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!