Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Playlist 1 August 07

A pinch and a punch. Where has the year gone? August already. The weather is warming up during the days, giving almost a false sense of spring. Night time it's still bitterly cold, heater on full bore. probably not doing much to improve the environment with all those carbon emissions but...

On the show tomorrow night, musical contributions from the following. I am also hoping to have an advance copy of the collaboration between sarod master Adrian McNeill and tabla master Aneesh Pradhan, who will be performing 4 August 07 at the very small and intimate Dickson Street Space in newtown. A Must See Event. Please do come along. It's an early morning performance starting at 1130 and going for approximately two hours. This will truly be a wonderful musical collaboration and moment.

Kiran Ahluwalia-(www.calabashmusic.com)

The ghazal, Kiran's specialty, is a song form that comes from the Indian subcontinent. It exists somewhere between the classical and popular tradition. Ghazals begin life as poems and with the addition of music, become songs. They have an unbroken 700 year tradition and that tradition is alive and well in the South Asian literary diaspora across North America. These new original poems written in Urdu and Punjabi by a variety of Indian poets, combined with Kiran's music, make an original contribution to the ghazal tradition, perhaps the first recorded ghazals to be entirely created in North America.

Kiran Ahluwalia is a performer of vocal music. More precisely she is a performer of two distinct styles of vocal music from the Indian subcontinent, now India and Pakistan. Kiran sings ghazals and Punjabi folk songs. The word ghazal is an Arabic word that means "to talk to women". Given that men have traditionally spoken to women a great deal about love; the name attached itself to a form of poetic sung verse that originated in Persia about 1000 years ago and reached India around 400 years later.

Smadj-CD Take It and Drive

Smadj is the moniker adopted by musician and composer Jean-Pierre Smadja.
Smadj was born in Tunisia, but raised in Paris from an early age. His work is the product of a musical upbringing that has embraced influences from all over the world.

Smadj took up the guitar as a teenager, and he soon began to develop his own style of playing. By his early twenties he was featuring regularly at jazz clubs in and around the city, whilst gaining a reputation as a sound engineer through the mobile studio he had set up.
As the sound of electronic music spread throughout Paris during the early 90's Smadj began to feel constrained by his chosen genre. His first reaction was to start to fuse jazz with the North African sound of his birthplace. The name he gave to the project was Tatoom, which combined a number of musicians. Their world-groove sound caught the attention of label Moby Dick, which released Tatoom presents Tatoom in 1996. The group split up shortly, due to the departure of the singer.

During the mid-nineties Smadj had also collaborated as a session guitarist with a number of high-profile musicians, such as Tony Allen (Fela's drummer). At the same time Smadj met Sofi Hellborg, a Swedish saxophonist, who had experience of playing with African artists such as the Afro-Jazz musician Manu Dibango. Together they began to improvise live over DJ sets, fusing jazz and breakbeats. Smadj started to sample and program beats himself, as an accompaniment for his guitar, and the pair released their first EP, Bon Voyage, in 1997 with label Freerange UK.
One of the many people who Smadj had been impressing with his music was Robert Trunz, owner of MELT2000. In 1998 Robert signed him to do a full album, Equilibriste. The title means 'tight-rope walker', which is a reference to the boundary he treads on the album between nu-beats and jazz. He spent much of '99 gigging around France and England to promote it.

As Smadj's musical horizons broadened he had also been developing his mastery of a new instrument, the oud - an Arabic incarnation of the Lute comprising six pairs of strings. His second album for MELT2000, New Deal, was the first work to feature him on the instrument, and it marked a departure into more experimental and diverse territory. The album represented the sound many African, Arabic and Indian cultures, set against the environmental noise of Paris and New York.
Soon after the release of New Deal, Smadj was introduced to Mehdi Haddab, the famous oud player. Smadj found in Mehdi a tutor and partner. The two began jamming together, soon performing in front of close friends. It was not long, though, before Smadj was drawn by his fascination with technology towards combining the sound of the oud with his beloved Apple Mac. The idea of processing the oud with effects more closely associated with dance music was truly unique and the high level of musicianship shared by the two artists was bound to yield similarly original results. Soon the pair formed DuOud. The act was quickly picked up by Label Bleu, responsible for releasing their album Wild Serenade to critical acclaim. DuOud have toured the world, performing at prestigious locations such as London's ICA. In 2003 they were nominated for Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music.

