Radio: It still matters… it’s still important. Step up!

Radio?? How…. 20th century! Well… maybe, but radio is not only important for providing [fill in: information, news, music, social connections, etc., etc. …], it’s now scientifically established that radio makes you feel better!  (Thanks to Mediazoic for the Twitter tip!) You’ll actually feel better than if you spend your time surfing the Net. And it’s also a great social experience. But, it is also, as always, an immediate source of that information/news/music mentioned above. And, if your interests, tastes, viewpoints on those areas, are not well-served (I hope not!) by “mainstream radio”, if Internet streams and radio stations provide little, if any, information about … Continue reading

Roots of rock & roll: “hillbilly & blues/R&B”

I came across this 1951 video of the great Western Swing Band, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys on Twitter recently (posted by Afropop Worldwide no less!), singing their 1930’s hit “Ida Red”  — a song first recorded a decade earlier (by Fiddlin’ Powers and Family), and has roots back to an 1878 popular song, “Sunday Night”. The video is a terrific capture of one of the seminal bands that pushed country music boundaries in the pre-World War Two era. Wills was known as the “King of Western Swing” and recorded over a 40 year period. But the song made … Continue reading

Odds and Ends… July notes

Trying to catch up on things happening musically. A few items that caught my eye (or ear): Hugh’s Room Fall Sale This is the last week to save money on some of Hugh’s shows September through November by Jul 31, and get coupons for $10 (3 shows), $20 (4 shows), or $30 (5 shows). Some of these are close to selling out already. www.hughsroom.com Free online course: “Listening to World Music” Really.. from the University of Pennsylvania. A seven week course, involving 5-7 hours per week, it started July 23. Details and enrollment here:https://www.coursera.org/course/worldmusic African music, African food While much … Continue reading

Luminato & other festival info

Part 1 of the summer festival notes.  Check www.events.to-music.ca for details on these and many other events. Summer festival time kicks is here, kicking off this weekend with The Afrofest launch event tonight Beginning Friday, 10 amazing days of free Luminato concerts & the annual free Muhatadi International Drumming Festival Saturday. Afrofest launch: June 7 Tonight in the Ballroom of the Gladstone Hotel, Music Africa announces the lineup for the 2012 Afrofest, this year moved to Woodbine Park. A few names have already been announced including Sam Fan Thomas (Cameroon) and Wazimbo (who put on a terrific show at the … Continue reading

Khaira Arby talks music and politics with CBC Music: new unreleased songs

Khaira put on a great show at the Lula Lounge last Tuesday (May 8). She also spoke with CBC. The page has a few new unreleased songs available online Khaira Arby talks music and politics, shares exclusive new songs CBC Music – Free Streaming Radio, Videos, Songs, Concerts & Playlists.

“Under African Skies”: Documentary on “Graceland”, 25 years on (updated)

Update, May 24: See this page for details on the various CD/DVD/Blu-ray packages being released June 5. Update (May 18): The film will be shown on A&E (TV), May 25 at 10pm. Update (May 13): A couple of film reviews: LA Times (May 11) The Age (Australia) (May 14) And, to capture a bit of the flavour of the original album release, you can find many videos on YouTube of Simon’s original “Graceland” tour which followed the original album release. Many are from the final concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, including: “You Can Call Me Al“ “Diamonds on the Soles of … Continue reading

“Appalled by Dick Clark”: Joe Boyd on Clark’s Bandstand beginning

He may not be hip, but he was clean Two very, very different rock & roll figures died within a day of each other this past week, and have each received, in their own way, extensive media & internet coverage. Below is one take on Dick Clark. One of the news stories I read about Clark noted that he had taken over a local Philadelphia music and dance TV show, “Bandstand” after the original host had been fired. In the opening chapter of his excellent memoir, White Bicycles: making music in the 1960’s, Joe Boyd describes just what happened. (see … Continue reading

Benefit for Billy Bryans tonight at Lula

A reminder of the night for Billy Bryans tonight at the Lula Lounge. The producer, musician, publicist, promoter, DJ and friend of music (especially Cuban and Latin music in recent years) has been suffering from lung cancer for some time and is now in palliative care. His impact to the local music scene has been significant enough that Errol Nazareth wrote News that Billy Bryans is once again fighting lung cancer and receiving palliative care has galvanized the music community in a way I haven’t witnessed in all the years I’ve been covering the city’s various scenes. Last Saturday, Garvia … Continue reading

The crisis in Mali, Tuareg music and rebellion

For some people, when you say “Timbuktu”, it is like the end of the world, but that is not true. I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you we are right at the heart of the world. — Ali Farka Touré. from the liner notes to his 1994 album, Talking Timbukutu In 1994, I was looking forward to seeing the great Malian guitarist for the first time, in a concert with American Ry Cooder, with whom he had recorded the above CD. However, not long before that concert, word came out that Touré had cancelled his tour, because of … Continue reading

Random recent musical notes

A few odds and ends from the musical world recently… A new double CD out on Stern’s of the late Guinean great Sory Kandia Kouyaté. Info, and some music here. Feel free to crank up the volume. Baaba Maal on the food crisis in Mauritania Reports from Senegal recently are that Youssou n’Dour was injured in the leg by a tear gas canister in the unrest over the election situation (and the court decision to not allow him to run for president). See also earlier post on this site And taking another musical perspective on serious political struggles, while the … Continue reading