WorldBeatUK (14th Show) - Broadcast Notes (1st June 2011)
Tagged with: WorldBeatUK Glyn Phillips Rory McLeod Owiny Sigoma Fatamouta Diawara Saucejas Dagadana Los de Abajo Ikebe Shakedown Olufemi Vieux Farka Toure Barbad Gil Scott Heron Cedric Brooks Omi Akwaaba Karlon Rootsmamas Babayaga Canelason Pornoson Brownout
WBUK14 (1/6/11) - PLAYLIST
1 “Intro-Mat” (1:47) by Matchatcha from album ‘Nyekesse (Aimer La Danse)’ (Melodie)
You’re listening to Rhubarb Radio, my name’s Glyn Phillips and welcome to WorldBeatUK - 2 hours of the best world music from around the globe. Coming up on the show tonight we’ve got music from the USA, France, Spain, Jamaica, Iran, Portugal, Mali, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Russia and the UK. So stay tuned to WorldBeatUK as I take you around the world in weighty grooves . . .
Now first off a little plug for a gig that’s happening right here in Birmingham, this Saturday the 4th June - just around the corner from where I’m sitting in the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham - at the Wagon & Horses, Adderley Street. I’ve been rehearsing with a new nine-piece band recently called Kilombo and it will be our debut gig. The band plays a mixture of afro-centric based musics including merengue ska, soca-cumbia, bolero, bossa, rumba, jazz-funk and rhythm & blues and we formed it just for some fun - the chance to play the music we like without having to fit into some kind of marketing label.
If you fancy coming along, then the night starts at 8, goes on till 3am and will also feature dub band Relative and a fistful of DJs including Skeleton, Marc Reck, the Jam Jah DJs and more. And it’s all FREE!
For a little taste of what Kilombo play, here’s one of the tunes we’re going to be performing on Saturday. This is a ska version by the St Petersburg Ska-Jazz Review of the Zimbabwean classic “Skokiaan”:
2 “Skokiaan” (3:23) by St Petersburg Ska-Jazz Review from album “Too Good To Be True” (Megalith Records)
Another plug now, this time for the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival 2011 in London on the 19th June on the South Bank. As the name suggests it refers to raising awareness of the plight of refugees during Refugee Week (which takes place 20th -26th June). I’ll be featuring some of the artists involved in the Festival over the next couple of weeks or so on this show and first up is the UK’s Rory McLeod.
He carries with him that same mixture of idiosyncracy and integrity as people like Ash Mandrake, Roy Harper etc. I think it’s safe to say that Rory is an underground legend. Described variously as an amazing folk artist, traveller, troubadour extraordinaire and a one-man folk orchestra, Rory plays a multitude of instruments including trombone, harmonica, spoons, djembe, bandorea, guitar, finger-cymbals and tapshoe-driven stomp-box! He’s played and recorded with people like Ani Di Franco, Taj Mahal, Kathryn Tickell and Ali Farka Toure amongst many others.
I had the pleasure of performing with him back in the 90s right here in Birmingham - a great musician, and a true gent to boot. Luckily for us here in Brum he’s come down from the Orkneys and will be performing next month at the Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, courtesy of World Unlimited. I urge you to go along - you will be drawn into his unique world and emerge with your senses buzzing. And talking of buzzing - this is Rory McLeod and a track from his new album (“Swings and Roundabouts”) called “Lassooing the Bees”!
3 “Lassooing the Bees” (4:00) by Rory McLeod from the album “Swings and Roundabouts” (Talkative Music - Talk004)
Wasn’t that fun! OK yet another plug now! Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing material from the debut album of an anglo-kenyan band called Owiny Sigoma. They are having their inaugural concert on Monday June 6th at Café OTO in Dalston, London. So here’s a track from their album - also called Owiny Sigoma, on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label - this is a tune sung in English called “Here On The Line”.
4 “Here On the Line” (4:12) by Owiny Sigoma Band from album ‘Owiny Sigoma Band’ (Brownswood Recordings)
Meanwhile over in West Africa we come across the Cote D’Ivoire born, Mali raised singer Fatoumata Diawara (who I first came across last year singing backing vocals on the AfroCubism CD). Fatoumata will be playing the support slot for AfroCubism at their Royal Albert Hall concert on 27th June this year, but in the meantime here’s a preview from her forthcoming album (“Fatou”) to be released by World Circuit in September. This track is called “Kanou” and it’s just been released as an EP on digital download (check iTunes, Amazon, etc).
5 “Kanou” (3:56) by Fatoumata Diawara from EP ‘Kanou’ (World Circuit)
Ok let’s leave Africa for a while, and travel far to the North of Europe to the Baltic Sea for the next few numbers. First up is a choir called Saucejas from the small country of Latvia sandwiched between Lithuania and Estonia. They specialise in choral folk music and this tune is called “Nekukoji, Dzeguzite” which translates as ‘Stop calling, Cuckoo’.
6 “Nekukoji, Dzeguzite” (Stop Calling, Cuckoo) (2:50) by Saucejas from album ‘Native Music 5 - Latvia’ (Latvian Music Information Centre)
Just down from Latvia and Lithuania is Poland where you can find the young folk-pop trio Dagadana (formed by Dagmara Gregorowicz and Dana Vynnytska). A few months ago I featured them in an article that I wrote for WorldMusic.co.uk on the state of Polish world music after hearing their album “Malenka” (Offside Records 005) which was awarded the Polish Fryderyk Award for Folk/World Album of the Year 2010.
They’ve just contacted me to tell me about their forthcoming album “Dlaczego Nie” (which translates as “Why Not?”) and to share the first single from the album : “Wszystkie Maja Po Chlopoku” (Every girl has a man) which is their innovative and very jazzy take on a folk song sung to them by their mothers when they were just kids. The album won’t be released until Autumn, but here’s a taste of what they do.
7 “Wszystkie” (Every Girl Has a Man) (4:13) by Dagadana from album ‘Dlaczego Nie (Why Not?)’
Meanwhile on the other side of the Baltic Sea lies Sweden. This next band is a trio formed by Pelle Björnlert on Fiddle, Johan Hedin on Swedish nyckelharpa and Eric Pekkari on zither, two-accordion and fiddle. They tend to specialise in very old Swedish folk music and this is no exception. This tune is called “Flageolettpolska”.
8 “Flageolettpolskan” (2:58) by Pelle Björnlert, Johan Hedin & Erik Pekkari
Staying in Sweden but with a far more contemporary approach to folk is the duo Jonas Knutsson and Johan Norberg. In fact it’s almost folk-jazz, especially because for this album they’re joined by the wonderful German double bassist Eva Kruse who contributes this piece of Bavarian folk to their repertoire. This is called "Schwarzer Bua”.
9 “Schwarzer Bua” (3:15) by Jonas Knutsson & Johan Norberg from album ‘Skaren: Norrland III’ (Act)
OK, enough Nordic intensity for the moment - let’s have some fun. Everybody aboard the long-haul flight to Mexico City for the next one - Mexico’s ska-punk rebels Los de Abajo (Those From Below) and a rather groovy track full of swagger and street attitude called, naturally enough, “Actitud Calle”:
10 “Actitud Calle” (4:59) by Los De Abajo from the album “Actitud Calle” (Wrasse Records)
And from one great New World metropolis to another, New York! But maybe not as you expect. Most people associate afrobeat with West Africa - especially Nigeria and Ghana, but this next band are from the Big Apple itself and mix very, very convincing afro-beat with afro-funk, cinematic soul, deep disco and boogaloo that features a mighty horn section anchored by tight deep-pocketed grooves. The band - from Brooklyn - is called Ikebe Shakedown, the album is also called “Ikebe Shakedown”, it’s on the Ubiquity record label and this track is called “Asa-Sa”:
11 “Asa-Sa” (5:06) by Ikebe Shakedown from album ‘Ikebe Shakedown’ (Ubiquity)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
12 “Ori Mi” (5:03) by Olufemi from album ‘Just In Newtown’
[ - Change CD! - Change CD! - ]
The last track was by the South African based, Nigerian saxophonist and composer, Olufemi from his debut album “Just in Newtown” and a track called “Ori Mi”.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Now, there can’t be many world music fans who haven’t heard of Ali Farka Toure the Malian guitar maestro who was very much responsible for the initial successes of British record label World Circuit. Ali died 7 years ago, however, in that time his son Vieux Farka Toure has gradually emerged from the giant shadow of his father to become a respected musician in his own right.
Last year he performed to a television audience of a billion people in Johannesburg, South Africa during the World Cup. Vieux will be performing in the UK next month - 16th July at the Larmer Tree Festival and 30th July at Womad in Charlton Park.
Vieux has a new album out next month on the 4th July on the Six Degrees record label. It’s produced by Soulive’s Eric Krasno and features contributions from Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers, John Scofield and Dave Matthews. The album is called “The Secret” and I have a preview of one of the songs right here for you. This track features Derek Trucks and is called “Aigna”:
(1) 13 “Aigna” (Feat. Derek Trucks) (4:53) by Vieux Farka Touré from album ‘The Secret’ (Six Degrees)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(2) 14 “Duet Flamenco” (2:13) by Vahid Hajikamali from album ‘Duet Flamenco’ (Barbad Records)
You just heard a track called “Duet Flamenco” from an album of the same name from - of all places - Iran! I have next to no details apart from the name Vahid Haji-kamali and that it was released by Iran’s Barbad Records sometime between 2007 and 2009. But I like it!
Also from my same Persian sampler is the following excerpt, originally from a soundtrack album for the box-office breaking Iranian film “M for Mother”, the music for which was composed by Arya Aziminejad who has worked with people like Peter Gabriel and Jocelyn Pook. This is called “As Time Goes By”:
(3) 15 “As Time Goes By” (1:43) by Arya Aziminejad from album ‘M For Mother’ (Barbad Records)
So beautiful and wistful and sad!
And here’s some sad news. It is with a profound sense of loss that I have to report the death on Saturday last of the great poet and singer Gil Scott Heron. He died at the age of 62 after returning from Europe from a virus, I think, that he picked up over here. A young age to die, but a man who in his years did as much as any and more than many to raise the consciousness of all those that came across his music and message.
A man of deep thought and incisive observation, Gil crafted magnificent opuses of life-changing and life-affirming positivity which he often set against minimal percussion and backing. The internet has been awash since Saturday when the news broke of his death with people of all ages and backgrounds testifying to the effect that Gil had on their lives, me amongst them.
The teacher is dead, but his lesson goes on. For a world music show like this, what other song than his reggae-based homage to the power of music and word; from the 1983 album “Reflections”, this is “Storm Music”:
(4) 16 “Storm Music” (4:59) by Gil Scott-Heron from album ‘Reflections’ (Sony)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(5) - Reggae City Ad Jingle (1:05)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(6) 17 “Mun-Dun-Gu” (3:16) by Cedric Brooks (Bamboo)
That last majestic track was “Mundungu” by the Jamaican saxophonist and flautist Cedric Brooks famous for his work with The Skatalites, The Light of Saba and - of course Count Ossie’s rasta outfit the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. Cedric recorded that track under the moniker Sound Dimension - and it’s a killer! “Mundungu”!
If you like that track, then you can hear it played live by my new band, El Combo Kilombo, which - as I mentioned at the top of the show - is playing its debut gig at the Wagon & Horses, right here on Adderley Street, Digbeth in Birmingham this Saturday 4th June.
Kilombo play a mixture of musics from afrocentric bases including soca-cumbia, merengue-ska, nyabinghi-reggae, Township-jazz, bolero, rumba, bossa, jazz-funk and rhythm & blues.
It’s a free event starting at 8pm and going on till about 3am; it’s called Subvert and besides Combo Kilombo there’s the live dub band “Relative” and DJs including Rhubarb’s very own DJ Marc Reck, as well as Skeleton the Jam Jah DJs Robin Giorno and Bongo Damo as well as Christy, Dodgy Greg and Stalingrad - so there’ll be plenty of Reggae and Dub magic to keep you happy - and it’s all FREE! Yep not a penny on the door!
Ok, let’s go to Jamaica and to a new artist - to me at any rate. This is Omi who’s just been signed to Clifton Dillon’s Shang Records label and a love song called “Cheerleader”:
(7) 18 “Cheerleader” (2:56) Omi (Shang Records)
Now, the Akwaaba record label have been very active recently and one of their recent projects was to celebrate last week’s Africa Day which took place on the 25th of May. They decided to release an EP called “Mama Africana” in homage to one of the most emblematic figures of Africa - the Woman, the mother with her baby on the back carrying and selling goods, bringing food to the table at the end of the day.
Mpula from the band Batida took a hook from a classic 1960s Angolan Semba “There Goes Maria” and then challenged some of his favourite MCs to build a poem around this concept. The three versions selected are on the EP.
Here’s the contribution of Portuguese afro-rapper Karlon (aka Kota K) who talks about the generosity of the women in his life and his neighbourhood, mostly immigrants from Cape Verde.
This is “Lá Vai Maria” - There Goes Maria:
(8) 19 “Lá Vai María” feat. Karlon (3:36) by Batida from EP ‘Mamã Africana’ (Akwaaba)
Here’s an interesting cumbia refixed by Goy Karamelo; originally by the Barcelonian duo of Susana Abellán and Diana Feria - better known as the Rootsmamas, whose philosophy is “Life is simple, all is love, enjoy in peace”. And you can’t say fairer than that! This is “La Trampa”
(9) 20 “La Trampa” (4:04) by Rootsmamas (Goy Karamelo refix)
A nice bit of cumbia-pop there. And now some Balko-Klezmer fusion from Clermont Ferrand - this is a track called “Yvan Oreille D’Ours” by the French band Babayaga:
(10) 21 “Yvan Oreille D’Ours” (3:22) by Babayaga from “1er Album”
Staying with the French connection this is a track by the French latin-hip-hop band Canelason from their album “Sin Pasaporte” (without passport) and a track featuring Racko, called “La Rumba”. Let’s see if this gets you in the mood for moving . . .
(11) 22 “La Rumba” (Featuring Racko) (3:31) by Canelason from album ‘Sin Pasaporte’
OK, almost at the end of the show. And appropriately enough - since this is going to be the XXX rated part . . . 'What’s he going on about?' I can hear you thinking.
Well this next band are from New York and started out as a salsa and timba band led by the Cuban bassist and timbero Danny Rojo; however after a few years of playing standard fare, Danny started changing the lyrics of their tunes in the heat of the moment whilst doing gigs and, shall we say, ‘spicing’ up the words and commenting on the dancers in front of him. His new lyrics really added to the sexually charged atmosphere on the dancefloor and went down well with their fans.
From that moment they’ve never looked back and so they changed their name to Pornoson. Yep, that’s what I said, Pornoson. Just be careful when you’re googling it - you might get more than you bargained for… missus! Their stage show apparently makes Cuban timba legends, La Charanga Habanera look like choirboys - which makes the mind boggle, since I saw La Charanga Habanera on a couple of occasions in the 90s and can attest to their effect on the libido!
For those of a delicate disposition, fear not - it’s all in Spanish - so you’re safe (or deprived, judging on how you see it!) unless you’re a Spanish speaker in which case: disfruta a las delicias de la salsa pornografica! However, the music - which they describe as afro-cuban funk rock - is good quality whatever your attitude to the lyrics including people like Eddie Venegas on trombone and violin, Batanga on tres and electric guitars and the great Luisito Quintero on drums and percussion. So here you go, great music, raunchy lyrics - this is Danny Rojo y su Pornoson and “Nena La Playera”. Enjoy!
(12) 23 “Nena La Playera” (5:50) by Pornoson from album “Ah Sing Are” (Dan Red Music)
OK, that’s it for this week. Thanks . . .
(Shoutouts, don’t forget Kilombo at Wagon & Horses this Saturday, etc)
I’m going to leave you now with a wonderful bit of descarga workout from Texan latin funksters Brownout - this track is “Homenaje” from the album of the same name. Trust me, this is some serious groove. Good night!
(13) 24 “Homenaje” (3:28) by Brownout from abum "Homenaje" (Freestyle Records)
WorldBeatUK (13th Show) - Broadcast Notes (25/5/11)
Tagged with: WorldBeatUK Glyn Phillips Rhubarb Vampisoul Chico Trujillo La Big Landin Palmeras Kanibales Hamilton Loomis Roger Innis Jamie Little Sondorgo Lena Kovacevic Joanne Vance Sexto Sentido Olufemi Hijaz Va Fan Fahre Zephyrus Ieye Yeska Gypsy Sound System Strut
WBUK13 (25/5/11) Show Notes
1 “Intro-Mat” (1:47) - Matchatcha - ‘Nyekesse’ (Melodie)
You’re tuned into Rhubarb Radio, I’m Glyn Phillips, and you’re listening to WorldBeatUK - two hours of the best world music from around the globe!
On the show tonight - for your delectation and delight - I’ve got music from Cuba, Texas, Serbia, Nigeria, Belgium, South Africa, Ecuador, Hungary, Jamaica, Ghana, South Africa, Iran, California and Poland.
But we’re kicking off tonight with a couple of tracks from some re-issue compilation albums that I’ve been featuring over the last couple of weeks. The first track is from the album “Highlife Times Vol 2” which features Highlife music from Ghana and Nigeria from the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a compilation on the Spanish Vampisoul label and this track is a fusion of Highlife and Charanga by the band the Ramblers International, it’s called “Muntie”.
2 “Muntie” (5:21) - The Ramblers International - ‘Highlife Times Vol 2’ (Vampisoul)
Same vein, but this one’s from the album ‘Nigeria 70: Sweet Times, Afro-Funk, Highlife & Juju from 1970s Lagos‘ on the Strut Records label and this is Ali Chunkwumah and his Peace Makers International and a number entitled “Henrietta”.
3 “Henrietta” (4:40) - Ali Chunkwumah & His Peace Makers International - ‘Nigeria 70: Sweet Times’ (Strut)
Well you don’t have to go to Nigeria or Ghana to hear some good highlife or afrobeat because Holland’s very own Mdungu have got it going on over here in Europe. This is the title track of their album on the Zimbraz label. Afro What!?
4 “AfroWhat!?” (4:55) - Mdungu - ‘Afro What!?’ (Zimbraz)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
5 “Los Luchadores Jump” (4:42) - Los Flamers feat. House of Pain (Le Cumbianche Disco Remix)
That was a little bit of glitch-cumbia from Los Flamers featuring House of Pain called “Los Luchadores Jump” - all about the Mexican wrestling phenomenon known as ‘lucha libre’ where fat blokes dressed in silly costumes and lycra-covered faces jump around all over each in heavily choreographed performance-fights . . .
Nothing new to those us of brought up on Saturday afternoon British Wrestling during the 1960s and 70s through the likes of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Mick McManus, Catweazle and of course, the Mystery Man himself: Kendo Nagasaki! (or just plain old Peter Thornley to his neighbours!)
Ok sticking with some wonderfully cheesy cumbia now, this is another example of the new wave of cumbia from South America’s Southern Cone countries - in this case, Chile’s Chico Trujillo - one of the leaders in la cumbia chilombiana and latin ska. This track is from their album "Chico de Oro" (Golden Boy) and a number entitled “Sombrero”:
6 “Sombrero” (4:48) - Chico Trujillo - ‘Chico de Oro’
Like many people who listen to this programme, I like me ska. Oh yes! I’m not a big fan of the 3rd wave of ska - the sort of million-miles an hour, shouty-punky stuff; I much prefer first wave Jamaican ska - more laid back: sort of Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo, Don Drummond, you know who I’m talking about.
However, there’s some great stuff, now coming out of South America, so I offer you a couple of bands from Venezuela. First up from their 2007 album “Skaterriza” is La Big Landin Orquesta and a piece of latin ska based on a very old Brazilian choro tune called “Proezas de Solon”:
7 “Proezas De Solon” (4:02) - La Big Landin Orquesta - ‘Skaterriza’
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
8 La Culebra (4:02) - Palmeras Kaníbales - ‘La Ruta’
So, first up was La Big Landin Orquesta from Venezuela and “Proezas de Solon”; and after that the wonderful Palmeras Kaníbales also from Venezuela, and from their 2006 album “La Ruta” an old Cuban tune called “La Culebra”. Wasn’t that magnificent! Just the kind of band I’d love to see live.
Talking of which, after last week’s show I went up to the Adam and Eve pub right here in Digbeth to see a band on spec that I’d never seen before. I knew the bass player, the highly talented and very funny Roger Innis - who I’d spent the afternoon doing photoshoots with, along with the rest of our new band The Funkawallahs - more of which in weeks to come! - and he’d said he was playing that evening with a blues/funk/rock band and to come along after my show.
And boy, oh boy, was I glad that I did! The band consisted of Roger Innis on bass, Birmingham’s own Jamie Little on drums and two Americans - a Mr Strat Doyle on sax and the most excellently named Hamilton Loomis from Texas on guitar, vocals and gob-iron (that’s harmonica for those of you who don’t come from the Black Country!). Easily, but easily one of the best live bands I have seen in years . . . Easily!
