Kenyan Afro-Folk singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira has a new album titled Song of Lament that addresses injustice and the refugee crisis. Although news stories made her grieve, she desired “to create art that would serve society at large and hopefully lessen the chaos around us.”
Naomi Wachira currently lives in Seattle (Washington State, USA) and recorded Song of Lament with Dave West on organ and Rhodes; Teo Shantz on drums; Masa Kobayashi on bass; Tommy Sandovallegos on percussion; Eric Lilavois on percussion; Owuor Arunga on trumpet; and Andrew Joslyn on strings.
Earlier recordings include her first EP African Girl (2012), the self-titled album Naomi Wachira (2014) and an acoustic EP, I am Because You Are (2015).
Bluegrass masters The Infamous Stringdusters have released their new album Laws of Gravity (Compass Records) this week, featuring new original music.
The Infamous Stringdusters includes Andy Hall on dobro; Andy Falco on guitar; Chris Pandolfi on banjo; Jeremy Garrett on fiddle; and Travis Book on upright bass. The album was recorded in Nashville.
Hall says, “This is the record I’ve been looking forward to making since the band started. As pure of a Stringdusters sound as there is. All original, all us, recorded live for you. From bluegrass to jams, to songs relevant to the times, the music here is a true representation of what makes us tick.”
The Laws Of Gravity Tour Dates 2017:
1/13 Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
1/14 Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
1/15 Abingdon, VA – Historic Barter Theatre
1/18 Pawling, NY – Daryl’s House
1/19 Plymouth, NH – Flying Monkey
1/20 Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
1/21 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
1/22 Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall
1/24 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon
1/25 Rocky Mount, VA – Harvester Performance Center
1/26 Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre
1/27 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
1/28 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
2/3-2/5 Tucson, AZ – Gem & Jam Festival
2/16 Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
2/17 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
2/18 Los Angeles, CA – The Troubadour
2/19 Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
2/20 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
2/22-2/23 Telluride, CO – Sheridan Opera House
2/24 Aspen, CO Belly Up
2/25-2/26 Steamboat Springs, CO Winter WonderGrass
3/15 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
3/16 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
3/17 Chicago, IL – Park West
3/18 St. Joseph, MN – College of St. Benedict
3/19 Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
3/21 Jackson Hole, WY – Pink Garter
3/22 Laramie, WY – University of Wyoming
3/23 Park City, UT – Park City Live
3/25 Missoula, MT – The Wilma
3/26 Whitefish, MT – The Great Northern
4/2 Arcata, CA – Humbrew’s
4/4 Bend, OR – Domino Room
4/5 Eugene, OR – HiFi Music Hall
4/6-4/7 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
4/8 Seattle, WA – Neumos
English folk musicians Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley have released Across The Water (Haystack Records), their first album as a duo. Accordionist and vocalist Alex Cumming is known for his work with The Teacups. Fiddler Nicola Beazley has peformed with Speldosa.
American roots music sensation Rhiannon Giddens is set to release Freedom Highway in February 2017. This will be her follow-up to her critically acclaimed solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn.
Freedom Highway includes nine original songs written or co-written by Giddens; a traditional tune; and two civil rights-era songs, “Birmingham Sunday” and the Staple Singers’ “Freedom Highway.”
Giddens co-produced the album along with multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell in his Louisiana studio, with the majority of the recording made in wooden rooms built prior to the Civil War, over an eight-day period.
Planet Drum, the percussion album that became a world music sensation 25 years ago is available again, remastered and with new tracks. The 25th Anniversary Special Edition will be available on Friday, December 2nd, 2016 in various formats, including Vinyl LP for the first time.
On Planet Drum, American drummer Mickey Hart (The Grateful Dead) brought together percussion maestros from various parts of the world: Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram (India), Babatunde Olatunji and Sikiru Adepoju (Nigeria), Airto Moreira and Flora Purim (Brazil), and Giovanni Hidalgo (Puerto Rico).
The Remastered 25th Anniversary Edition includes 3 new tracks: Sea Of Showers, Throat Games, And The Spot. Sea Of Showers features Flora Purim And Babatunde Olatunji. Throat Games is a vocal percussion piece with Baba, Sikiru, Zakir, and Airto. The Spot starts with the sound of water drops, and then showcases Zakir and Airto.
