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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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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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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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Songs About March & Spring

Posted March 19, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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We’re now in the middle of March with Spring–at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere–right around the corner.  The Vernal Equinox is tomorrow, 3/20.
Here are two songs about that, but each with a twist. The first is Antonio Carlos Jobim’s song Águas do Março, Waters of March. Jobim was learning English at the time of the writing in the early 1960s; …

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100 Years Of Bollywood

Posted February 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, Bollywood, as the Indian film industry is known, turned 100. Its first film, Raja Harishchandra, was a silent film released in 1913. This was seventeen years after the very first films arrived in India from England, using technology derived from the French Lumiere Brothers, who created the first moving pictures in 1895.
For decades the Bombay film industry has produced 10 times as …

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RIP: Wadi El-Safi, The Great Voice of Lebanon

Posted February 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Lebanese vocalist Wadi El-Safi (also spelled Wadih Al-Safi) passed away in Beirut this past October, 2013. He was 91. Just as Fairouz remains the female voice of Lebanon, El-Safi was the most famous singer of his generation in Lebanon and widely admired throughout the Arab world. His powerful, passionate voice recalls that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and other legendary singers whose music transcended …

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Martin Heidegger’s Influence On “Riders On The Storm”

Posted November 27, 2013 by | 1 Comment
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The song is a 60′s classic: “Riders On The Storm”. We’ve heard it a thousand times. But do many people know it may well be associated with the thinking of a modern German metaphysical philosopher?
Jim Morrison was a voracious reader; even his senior-year high school English teacher said he read more than any other student. Later in the mid-1960s, as an eager UCLA Comparative Literature …

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Bartok, Prokofiev, Suicide and Premature Death

Posted November 13, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I recently got a new recording, a superb one, of Bartok’s 2nd piano concerto and Prokofiev’s 3rd, featuring Chinese superstar Lang Lang with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Click here to view the videos. It’s a tour de force performance of two modern classics. The Bartok has a surrealistic, hallucinogenic middle movement. The Prokofiev is angular, vertical, and a real bear to play. Together …

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How The Velvet Underground Influenced The Velvet Revolution

Posted October 29, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I was saddened to see one of rock’s titans pass. I always enjoyed Ronnie Ross’ baritone sax solo on “Walk on the Wild Side”, as well as the superb bass line and fun lyrics of “New Sensations”. It was as American as a song can get.
Yet does anybody remember that Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel (who came into office in 1989) admired and was influenced …

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Eek-A-Mouse and KCRW’s Reggae Beat Show

Posted October 9, 2013 by | 2 Comments
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I started as Music Director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic in July, 1979. The first show I put on was the Reggae Beat, which soon became the most popular weekend show at the station.  Roger Steffens and Hank Holmes, the co-hosts, had come to me that fall with some colorfully and carefully-illustrated cassette demo tapes. It didn’t take long for me to put them on the air …

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