Smadj's latest work, Take It And Drive is a collection of new music, featuring a number of artists with whom he has recently collaborated. Amongst those featured on the album are vocalist Rokia Traore, Mercury Award winner Talvin Singh and Mehdi Haddab himself.

Pat Metheny - Offramp

This 1982 recording by the Pat Metheny Group represented a crossroads for the guitarist, a creative expansion from his original concept in terms of acoustic and electric instrumentation, folksy roots material and modern jazz influences, American and third world sources. Having thus marked out the territory for a decade's worth of experimentation and growth, the Metheny Group cemented its standing on the cutting edge of contemporary jazz with Offramp. Lyle Mays' harmonica-like synth theme, Metheny's soaring, vocalized synth-guitar lead, some rich orchestral touches, and an easygoing blend of backbeat and chord changes made "Are You Going with Me?" one of Metheny's most enduring arrangements. Still, for every gentle, alluring set piece, such as the tangolike "Au Lait" or the rural vistas of "James," there was a visceral, emotive free-for-all like the title track, where Metheny unleashed wild, wailing synth guitar elisions over a loose, abstract pulse--anticipating the energy of the guitarist's collaboration with free jazz guru Ornette Coleman some four years hence on Song X.


Mariza began singing Fado as a child, before she could read. Her father sketched out little cartoon stories to help her remember the lyrics. At the age of five, she would join in the spontaneous singing in her parentsâ?? restaurant in Mouraria, one of Lisbon's most traditional neighborhoods.

Mariza was born in Mozambique, but her family moved to Portugal when she was a baby, giving her plenty of time to get immersed directly in the Fado Housesâ where singing is part of everyday life.

Mariza walks the fine line necessary to both genuinely carry the tradition and bring it freshness for today. Her performance style captures the raw emotion that characterizes the genre, but with her own personal twist.

Egberto Gismonti

The Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti drew his inspiration for this music from time he spent with the Xingu Indians in the Amazon, and it's intended to invoke both their spirit and the experience of the jungle. Gismonti assembled some remarkable musicians for this 1977 recording--guitarist Ralph Towner, percussionists Nana Vasconcelos and Collin Walcott, and saxophonist Jan Garbarek--but he uses them sparingly. The opening "Palacio de Pinturas" is a gorgeous duet between Gismonti's 8-string and Towner's 12-string guitars, a music so tonally rich that it suggests multiple geographic sources. "Raga," with Walcott on tabla, is more specific, with Gismonti's rapid-fire runs suggesting a sitar, but his use of percussive harmonics is a new element. The long final track is a remarkably varied suite. It begins with a light trio that has Garbarek's only appearance--a keening, soprano-saxophone solo--and includes "Sapain" for an ensemble of blown bottles with voices and wooden flute. Gismonti's fascination with shifting instrumental colors creates consistently interesting music, combining traditions and sources into a novel musical

Jan Garbarek (born March 4, 1947) is a Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist active in the jazz, classical, and world music genres. His daughter Anja Garbarek is also a musician.

Garbarek's sound is one of the hallmarks of the ECM record label, which has released virtually all of his recordings. His style incorporates a sharp-edged tone, long, keening, sustained notes strongly reminiscent of Islamic prayer calls, and generous use of silence. He began his recording career in the late 1960s, notably featuring on recordings by the American jazz composer George Russell (such as Othello Ballet Suite and Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature). If he had initially appeared as a devotee of Albert Ayler and Peter Brötzmann, by 1973 he had turned his back on the harsh dissonances of avant-garde jazz, retaining only his tone from his previous approach.

As a composer, Garbarek tends to draw heavily from Scandinavian folk melodies, a legacy of his Ayler influence. He is also a pioneer of ambient jazz composition, most notably on his 1976 album Dis. This textural approach, which rejects traditional notions of thematic improvisation (best exemplified by Sonny Rollins) in favor of a style described by critics Richard Cook and Brian Morton as "sculptural in its impact," has been critically divisive. Garbarek's more meandering recordings are often labeled as New Age music, a style generally scorned by more orthodox jazz musicians and listeners, or spiritual ancestors thereof.

