Archive for February, 2009

poll, for what it’s worth

February 25, 2009

I’ll say up front that this will likely be of interest to only the most diehard of radio friends here…and even at that, only those who are really into stats and charts and demographics.


If that kind of thing does put the groove in your glide, I wanted to pass along the results of a recent readership poll conducted by the Adaptistration website. (Wait, back up: what is Adaptistration? Find out here.)

Anecdotal, yes, this is not a scientific poll. Remember when reading this that those being polled are already self-identified as readers of Adaptistration, a website aimed at managers in the performing arts field. In fact, this is how the introductory paragraph reads on the FIRST readership survey:

“Let me guess, you’re between 35-55 years old, male, Caucasian, do not have children, are well educated, are at the high end of the IRS 25% tax bracket, and reside in one of five states with the most electoral college delegates. At least that’s how the data from the 2009 Readership Segmentation Study describes the average Adaptistration reader…”

So, with that, for your passing perusal, here are the most recent results.

the bean experience

February 25, 2009
STAY. good sitar.

STAY. good sitar.

Four ragas, 0 degrees (Farenheit), and two Spanish chais later (home made and spicy, WITH a shot of Kahlua)…a great Tues. night out for Indian classical music at the Radio Bean. The windows were steamed up and the frigid night wasn’t the only factor. It was a packed house as the music simmered along nicely for a little over two hours in mingling, fragrant hues of saffron and sandalwood.

Thanks to the musicians – Benjamin and Paul – for the experience, can’t wait to hear where the music takes you next! No one would have guessed it was only your third gig together.

intermission: one chai down, one to go

intermission: one chai down, one to go

life at the crossroads

February 24, 2009

Everyone I know has heard me say this at some point. Probably more than once…it’s a surprisingly well kept secret outside the state, but when it comes to arts and culture we don’t miss anything living in Vermont! Yes, it undoubtedly has something to do with our unique and fortunate geography, being right in the middle of the travel triangle between the artistic destinations of Montreal, NYC, and Boston. Does it matter that’s the reason? Yeah right. (And geography isn’t the only reason, just one of the big contributors. I truly believe people here are innately more creatively minded and gifted…must be all that clean air and natural inspiration working for us. ;) 

Another example: tonight Radio Bean will be hosting a two-person show of North Indian classical music, 7-9pm. The artists are Benjamin Stewart (tabla) and Paul Crowley (sitar).

I had a chance meeting with Benjamin a week ago, just as my show was ending at the Radiator. He had come in with Lee Anderson to do some training on the board before getting his own show (Weds. mornings, 8-10am) When I found out he’d be doing a show dedicated to Indian classical music, I thought to mention a show I had caught at the North End Studio the night before, also tabla (Gabe Halberg ) and sitar (Neel Murgai).

Even as I started talking about it I recalled the table of enthusiastic younger folks who had been sitting in front of me, and I realized that Benjamin had been part of that group. Nice to find we’d shared that amazing experience.

It’s not very often one has a chance to see Indian classical music being played in a live setting. It’s very difficult music to play, for one thing, and then even when qualified players can be found it requires just the right time and place to allow the music to unfold in its long-form expression without some of the usual constraints or expectations one might have from another kind of concert. Often, as was the case in the Gabe/Neel recital, one single, colorful, complex piece unwinds and fills up each ‘half’ of the show.

That there are TWO of these rare recitals taking place within a two-week period here really says it all: we don’t miss anything here! Looking forward to it tonight. Hope to see you there.

playlist: #61 (2/23/09)-Carnaval/Mardi Gras Time!

February 24, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #60 – 2/16/09 – Tomorrow’s Mardi Gras, and Carnaval is already underway in Brazil. It’s definitely time to fire up some dancing music!
Gaudi & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: (Theme song) Bethe Bethe Kese Kese / Dub Qawwalli / six degrees 657036-1137 – (PAKISTAN/UK)
Kermit Ruffins: Treme Second Line (Blow Da Whistle) / New Orleans Brass / Putumayo 270 – (N’AWLINS)
Joel Xavier: Carnaval / Sarava / JXP 2008 – (BRAZIL)
Buckwheat Zydeco: On a Night Like This / Legends of New Orleans / Blue Marble 2 – (N’AWLINS)
Marva Wright: You Are My Sunshine / After The Levees Broke / AIM 5015 – (N’AWLINS)
Timbalada: Na Ilha Grande & Bossa Nove de Sertão / Serviço de Animação Popular / Vale Music 376 – (BRAZIL)
Russell Batiste Jr., & Orkestra from da Hood: The Count / The Clinic / RBJ 71944 – (N’AWLINS)
Louis Armstrong: When the Saints Go Marching In / Louis Armstrong: Ken Burns Jazz / Columbia 61440 – (N’AWLINS)
Irma Thomas: Sweet Touch of Love / City of Dreams / Rounder 2196 – (N’AWLINS)
George Lewis: Just A Little While / Trios & Bands / American Music 4 – (N’AWLINS)
Little Booker: Doin’ The Hambone / The Genius of Dave Bartholomew / EMI 80184 – (N’AWLINS)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Don’t You Feel My Leg / The New Orleans Album / Columbia 45414 – (N’AWLINS)
Katie Webster: Love Deluxe / Two-Fisted Mama! / Alligator 4777 – (N’AWLINS)
Johnny Adams: Body & Fender Man / Room With A View Of The Blues / Rounder 2059 – (N’AWLINS)
Earl King & Snooks Eaglin: No City Like New Orleans / Hard River to Cross / Black Top 1090 – (N’AWLINS) – *Remembering guitarist Snooks Eaglin [b.1/21/1936-d.2/18/2009]*
The Meters: Jambalaya / Good Old Funky Music / Rounder 2104 – (N’AWLINS)
Irvin Mayfield & Bill Summers (Los Hombres Calientes): Mardi Gras Bayou & Carnival Kongo / Vol. 5: Carnival / Basin Street Records 206 – (N’AWLINS)
Rick Trolsen: Puttin’ On The Ritz / Sunrise On Bourbon Street / Lort 403 – (N’AWLINS)
David Byrne: The Rose Tattoo / Rei Momo / Luaka Bop 25990 – (UK/BRAZIL)
Blade & Masquenada Family: Bahia / Una Viagen Nu Tempo / Blade 13 – (BRAZIL)
Dr. John: Goin’ Back To New Orleans / Goin’ Back To New Orleans / Warner 26940 – (N’AWLINS)
Aaron Neville: Louisiana 1927 / Warm Your Heart / A&M 75021 – (N’AWLINS)
Ray Charles: Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin’ / Eve’s Bayou film soundtrack / MCA 11670 – (N’AWLINS)
Neville Brothers: My Blood / Yellow Moon / A&M 5240 – (N’AWLINS)
Madison’s Lively Stones: When the Saints Go Marching In / Saints’ Paradise / Smithsonian Folkways 40117 – (N’AWLINS)
The Blind Boys of Alabama & The Hot 8 Brass Band: I’ll Fly Away / Down in New Orleans / Time Life 19548 – (N’AWLINS)

remembering Snooks

February 23, 2009

Got word last Friday that N’awlins guitarist Snooks Eaglin had died. Guitarist hardly says it, neither does singer. A personality and style that big needs adjectives to match: exuberant! quirky! virtuoso! And unpredictable, especially in live shows. Yeah, all of that.

I never had a chance to see him, but I’m looking forward to playing some of his tunes on the show later today – the theme: Mardi Gras and Carnaval. (Mais oui, bien sǔr!)

the twist

February 22, 2009

Look out Vermont – there’s a new trio in town, and their recording debut is a contender!…well, that’s what the press blurb would say on the back of their new recording, were it not such an understated and tastefully packaged production.

new 'Twist' on a bunch of favorites

new 'Twist' on a traditional sound

And it would mostly be right, with one qualifier on that ”new’ thought: the just-released, self-titled (“Twist of the Wrist”) recording is more like the formalization of an artistic relationship many years in the making, between three well established musicians in the area.

If you’ve spent some time listening to the Burlington scene in recent years, you’re very likely know at least one of these folks: Robert Resnik, (accordions, guitar, vocals, and PVC flute,…yes, there IS a story in there…); Liz Thompson (hurdy-gurdy, percussion, and some of the purest vocals you’re likely to hear anywhere); and Barbara Wager (turns out if it has a hole in it, she can play it-clarinet, flutes, saxes, recorders, and…this is very cool…the crumhorn, a hooked, wooden sort of flute that looks like it’s being played by blowing into the wrong end of the candy cane.)

Ensemble, they are ‘Twist of the Wrist’, and their CD release party was held last night at the Flynndog studio space. (Aside: what will life be like when we start having to throw “mp3” release parties instead? Or, bleaker thought yet, WILL we have them!? Are release parties another potential lame duck casualty of digital evolution, like liner note booklets, and three-panel, fold-out album cover art? Anyone remember Roger Dean’s legendary ‘Yes’ covers? Or the masterwork that is the two-panel sketch and poem, inside of the original ‘Love Supreme’ album? Wow…cover art’s one thing I guess, but I really hope the end of release parties is not where things are headed. Let’s not do that. OK? OK.)

I made it for the beginning of the second set just as the trio started in with “Il ya Toujours (‘there’s always tomorrow’)”, a bittersweet retro-sounding French cabaret ode to love gone wrong (is there any other kind of French cabaret song?) And the evening continued with a charming set of music from a wide spectrum of

'Twist' at their Flynndog release party

'Twist' at their Flynndog release party

sources that continued to showcase their remarkable versatility, both instrumentally and as a group: songs from Scotland, the UK, more France…and throughout, the one thing I kept thinking was ‘is there anything they can’t play?‘ Someone else in the audience got to that very question before me near the end of the set. It was directed at Barbara, who, for the 5th or 6th time since the set started, had yet again changed wind instruments between songs. Her answer? “yes – the piano”‘. It’s not something we’re likely to miss.

This group makes a lot of music, and even if you have some of their previous individual recordings you owe it to yourself to get this one and give it a listen to hear what a beautiful blend they make as a threesome.

My fave track opens the disc. ‘Donna Lombarda‘ is sung in Italian, but not a thing is lost in the musical translation here. The one-liner description of it in the notes says: ‘a song about love in a wine cellar’.

“Twist of the Wrist” – THAT’S the way to warm up a Vermont winter evening!

[For info about the group and the new recording, it’s Barbara at]

slumdog vs. underdog

February 21, 2009

It’s Friday, or ‘filmscore Friday‘, as I called the show this morning. Oscars are the buzz it offered a great excuse (as if any was needed) to play some film score music before the weekend. No lack of material there,  just wish I had longer than two hours to play all of it!

Not too long after the show was over a friend sent me this thought:

“I know it’s a classical station and for a lot of people film scores are perceived as the bastard step child of classical music and frowned on by many, but I think they have their place from time to time in a venue like VPR. I can’t believe that classical composers would have turned their noses up at the chance to score a film. Thanks again.”

He makes a great point, ‘film music’ and scores are usually not thought of as ‘classical’ music in the strictest sense. But why?  

Well for one thing, many scores (and individual pieces written as part of scores) aren’t self-sustaining pieces without the extra-programmatic visual or narrative support they’re given in the context of the film. They’re not created to be. The stitched-together ‘preludes’, ‘interludes’ and ‘themes’ that often comprise a total score are frequently a much better sum (and audio summary of the film) than are those individual, orphan parts.

There are some great examples of fully conceived, individual stand-out pieces from broader movie scores, with enough musical structure, melody, and self-contained integrity to enjoy a life of their own. ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ from Morricone’s The Mission score fits that description. Or, for some real goosebumps, how about ‘Non nobis, domine’ from Patrick Doyle’s 1989 Henry V score? When you think of that movie, you think of that single piece. That’s powerful.

And, ‘legit’ classical music also offers arias or single moments from theatrical or operatic scores that stand as well alone as they do in context. Think: the Sicilienne from Fauré’s “Pelleas et Melisande”, or the Meditation from Massenet’s “Thaïs”. And lots of others you could suggest. Superb, complete moments, where everything else around them is a bonus for the listening experience.    

But, one-offs aside, to that original point: “…film scores are perceived as the bastard step child of classical music” Why? Surely any classical music lover would agree that the greater Western classical repertoire would be a much bleaker landscape without Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Mendelssohn’s (or Britten’s!) Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Grieg’s Peer Gynt. All acknowleged musical masterpieces; all 18th and 19th c. corollaries to today’s populist film (and film score) experience. That takes care of the question of whether classical composers would really turn up their noses at a chance to score a film…they scored what were the equivalents of films, in their own time.

