Archive for August, 2010

beyond katrina

August 30, 2010

This week on World of Music we’ll hear the latest release from guitarist/singer Oswin Chin Behilia. He’s 72 this year, with a career that’s spanned the better part of the last 5 decades.

Behilia’s new recording – Liber – musically documents the social and political life of his native Curaçao, in particular the island’s uneasy relationship as a territory of the Netherlands.

We’re off to the Antilles this week with Behilia, and also pausing to remember the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Gulf Coast with a lot of jazzy sounds from New Orleans.

World of Music is an expansive, winding delta of blues, poetry, jazz, and international music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator. Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

cape breton/nova scotia, pt. ll

August 28, 2010

cape breton/nova scotia, pt. l

August 28, 2010

Some time ago earlier this summer I was looking at a map of Cape Breton and wondering where my best bets would be for hearing music. I shouldn’t have worried: the music there is as fundamental to the landscape as the rocks and deep blue water that define the bluffed coastline.

There are some recommended hot spots, which guarantee your visit will include some of the island’s traditional Celtic/French-flavoured music: the Red Shoe pub in Mabou, for one, is a locally famous pub with a long history tied to many of Cape Breton’s best fiddlers. I didn’t make it there.

Another couple of options are the Barn at the Normaway Inn in the Margaree Valley, and the notable Gaelic College, one of the homes of the annual Celtic Colours music festival and offering classes like Weaving, Highland Dancing, and Beginners Gaelic. I didn’t hear music at either of these two places either.

Instead, I caught part of a set with a fiddler and pianist at the Celtic Music Center in Judique. I ran across a ceilidh in Cape North and heard a local piper, tin whistler, and several singer/songwriters sharing a stage at the town’s small Church. I listened to the music of round stones, the polished remnants of an ancient glacier, on a cobble beach near Ingonish. As the waves came in and receded the millions of rounded granite rocks crashed and brushed against each other in a sound reminiscent of windchimes.

You don’t have to go out of your way to encounter music in Cape Breton: you just have to open your ears.

summer vacation

August 23, 2010

It’s a lazy Monday morning here at World of Music. The road trip to Nova Scotia/Cape Breton/Québec City was so much fun I didn’t get back until around 1 this morning, and the unpacking and photo downloading is just getting started now.

I’m going to take one more day off from doing the show today, but when World of Music gets back in gear next Monday afternoon the journey will include fiddle tunes, pipers, and some of the hybrid Celtic/French sounds that characterize Canada’s maritime provinces.

Listen in next Monday at the usual time, 3-5pm on the Radiator. Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re in Burlington, VT. Until then – salut!

more on the vanishing fiddlers of cape breton

August 20, 2010

vanishing fiddlers

August 19, 2010

I’ve been spending some time in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton recently. (Pictures coming soon.) Ever wonder why there’s such a tradition of Celtic fiddlers and bagpipers and culture in general, on the far East Coast of Canada? It’s geography: Nova Scotia = “New Scotland”.

Here’s a fascinating mini-doc. with the story:

season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

August 16, 2010

First touches of autumn in Huntington, VT

On the way home last week I noticed the first dry brushstrokes of color in the maple trees on my road. (I can hear the “oh NO!” rising even as I write this. But why? It’s natural! And none too soon, if we’re honest with ourselves – we’ve had highs topping 90 since the first weekend in May. It’s time.)

Sure as the calendar said August, there it was.

Right now I’m listening to Autumn Serenade, from Kurt Elling’s outstanding Dedicated to You release from last year: “Let the years come and go, I’ll still feel the glow that time can not fade…when I hear that lovely autumn serenade…”

I listen to this album year-round but tonight it seems especially significant as I think about the irrationally beautiful, fiercely change-minded season about to unfold and take us with it in the spinout of another year. A little later on this same recording, we find My One and Only Love: “When shadows fall and shed their mystic charms…”

I’ve always loved autumn and winter. There was a wide sycamore tree in the yard at the corner of the street where I grew up. It belonged to the Brannens and then the Chavez family, who moved in around 1976. In an update of the existing 1960s pink and brown color scheme, they painted the small bungalow house with a much more contemporary earthy palette of brown and ochre. I remember crunching past the sprawling tree in the Chavez’a front yard on the way to and from school in the fall, kicking my way through wildly colored paper leaves that were as big as the Pee-chee I carried . (Remember Pee-chees?) And the leaves smelled good, warm and woody. As close as a city kid was likely to get to nature.