After recording a string of unheralded avant-garde albums, Garbarek rose to international prominence in the mid-1970s playing post-bop jazz, both as a leader and as a member of Keith Jarrett's successful "European Quartet." He achieved considerable commercial success in Europe with Dis, a meditative collaboration with guitarist Ralph Towner that featured the distinctive sound of a wind harp on several tracks. (Selections from Dis have been used as incidental music in several feature films and documentaries.) In the 1980s, Garbarek's music began to incorporate synthesizers and elements of world music. In 1993, during the Gregorian chant craze, his album Officium, a collaboration with early music vocal performers the Hilliard Ensemble, became one of ECM's biggest-selling albums of all time, reaching the pop charts in several European countries. (Its sequel, Mnemosyne, followed in 1999.) In 2005, his album In Praise of Dreams was nominated for a Grammy.

In addition to the selections from Dis, Garbarek has also composed music for several other European films, including French and Norwegian films. Also his song 'Rites' was used in the American film The Insider.

Pepe Habichuela-A Mandeli

The first solo work by the brilliant guitarist in which he is accompanied by Carles Benavent on bass, and Rubem Dantas and Antonio Carmona on percussion. He was the first flamenco artist to be accompanied by Benavent and Dantas, and he was also the first to record with the Nuevos Medios record label, which also gambled on the new generation of the Habichuelas: Ketama.

He is the son of the Gypsy T'io josé Habichuela El Viejo (Granada 1910-1986), who founded this legacy of guitarists of whom Pepe (born 1944) is one of three brothers, all gifted guitarists. Pepe's son Juan continues the family tradition as founding member of Ketama, the foremost flamenco cross-over rock band. The rumba from Habichuela's first solo recording is an extraordinarily complex work, aknowledged here by Faucher who explains he has made choices as 'the original was impossible to extract as it is on the disc'. The introduction also explains that the works on recordings are like 'snapshots...which reproduce the pieces as they are played on that particular day and only at that particular time'. It appears the transcriber has worked closely with the composer and introduced three modifications which are clearly noted. It is in the introductory pages where this publication disappoints: the eulogy to Pepe Habichuela is in a tortuous Spanish style with sentences five lines long, i.e. an entire paragraph without drawing breath! The English is patently the result of inadequat translation. Surely the author would not actually want to say this: 'The artist well understands that he will only be safe by calling and putting the dance and the marvellous character's mischievousness a compás, and only in stripping them of grace and duende, making them slide their hands to pass it on to us'. From the Spanish I can deduce that he wishes to suggest the artist steals the grace and duende from past figures and allows it to flow through his own hands that we might witness it. To suggest that Pepe Habichuela strips anything of grace and duende is bordering on the libellous! These introductory words by Francisco Almazán are in Spanish and English only. The explanatory notes on 'sound and technique' are by Alain Faucher, the English is more felicitous than the translations of Almazán's Spanish and gives great insight into Pepe's unique technique. There are those who declare flamenco cannot be written down. This is patently untrue. However, like all music, noy every nuance can be accurately written in black and white. To my mind, the greatest fault of tab notation is the failure to notate the rythm. The extraordinarily improvised nature of Habichuela's rythm makes this some of the most difficult music to accurately notate. Without the recordings to hand I feel it would be extremely hard to get the correct nuances and subtle interplay of accompanying role/melodic exposition/rythmic interlude.
Everything is written here, and the result is a collection of some of the most beautiful, original and profoundly jondo solo flamenco guitar pieces ever recorded. Emma Martinez (Classical Guitar)

Amadou and Mariam

- from the liner notes "Tje Ni Moussou"
African music's recent history has been written on recycled paper, with a pen dipped in the ink of savvy resourcefulness. The biographical vicissitudes of The Bembaya Jazz, The Ambassadeurs, and the Rail Band of Bamako contain enough burlesque episodes for a sitcom, featuring indelicate managers, venal witchdoctors an piracy experts. In this hazardous context, the itinerary of Amadou and Mariam seems full of no-fuss heroics. Take the first hurdle in their long obstacle course: after meeting at the Institute for the Young Blind of Mali, they have to obtain approval for a marriage deemed unreasonable by their parents; the youngsters were the only ones to see the chances of a blind couple being successful.

In those days of military dictatorship, a musical vocation caused those with the most obvious gifts to converge on the hotels, where the house-bands, in exchange for civil-service salary, played to a clientele composed of government brass and foreign citizens, distilling the latest pop tunes and other fashionable music from Cuba in residential ballrooms. At the end of the Sixties, Amadou Bagayoko cut his teeth as a guitarist in the Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako, a versatile group later joined by Salif Keita. He refined his guitar technique, causing his fluid playing to sparkle, and thanks to a bridge or two that spanned the musical continents, cultivated a sense of versatility - the opposite of a scattering - that was to become the emergence of the radiant Bambara blues that has brought their recent productions to full bloom.

