Παρασκευή 15 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Mierlița - Stranger in Chișinău

Mierliţa (mir-LEE-tsa) plays rich, swingy, highly-ornamented Romanian music in the Lautari (Roma, or “Gypsy”) style. Intricate melodies and harmonies intertwine with an infectious jazz rhythm section to provide the core of this virtuosic quartet’s sound. Fiddlers Jon Cannon and Abigale Reisman, both students of Lautari master violinist Marin Bunea, bring a contemporary perspective to a full traditional repertoire alongside guitarist Sasha Kern and upright bassist Kirsten Lamb. Mierlita has given acclaimed performances all over New England including appearances at the New England Folk Festival and the Folk Arts Center of New England’s popular Balkan Music Night. Their debut full-length CD, “Stranger in Chisinau,” was released in March 2015.

Τρίτη 12 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Orkestar Kriminal - Tummel

Almost two years to the day after they launched a first EP, Montreal's Orkestar Kriminal  returned to the stage armed with their debut album, Tummel. The 8 piece band who forged themselves a reputation of being a "gang of tough punks" will release their new repertoire of criminal tunes from the 1920s and 30s on vinyl, due out January 21st, 2016.

"Tummel", the Yiddish word for "chaos", summarizes the racket the band can create. This latest effort was produced and engineered by Howard Bilerman and recorded live-to-tape at Montreal's famous analogue studio, Hotel2Tango. "What really makes it special is that we used recording techniques from the 1920s", explains Giselle Webber, head of the orkestar gang "we recorded it as a live set and controlled the sound by placing everybody at a specific distance from the microphone". Tummel is a collection of songs from Moldova, Morocco, Greece, Ukraine, Poland and Argentina. The limited edition vinyl will contain 10 songs, and the digital album, released this past March on the digital label Sainte Cécile, contains 3 bonus tracks from Russia and Mexico!

Orkestar Kriminal is comprised of improv performers who interpret inspired renditions of slum-based "world music". They sing gutsy and adventurous criminal songs that originate from a dangerous and forgotten era. The band formed in 2012, three days before the POP Montreal Music Festival, so that Giselle's former orchestra could scam free passes to the festival. 

Δευτέρα 7 Δεκεμβρίου 2015

Upcoming Concert in NY: CHROMA

I'm pleased to announce that The Onassis Cultural Center NY will proudly present CHROMA, a new performance project fusing jazz, classical, Greek folk, and world music on Wednesday, December 9th at 7PM.

Chroma, defined as the purity or intensity of a color, is performed by 13 musicians (strings and percussion) expressing a palette of emotions and ideas captured in the works created by renowned composer and performer Petros Klampanis.

"CHROMA is a collection of compositions that forms my personal palette of emotions, ideas, and impressions," states Klampanis. "I have transformed these experiences into musical colors in an effort to share them with you, and I invite you to listen to them and feel them. Perhaps they will remind you of colors in your own personal palette, or - and I hope - they will move you, and even become the reason you discover new colors that already exist inside you."

CHROMA will be performed by: Petros Klampanis, bass, voice, compositions, arrangements; Gilad Hekselman, guitar, composition; Shai Maestro, piano; John Hadfield, drums and percussion; Keita Ogawa, percussion; Maria Manousaki, Gokce Erem, Megan Gould, and Maria Im, violin; Carrie Frey and Peter Kiral, viola; Colin Stokes and Maria Jeffers, cello.

Accompanying the performance, Athens-based visual and jewelry artist Eleni Kyrmizaki, is creating an installation work created for CHROMA.
Petros Klampanis has performed alongside some of New York City's celebrated jazz musicians, including saxophonist Greg Osby, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and drummer Ari Hoenig. His extensive list of appearances in the U.S. includes Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has performed at the internationally acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival and the Palatia Jazz Festival in Germany.

His relationship with Greg Osby led to the release of his début album, Contextual, on the saxophonist's Inner Circle Music label. The album was praised by acclaimed bassist Arild Andersen as "one of the most exciting projects I have heard from a bass player in years." His arrangement of the Greek folk song "Thalassaki" was recently performed by the Greek Public Symphonic Orchestra in Athens, with whom Klampanis performed in 2013. He was recently voted as the "Best Artist of 2015" on jazzonline.gr.

