Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Chieftains

I had a lot of ideas for today's blog post but I thought I'd feature some Celtic music as it seems appropriate, when there's only a few hours before Christmas day starts. The Chieftains are some other artists that I have discovered, since I started listening to Calm Radio - Celtic. I like their music because it tends to either be very jolly or very relaxing.

The Chieftains have been around since 1962, so they're quite an old band. From what I gather, they're a well-known band, who made Irish folk music more popular. I imagine that one of the reasons, why they're so popular is because they have joined together to make music with many different sorts of artists  over the years. They're so well respected that they have received Lifetime Achievement award from the BBC as well as 6 Grammy awards.

I hope that you all enjoy this music and that you all have a good Christmas day with lots of good presents and food.

Merry Christmas to you all!

N.B.: They've actually released many other albums but these were the only good clips I could find on YouTube.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Cesária Évora

Since Cesária Évora died last weekend, I thought it was about I should do a blog post to commemorate her and her contribution to the world of music. It was funny because I'd been thinking about doing a blog post on her in the week that she died. I thought I should do a post on her music because I've always liked the way in which her voice resounds to convey her deep emotions and messages.

Cesária Évora grew up on the Island of Cape Verde. She had quite an impoverished childhood because her father died when she was seven years old, and so her mother had so little money that she had to live in an orphanage from the age of ten. Her musical career began, when she was sixteen years old and her friend convinced her to sing in a sailors tavern. This led to her performing on Portuguese cruise ships travelling to Mindelo as well as the local radio. Nevertheless, she only started to become a famous singer, when José da Silva heard her singing and asked her to record some of her music in Paris. She released her first album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus (The Barefooted Diva), in 1988. She called herself the barefooted diva because she would perform barefooted in her concerts. Her reason for doing this was to show her support for the homeless people and poor women and children of Cape Verde. This was a suitable accompaniment to her music, which often focused on the slave trade and Cape Verde's history of isolation. Her music was a combination of folk tunes with acoustic guitar, cavaquinho, violin, accordion, and clarinet.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Anouar Brahem

I thought that the time had come to do another post on Arabic music, so I chose Anouar Brahem for today's post. Anouar Brahem fuses his Arabic music with other sorts of music, and so this means that he has worked with many artists in his time as a musician. His incorporation of many different styles means that some of his compositions will be fast-paced and some will be of a slower pace. I tend to prefer his fast-paced music and sometimes I will find that I'm not so keen on the styles that he has fused together but I still feel that he deserves to have a post dedicated to him.

Anouar Brahem is an oud player, who comes from Tunisia. He is usually categorized as a jazz artist, although he creates fusions of jazz music with classical Arabic music and folk music. His playing is such that he is regarded as an innovative player in the world off jazz.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


So since I haven't featured any African music, I thought I'd write about another Tuareg musician in today's post. I chose Bombino because I find his electric form of tribal African music very soothing.

Bombino comes from Niger. His actual name is Omara Moctar but he came to be called "Bombino" (which is a variant of the Italian word, "bambino", for "little one") when he joined Haja Bebe's band, as he was the youngest in the band. The Tuareg tribes often oppose the Niger government because they don't feel that the political parties in power support them enough, so the Niger government often deny them rights. Indeed their opposition to the Tuareg can be so bad that the lives of people in the Tuareg tribes can be threatened, so Bombino has often had to flee to other countries. Nevertheless it was during his exile in Burkina Faso that he was tracked down by the film maker, Ron Wyman, who had heard taped recordings of his music and urged him to properly record his music. This led to Bombino and Ron Wyman recording the album, Agadez, which was released this year.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cheb Khaled/Khaled

I apologise profusely to all my fans for the blog neglect, I've been very busy meeting deadlines over the past three weeks, so I haven't had any time to write blog posts! Nevertheless, I'm now on holiday, so I plan to keep to a more regular blog routine for the next few weeks! I also plan to do 2 more blog posts this week, so that I catch up of my blog post deficit!

I was thinking about styles to feature and I suddenly realised that I hadn't featured any raï music. I discovered the world of raï a few months after being introduced to klezmer music, when my sister and I were exploring the music department in Borders. I liked and indeed still like the way in which it modernises Arabic music by giving it a more electric feel. I'm pretty sure that this introduction to raï and klezmer music helped to expand my love of world music because prior to these discoveries my interest in world music only extended to other western European music.

I decided that this adventure into raï music should begin with Khaled (who was formerly known as Cheb Khaled, when he lived in Algeria), since he is a very prominent raï musician. He has been a musician for quite some time and so he has released many songs, so I don't necessarily like all of his songs but there are still many of his songs that I do like.

As you probably gathered Khaled began his musical career in Algeria but he decided to move to France because he wanted to try new styles of music without simultaneously having to fear that he would anger the Islamic fundamentalists, who did not favour his Western styled music and lyrical messages. He is particularly popular in France, Algeria and the Arab world to such an extent that he is called the "King of raï". He is particularly well known for his songs, "Aïcha" and "Didi".

Aïcha (This song is about the oppression of women in Islamic countries/Algeria):


Darou Shour Darou:

Zine zine: