november 2021 – good to hear

La cumbia me está llamando ft. La Perla (Kaidi Tatham Remix)
Nubya Garcia
Nubya Nyasha Garcia (1991) is an incredibly talented English jazz musician, saxophonist, composer, and bandleader who cites Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane as well as Miles Davis and Marie-Lou Williams as her major musical influences. Her first instruments were the violin and viola, which she played for the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Nubya Garcia debuted her band on 18th August at the 2021 BBC Proms held in London’s Royal Albert Hall. The Telegraph gave the performance a 5* review. (Wikipedia) She also hosts a monthly radio show on NTS, in which she showcases her varied tastes in music, with echoes spanning soul, contemporary jazz, reggae and dub.
Concord | August 21


The NeverEnding Show
Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons was born into a family of renowned entertainers. He first gained recognition as a sound engineer for The Beatles and Pink Floyd. In 1975, with Eric Woolfson, he founded The Alan Parsons Project. They recorded a dozen albums and performed a year-long show, Freudiana, playing in Vienna. In 1992, adding guitarist Ian Bairnson, drummer Stuart Elliott, and orchestral arranger Andrew Powel, with all of whom he had worked before, Alan dropped ‘Project’ from the Band’s name. band reshuffles followed in 1996 and 2002. Here we have him at his best: great feelgood music from one of the most professional bandleaders and singers to have started out in the sixties.
Frontiers Music | October 21


High and Lonesome
Robert Plant / Alison Krauss
«The duo has once again enlisted producer T Bone Burnett for the new collection of covers, which features songs written by Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, the Everly Brothers, Anne Briggs, Geeshie Wiley, Bert Jansch and others. A Plant / Burnett original, ‘High and Lonesome,’ also appears on Raise the Roof., serving as the album’s opening track. Krauss and Plant are backed by drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarists Marc Ribot, David Hidalgo, Bill Frisell and Buddy Miller, bassists Dennis Crouch and Viktor Krass and pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl, among others,» (UCR) This track conveys unpolished R&B, but this is where country fans get their money’s worth.
Rounder Records | October 21


Global Citizens Live in Paris : Afrika
Angélique Kidjo
It is a pleasure to hear Angélique speak one of her native languages and sing in another. Born in Benin, in 1960, Angélique ist a singer, songwriter, actress, and activist who hardly needs introducing. She is fluent in five languages, two European, three African, and she performs in all of them. Time called her ‘Africa’s premier diva’’. She combines beauty and strength, precision and improvisation, funkiness and tradition. Angélique is blessed with a great voice and engages warmly and directly with her audience. Next to her many musical collaborations, she has written a memoir, Spirit Rising, and she has been active for more innumerable causes, mostly involving Africa, and the planet.
Global Citizens | October 21


Angel In The Alleyways
Dion ft. Patty Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen
Dion has released the single and video for Angel in the Alleyways. The song was written by Dion and Mike Aquilina and is one of the selections from the forthcoming Stomping Ground album.« (New Jersey Stage) The video for this gospel-like song was shot at the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, transported from Segovia, Spain, to Miami in the 1950s, (!) and has a hymnic quality. Springsteen’s wife, Patty, is credited with the rich sound of the alum. Dion and the Springsteens had collaborated with Dion (DiMucci) before, on Hymn to Him’, on the spiritual singer-songwriter’s 2020 album Blues With Friends.
Keeping the Blues Alive Records | November 21

october 2021 – good to hear

Tomorrow
Wyn Starks feat. Andreas Moss
«A modern-day pop-soul pioneer, Wyn Starks builds a bridge between the old-school music that filled his childhood and the grooves, hooks and genre-bending bounce of contemporary radio. It’s a sound that celebrates not only the multi-octave range of his elastic vocals, but also the power of his songwriting… Raised in Minneapolis, Wyn sang his first solos in church. The soaring power of gospel music took a hold of him at a young age, as did the pop songs, soul records, and R&B hits that he’d loisten tp at home, hidden from the rest of the world behind his family’s couch, headphones pressed to his ears. To Wyn, it all sounded like magic… And what, exactly does Wyn Starks sound like? He sounds like the rare sort of songwriter who blurs the boundaries between genres and generations.»wynstarks.com
Let’s Play House Bandcamp | February 21


can’t stop me from dying
Ada Lea
one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden is the name of the second album by Canadian songwriter Alexandra Levy, publicly known by the moniker Ada Lea. It is a collection of walking-paced, cathartic pop/folk songs but also a book of heart-twisting, rear-view stories of life. The Album is set in Montreal and each song exists as a dot on a personal history map of the city where Levy grew up. Ada Lea has followed up the creative, indie-rock songcraft of her debut album what we say in private with surprising arrangements and new perspectives. Ada penned and demoed this batch of songs in an artist residency in Banff, Alberta. After sorting and editing, she made her way to L.A. to record them with Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers) with whom she had previously collaborated.
Saddle Creek & Next Door Records | September 21


Introvert – from the album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Little Simz
This bombastic 4th studio album was released by the British rapper and singer of Nigerian origins early last month, and some of it was shot in Lagos. «The subject of empowering black people is strong on the intro track. Some may recently have started to discuss this topic as the Black Lives Matters movement has been more prevalent in recent time. However, Little Simz makes it clear that her thoughts on this topic aren’t new. Everything she raps abut on this is how she has been feeling all her life. (GRM) » «’Introvert’ kicks off the album with a smooth array of tribal drums, hazy choir hits, and triumphant horns… Immediately the listener is hit with an unapologetic, prideful, and cinematic vibe reinforced by the elements and vocal tendencies that present themselves later on in the track.» (Basketrap)
AWAL | September 21


Beethoven’s 10th Symphony completed by AI
Deutsche Telekom
A first short soundbite is offered by Deutsche Telekom, the electronic access provider, the entire symphony premieres in Bonn, on 9 October. But you may still want to go on listening. AI has a lot to offer when it comes to dead composers and completing their work. “Taryn is no stranger to the music and entertainment industry. She is a singer and digital storyteller who has amassed more than 500 million views on YouTube, and she has over 450 thousand subscribers. On the other hand, Amper is making his debut…except she’s (it’s?) not a person.» (Futurism) That was four years ago, and compositions with the aid of AI composers have since exploded. Claire Boucher, aka as Grimes, who is closer to such realties than most of us, says AI will usher in an era of “luxurious communism”. That will certainly be true for artificially created music, where sharing will go way beyond caring. (sgs)
Telekom Forum | Bonn | 9 October 21


Sister
Ásgeir
Ásgeir Trausti (Einarsson, 1992) is an Icelandic singer-songwriter and musician. He won several categories at the 2012 Islandic Music Awards as well as being awarded the European Border Breaker Award 2014. The Guardian hailed him as Iceland’s biggest musical export since Björk. It wasn’t easy for Ásgeir to break through. He was born in a village with only 40 souls far off in the lyrical countryside so that it took him a while to get well-known anywhere, he says. His father, the poet Einar Georg Einarsson, contributes  most of the lyrics to his songs. Ásgeir Trausti performs with his own band, the Ásgeir Trausti Band. He also plays guitar in the Icelandic band The Lovely Lion. (Wikipedia) He lives in Reijkjavik.
One Little Indian | September 21

august 2021 – good to hear

When A Man (from the album Lovesick)
Raheem DeVaughn & Apollo Brown
The album Lovesick is a collaboration between the singer Raheem DeVaughn and hip-hop producer Apollo Brown. ‘When A Man’ is a take-off on the famous Percy Sledge song but not only. It transcends the original, mixes it with elements of other songs, twist and turns it, interweaving soul, funk, and classical R&B. Raheem DeVaughn (born 1975 in Newark, New Jersey) is the son of jazz cellist Abdul Wadud. He was raised in Maryland by his mother, Imani Smith, and started out as a musician in his teens. Apollo Brown (Eric Vincent Stevens) was born 1980, grew up in Great Rapids Michigan and later moved to Detroit. His career took off after he won the Red Bull Big Tune Challenge, in 2009. He is known for using antiquated technology to great effect.
Mello Music Group | April 2021


What the Flood Leaves Behind
Amy Helm
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm’s third album, What the Flood Left Behind, is her most autobiographical to date, both in content and creation. These ten songs represent a gathering of ideas and experiences, friends, and collaborators. Yet, the album also marks a landing – a pause for the traveling musician and mother of two young boys seeing clarity in her calling and career. After making three albums and performing in far-flung places, Helms (born 1970) returned home to Woodstock’s Levon Helm studios, aka The Barn, just before the pandemic to record and reclaim and a sense of self. The songs themselves reflect Helm’s inner strength and personal growth. Levon Helm was the drummer of The Band and Amy’s father.
BMG | June 2021


Eu Com Você (from the album Drama)
Rodrigo Amarante
Rodrigo Amarante de Castro Neves, born September 6, 1976, in Rio de Janeiro, is a Brazilian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (flute, guitar, piano, vocals), composer and arranger. Rodrigo studied journalism and began to play in the band Los Hermanos. Between 1999 and 2007, they recorded several albums and were highly popular in Brazil. Since then, they have occasionally gathered for concerts and tours. Next Amarante dedicated himself to Orquestra Imperial (with Gaetano Veloso’s son Moreno) and Little Joy. From 2010 onward, he has been working solo. Amarante lives in LA and will be on tour in Europe in April 2022.
Polyvinyl | July 2021


Anjelito
Homeboy Sandman
A great rapper and singer, funky, soft and driven at the same time. Love the lyrics. Here’s what I found: Homeboy Sandman’s favorite song is “Knocks Me off My Feet” by Stevie Wonder. His second favorite song is “I Know You, I Love You” by Chaka Khan. His favorite Michael Jackson song is “Lady in My Life”. Homeboy Sandman (Angel Del Villar II) grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, and attended boarding school at New Hampshire’s Holderness School. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently enrolled in law school at Hofstra University. He withdrew from law school during his third year to pursue his career as an emcee.
Mello Music Group | August 2021


Jean-Jacques Rojer Plays Jacobo Palm
«I’m a guitarist/ Composer/Arranger based in Amsterdam, originally from the Caribbean Island of Curaçao. The main genres I work with on stage are jazz and world music. However, I did grow up playing Hard Rock, and I’ve studied a lot of Classical music over the years. In Amsterdam I compose, teach, do collaborations with DJ’s, record with jazz singers, play with samba ensembles and a lot more… I have some experience arranging and I also play some electric bass, the Venezuelan Cuatro and the Cuban Tres guitar.» Jacobo José Maria Palm (1886-1968) was the grandson of Jean Gerard Palm (1831-1906), the ‘father of Curaçao classical music’. His daughter Irma Rojer-Palm was his most talented student. We are showing the cover for Jean-Jacques Rojer’s yet unpublished new album here, called SOKO.
Sunnyside Records | August 2021

july 2021 – good to hear

Muito à vontade
João Donato e sui Trio
The Brazilian jazz and bossa nova pianist João Donato de Oliveira Neto began playing professionally at age fifteen. He later joined Antonio Carlos Gobim and Astrud Gilberto and was joined by João Gilberto when he had become the pianist and arranger for the band Garotos da Lua. In the seventies he went to the US where he recorded with Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente and others. Donato was the recipient of several Grammy Awards. Alexandre Carvalho dos Santos wrote, «I recommend a João Donato gig not only to someone who is interested in first class music, an impressive pianist and a selection of historic compositions. I recommend it to anyone who needs an anti-depressive, an acupuncture session or any such other form of deep relaxation.» (SGS, Source: Wikipedia)
Polydor, 1963


Blue
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell is not only an extraordinary pure singer, with a jazzy edge, but also a proliferous composer and a great guitarist and pianist as well as having inspired countless other musicians. All this has been said again, on occasion of the 50th anniversary of her «archetypical» album, as The New York Times wrote. Blue, Mitchell’s fourth studio album, stands for the early hippie area, situated between Laurel Canyon in California and the Greek islands, where singer songwriters went to find a congenial environment, just like another Canadian legend, Leonard Cohen. Joni had been hanging out with Graham Nash, David Crosby and James Taylor but left to be by herself. After all these years, Joni Mitchell still hits home with clarity, truth and determination. See also a series of interviews around the star in The New York Times.
Reprise | June 1971


Merzbow
Tajak
These people are producing the most laidback music I have heard in a while, and some of their visuals are pretty trippy too. All I have been able to find out is that they are an experimental band from Mexico whose first, digital album is called Amsterdam 211 (2017)
Hole Records | August 2019


Hacia El Vacío
Mabe Fratti featuring Claire Rousay
Taken from the upcoming album Será que ahora podremos entendernos? (Will we be able to understand each other now?) Mabe Fratti is an extraordinary young experimental Guatemalan cellist and composer. She has made in Mexico City her home. «This song is about the quest to understand something that has been said and how slow the process of explaining can be,» Fratti said in a statement. «How words serve as a kind of bridge, but that finally there is a point where we can only trust that we understood. (San Antonio (TX) based percussionist/composer) Claire Rousay intervened in this song with field recordings and cymbals.» Read more here. 
Unheard of Hope Records | April 2021


Max Bruch: String Quintet in E flat major
WDR Symphonieorchester Chamber Players
Following what Fanfare described as «characterful, cogent, committed» accounts of Beethoven string quintets last year, the WDR players turn their attention to the chamber works which the eighty-year -old Bruch composed in 1918, inspired by the virtuoso violinist Willy Hess (who had performed in the premieres of his Double Concerto for Clarinet and Viola and the Konzertstück for Violin and Orchestra). Max Bruch (1838-1920) saw music as «the language of God» and was confirmed in his romantic worldview by a long and happy marriage with the singer Clara Tuczek and an equally successful career. At the height of his fame, he spent three seasons as the conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society.
Virtigo | Juni 2021

june 2021 – good to hear

Ice Melt
Crumb
The American psychedelic indie rock band – not to be confused with the Swiss blues and rock cover band of the same name – met in college and consist of Lila Ramani (guitar, vocals), Jesse Brotter (bass, vocals), Bri Aronow (synthesizers, keyboard, saxophone), and Jonathan Gilad (drums). They released their first album, Jinx, in 2019. The singing is often evanescent, musical harmonies dominate and make for easy listening. Indie Current described them as “psychedelic slackers”, a less positive way of calling them laid back. Due to an orchestral twist, their precise music is reminiscent of psychedelic pioneers such as The Moody Blues. Originally from Boston, they made Brooklyn their home. For an interview in Rolling Stone click here
Citrus City records | April 2021


Living My Best Life
Motown Moe
More easy listening. Motown Moe is a smooth jazz producer and pianist from Detroit area. «As a youngster Moe would spend endless hours listening to jazz music ranging from Ronnie Laws o MFSB. The instrumental music of the 70’sreally consumed him, especially sounds coming out of Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound studio. Moe had interest in learning the sax, guitar and piano at an early age… » but joined the Air Force instead, where he began to play around and compose on a small keyboard. Music remained a hobby for many years until he learned the technical side of music production while working as a miner and in a car assembly line until he gained recognition and began to play music in earnest, joining many well-known artists of the Motown area.
Windy Records | May 2021


Jazz EP
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela is a Mexican guitar duo. Their third album Rodrigo y Gabriela was the first instrumental album ever to reach Number One on the charts in their adopted country Ireland. They also use their acoustic guitars with percussive virtuosity. Their music is influenced by various styles such as new flamenco, heavy metal and rock. They used to play in trash metal band Tiera Acida without much success, before moving to Ireland. Success came when they were discovered by Damien Rice and opened for one of his tours. They gained international attention through their elaborate cover versions of the hits Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin and Orion by Metallica. In 2011, they collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides.
Rubyworks/ATO | May 2021


String of Souls
Acid Test
The Canadian experimental band formed in Toronto, in 1990. Twenty-five years after the release of their first album, Drop, the wizened and revitalized band, comprised of original members Lucy di Santo (vocals), guitarist Steve Fall, keyboardist/producer Adam (Atom) Perdy, and new drummer Tim van de Vem are picking up from where they left off. Acid Test’s new music is as adventurous, as genre-bending, edgy and visceral. But there is a also a gravitas and vibrancy to the songs, something that has come through the lives of each of the band members have lived on the intervening decades, before the initial thought of a reformation took hold, after the death of former member Mike Harland, in 2012. They’ve been back for a while now.
Heavy Psych Sounds | May 2021


Still Life
Fougère
London-based musician and composer Fougére (Jamie Norton) is pleased to announce details of his debut album Still Life. A personal, inspirational thought piece fused with neo-classical influences. “A few years ago I became really interested in the work of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, a painter of the kind of still life composition that communicates a sense of tranquillity and privacy. I was looking for this same sense of stillness and minimalism within this music; To try and capture a mood or moment, as if it were a still life painting.” Having composed under his birth name for so long, Norton took his moniker ‘Fougère’ from one of his passions: smell. It’s the term for one of the main fragrance families,
Studio Fougère | May 2021

may 2021 – good to hear

End of the Road
Noga Erez
Singer, songwriter and producer Noga Erez, born 1989, grew up in Jewish family in Caesarea, in Israel. Attracted to music, she played and tried out various instruments and styles, feeling drawn to jazz. She collaborated with different groups as a vocalist, keyboardist and percussionist. During her active service in the Israeli army, she played in a military band. According to Wikipedia: Erez’s musical style draws influences from alternative, electronic music, and sample-based hip hop, but is also strongly influenced by political circumstances both in her country and globally, though she has been reticent to describe her work as political… She makes music in collaboration with her partner and co-writer, composer and producer Ori Rousso.
City Slang | April 2021


