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Syria: A Musical Portrait

Posted September 13, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Syria has been in the forefront of the news for many weeks. A violent quagmire, a geopolitical and moral dilemma keeps bringing the world news about the troubled country, embroiled in a seemingly intractable sectarian war.
But what about Syria’s music?  Syria is a very old country with a diverse musical culture. This week’s Rhythm Planet explores Syria’s music, from the devotional music of sufi …

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Fall Music Salon, 5 Spaces Left, That’s All

Posted September 7, 2013 by | 0 Comments
salon chat

It all started with a bike ride in 1994. While on the bike path I ran into Ronee Rubin, then Director of Entertainment Studies at UCLA Extension, who was on her daily power walk.  She asked me what was happening and I told her I’d just moved into my first home. She asked me if I wanted to do something new and different from …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music Phenomena, Uncategorized »

Emily Bear, an 11 Year Old Piano Prodigy

Posted July 29, 2013 by | 2 Comments

It’s one thing to find some young classical talent that’s been nurtured from age 3 on the Suzuki method with a toy piano and can glide through Chopin and Schumann. It’s another thing when that same classical prodigy can play jazz well enough to please a giant like Quincy Jones.
Well, 11 year old Emily Bear has done just that, and proof is on her …

Featured, Music History, Uncategorized »

Saudade & Duende: Two Elusive Words that Defy Translation

Posted June 11, 2013 by | 0 Comments

I’m a big fan of both Lusophone (Portuguese-language-based) and Flamenco music, and I’ve taught music salons that feature music from Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Spain.
Saudade comes up constantly in Lusophone music: it’s a sad and gentle longing, maybe for one important person, a true love in the past, that has turned inward to an infinite sadness. It was once characterized as “the love …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, Uncategorized »

Chinese Superstar Sa Dingding Releases 3rd Album

Posted May 24, 2013 by | 0 Comments

The popular Chinese singer Sa Dingding has a new album out, The Coming Ones, inspired by a trip across China, from Chengdu to Kunming and capturing the music of communities isolated geographically from modern Chinese history.
She was born in 1983 in Mongolia, later moving to Beijing and studying at the Academy of Arts there.  She retained her love of the country and nature from …

Artist Spotlight, Uncategorized »

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Traditional Malian Modal Groove at Its Best

Posted March 26, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Bassekou Kouyate and his band Ngoni Ba burst upon the African and world music scene a few years ago, winning top world music awards and winning the hearts and minds of African music fans everywhere.  It is pure Malian groove, no gimmicks.  It doesn’t need any .(well, there is a wah-wah pedal and some guest musicians).    Following up on his popular two first …

Artist Spotlight, Uncategorized »

Dave King’s Beguiling New CD

Posted October 9, 2012 by | 0 Comments

I love jazz music for its creativity, its virtuosity, and what Whitney Balliet–jazz poet for The New Yorker,  once called “the sound of surprise”.  Jazz musicians have both brain hemispheres going simultaneously:  all that training on the left side, all the improvising creativity on the right.
There is a Dutch pianist named Reinbert de Leeuw who recorded Erik Satie’s famous piano pieces at about one-half …

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KCRW is All About Listener Support: I Know, Because I’ve Been There Longer Than Anybody Else!

Posted August 17, 2012 by | 1 Comment

I did my first radio show on KCRW in April, 1977.  Does that make me a jurassic deejay?  Probably.  But being the longest-serving KCRW staff member, I’ve been able to watch KCRW grow from a small station in a cramped middle-school classroom with a tiny stoned-out and lackadaisical staff to an NPR powerhouse and tastemaker, with some of the most creative people I’ve ever …

Music Phenomena, Uncategorized »

Maurice Ravel Meets the SWAT Team

Posted July 18, 2012 by | 0 Comments

The other night found me working once again on the lovely Minuet from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin.   This is a neo-classical work by the great French composer.  There is a beautiful melody part that I’ve been learning, always trying to make it a little better.  Meanwhile, outside 20 squad cars, a mobile van, two helicopters and the LAPD SWAT team were mobilizing.  There …

Artist Spotlight, Uncategorized »

Great Gigs Coming Up Soon in LA (And Most Are Free!)

Posted July 16, 2012 by | 0 Comments

The number of free summer music concerts around LA are pretty overwhelming.  You could catch great music all summer without spending a penny!  Here are some upcoming shows that caught my attention:
1)  Grand Performance California Plaza (next to MOCA)  Friday, July 20:  Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron 8 p.m.;   Sat July 21st:  Vamos Al Mambo:  Tribute to Cachao;  Sat, July 28th:  Breakestra & Bibi …

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