Friday, 31 August 2012

Ale Möller

My apologies for not catching up on the blog neglect as I intended to. Somehow, I'm so much busier than I was last summer, so I find it so hard to make time for this blog nowadays. It is for this reason, that the blog will be undergoing some changes to the staffing team. This means that I will no longer be running this blog single handedly as my friend, who studies German and Music will also now be writing for this blog. I hope you like the change and of course the new perspective that will come with it.

I decided that Ale Möller should be featured in this week's blog post as I like his original spin on Scandinavian music, that he's created by combining Scandinavian music with the sounds of Shetland, Greece, India and West Africa. 

Ale Möller comes from Scania, in the south of Sweden. He began by playing the jazz trumpet but his music was influenced by Greek music, when he lived in Greece and learnt to play the bouzouki. I was quite amazed by the fact that he can play so many different instruments and that he has been a part of so many bands. He has also worked on duets with many different artists, so he has seen a lot of this world in many ways. As you can imagine, it's not hard to find examples of his contribution to the world of Scandinavian music, if you look in the right place because he has helped to create or been a member of the Ale Möller Band, Frifot, the Stockholm Folk Big Band, Enteli, Filarfolket, Ale Möller's Lyckliga Enmansorkester and Neo Minore.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

La Negra

This is another of the posts that was mainly written by my sister.

La Negra's real name is Amparo Velasco. She's a gypsy from Elche Alicante in Spain. She records Jazz, Latin-Jazz, Tango, Brazilian and flamenco music. Her singing is slightly flat but the twist of tango and linguistic mix give La Negra the charm she needs.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Christophe Willem

I know that this is the longest time for which my blog has been abandoned. My apologies once again, it all started with exams, as there was so much revision to do for them but since the holidays started, I've been so busy with internships, a funeral and job applications. The paragraphs below were actually largely in part written by my sister in order to help me during the exams but I've only just got around to uploading these posts.

Lately, my listening has been branching out into all sorts of strange places thanks to the peculiarities of Youtube, which enjoys throwing wildcards my way and the French radio station, RFI Musique Monde . This is how I came across the quite wonderful french pop hit Double Je by Christophe Willem, a very catchy tune absolutely stuffed with puns that had me pushing repeat on a far too frequent basis.

Christophe Willem won the fourth series of Nouvelle Star, which is the French edition of Pop Idol. His interest in music began at a young age, when he learnt to play the piano. He developed this interest by joining a gospel choir, which could very well be the inspiration for his song, Double Je. He also demonstrated an interest in becoming a singer at the age of 14, when he began to compose songs. He enjoyed an incredible level of success in 2007, when Double Je became the number 1 hit in Belgium and France and he was listed as one of the top ten highest earning musicians in France. He joined the jury of the French equivalent of X Factor in 2010, so it is clear to see that he is a well respected musician.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Mahmoud Fadl

I'm sorry for not returning to blogging at an earlier date than expected. As usual my free time has been scarce and at one point I'd lost my list of all the music, that I'd intended to share with you all. I chose Mahmoud Fadl because I thought it was time to branch out from just representing the Middle East with oud players. I like the way in which he combines the sound of drums with the captive sound of Arabic music.

Mahmoud Fadl comes from a Nubian Family, who adopted the Griot culture of the "Battikol" people. They were originally based along the River Nile, in a region that was between northern Sudan and southern Egypt. His family were forced to depart from that region when a decision was made to build a hydroelectric power dam there. Nevertheless, although he departed from the place that gave rise to his culture, he still adopted the culture and he embodies this by playing Nubian percussion.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Vilde Katshke

I'm trying once again to make up for the blog neglect from the past few weeks, so I thought I'd do another post today and another post later on in the week. I found Vilde Katshke after searching through all the videos that a klezmer fan had uploaded to YouTube. I really like the way in which the music starts off slowly and then becomes fast paced. The way in which the pace works and the seemingly Dutch feel of their music makes their klezmer music seem different from that of other klezmer bands.

Vilde Katshke are a trio from the Netherlands. Gottfried van Eck started the band in 1998 in order to be fuse his passion for klezmer music with his passion for ancient Jewish stories. Because of this passion for ancient Jewish stories, they will combine their music with storytelling in concerts.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Jesse Cook

I'm sorry that I've once again taken an unexpected break from updating this blog but revision for the end of year exams is proving to be a nightmare now that I now have no lectures or seminars, and therefore have no timetable with which to organise myself. I thought Jesse Cook was a good artist to feature because his music is very good at helping me to settle down to revision even though he often pours his emotions into his guitar music, in such a way that he makes his guitar music very captivating.

