Posts Tagged ‘Michele Choiniere’

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 / (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 / 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 / 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 / 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)

playlist #139 (12/13/10)-listening to 2010, pt. 2

December 13, 2010

World of Music
Pgm #139 – The second 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 / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Mi Herencia Latina / Viva La Tradición / Concord Picante 32263 – (NY CITY, USA) * 2010 Grammy nominee: Best Tropical Latin Album *
Angélique Kidjo: Kelele / Õÿö / (demo) – (BENIN) * 2010 Grammy nominee: Best Contemporary World Music Album *
Lee “Scratch” Perry: Scary Politicians / Revelation / Megawave 342 – (JAMAICA) * 2010 Grammy nominee: Best Reggae Album *
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba featuring Harouna Samake: Torin Torin / I Speak Fula / Next Ambience-Out Here Records 1 – (MALI) * 2010 Grammy nominee: Best Traditional World Music Album *
Anadolu University Folkdance Ensemble: Adiyaman / Turkey-Traditional Music / ARC Music 2301 – (TURKEY)
The Cottars: Fare Thee Well, Northumberland & The Purple Wave / Feast / Rounder 7068 – (CAPE BRETON)
Soulive: Day Tripper / Rubber Soulive / Royal Family Records 1003 – (BUFFALO, USA)
Los Illusionistas: Colegiala / The Roots of Chicha 2: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru / Barbès Records 28 – (PERU)
Mayte Martin: Al Sur de Los Limones & En Aquel Tiempo / Al Cantar A Manuel / World Village 46087 – (SPAIN)
Trio Zamora: Vacilon / The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina / Ahi-Nama 1068 – (CUBA)
Eliades Ochoa, Toumani Diabaté & Friends: Mali Cuba / Afrocubism / World Circuit 525993 – (CUBA/AFRICA)
Red Baraat: Tunak Tunak Tun / Chaal Baby / Sin Records 110 – (NY CITY, USA)
Joan Soriano: Mi Último Llanto / El Duque de la Bachata / iASO 5 – (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)         4:47
Dota und Die Stadtpiraten: Ohrsteckermädchen / Bis Auf Den Grund / Kleingeld Prinzessin Records 12708 – (GERMANY)
Manicato: Familia / Familia / 2010 – (SAN FRANCISCO, USA)
Queen City Hot Club: Swing Gitan / Queen City Hot Club / (demo) – (MADE IN VT)
Michele Choinière: La Bergère / La Violette / – (MADE IN VT)
Guagua: Subterranean Subterfuge / Tres / – (MADE IN VT)
Swing Noire: Tchavolo Swing / Hot Jazz in the Tradition of Django Reinhardt & the Quintette of the Hot Club of France / – (MADE IN VT)
Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott: It’s a New York Thing / East-West Trumpet Summit / Origin 82561 – (MADE IN VT)
Julio Boom y Ikano MC: El Boom Boom / El Boom Boom / TUMI 159 – (CUBA)
The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder & Lila Downs: El Relampago / San Patricio / Hear Music 31321 – (IRELAND/USA/MEXICO)

