Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

grace notes

Christmas is officially past and gone, but I couldn't resist posting this track by the great Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence

Friday, December 29, 2006

two rivers

Iraqi oudist Rahim Alhaj, who now lives in the US, plays a taqsim (improvisation) in Maqam Kurd. It's from his new album, When the Soul is Settled. (Click on the link for more clips and info.) Percussion: Souhail Kaspar

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Idjah Hadidjah (from Sunda, Indonesia) sings Tonggeret. She's accompanied by Gugum Gumbira's Jugala Orchestra

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

on the good foot

Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud) (1968)


Monday, December 25, 2006


Odetta - Rise Up Shepherd and Follow

* Photo by Suse of Pea Soup

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

eis musik

Norwegian percussionist Terje Isungset is pioneering a new genre of music, using instruments made of ice. Yes, that's right. ice. So far there are winds, an ice trumpet, and an ice harp to go with the ice percussion. The tonalities of the instruments are unique and very haunting.

Here's the title track from Isungset's Iceman Is

Thursday, December 21, 2006

queen of the caubois

Believe it or not, beachwear isn't the only popular form of dress (or is that undress?) in Brazil. Hang onto your chapéu de vaqueiro and kick up your heels to music by Helena Meirelles. She was one of the undisputed masters of the viola caipira. Its twangy, slightly metallic sound is loud and clear on this cut, Flor de Jasmin.

london funk

Back in the early 70s, I was out shopping and came across a record cover that featured the image on the left. I grabbed the LP, took it home and promptly fell for the sound of Osibisa. Here's a cut from that album - Ayiko Bia. I think you'll find the blend of highlife, jazz, funk and rock to be well-nigh irresistible.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Brazilian singer/composer Joyce praises Bahian women in Rodando a baiana

Friday, December 15, 2006


Sivuca died yesterday - his beautiful compositions and work on sanfona and acordeon will be greatly missed. I've chosen to feature a cut from one of his best albums, Enfim Solo (Kuarup Discos). It's called Forró Praieiro

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I'm reading Sandra Cisneros' novel Caramelo, and am enjoying her judicious and expressive quotes from Mexican popular song lyrics. Lila Downs' version of a Mexican classic, Naila, seemed like the right thing to post this evening.

* Photo by Alfredo Jiménez

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Today I'm featuring something that might seem a little odd to fellow Westerners: a melodic percussion work, played by Iranian drummers Djamchid and Keyvan Chemirani. Iranian classical music is closely related to the rhythmic patterns of spoken language, and I think you can easily hear the "conversation" that the Chemiranis are engaged in, though you might need to listen several times through to get the full effect. Their instrument of choice is the zarb (aka tombak).

The title: Mael Jan

Monday, December 11, 2006

crescent city christmas

More seasonal music from the New Birth Brass Band - it's called Santa's Second Line

Sunday, December 10, 2006

mali twist

Malian singer/guitarist Boubacar Traore singing one of his early hits, Mali Twist - and looking very natty in denim. (From the soundtrack to Je chanterai pour toi.)

Friday, December 08, 2006


Música Cubana by Jesús Alemañy and Cubanismo - it's from their first (and best) album, ¡Cubanismo!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ao sol que arde

A Canadian cold front hit us today, bringing icy winds - what better time to kick back and dream of being on the beach in Brazil? Today's song, Tarde em Itapoã, is all about the pleasures of salt, sun, and South. (Voz e violão: Toquinho.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

hokkaido homage

Even though I try to avoid thinking about it, it is wintertime now. So, something seasonal, from Duo EN. The title: Winter Cranes. (It's also the title track from their brand-new CD...)

* Photo by Tim Laman

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Some West Coast blues from Al "Cake" Wichard & Sextette. The title: Cake Jumps

Friday, December 01, 2006

lagos-accra swing

Highlife is one of my favorite West African styles, and it's perfect for the end of the work week. (Celebratory and all that.) Here's the Apolos Rythm Orchestra, performing Cut Your Coat According to Your Size