Category Archives: C – LISTENING

First-time listening for September 2018

29844. (Dan­ger [Franck Rivoire] ) 太鼓 [Taiko]
29845. (Paul Oak­en­fold) Essen­tial Mix: Live in China
29856. (Kanye West & Kid Cudi) Kids See Ghosts
29857. (Giro­lamo Fres­cobaldi) Ricer­car #9 con quat­tro soggetti for Harp­si­chord
29858. (Giro­lamo Fres­cobaldi) Can­zona #4 for Harp­si­chord
29859. (Giro­lamo Fres­cobaldi) Can­zona #3 detta la Criv­elli for Harp­si­chord
29860. (Giro­lamo Fres­cobaldi) Par­tite sopra Folia for Harp­si­chord Read more »

First-time listening for August 2018

29262. (Gio­vanni Bononcini) Astarto [com­plete opera; d. Biondi; Valen­tini, dalle Molle,
. . . . . Müller-Molinari]
29263. (Wale [Olubowale Vic­tor Akin­time­hin]) Ambi­tion
29264. (Brian Ferry) These Fool­ish Things
29265. (Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach) Can­tata #80a “Alles, was von Gott geboren” [vari­ant of #80]
29266. (Higher Intel­li­gence Agency) Colour­form
29267. (Pro­col Harum) Shine On Brightly
29268. (Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach) Can­tata #81 “Jesus schläft, was soll ich hof­fen?”, bwv.81
29269. (Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach) Can­tata #82 “Ich habe genug”, bwv.82
29670. (Charley Pride) The Pride of Coun­try Music
Read more »

Kurdish Folk Music

Kurdish band Nishtiman performed their second album "Kobane" Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017. The band unites musicians from the different Kurdish communities of Iraqi Kurdistan Iran, and Turkey.

Kur­dish band Nish­ti­man per­formed their sec­ond album “Kobane” Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017. The band unites musi­cians from the dif­fer­ent Kur­dish com­mu­ni­ties of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Iran, and Turkey.

For a pedi­gree of musi­cal con­ti­nu­ity, you can’t beat Kur­dis­tan. The old­est known nota­tion of music dates from the ancient Hur­rian king­dom, in the sec­ond mil­le­nium BC. Two sacred hymns recov­ered by archae­ol­o­gists from that ancient civ­i­liza­tion, located in the heart of today’s Kur­dis­tan, are in the same mode and bear a vis­i­ble kin­ship to the Kur­dish folk music of today. The mod­ern Kur­dish folk move­ment is frag­mented: vari­ant scenes in Iraqi Kur­dis­tan, Iran, Syria, or Turkey, as well as a Kur­dish dias­pora in Europe and North Amer­ica. In Turkey, singing in the Kur­dish lan­guage was against the law, pun­ished by impris­on­ment and phys­i­cal abuse, until very recently. In Iran, how­ever, it thrived, and in newly self-governing Kur­dis­tan, I’m sure it must be under­go­ing quite a renais­sance. Other than a few stray pieces on gen­eral col­lec­tions of mid­dle east­ern music, the only record­ings I have are one by instru­men­tal­ists Tah­moures and Sohrab Pour­naz­eri, with accom­pa­ny­ing vocals by Rojan, enti­tled sim­ply Kur­dish Folk Music, and a cd called Kur­dish Dances fea­tur­ing Moham­mad Bhamani on dozak and sornâ, ‘Abdol­lâh Nabi­ol­lâhi on dobol, and vocals by ‘Abdol­lâh Qor­bâni. But I heard a mar­velous live con­cert last year, at the Agha Khan Museum in Toronto. The first thing that strikes the lis­tener is the music’s acces­si­bil­ity. The melodies are catchy and upbeat, and not buried in the micro­tonal intri­c­as­ies and melisma that makes it hard for out­siders to fol­low mid­dle east­ern music. You could eas­ily party to this music, in a mod­ern disco, though it is purely traditional.

Estêvão Lopes Morago

18-08-06 LISTN Estêvão Lopes Morago

Lis­bon at the time of Lopes Mor­ago: a global entrepôt.