Mariam Doumbia sang, often accompanied by Amadou, and when the couple finally decided on a common career, their chances of success in Mali were so high that... they chose to emigrate to the Ivory Coast. Their success there took them by surprise.

Separated from their three children, they recorded a series of cassettes produced the Nigerian Aliyu Maikano Adamu; clothed by a single electric guitar, these recordings contain the initial versions of "Dounia", "A Chacun Son Probleme", and "Mon Amour, Ma Cherie". These songs returned some seven years later to grace the album "Sou Ni Tile", which broadened their horizon and caused the universality of African music to coincide with the resources of modern technology. "Tje Ni Mousso" ("Man And Woman") in bambara, added nuances of sound and rhythmical inflections to the already rich spectrum of their previous work, and caused other essences and perfumes to flow in from the four corners of the globe - the Portuguese cavaquihno, the violin of Bengal, jazz piano - towards the epicenter that is Africa, the land of a thousand dances.

Amadou and Miriam seem to hear their own music through the filter that made them marvel when they were adolescents: the pop of the Seventies, electric blues, reggae, Cuba... Without ever conceiving of it as a project, without even really thinking about it, man and woman caused their distant offspring, those who cradle was the Dark Continent, to come home. And this opening onto the world, this sense of hospitality, recharged the music of West Africa with a vital energy, and secured it in the maternal role that founded its identity.

This record gives "world music" a sense, a function, and a center of gravity that previous misuse of the term had hidden, damaging its reputation. The phrase invites us to a double understanding which can be found again in the use of words distilling counsel and recommendations, as happens in village meetings where the old exchange words with the young: and this manner of keeping a watchful eye, of preaching respect, patience and tolerance, finally causes little local virtues to unfold in a universal wisdom. With simple words, Amadou and Mariam relate the superiority of harmony over discord.

The amusing paradox carried by the songs of this blind couple from Mali is that they also have the power to return sight to those who think they can already see.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Playlist 25 July 07

On the show tonight, music by Aneesh Pradhan, tabla master currently out here touring with Shuba Mugdal, see previous post. Aneesh is a phenomenal tabla player and needs to be seen to be believed. If you get a chance to see him perform with Adrian McNeill please go, it will be amazing.

Other music by the following artists.
Monsieur Camembert- CD famous Blue Cheeses
Natacha Atlas- CD Best of
Gigi- CD Gold & Wax
Richard Horowitz & Sussan Deyhim- CD Majoun
Souad Massi- CD Deb (Heartbroken)
Susheela Rahman- CD Music for Crocodiles
Daude Neguinha- Cd Te Amo
Yungchen Lhamo- CD Ama
Sheila Chandra- CD This Sentence Is True

Happy listening and feel to give me some feedback.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aneesh Pradhan / Shubha Mugdal touring

Event information from Sangeet Australia: Supporting Hindustani Music
Two amazng events!

Dearest Patrons,
This month Australia welcomes the great and revered vocalist Shubha Mudgal. This renowned woman is an absolute must-see who needs little introduction. She is traveling with her ensemble the scintillating tabliya Aneesh Pradhan and on harmonium the very talented Sudhir Nayak. This is Hindustani music at its best from some of its finest and most honourable ambassadors.

Two Sydney dates to remember -
21st July A vocal concert of Shubha Mudgal this weekend to launch her DVD that was made at Sydney's Fox Studios in Sydney on her last tour
4th August Adrian McNeil and Aneesh Pradhan in an instrumental soiree to launch their new CD Raga Basant Mukhari.
Both released on www.underscorerecords.com
Full details below - Hope to see you there.

ashish kalmath presents
World Premier launch and release of her inaugural classical music DVD film
In Sydney 7pm Saturday 21 July
Sir John Clancy Auditorium
UNSW High Street Randwick Gate no.9
In Melbourne 7pm 29 July
BMW Edge Auditorium Federation Square
Flinders St Melbourne
Bookings Ticketmaster 136100
more info www.asheeshkalmath.com

Sangeet Australia:
Supporting Hindustani Music
proudly presents ‘The Mehfil Series’
Extra super special guest from Mumbai the remarkable tabliya Aneesh Pradhan
To release their recent recording
an acoustic morning raga program with
Adrian McNeil sarod and Aneesh Pradhan tabla

Acoustic. Intimate. Breathtaking.

