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Easter Island’s Only Concert Pianist

Posted April 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I recently saw a BBC feature by a Santiago-based correspondent on a young woman named Mahani Teave who is Easter Island’s only classical pianist. These are the type of stories I find truly inspiring.
When you think of this remote and isolated South Pacific island, you normally think of moai, those huge stone figures whose origins and presence have mystified people for a long time. …

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RIP: Latin Music Loses 2 More Giants

Posted April 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Cheo-Feliciano

We have lost 2 great Latin musicians that will be missed. First, there was percussionist Armando Peraza, who played bongos and congas for Carlos Santana for over 20 years. Once a homeless orphan on the streets of Havana: “I was sleeping on the street…I grew up with a lot of violence,” he told Latin Beat magazine, an LA-based publication.
Peraza taught himself drums and rose …

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Show #48: Celebrating Cesaria Evora

Posted April 18, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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A few days ago, I was in Cape Verde for the Atlantic Music Expo and Kriol Jazz Fest. At this music conference, I met up with a bunch of presenters and journalists and we drove all day up the coast of Santiago, Cape Verde. The driver played nothing but various Cesaria Evora albums all the way. It was a perfect soundtrack to the dry …

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Cape Verde’s Cesaria Evora

Posted April 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I have spent the last week in Cape Verde, 300 miles southwest of Dakar, Senegal. The islands were discovered in 1460 by a Portuguese explorer named Diego Gomes, who was en route to Goa, India. All he found were volcanic islands uninhabited except for a few goats wandering around.
I have come to this country for the music. I featured Cape Verdean music by the …

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Show #47: The Bass

Posted April 11, 2014 by | 0 Comments
barre phillips

I love basslines and good bass players, whether upright, Ampeg “baby basses” as used in tropical latin music, or electric basses used in most pop, blues, and rock music. In hip hop, basslines have given way to synth bass samples which you can hear a mile away. Musicians listen to the basslines when hearing a group.
The old joke goes like this, “A couple goes …

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Karol Conka Hits São Paulo, Brazil

Posted April 7, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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Karol Conka, né Karoline dos Santos Oliveria, is the leading exponent of a new Brazilian style, called, “Funk Ostentação”, also called, “Funk Paulista”, and “Funk of Ostentation”. Conka was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1987. I just came across her music the other day. I didn’t know quite what to make of it.
I consulted with Robert Rogness, my go-to expert on all things Brazilian, …

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Show #46: The Hang

Posted April 4, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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Some instruments when you see them don’t look like what you had thought. The steel pan from Trinidad and Tobago is one. The Jew’s harp is another. And then there is the hang.
It was invented a decade or so ago by a Swiss pair, Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer in Bern. The hang is made of two pieces of metal, then tuned by heating …

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New and Rediscovered Tunes

Posted March 31, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I listen to a fairly big number of albums each week. First I audition, then if I like the music I listen again, maybe in the car, and then if an album really grabs me, I listen with the reference system.
Here are 5 albums I’ve listened to repeatedly and enjoyed a lot.
1.    Valérie Milt & Les Violons du Roy / Concertos for Harp …

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Show #45: The Kora, Africa’s Beautiful Harp Lute

Posted March 28, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The 21-string kora is West Africa’s traditional harp lute. It is part of West African musical history in Senegal, Guinea, Mali, and other countries.  It is a beautiful hand-crafted instrument: a large gourd is fashioned, a round neck is added, and the gourd part is covered in goatskin and ornamented with patterned beadwork. Kora players typically wear the flowing robes that make up traditional …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, MBE Archive, Recollections, RIP »

Remembering Ronald Shannon Jackson

Posted March 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson passed away in October of 2013. He was a powerful drummer in a band that broke down a lot of barriers and blended many genres of music: The Decoding Society. The Decoding Society was more edgy, funky, driving. Looking in my KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic archives and there is my aircheck of an interview I did with him on September …

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