Jesse Cook comes from Toronto in Canada but he spent many years of his childhood travelling between France and Spain. His music is a fusion of world music, Latin music and funky jazz music. His inspiration stems from his parents' recordings of Manitas de Plata (a gypsy guitarist from the Carmague region of Southern France), the sound of which he tried to imitate as a toddler. His fascination for gypsy music increased when he went to visit his father in Arles, where one could often hear the flamenco-rhumba music being played in the "gipsy barrio". No doubt this fascination was one of the factors that encouraged him to study classical and jazz guitar at music school. His fame increased after he performed at the Catalina Jazz Festival in 1995.

Monday, 16 April 2012

John Whelan

Apologies once again for being slightly delayed in making a post. This weekend I was busy moving house, packing for university before coming back to university, so all of this left little time for any time for a blog post. I chose John Whelan for this week's blog post because he combines lots of different elements of celtic music from bagpipes to fiddles, so I thought there'd be something about his music that all celtic music lovers could enjoy.

John Whelan was born in the UK but his family is Irish. He was brought up in Dunstable, near to London, where a lot of Irish people have settled in the UK. His family were very traditional, and so this led to him being a fan of traditional Irish music. He was so enthusiastic about Irish music, that he'd carry a reel-to-reel tape recorder to collect sound of Irish music being played live. He also has a band called the John Whelan Band, which he founded in 1997. In 1998, Irish Echo Magazine named him traditionalist of the year. His compositions have been influenced by many things such as stories, documentaries, other musicians, etc. He is well known on an international level, and so he has played at many festivals in America.

I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself about his music: “If you open your ears and your mind you can appreciate my music for what it is, not what kind of music it is.”

Monday, 9 April 2012


So this week brings us back to the Western world but I thought it was time to go a bit further North to Belgium. I decided to feature Suarez because I like the way in which they describe all the different elements of relationships. I also like the Spanish rhythms of their music.

Suarez is formed of 3 folk musicians from Madagascar (Max Randriamanjava, Pata Randriamanjava and their cousin, Dada Ravalison) and Marc Pinilla (the guitarist), who is a Belgian from a Spanish family. The 3 folk musicians met Marc Pinilla when they went to perform at a world music contest in France, which their band (then called N'java) won. Their debut album was released in 2010 and since then they have released one more album.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Amadou & Mariam

I thought this week's post should be on Amadou et Mariam as their album, Folila, will be released tomorrow. I was introduced to them by my sister and ever since then I've taken a great liking to them because I like the way, in which they express their emotions so well in both their lyrics and the music itself.

Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia come from Bamako, Mali. They're both blind and so this has led to them being known as "the blind couple from Mali". They met at the Institute for the Young Blind in Mali and performed in the Institute's Eclipse Orchestra. They married later on in the 1980s. Prior to his marriage with Mariam, Amadou was in Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako (a West African band) but after marrying Mariam, he began to play with her whilst simultaneously carrying on with his solo career and running the Institute's music program. Since the later years of the 1990s, the couple have combined traditional Malian music with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney (an end blown flute that is often used in Middle Eastern music), Indian tablas and Dogon percussion, so their music is known as "Afro-blues".

Beaux Dimanches:

This is a song about corrupt, selfish politicians:

This is a song about not being able to find someone:

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ghous Bux Brohi

I thought it was time to feature some more music from South Asia, so I decided I should feature some Indian music given that I haven't done a lot of posts about this sort of music.

I featured Ghous Bux Brohi in this week's post because I've always liked Indian bamboo flute music. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out anything about this artist, so I'd be grateful if anyone could tell me more.

Monday, 19 March 2012


My apologies once again for not keeping to my new years resolution regarding blog posts, I was just slightly tired after term ended, so I forgot about making a blog post. Hopefully, I'll be more efficient at doing these posts now that I'm beginning to recover from this fatigue. I have no more lectures or seminars so I should find it easier to do these posts.

I chose Transkapela because they are another band that has an original style of klezmer. Transkapela have been inspired by the 19th & 20th century music of the Carpathians, which combines the music of different ethnic groups such as Poles, Jews, Ukranians, Slovaks, Armenians, Gypsies, Germans and Hungarians.

I've also learnt that the word "klezmer" is a combination of two Hebrew words, "kley" (a tool, instrument or dish) and "zemer" (singer).

