Monday, October 30, 2006


Last month I posted a track written by Trinidadian composer/pianist Lionel Belasco. His music was a real find for me, and worth featuring again. The cut is a Jamaican mento song, Sly Mongoose. (And no, it's not a calypso!)

* Many thanks to Mike at Mento Music for his diligence, humo[u]r and love for the music

Sunday, October 29, 2006

beja ballad

Today's track comes from eastern Sudan. It's a rare example of the traditional music of the Beja people, who live along the coast (running from southern Egypt to northern Eritrea). Here's singer/'udist Musa Adem performing Yahmoit.

mingus moves

She's Just Miss Popular Hybrid - Charles Mingus

(From Mingus Plays Piano)

Friday, October 27, 2006

high class diamonds

Highlife music from Ghana - an infectious combination of jazz, Cuban and - here - Haitian influences. The song: Kae Ma, performed by the High Class Diamonds.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Soth African township jive keeps on evolving - and one of my favorite contemporary singers, Busi Mhlongo, does it as well as anyone and better than most. Here's an original song by her, We Baba Omncane. The title translates as "if you don't obey your parents..." Hats off to Busi for being so "conscious," and for sounding so great while doing it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

temptation a la carte

No pic this time, just the music - Papa was a Rolling Stone, by Alvy Powell and A La Carte Brass and Percussion.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Adeniyi

Back to Africa, with Nigerian singer-guitarist King Sunny Ade. This cut is titled Kita Kita Ko M'ola. I love Ade's signature steel guitar lines

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

qanun kanun ganoon

This is one of my favorite Arabic pieces, played by Mimi Spencer (qanun) and Mary Ellen Donald (Arabic tabla). Mimi was an all-around nice person, and one of the best qanun players in the US - her improvisation here is breathtaking.

The piece is Longa Riyadh, by Egyptian composer Riyadh al-Sunbati. You can find it on In Xiniang Time

Monday, October 16, 2006

na praia

One of my favorite sambas celebrates the pleasures of the beach and nightlife in Rio's Copacabana neighborhood. It's called Sábado em Copacabana, and was written by the great Dorival Caymmi.

This version is by Zélia Duncan and guitarist Marco Pereira. (Hint: If you like this, hunt down a copy of Zélia's Eu me transformo em outras.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

quel scandale!

More music for the feet, from Haitian singer Eugène Shoubou. The title: Scandalo

*If you like Shoubou, look for albums by Tabou Combo (he's their lead singer)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'm a sucker for Cuban standards - there's a certain intensity to them them that's found nowhere else. Here's a nice version of Lagrimas Negras by Trio Lissabet. This cut came from an old Cook Records LP, and is part of the Smithsonian Folkways catalog.

Friday, October 13, 2006

mitti da bawa

"I make a doll of clay
I try to put life into it
I cover it with a quilt
Don't cry, my little doll
your father is far away..."

A childless woman's song from Punjab, performed by Shujaat Husain Khan. (From his album Hawa Hawa.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I discovered gamelan music via a brief bio. of Claude Debussy. He heard a gamelan at the 1889 Paris Exposition, and the experience changed his music forever.

Today, I'm featuring Balinese composer/drummer Wayan Lotring and his ensemble, performing Gambangan. It's from an Ocora set titled Hommage à Wayan Lotring - hard to find, but well worth hunting down.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

flauta carioca

One of my favorite genres of Brazilian music is a well-kept secret. It's called choro - a Rio-born, Rio-based instrumental style that combines beautiful melody lines with African-derived rhythms.

The first time I heard a choro recording, I had no idea what to make of it - it was completely unlike any Brazilian music I'd ever heard. Thanks to a few in-the-know friends (with great record collections), my confusion turned into a passionate love of the music.

Here's Brazilian flutist Alexandre Maionese playing a choro by one of the style's earliest masters, Joaquim Callado. (That's his portrait above.) The piece is called Flor Amorosa.

csi lav tu

The title means I Won't Marry You. An old Gypsy song, intepreted here by Ando Drom, with lead vocals by Mitsou

Sunday, October 08, 2006

cuba libre

Russian-style cha-cha-chá from Leningrad. Title: Dikiy Muzhchina

* Photo from Drinker Durrance

Saturday, October 07, 2006


It's getting dark very early now, and there are times I'd like to head off to parts unknown in the Southern Hemisphere. Finances dictate otherwise, but I can listen to music that takes me there, albeit briefly.

Bud Powell - A Night in Tunisia

Thursday, October 05, 2006


More fall music from Chinese classical guitarist Xuefei Yang. Here's her interpretation of Thierry Rougier's composition Autumn (Qiu).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


This cut, Oh Lord! Bring Apartheid Crashing Down comes not from South Africa but the southern Sahara. It's one of many striking tracks on Moorish Music from Mauritania, a World Circuit release that's now (sadly) out of print.

Dimi Mint Abba's interpretation is urgent, gritty and deeply moving.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I'm a brass band fan and fell hard for the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band a couple of years back. Here's their version of Man Chalii - you can find it on Fanfare du Rajasthan (Iris).

Monday, October 02, 2006

jazz africaine

African roots + American jazz = South African jazz and jive.

Dorothy Masuka was one of the most important singers on Johannesburg's 1950s music scene. Her voice is beautiful, no question. Here she is singing Zoo Lake.

(Click here for a BBC interview with Masuka.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

chanson d'automne

Juliette Gréco - Les feuilles mortes

(For Liz, who wanted to go to France...)

* Photo from Un blog de plus