Planet Drum: Song Descriptions by Mickey Hart
1. Udu Chant 3:40
Udu Chant represents the struggle of Life and Death, which throughout history has been portrayed in ritual using percussion. Airto plays Portuguese wooden shoes called tamanco. I play the “Beam” and a giant hoop drum from the Arctic Circle, which together form the resounding low end. Sikiru maintains a timeline bell pattern, while Zakir plays custom-made electronic triggers connected to digitally-sampled ¬Udu drums.
Island Groove is the soft side of percussion. It is a slow but simple 4/4 samba of ashiko rhythm, based on the sounds of the Yoruban consonants: go, pa, gun. When put together, they become drum talk. This song evolved as the rhymes one person played reminded another of something in their own background. We were able to collectively draw upon our various traditions, and contribute individually to the creation of this composition.
Airto started this song with a slow groove which had the power of the drum set, without the usual accompaniment of cymbals. He used a variety of unusual instruments in the composition. Among these were Mexican donkey jaws and a metal spring which resonates on the body of the instrument when hit with a stick.
Dance of the Hunter’s Fire demonstrates the basic African polyrhythm, four beats against six beats. It is an interesting comparison of two rhythmic traditions, the African and the South Indian. What you hear is Baba’s interpretation of the six-beat rhythm laid against four-beat carpet, while Vikku improvises on the Ghatam.
Sikiru Adepoju – Bell
Frank Colon – Shekere
Giovanni Hidalgo – Shekere and Congas
Airto Moreira – ¬jembe, shakers
Caryl Ohrbach – Shaker
Babatunde Olatunji – jembe
Flora Purim – Shaker
T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram – Ghatam
5. Jewe “You Are The One” 4:06
Jewe is an example of the use of the human body as a percussion instrument. Five of us are playing in this song, slapping our chests and singing. This cupping of hands and slapping of the chest cavity created a hollow thud, and allowed us to control the vibration of our voices.
Mickey Hart –Vocals, body percussion
Bruce Langhorne – Vocals, body percussion
Babatunde Olatunji – Vocals, body percussion
Flora Purim – Vocals
Gordy Ryan – Vocals, body percussion
6. The Hunt
This song represents the primitive with a feeling of the relentless pursuit of the hunt. Sikiru’s talking drum speaks over the djembe, Jew’s harp, and drum set to form a unique rhythm.
At the dawn of religion, the Paleolithic trance dancers gathered in subterranean temple caves for ritual celebration. The natural sounds of the caves were an eerie backdrop to the dances. The echoes, the bats, the water dripping from the roof, the whacking of palm against stalagmite and the stalactite resounded thought the caves, creating unique percussive sounds. These sounds were the inspiration for Temple Caves.
The Dancing Sorcerer features Airto on berimbau, and Zakir on tabla and madal. The berimbau is one of the oldest instruments known to man. In fact, it may be the image of a musical bow in the caves at Les Trois Freres (15,000 BC) that provided the first documentation of percussion’s connection to the sacred. This picture resembles a man wearing the skin of an animal and playing some kind of instrument, possibly a sounding bow or concussion stick.
Zakir Hussain – madal, tabla
Airto Moreira – berimbau
9. Bones 4:10
This song is based on a rhythm I played on the balafon, with bones as mallets. The rest of the ensemble added their own sounds. The use of bones, especially human bones, exhibits a relationship between percussion and ritual. Hitting one bone against the other, or using bones on drums instead of sticks has an influence on the sound produced, and on the person who produces it.
Mickey Hart- Bones, balafon
Giovanni Hidalgo – batá
Zakir Hussain – Dundun, shaker and bell
Babatunde Olatunji – Vocals
Flora Purim – Vocals
10. Lost River 2:58
Lost River is a high-spirited song that demonstrates an interplay between the human voice and percussion instruments. To Zakir, this song brought to mind the singing of children in the mountains of India. The drums provide the strong rhythm which lays a foundation for Flora’s flowing melody.
Evening Samba is a mixture of Brazilian and Angolan rhythms, a perfect frame for out extended bell improvisation.
Sikiru Adepoju – Bell
Mickey Hart – Bell
Zakir Hussain – Bell
Airto Moreira – Bass drum, snare drum, tom toms, tambourine, whistles, wood blocks, metal percussion, cymbals, bells
Babatunde Olatunji – Shaker, bell
T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram – Ghatam
12. Iyanu “Surprises” 2:02
Iyanu was recorded in 1986, after the Olatunji sessions which resulted in the recordings of the “Invocation to the Orishas” and “The Beat.” The gourds were grown in my garden, and arranged into a new instrument, a gourdophone. Airto played metal brushes against split bamboo.