Monday, 12 March 2012

Khyam Allami

I'm sure you noticed that I've not made any blog posts for the past few weeks. I'm terribly sorry for this lack, I've not done as good a job as I'd hoped to do on keeping to my new year's resolutions but I've just had lots of coursework to do and I was unlucky enough to get ill, so I've been lacking in time to do any blog posts.

Khyam Allami is another artist who I discovered by listening to the BBC's, World Routes - On the Road, album. I decided to feature him on this blog because I like the way in which he expressess his emotions so skillfully without using words.

Khyam Allami is an oud player, who is of Iraqi origin but was born in Damascus, Syria. He originally began his musical career as a rock musician and indeed at one point rejected his Iraqi origins to such an extent that he would not speak Arabic or play Eastern instruments. He decided to go back to his origins after the war broke out in Iraq and so this led to him learning to play the oud. His oud music is based on the concept of the Maqam, which is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music. He has an unusual technique with the Maqams that he incorporates with his highly structured and detailed compositions aswell as his abnormal cycles of rhythms. He is influenced by Arabic composers such as Naseer Shamma and rock musicians like Frank Zappa. Although he spends most of his time playing the oud, he still occasionally works as a rock musician.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Renata Rosa

Sorry for being late again with this blog post, I've recently been given quite a few essays to write so I've had less time for everything else! I thought I'd branch out once again by featuring Renata Rosa. The inspiration comes from the BBC Radio 3 album, "World Routes - On The Road". There's some really good music on that album, so I'm really tempted to buy it.

When you hear Renata Rosa, you can hear that her music sounds somewhat tribal even though she's a Brazilian singer. In her music, she sings the traditional Northeast Brazilian chants. Her music has been influenced by the Maracatu Rural (Brazilian carnival music), the Coco (music from northern Brazil, that's been influenced by African music) that and the Cavalo Marinho (Brazilian folk music). She also keeps her cultural origins alive by teaching the Samba de Coco. This dance is a variant of the Coco dance, which originates from the time when the slaves from central Africa brought their culture to Northeast Brazil, so that their cultures fused together. The dance usually centres around the way in which houses made from clay and straw are constructed.

You can find out much more about her with this link but I haven't got time to tell you anymore:

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Neun Welten

So for once this week's blog post is actually being completed on time. I thought I'd try and feature a different sort of music this week as I find myself recycling many sorts of music on a frequent basis, so I thought I'd choose a band that had a slight hint of new age in it to try and broaden the scope of this blog. If you don't like it though, do let me know!

I chose Neun Welten because I find their fusion of modern styles with folk music relaxing. Admittedly though sometimes their fusions are a little too outlandish for my liking.

Neun Welten are a German Band. Their name means, "nine worlds", because it's based on Nordic mythology. Because they have been influenced by Nordic mythology, some of their songs are portrayals of mythical places from Nordic mythology but their other songs are about personal impressions and feelings and what they perceive to be nature's magic. They regard their music as being based on folklore but their main aim is to convey a love of nature in their music.

This song is called, "Pan", but there is no such word in the German language, so I presume this is one of their songs which is named after a mythological place.

The name of this song means, "On a scraggy cliff" ("Auf kragem Fels").

I presume that this song is also named after a mythological place because "Valg" does not appear to be a word.

This song is called, "Frosthauch", which means "frosty breath", so I thought it would be a suitable addition to this week's blog post given the current weather conditions!

Monday, 30 January 2012


As usual I'm slightly late with this blog post, so my renewed apologies for that! I was lacking in inspiration for a good artist to blog about. I ended up having to go onto the iTunes stores of other countries in order to find a good artist but it seems that it was a case of good things coming to those, who wait because I've really enjoyed the research for this post. I chose Zebda because I suddenly realised that it had been a while since I'd posted about any Western European artists. I really like the way in which they express their feelings on discrimination against minorities because it's very deep and witty.

Zebda are a French band from Toulouse, who are famous for writing very political songs. Zebda formed in 1985 after Magyd Cherfi, who was at that point a community organiser, set up a small group of musicians to make a video for the community organisation, that he was working for. Some of the members joined the group at a later stage because they met each other by getting involved in community projects, that were aimed at encouraging the young people of Toulouse to become involved in arts and music. So it was not until 1988 that the group started to perform on a regular basis. They became famous in 1990, when they performed at the Printemps de Bourges music festival. The band's name comes from the Arabic word, "zibdah", which means "butter", as the french slang word "beur" (which comes from the french word for butter, "beurre") is a word, which refers to citizens of Arab origin. Generally their songs focus on the ways in which immigrants, ethnic minorities and young people from the banlieues (suburbs) of France are treated. One of their most famous songs is the song, "Le bruit et l'odeur", that was based on a comment that Jack Chiraq made during his time as president of France, in which he said that Arabic immigrants only create noise and smells and never get a job.