Djourou
Ballaké Sissoko
The kora is a musical instrument widely played in West Africa that fits into no category. It has twenty-one strings and is built from a large calabash, cut in half and covered with cow skin to create a resonance body. A cross between a lute and a harp, the kora is plucked. Ballaké Sissoko’s father was also a famous kora player and had a world hit with Ancient Strings. Ballaké is widely recognized as the best contemporary kora player, other than Toumani Diabatu. Ten fingers for twenty-one strings, and magic takes place, that how the variegated sounds to come out of the kora are best described: Ballaké Sissoko enlaces us in his suave and crystalline sonority and his kora, magnified by his talent as a melodist and an improviser.
Mad Minute Music | April 2021


Oriom – Healing Source
Rainer von Vielen
«For a long time now, Rainer has discovered the depth of throat singing for himself and has come to know a fulfilling and moving power in this singing. The controlling breath, which he found mainly in meditation, is here the source to the sound. The Healing Source. Each song is written in a special planetary tuning. The frequency of the rotation of the planets around the sun, octaved into an audible range. Beats that resonate with these frequencies. This is the core of this album. So the journey begins on Mars, continues to the platonic year of the Earth, flies there to Venus, goes on an Earth day to then 28 minutes the year tone of our home planet (432 Hz) along. Finally, the album ends on the gravitational length of the sun.”
Klangwirkstoff Records | April 2021


Chasing Birds
Foo Fighters
This imaginative psychedelic cartoon is reminiscent of the eighties and fun to watch. The Foo Fighters, around the ubiquitous ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, float through dissolving and re-forming landscapes and fall headlong into moving perceptual layers. They float through lazily flowing worlds, quoting William Blake, following giant birds or perhaps being birds themselves. The US band from Seattle has existed with founding members Grohl (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Nate Mendel (bass) since 1995, but Taylor Hawkin (drums) and Chris Shilett have also been with the band since before the turn of the millennium, later joined by Pat Smear (lead guitar) and Rami Jaffee (keyboards). (sgs)
RCA | April 2021


Listen
Melanie Durrant
With her upcoming album Where I am At, the Canadian urban-contemporary singer/songwriter Melanie Durant, who studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, releases her third album. Melanie Durrant has received multiple accolades throughout her career. Durrant has also been involved with numerous educational initiatives, such as headlining the ‘HipHop4Africa’ Mandela Children’s Fund Canada and CapAids February 2006 Toronto benefit which was hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos. Deejay Ra, who interviewed Melanie for the event’s DVD, also did a live reading at the sold-out event as part of his ‘Hip-Hop Literacy’ program, promoting Mandela and Tupac books to the students in attendance.
(Wikipedia)
CBG Music | April 2021

april 2021 – good to hear

Let Us Dance
Beverley Glenn Copeland
It is rare to see someone sing with as much joy as the legendary seventy-seven-year-old Beverley Glenn Copeland, an American song and songwriter of the extraordinary kind who has spent most of his life in Canada as a black trans-man. The New Age composer is surrounded by musicians two generations his junior, it took a lifetime before he found a large audience, and when he was about to take off and had scheduled a world tour, the pandemic happened, and that was that. Beverley was born into a musical family, in Philadelphia. His father played classical piano, his mother loved spirituals and sang in church. Beverley started her career as a folk singer, integrating blues, jazz and classical elements into her music and had a role in a Canadian tv show for children called Mr. Dressup for many yeary. He was also politically active in Montreal, where he lives. (sgs)
Find it here |released January 2021