Much of the artis­tic achieve­ment of the Por­tuguese Renais­sance was destroyed by the great Lis­bon Earth­quake of 1755, which killed 30,000 peo­ple. Among the losses where most of the works of the com­poser Estêvão Lopes Mor­ago (c.1575 — after 1630). But some of his work that sur­vives indi­cates that he was very good. I have only five short pieces, recorded by the Gul­benkian Foun­da­tion choir on their Por­tu­galiae Musica series. All are poly­phonic pieces, four of them for four voices, one for a dou­ble choir of 3 and 4 parts each. The most beau­ti­ful is the Jesu redemp­tor, which is a litany for the dead, pray­ing for Christ to accept the soul of the departed, and per­haps sung dur­ing the cortège, between the house of the deceased and the church. Mor­ago was actu­ally a Spaniard, but appar­ently spent most of his life in Por­tu­gal as choir-master of the Cathe­dral of Viseu.

First-time listening for July 2018

29222. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W.S. Gilbert]) The Sor­ceror [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29223. (Global Com­mu­ni­ca­tion) Fab­ric 26 [DJ Mix 12 by Mark Pritchard, 12 by Tom Mid­dle­ton]
29224. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) L’Africaine [com­plete opera; d. Capuana; Stella, Nikolov, Rinaldi]
29225. (Kun­nakudi Vaidyanathan) Golden Krithis: Colours
29226. (3 Inches of Blood) Here Waits Thy Doom
29227. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) Les Huguenots [com­plete opera; d. Diederich; Pol­let, Ghiuse­lev, Leech]
29228. (Jason Isbell) South­east­ern
29229. (Domenico Scar­latti) Missa Breve “La Stella“
29230. (Queen­srÿche) Oper­a­tion Mind­crime
29231. (Péter Eötvös) Angels in Amer­ica! [com­plete opera; d. Eötvös; Belcher, Hen­dricks;
. . . . . Migenes — 2006]
29232. (Chitti Babu Chal­la­pally) Raga Naatai: Adi Taal “Sarasiruhasan“
Read more »

Sichuan Folk Song

18-07-13 LISTN Sichuan Folk Song

The huge west­ern Chi­nese province of Sichuan has its own, dis­tinct his­tory. It con­sists of a broad and fer­tile basin around the city of Chengdu, ringed by a sparsely pop­u­lated wilder­ness of moun­tains, forests and swamps. While this was a cen­ter of ancient non-Han civ­i­liza­tion as early as the sec­ond mil­le­nnium BC, it grad­u­ally became Sini­fied over the cen­turies, and the city and fer­tile regions are inhab­ited by Han Chi­nese speak­ing a south­west­ern dialect of Man­darin. How­ever, most of the province con­sists of rugged moun­tains, and these are the home of many minor­ity groups, eth­ni­cally and lin­guis­ti­cally not at all Chi­nese. Among them are the Yi, related to the Burmese, the Qiang, and the Naxi (or Nakhi). The west­ern half of the province is cul­tur­ally closer to Tibet, many of the minori­ties speak­ing dialects of Tibetan, or closely related lan­guages. All these minori­ties have dis­tinc­tive musi­cal tra­di­tions, and the met­ro­pol­i­tan musi­cal main­stream of China has drawn from them with the same mix­ing and min­ing process that went on in the devel­op­ment of America’s folk music. The album I have, Sichuan Folk Song and Bal­lad, Vol­ume 2 gives a good sam­ple of this vari­ety. Per­son­ally, the more “folky” the songs are, the more they appeal to me. I par­tic­u­larly like the Naxi song “This Hill is Not As High As That One”.

China’s many eth­nic minori­ties, who com­prise tens of mil­lions of peo­ple, have been hid­den from the world’s view by mil­lennia of obses­sive impe­r­ial cen­tral­ism and racism. In some cases, there are cul­tures of a mil­lion or more peo­ple about whom one can­not find a sin­gle book in a large uni­ver­sity library. Can you imag­ine what it would mean if there was not a sin­gle book in a major library devoted to Wales, or the Basques, or to Esto­nia? For­tu­nately, the musi­cal wealth of Sichuan can give us a foot-in-the-door to cel­e­brat­ing a diver­sity that has been kept from our view by ide­ol­ogy and intel­lec­tual laziness.

First-time listening for June 2018

29189. (Hec­tor Berlioz) La Damna­tion de Faust [com­plete opera; d. Inbal; Gulyás, Lloyd,
. . . . . Ewing]
29190. (Dinah Wash­ing­ton) Dina Wash­ing­ton [Verve Jazz Mas­ters #40]
29191. (Imag­ine Drag­ons) Night Visions Live
29192. (Lak­sh­mi­narayana Shankar) Raga Aberi [w. Zakir Hus­sain]
29193. (Slam) BBC Essen­tial Mix, May 1,1994
29194. (Nam­a­giripet­tai Krish­nan) Kalyana Melam
29195. (Hec­tor Berlioz) Roméo et Juli­ette, Op.17 [d. Inbal; Denize, Cole, Lloyd]
Read more »

First-time listening for May 2018

29171. (Arthur Sul­li­van) Suite from the Inci­den­tal Music to The Merry Wives of Wind­sor
29172. (Afghan Whigs) Big Top Hal­loween
29173. (Gioacchino Rossini) Armida [com­plete opera; d. Ser­afin; Callas, Albanese, Fil­ippeschi]
29174. (Sleater-Kinney) The Hot Rock
29175. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W. S. Gilbert]) Trial By Jury [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29176. (Dal­i­bor Slepčík) “Kou­zlo bíle­jch rán” [sin­gle]
29177. (Blod­wyn Pig) Ahead Rings Out
Read more »

First-time listening for April 2018

29151. (John Dun­sta­ple) Beata Mater à 3
29152. (Giuappe Sam­mar­tini) Recorder Con­certo in F
29153. (Bruce Kurnow) Sky Pas­sage
29154. (Ken John­son) The Nat­ural Piano
Read more »

Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean

18-04-14 LISTN Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean

The ven­er­a­ble René Lacaille

There is a Mau­rit­ian restau­rant in Toronto (there used to be two). Can you pic­ture Mau­rit­ian food? Prob­a­bly not. Few places sound more exotic and out-of-the-way. But Mau­ri­tius was a key point on the sea lanes of the British Empire. A for­mer British colony with a pop­u­la­tion speak­ing a French patois, but descended from South Asians, Africans, Por­tuguese, Dutch, Arabs, and what­ever else wan­dered by, Mau­ri­tius pro­vides a sophis­ti­cated, cos­mopoli­tan cui­sine. Very tasty. Much the same can be said of the music.

But there is not just Mau­rit­ian music to lis­ten to. There is Réu­nion, an over­seas départe­ment of France, set­tled by Africans, Chi­nese, Malays, and Tamils. There are the Islamic Comoros, and the closely related French pos­ses­sion of May­otte. There is the Repub­lic of the Sey­chelles, largely Catholic, though for­merly a British colony, and the most indebted coun­try, per capita, in the world. There is tiny Rodrigues. And finally, there is the huge and pop­u­lous island of Mada­gas­car, whose cul­ture and lan­guage come orig­i­nally from Bor­neo, half-way around the world from them. The diver­sity of the nations at the west­ern end of the Indian Ocean pro­duces a delight­ful vari­ety of music. The per­form­ers in this col­lec­tion include Tarika, Feo-Gasy, Ricky Randim­biari­son, Jean-Noël, and Lego from Mada­gas­car; Denis Azor, and Kaya from Mau­ri­tius; Danyel Ward, Françoise Guim­bert, Baster, Tam-Tam Des Cools from Réu­nion; Kaskavel from Rodrigues; M’Toro Chamou er les Watoro from May­otte; Belle Lumière from Comoros; Sey­chelles String Band and Sey­chelles All Stars; and even a band from Zanz­ibar (Cul­ture Music Club), which is part of Tan­zanyia, but an off­shore island. But if there is any­one who could be called a big star, it is René Lacaille, the mas­ter of the spicy séga rhythms of Réu­nion, here per­form­ing with Amer­i­can gui­tarist Bob Broz­man. Lacaille is well known in the French music scene, and has suc­cess­fully toured here in Canada.

Rough Guide com­pi­la­tions are always well cho­sen. It is unlikely that you will come across most of the this mate­r­ial, even in a well-stocked “world music” store. The music is mostly upbeat and dance­able. After Lacaille, I was most drawn to the Mala­gasy musi­cians, espe­cially Feo-Gasy, but it would be hard to choose favourites. All the bands are good.