Posts Tagged ‘ukulele’

playlist #86 (10/26/2009)-poetry and all that global jazz

October 27, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #86 – Poetry, politics and a lot of new music
Listen 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)
The Chalga Band: Ratka Pirata / Ratka Pirata / Arpa 24 – (ITALY / BALKANS)
Jon Balke & Amina Alaoui: Ya Safwati / Siwan / ECM 2042 – (NORWAY / MOROCCO) *NEW*
Tinariwen: Imazeghen N Adagh (Toureg of the Adagh) / Imidiwan: Companions / World Village 468096 – (MALI) *NEW*
Martina Camargo: Me Robaste El Sueño (trad. Tambora style) / Canto, Palo Y Cuero / Chaco World Music 2009 – (COLOMBIA) *NEW*
Debashish Bhattcharya: Milaap / O Shakuntala! / Riverboat Records 1053 – (INDIA) *NEW*
Vincent Nsengiyumva: Intaramanaguhiga (Be A Hero) / Humura (Don’t Worry) Africa – (self-produced) 2007 – (RWANDA)
Chabuca Granda: Bello Durmiente / Lo Mejor de Chabuca Granda / Repertorio Sono Radio 26040 – (PERU)
Café Accordion Orchestra: Swing 42 / Le Disque Français DN    44 – (MINNEAPOLIS)
Grace Albert-Gardner & friends: La Soeur (Sister) / PoJazz – Last Days: Live at the Black Door / PoJazz 1 – (MADE IN VERMONT) *NEW – CDs can be purchased online for $10 at:  *
Jake Shimabukuro: While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Live / Hitchike Records 1109 – (HAWAII) *NEW*
Easy Star All-Stars featuring Bunny Rugs & U Roy: Lovely Rita / Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band / Easy Star Records 21622 – (JAMAICA)    *NEW*
B-Side Players: Alegria / Fire In The Youth / Concord Picante 2256 – (LOS ANGELES)
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: The Liberation Song (Red, Black, Green) / The First Minute Of A New Day / TV    4350 – (USA)
Alpha Yaya Diallo: Politik / Djama / Jericho Beach Music 501 – (GUINEA / CANADA)
Manu Chao: Politik Kills / La Radiolina / Nacional Records 68496 – (SPAIN / FRANCE)
Kayhan Kalhor & Ali Akbar Moradi: Majnooni-Bedaah-e bar Asaas-e Nagmeh Panj Zarbi & Maqam-e Alwand-avaz / In The Mirror Of The Sky / World Village 468030 – (IRAN)
Razia Said: Ny Alantsika (Nature’s Lament: the trees and animals are crying out to be heard, it’s time to listen) / Zebu Nation / 1 – (MADAGASCAR) *NEW – to be released on the Vermont-based Cumbancha Discovery label in February *
The Denver Dub Collective: When Doves Cry / Purple Dub / 1 – (DENVER, CO) *NEW*
Fernanda Porta: Giramundo / Giramundo / Trama 978 – (BRAZIL)
Bambara Trans: Khalouna / Khalouna / 1 – (MOROCCO / FRANCE / QUÉBEC / NOVA SCOTIA)
Dr. John: Now That You Got Me / Creole Moon / Blue Note Records 34591 – (N’AWLINS)
Sonia Bazanta Vides (aka: “Totó La Mompasina”): Fiesta Vieja / La Bodega    Astar Records 1 – (COLOMBIA)
Gipsy Kings: Si Tu Me Quieres / Pasajero / Nonesuch 79959 – (SPAIN)

calcutta slide guitar

September 20, 2009
brothers, Subhasis & Debashish Bhattcharya

brothers, Subhasis & Debashish Bhattcharya

“I didn’t introduce myself or the music at the beginning. Music is the best voice to speak in.”

Those were the words offered by slide guitarist Pandit (“master”) Debashish Bhattacharya at the conclusion of the first couple of unannounced ragas in tonight’s recital with his brother, tabla master Subhasis Bhattcharya. It was held at the UVM recital hall, sponsored by the Friends of Indian Music and Dance. And it was the opening concert on the brothers’ tour in support of their new (third) recording, O Shakuntala! on Riverboat Records.

Several years of listening to their first two recordings (Calcutta Slide Guitar, and last year’s Grammy nominee, Calcutta Chronicles) were little preparation for the impact of their live show. How do two people make that much music? Part of the answer lies in the 22-string chaturangui, an instrument of Debashish Bhattcharya’s own invention, and one of the self-described “trinity of guitars” he plays. It makes a big sound. But that’s only part of it.