playlist #137 (11/29/10)-harvest offerings

November 29, 2010

World of Music
Pgm #137 – A little something for everyone at today’s musical harvest
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 – (USA / SENEGAL)
Sabakoe: Patenti / The Best of Sabakoe vol. 1 / Stemra 6 – (SURINAM)
Alicia Villareal: Ni Por Interesada / Orgullo de Mujer / Universal 6605 – (MEXICO)
The Sahara All-Stars: Take Your Soul / Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-1979 / Soundway 10 – (NIGERIA)
Shweta Jhaveri: Hori / Prabandh-Classical Vocal Forms of North India / 21st Century Cosmos 4 – (INDIA)
Offer Ankori: Yawaladi / Offerings / One Hand Records 1999 – (ISRAEL/TUNISIA/EGYPT)
Voragine: Ketama / O8001 / Work in Progress Records 2007 – (SPAIN)
Roland Tchakounte: Nju Ne Bala / Blues Menessen / Tupelo Productions 2010 – (CAMEROON) *NEW*
Kristi Stassinopoulou: Whirlpools / The Secrets of the Rocks / Tinder Records 861142 – (GREECE)
Raina  Rai: Dikra / Cairo to Casablanca / Putumayo 143 – (ALGERIA)
Luísa Maita:  Lero-Lero (DJ/rupture remix) / Luísa Maita Remixed / Cumbancha 87 – (BRAZIL)
Novalima: Chinchiví / Afro / Mr. Bongo Records 41 – (PERU)
Papa Wemba: Soul Gbemani / Best of Papa Wemba / Suave 6942139 – (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
Lena Ka: Comme un dix Septembre / Cinquième Saison / Sacem 031075120478 – (FRANCE)
Paolo Conti: Gelato al Limon / The Best of Paolo Conti / Nonesuch 79512 – (ITALY)
Michele Choinière: Tant Mon Mari / La Violette / 2010 – (MADE IN VT) *NEW*
11 Acorn Lane: Le Sexe au Téléphone (Redial) / Painting Coconuts / 8450101876 – (FRANCE)
Toño Barrio: Reventando / Latin Groove / MTM 015003 – (COLOMBIA)
Taj Mahal: Muhoga wa jang’ombe / Taj Mahal Meets the Culture Music Club of Zanzibar / Mkutano 31 – (USA/ZANZIBAR)
Sheva & Friends: Nubi / Celestial Wedding / Globalev Music 733 – (ISRAEL)
Kailash Kher & Kailasa: Kaise Main Kahoon (How Do I Say It?) / Yatra (Nomadic Souls) / Cumbancha 14 – (INDIA)
Gaida: Ammar / Levantine Indulgence / Palmyra Recordings 2009 – (SYRIA)
Samurindó: Cuando Ovejas no era Sucre / Jazz Colombia / MTM 017003 – (COLOMBIA)

playlist #126 (9/13/10)-new tunes

September 13, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #126 – New tunes from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and beyond
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 / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Joan Soriano: Mal Pensado / El Duque de la Bachata / iASO 5 – (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC) *NEW*       
Alpha Ya Ya Diallo
: Djarabi / African Guitar Summit / CBC Records 3014 – (GUINEA/VANCOUVER, CANADA)
Michèle Choinière: Tant Mon Mari / La Violette /  2010 – (MADE IN VT!) *NEW*       
Systema Solar
: Chico / Systema Solar / Chusma Records 2 – (COLOMBIA)    *NEW*
Luisa Maita: Desencabulada / Lero-Lero / Cumbancha Discovery 17 – (BRAZIL) *NEW*       
Bruno Morais
: A Vontade / A Vontade Superstar / YB Music 49 – (BRAZIL)
Calypso Rose: Rum & Coca-Cola / Calypso @ Dirty Jim’s / EMI 5634790 – (TOBAGO)
Martha Mavroidi: Turtle / The Garden of Rila / C+P Wesaw Productions 2009 – (BALKANS)
Richard Kara: Fenko / Tingué / 2009 – (IVORY COAST/CANADA) *NEW*
The Hot Club of San Francisco: Le Jongleur / Bohemian Maestro: Django Reinhardt & The Impressionists / Azica 72241 – (SAN FRANCISCO,USA)
Raúl Paz: Havanization / Havanization / Naïve 2010 – (FRANCE)
Slavic Soul Party: Laughter Club / Taketron / Barbès Records 23 – (NY CITY, USA)
Soul Rebels: L.O.V.E. U. / Let Your Mind Be Free / Mardi Gras Records 1020 – (N’AWLINS)
The Musicians of Kunduz & Faizabad: Uzbek-Pashtun-Herati Folk Songs / Afghanistan-On Marco Polo’s Road / Multicultural Media 3003 – (AFGHANISTAN)
Tumi & The Volume: La Tête Savante / Pick A Dream / Sakifo Records 2010 – (JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA) *NEW*
Lhasa: La Celestina / La Llorona / Atlantic Records 83120 – (MEXICO/CANADA/USA)
The Sirba Octet featuring Isabelle Georges: Bei Mir Bist Du Scheyn / From the Shtetl to New York / Ambroisie 173 – (FRANCE/USA)          
Mosha Ben Ari
: Eem Rak Na’iz / Israel / Putumayo 268 – (ISRAEL)
Bellemou: Nediha Gaouria / The Rough Guide to Raï / Rough Guide 1100 – (ALGERIA)
Tamy: Dançar no me lugar / Tamy / Vale  ? – (BRAZIL)
Howe Gelb & A Band of Gypsies:  Where the Wind Turns the Skin to Leather / Alegrías / Eureka 2010 – (ARIZONA, USA)
Easy Star All-Stars: Within You Without You / Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band / Easy Star Records 21622 – (JAMAICA)
Staff Benda Bilili: Je t’aime / Très Très Fort / Crammed Discs 51 – (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
Sonia Brex: Good Times / Naif / Piranha Musik 2442 – (GERMANY/ITALY)
Omar Souleyman: Jamila (Beautiful Woman) / Dabke 2020 / 49 – (SYRIA) 