Τετάρτη 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

The Legacy of Bob Marley

Greetings and love everybody!
It's been a while since I stopped posting new stuff.A friend of the blog, Beth Kelly, managed to wake me up proposing me an interesting article of hers to share with.Beth's article is about Bob Marley's remarkable cultural influence and commercialization of his profile.
I'm still not sure if I'll post fresh goodies regularly,but I'll try to fix some requested links and we see...

The Legacy of Bob Marley 

Bob Marley's legacy as a musician is unquestionable. He has become a touchstone of the musical world for performers and listeners alike, and has influenced many popular singers and musicians of today. However, there is a much more commercial side to his legacy, one that he would not have look favorably upon. In the years since his death, numerous products featuring his likeness have been released, and his heirs have traded heavily off of his fame and status as a musical icon to make a great deal of money – going against much of what Marley himself actually stood for.
Bob Marley was born and raised in Jamaica, where the island’s musical traditions heavily influenced his unique style of reggae songwriting. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, his fame as a musician grew, making him by far the most popular and influential reggae artist of any generation. During this time period, Marley also became an icon of the counterculture movement, in part due to his famous consumption of marijuana as a spiritual practice in line with his Rastafarian faith. It was this faith which also led him to decide not to make a last will and testament, out of concern for the possibility that his estate would become too commercialized and capitalist. Marley was diagnosed with melanoma in 1977, and died of the disease due to widespread metastasis in 1981.

In spite of his best efforts, Marley's estate and legacy became a hugely profitable and commercial brand. While it cannot be denied that Marley made a great deal of money from his music during his own lifetime, it was always his viewpoint that he was simply doing what he loved to do, and that the money was never the point of it. In fact, today, the royalties from the hit song “No Woman No Cry” still go directly to a soup kitchen in Jamaica. He was a strong proponent of the idea that money could not buy happiness, and was known for never changing his music to make it more commercially appealing. In fact, Marley’s last words to his son, Ziggy, who recently performed his own and his father’s music on DTV’s Guitar Center Sessions (see here), were, “Money can’t buy life.” The widespread branding of everything from posters to a personalized brand of Bob Marley marijuana that can be seen in the market today is far out of line with Marley's vision and beliefs, and would never have occurred during his lifetime.

In a broader context, Marley, in this regard, is part of a larger group of 1960s counterculture icons and ideals that have been distorted for profit. Such commercialization can be seen in everything from the immense profits made off of the legacy of the Woodstock festival to the wide array of merchandise, much of which is based on the classic counterculture film Easy Rider, available today.
On a brighter note, Marley's music and ideals have, however, influenced many of the musical icons of today. Despite the fact that commercialization has become the norm in modern music, many musicians and artists themselves hold to Marley's belief in music as a creation based on love of creating. In fact, modern pop music, especially that from more independent artists and labels, commonly uses this as a lyrical theme. Marley’s influence can be found in artists as widespread as The Fugees, Rihanna, Jazmine Sullivan, Naz, and many many more.

Bob Marley is unquestionably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His legacy, however commercialized it may have become since his death, still stands strong. In 2015, which is both the 33rd anniversary of his tragic death and would mark his 70th birthday if he were still alive, his influence on music and culture is just as strong as ever.

For those interested of an in-depth biography can check out this nice ebook of Timothy White called "Catch a fire".

Τρίτη 23 Ιουλίου 2013

Palyrria - Palyrria [2004]

Born out of the need for experimentation PALYRRIA is a band that has devised and perfected its own, unique musical style. Created in 1996 as a dance project it wasnt until 1999 that the band decided to turn into its own musical direction, a mixture of western electronica and traditional music from around the Mediterranean. They call it world-electro and indeed this music is neither electronic nor ethnic. PALYRRIA has always been fascinated by traditional music and some of the bands members have worked with renowned traditional musicians, but living in Greece one realizes that traditional music goes way beyond the last millennium, back in times when people chose to express themselves in much more ecstatic and paganistic ways. Ancient ceremonies around the Mediterranean have always been filled with music and musical expression. It wouldnt be far from the truth if one was to draw a parallel between those events and the rave parties the world witnessed in the beginning of the nineties. The similarities are striking and have been the source of inspiration for the dynamic musical context of PALYRRIA. Aeolian scales, pentatonic music, instruments that come out of the depths of history, are presented alongside pumping bass lines, techno grooves, vocoders, clicks and cuts, in an attempt to create music that transcends the centuries and is both ancient and futuristic at the same time. Let the strangeness ware off and enjoy music that comes straight from the source.

Πέμπτη 11 Ιουλίου 2013

Kato apo to dentro - S/T [2010]

Blues, Rembetika, Pentatonic and other Greek traditional melodies, Dub basslines, African melodies and rhythms, meet unexpectedly through acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, melodica and percussion in the music of the group ''Kato Apo To Dentro'' ("under the tree'' in English) which is a collaboration between several musicians and friends, based in Athens, Greece. Couplets in the blues mood, tales of adventures in faraway places but also something from Greek traditional fest fun (panigyriotiko) compose this musical journey.

Δευτέρα 24 Ιουνίου 2013

Jazz The World Forgot, Jazz Classics of the 1920s Early Roots and Branches of Jazz - Vol.1 [1996]

This groundbreaking series brings together some of the greatest performances of early jazz, illustrating that before jazz became a listener's music of improvised solos it was the rhythm-driven dance music of America, the rock and roll of its day. This album shows the incredible variety of the 1920s jazz by bringing together diverse, often obscure masterpieces by legendary small groups and large bands from both city and country. Highlighted is the rich regional flavor of early American jazz with showpieces by territory bands such as Ross De Luxe Syncopaters, Taylor's Dixie Serenaders, and Roy Johnson's Happy Pals along with classics by the pioneer New Orleans band of Louis Dumaine, Sam Morgan and much more. This is an entertaining and illuminating exploration of early jazz which traces its roots back to marching bands, ragtime and vaudeville.

Τρίτη 18 Ιουνίου 2013

Thanasis Papakonstantinou and the Laikedelica - Ta zontana [2004]

The legendary Greek composer, singer and musician in a full-length double CD program of new works, and songs from previous his two recordings (Vrachnos Profitis and Agrypnia ) given a whole new perspective by the amazing ensemble he has backing him up. One of the best  recordings of 2004, from anywhere on the planet. Highly recommended, especially for those who like creative, roots-inspired progressive rock-folk music.

Σάββατο 15 Ιουνίου 2013

African Spirits - A Spiritual Jazz Journey Looking Back to Africa [2004]

This album consists of 10 tracks that represent a spiritual jazz journey looking back to Africa: the motherland, the roots of jazz, the birthplace of black music and the ancestral origins of the musicians themselves.
Individually the tracks - some of the best music of its type ever recorded - are in demand in their own right, with most being compiled for the first time. In the 1960's and 1970's many Afro Americans started to look back to their roots and the roots of the music for inspiration, direction and confirmation. Musicians including Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and many of the artists on this compilation experimented with African instruments and sounds during this period. It was a time of black celebration, the 'Afro' hairstyle was a prerequisite for hipness. The drum - the most basic rhythm instrument and the foundation that almost all modern music rests on - came from Africa. Indeed, Jazz music itself can also trace its origins back to Africa; in fact scientists, historians and archaeologists have suggested that the entire human race took its first steps in Africa and evolved from there. The music contained on this album, whilst rhythmically strong is also imbued with haunting melodies and spiritually uplifting shades. A major factor behind the making of this music was a reaction against a society based on commercialism and insincerity: this is music with a message, music of substance, music that demands the listener be drawn in. It's music that you can really feel…music that moves and fulfils you, leaving you spiritually uplifted. This album is not just about selecting and bringing together a collection of in demand Jazz cuts…it's about inviting the listener on a musical journey back to Africa, back to ancient civilisation. Enjoy the ride.

Τετάρτη 12 Ιουνίου 2013

V/A - Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar [1992]

This anthology features the predecessors and contemporaries of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian with an emphasis on the jazz guitar duet. Working within their seldom recorded solo or duet performances, master guitarists such as Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, John Cali and others couple melodic sophistication with the kind of economy and restraint rarely achieved today in such compositions as Teasin' The Frets, handful Of Riffs, Chicken A La Swing, Feeling My Way and others.