Raga Basant Mukhari: morning ragas released on Underscore Records www.underscorerecords.com
Saturday 4th August 11:30am
The Dickson Space 35-39 Dickson St. Newtown
Enter off King St. Close to Newtown Station or by 422 bus.
Snacks available. Performance approx. two hours with interval.
Disabled access available. Come early to avoid disappointment.
Tickets at the door $20/$15con
more info: 0416 352 900 or join our mailing list.

About Aneesh Pradhan: Aneesh studied tabla under Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, one of the great tabla players of the 20th century. The rigorous training that he received from this maestro over many years profoundly guided Aneesh into the outstanding soloist and sensitive accompanist whom he is respected and admired as today. Based in Mumbai he is a highly sought after artist, both in India and abroad, where he tours extensively. He who has performed alongside practically all of the greatest figures in Hindustani music over the last few years.

Concert tours have taken him round the world to Europe, the USA, Japan, South Africa and South-East Asia. He has played at the Melbourne Festival and at the World of Music Festival in Brisbane, has taught at the University of New England in Australia. He was awarded a doctorate in history at the University of Mumbai with a treatise on Hindustani music in Bombay in the late 19th century. In 1999 he received the coveted Aditya Birla Kalakiran Award. Aneesh is also a noted composer of film soundtracks, as well as contemporary and fusion music and has collaborated with famous Ensemble Moderne in Cologne and the Asian Fantasy Orchestra in Japan. To top this off he is also the co-founder, along with Shubha Mudgal, of underscore records.

About Adrian McNeil: Adrian is a remarkable Australian musician who has studied Hindustani music and specifically the Sarod under the strict precepts of the Guru-Shishya Parampara (teacher student tradition) training method under the late Pandit Ashok Roy of the Maihar Gharana for some 25 years. Most recently he has undertaken study under Dr. Ashok Ranade and Prof. Sachindranath Roy. His studies have frequently led him to India where he has lived and also written an exemplary text 'The Sarod: A Cultural History'. Currently Adrian is a Lecturer at Macquarie University where he is an ethnomusicologist in the Department of Contemporary Music Studies. He continues to be one of the most accomplished artists in Hindustani Music in Australia and is committed to further performance and research in this field. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Sangeet Australia and a powerful performer with regular concerts and recordings made in India.

About Underscore Records: A wonderful Delhi based record company with an extensive range of fine Indian music on the website www.underscorerecords.com from all the best artists. This artist-owned label is the undertaking of husband and wife team Aneesh Pradhan and Shubha Mudgal. One of their primary concerns is the ethical treatment of artists and their rights. They continue to grow and gain favour with the community of Indian musicians for whom they are champions. We recommend you make your purchases from this reliable and knowledgeable site wherever possible.

About Sangeet Australia: Formed in 2004 we are an artist-run, grass-roots organisation focused on fostering greater understanding and appreciation of this classical tradition of music from India . We produce a monthly series of high-quality acoustic soirees and various other activities, including larger concerts and workshops, supporting both local and international musicians. To contact us regarding sponsorship, to volunteer, offers of in-kind support, media enquiries, to join our mailing list, bookings, media enquiries or for more information call m. 0416 352 900 or
email: pavane_oliveiro@yahoo.com.au
Forthcoming Sangeet Australia event: The Gundecha Brothers - Dhrupad vocalists www.dhrupad.org Last weekend September. Details to be announced. Those interested in workshops/classes or sponsorship contact me now!
Join our mailing list for more details or send this email to your friends.
Our events appeal to the discerning music lover and those who seek a fulfilling engagement with the arts.
Thank you to those who have recently written with ideas and offers of help. Forgive my delay in replying but I will get around to all of you and thank each one of you for your thoughts and efforts. I will be in touch shortly.
Kindest regards,
Pavane Oliveiro
Dr. Adrian McNeil
Artistic Director

Sangeet Australia:
Supporting Hindustani Music
m. 0416 352 900

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Peter Freeman on the show

I ran an interview with Peter Freeman tonight. Who? Well I don't blame you for probably saying that as he likes to stay behind the scenes and not be noticed. He's worked with people such as John Cale, L Shankar, Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz and for the last 17 years has been the bass player and sound manipulator behind Jon Hassell. The interview is downloadable over in the interview section. If you want to know more about Peter or get in touch with him he has a presence on myspace.com

Happy listening...Hans