If (big “IF”) a piece of film music meets the same standards we use to judge the integrity of other concert and orchestral music, and we know that some can (Copland, anyone?), why is film music categorically dismissed from the possibility of being included in an otherwise ‘classical’ lineup? How is it any different from the revered operatic, balletic, and incidental music of ages past that now defines that same hallowed classical canon?

Does anyone really wonder if Mozart might be involved in writing film scores, if he lived in our world today? He just didn’t make it that far! And they woulda been GRAND. Just think of that.

Cheers to the weekend. And the Oscars. I have no TV to watch them but I enjoy the thought that folks will be taking that long stroll down the Kodak Theatre red carpet outside(!) in February(!) in strapless gowns, with bare legs(!!). (I’ve lived in LA. I’ll still take VT in February any day…) And that someone, at the end of the night, will walk away with a gold statue for their hard work in trying to create just the right musical framework to express all that their movie was trying to convey.

Odds are on ‘Slumdog’, a critical favorite on most Oscar fronts. My friends (who all seem to see a lot more movies than me) are pulling for the underdog  ‘Wall-E’.

I’m just happy as long as there are new musical scores to enjoy – of whatever kind!

playlists – whew!

February 20, 2009

All caught up now posting playlists now from the first year + of the show.

I’ve already had a few questions, more or less along the lines of “what’s up with all the music playlists Cheryl? Not the greatest reading for a blog.”. True. Pretty dry, I admit. Does depend a little on who you are though. Before I ever got a world music show of my own I was online looking through lists from other shows to check them out, see what people were in to, find out about new recordings. So there is that. Love to think someone else is doing the same thing by coming here, and getting some ideas for their show from the things I’ve played.

And then, you know, it’s also good for musicians and recording companies to find out who’s getting some spin (can we still say that in an mp3 world? I guess my lexicon is going to have to adapt…again!..). Radio playlists are still helpful for that and helping make the decision on who gets sent the next releases. Bottom line: it’s good for everyone for more music to be coming through the door! For as long as that’s a relevant consideration, anyway…before everything goes download and NOTHING ‘comes through the door’ anymore.

Most music is downloadable now of course, but for those of us who still like the tangible and ‘complete artistic vision’ linear aspect of whole recordings, the world is happily still somewhere near, but not quite yet at, that fork in the road where it’s one or the other. We can still enjoy both for now: clean, compact downloads AND nice, paper packets jammed with liner notes and artwork and bio info and band credits and all that juicy visceral stuff.

Finally, the radio playlists are just a start. I’ll post a new one each week from now on when I do the show. The rest of my generous 3G’s (!) from wordpress will be spent sharing more pix and thoughts from live events, music reviews, you name it. All of which – maybe – I hope – makes for better and more thoughtful reading than playlists. Got ideas? Leave me a comment, I’d always appreciate it. And thanks for stopping in!

playlist: #60 (2/16/09)

February 20, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #60 – 2/16/09
Gaudi & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: (Theme song) Bethe Bethe Kese Kese / Dub Qawwalli / six degrees 657036-1137 – (PAKISTAN/UK)
Bernard Eudre: Morrow Ci Mane / Si Cele / Mangrove 1470 – (NEW CALEDONIA)
Mitili FLK: Roseane / Colôrs / NOTA 215 – (SLOVENIA)
Prem Joshua: Dance of Kali / Dance of Shakti / White Swan Music 43 – (GERMANY/INDIA)
Yannick Noah: Donne-Moi Une Vie (Give Me A Life) / Charango / Sony 86970 – (FRANCE)
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu: Galiku (Dance) / Gurrumul / Skinnyfish Music 80201 – (AUSTRALIA)
Constance Amiot: Clash Dans Le Tempo / Acoustic France / Putumayo 281 – (FRANCE) *NEW*
Blue Asia: He Akua Hemolele / Hotel Waimea / King Record Co. 867 – (JAPAN/HAWAII)
Dallam-Dougou: New Destiny / New Destiny / Jumbie 3 –
Palya Bea: Mamo csitté / Àlom-Àlom, kitalálom / Gryllus 38 – (HUNGARY)
Tiris: El Leil, El Leil (The Night, The Night) / Sandtracks / Sandblast 1 – (TIRIS, WESTERN SAHARA)
Salamat Ali Khan: Raga Durga / Salamat Ali Khan / Nimbus 5307 – (INDIA)
Novalima: Se Me Van / Coba Coba / Cumbancha 9 – (PERU) *NEW*
Fernanda Porto: Giramundo / Fernanda Porta / Trama 978 – (BRAZIL)
Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca: Africa, Havana, Paris / Tata Masamba / Mopiato Music 1990 – (CONGO)
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs: Damasiada Presión / Lo Esencial… / Norte 706443 – (ARGENTINA)
Inner Fire District: You Are My Sunshine / Inner Fire District / 2007 – (BURLINGTON, VT)
The Bad Plus + Wendy Lewis: Comfortably Numb / For All I Care / Heads Up 3148 – (USA) *NEW*
Ana Cañas: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 / Amor e Caos / Sony Brazil 86971 – (BRAZIL)
Patrice Fisher & Arpa (w/Antonio Rogerio): What A Wonderful World / Music of the Three Americas / Broken Records 807 – (USA/BRAZIL)