Le bruit et l'odeur ("noise and smell"):

Tomber le chemise ("take my/your shirt off"), this song criticises the social differences in France. It's based on the Midi accent:

 Motivés, this was a song that they wrote in support of Les Motivé-e-s, a political party that was trying to encourage local government to represent all demographic groups of the city. The party was also focused on encouraging young people and immigrants to vote and do more to help with the political issues, where they live:

Je crois que ça va pas être possible ("I believe that that won't be possible"). Judging from the lyrics, I think that this song is about the fact that employers are more reluctant to employ ethnic minorities than nationals/Europeans:

J'y suis, j'y reste ("I there [and] I stay there"), this song is about how immigrants can settle in France or indeed any other country but never really integrate and therefore stay in the same parts of the country, with their counterparts, who have the same story to tell:

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lui Pui-yuen & Wong Ching Kuen

My apologies for not publishing this post earlier on the second weekend running, again a busy work load was taking up my time!
I thought this week's blog post should be about Chinese music as today is the first day of the Chinese new year, and so after searching for some good artists on YouTube, I found this music by Lui Pui-yuen & Wong Ching Kuen. I really like the way their music is slow paced because it makes it very relaxing.

I've not been able to find out very much about them but as usual, if anyone else can enlighten me, then please feel free to do so.

Lui Pui-yuen is one of the most well known artists amongst Pipa players. He was so well respected as a Pipa player, that he taught at the Centre for World Music in Berkeley, at UCLA and Brown.

All I know about Wong Ching Kuen is that he is/was a Xiao player (an end-blown flute made out of bamboo)

I thought I'd finally wish you all a Happy New Chinese Year with this composition that I found on iTunes by the Heart of The Dragon Ensemble:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Chaba Fadela & Cheb Sahraoui

Sorry I know I'm already being slightly unpunctual about updating this blog but I have some problems with the internet. I thought you'd like some more raï artists for this week, so I decided to do a post on Chaba Fadela & Cheb Sahraoui.

Chaba Fadela and Cheb Sahraoui were originally solo artists but they became a duet after they met in 1983. Their most famous song is N'sel Fik or Nsalfik (which means, you are mine), which was one of the first raï songs to become well known internationally. They are well known in their native country of Nigeria for being pop-raï artists. They were married for a few years but they divorced during the 1990s. They came to France shortly before the start of the 1990's so that they could have a European career and so there was a lot of attention on them during the "first world music wave", which began there. Nevertheless, they've never become famous on an international level because they were too reliant on their popularity in Algeria.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Cracow Klezmer Band/Bester Quartet

I thought I'd feature the Cracow Klezmer Band because I like the way in which they create such an original sort of Klezmer music. 

The Cracow Klezmer Band is well known in the world of Klezmer for being unlike any other sort of Klezmer band because they have changed their music so that they play a more modern style of Klezmer, which is dark, complicated and combined with gypsy music. Their music is also different from what is usually considered to be Klezmer because they don't involve fantasies or laments and they are not versions of traditional Yiddish songs, that have been made into dancing tunes. The Cracow Klezmer band prefer to make original compositions, in which they repeat their ostinatos. Nevertheless, by using sounds like that of a creaking ship, which are not created by their instruments, they do adhere to some of the traditions of klezmer music. They are now known as the Bester Quartet.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Yuval Ron Ensemble

I thought I'd wish you a happy new year with some oud music, since this sort of music hasn't been featured for a while! I thought I should do a post about the Yuval Ron Ensemble because they have a captivating fusion of sounds.

The band is led by the singer Yuval Ron, an Israeli Jewish oud player. Their music is a fusion of jewish, Arabic and Christian Armenian music.

I hope you had a great new year's day, what ever you did. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you, who compliment the blog/ recommend my blog/ retweet my posts/follow me on Twitter or even constantly view my blog because you make it really worthwhile to have such a blog. Thank you to all of you who put up with the fact that I'm not always on time with my posts, I hope to improve on this now that I've had a term to get used to the life of a law student but I hope the fact that you can now subscribe to my blog posts on email, means that I waste less of your time going on the blog to find out if I've created a post.

Happy new year once again in any case and I hope you enjoy the music below!