Archive for the Specials Category

Women in Music

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by fred6368

If I can’t dance I dont want to be part of your revolution

As the late great Emma Goldman once put it, and read her book Living My Life if you can; dance. So on the 100th International Women’s Day lets dance to some of the great Women in music; continuous playlist on YouTube here.  At the moment it is PJ Harvey who most neatly captures that dance/revolution, but recently albums by Rumer, sumptuously, and Laura Marling, challengingly (you have to sit up straight to listen to it) sit on the dance/revolution boundary. But it is Polly Harvey’s ironically sly chorus, “Gonna take my problem to the United Nations“, that gives me the laughing dance by proxy The Words That Maketh Murder;

But if you’d ask me to name, off the top of my head, who my favourite female musician is then I’d usually say Cassandra Wilson, who grew out of the remarkable M-Base Collective in New York, along with Meshell N’degecello, to become the best jazz singer of the past thirty years. I could just listen to her voice alone, but the way she interplays with her musicians always seems fresh. She has a remarkable way of interpreting songs, I particularly like the way she takes Last Train to Clarksville and returns it to its anti-Vietnam roots and Strange Fruit sinks deep into its raw emotions. She has just released a staggeringly alive album Silver Pony, which is her best since Belly of the Sun for me. But demonstrating her massive intimacy here is Redemption Song  Continue reading

2010 in review

Posted in Specials, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by fred6368

Radio YouTube Attractions in 2010

These are the most popular posts and my favourite albums in 2010.

Rumer Post November 2010; Live on Jools Dec 31st 2010 Aretha
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Electric Eden

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by fred6368

Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music

This month I have mostly been reading Electric Eden, the marvellous book by Rob Young which looks at the Arcadian tradition in British music in the twentieth century, or folk rock to you and me. At the end of the nineteenth century the Victorians had made our world so safe for piano legs that in 1904 a German music critic actually wrote a book describing Britain as Das Land ohne Musik; the land without music. Yet, in the nineteenth century we had developed a marvellous Romantic poetic tradition which had come from a spiritual engagement with nature, even as the industrial revolution developed apace. Electric Eden looks at how this emerging cultural tradition infused and changed various musics in the twentieth century. In some ways the first example of this spiritual, or even pagan, development in music was Charles Parry’s arrangement of Blake’s Jerusalem.

This post will try to summarise the book with a selection of tracks reflecting its concerns and interests. Rob Young starts his book with the metaphor of Vashti Bunyan‘s one year road trip in a Romany caravan to join Donovan’s artistic commune in Scotland. He’s moved on by time she got there; like other putative musical collectives in 1969 commerce got in the way of his vision. So Vashti, along with her dog and husband, kept on her pilgrimage until she reached and settled in the Irish countryside. She was living out of time but engaging directly with nature in the countryside in a series of Just Another Diamond Day. Continue reading

World Music of Africa

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by fred6368

A Personal History of African Music

I wasn’t planning to write this but I thought, after the World Cup had tried to celebrate the African dimension in football, I would comment on and play some African music, that I liked and influenced me, as a chronology (non-stop playlist on YouTube here). It is also Nelson Mandela Day today so as well as singing Nkosi Sikeleli Africa, here is a chance to say God Bless Nelson Mandela and enjoy some of the music from Africa. As Mendela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Currently I am a huge fan of West African music from Sub-Saharan Mali, Senegal and Nigeria, as well as North African Rai and Arabic music. However during the World Cup I discovered that Ghana has a vibrant and developing music scene around blingy hiplife and both Cameroon and the Cote d’Ivoire have great dance music, you can follow new developments at AfroPop online. I live in London and apart from Ginger Johnson’s African Drummers, who played on Sympathy For The Devil at the Rolling Stones Concert in the Park in 1969, the first out and out African band I saw were Osibisa; criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness. In our typical student house in London we used to play The Dawn off the first album to get us out of bed, but here is one of their minor UK hits from the YouTube Osibisa playlist by voycha; this is what they were like live. Music for Gong-Gong;   Continue reading

World Cup of Music A-D

Posted in Specials, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by fred6368

Groups A-D

World Cup of Music is a series of blog posts following the World Cup in South Africa through the music of each country. I’m not an expert on the music of the 32 countries, but I am interested in it. I will provide links to the wikpedia page for each national football team which are constantly updated. I will respond to each country’s music in the way that it interests me; historic, Pop or World. I intend to “play” each match by getting you to vote on the videos selected which will change for each “match.” There is a very good overview of South African Music by Neil Spencer with a link to related online musical resources at Spotify. I wanted to use one of the Township whistlers tunes as a theme tune for these posts but The Solven Whistlers aren’t on YouTube and Tom Hark is poorly served. So straight into Group A.

Group A; features South Africa, Mexico, France and Uruguay; perm any two from four. This is tough for South Africa but French manager Domench is in a private battle with Maradona on who can do worst with the best resources. South Africa are at home and did well in the Confederation Cup last year, Uruguay are one of my dark horses as Diego Forlan scores great goals in the World Cup and won the Europa Cup for Atletico Madrid, and Mexico usually get out of the group they are in, so a very evenly poised group. Can France leave out Nasri and ace forward Benzema and still survive? I doubt it! So June 22nd at 3pm will be shootout time. Interesting? Very interesting!

South Africa v Mexico; June 11th.

South Africa has a great musical history. Even before Paul Simon highlighted some of the township jive musicians on Graceland, Johnny Clegg had toured Europe and Hugh Masakela was well-known in the USA and UK. The Indestructible Beat of Soweto highlighted more  grassroots music in the 80s, and some of the current music is covered on Ayobaness; South African House. So here is DJ Mujava from Pretoria with the ‘Township Funk’ of Mugwanti;  Continue reading

Let There Be Drums

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by fred6368

I’m In A Rock N Roll Band; The Drummer

The BBC have been running a series on terrestrial TV channel BBC2 celebrating the Rock Band and tonight, Saturday 15 May 2010 they are celebrating the drummer. With drummer jokes. Having been a drummer myself (that’s a fact not a recommendation) I thought I’d put together a list of the drummers who influenced me, or who I copied or, later on, whom I realised I had no chance of emulating. You can vote on your favourite drummer at the BBC here. I ended up briefly managing a Venezuelan Salsa band, Spiteri, because I recognised the Brasilian drum solo by Airto Moreira they were copying (it’s included below), so I know I have got the ears if not the chops. Here we go;

Sandy Nelson; And in the beginning was the solo drum artist. The first bit of drumming I can actually recall identifying was the little tom-tom riff in my Mum’s copy of the Everly Brothers Til I Kissed You. So when Sandy Nelson made his bid to be the Duane Eddy of the Drums I was hooked right away. Let There Be Drums; Continue reading

Abaco (April 2010)

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by fred6368

Video/Food Matching in Marseille

This months show is a tribute to my favourite neighbourhood restaurant in Marseille, Abaco. Abaco was recommended to me by the proprietor of the Hotel Richelieu, just around the corner, which has wonderful views of the Chateau d’If. It is in the area known as Catalans, the inlet where Catalans landed their goods in Marseille. What makes Abaco so distinctive is the combination of the friendly easy-going character of the place “le Patron trés professionnel offre un accueil charmant.”, and the fact that they play great music. I complimented them on it and promised I would do a mix. So lets kick off with that FIP-like opener from Le Fil by Camille, official video here but this is live. Ta Douleur; Continue reading