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: