Friday, August 24, 2007

The Gundecha Bros 30-09-07 Sydney

This is to give a few of you who may be interested some advance notice of the next very special concert put on by Sangeet Australia,so you can put it in your diaries.

Sangeet Australia presents
extra special guests from India
Dhrupad Vocalists The Gundecha Brothers

September 30th Performance starts 7:30pm
Pre-concert talk from Dr Adrian McNeil 'About Dhrupad Music'

Tom Mann Theatre
136 Chalmers St
Surry Hills
Nr Central Station.
Tickets at the door from 6pm.
Snacks avail. Disabled access available.

Powerspot Bob Marley special

He’s been described as the most important musical figure of the 20th century. His influence just keeps growing ever since his passing. He is a hero to many native peoples around the world, Maoris, Hopi Indians, the Aboriginal people, a figure who transcended music, and became a symbol of freedom.

The BBC has voted One Love as the song of the century, whilst Time Magazine voted Exodus as the album of the century. Through his music, Marley taught you not to judge people by the colour of their skin more by what they do. The music sang about the reality of life, of the plight of suffering; one of the strengths of marley’s music is that as long as suffering exists his music will continue and give strength to those listening. Marley’s music is as such one of the more enduring music of our time in my opinion.

The aim tonight is not to cover the entire history and spectrum of Bob Marley’s life. That would take more than a 90 minute show. I will assume people listening tonight will be across Bob’s work in some shape way or form, however I’ll loosely cover off the period up to his getting together with Island Records. For a more comprehensive look at Bob Marley's life, I recommend you go to

Marley would have been 62 years old this year. Even though Marley’s work only really covers a period of 20 years, his music has very much become a part of our everyday lives. It has been used in countless commercials, still gets regular airplay on commercial and alternative radio, and due to the fact his work was so insightful and spiritually aware, made it difficult for other reggae stars to be equally noticed. Marley was in a league of his own.

Considered to be the first true superstar of the so called third world, Marley’s music was shaped by the street culture of Jamaica of the 1950’s and 1960’s . Slavery had only been abolished 100 years earlier, and, the people were coming to terms with recent independence and emerging national identity.

A sense of African heritage and cultural awareness were further raised by people such as Marcus Garvey who advocated a new black African state. Freed from the domination of white rulers, Garvey as part of the dream to reunite the black population started the Black Star Line, a shipping company which in theory was going to ship all the black population from America and the Caribbean back to Africa.

In 1930 Ras Tafari Makonnen became the new Emperor of Ethiopia, He took on a new name- Haile Selassie. The followers of Marcus Garvey took Selassie to be the man who would deliver the Negro people, as had been prophesised by Marcus Garvey earlier. This was to be the start of the Rastafarian religion. Rastafarians speak out against; poverty, oppression and inequality.....not just religious ideas but global problems. The prime basic belief of the Rastafarians is that Haile Sellassie is the living God for the black race. The Lion of Judah represents Haile Sellassie, the Conqueror. It represents the King of Kings as a lion is the king of all beasts. The dreadlocks on a Rasta's head are symbolic of the Lion of Judah.

Into this period of time and social consciousness came Robert Nestor Marley born in 1945, fifteen years after Haile Selassie took power. In the 50’s and 60’s Kingston Jamaica, despite all it’s poverty and hardship, was the place to be for many people. People would squat in shanty towns such as Trench town which was built over a ditch running the sewage out of the town. Trench town would of course be made famous through the music and songs of Bob Marley. He moved there with his mother in the late 50’s growing up listening to amongst other things American radio, hearing artists such as Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Brook Benton as well as The Drifters. From a young age, Marley grew increasingly interested in music, forming a friendship with Bunny Livingstone aka Bunny Wailer, as well as the famous singer Joe Higgs who would be a mentor and teacher to his band. It was around this time that he befriended another musical icon- Peter Macintosh aka Peter Tosh. This was to be version 1 of the Wailing Wailers.

An introduction to Clement Dodd of Studio 1 fame in 1963 led to a record deal. Bob’s firsts single was Simmer Down, it’s reference to violence being a diatribe against competing producers of dances in dance halls and social events due to the competitive nature of the industry. With marley, you often needed to read the music between the lines. Reggae was very much what was called the poor man’s newspaper, in that if something was happening the word or the message would be spread through the music. If people couldn’t read, they could always listen to the music which would keep them informed of what was happening.

Marley went on to record music identifying other topical themes appealing to the Rude Boys, the street rebels of Kingston Jamaica, Over the next few years Marley cut some thirty singles for Clement Dodd before breaking up the band citing financial hardships. Earlier releases for Marley were more aimed at the dance halls and the tempo in general was more upbeat.

By the mid 60’s Bob Marley was identifying closer and closer to the ideals and beliefs of the Rastafarians, his songs starting to reflect a new spiritual outlook and social awareness, something that would remain in his music for the rest of his life. In Marley’s case, he would be strongly influenced by the Rasta beliefs such as:

*the use of ganja or ‘erbs to be closer to God…thus the references to I and I. Herbs made Marley think, made him more sensitive to what was around him. It was done for as Marley would say headucation.

*Africa being paradise,
*Selassie being the living god.

At a time when Jamaica was still relatively new to independence, this was a real slap in the face for the government of the day. He was seen as a threat. He in turn mistrusted the politicians. He called them Crime Ministers who sit in the house of thieves

Marley would reform The Wailers and teamed up with Lee Perry, producing some of the biggest hits such as Soul Rebel, 400 Years and Small Axe, songs which were to define the future of reggae.

Marley’s big break really came when he partnered up with Chris Blackwell from Island Records in the early 70’s. Blackwell had been promoting reggae music since the 50’s, as well as promoting rock bands such as Traffic and King Crimson. By aligning himself with Blackwell he was very much guaranteeing himself success, as Blackwell had the means to promote Marley to a greater audience.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Powerspot Playlist 15 August 2007

On the show tonight night, musical treats and delights from the following:

Deepak Ram- CD Flute for Thought- Between Thoughts (mp3 from

Marcel Khalife- CD Caress-Caress (mp3 from

Azam Ali- CD Elysium For The Brave- Endless Reverie / I Am A Stranger in this Life (mp3 from

Azam is internationally recognized for her work with Vas, the critically acclaimed, best selling, world music duo she co-founded in 1996 with percussionist Greg Ellis. From 1997- 2004 Vas released four albums on the Narada label. Their music, which they described as "alternative world," focused mainly on the ancient
relationship between the drum and voice. Their distinct cinematic sound blended influences of Indian, Persian, Western and other musical styles into a unique configuration that transcended categorization and cultural specificity. Though in their early days Vas drew many comparisons to Dead Can Dance, they patiently surpassed that comparison with each album they released, earning them their place in the musical hierarchy of bands whose innovation set a standard for others to aspire to.

In 2002 Azam released her first self produced highly successful solo album, Portals of Grace, which featured her singing renditions of ancient Western European medieval songs.

Azam's distinctive voice can also be heard on myriad film and television scores among which include “Matrix Revolutions,” “Godsend,” “Papparazi,” the upcoming major motion picture 300, Children of Dune, Earthsea, Dawn of the Dead, Alias, and The Agency.

Elysium for the Brave, Azam's second solo album, signals a new turn in her musical evolution. The album, her most ambitious work to date, brings together musicians from varied musical backgrounds performing in diverse permutations. Singing predominantly in English for the first time, the songs are based on lyrics written by Azam herself and reveal a poetic lyricism heard only in glimpses of her previous works.

Duoud- CD Sakat - Youm Aland / Mal Aytani-(mp3's from

For their second record, the electro-traditional combo Duoud explores Yemen ancestral musical traditions i
Smadj and Mehdi Haddab, children of the Parisian musical turmoil of the 90’s, have chosen the oud, just like one chooses one’s favorite pastry: with an accepted greed, without fear nor complex. For a long time, the oriental-electronic producer and the Ekova magician-member have satisfied their need to play in their favorite bars or in the intimacy of a party among friends. With this very simplicity they decided to record the fruit of their night drifting under the project name DuOud. Respectfully insolent with the instrument tradition, alternating “classical” Arab tunes and personal compositions, warmth of the acoustic instrument and electronic saturation, the two companions even invited some colleagues to share their joy (particularly the Bum Cello’s “fireworks makers”).

Jan Garbarek- Anouar Brahem- Ustad Shaukat Hussain- CD Madar- Sull Lull
Simon Shaheen & Vishwa Mohan Bhatt- CD Saltanah- Rag Vasant Mukhari
Dino Saluzzi- CD Cafe De La Musique- Introduccion y Milonga del Ausente (ECM 1616)

Bob Dylan at The Entertainment Centre-a review

I once asked Daniel Lanois what he thought about when people praised him for resurrecting the careers of musicians such as Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris. He very humbly replied that great musicians will always be great musicians, no matter what they are going through. If you have greatness inside you, it will come out sooner or later. After the interview I started listening to Bob Dylan's music again, and my interest was further re-fueled when I saw the documentary put out by Martin Scorcese some years back.

I was never a 'die-hard' Bob Dylan fan, and to this day still believe that the best Dylan tunes are the ones covered by others, possibly because these singers made me aware of who Bob Dylan is. John Martyn springs to mind, singing Don't Think Twice, on the brilliant London Conversation album, one of many fine albums put out by Martyn over many years.

So I find myself at The Entertainment Centre last night with my friend Chris Vitek taking in the Bob Dylan experience. I went out of respect for Dylan's music, knowing here was one of the great creative musical visionaries of my time. The show didn't 'rock my world', however I'm glad I experienced it. The Dylan I heard was very much performing a kind of southern Texan, rockabilly style country music. Most of the show saw Dylan behind his keyboards, only playing guitar on three tracks. He also didn't play too much harmonica, which I would have liked to have heard more of. The band was comprised of a double bass player by the name of Tony Garnier, as well as a pedal steel player by the name of Donnie Herron, who also played lap steel guitar and violin.Dylan seemed to cover off most of the tracks off his most recent release Modern Times, as well as favorites such as Highway 61 Revisited (an almost rockabilly version), When The Deal Goes Down, as well as Thunder On The Mountain, and to finish the show a great version of All Along The Watchtower.

After the show I drove home listening to Masterpieces, playing Dylan singing All Along The Watchtower over and over again. I'm glad I heard him sing live just once, and even though I sat about 100 feet away from the stage, you could sense that greatness that is Bob Dylan

Friday, August 10, 2007

Just because it's digital doesn't mean it's good

MP3 music - it's better than it sounds

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Whether you know it or not, that compact disc you just copied to your
MP3 player is only partially there.

With the CD on its way out and computer files taking over as the
primary means of hearing recorded music, the artificial audio of MP3s
is quickly becoming the primary way people listen to music. Apple
already has sold 100 million iPods, and more than a billion MP3 files
are traded every month through the Internet.

[ MP3: Just because it's digital, doesn't mean it sounds good.]

But the music contained in these computer files represents less than
10 percent of the original music on the CDs. In its journey from CD
to MP3 player, the music has been compressed by eliminating data that
computer analysis deems redundant, squeezed down until it fits
through the Internet pipeline.

When even the full files on the CDs contain less than half the
information stored to studio hard drives during recording, these
compressed MP3s represent a minuscule fraction of the actual
recording. For purists, it's the dark ages of recorded sound.

"You can get used to awful," says record producer Phil Ramone. "You
can appreciate nothing. We've done it with fast food."

Ramone, who has recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Rolling
Stones, was a musical prodigy who graduated from Juilliard at 16. He
won the first of his nine Grammys in 1965 for the classic album "Getz/
Gilberto." He is not alone in the upper ranks of his profession in
decrying the state of audio, even though millions of dollars have
been spent building high-tech digital recording studios.

"We're pretty happy with what we send out," says engineer Al Schmitt,
winner of 15 Grammys for records by artists from Henry Mancini to
Diana Krall. "What happens after that, we have no control over that

These studio professionals bring their experience and expensive,
modern technology to bear on their work; they're scrupulous and
fastidious. Then they hear their work played back on an iPod through
a pair of plastic earbuds. Ask Ramone how it feels to hear his work
on MP3s, and he doesn't mince words.

"It's painful," he says.

MP3s have won the war of the formats because of technology, not
because of their audio quality. "It's like hearing through a screen
door," says neuroscientist Daniel Levitin of McGill University,
author of "This Is Your Brain on Music." "There are lines between me
and what I want to see."

But what is the price of inferior audio quality? Can poor audio touch
the heart as deeply as better sound? John Meyer, who designs and
builds some of the world's best speakers at his Meyer Sound Labs in
Berkeley, doesn't think so.

"It turns you into an observer," Meyer says. "It forces the brain to
work harder to solve it all the time. Any compression system is based
on the idea you can throw data away, and that's proved tricky because
we don't know how the brain works."

It could be that MP3s actually reach the receptors in our brains in
entirely different ways than analog phonograph records. The
difference could be as fundamental as which brain hemisphere the
music engages.

"Poorer-fidelity music stimulates the brain in different ways," says
Dr. Robert Sweetow, head of UCSF audiology department. "With
different neurons, perhaps lesser neurons, stimulated, there are
fewer cortical neurons connected back to the limbic system, where the
emotions are stored."

