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 …

African, Classical, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #166: Six Summer Songs

Posted July 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week we enjoy a half-dozen summer songs. We mix them up of course. Don’t worry, I won’t play Eddie Cochran or any other over-worked cut.
We begin with Benin’s superstar, Angelique Kidjo, with her version of “Summertime.” By the way, she’s singing in Fon and Yoruba, two of Benin’s languages. Also by the way, Benin is next door to …

Artist Spotlight, Music History, world music »

For Victor Jara, Chile’s Nueva Cancion Martyr, Justice Might Finally Come

Posted July 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I have followed the nueva canción (new song) movement for a long time. It championed human rights and freedom against the backdrop of dictators and police brutality in Argentina and Chile in the 1970′s. Mercedes Sosa was exiled to Spain after being threatened by the Argentine junta with death. Sosa gave us immortal anthems like “Soy Paz, Soy Pan, Soy Más” and the great …

Holiday, Jazz, Latin »

A July 4th Playlist

Posted July 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Since it’s Independence Day, I decided to write down some of my favorite tracks for a July 4th playlist.  
Let’s start with Alyssa Graham, who does a lovely version of Paul Simon’s classic, “America.” We turn to Dale Warland‘s beautiful choir in a collection of Americana classics. Rubén Blades is next with his moving composition, “Buscando America” (“Searching for America”). The live version has …

African, French, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #165: Haitian Music Classics Revisited

Posted July 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
Radio Metropole

This week we check out 10 cuts of great Haitian music, mostly from collections and especially from Tanbou Toujou Lou, a new, truly inspiring one. Haiti — next door to the Dominican Republic and part of the Hispaniola landmass that Columbus landed on in 1492, thinking he had reached India — a country once great, now poor, is the epicenter of this …

Artist Spotlight, Asia, RIP, world music »

Amjad Sabri, Qawwali Great, RIP

Posted June 29, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I am saddened by the murder of Amjad Sabri, who was part of the Sabri Brothers qawwali family in Pakistan. Qawwals are singers and performers of qawwali music (the word ‘qawwali’ means ‘utterance’ in Urdu), sufi devotional music by a mystical sect of Islam. The band was founded in 1958 by the late Ghulam Farid Sabri, whose periodic repeat use of “Allah” during songs was …

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 …

Blues, brazilian music, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #164: Music to Be Cool, Stay Cool

Posted June 24, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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With Palm Springs the same temperature as Saudi Arabia or Rajasthan, here are eleven songs to help keep your cool.
We begin with a cool blues by Charlie Parker called…what else, “Cool Blues.” Then the great singer/humorist Oscar Brown, Jr. tries to stay cool as calamity hems him in. We follow it with a stoner song by Rasputin’s Stash from …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Artists You Should Know: Drummer Tony Williams

Posted June 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Drummer Tony Williams (1945-1997) isn’t exactly a household name; probably only jazz fans of Miles Davis‘s quintet from the 1960′s know about him. He joined Miles’s group at the age of 16, and Miles always held him in high esteem. So did Herbie Hancock, who learned a lot from him. In his autobiography, Possibilities, Herbie praised Tony Williams for his musical inventiveness, openness, and curiosity about all forms …

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