The truth is, brothers Debashish and Subhasis are a singleminded musical force. They think and play as one, in music that ranges from the esoterically introspective to the frenetically precise, in the traditional Hindustani classical music of North India to the vocally-oriented Carnatic sounds of the South…often all in the same piece.

I couldn’t have enjoyed this more.

playlist #81 (9/14/2009) – under the covers, pt. 3

September 14, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #81 – Under the Covers, pt. 3 – a revival of our occasional series featuring all world and jazz covers of pop tunes
Listen 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)
Denver Dub Collective (covering Prince): When Doves Cry / Purple Dub / 2009 – (USA) *NEW*
Easy Star All-Stars featuring Sugar Minott (covering the Beatles): When I’m Sixty-Four / Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band / Easy Star Records 21622 – (JAMAICA) *NEW*
Tarrus Riley (covering Sting): King of Pain / Spirits in the Material World-A Reggae Tribute to the Police / Shanachie 45067 – (JAMAICA) *NEW*
Soweto Gospel Choir (covering U2): In the Name of Love / In the Name of Love-Africa Celebrates U2 / Shout! Factory 10608 – (S. AFRICA)
Sunshiners (covering David Bowie): Modern Love / Sunshiners / BMG Japan 21074 – (OCEANIA)
Seu Jorge (covering Bowie): Rebel Rebel / The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge / Hollywood Records 62576 – (BRAZIL)
Oslo Gospel Choir: Vaer Meg Naer (Kumbayah) / Salmeskatt / FX CD 272 – (NORWAY)
Junior Parker & the Jimmy McGriff Orchestra (covering the Beatles): Taxman / Funny How Time Slips Away / LaserLight Blues B000001J12 – (USA)
Mongo Santamaria (covering the Beatles): Daytripper / Jazz Moods: Cha-Cha Party / Concord Picante 5220 – (CUBA)
Bonerama (covering Led Zeppelin): Ocean / Bringing It Home / 2007 – (N’AWLINS)
Matt Haimovitz (covering Zeppelin): Kashmir / Goulash! / Oxingale 2007 – (USA)
Steve Blanco Trio (covering Zeppelin): Black Dog / Piano Warrior / Art of Life 1035 – (USA) *NEW*
Accoules Sax (covering Mr. James Brown): I Feel Good / Fiesta Music / CMD 12597 – (FRANCE)
Mo’ Horizons (covering Percy Mayfield): Hit the Road Jack (Pé na éstrada) / Brazil Remixed / Groove Gravy 1102 – (BRAZIL)
Nat King Cole (remixed by Cut Chemist): Day In Day Out / Nat King Cole RE: Generations / Capitol 2009 – (USA) *NEW*
Rachid Taha (covering The Clash): Rock el Casbah / Tékitoi / Wrass 126 – (ALGERIA/FRANCE)
The Fabulous Thunderbirds (covering the French original by Louiguy): Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White / Blues Masters, vol. 4: Harmonica Classics / Rhino 71124 – (USA)
Lila Downs (covering the trad. Mexican tune): La Cucaracha / One Blood – Una Sangre / EMI 78049 – (MEXICO)
Magnifico (covering the Animals): Land of Champions (House of the Rising Sun) / Grand Finale AVIH ? – (YUGOSLAVIA)
Kruno (covering Irving Berlin): Puttin’ On the Ritz / Gypsy Jazz Guitar / Gypsy Jazz Distribution 2006002 – (CROATIA/USA)
Easy Star All-Stars featuring Dr. Israel (covering Pink Floyd): Brain Damage / Dub Side of the Moon / Easy Star Records 21606 – (JAMAICA)
The Bad Plus (covering Pink Floyd): Comfortably Numb / For All I Care / Heads Up 3148 – (USA)
Denver Dub Collective featuring Venus Cruz (covering Prince): Purple Rain / Purple Dub / 2009 – (USA) *NEW*
Jake Shimabukuro (covering Chick Corea): Spain / Live / Hitchike Records 1109 – (HAWAII, USA) *NEW*
Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion (covering George Bizet): Klazz Meets Cuba / Carmen Cumaba / Sony 93090 – (CUBA)

sunday: four ‘f’s and a ‘u’

June 22, 2009
Cumbancha World Music

Cumbancha World Music, pre-party

The phrase “world class party” takes on a  whole new dimension of meaning, when you’re talking about a party at the Cumbancha headquarters.

