Archive for Lila Downs

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

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

Tango 3.0

Posted in New Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by fred6368

May 2010

I started this blog because 2009 seemed to be the best year for music since 1969. A really wide range of albums topped various polls, all of exceptional quality, many of which I loved. Then at the start of the year Vampire Weekend trumped their 2009 debut with Contra (one of the 250 best albums of all time according to FNAC) and I thought blimey 2010 could be just as great as well! Perhaps not quite yet, but there have been some staggeringly good albums already, if a few disappointments. One group whose blood hasn’t failed me yet is last months poll-winners Gotan Project and they have a new album Tango 3.0 (playlist here) which sounds club-heavy and ready to take on the road. Lunatico is their meisterwerk for me, but I have the rest of the year to learn the 3.0 semantics of La Gloria; Continue reading