Tuesday, February 09, 2016
I'll have to admit that finding the musical heart of Vanuatu was no easy task. Is reggae somehow a universal island thing, or maybe even a Third World thing? It seems that way, exported and adopted world wide, long before all that 'urban rap' gained currency. Fact is that the Caribbean and South Pacific are very different places. Aside from that, 'string bands' seem most popular here, though not exactly what you might expect, i.e. guitars, etc. Fusion music is only appropriate for such a fusion culture, I suppose, something like Papuans having adopted Polynesian ways in varying degrees. Vanessa Quai herself on other songs seems like a Melanesian Whitney Houston, pre-fall, complete with churchly reverence. Check it out...
Thursday, February 04, 2016
I don't often go for Eurovision contestants, but when you're looking for music in a tiny country of 80K, like Andorra, then you have to take what you can get, and this ain't bad--perky and punky. Of course, as Catalan speakers, they're connected to the larger Barcelona-based culture outside, even to the point of singing in Spanish, or even English, just to make their point... which is: rock-and-roll, I think, as best described...
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Venezuela has a lot of good music, in all genres, including 'llanero' (country), pop and EDM. But what I liked best was this song, a tribute to their sketchy past, but with a very Andean feel, not typically Venezuelan on first listen. There are many renditions and remixes, but I think this is close to the original...
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
Wales is that forgotten little country (did you know it was a country?) tucked under the UK's left wing on the UK's left coast and left there to prosper or rot, like it or not, earliest of the non-English additions, so approaching from another Angle, Celtic and proud, determined but not loud... and not Gaelic. Ireland and sometimes Scotland get all the Celtic sympathy, but Wales is more traditional IMHO and likely predates it, the two languages dissimilar enough to indicate a notable degree of separation in time if not space, but you're not likely to hear anyone speaking 'Irish' (Gaelic) there, much less complete with radio radio, but you will find exactly that in Wales, found it cruising through on the train to the ferry port, in fact, wasn't even looking, so there! That was then 2003 fast forward to now and I'm looking for Welsh music, sorting through all the genres, generally ballads for the most part, with the occasional punk and the inevitable Celtic-woman-like show act, God help us. Then I found Cate. Wait a minute; I've heard this before--but where? KCRW, of course. And yes, she can do it in Welsh, too, all night long, figure our son would look just like me and the daughter just like her, you know the rest... move over, Enya...
Friday, January 22, 2016
This is interesting: and pretty darn good, too. I'm not sure where the African DNA comes from, but I'm guessing the slave trade. Seems it ended in these parts not so long ago--oops! The most interesting part of Bahrain's music in general is the syncopated clapping which seems to pop up everywhere almost any time. Enjoy.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
This is my vote for modern successor to Ros Sereysothea; song and singer definitely reminds me of the good old days of Sinn Sisamouth and others, just straight-ahead R & R Asian-style, with no self-conscious aping of the latest trends overseas, good news since a decade ago seems they were reduced to cheap imitation of Thai pop--yuk!
Saturday, January 16, 2016
If you've heard any Yemeni music at all, it's probably Yemen Blues, the Bill Laswell-produced ode to all things blue and all things Semitic, Hamitic, and Cushitic, the middle Eastern cacophony of cultures that forms a strong third branch of world music, after sub-Saharan African and Latino. There's only one problem: it's really not Yemeni. It's Jewish Yemeni. Not that it's hard to find 'real' Yemeni music. It's not. It's only hard to find a name attached to any of it. So I chose this video as representative, since it shows scenes I witnessed every day while there, including my hotel. I hope it's still there.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
If music is the universal language, then finding each country's sweet spot for sweet talk and sweet music is the fruit of love's labor. The Internet is a universe composed of Swiss cheese, though, of course, so the long winding roads only lead forever inward--to frequent dead ends. It's there, though, if you look hard enough, and often in the strangest places. In Zambia I found it in church. In Azerbaijan I find it at weddings, no big shock since that's where I ended up hanging out every night in Samarkand, with similar culture. Azerbaijan is the missing link of Turkish culture--the link between east and west, from the eastern Asian homeland to the modern western sorta-European Turkish state. You get the feeling that the whirling dervishes here are real, not just tourist programs. Enjoy.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Like so many countries, the best music in Zambia is not necessarily the newest. Unlike many others the best I can find comes straight from the mouth of babes, invoking the words of the Christian God, utilizing the universal language of music. You can get religion fast this way...