Live at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia
King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard
The versatile rock band was founded in Melbourne in 2010 and has released twelve studio albums since, of which five in 2017 alone! They are «Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, flute, sitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, harmonica, keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, sitar), Joey Walker (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocal), Lucas Harwood (bass, keyboards), and Michael Cavanagh (drums, percussion).» Drawing on fusion jazz and psychedelia, they are rather heavily into hard rock, but have also dropped acoustic albums with a more folkloristic sound. In these dreary times, their spectacle awakens, surprises and sometimes shocks – just what some of us might need. It is therefore my pleasure to introduce more than two hours of a respectable genre of music not often found here. (sgs)
Suga Records | February 2021


Pay Your Way in Pain
St. Vincent
If you ask me, St. Vincent is the new Blondie. Born Annie Erin Clark in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she, her mother and two sisters moved to Houston when she was three. Annie began practicing the guitar when she was twelve and evolved into a mysterious mezzo-soprano and songwriter who plays multiple instruments. She attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston for three years before dropping out and has had a successful career with seven published albums to date, many of which won awards such as the Grammy for Best Alternative Album 2018. Her videos are original, humorous and often colorful, and she has been on stage with artists such as David Byrne or Sufian and contributed back-up vocals for many others. (sgs)
Loma Vista Recordings | March 2021


Muima
Neta Elkayam
The New York recently featured Neta Elkayam, an expressive singe and visual artist with an extraordinary voice, reminding us why Arabic and Pakistani singers are considered to be among the best in the world. She uses her talent to keep the memory of her heritage alive while living in Jerusalem as an Israeli, descended from Moroccan Amazhigs. Jewish Berber tribes have been around since biblical times and spoke Amazhig, the language of their culture. It is to this heritage as well as to the Moroccan Jews living in Israel as well as in the diaspora at large that Neta addresses herself. It is a work of healing she is undertaking with the help of her husband, Neta’s website

march 2021 – good to hear

If I could only remember my name
David Crosby, 1971
Read Erik Davis on Crosby’s quintessential album here. 


Sus Grandes Exitos
Selena Quintanilla Pérez
(16 April 1971 – 31 March 1995)
Selena «was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, businesswoman, model, actress, and fashion designer. Referred to as the “Queen of Tejano music” (the music of Texan Latinos), her contributions to music and fashion made one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the late 20th century. She was shot and killed shortly before her 24th birthday, by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend, and the former manager of her Elena Etc. boutiques Saldívar was cornered by police when she attempted to flee, and threatened to kill herself, but was convinced to give herself up and was sentenced to life in prison with possible parole after 30 years. Two weeks later, Texas Governor (and future US President) George W. Bush declared Selena’s birthday Selena Day in Texas.» (Wikipedia)
EMI Latin | June 2020


Bico
Playing for Change | Songs Around the World
Peter Gabriel
Here’s a song about a man the world is not to forget, and one of my political heroes: Steve Biko, cowardly murdered in his prison cell in South Africa. The perpetrators of this hideous crime, two South African police officers, are the only people who were not forgiven in the country’s long process of truth and reconciliation. The series Playing for Change «is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. Our primary focus is to record and film musicians performing in their natural environments and combine their talents and cultural power in innovative videos we call Songs Around the World.» Lots of great stuff to explore.
Available here
| February 2021


Medicine at Midnight
Foo Fighters
The tenth studio album of the Foo Fighters had to be rescheduled and appeared only recently instead of 2020. Music critics don’t like it, they say its sounds is interchangeable, but everybody like’s Dave Grohl and his bandmates «who have this wonderful shabby chic Venice dad look now» (Jeremy D. Larson, Pitchfork) «A certain dependability might be the point – Dave Grohl presumably having had enough surprises to last him a lifetime while he was a member of Nirvana.» (Alexis Petridis, The Guardian) «Launched as a solo project in 1995 when Mr. Grohl was still shaken by the death of Kurt Cobain, his bandmate in Nirvana, Foo Fighters turned into a reliable outfit that, across nine studio albums, has never veered far from the post-grunge alternative template.» (Mark Richardson, Wall Street Journal)
RCA | February 2021


