Archive for December, 2010

remembering lhasa – i’m going in

December 31, 2010

The end of 2010 brings all of the usual celebration, along with some sadness and reflection in remembering the many talented people we lost along the way. Singer Lhasa de Sela was among the first of those. She lost her 21-month battle with breast cancer on the evening of January 1st, 2010, at her home in Montreal. I am still deeply moved by the very last line of the obituary that appeared on her website, two days after her death: “It has snowed more than 40 hours in Montreal since Lhasa’s departure.”

As the year closes out I hope you’ll take some time to consider the preciousness of our limited time here and honor those special people – past and present – who are a part of yours in some way. Lhasa is part of my life in the same way she’s part of many people’s lives: because she enabled us to share a connection through her music.

This incredible performance is one that Lhasa gave in Toronto in 2006.

Happy New Year / Bonne Année !

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2010 in the rearview: what’s to love in music, part 2

December 31, 2010

The year-end survey continues – a few more of my favorite recordings from 2010:

Stile Antico: “Media vita” – This is the fourth recording from the young choir Stile Antico. They’re 14 members strong with a singular strong artistic vision that’s wasting no time establishing them in good company with groups like Anonymous 4. “Media vita” features choral music by the Tudor composer John Sheppard, a oft-overlooked contemporary of higher profile composers Thomas Tallis and (the somewhat younger) William Byrd. The real appeal of Sheppard’s outwardly austere harmonies reveals itself in washes (rather than flashes) of color, and the occasional dissonance and disharmony created with passing tones. The pure performance aesthetic of Stile Antico assures you hear every complexity and nuance in the various layers of music. This is one of two recordings from Stile Antico this year, the other is “Puer natus est” for Christmastime. I enjoyed both but prefer “Media vita” for its handling of the unusual repertoire.

Luisa Maita: “Lero-Lero” and “Maita Remixed” – This is actually two-in-one. Luisa Maíta’s debut album “Lero-Lero” was released in July, and it almost immediately spawned (in November) a remix treatment from notables like Maga Bo, Seiji, and DJ/rupture. Whether your tastes run to traditional Brazilian samba and bossa sounds (on “Lero-Lero”), or to the contemporized versions of the same material on the “Remixed” album, Maíta delivers her original songs with understated sultry flair. There is consistency of quality from track to track on these recordings, but not at the sacrifice of variety in tone and flavor. The message is clear: this is Brazil NOW.

Vijay Iyer: “Solo” – For an artist with a decade and a half experience it’s a little surprising it’s taken Vijay Iyer this long to offer the world a solo recording. I wasn’t sure what to expect with “Solo”, given Iyer’s artistic involvement with everything from hip-hop to improvisational collaborations and larger ensemble (orchestral) work. It’s worth the wait, and the question about all of those previous influences is answered by the fact that Iyer’s solo work is a rich blend of all of them. There’s the recording’s simple introduction with “Human Nature”, a song that digs deep into Iyer’s emotional abilities and reminds me of the supreme sensitivity and awareness heard with pianists like Bill Evans (always) and Keith Jarrett (in his best playing). And then you can hear Iyer’s spirited homage to Duke Ellington with “Black and Tan”, and his moving take on Monk’s “Epistrophy”. There is nothing about “Solo” that doesn’t ring true, from the standards (and not-so standard “standards”) to Iyer’s own forward-looking compositions. Look for more great things from this evolving young pianist.

Roland Tchakounté: “Blues Menessen” – What if John Lee Hooker had called his home West Africa? Cameroon’s Roland Tchakounté offers an answer to that thought – at least in part – with his searing bluesy guitar and deep, affecting vocals. And, he’s cool. But the John Lee Hooker comparison can’t be carried too far, Tchakounté is very much his own artist. He recorded two albums in Douala before he left Africa to live in France a few years ago. “Blues Menessen” was released this past May as his latest, most commercial recording. It is blues, but it’s not the West African/Sahara Touareg (think: Tinariwen) blues we’ve become familar with in recent years. This is fairly straightahead American Delta-style blues with an African accent, sung in Tchakounté’s native West Cameroonian language bamileke. It’s both unusual and familiar at the same time. The songs run a wide range of styles, from consistently rhythmic to more free-ranging and moodily interpretive. I love this recording.

Lobi Traoré: “Rainy Season Blues” – I couldn’t mention Roland Tchakounté without also talking about fellow Malian blues man Lobi Traoré. It was quite a shock this year to learn of his June 1st death. The circumstances aren’t completely clear (and of course, not especially important anyway). We do know that Traoré was 49 years old and had enjoyed great success in recent years. A year prior in the summer of 2009, he had met with producer Chris Eckman to lay down tracks for a new recording  featuring just his voice and guitar. What an ideal opportunity for an artist. The result is the new posthumous collection “Rainy Season Blues” – a quietly personal insight into Traoré’s art, featuring exclusively original material.  Traoré sings in Bambara on themes of peace, politics, and family. “Rainy Season Blues” is something like the ‘unplugged’ counterpart to the earlier “Mali Blues” album, and its rewards are equally sweet. Make that bittersweet, since this is also Traoré’s final musical statement. He will be greatly missed.

There are a LOT of other recordings I could mention…here’s a short list:

Mayte Martin: “Cantar a Manuel” – gorgeous flamenco singing from Spain.

Galactic: “Ya-ka-may” – down home SUPER funky sassy, brassy soul grooves from New Orleans…in fact, New Orleans gave the world several other hot releases this year too, including albums from Trombone Shorty (“Backatown”), Kermit Ruffins (“Happy Talk”), and Dr. Michael White (“Blue Crescent”).

Antonin Dvořák’s complete Symphonic Poems, with Charles Mackerras & the Czech Philharmonic (on Supraphon) – this is the contemporary recording of the Poems we’ve been waiting for.

Gil Scott-Heron: “‘I’m New Here” – gritty, original, real, with all the usual great observations about life and our society. Scott-Heron’s first recording in 15 years, and WHAT a return.

Joan Soriano: “El Duque de la Bachata” – singing, blistering guitar-driven melodies from the Dominican Republic.

Frederic Chopin’s late masterpieces with pianist Stephen Hough (on Hyperion) – a perfectly crafted recording to celebrate Chopin’s 200th anniversary year.

Oswin Chin Behilia: “Liber” – politically-infused, lyrically Caribbean songs from a soulful guitar master.

I guess it has to end somewhere, so that’s it for this year’s wrap-up. Cheers to another year of good listening in 2011!

2010 in the rearview: what’s to love in music, part 1

December 31, 2010

Remember a year ago, when so many people and media organizations fell over themselves to declare the “end of the 21st century’s first decade”, and publish their “best of the decade” music lists? And remember that they were wrong about 2009 concluding the century’s first decade? (Here’s that discussion…)

Well now it’s new year’s eve, 2010, and we really ARE at the end of the 21st century’s first decade. I’ve yet to see a single “best of the decade” list. Odd. I’m not going to create one either, I’d rather share some of the sounds I encountered and enjoyed the most over the past year. Just like last year’s list, I don’t know how many we’ll end up with: it’s not a “best 10′ or ‘best 20’ just to keep the list at a tidy round number. The music will guide the discussion and we’ll see where it takes us.

Here’s the first handful of the recordings I found the most compelling in 2010. Please share yours too – leave a comment below!

Michèle Choinière: “La Violette” –  You like to dance? I mean, really dance? It’s OK if the answer is ‘no’, because all you really need to do is listen to “La Violette” to join the party. The dancing will take care of itself. “La Violette” is the new recording from Vermont-based Franco-American singer Michèle Choinière. I couldn’t stop listening to it this year. It’s the long-awaited followup to her soulful 2003 debut release “Coeur Fragile“.  The songs on “La Violette” are mostly (not entirely) traditional French and French-Canadian, many arranged by Choinière herself and performed with great energy, ease, and classy style. From the catchy song Tant Mon Mari (including exciting traditional French-Canadian fiddling technique) to the Edith Piaf classic Tu es Partout (You are everywhere), this is a warmly melodic recording with a lot of heart. Yet while the songs of “La Violette” may be rooted in the past, the performance is irresistable and spirited, infusing the whole recording with fresh, contemporary relevance. Special nod to Lane Gibson at Gibson Recording in Charlotte, VT  for “La Violette”‘s terrific production. I’m ready for Michèle Choinière’s third recording – any time now!

Gorillaz: “Plastic Beach” -This is one of the first new recordings I heard this year, it premiered in Australia and the UK in February and then on March 1st National Public Radio streamed the whole album. Two days later is was released to the public. I was immediately struck by the continuity and textural richness of “Plastic Beach” – and how I kept getting more from it, the more I listened. Nearly a year later that’s still true. “Plastic Beach” is the third studio release from musician Damon Albarn (formerly of Blur) and animation artist Jamie Hewlett. The album creates a fully realized sonic world of disillusionment, wonder, and some sadness with a long list of special guest including Lou Reed, Mos Def, Snoop Dog, and Lebanon’s National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music. Highlights for me include “White Flag”, “Broken”, and the title track. Sometimes the transitions between the album tracks or musical grooves seem abrupt or disjointed, but that effect seems to be an intentional aspect of the aural topography being described in “Plastic Beach”. This is an unusual, engaging and repeatedly rewarding album. Notable quotes: “all we are…is stars.”

Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI: “Istanbul” – Jordi Savall is a viol player, an early music scholar, and the tireless leader of ensembles like Hesperion XX, Hesperion XXI, and the Concert des Nations. I’ve come to expect the unexpected from any project he’s involved with, and yet this year’s recording “Istanbul” still surprised me. First of all, there’s the pedigree: the title on the recording says “The Book of Science and Music and the Sephardic and Armenian musical traditions”. Really? OK, then, so maybe we can expect to hear Sephardic and Armenian music from Turkish sources. But who is Dmitrie Cantemir (also noted in the album title) and what does he have to do with the music being played here?  Turns out he was a 17th-century intellectual and Moldavian Prince who had some musical skill. He wrote a few pieces, but his greater contribution is probably his “Book of Science and Music”, a collection of some 350+ pieces of music popular in 17th-century Turkey, all preserved in his own unique notation format. This is a collection that Jordi Savall encountered while doing research for his earlier album, “Orient-Occident”, and he decided there was enough material to create a whole other album. This is that album. Add to the Cantemir collection a few Savall originals that serve as preludes to the Cantemir contributions, AND a small assortment of Sephardic and Armenian songs in contemporary versions by Sephardic scholar Isaac Levy. Interesting background, but does it all hold together to make for good listening? It does. In fact, it’s on the purely musical level where “Istanbul” works best. This is a rare instance where the backstory doesn’t necessarily enrich the experience by providing context for the music. Once we’ve navigated through the tangled patch-up of the program’s various source material, we can simply listen and be delighted by the lively inventiveness of Hesperion XXI, and the exotic tunings and instruments this spirited, beautiful music requires. When you listen to this – just listen. Leave the booklet alone until you’ve heard the recording a couple of times all the way through and had a chance to enjoy it on a musical level. It doesn’t need anything else.

Myra Melford & Be Bread: “The Whole Tree Gone” – (Be Bread is: Stomu Takeishi, bass; Ben Goldberg, clarinet; Cuong Vu, trumpet; Matt Wilson, percussion; Brandon Ross, guitar) Another year, and (thankfully!) we have another Myra Melford recording to show for it. I’ve mentioned before I appreciate Myra Melford’s artistry without reservation. And I have enjoyed her various solo or chamber music outings in recent year, but what a joy to hear her return to her role as the leader of the Be Bread ensemble in the 2010 release “The Whole Tree Gone”. It’s a programmatic album, featuring eight pieces inspired by Rumi verse. Each piece is self-contained, but one listens to the collective result differently to realize that the pieces were written as part of a suite (supported by a 2004 Chamber Music America grant). Be Bread is a capable, incredibly creative ensemble grounded by Wilson and Takeishi and tastefully accented by Goldberg, Vu, Ross, and Melford herself in playing that ranges colorfully from meditative and introspective to punctuated, and explosive. Thrilling playing (individually AND as an ensemble) – “The Whole Tree Gone” is undoubtedly one of my top faves of the year.

2010 in the rearview, part two coming up…stay tuned…and tell me about your 2010 favorites! Leave a comment here.

playlist #141 (12/27/10)-listening to 2010 finale

December 27, 2010

World of Music
Pgm #141 – We’re ending the year with a world-class dance party featuring some of the best recordings of 2010 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
—-
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / http://www.intrahealth.org/open/ (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
—-
Galactic: Wild Man / Ya-ka-may / Anti- 87002 – (N’AWLINS)
Steve Zahn & Friends: Shame Shame Shame / Treme HBO 4910 – (N’AWLINS) * 2010 Grammy nominee – Best Soundtrack *
Trio Zamora: No Me Importa / The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina / Ahi-Nama 1068 – (CUBAN)
Luísa Maita (remixed by Maga Bo): Maita Remixed / Maita Remixed / Cumbancha Discovery 87 – (BRAZIL)
Easy Star All-Stars (Mad Professor Remix): Money / Dubber Side of the Moon / Easy Star 1023 – (NEW YORK, USA)
—-
Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté: Sabu Yerkoy / Ali & Toumani / World Circuit 522937 – (MALI) * 2010 Grammy nominee – Best Traditional African Album *
Michèle Choinière: Tant Mon Mari / La Violette / http://www.michelechoiniere.com 2010 – (MADE IN VT)
Los Destellos: Constelación / The Roots of Chicha 2 / Barbes Records 28 – (PERU)
Red Baarat: Chaal Baby / Chaal Baby / Sin Records 10 – (NEW YORK, USA)
Trombone Shorty: In The 6th / Backatown / Verve 14194 – (N’AWLINS)
—-
Anadolu University Folkdance Ensemble: Siksara-Horon / Turkey-Traditional Music / ARC Music 2301 – (TURKEY)
Razia: Babanao / Zebu Nation / Cumbancha Discovery (demo) – (MADAGASCAR)
Lee “Scratch” Perry: Weatherman / Revelation / Megawave 342 – (JAMAICA) * 2010 Grammy nominee – Best Reggae Album *
Oswin Chin Behilia: Korupshon / Liber / Otrabanda 10 – (CURAÇAO)
The Underscore Orkestra: Devil with the Devil / No Money No Honey All We Got Is Us / http://www.theunderscoreorkestra.com 2010 – (OREGON, USA)
—-
Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Son de Corazon / Viva La Tradición / Concord Picante 32263 – (USA)
Angélique Kidjo: Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka / Õÿö (demo) 2010 – (BENIN) * 2010 Grammy nominee – Best Contemporary African Album *
Roland Tchakounté: A Tchann / Blues Menessen / Tupelo Productions 2010 – (CAMEROON)
Soulive: Drive My Car / Rubber Soulive / Royal Family Records 1003 – (USA)
Joan Soriano: Cal y Arena / El Duque de la Bachata / iASO 5 – (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba: I Speak Fula / I Speak Fula / Next Ambience 1 (MALI) – * 2010 Grammy nominee – Best Traditional African Album *
—-
Dengue Fever: Shave Your Beard / Electric Cambodia / Minky 1 – (USA/CAMBODIA)
Baba Sissoko: Dakan / Afrocubism / Nonesuch 525993 – (MALI/CUBA)
El Green featuring Carlos Santiago: La Santiaguera / El Boom Boom / Tumi 159 – (CUBA)
Trio Azteca: Besame Mucho / The Best of Mexico / ARC Music 2302 – (MEXICO)
Manicato: Plena pa’l Mundo / Familia / http://www.manicato.com 2010 – (USA)
—-
Kermit Ruffins: If I Only Had a Brain / Happy Talk / Basin Street Records 111 – (N’AWLINS)
Dr. Michael White: Will The Circle Be Unbroken / Blue Crescent / Basin Street Records 504 – (N’AWLINS)

listening to 2010 – grand finale

December 26, 2010

We’re down to the last World of Music show for the year – and we’re rounding out a whole month showcasing some of the best music of the year.

It’s a year-end dance party with new releases from Peru, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, and Mali.

And we’ll hear the latest from New Orleans artists Dr. Michael White, Kermit Ruffins, and from the Grammy-nominated “Treme” HBO soundtrack.

World of Music is a New Year party mix 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.

winter solstice

December 21, 2010

It’s that special day of the year when the Oak King and Holly King do their biannual ceremonial battle, and the Holly King is vanquished for the next six months until the Summer Solstice when he rises again to rule over the waning half of the year.

Burning fires and candles; reading stories and poetry; singing songs and dancing and keeping good company through the darkest night of the year – these are all the best ways to celebrate the solstice and welcome the coming of the new year. Cheers!

"Solstice" by Roberta Margaret Grahame

vt mozart festival – finale.

December 21, 2010

Press release:

VERMONT MOZART FESTIVAL CLOSES ITS DOORS

Burlington, VT (12/21/2010 at 3:20pm)

After 37 summers, the Vermont Mozart Festival will be closing its doors on or before January 15th. Since 1974, the Festival featured world-class performances in beautiful and historic locations around the state. Countless generations of family and friends came together for three weeks each summer to enjoy enchanting classical music under the stars. In recent years, though, the organization began to incur debt from which it simply could not recover.

“In spite of the fact that public support has increased dramatically over the past six years, we have not seen a continuing interest in programming,” said Executive Director Timothy R. Riddle. “The audience has been steadily decreasing. We engaged a wonderful new artistic director to revamp programming, in the hopes of increasing ticket sales. Unfortunately, due to lack of financing, the Festival was unable to continue to move forward with these plans long enough to allow these changes to have an impact.”

Riddle was hired on as Development Director in 2005 and promoted to Executive Director in 2007, leading efforts to increase individual and corporate donations and put the organization back into the black.

But as fundraising improved, ticket sales dropped. After two years of heavy rain and economic recession, the Festival’s ticket sales had sunk well below expected revenues. Riddle and Board President Richard Parlato announced during August 2009’s Grand Finale concert that the Festival was running a deficit of greater than $400,000.

The announcement prompted a swift response from Festival supporters, which helped reduce the deficit by half. The Festival aimed to further reduce debt in 2010 through increased publicity and accompanying ticket sales, by ramping up media coverage and announcing a talented new artistic director, Israeli pianist and composer Gil Shohat. Even the notoriously unpredictable Vermont weather cooperated, with Festival patrons enjoying some of the nicest midsummer evenings in recent memory.

However, 2010 ticket sales still remained lower than expected. The Festival was left with a deficit that had crept back up to more than $325,000. Several months were spent pursuing financing with longtime presenting sponsor, People’s United Bank. Vendors patiently waited for payment, but when it became evident that the bank loan request was declined, the organization had no choice but to cease operations.

“I want to thank all our friends and partners for their years of support. The music played a major role in my life and I know in yours. I can assure you this has been neither a simple nor easy decision for the Vermont Mozart Festival board. I will miss all the wonderful summer nights and the magic of the music in our beautiful state,” said Parlato.

The Festival consistently had been named by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as one of Vermont’s Top Ten Summer Events, and was regarded by its attendees as one of their favorite summer rituals. The Festival was also voted 2010 Best Outdoor Concert Series by Seven Days Magazine and was listed as a Top-Rated Arts Nonprofit by GreatNonprofits.org earlier this year.

playlist #140 (12/20/10)-listening to 2010, pt. 3

December 20, 2010

World of Music
Pgm #140 – Number three of four shows dedicated to some of the best international music of 2010
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
—-
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / http://www.intrahealth.org/open/ (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
—-
Dengue Fever & Ros Sereysothea: Cold Sky / Electric Cambodia / Minky Records 1 – (CAMBODIA)
Gorillaz: White Flag / Plastic Beach / Virgin 27547 – (USA)
The Mayapuris: Shiva Shiva / Mridanga / Equal Vision Records 190 – (INDIA)
Trio Azteca & de Norte a Sur: El Colas / The Best of Mexico / ARC Music 2302 – (MEXICO)
—-
Hot Club of Detroit: Equilibrium / It’s About That Time / Mack Avenue 1051 – (USA)
Tumi & The Volume: Asinamali / Pick A Dream / Sakifo Records 3216165 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Oswin Chin Behilia: Zikinzá / Liber / Otrabanda Records 10 – (CURAÇAO)
Lena Ka: Fais Semblant / Cinquième Saison / SACEM 31075120478 – (FRANCE)
—-
Raúl Paz: Gente / Havanization / Naïve 2010 – (CUBA)
Emad Sayyah: Raksat Loubnan / Bellydance from Lebanon / ARC Music 2278 – (LEBANON)
Balval: Mamo / Le Ciel Tout Nu / Whaling City Sound 53 – (FRANCE)
Diabel Cissoko & Ramon Goose: Totoumo / Mansana Blues / Dixiefrog 8683 – (MALI/UK)
—-
Master Drummers of Africa: Dagwamba / Master Drummers of Africa vol. 2-Ubuntu / ARC Music 2280 – (GHANA)
Nour Eddine: Laafou / Morocco-Traditional Sounds and Music / ARC Music 2289 – (MOROCCO)
Lobi Traoré: Moko ti y lamban don / Rainy Season Blues / Glitterhouse Records 711 – (MALI)
Giulia y los Tellarini: Ay Mi Niña / Eusebio / Music to Measure 2008 – (SPAIN)
Mike Mainieri & Charlie Mariano: Bye Bye Blackbird / Crescent / NYC Records 6041 – (USA)
—-
Trombone Shorty: On Your Way Down / Backatown / Verve 14194 – (N’AWLINS)
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars: Dununya / Rise & Shine / Cumbancha 18 – (SIERRA LEONE)
Dr. Michael White: King of the Second Line / Blue Crescent / Basin Street Records 504 – (N’AWLINS)
Kermit Ruffins: Ain’t That Good News / Happy Talk / Basin Street Records 111 – (N’AWLINS)
Galactic: Katey vs Nobby / Ya-Ka-May / Anti- 87002 – (N’AWLINS)
—-
Toots & The Maytals: Higher Ground / Flip and Twist / D&F Music 2010 – (JAMAICA)
The Whitefield Brothers: Pamukkale / Earthology / Now Again Records 2010 – (GERMANY)
Lil Queenie & The Percolators: My Darlin’ New Orleans / Treme / HBO Music 14910 – * 2010 Grammy nominee * – (N’AWLINS)
Sonia Brex: Good Times / Naif / Piranha 2442 – (GERMANY/ITALY)

listening to 2010-pt. 3

December 19, 2010

Every World of Music show this month is a showcase of some of the best music of the year. This week’s program includes new releases by musicians from Mexico, Lebabon, Curaçao, and Ghana.

We’ll also devote a set to some of the (many!) recordings to come out of New Orleans in 2010: Dr. Michael White, Galactic, Kermit Ruffins…and the new Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars release Rise & Shine, which was recorded in the Crescent City with the legendary producer Steve Berlin.

World of Music is a year-end roundup 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.

“local” music on the world stage

December 15, 2010

Razia

It’s been a good week for Vermont’s Cumbancha recording label getting some well deserved (inter)national press.

First, on Monday, National Public Radio gave Razia a nod in their article 5 New African Bands That Ruled In 2010. She’s from Madagascar, now living in New York City. “Zebu Nation”, her debut recording, was released last spring on Cumbancha’s “Discovery” label for emerging artists. I happened to be in New York last April so I stopped by S.O.B.’s when Razia and her band were having their CD release party. The house was packed and the ecological message of her music couldn’t have been more timely: it was Earth Day. Razia’s personal warmth and conviction infuse her music with both soul and urgency – she offers catchy, melodic, original songs with a first-person view of the severe environmental issues that face her native island country.

Then, for the second high profile media mention this week, last night Brazil’s Luísa Maita was featured as the “global hit” on the BBC program The World. Like Razia, Luísa released “Lero-Lero”, her first recording, on Cumbancha Discovery this past year. She also came to Burlington for a sold out performance in early November that generated a lot of buzz: Who is she? Where has she been until now?

Maita Remixed

Warmth is also a word I’d use to describe Luísa’s delivery, with traditional Brazilian bossa novas and sambas forming the core of her very contemporary, classy sound. In fact her music was so ripe for remix that that’s exactly what happened: Lero-Lero‘s late summer release was quickly followed up by her Maita Remixed album in early November, also on Cumbancha Discovery. If the original recording was hip (it was), the remix package lends urban polish to the whole project with contributions from notables like DJ Tudo, Seiji, and DJ/Rupture. The best remix albums start with strong material, so this one was destined to be memorable.

Cumbancha’s motto is ‘live local, listen global’ – an idea it embodies every day with recordings like these two.

Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered and worked part-time at Cumbancha for a little over three years now. I’ve said it before: I would be listening to and writing about their recordings even if I didn’t.


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