By definition, “cumbancha” means ‘party’ – and that’s about all you need to know to get the scope of yesterday’s gathering.

The occasion? There were actually a few reasons, all of which contributed to the “Four F” theme of the day’s event: Father’s Day, the First day of summer; Fête de la Musique (the international day of music); and,…the fortieth birthday of Cumbancha founder Jacob Edgar. Any one of those excuses occasions (or none at all, actually) would have been reason enough, but with that many great vibes in the air it just had to happen.

It still surprises folks sometimes – even some who live in Vermont, and love world music – to learn that the quiet barn sitting there in the Charlotte countryside is Cumbancha’s offices. The label’s recordings have won top international acclaim and awards, and the artists it represents are from places as far away as Israel, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Peru, and…far beyond. I can tell you that your initial ‘quiet, pastoral’ impression of the place would be turned right around to be inside the place on any given Friday afternoon; hundreds of envelopes being stuffed and mailed, phonecalls often taking place in several different languages, and website and database and library work all being done at the same time. It takes a lot of work to be known on seven continents.

Movement of the People: the Fela Kuti Tribute project

Movement of the People: the Fela Kuti Tribute project (part of the archive in the background)

And the archive! Along with the business office, the barn also houses the combined recording library with Putumayo World Music of thousands of CDs from around the world. I’ve been volunteering and working part-time there for a couple of years now. I  haven’t looked for an ethnic recording yet that I haven’t been able to find, whether it’s from the Seychelles or Comoros Islands; Mali or New Zealand or Nicaragua or anywhere else . Everyone’s in there – it’s amazing.

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro

So consider that this vast global cultural archive, floor to ceiling lining the interior walls of the barn, served as the backdrop for yesterday’s party: as Vermont’s own Movement of the People: Fela Kuti Tribute band laid down the funky Afrobeat groove for the afternoon, the international potluck table along one wall offered everything from Moroccan cous cous to steamed Bratwurst, to Greek salad and a lot of other colorful dishes I’d have to research to be able to identify, much less pronounce. Best just to try it all and not worry about what to call it. Good plan.

Jake playing an original, koto-inspired work:

Jake playing his original, koto-inspired work "Sakura"

How to follow up an afternoon like that?

The only answer I could come up with was: ukulele concert. So that’s what the evening held, as the four “f”s of the afternoon’s party were followed by the “u” of the evening’s show.

Jake Shimabukuro played at Higher Ground for a couple of hours last night in a charming and energetic set that happily included a generous amount of originals, and – of course – the George Harrison song that made Jake and his fearless ukulele an instant YouTube hit a couple of years ago…While My Guitar Gently Weeps. (Haven’t seen it yet? Over 3 million others have, and this is why. It is extraordinary.)

The ukulele sang sweetly like a koto, in Shimabukuro’s gently cherry blossom-flavored original Sakura, and it twanged along just as flatly in his bluegrassy Orange World. (That’s what happens when a young artist goes on tour with veterans like Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – it has a certain effect.) Shimabukuro has a keen ear for the characteristics that make instruments like the koto or the banjo unique, and his ability to adapt those voices to the ukulele is uncanny.

His technique and artistry on the instrument are unassailable. Likewise with his stage presence: warm and personal, creating a comfortable  environment for the intimate experience of a solo ukulele concert. The original compositions Shimabukuro played were somewhat less successful. Spirited, inspired (a word he uses often, and with good reason) and undoubtedly earnest in their intent,  the repetitive, often mono-dynamic, ‘call and response’ style characterizing many of them leaves some room for maturing and development.

It’s good he has something left to learn in the long career that surely lies ahead. As a 32-year old performer now he’s already done more as a musician than many do in a lifetime.

la musique québecois

April 20, 2009

2009-apr20-quebeccd1Returned to Burlington from Québec City this afternoon with about 10 minutes to spare before the start of the show…perfect! Today we’ll hear music from the province (including Le Vent du Nord and Tricot Machine) and from Dobet Gnahoré’s Na Afriki, following her outstanding performance on Sat. night at the Palais Montcalm. Somali hip-hopper K’Naan’s new release Troubadour offers some thoughtful insights into life in that country, and ukulele phenom Jake Shimabukuro puts his own stylish spin on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” from the new live recording. Listen to “World of Music” online (Mondays, 3-5pm) or at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT.

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