Artist Spotlight, Classical, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #158: Music for Serenity and Dreaming

Posted May 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This is a quiet show; it won’t rock your world or make you shake your booty. It would be good to accompany yoga, meditating, or reading a book though. Or maybe to listen to while taking a leisurely walk.
French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has just come out with an Erik Satie box with all the eccentric French composer’s solo piano music. The gymnopedies are Satie’s most …

Asia, Performances & Events, world music »

China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe: Amazing

Posted May 11, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I came across a video recently on Facebook that captivated me. As it turned out, my friend who shared the video didn’t know anything about the group, but she liked what she saw. It depicted a big production, and at first I thought it may have been the Shen Yun troupe, the Falun Gong-affiliated group that relentlessly promotes its huge shows in the U.S. and elsewhere. It …

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 …

African, brazilian music, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #157: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted May 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Today’s show of new releases features a mix of world and jazz albums. We begin with Brazilian singer Caroline Saboya, covering a classic 1946 soccer song called “1 x 0.” After that another classic, this time by the Haitian band Tabou Combo, probably from the 1970′s, from an interesting new compilation of Haitian sounds from 1960-1981.  This is a wonderful collection of Haitian music, …

brazilian music, music phenomena »

The Brazilian Political Telenovela and Some Songs About It

Posted May 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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(Pictured above, left to right:  Roussef, Lula, and Collor.) There is a French expression that says, “Plus que ça change, plus c’est la meme chose” (the more things change, the more it’s the same old thing”). Remember also that Charles DeGaulle, upon returning from a trip to Brazil, told reporters that, “Brazil is not a serious country.” Both statements could apply to the unfolding …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, New Releases »

The Big Brendel Box: Rich, Heavy, Stupefyingly Great

Posted May 2, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I recently opened the biggest box set of music I’ve ever seen: Alfred Brendel:  The Complete Philips Recordings. It takes a bit of time to listen to all 114 CD’s (!), especially if you want to savor each one, which you should. The box is so heavy it also could probably be used for weightlifting in home gyms. But joking aside, we get the complete portrait of …

African, brazilian music, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #156: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted April 29, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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We start this week’s new releases show with the incredibly eclectic Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble. The Silk Road ensemble comprises so many different musicians and cultures. You have to credit the brilliance of Yo-Yo Ma — he’s a classical cellist, after all, he doesn’t have to stretch out like this — but I’m glad he does.
We …

African, Artist Spotlight, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My 1989 Interview with Papa Wemba

Posted April 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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As I wrote in a blog post earlier this week, Congolese rumba great Papa Wemba performed in L.A. a few times in the late 1980′s, first at the Executive Club and later as a star in an African musical at the Pantages Theater, in a show called Africa Oye. That’s where I caught him in 1989.
Africa Oye was extended into a two-week run, an …

African, Artist Spotlight, RIP »

Papa Wemba, Congolese Soukous Superstar and Sapeur RIP

Posted April 24, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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While most people are mourning the tragic death of Prince, I just found out that another great musician died earlier today. Congolese superstar Papa Wemba was performing onstage in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Saturday night when he collapsed. He was 66. It’s always sad to see one of your heroes die, and it’s even more poignant when they are younger than you.
I met Wemba (b. …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #155: Bach Cello Suites Celebrated by 8 Great Cellists

Posted April 22, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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This is kind of an experimental show. Bach wrote six beautiful suites for solo cello, and I want to showcase two of them through interpretations by eight different cellists. The cello is probably the closest instrument to the human voice in terms of range and pitch. The form even resembles a human body (think Man Ray’s 1924 photo of …

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