites Celebrated by 8 Great Cellists

Posted April 22, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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This is kind of an experimental show. Bach wrote six beautiful suites for solo cello, and I want to showcase two of them through interpretations by eight different cellists. The cello is probably the closest instrument to the human voice in terms of range and pitch. The form even resembles a human body (think Man Ray’s 1924 photo of …

African, Art, Literature & Film, film, Jazz, Music History, music phenomena, world music »

The Armenian-Ethiopian Musical Connection

Posted April 20, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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The Éthiopiques (Ethiopian in French) collection of Ethopian popular music is certainly extensive; 28 volumes produced so far to my knowledge on France’s Buda Musique label, and probably more volumes have appeared since #28. The series was founded by an enterprising Frenchman named Francis Falceto, who went to Addis Abbaba in 1984 in search of Ethiopian popular music after hearing an Ethiopian LP by chance at …

African, Artist Spotlight, Music History, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP, world music »

Malick Sidibe, the “Eye of Bamako”, 1936-2016 RIP

Posted April 18, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Malick Sidibé, Malian photographer, has died at 80. Sidibé’s black and white photos captured the golden era of Malian music and culture during the 1960′s, a time of optimism, pride, pan-africanism, and joy. With the death of fellow Malian photographer Seydou Keita (1921-2001), Sidibé had been the only remaining photographic chronicler of a golden age.
Sidibé’s photos are full of post-independence joy. People came to his …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, French, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #154: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted April 15, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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This show features some of my favorite new releases, starting off with that most-Cuban of all New York tropical latin outfits, Los Hacheros (The Hatchets). The vocalist reminds me of all that I loved about Ibrahim Ferrer, the late star vocalist with the Buena Vista Social Club. The new album is filled with that catchy, soulful, sabor cubano that …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Duke Ellington Celebrated in New Rizzoli Book

Posted April 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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April is Jazz Appreciation Month, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s classic 1921 musical Shuffle Along is about to hit big on Broadway, so it’s only fitting that I praise a wonderful and timely new book about Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon, written by Mercedes Ellington and Steven Brower, a beautifully illustrated gem just published by Rizzoli.
There have been many books about the great jazz composer …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, French, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Lisa Simone Headlines at the Olympia in Paris This Thursday, April 14

Posted April 11, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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It’s been said that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, film, Jazz, Latin, Middle East, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #153: The Oud, Lute, and Guitar; Also, Remembering Gato Barbieri

Posted April 8, 2016 by | 11 Comments
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This week’s show is divided into two parts. In the first half, we hear tracks to compare three solo plucked instruments — the oud, the lute, and the guitar. Then we feature three songs by Latin jazz saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, who passed away recently. I reminisced about my 1977 interview with Gato in a blog post earlier this week.
The oud, the lute, and the …

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