playlist: #59 (2/9/09)

February 20, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #59 – 2/9/09
Gaudi & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: (Theme song) / Bethe Bethe Kese Kese / Dub Qawwalli / six degrees 657036-1137 – (PAKISTAN/UK)
Long-ge: Playing Mahjong / Blues Around The World / Putumayo 253 – (TAIWAN)
Warsaw Village Band (w/Jan Trebunia Tutka): Little Baby Blues / Infinity / JARO 4289 – (POLAND)
Johnny Long: Blues and Boogie Woogie / Lost & Found / Delta Groove 106 – (ST. LOUIS, MO)
Etran Finatawa: Ronde / Introducing Etran Finatawa / World Music Network 105 – (NIGER)
Poncho Sanchez: Amor con Amor / Raise Your Hand / Concord Picante 30149 – (LAREDO, TX)
Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate: Queen Bee / Kulanjan / Hannibal 1444 – (USA/MALI)
Regi Butler (aka “Jah Moon”): I Want You / Reggae Dreams Compilation – vol. 1 / Rhombos Records 8015 – (LOS ANGELES, CA/JAMAICA)
Queyi: Superman / Nada Como Un Pez / Dro Atlantic 51442 – (SPAIN)
Manuel Carrasco: Verde Que Te Quiero Verde / Eda Rumbita Guena / Universal 602517 – (SPAIN)
Los Mocosos: Spill The Wine / Shades of Brown / Six Degrees 657036 – (SAN FRANCISCO, CA)
Shooglenifty: Bjork’s Chauffeur / Solar Shears / Vertical 53 – (SCOTLAND)
Twist of the Wrist: Il y a Toujours Demain (There’s Always Tomorrow) / Twist of the Wrist / N/A – (BURLINGTON, VT)
Junior Aranda: Dondo / (sampler CD) / Stonetree Records / – (BELIZE)
Niyaz: Beni Beni (trad. Turkish song) / Nine Heavens / Six Degrees 657036 – (IRAN)
Ljova and the Kontraband: Walking on Willoughby / Mnemosyne / Kapustnik Records 2008 – (N.Y., NEW YORK)
Paname Dandies: (J’adore) Les Chips / Le Swing de L’Escargot / Volvox 703 – (FRANCE)
Nicole Willis: A Perfect Kind of Love / Keep Reachin’ Up / light in the attic 28 – (NEW YORK/LONDON)
Niño Torrente & Son de Hoy: Compasión / Niño Torrente & Son de Hoy / Ardel Records 2003 – (CUBA)
Debashish Bhattacharya: Maya / Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide-Guitar Odyssey / Riverboat 1049 – (INDIA)
Dan Zanes & Angelique Kidjo: Jamaica Farewell / House Party / Festival Five 6 – (USA/BENIN)
Jeszcze Raz: Il avait l’âme / 2 Univers / ADCD 10174 – (MONTREAL, QC)
Vigüela: Seguidillas Vene / El Aguardiente y el Agualimón / Sonifolk 20185 – (SPAIN)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo: O Mmu Beno Mmu / Ilembe: Our Tribute to King Shaka / Gallo 51442 – (S. AFRICA) *2009 Grammy winner – Best Traditional World Music Recording*
Kristo Numpuby: Chanson pour l’Auvergnat / Brassons en Afrique / Pure Son’G / N/A – (FRANCE)
Marie Jose Gibon: All Right / Mega Zouk / Stemra 5005012 – (FRENCH WEST INDIES)

%d bloggers like this: