Thursday, December 29, 2005

Playlist 28-12-05

Here is what I played last night in case you were listening.

Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman- Songs of The Volcano

Bob Brozman is a guitarist like no other: an established and prolific recording artist, performer, producer, and author, Bob is a non-stop world traveler and tireless researcher in ethnomusicology. His work with musicians from around the world in the past several years has marked him as not only a virtuoso musician and slide guitarist, but also as a pioneer in finding a common thread among global musical cultures.

SONGS OF THE VOLCANO is Bob's next release. This special CD/DVD package features the music that Bob recorded with 5 Papua New Guinea Stringbands, plus the accompanying documentary by filmmaker Phil Donnison.
World renowned guitarist Bob Brozman travelled to Papua New Guinea – one of the last places on the planet to have guitars arrive from afar – to capture a sound largely untainted by outside influences; a raw, unique sound developed in isolation. The energetic and distinctive blend of voice and instrument performed by the Rabaul community’s local stringbands reflects their unfailing optimism in the face of adversity, be it war or the volcanic eruptions that have destroyed the town twice in one century, making this album truly ‘Songs Of The Volcano’.
In addition to this extraordinary album, this package features a full length, behind the scenes DVD documentary of the making of the album.

Songs of the Volcano - The Music
One of the few accidental, yet beneficial, side-effects of colonialism has been guitars washing up on shores all over the world. Papua New Guinea is no exception. Home to a huge indigenous population speaking more than 800 languages, it lay largely undiscovered until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and hence is one of the last places on the planet to have guitars arrive from afar.
Rabaul, in Papua New Guinea’s far flung province of East New Britain, is a town which has had its share of hard times. In the same century it has been destroyed twice by massive volcanic cataclysms and once by a devastating war imposed on it by outsiders. The Tolai people of Rabaul have suffered greatly from these natural and manmade disasters and yet, somehow, have always managed to bounce back and keep their spirits high. One of the main contributing factors to their capacity for optimism is their music, an energetic and unique blend of voices and instruments performed by the community’s local stringbands.
Bob Brozman is a world expert and leading exponent of the National guitar. An ethnomusicologist fascinated by the global voyage taken by the guitar over the last 500 years, he has collaborated with local musicians all over the world.
To create Songs Of The Volcano, in his capacity as Adjunct Professor of Music at Sydney’s Macquarie University, Bob went with filmmaker Phil Donnison to five villages in East New Britain to perform with five different Tolai stringbands. The purpose of filming and recording the performances was partly to document this fragile music before it disappears, and partly to facilitate the musicians in Papua New Guinea where there is an astonishing lack of musical infrastructure.
Rabaul is the location where guitars first arrived in Papua New Guinea, and the music carries a fragile innocence and beauty reminiscent of what guitar music may have sounded like in Hawaii in 1860, or Mexico in 1830. Most music travelled throughout the Pacific Ocean on boats, with sailors leaving behind instruments and ideas to then percolate in isolation. Hence, the music on this album will seem at once exotic, yet somehow familiar. Even today, there is still very little mass media penetration in Papua New Guinea, though that is changing and makes the preservation of this raw and unique sound more necessary.
This album and accompanying film present the story of this creative collaboration, a joint effort between an indomitable group of island musicians and one of the world’s greatest guitarists. Unlike Bob’s other world music collaborations, where there is a blend of styles between Bob and another established artist, Songs Of The Volcano has Bob in a more supportive role, playing simply as a member of each band in their own style.
The creation of this project not only yielded some great friendships, an unforgettable story and some remarkable results, but will enable the musicians to continue their pursuit of a musical life.
The musicians on Songs Of The Volcano are the first recipients of instruments, strings and musical supplies from Bob’s ongoing Global Music Aid Foundation, which seeks to provide donated instruments and materials to musicians in developing countries.
Through the language of guitar, Bob's ongoing body of work is launching a new aesthetic called "World Blues." His musical influences draw on a host of tones and beats from Delta Blues, Hawaiian, West African, Indian, Okinawan, Caribbean, Gypsy and Django-style Jazz, to the most modern rhythms of hip-hop, sega, funk, ska, calypso, maloya, and world island music.

Harry Manx - Brick & Stone / Reuben's Train-CD Dog My Cat

Harry Manx’s debut CD, Dog My Cat,breaks significant new ground in the blues world. A virtual one-man-band, Manx draws the listener in with his mastery of the lap slide guitar, harmonica, banjo, and vocals. But what makes Harry Manx truly stand out is the fact that he also plays the Mohan veena – a 20-string Indian slide guitar. Manx spent five years in India studying under the creator of this guitar/sitar hybrid, V.M. Bhatt, who won a Grammy award with Ry Cooder in 1994 for their CD Meeting by the River.

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt- Dhun In Rag Pilu- CD Saradaman

Sheila Chandra- Is / Not A Word in The Sky-CD This Sentence is True

Gigi-Aynama- CD Gigi

Issa Bagayogo- Diarabi- CD Sya

Issa Bagayogo is one of the great, if tongue-twisting, names in world music. In fact, even in his homeland of Mali, they rarely use his last name; he's usually just called "Techno Issa". Issa topped the charts in 2002 with his groundbreaking Timbuktu, an album that spawned a host of imitators hoping to match his compelling blend of Malian roots music and Western dance technology. But no one's been able to pull it off as convincingly and as elegantly as Issa has. Now he's back to show how it's done. Tassoumakan (meaning "Voice of Fire") is Issa's third full-length album, and represents the maturing of an artist who has found a way to honor his country's great musical traditions while creating a truly global, modern sound.

Since the music of Mali is the source of much of the world's popular music (the blues, R&B, soul, rock, funk, hip-hop), Issa Bagayogo's recordings are like an introduction to a great-grandparent you didn't know was still alive. Working with the French producer/keyboardist Yves Wernert, Bagayogo shows that the musical traditions of Mali are perhaps stronger now than ever before, building on the rhythms and the spirit of Manding emperors and Wassoulou hunters of a millennium ago, and evolving into something contemporary and relevant for listeners whether they're in Timbuktu or Toledo.

Baaba Maal- CD Senegal- Jamma Jeningi

Music was an integral part of Baaba's childhood as he grew up on the banks of the river Senegal. Born to the Hal Pulaar people, (known to the English speaking world as Fulani) his mother used songs she composed herself to educate and instill in him the value of intelligent and thoughtful lyrics. Technically speaking, he was not destined to become the master musician he is today by virtue of the fact that he was not born into the caste of artists and communicators known as Griots. Through time, travel and education, his experiences have resulted in profound self awareness allowing him to deliver the message of empowerment, enlightenment, and peace.
His early edudcation in St. Louis (the original French colonial capital) lead him to win an art scholarship in Senegal's modern capital, Dakar. There he joined Asly Fouta, a group of seventy musicians. Thus began his study of local instruments which he was later expanded through an extensive tour of West Africa with longtime friend, Mansour Seck. Going from village to village, they tapped the oldest person in each location to learn about the history of the village, the country and the music. The final leg of his studies were completed at the Conservatoire des Beaux Arts in Paris. Following his return to Senegal, he formed his band Daande Lenol "Voice Of The People."
Complementing his comprehension of traditional music, he was also influenced by black American singers of the 1960's such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. He later discovered Jamaican musicians such as Toots Hibbert, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff when they toured Senegal in the mid 1970's which further broadened his musical expression.

Using his music as a vehicle to express his concerns and empower his people, Baaba Maal sings and speaks for Africa with unprecedented authority.

Salif Keita / More Kante CD- Rail Band - Tiedioucouya

Mory Kante, Salif Keita and Djelimady Tounkara and many other great musicians from Mali started as members of the Rail Band : One the most legendary names of African music.