Mysterious Island began with recording I made of ocean waves late one night in Kona, Hawaii. I brought back the recording and played it for the ensemble. It was the inspiration for Flora’s seagulls and for her dialogue with a circle of wind chimes which she assembled and walked among during the recording of the song. Mysterious Island mixes the natural elements of water, rain, blowing wind, and birds with the sound of metal bells and the human voice.
Mickey Hart – Grand dumbek, body percussion
Airto Moreira – Bird whistles, nose flute body percussion, tambourine
Flora Purim – Wind chimes, seagulls, vocals
Jeff Sterling – Udu Drum
The Bonus Tracks
This special, remastered 25th anniversary release includes three new tracks produced by Mickey and Zakir, with Zakir’s arrangements of material from the original 1991 recording sessions.
14. Sea Of Showers 4:52
Sea of Showers features Flora Purim and Babatunde Olatunji singing over an elegant rhythm base that includes sounds from Airto’s Aboriginal Australian bullroarer to Flora’s chimes.
15. Throat Games 2:27
Throat Games presents a pan-global scat-a-thon by Babatunde Olatunji, Sikiru Adepoju, Zakir Hussain, and Airto Moreira, using styles of vocalizations from their various musical traditions.
16. The Spot 4:34
The Spot begins with the sound of water drops, and then Zakir Hussain and Airto Moreira dance with the rhythms of the tiny waves in an homage to the water gods.
Bluegrass act Darrell Webb Band will be releasing a new album titled “Lover’s Leap” (Mountain Fever Records) on February 10, 2017. A single, “If You’re Thinking You Want A Stranger”, from the upcoming album was released this week. This song became a country classic in 1981, recorded by George Strait.
Darrell Webb is regarded as one of the finest modern day vocalists in bluegrass. He’s been performing professionally for over 20 years, as a member of acclaimed bands such as Lonesome River Band, Wildfire, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and Rhonda Vincent & the Rage.
In 2014, Darrell Webb released Dream Big (Mountain Fever Records). Webb’s current band includes Tyler Collins on dobro, Jacob Shelton on bass, Jared Hensley on guitar, and Collins Miller on banjo.
The anthology Strictly the Best Vol. 55 (VP Records) includes this year’s most popular dancehall reggae songs played at clubs and on Caribbean radio. Artists featured include Vershon, Alkaline, Vybz Kartel, Mr. Vegas, Spice, Chi Ching Ching, Masicka and Dexta Daps.
Vol. 55 contains a bonus disc with famous duets from significant deejays paired with reggae singers. Songs include “Twice Mt Age” by Shabba Ranks ft. Krystal, “Bonafide Love” by Wayne Wonder ft. Buju Banton and “Hot Gal Today” by Mr. Vegas & Sean Paul.
The reggae compilation Strictly the Best Vol. 54 (VP Records) features some of the best-known roots and lover’s rock singers. The set, scheduled for release in November, includes Ikaya, Tarrus Riley, Romain Virgo, MAGIC ft. Sean Paul. Alborosie feat. Protoje, Sizzla Ft. Jah Cure, Raging Fyah and Jah9.
Vol. 54 includes a bonus disc of classics from Jamaica’s celebrated vocal groups, including The Wailing Souls, The Heptones, The Mighty Diamonds, T.O.K, Morgan Heritage & others.
Spanish jazz, flamenco and world music saxophonist and flutist Jorge Pardo has a new album titled Djinn.
Djinn combines jazz grooves, electronic beats and flamenco. Pardo uses acid Hammond organ, powerful drums, electric bass and flamenco guitar along with guest DJs from the world of electronic music.
Jorge Pardo was a member of pioneering Spanish salsa and Latin jazz band Dolores. He later worked with flamenco legends Paco de Lucia and Camarón. His essential albums include Vientos Flamencos, 10 de Paco, Huellas, and Historias de Radha y Krishna.
Jorge Pardo will be touring Spain to promote the new album. The next concerts will take place Friday, October 28 at Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and Saturday, October 29 at Sala Malandar in Sevilla.