The fuzzy golden balls that clung to the barren autumn branches of the neighbbor’s sycamore made me sneeze, with their thick profusion of furry seeds. You could pick them bald, and the center revealed a hard, brown, much smaller spherical core dangling from the stem as some kind of  a useless ugly organic omen of the Christmas ornaments in the season yet to come.

Best of all were the frosty mornings of late October. They quickly neutralized the brilliant splashes of color in the leaves to the subdued, dull resolve of November – but the patient observer (or school-bound little girl) could get up early enough to see the contours of the curled, fallen leaves laced with a delicate icy stitchery that outlined every vein and glowed in the first morning light. Magical.

Autumn’s coming. Even if the first changes I’m seeing now are anomalies, the real thing isn’t that far off. Let’s enjoy it for all it’s worth. And remember those opening lines from Autumn Serenade: “Thru the trees comes autumn with her serenade, melodies the sweetest music ever played…”


August 15, 2010

World of Music is taking a little time off for the next week or so to enjoy summertime and ponder the big questions of life, like – exactly what does it mean for a pacifist, animal rights activist vegetarian to hang a ‘Gone Fishing’ sign on the door?

There will be no radio show this week on The Radiator, but we’ll be back in bizness as usual next Monday the 23rd.

In the meantime please enjoy this beloved highlights reel from the …archives… nevermind.

We don’t have any beloved highlight reels. Or any archives.

See you next week.

if he was president

August 13, 2010

By now you must have heard the news: Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean has declared his candidacy for President of Haiti. (Listen to NPR’s interview here – it’s good.) He has been an outspoken advocate of human rights in his native country. He set up a charity – Yéle Haiti – to help the people after last January’s horrific earthquake. Maybe he can run a country. Whatever else, he can certainly sing. In fact in the wake of his recent declaration, I’ve been wondering why no one has been talking about Jean’s prescient (though we hope not too prescient – see the 3rd line) 2004 song, President:


Election time is coming

If I was president,
I’d get elected on Friday, assasinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.

If I was president…
If I was president

An old man told me, instead of spending billions on the war,
we can use some of that money, in the ghetto.
I know some so poor,when it rains that when they shower,
screaming “fight the power”.
That’s when the vulture devoured

If I was president,
I’d get elected on Friday, assasinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.

If I was president…
If I was president…
If I was president…
If I was president

But the radio won’t play this.
They call it rebel music.
How can you refuse it, children of moses?

If I was president,
I’d get elected on Friday, assasinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.

If I was president…
If i was president

Tell the children the truth, the truth.
Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America.
Tell them the truth.
The truth
YEAH! Tell them about Marcus Garvey.
The the children the truth YEAH! The truth.
Tell them about Martin Luther King.
Tell them the truth.
The Truth.
Tell them about JFK

If I was President
If I was president,
I’d get elected on Friday, assasinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.

If I was president…
If I was president.

kirk on trane

August 11, 2010

The 75th anniversary of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s birthday was  on August 7th. With influential recordings like Bright Moments, Blacknuss, and 1964’s I Talk With Spirits, Kirk lived and created among the foremost creative minds of the 20th century. He was fascinated by the music and rhythms of everyday life: TV, street sounds, and other people’s music. Some of his last recordings (like The Case of the 3-Sided Dream) foreshadowed the kind of audio dubbing and sampling techniques that are still cutting-edge today, some 35 years later!

Here’s a sweet set from Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s tribute to John Coltrane, live in Montreaux, 1972 – featuring Misty and I Want To Talk About You:

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