playlist #122 (8/2/10)-new tunes & live music

August 2, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #122 – New releases & a visit from Valley Stage Music Festival
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 / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Omar Souleyman: Mandal/Metel Il Sukkar Ala Il Shai (I Don’t Know/Like the Sugar in the Tea) / Jazeera Nights / Sublime Frequencies 55 – (SYRIA) *NEW*
Fernanda Porto: Giramundo / Fernanda Porto / Trama 978 – (BRAZIL)
Dengue Fever: Shave Your Beard / Electric Cambodia / Minky Records 1 – (USA/CAMBODIA) *NEW*
Trombone Shorty: In the 6th / Backatown / Verve Forecast 14194 – (N’AWLINS) *NEW*
Lee “Scratch” Perry: The End of an American Dream / The End of an American Dream / Megawave 242 – (JAMAICA)
S.E. Rogie: African Gospel / S.E. Rogie / Real World 2344 – (SIERRA LEONE)
BraAgas: Csiki, Csiki / Tapas / Indies Scope 455 – (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Interview w/Don Sheldon, founder and director of Valley Stage Music Festival
They Might Be Gypsies: Tchavolo Swing / They Might Be Gypsies / 2010 – (MADE IN VT)
Robbie Fulks: Black and White / (demo) – (USA)
Mike & Ruthy: End of Time / Million to One / Humble Abode Records 2010 – (USA)
They Might Be Gypsies: Destinee / They Might Be Gypsies / 2010 – (MADE IN VT)
Robbie Fulks: Like to be Left Alone, Let’s Kill Saturday Night / Revenge / Yep Roc Records 2125 – (USA)
Michele Choinière: Brind d’Amour & Par un Samedi Matin / La Violette / 2010 – (MADE IN VT) *NEW*
Sväng (Harmonica quartet): Jampparaleele / Sväng / Aito Records 5 – (FINLAND)
Colcannon: Sister Josephine / Athens Hotel / Oxford Road 201 – (IRELAND)
Swami Jr.: Bom Dia / Outra Praia / World Village 479029 – (BRAZIL)
Hot Club of Detroit: Duke and Dukie / It’s About That Time / Mac Avenue Records 1051 – (USA)
Paolo Conte: Gelato Al Limon / The Best of Paolo Conte / Nonesuch 79512 – (ITALY)
Carey Bell: Hard Working Woman / Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection / Alligator Records 112 – (USA)
Hazmat Modine: Yesterday Morning (on Gershwin’s “Summertime”) / The Womexizer 07 / WOMEX 2007 – (USA)

valley stage

August 1, 2010

This week’s World of Music features a special guest: I’ll be  talking with Don Sheldon, the founder and director of Huntington’s annual Valley Stage music festival. It’s the 5th year for the Festival, and promises a full day of music with groups including Middlebury’s gypsy jazz-inspired They Might Be Gypsies and the Americana duo Mike and Ruthy. (Ruthy being the daughter of Americana icons Jay Ungar and Molly Mason).

We’ll also check out Jazeera Nights, the new recording from Syria’s Omar Souleyman, and another new one I’m really excited about – Michele Choinière’s La Violette, a terrific collection of soulfully sung traditional French and French-Canadian songs.

World of Music is a global-thinking, local-living blend 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.

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