What a night! The band were tighter than a duck’s backside - and that’s watertight! The sax player could almost have blown up an entire tornado in the pub and Hamilton was just outstanding. Perfect. Just perfect, in everything he did. Half the crowd there were excellent Brummie musicians themselves - enough to form 3 or 4 more bands - a tough crowd under normal circumstances; but this band were just stupidly good!
And it was all free!! Honestly, Brum’s a great place for music - you jus’ gotta search it out. I won’t go on, except to say that this next track is by the aforementioned Hamilton Loomis Band from their album “Live in England” (on Ham-Bone Records). Obviously, as with all live recordings, it is but a pale imitation of the real experience, but it’s all I got. This is called “Best Worst Day”.
9 Best Worst Day (4:23) - Hamilton Loomis Band - ‘Live In England’ (Ham-Bone Records)
You’re listening to WorldBeatUK right here on Rhubarb Radio, with me Glyn Phillips bringing you 2 hours of great world music every Wednesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
From Digbeth to Dakar, from Birmingham to Belgium, from England to Ecuador WorldBeatUK brings a whole planet to your ears!
[mention ChatnGo/Facebook, shout-outs etc]
Söndörgo are a group from Hungary and this is taken from the forthcoming album “Tamburising: Lost Music Of The Balkans” on the World Village UK label. The release date for this has recently been confirmed as 27th June 2011 here in the UK on CD and digitally worldwide.
Their trademark instrument is the tambura - not the stringed drone instrument of Indian music - but a small mandolin-like instrument of the Serbian and Croatian communities resident in Hungary. In fact the band’s whole sound is distinct from the usual fiddle-led line-up of Hungarian tradition. This track is called “Opa Cupa”:
10 Opa Cupa (3:48) - Söndörgõ - ‘Tamburising: Lost Music Of The Balkans’ (World Village UK)
Yep, the wonderful traditional sound of the balkan tambura and vocals as played by Söndörgö from their album “Tamburising: Lost Music of the Balkans”. Well, I’m going to play three rather beautiful contemporary tracks from female singers now.
Staying in the Balkan area, the first one is an artist I played last week, the lovely Serbian singer Lena Kovacevic. Last time I played her singing in Srpksi; but she’s also pretty nifty in English too! So this is from her 2009 English language album “Haunt Me” and a jazzy track called “Shine Your Light”.
11 “Shine Your Light” (4:18) - Lena Kovacevic - ‘Haunt Me’
Lovely! Now, this next artist is the Ecuadorian singer, guitarist and composer Joanne Vance (not to be confused with the English painter of the same name). Yes, I know, it’s not the most hispanic sounding of names, but whilst her mother is Ecuadorian born and bred, her father was from North America.
Joanne makes mature jazz-tinged music which I would call pop, except that her songs have a greater depth and resonance than what you would normally expect from that term. You can hear the influences of people such as Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley etc on the one hand and South America’s homegrown acoustic rockers such as the Argentinians Luis Alberto Spinetta and Pedro Aznar (both of whom I used to listen to back in the 80s) on the other.
But be under no illusions, this is no throwback or copycat music; Joanne is very much her own boss and this comes over in the confidence of her delivery and the maturity of her compositions. She’s a complete modern woman.
Which for me, is a strange thing to come to terms with since, I have to confess, I used to know her when she was just 10 years old (some 20 or so years ago!). Joanne and her sister Carrie and their lovely mother, Cecilia spent a year or so living right here in Birmingham whilst Ceci studied at the University. Jo’s mother would come along to the now legendary latin all-nighters at Los Andes where I cut my teeth DJing in the late 80s/early 90s. Happy times indeed.
So I was stunned when after two decades I made contact with Ceci and realised that little Jo (all goofy glasses and braces on her teeth when I knew her) had grown up - and to be a wonderful musician too.
So, I think they are listening to the show right now, out there in one of my favourite cities of the world, Ecuador’s capital, Quito - the second highest capital on the planet - way up in the South American Andes. Pues, chicas, Jo, Carrie y Ceci - besos de mi, saludos desde Birmingham y espero vertes un dia de estes!
This track is from her album “Silencios Incómodos” (Uncomfortable Silences) and it’s called “Versión Editada”:
12 “Versión Editada” (3:42) - Joanne Vance - ‘Silencios Incómodos’
[ CHANGE THE CD OVER!! - CHANGE THE CD OVER!! ]
Beautiful! Joanne Vance from Ecuador. You can find out more about Joanne from her website: www.joannevance.net.
And now the third in my trilogy of lush female singers. This time we’re going North from Ecuador to the Caribbean and touching down in La Habana, Cuba. And that’s where we’ll find one of my absolute favourite bands of the moment, the four girl vocal phenomenon that is Sexto Sentido (Sixth Sense in English).
I’ve played them quite a bit on this radio show and on the one I used to co-present before, and shall continue to do so. Quality is quality and these girls have it by the bucketful. They’re currently riding high in Cuba after having had their single “Guajiro” at No 1 in the Cuban charts for 7 weeks - which I also played on my last show.
Just to let you know the music you’re hearing is a UK exclusive - I’m the only person to be allowed to broadcast the music from their forthcoming album in this country, after hearing and writing about the band when I met them last year in Copenhagen.
Sexto Sentido are four Cuban singers and multi-instrumentalists, composers, arrangers to boot. Very, very talented ladies indeed. Oh, and beautiful too! You can read my review of their concert at Charlie Scott’s Jazz Bar in Copenhagen at www.worldmusic.co.uk/reviews if you want.
In the meantime this is from the soon to be released album “The Way” - which they’ve produced entirely themselves and is a mixture of lush, complex and sophisticated self-penned English and Spanish songs in a variety of styles. This is a jazzy bossa entitled “En Tu Cuerpo” (In Your Body):
(1) 13 “En Tu Cuerpo” (4:08) - Sexto Sentido - ‘The Way’
Sexto Sentido there from Cuba - and definitely more from them in the weeks to come.
OK, let’s move on and get some more Highlife dancing music in. This is an old track from West Africa - Ghana’s Melody Aces (not to be confused with the Belfast dance band of the same name!) from the album “Stars of West Africa - Highlife Hits” and a lovely lilting track - probably from the 1950s or maybe early 60s - called “Emase Puro O” [ ‘émashay puro-oh’]:
(2) 14 “Emase Puro O” (2:48) - Melody Aces - ‘Stars of West Africa - Highlife Hits’
Now, this next track popped onto my mat a few days ago entirely unsolicited and I thought, ‘Ok? Let’s see’. And what a pleasant surprise it was. The artist is called Olufemi, originally from Lagos, Nigeria and now operating out of South Africa - a singer, saxophonist and composer - and plays what he calls African South West Fusion. This is Olufemi’s debut album; it’s called “Just in Newtown” (referring to a part of Johannesburg I think).
It’s a good album, with a variety of musical styles - although I’m not yet sure whether that is its strength, or its weakness. It goes from straightahead jazzy soprano sax pieces (which wouldn’t sound out of place on a David Sanborn or Kenny G album - or at times even like Brum’s own Alvin Davis or Julian Smith aka Joolz Gianni) - right up to soukous-tinged dance pieces and afrobeat-fused workouts. Definitely a pan-african approach to his music.
However, the musicianship is good and there’s some very enjoyable tracks on it - including this one, which has a distinctly South African flavour. This is Olufemi and a track called “Thando Lwami”:
(3) 15 “Thando Lwami” (4:12) - Olufemi - ‘Just In Newtown’
Change of flavour and place on these next few tracks. I’ve been digging into my Persian music albums recently and came up with these offerings from a sampler entitled “Persia: Ancient Roots of Music”. The first piece is called “Agitation” and is by Kazem Davoudian from his album “Pearl”.
(4) 16 “Agitation” (2:02) - Kazem Davoudian - ‘Pearl’
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(5) 17 “Blue of Dream” (2:02) - Farivar Kosrhavi - ‘Abi-e Ro’ya’
The track you just heard was by the Iranian Farivar Kosrhavi from his album “Abi-e Ro’ya” and translates as “Blue of Dream”.
Moving from Iran, but still staying in the Middle East by association is this next piece, by the band Hijaz. This is a six-piece group based in Belgium but consisting of various nationalities and cultural influences. Their music draws upon North Africa, The Mediterranean, India, the Middle East and European jazz traditions and infuses their latest album with a richness and a palette of flavours which allows them to endlessly serve up tantalisingly different musical courses.
This is probably the most jazzy piece I’m playing tonight and features the piano of Greco-Belgian Nico Deman - but for the non-jazzers amongst you, don’t let that put you off. It’s very accessible still - there’s some great oud playing from Moufadhel Adhoum and Indian tabla pitted against kit drums and bass as well. This piece is called "Mr J.P.S." from Hijaz’s album “Chemsi” (which means Sun) on the Belgian Zephyrus label.
If you’re in London or the South East of England this weekend you can actually see Hijaz live in concert at the Union Chapel, London this Saturday 28th May. This is their debut in the UK and their manager tells me that they’re very excited about performing over here.
[ The link for that is here: http://bit.ly/eDOjp5 ]
(6) 18 “Mr J.P.S.” (5.31) - Hijaz - ‘Chemsi’ (Zephyrus)
And also on the Zephyrus label from Ghent in Belgium here’s their flagship band Va Fan Fahre and a track from their last album - “Al Wa Debt” - which did really well on the European world music charts last year. It’s often been described as ‘balkan brass goes Arabic’. Zephyrus have just announced that they are now allowing free downloads of five of the tracks from the album.
[Just go to the following link to download that:
So here are Belgium’s Va Fan Fahre with the Arabic singer Aicha Haskal and a track called “Ya Habibi Taala”:
(7) 19 “Ya Habibi Taala” (3:04) - Va Fan Fahre - ‘Al Wa' Debt’ (Zephyrus)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(8) 20 “La Kumbia de Los Peregrinos” (3:52) - Grupo Kual (Le Cumbianche Disco Remake)
Couldn’t resist a bit of electro-glitch-cumbia ! That was the Le Cumbianche Disco Remake of Grupo Kual’s “La Kumbia de Los Peregrinos” - just to get you all stirred up!
And now a jingle to promote the forthcoming Reggae City 2011 Festival here in Birmingham on Saturday 11 June at the Rainbow - just round the corner from where I’m sitting here in the Custard Factory, Digbeth.
(9) 21 Reggae City Festival Ad Jingle (1:05)
[CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS - CONTINUOUS]
(10) 22 ”I Know” (3:15) - Ieye - ‘Fever Grass’ (Shengen Clan)
OK, that was one of my favourite female reggae singers of the moment - Ieye from Jamaica - and a track called “I Know” from her album “Fever Grass” on the Shengen Clan Imprint Label. Lovely stuff.
Quick couple of announcements now: Birmingham’s own ska and reggae favourites, the Heels will be performing mid-afternoon at next week’s Lord Mayor’s Parade on Bank Holiday Monday 30th May - so keep an eye out for them if you like your ska in a Skatalites stylee!
Also the following weekend you can catch the debut of el combo Kilombo - a brand new band formed from members of both the Heels and Flame Of Fervour at the Wagon and Horses in Adderley Street in Digbeth - again just around the corner from the Custard Factory.
That’s on Sat 4th June and it’s a night called Subvert, featuring also the dub band Relative, DJs Skeleton, Marc Reck (also from Rhubarb Radio), the Jam Jah DJs Robin Giorno and Bongo Damo, as well as Christy, Dodgy Greg and Stalingrad.
And it’s all FREE! Yep, not a penny for all that music! Keep an eye out for Kilombo’s drummer - he’s a right dodgy geezer. I’m sure I’ve seen and heard him before somewhere . . .
In the meantime, here’s one from the Gypsy Sound System’s Psio Crew from Poland - a little number from the “Iskra” album - this is “Dobry Gooral”:
(11) 23 “Dobry Gooral” (2:51) - Psio Crew - ‘Gypsy Sound System - Iskra’
Just got time now for goodbyes etc . . .
[THANK YOUS, SHOUT OUTS, REMINDERS, ETC]
I’m going to leave you with a brilliant latino band from Los Angeles. They are called Yeska (which is a play on the words ‘Yes!’ and ‘Ska’ and is also the Chicano slang word for ‘weed’).
Their music is what you get when you cross jazz with afro-cuban music with ska! Skafrocubanjazz of course! And that’s the name of the album that this track, “Skaliente”, is from. Don’t be fooled by the gentle ska montuno beginning - because about 3 and a half minutes in this bubbling piece of latin ska turns into an absolute monster!!
(12) 24 “Skaliente” (6:32) - Yeska - ‘Skafrocubanjazz’ (Aztlan)