Pà Pá Pà
Femi Kuti
Taken from the album Legacy+, this political song convinces with its urgency and drive. Femi Anikulapo Kuti is the oldest song of Fela Kuti, the «King of Afrobeat», whose musical legacy he continues. It is characterized by a large horn section and a driving beat, as well as criticism of the lack of perspective and corruption in African politics. Femi Kuti was born in Lagos, Nigeria, sings and play the saxophone. To support his political resistance, he opened the New African Shrine club in Lagos in October 2000, the successor to his father’s legendary club African Shrine. Femi despises drugs and rejects his father’s sexist attitude towards women. After differences with his family, he founded his own band «The Positive Force» in 1985, with which he has also performed in Europe since 1988.
Knitting Factory | February 2021

february 2021 – good to hear

Bank Alert
PSquare
If you are looking for fun and happiness, you’ve come to the right place! Full of self-irony, wit and vivid sounds, this is African dance music at its best. PSquare may history be as a duo, made up of the twin brothers Peter and Paul Okoye, but their music lives on. Hailing from Nigeria their music grants them virtually equal fame all over black Africa. After a dramatic year for the power duo, overshadowed by legal fights and hassles, Square Records superstars Psquare have decided to bury the hatchet by sharing this new super hit titled Bank Alert. In their usual style, they harnessed their musical energy to unleash this mainstream anthem by combining a popular story (Local boy does good) with stunning visuals, amazing costumes and a wholesome choreography. Was this made in Lagos, New York or London? (sgs)
Square Records | September 2016


Lala Belu
Hailu Mergia
The Ethiopian keyboardist Haile Mergia is a master of the accordion, as well as playing the organ and the synthesizer, who started performing professionally as a teenager. He manifested a talent for modernizing folk songs, giving them a more contemporary beat, as well as blending in funk, soul and jazz tunes, lending his music its own unique style. He was one of the leaders of the musical revolution in his country and decided to stop singing in order to forego political censorship during dictatorship that stifled Ethiopian life in the Sixties. His group, the Walias Band, ended up getting the best job in Addis Abeba, become the house band of the Hilton Hotel. Having to respond to the wishes of the hotel guests gave Mergia a wide repertoire. In 1981, he and his band were invited to the United States, and the rest is history. This video tells his story.
Awesome Tapes from Africa | February 2018


Magic – feat. Lili M and Gaba cannal
Da Kruk
South African dance music and house DJ, radio personality and producer Kutloano «Da Kruk» Nhlapo has had an impressive career that includes time spent on the University of South Africa’s UJ FM as sports presenter, as the co-host of the Weekend Breakfast Show and of a saucy sex show called «The Dip». He’s now at YFM where he produces the drive time show and has been voted YFM’s top producer for the Flava in the Morning breakfast show for three years running. «Da Kruk’s long experience in the media and dance music world make his sets an eclectic experience on the dance floor. Combining hard-hitting afro bangers and hypnotizing sing-along and tribal sounds, he is always delivering a perfect blend of both mainstream and underground tunes.» (Apkpure)
Mamba Productions | March 2019


Bashiri
Moonchild Sanelly
Psychedelic, kaleidoscopoic, innovative, this video in a genre she calls «Future ghetto punk» was written and is performed by Sanelisiwe Twisha, the South African musician and dancer known as Moonchild Sanelli. She was born in Port Elisaeth on the Eastern Cape and is South Africa’s «Queen of Gqom», a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2010s from Durban typified by minimal, raw and repetitive sound with heavy bass beats but without the regular rhythm pattern. (Wikipedia) She is a superstar with a flow so unique it’s earned her recent collaborations with Beyoncé, Die Antwoord, Gorillaz, Diplo and Wizkid. Moonchild Sanelly is excited to have the global spotlight on her and take her electrifying music and unique style to an International audience.
Trangressive Records | October 2020


I am Gqom
Griffit Vigo
From Durban, Griffit Vigo is a real innovator of the Gqom sound. Starting out in 2004 his journey as a musician has produced releases such as the timeless ‘DJ’ EP and global anthem ‘Ree’s Vibe’ on the label GQOM. He is credited with introducing the ‘sweep’ sound to the genre, which he describes as sounding like «the sound of a broom.» «This mix is a fantastic selection of songs, that best describe my process when DJing,» Vigo says. «Taking the listener on a musical journey from the intro, the body of the mix until it finally reaches its climax at my Gqom anthem ‘Ree’s Vibe’!»
«When I was in Durban the first time I noticed that Griffit Vigo was a kind of legendary figure, he’d been inspiring all the Gqom Durban artists for a long time. Nobody knew where he was, but everybody was playing him…» (Nan Kolè)
Gqomq12 | October 2020