The Rail Band was founded in 1970, in Mali, with the sponsorship of the railway administration and the Ministry of Information. The National Railway Company secured a permanent venue at the Buffet Bar in the Station Hotel in Bamako. The band was formed with the hope of safeguarding and developing Malian music. The general idea was that weary travelers would tumble into the Buffet Bar where the Rail Band would perform real Manding music. Singing in Bambara, a Manding language spoken not only in Mali, but also in Guinea, in Gambia, and parts of Senegal, the band adopted traditional kora and balafon songs and rhythms mixing in an Islamic-influenced vocal style to what was becoming modern urban pop music. Salif Keita began singing lead for the Rail Band at it's inception, when he was only twenty-one. Instruments and equipment were government-owned and band members were considered government employees. The Rail Band quickly became a sort of rite-of-passage for Malian musical talent. As mentioned, Salif Keita got his start with them, as did guitarist Kante Manfila (who both soon left the Rail Band to start Les Ambassadeurs), and singer Mory Kante (who assumed lead vocal responsibilities after Keita left). The Rail Band's music was Manding-influenced, latin-tinged, with with lightness and swing, and despite the modern instruments you can clearly hear the strains of the original Manding music. The idea of the original Rail Band stills survives to this day, though they now compete with disco's and video clubs and as a result they started playing only once a week.Rail Band is one of African pop music's most important bands, a sort of African answer to The Beatles or Rolling Stones. The parallels are not as unlikely as they may at first appear. Both the Beatles and Stones began by copying American prototypes, while in 1960s and 1970s Africa people copied Cuban music. After liberation, several African governments wished to do something to stimulate their own African culture and several of them - for example the Governments of Mali and Guinea - set about constructing state bands. Without coercing musicians to play only traditional music, they gave them instruments and put them on the state payrolls. Several of these bands came to play an important role in the blossoming of African music in the 1960s and 1970s, among other reasons because many artists for the first time had access to modern instruments such as electric guitar, keyboard and saxophone. Rail Band belongs to this tradition but stands in a unique position because of its closeness to the Malian railway. In 1970 the stationmaster in Bamako asked the Griot Tidiana Kone to put together a band that could play in the foyer of the railway hotel and drive the culture forward. In the beginning Rail Band played for hours, a cultural blend of pop songs and more traditional Malian songs with modern settings. Salif Keita came to the group in the early days as a singer and was with them for ages before breaking out and forming Les Ambassadeurs. Mory Kante started his career with Rail Band when he studied the kora in Bamako. One day Salif Keita arrived too late to play, so overtook Mory Kante as vocalist, and both worked for a while as singers. In the five years that Rail Band existed, they developed a special style and mixed calypso and Latin American music, jazz and big band sounds with their own, local traditions. The album "Rail Band" with Salif Keita & Mory Kante is a good collection of the classic songs from the legendary band. Much of the material is quite special Tand provides an atmosphere of jamming sessions, with songs lasting up to ten minutes. These songs have a unique authenticity, characterised by a newly created optimism that in many ways can be compared with The Beatles in Europe. It is also terribly interesting to hear the predecessors to the recent songs of Salif Keita, for example "Jurukan" that is an early version of the successful track "Mandjou", but here sounds more raw and rickety. The soul and atmosphere are not lacking here, anyway, and it's just like steppinginto the railway hotel in Bamako in 1971.

Ali Akhbar Khan- Water Lady- CD garden of Dreams

Karsh Kale- Realise- Distance- CD Realise

Karsh Kale (pronounced Kursh Kah-lay), born of Indian parents, and brought up in the US, has long played Indian classical music on the tabla. Currently, he leads one of New York's coolest ensembles, and his monthly spins at Paisley and Joe's Pub are some of the hottest tickets on the New York scene.

Schooled in drums and a fiend for electronics, Kale has infused the worlds of East and West so well that separation seems impossible. With his trademark electronic tabla sound, Kale weaves strands of Indian ragas through one of the most distinctive albums of electonica, his first solo album Realize. Approaching the songs in the way an Indian musician would, Kale looks at them as a repertoire that can be reinterpreted. Many of his songs utilize traditional Indian folk material that has been rearranged into a contemporary genre.

Kale has played alongside and worked with some of the world's top artists including Sting, Zakir Hussain, Baaba Maal, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, and Ustad Sultan Khan (who is featured on Realize playing the sarangi and makes a rare vocal appearance on 'Satellite' and 'Light Up the Love').

Black Star Liner- CD Yemen Cutta Connection

Black Star Liner emerge in 1994 in Leeds on Chris Madden's Soundclash label with a remix of The Rootsman's Soundclashcityrockers EP. Black Star Liner put out their first EP on Soundclash in 1994 to media acclaim, grabbing NME single of the week with their debut 'Smoke the Prophets'.
The Rootsman features prominently on Black Star Liner's first Soundclash release, Smoke the Prophets, remixing Soft Sitar to brilliant effect with emphasis on the driving percussion, reluctant bass line and swirling chimes. Black Star Liner have repaid the remix duties with versions of Rougher Than a Lion and Pass the Chalice.
Black Star Liner's second Soundclash outing, High Turkish Influence, includes versions of Yemen Cutta Connection, to be reworked and renamed Killah Connection for appearance on the debut album Yemen Cutta Connection on EXP. The release also includes a coarser version of Ga Ga than appears later on the album and the track Distoten, perhaps Black Star Liner at their very finest in combining traditional eastern instrumentation and dub bass in a revived form. Distoten, unlike other early tracks, does not get reworked or re-released with the move to EXP.
Black Star Liner's move to Feargal Sharkey's EXP label produces a series of releases (Harmon Session Special EP, Jawz EP, Halaal Rock EP, Spanish Omega and Yemen Cutta Connection) and considerable promotion, only for EXP to later dissolve. The EXP recordings and reworkings add refined production to the Black Star Liner sound, sometimes complementing the tracks and at other times smoothing over welcome discordance, notably in the rougher Big Feet Bunker-produced Ga Ga. The first EXP release includes Yeboah's Jawz, a musical monument to ex-Leeds football player Tony Yeboah, and later to appear on the Halaal Rock EP. The track is deceptively simple, hiding detailed percussive treatment which adds to the fury and energy of the song. The Jawz EP also includes remixed versions of Harmon Session Special as Harmon Bomb Drop (one of Black Star Liner's finest moments!) and Anna Drone, in addition to the short loop edit Tuniasitol! The short dub edit style is revisited in Jazaad Rodeo!, a dismembered rumbling of vocal samples, percussion and bass. The debut album on EXP, Yemen Cutta Connection includes a number of reworked tracks, plus material previously unreleased - among these, Ottoman Empire Strikes Back, Hooba Hooba!, Inverse and None Stop to the Border. The album displays each of the darker, beautiful and humorous components of Black Star Liner's music and has found its way in to many journalists' recommendations of best albums of 1996. Black Star Liner's connections with EXP end with the Halaal Rock EP, notable for its beautifully-long and excellent remix by Dave Ball and Ingo Vaux of Duggie Dhol, a track co-written and featuring vocals by Cornershop's Tjinder Singh.
Signing to WEA in 1997, Black Star Liner release the Rock Freak EP, a collection of relatively short tracks signalling a progression in their music. Rock Freak is Hindu-Kraftwerk at its most perfect, with heavy beats, distorted guitar and vocoder. Inder Automatic beautifully crafts together indian percussion, dub bass and effect-laden guitar, with the later version to appear on Bengali Bantam Youth Experience! with added indian vocals. The country'n'eastern Low BMW and the percussive frenzy of Shoona round off a long-awaited return and first release on WEA.
Black Star Liner declare Halaal and Rock Freak dead in 1999 and re-emerge once again to bring us the Bengali Bantam Youth Experience! direct from the Ebonic Beat Bunker...

Dhol Foundation- Seven Heaven- CD Big Drum Small World

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Playlist 21-12-05

OK I'm a bit late with the playlist. I had good intentions but work and the lead up to Christmas got the better of me. Quite a bit of African guitar music, as well as new material from former PIL bass player Jah Wobble. Not quite sure how I feel about this release yet though it does have some instantly likable tracks on it. I do however love the new Afro Celt release and I'm sure this will get quite a bit of airplay on the show over the next few weeks.I seem to be listening to more and more African music, something I haven't done for a long time. There is so much talent and musical diversity available coming out of the African nation that it's hard to keep up. Agan I have to say thanks to Calbash Music for allowing me access to their catalog.The diversity of sound available via this online retailer is second to none.

Afro Celt Sound System- Anatomic- CD Anatomic

Smadj- Vogue- CD Take It & Drive

Bouba Sacko- Tiramakan (

Ali Farka Toure / Ry Cooder - Gomni - CD Talking Timbuktu

Boubacar Traore- CD Je Chanterai Pour Toi

Djelimady Tounkara- Amary Ndaou- CD Sigui

Jah Wobble- Buddha of Compassion- CD Mu

Nitin Sawhney- Falling- CD Human

Nitin Sawhney ID

Transglobal Underground – Kese Kese remix

Bally Sagoo- Kese Kese remix

(Both from DH Cheb I Sabbah’s Maha Maya-Shri Durga Remixed)

Afro Celt Sound System- Mojave- CD Anatomic

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Powerspot 14 December 2005

It's difficult to try and put together a 90 minute show at the end of the year which asks the question "What have been the best and most interesting pieces of music I have heard this year?". Not necessarily new music either. I am always delighted to find new musical sounds which have escaped me in the past. Amadou & Mariam from Mali spring to mind immediately with their excellent release of 2004 entitled Dimanche a Bamako. The track I am featuring off this on Wednesday night's show is one which I have played repeatedly- Senegal Fast Food featuring Manu Chao.In fact a lot of the pieces you will hear have been played repeatedly this year because not only are they wonderfully crafted pieces of music, but they also give me great delight whenever I play them. From Khinshasa comes Konono No1 with their overamplified sound systems, electrified likembes (thumb pianos) resonators and all manner of odd hand made instruments making a mad chaotic cacophony of sounds. It's raw, honest and unlike anything I have ever heard. Listeners are connecting with it. There are sounds from Delhi's electro hindu pop wunderkinder Midival Punditz. These guys make interesting modern electronic Indian dance music and I am looking forward to interviewing them next year.From Tijuano Mexico comes the Nortec Collective, as well as music from African superstars Baaba Maal & Salif Keita; achingly heartfelt & beautiful Brazilian sounds from Celso Fonseca (defintely a highlight for me this year- made me sit up and listen to Brazilian music again), as well new material from Susheela Rahman. Lastly I will be broadcasting another audio grab from the DVD by 1 Giant Leap from the UK, a long time firm favourite of mine.

As I mentioned, it is difficult to put a Best Of Powerspot 2005 together. What I have tried to do with tonight's show is give listeners new and old a starting point from which to begin their own journey. I hope you enjoy what you will hear.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Playlist 10 December 05

Talvin Singh- Sway of the Verses - CD Ha
Afrocelts- Rise Above It - CD Seed
Amanda Shankar- Light My Fire - CD Outcaste First Five Years
Badmarsh & Shri- Sajanna - CD Signs
Brown Man Green Man-John Crow Flies East- CD Outcaste First Five Years
The Milky Bar Kid- Keeping Trankuility- CD Anokha Soundz of the Asian Underground
Al Di Meola- Last Tango For Astor / Milonga del Angel- CD Al di Meola Plays Piazzolla
Gerardo Nunez- Calima- CD Calima
Natacha Atlas-I Put A Spell On You- CD Best of....
Lili Boniche-Amir Leghram- CD Alger Alger
MERCAN DEDE & Secret Tribe -CD Nar
Thierry Robin-La Petite Mer / Pundela- CD Gitans
Jah Wobble / Bill Laswell ao- 6th Chamber- CD Radioaxiom

Friday, December 02, 2005

Playlist 3 December 05- mini radiothon night

2 SER has a mini radiothon tonight. We are trying to raise some funds before the end of the year to help meet the cost of running a radio station. If you didn't get involved with the main radiothon drive back in August, please do so now. Every little bit helps in keeping this unique station on air. The playlist will be somewhat more upbeat as such.

Afro Celt Sound System- Persistance of Memory/ When You're Falling- CD POD
Nitin Sawhney- Raag- CD Human
Nitin Sawhney- Homelands- CD All Mixed Up (Freeform Five Mix)
Adrian Sherwood- hari Up Hari- CD Never Trust A Hippy
Anouar Brahem- Kerkenak / Parfum Di Gitane- CD Barzakh
Thierry Robin- Reggae Rajasthani- CD Rakhi
1 Giant Leap- Audio Extract from the DDVD 1 Giant Leap feat. Ram Dass / Dennis Hopper / Anita Roddick
Martyn Bennett- Blackbird- CD Grit
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- Nast Mazroon Se Allah Bachae- CD Devotional Songs

Papa Wemba- Show Me The Way- CD Emotion
Marcos Valle- Brasil et O India- CD Escape
Midival Punditz- Air- Midival Times
Nitin Sawhney- Eastern Eyes- CD Human
Asian Dub Foundation- RAAFI
DJ Cam- various tracks-CD Substances

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Powerspot's new time slot

The program will as of December 14, 2005 be moving to Wednesday nights 7pm till 8.30pm which I'm really happy about. It means that with a 90 minute time frame I will be changing the format somewhat, possibly to a more upbeat view of world music and less of those long soundscapes I have been indulging in for too long. If you have any ideas of musical content I urge you to get in touch via email. Feedback is important.