African, music phenomena, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #168: Songs from Birds, Frogs, Whales, and…Even Humans!

Posted July 22, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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I will admit – this is an experimental playlist. I’ve had all these CD’s and LP’s out for some time, while I contemplated whether a show featuring and inspired by the melodic sounds from our animal friends made any sense. Now that I’ve recorded it, I’m still not sure whether all you listeners will find it interesting. But with all the screaming and …

Audiophiles, Music History, music phenomena »

L.A.’s Musical Treasure Chest

Posted July 20, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I’m about to record an unusual program featuring non-human music…think whales, insects, frogs, and birds. For this show, I pulled out an obscure 1986 LP by composer Graeme Revell called The Insect Musicians. It was my first encounter with this prolific composer, who more recently has been successful in film composing.
What I noticed when pulling out the record was that I purchased it from Tower Records many …

Asia, Classical, music phenomena »

The Piano in China: From a Royal Gift to International Superstars

Posted July 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I once read that when pianos first started arriving in China in the 19th century, people were afraid of what they heard; it sounded like bones were rattling inside. Actually, the first keyboard arrived in China in 1601, when an Italian Jesuit missionary named Matteo Ricci brought a clavichord (a precursor to the modern piano) with him to Beijing. Later Jesuits also brought keyboards to …

Classical, music phenomena »

Musical Goosebumps and Where they Come From

Posted July 11, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I’ve read so many books on music and the brain that sometimes I forget which information comes from which book, among them Daniel Levitin‘s This is Your Brain on Music as well as the late Oliver Sacks‘ Musicophilia. One of the things Sacks examines is why some people react so emotionally to music (=musicophila), or certain music, while others are unmoved (=amusia). I’ve always reacted strongly, both …

Artist Spotlight, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

Ludovico Einaudi & Greenpeace Team Up for Arctic Concert: Amazing!

Posted June 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve been a fan of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi ever since I first heard his stunning album Divenire in 2008.  Actually, I liked his kora-piano duet album Diario Mali with kora player Ballaké Sissoko, which came out before that in 2006. He is a big star now, with fans around the world, and is busy scoring movie soundtracks and commercials as well.
Einaudi comes from a prominent Italian family. His …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, music phenomena »

The Saudade of Frederic Chopin, Alexander Scriabin, and Baden Powell

Posted June 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I find it interesting when other languages have words denoting or describing things that the English language has no equivalent for. Saudade is a Portuguese-language word difficult to translate adequately, one which describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It may have come from the Portuguese musical form of fado; that word …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, music phenomena »

How Dizzy Gillespie and U.S. V.P. Dan Quayle’s Business Card Saved A Great Cuban Trumpeter

Posted June 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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It’s not easy to be a jazz musician – or anything but a classical musician - in Cuba.  It’s like the former Soviet Union, where jazz was forbidden and banned. Stalin sent Russia’s Louis Armstrong, Eddie Rosner, to the gulag (Soviet jazz fans called Satchmo the American Eddie Rosner). It’s hard enough to even get a decent instrument if you’re a young Cuban musician; and since you have …

Asia, Music History, music phenomena »

Sony’s Pocket Radio: Grand Theft Gives Birth to a Top Japanese Brand

Posted May 30, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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  President Obama  just returned from a historic trip to Japan, including the first visit to Hiroshima by a sitting U.S. President. It got me thinking about Japan’s recovery from the devastation of WWII. During the U.S. occupation that followed the war’s end, General MacArthur helped rebuild Japan; divine Emperor Hirohito became a person, not a god; and MacArthur’s master plan brought Japan out of the …

African, Latin, Music History, music phenomena, world music »

Yoruba Drums and Cuban Batá

Posted May 23, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I had my brain seriously stretched by a recent podcast of Afropop Worldwide. It was a superb program about “drum speech”–a fascinating subject that has interested ethnomusicologists for a long time. Ned Sublette writes about it in his masterful study, Cuba and its Music: From the First Drum to the Mambo. He’s part the Afropop Worldwide team. I wanted to share just a few things that …

Music History, music phenomena, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Paul Bowles: Music of Morocco 1959

Posted May 9, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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Dust to Digital has just released a remarkable and historic box set: Music of Morocco, from the Library of Congress, recorded by Paul Bowles over a five-month period from July to December 1959. It is a snapshot, or perhaps a time capsule, of a culture then relatively pure and unmolested by the world outside.
Paul Bowles lived in Tangier for over 50 years, from his arrival …

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