january 2021 – good to hear

Ta Habibi Ta’aia
Lynn Adib & Zeid Hamdan
The voice of Lyn Adib, a musician and singer based in Paris, France, is as pure as it is seductive, and she uses it to bring a new flavor to the traditional and classical music of  Syria. She grew up in Damascus where she was initiated into Byzantine chant. «Later on and during her flute studies at the National Conservatory of Damascus, she discovered jazz and was seduced by the freedom and complexity of it. Thus begins for Lynn a musical adventure where she seeks to meet the traditional Arabic music (Maqâm), the religious songs of ancient Syria, and jazz. In 2009, Lynn moved to Paris where she enrolled at the American School of Modern Music, before pursuing studies in vocal jazz at the conservatory of Paris (CRR de Paris).» (http://lynnadib.com/) Lyn Adib stands in the tradition of singers like Oum Khalsoum or Nusrath Fateh Ali Khan; she is an exceptional talent. (sgs)
Mediterranean Project | June 2019


The Bewlay Brothers
David Bowie
This ballad was written in 1971 and was intended for Bowie’s first album Hunky Dory, released in 1972. In this remastered version, the young Bowie already shows the charisma, talent and expressiveness that would make him a big star. His sometimes touching, sometimes emphatic voice and inscrutable lyrics paved the way for a whole generation of musicians in just one song. Bowie rarely performed it because, as he said, «There are more words in it than in Tolstoy’s War and Peace.» When asked what the cryptic song lyrics meant, he offered as an explanation that people should imagine that there were various ghosts hidden in the song. The Bewlay Brothers consist of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and David Thurston. In honor of this collaboration, the singer also named his publishing company Bewlay Bros. and often used the name as a pseudonym. (sgs)
BBC2 | London 2020


Café Exil: New adventures in European music 1972-1980
Various Artists
When David Bowie and Iggy Pop escaped LA to go Interrailing in the mid-70s, they heard a new European music that was largely devoid of Anglo-American rock influence: the German motorik sound, flashes of jazz, experimentation and electronica. In West Berlin, one of their favourite haunts was Kreuzberg’s Cafe Exil, a smoky hang-out for beats and intellectuals. This is its imaginary soundtrack. There is a balance that leans quite naturally towards German artists and the inclusion of a track by Eno that acknowledges both his role as a sonic alchemist and his ability to act as a conduit and conductor for all music that is dictated by mood but not constrained by boundaries. Pretty sensational, actually, with contributions by Rubba, Amon Düül II, Annette Peacock, Brian Eno, Soft Machine, Popol Vuh and others.
Ace Records | December 2020


Time Outtakes. Previously Unreleased Takes from the Original 1959 Session
Dave Brubeck
«While researching books written to celebrate jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s Centennial, a fascinating discovery was made; there were brilliant alternate takes for most of the tunes released on Time Out, the first jazz LP to sell over a million copies. These newly discovered recordings feature wonderful performances that are every bit as compelling as their famous counterparts!» (Chris Brubeck) Includes previously unreleased takes of: ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk,’ ‘Strange Meadowlark,’ ‘Take Five,’ ‘Three To Get Ready,’ ‘Cathy’s Waltz,’ ‘I’m In A Dancing Mood,’ ‘Watusi Jam’ and ‘Band Banter.’ «Listening to the alternate takes and behind-the-scenes recordings of any classic album will unravel some of its timelessness. But there’s something especially startling about hearing what went into the making of Time Out,» the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s masterpiece, and maybe the ultimate example of a live art form being carved down and mapped out into an impeccably finished product.» (New York Times)
Brubeck Editions | December 2020


The Lost Chord
Gorillaz ft. Leee John (Episode Nine)
Gorillaz have recently completed their Song Machine Season OneStrange Timez series of videos with ‘The Lost Chord’, inspired by old technicolor monster movies. The colorful animation starts with band members being washed up on an alien shore, where their guest star morphs into a scaly sea monster in chains with as sweet a voice as any. The band tweeted upon its release: «2020 – one of the most challenging years in human history… But somehow, against all odds, with the help of you and the extended Gorillaz family, we still managed to make our own little piece of history. Thanks for your patience, and for believing in Gorillaz.» Gorillaz sound urgent, in a melodious, symphonic and sometimes vaguely threatening way. Fortunately, their furiously unreal sense of humor saves the day, and the ethereal voice of Leee John transports us from chaos to a raptured new dawn. (sgs)
Plastic Beach | December 2020

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