Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Gamelan Pacifica

The inspiration for this post came only 24 hours ago, I was talking to a friend about how I was struggling to think of a good artist for today's post and she suggested gamelan music and that made me realise that I'd never yet featured a gamelan artist, so after researching some gamelan music I decided to do a post on Gamelan Pacifica. I decided that they should be featured because I like the way in which their music echoes to add effect to scene they're describing.

Gamelan Pacifica was founded in 1980 and is directed by the composer, Jarrad Powell. Their music is new and innovative music with an international style. Although their repertoire is influenced by many composers and traditions, they aim to make it reflect their own musical tastes, interest, training and instincts. They play with 3 sets of instruments: an aluminium American gamelan, a Cirebonese styled bronze set and an iron and bronze set in Central Javanese style. The way in which they use extended instrumentation such as electronic processing, the Roto-Toms and the xiao-bo can be seen as the way in which the concept of gamelan is changing.

I didn't realise until today that Gamelan had been influential in the development of modern Western music, whose influences include Debussy and Steve Reich. So many thanks to Lydia because she unintentionally taught me something I didn't know about music!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Gráda is another artist I've discovered since starting this blog. I really like their music because they have a composition for many occasions, some are slow and reflective and some are quicker and more jolly.

Gráda play traditional Irish music and they're roughly 10 years old. Some members of the band are Irish and some are from New Zealand, together they play the fiddle, whistles, percussion, guitar and the vocals are often involved in their music. As a band they have been influenced by many musicians: Dave Hingerty (a former drummer of the Frames), Vyviene Long (a cellist with Damien Rice) and Trevor Hutchinson ( a producer who's worked with Lúnasa, The Water Boys and Sharon Shannon). Their music is so popular that they toured in 16 countries during 2006.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, these are the links to their mp3 albums on Amazon: Natural AngleEndeavorCloudy Day Navigation and The Landing Step.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Jim Stubblefield

I discovered Jim Stubblefield in connection with Behzad, so I thought I'd share his music with you because his melodies and rhythms are very addictive.

Jim Stubblefield started to take a serious interest in the guitar, when he studied the style of rock guitar with Wolf Marshall. After studying with Wold Marshall, he studied jazz guitar with Jody Fisher. While he was at college, he was influenced by Al Di Meola, John McGlaughlin, Yngwie Malsteen, Alex Lifeson, Steve Morse and Albert Lee. His range of influences widened when he graduated college and met the Kuwati oud player Waleed Hamad because he was fascinated by the acoustic guitar and he started to listen to Farah, Shakti, Strunz and Vicente Amigo. He began his professional music career, when he founded the world music band, Incendio, with Liza Carbe (bassist) and Jean-Paul Durand (guitarist).

At the beginning of this clip, you'll hear the radio introducing his composition, so I apologise for that but this was one of the few clips I could find of his solo work:
If you'd like to listen to more samples of his music, here are the links to his mp3 albums on Amazon: Guitarra Exotica and Inspiracion.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


I thought it was time to include another German band in this blog, so I chose Silbermond for today's post. I don't always like their music because sometimes the singer doesn't convey enough emotion in her songs but  some of her songs are good at helping me to deal with my emotions.

Silbermond are a rock band from Bautzen in Saxony. The band was formed by Stefanie Kloß (the singer), Andreas Nowak, Johannes & Thomas Stolle in 2000. The band members became acquainted with each other, when they took part in the project, Ten Sing, in 1998. They were originally called, Jast, representing the first name of each band member but they changed their name to Silbermond in 2001. The change of their name also marked a change in their music because they decided to concentrate on producing music in the German language at the same time. They started to become famous in 2004, when they performed as the opening act for the singer Jeanette Biedermann. 

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here are the links to their mp3 albums on Amazon: Das Ende vom KreisVerschwende deine Zeit and Meer sein.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Yoshikazu Iwamoto

Yoshikazu Iwamoto is another artist I discovered, when I was researching traditional Japanese music. I like his music because he plays the shakuhachi in a very beautiful way.

He has gained popularity and fame from his concert performances and performances on TV and radio and he is so popular that he has performed internationally on many occasions. He has been an artist-in-residence at the UK Dartington College of Arts since 1982 and his musical talent is such that BBC Radio 3 featured him in a series of 4 programs on the shakuhachi.

This is his composition, Tori:

If you'd like to listen to more samples of his music, here are the links to his mp3 albums on Amazon: Japon: shakuhachi, l'esprit du silenceL'esprit du crépuscule (flûte shakuhachi)L'esprit du vent (flûte shakuhachi) and Traditional Japanese Music.

Friday, 26 August 2011


I thought I'd have another Friday dedicated to Klezmer music because it's one of my favourite sorts of music, so I've featured Khevrisa in today's post because the way in which they keep so closely to the traditions of Eastern European Klezmer music is very unique nowadays.

Khevrisa produce European Jewish wedding music. Their mission to produce such music was not easy after the advent of World War Two because naturally a lot of the information about klezmatic traditions was destroyed and a lot of the Jews, who went to America, preserved only the dance music tradition in Jewish wedding music, so they had to conduct years of research through living informants and pre-Holocaust European recordings and notations in order to rediscover the music. Khevrisa are the only Klezmer band to produce European Jewish wedding music with it's original instrumentation and the interaction of the badkhn and klezmer, so they are very important to the world of Klezmer because they keep it alive in the way that no other Klezmer artist does. Khevrisa was the secret klezmer name for the klezmer ensemble, otherwise called, "kapelye".
If you'd like to know more about Khevrisa's music, I recommend viewing this link because I found it very interesting and educational to read: .

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here's the link to their mp3 album on Amazon: European Klezmer Music.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Udi Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian

My search to find a good oud artist took me a while because I was trying to find an artist, whose music didn't sound like the music of previous oud artists featured in my blog posts. I find Udi Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian's approach to playing the oud very original because he combines oud music with dane tunes, so that his music is more fast-paced.

Udi Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian was born to Armenian parents in Massachusetts. His style of oud music as a child was influenced by George Mgrditchian & Richard Hagopian, who played in his local clubs every weekend. He mastered the Armenian dance hall repertoire as a teenager and began to try other styles, especially the jazz music of the 1960s. He was so musical he started to play other instruments and he found that he had a particular skill for woodwind instruments. When he studied jazz theory and composition at the  Berklee College of Music in Boston, he was also part of a gig playing at a Greek taverna, so he became well acquainted with the pan-Hellenic dance repertoire.

Amazon don't sell his music in mp3 format but you can find the mp3 version of his album on iTunes. Nevertheless if you'd like a copy of his album from Amazon, you can find it by clicking on this link: Oud Masterpieces: From Armenia Turkey & Middle.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba

I discovered Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba, when I was compiling a list of artists to be featured in this blog. I thought that they should be featured because the high pitched Ngoni (a stringed African instrument) is very captivating.

Bassekou Kouyate comes from the Ségou region of Mali, where he started playing the ngoni at the age of 12. His traditional musical habits come very much from his parents since his father was also a ngoni player and his mother was a praise singer. His musical career developed into a more professional career, when he moved to Mali's capital city, Bamako because he met Toumani Diabate (an artist featured in an earlier blog post) and became part of his trio and took part in recording the albums, Songhai and Djelika. He has also recorded music with many other Malian and international musicians such as Ali Farka Touré. He now has his own band, Ngoni ba, which is the first ngoni quartet in Mali. One of the members of the band is his wife, Amy Sacko. He and Sacko are often asked to perform at wedding parties in Bamako.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here are the links to their mp3 albums on Amazon: I Speak Fula and Segu Blue.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Liz Carroll

It took me a while to find Liz Carroll, when I was going through lots of celtic musicians but it was definitely worth the time and effort because she plays in a very lively and powerful manner.

Liz Carroll is an Irish-American, who was born in Chicago to Irish parents. Her family and community inspired her to work on her skills with her fiddle at the local Traditional Musicians Association. As a result of this, she has become a very talented traditional Irish musician. She won the all-Ireland fiddle championship for the under-18s in 1974 and in the following year she won the Senior All-Ireland championship. She is very well thought of in the world of traditional music and the Irish American Magazine included her on the list of the top 100 Irish-Americans in 2003. She was the first traditional Irish musician, born in America to be nominated for a Grammy award, after her album, Double Play (which she recorded with John Doyle), was nominated in the "Best Traditional World Music Album" category.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of her music, here are the links to her mp3 albums on Amazon: Double PlayIn Play (she also recorded this album with John Doyle), Lost in the LoopLake EffectLiz Carroll.

Monday, 22 August 2011


Behzad is one of the artists I've come across in my effort to include more spanish guitar music in this blog. I   like his music because it involves a great mixture of spanish guitar music and flamenco music.

Behzad Aghabeigi is an Iranian musician. At first he thought of pursuing a career in economics, so he studied Economic Science for his first degree and then moved to London to complete a master's degree in Advanced Information Technology. Nevertheless he composed and wrote music while he studied for his masters and decided to abandon his original career plans when he graduated, so that he could become a musician. He has performed with groups such as Fantasia and Futuro Flamenco.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of his music, here are the links to his his mp3 albums on Amazon: Strings of DesireGypsy RenaissanceLuna Y SolTears & SensationsVadeh - Persian Music and Donya.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Anna Puu

Anna Puu is one of the many artists, I've discovered in the past few weeks in my mission to incorporate more music from Northern Europe into this blog. I like her music because I like the way she expresses her emotion and I often find her music soothing.

Anna Puu is a finnish singer, who became famous after she participated in the 2008 singing competition, Finland's Idols. She came second in the competition but this didn't stop her from being offered a record contract. Her first album came top in the Finnish charts in July, after being released in April 2009.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of her music, here are the links to her mp3 albums on Amazon: Sahara and Anna Puu.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Yamato Ensemble

I thought it was time for another post on oriental music but I thought that it would be a better idea to feature some Japanese music, so after many samples of music I was led to the Yamato Ensemble. I like them because they use a great array of instruments and they are great at evoking tension and soothing music into one composition.

I haven't been able to find out very much information about this band, so all I can tell you is that it was formed by Richard Stagg, Aiko Hasegawa, Kikuko Satoh and Makoto Hasegawa and that they play old and contemporary Japanese chamber music.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here are the links to their mp3 albums on Amazon: Art of the Japanese Koto, Shakuhachi and Shamisen - A Selection of Old and New Japanese Chamber MusicJapanese Music by Michio Miyagi, Vol. 2The Art of the Japanese Koto, Shakuhachi and ShamisenJapanese Music by Michio Miyagi, Vol. 1 and The Art of the Japanese Bamboo Flute and Koto.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Zev Feldman & Andy Statman

I thought I should feature some Klezmer music today, so I chose Zev Feldman & Andy Statman. I think the combination of Ottoman music and Klezmer music works well.

Walter Zev Feldman is a prominent researcher on the subject of Ottoman Turkish and Jewish music. He is well known for his versatility, when playing the klezmer, dulcimer and cymbal. He's a part-time associate professor at theBar-Ilan University of Tel-Aviv and a fellow of the Centre for Jewish Musical Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Andy Statman is a Klezmer clarinet player and a bluegrass and newgrass mandolin player. At the start of his music career, he became famous for his role as a mandolin player, who influenced the development of the bluegrass bands, Country Cookin' and Breakfast Special. Nevertheless he soon realised that he was better suited to Klezmer and Jewish Music, and so he started to take part in recording many Klezmer albums, which were responsible for the Klezmer revival that began late in the 1970s. During the 1990s, he began to experiment with Hassidic melodies, and this led to him fusing klezmer, bluegrass and jazz music in an effective manner. He also runs the Andy Statman trio with Jim Whitney and Larry Eagle.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here's the link to their mp3 album on Amazon: Klezmer Music.

Here are the links to Andy Statman's other mp3 albums on Amazon: East Flatbush BluesSongs Of Our FathersBetween Heaven & EarthAndy's RambleThe Andy Statman Klezmer OrchestraAvodas Ha-levi: Archival Recordings From The 1990'sAwakening From Above and Mandolin Abstractions.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Farid Farjad

This is another post in which I was originally intending to do one artist and got led to another artist by YouTube. Although his music has a sad tone, the piano and the violin allow him to evoke the sadness in a very powerful manner. I certainly enjoyed it in spite of the fact that today was result's day and I met my offer!

Farid Farjad is an Iranian violinist, who has studied Persian classical music and Western music. The fact that he has studied Western music becomes very clear when you hear the way in which the piano is played. After receiving his masters degree in classical music from Tehran Music Conservatory, he became the first violinist in the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and taught the violin at the Conservatory. He now lives in America.

Do note that it doesn't necessarily sound great at the beginning but after 30 seconds it sounds beautiful.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of his music, here are the links to his albums on Amazon: Anroozha Vol. 1Anroozha Vol. 2Anroozha Vol. 3Anroozha Vol. 4 and Anroozha Vol. 5.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Djelimady Tounkara

Djelimady Tounkara was suggested to me by one of my followers, so I decided to listen to samples of his music and see what I thought of him. I decided to feature him not just because he plays the guitar but also because I like the way he seems to combine flamenco music with these African rhythms.

As a Malian musician, he's one of the most popular guitarists in Africa. Nevertheless he grew up playing the djembe drum and the ngoni (a banjo-like lute). He originally went to his capital city of Bamako to become a tailor but he found that his strength was in music. He began playing in the large government-sponsored band of Orchestre Masira, he was then chosen to join the Orchestre National as a rhythm guitarist, after being voted the best guitarist in the Orchestre Masira. Tounkara has transformed many ancestral traditions into dance pop music but he has also helped to create more traditional music.

If you'd like to listen to more samples of his music, here are the links to his mp3 albums on Amazon: Sigui and Solon Kôno.