Sunday 2 December 2012
Bending The Dark - The Imagined Village
Sunday 23 September 2012
Friday 7 September 2012
"Guzo" by Samuel Yirga
Friday 27 July 2012
Saturday 30 June 2012
Monday 28 May 2012
Wednesday 25 April 2012
Sunday 1 April 2012
Saturday 10 March 2012
Thursday 16 February 2012
Lucas Santtana is someone who first toured internationally in the nineties with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Back home in Bahia, Brazil he took inspiration from his former mentors and honed his own unique brand of Tropicalia to perfection. This is his fourth CD but the first to make considerable - and very deserved - waves outside Brazil.
For this project Santtana set himself some constraints. He resolved, in tribute to the likes of Gil and Joao Gilberto, to use only "Voz e Viola" (Voice & Guitar). But in the true spirit of operating "Sem (Without) Nostalgia" he has given the concept a thorough 21st century makeover by processing ambient sounds through all manner of unconventional recording techniques to create the most remarkable soundscapes.
"Filmic" is a description that springs readily to mind for several of the songs - he sings half in Portuguese and half in English - and it comes as no surprise to read an interview with Santtana in which he talks of creating each song as a miniature movie. It is music as if heard in a dream, never more so than on "Recado pro Pio Lobato" with jangling bells, distant guitar chords and somewhat unsettling echoey vocals.
The bizarre and discordant can often be a turn-off, but on "Sem Nostalgia", Santtana makes sure he takes us along with him. The jarring electronic touches are cleverly counter-balanced with the slow harmonious acoustic gems such as "Night Time In The Backyard" and "Hold me In". And then the dream-like Bossa Nova kicks off again on "Amor em Jacuma". There are echoes of John Lennon, Radiohead and Tunng throughout the album, particularly on the insistent "I Can't Live far From My Music", before we once again chill in the hammock under the palm fronds with "Ca Pra Nos".
Another light-hearted techno mash-up of sampled guitars and beats on "O Violao de Mario Bros" is followed by the ever so gentle "Ripple of the Water" and we finish up with "Natureza #1 em Mi Maior", discovering the most beautiful music in the processed sounds of water, frogs, birds, cicadas and the pulsating tropical night air.
The track I keep coming back to on the Local Global Show is the Cd's opener, "Super Violao Mashup". This doesn't even feature Santtana's own guitar, rather samples of his heroes' riffs with loops and beats interspersed to great effect. Check out the youtube video for this one, in which he playfully "referees" a very competitive Dance-Off between a man and a woman on a seafront promenade in Rio. Chunky moves guaranteed.
Saturday 7 January 2012
She was born in London and raised there, in New Delhi and California. She studied classical sitar with her father, the legendary Ravi Shankar, from the age of 9. Her concert debut was in the Siri Fort, New Delhi in 1995, aged 13. By 15 she had performed with her father at Carnegie Hall and her first record deal was at 16.
Since then she has continued to accompany Ravi, and has also pursued a highly successful solo career playing classical Hindustani music. In 2001, 2003 and 2007 respectively, she released "Live at Carnegie Hall", "Rise" and "Breathing Under Water", collaborating and experimenting with musicians and producers far and wide and gaining three Grammy nominations along the way.
Now signed to Deutche Grammophon, with this new CD "Traveller", Shankar heads off into "Latcho Drom" territory. Like the Tony Gatlif film, this project explores the connections between the Gypsies of Spain and Rajasthan and their seemingly conjoined Flamenco and Indian musical roots There is an assured maturity evident in this release - a confidence, possibly borne of Anoushka now being a parent herself. She fully immerses herself in the shared DNA of the two traditions.
The sparkling chemistry between Shankar and Javier Limon shines throughout. He is co-writer and guitarist on several tracks and is the inspired arranger and producer of the cd as a whole. Limon says that this encounter with Shankar changed his life, giving him a different concept of his own music. He points out that when Anoushka plays a granaina she plays it like a flamenco singer, not as one might expect, like a flamenco guitarist. Her melodies on the sitar exquisitely replicate those of the voices.
Limon has brought along his compadres Pepe (Habichuela, guitarist extraordinaire),pianist Pedro, plaintive Gypsy singers Duquende and Sandra Carrusco, and Spanish percussionists Pirana, Bobote and El Electrico playing (ahem) "spanish percussion" (cajon, handclaps etc). There is even, on "Dancing In Madness", the frenetic miked-up feet of Limon's friend, Flamenco dancer Farruco to mirror the ankle bells of Bharata Natyam dancer Mythili Prakash. It can be argued that it is in Flamenco and Hindustani traditions that the powerful rhythmic connections between dancer and musician are most evident.
For Anoushka herself, the writing and recording of "Traveller" was also a journey of self-discovery, never more so than when she is playing her sitar accompanied by just Pepe on guitar. The pair playfully nurture "Boy Meets Girl" into existence. It is a spacious creation of simple acoustic beauty, where the granaina and the raga seamlessly interweave and become one, a revelation for musicians and listeners alike. The title track is also a gem, with such fabulous rhythmic interplay between tabla, cajon and sitar overlaid with the Shehnai, the snake-charmer's double reeded conical oboe that is so reminiscent of the subcontinent.
This is a release of such sustained brilliance that it would be churlish to pick out one track. But it would be remiss of me not to mention the glorious heights reached on "Casi Uno". This is the result of Limon introducing Shankar to his friend and protege, the extraordinarily gifted Equatorial Guinean Flamenco singer Concha Buika. The three of them simply sat around a table and went through the song a couple of times before capturing one of "those" emotionally loaded moments of pure musical magic: the richness and complexity of Shankar's sitar, the simple sweetness of Limon's guitar, the earthenware Indian percussion and Buika's extraordinarily tender voice all in total harmony. I defy you to listen to it and not shed a tear.