But Sweetow also notes that music with lyrics may act entirely
differently on a cerebral level than instrumental music. "The words
trigger the emotion," he says. "But those words aren't necessarily
affected by fidelity."

Certainly '50s and '60s teens got the message of the old rock 'n'
roll records through cheap plastic transistor radios. Levitin
remembers hearing Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the
Summertime" on just such a portable radio, an ancient ancestor of the

"It was crap, but it sounded great," he says. "All the essential
stuff comes through that inch-and-a-half speaker."

Levitin also says that Enrico Caruso and Billie Holiday can probably
move him more than Michael Bolton or Mariah Carey under any fidelity.

"If the power of the narrative of the movie isn't there," he says
metaphorically, "there's only so far cinematography can take you."

Most of today's pop records are already compressed before they leave
the studio in the first place, so the process may matter less to
artists like Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake. Other kinds of music, in
which subtlety, detail and shaded tonalities are important, may
suffer more harm at the hands of the algorithms.

"When you listen to a world-class symphony or a good jazz record,"
says Schmitt, "and you hear all the nuance in the voices, the fingers
touching the string on the bass, the key striking the string on the
piano, that's just a wonderful sensation."

How much the audio quality is affected by the MP3 process depends on
the compression strategy, the encoder used, the playback equipment,
computer speed and many other steps along the way. Experts agree,
however, that the audio quality of most MP3s is somewhere around FM
radio. The best digital audio, even with increased sampling rates and
higher bit rates, still falls short of the natural quality of now-
obsolete analog tape recording.

EMI Records announced earlier this year the introduction of higher-
priced downloads at a slightly higher bit rate, although the
difference will be difficult to detect. "It's probably
indistinguishable to even a great set of ears," says Levitin.

How good MP3s sound obviously also depends greatly on the playback
system. But most MP3s are heard through cheap computer speakers,
plastic iPod docking stations or, worse yet, those audio abominations
called earbuds.

The ease of distribution means that MP3s are turning up everywhere,
even places where they probably shouldn't. Schmitt, who has won the
award more times than anyone else, is incredulous that the National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences posts MP3s of nominees for the
best engineering Grammy. "As if you could tell anything from that,"
he sneers.

For digital audio to substantially improve, several major
technological hurdles will have to be cleared. The files will have to
be stored at higher sampling rates and higher bit rates. Computing
power will have to grow. New playback machines will have to be
introduced ( Ramone thinks high-definition television is the model
for something that could be "HD audio"). If the Internet is going to
be the main delivery system for music in the future, as appears to be
the case, Internet bandwidth will also be a factor.

"The Internet is in charge now," says Ramone, "and it has all kinds
of wobbles. You have wires hanging out of windows and things like
that. That's just the way things have to be because the Internet is
in transition."

Meanwhile, most music listeners don't know what they're missing. They
listen to MP3s on shiny chrome machines and plastic earpieces, and
what they hear is what they get. But what's being lost is not
replaced by the convenience.

In effect, sound reproduction is caught in a technological wrinkle
that may take years to straighten out. "This is a transition phase,"
says McGill's Levitin. "It's having an effect on the culture, no
question, but it's temporary. ... (But) it may be around for a while."

A glossary of digital audio terms:

A glossary of terms that describe different types of digital audio :

MP3: What has become a generic name for compressed audio files was
originally taken from a set of video and audio compression standards
known as MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group). . There are many
codecs, or compression programs (Apple converts CDs to an AAC file on
iPods), but most reduce the file to about 6 percent of its original

WAV: The standard computer audio file stores data at 44,100 samples
per second, 16 bits per sample (although recording studios are
commonly equipped with 24-bit technology). WAV files are uncompressed
and written to compact discs in Red Book audio, which adapts the file
for compact disc players.

AIFF: Most professional audio is saved in these large files that use
about 10 megabytes for every minute of stereo audio.

FLAC: This codec, favored by Grateful Dead tape traders, stands for
Free Lossless Audio Code. It reduces storage space by 30 to 50
percent, but without compression. A full audio CD can be burned from
the file, unlike from MP3s.

- Joel Selvin

E-mail Joel Selvin at

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Powerspot Playlist 8 August 07

Last night's program as follows.

Kim Sanders- CD Trance'n'Dancing'
Kim Sanders- You Can't Get There from Here

1 Giant Leap- Audio / Music from the DVD 1 Giant Leap
Dhafer Youssef- Music from the DVD Live @ The Spitz

Adrian McNeil & Aneesh Pradhan- Raga Bhasant Bhukari (

Monday, August 06, 2007

Kim Sanders upcoming show 19 August 07

Musical gypsy Kim Sanders has just returned from Indonesia to present a programme of Turkish music at St Luke's Hall, Enmore on Sunday August 19.
The concert will feature Turkish-born baglama-player Ozkan Bayar, now living in Australia. I'm really looking forward to playing with Ozkan he's really hot! said Kim yesterday. He's played with some heavy dudes in Turkey. He's a monster on baglama, and also plays bouzouki and a vary rare and exotic hybrid instrument called the cumlama. I like hybrids I play one myself!? Kim's hybrid is the Bulgarian/Turkish/Australian bass bagpipe he calls The Aardvark.

Kim has studied, performed and recorded extensively in Turkey since 1984. He has worked with Zulfu Livanelli, Anadolu Fener, Birol Topaloglu and the Istanbul State Modern Folk Music Ensemble.

The ensemble will be completed by Kim?s long-time collaborator percussionist Peter Kennard, who was featured on Kim?s latest CD Trance'n'Dancin.

The programme will include Turkish Classical and Sufi music and folk music from various regions of Turkey.

In Indonesia, they're very interested in Turkish music, because of the historical connection with the Middle East, says Kim. Especially so in Aceh. I went there to do a series of World Music workshops with a group of musicians co-ordinated by Ben Pasaribu from the Ethnomusicology Department at Medan University. The aim was to encourage local Achenese musos to play music again, now that the houses and infrastructure are mostly rebuilt after the tsunami. We heard some terrible stories, but the workshops went really well, and the jam session on the final night was a knockout! Hopefully we contributed in some small way to the healing of hearts and minds.

Kim also performed at the Malacca Straits Jazz Festival and at the inauguration of the new chief of Koto Gadang in Sumatra. My vegetarian daughter Phoebe was grossed out by the freshly-severed buffalo-head in prime position next to the Chief but they sure loved the gaida! Kim will return to Indonesia in September for the Solo International Ethnic Music Festival and to Turkey in November for further study and performances.

Kim Sanders: ney, kaval, mey, gaida, aardvark

Ozkan Bayar: baglama, cura, cumlama, bouzouki

Peter Kennard : dhaf, daire, darabukka, davul, percussion

2 pm, Sunday Aug 19

St Luke?s Hall,

11 Stanmore Rd,

Enmore (opposite 7/11 store)

$20/15 concession

St Luke's Hall is a semi-accoustic venue, so you won't be deafened by a moronically loud sound-system!

Light refreshments available, and parking onsite.

Be early seating is limited!

For interviews, photographs, more info, to order CDs:


This concert is supported by Kinetic Energy Theatre Company.


September 28th-30th - Bellingen Showground

The full line-up for this year's Bellingen Global Carnival has been announced and it includes:

International -
* Kora (New Zealand)
* Sharon Shannon Band (Ireland)
* Shasha Marley (Ghana)
* The Gyuto Monks (Tibet)

National -
* Afrodizziact featuring Jali Buba Kuyateh
* Alan Posselt & Jay Dabgar
* Chukale
* Diafrix
* Echoes of Polynesia
* Hey Amigos
* Jalsa Creole featuring Aniele
* Johnnie Aseron
* Joseph Tawadros' The Oud, The Bad & The Ugly
* Klezmer Connexion
* Labjacd
* Lolo Lavino
* Mihirangi
* San Lazaro
* Skorba
* The Cafe of the Gate of Salvation
* The View From Madeleine's Couch
* Tjupurru
* Tommee

Local/Regional -
* Alter-Native
* Baja
* Bellinger River District Pipe Band
* Christie & The Rhythm Family
* Old Spice Boys
* Rafiki Connection
* Salsa Crazy

DJs -
* Balkan Beats (Systa BB & DJ Delay)
* DJ Gemma
* Uberlingua crew (bP, Mashy P, Aysu Fevziye Cogur, Presyse Rifraf, sakamoiz, Potato Master, Stuart Buchanan, VJ Sdzeit,
Pataphysics, Mr. Fish, MC Wire)
* Jembe crew (James Locksmith, Mark Walton, DJ Elroy, DJ Frenzie, DJ Katch, Garrido)

Plus Circus acts, Kid's Festival and much more.

Full details and ticket information available at: