Saturday, November 28, 2009

Omar Sosa, Cave Singers, Water Music, Joni Mitchell: Playlist for The Open Window for November 23, 2009

The Open Window airs at (Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson, B.C.) at 6:30 am Mondays and 10:00 am Thursdays, sponsored by Sidewinders Coffee in Nelson.

Listen to a podcast of this show

Omar Sosa: Iyawo, La Tra, La Llamada, Dos Caminos, and El Consenso from Mulatos (OTA)

Omar Sosa is a Cuban pianist and band leader who has also lived in the U.S., Ecuador, and Spain. This band consists of two North Africans, four Europeans, and two Cubans. They play a mix of Cuban jazz, latin dance grooves, and North African and European folk. This CD is rather chamber-music-like, with a small group and subtle music. The Cuban reed player Paquito d'Rivera makes an appearance on clarinet, and the French musician Renaud Pion plays the astoundingly low-register contra-bass clarinet occasionally to great effect.

The Cave Singers: Summer Light and Leap from Welcome Joy (Matador)

Rich, interesting, dramatic, forlorn, spare folk music from Seattle.

Joni Mitchell: Love Puts on a New Face from Taming the Tiger (Warner)

An exquisite song from a beautiful and perhaps overlooked CD from 1998, by one of my favourite risk-takers.

Handel, Water Music Suite 3: The Hague Philharmonic conducted by Pierre Boulez from Water Music (Philips)

In 1741, an orchestra played this music on a barge on the Thames, near the King's barge, as a concert for him and his friends. A few years before that, Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks was also heard by the general public. These may have been the first public performances of classical music . Before that, European music of the great composers was played only for royalty and the upper classes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kronos Quartet and Bon Iver: Playlist for The Open Window for November 16, 2009

The Open Window airs at (Kootenay Co-op Radio) on Mondays at 6am and Thursdays at 10 am pst.

Listen to a podcast of this show here.

Like all my shows this one is an experiment in juxtaposition or in the denial of genre, and the neighbouring of directions in this one is particulary (I hope) striking. The show moves back and forth between these two CDs:

Kronos Quartet: various tracks from Early Music (Nonesuch)

"Early music" normally refers to European music from Medieval times,
before Baroque etc. Some of that music is from that period-- for example there is a piece here by Hildegard von Bingen from the 11th century. But there is also music from modern composers like John Cage, Arvo Part, and Harry Partch. Despite this huge span of time and culture, the music somehow mysteriously works as a unified program. It's therefore the perfect CD for this show, as perfect as Kronos itself which has made a career of virtuosic and refreshing performance of music from everywhere (string quartet versions of Monk, Hendrix, Africa, Bollywood, tango, as well as lots of 20th century composers), and which may be the most often-played group on this show. So I decided to try to expand the range of Early Music even further by interspersing its music with:

Bon Hiver: For Emma, Stacks, Blindsided, Skinny Love, and Lump Sum from For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)

It's hard to explain the beauty of this CD mainly because I don't know what to liken it to or compare it with. The songwriter-musician Justin Vernon decided to hibernate for a winter in his father's cabin the the Wisconsin forest and came out with this self-produced album of songs on which he plays and sings all parts, under the name Bon Iver. It has a gentle, raw feeling and some beautiful harmonies that are rough and elusive but that's their charm. I like to think it works with Kronos. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Caetano Veloso, Kokopelli, Cannonball Adderley, Satomi Saeki, Bach: Playlist for The Open Window for November 2, 2009

The Open Window airs at 6:30 am Mondays and 8am Thursdays at (Kootenay Co-op Radio) in Nelson, B.C.

Listen to a podcast of this show

Caetano Veloso: Livros, O Navio Negreiro, and How Beautiful from Livro (Nonesuch)

Brazilian artist, mus
ician, singer, composer, political activist Caetano Veloso is sometimes likened to Bob Dylan for his impact on popular music. He is of the same generation as Dylan, but there is one big difference: the provocative music of Veloso (and Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil) was performed under a military dictatorship. All three spent time in jail for anti-government activity and had their lyrics censored. Their radical music, which was called Tropicalia, contained bossa nova, folk rock, art rock, jazz and poetic spoken word, and they felt the wrath of former fans, again like Dylan. Unlike Dylan though, he has remained relevant. He is now a world superstar without any of the usual trappings of pop stardom, making challenging music.

Kokopelli: Con Que la Lavare from Spirit (Independent)

This inspired and inspiring choir of young people from Edmonton contains four members from Nelson.

Cannonball Adderley: One for Daddy-O from Somethin' Else (Blue Note)

This 1958 album makes lots of greatest jazz album lists. Miles Davis is a sideman, and there is apparently some debate about who the leader actually was. With Cannonball on alto, Miles on trumpet, and Hank Jones and his brother Sam Jones along with Art Blakey on piano, bass and drums respectively, this is classic music that sums up the best of the late fifties. It's relaxed and fluid, but with that challenging Miles Davis directness . Cannonball's ecstatic break that opens his solo on this track is worth the price of the CD.

Satomi Saeki: Haru No Kyuku and Hakumei from Japanese Koto Music (Independent)

Satomi Saeki was classically trained in Japan and now lives in Victoria, B.C., travelling the continent (and sometimes back to Japan) teaching and performing. From the CD notes:
"Saeki's interest in performing koto music on the international stage was inspired by a concert in Hawaii in 1991. As she looked out into the audience, she noticed several Japanese American women were visibly moved
while listening to traditional Japanese music. As a Japanese woman living in Canada and raising Japanese Canadian children it was an emotional state Saeki could easily identify with....."

This music in one word? Crystalline.

J.S. Bach: Sonata in G Minor for Flute, Harp and Cello-- Irena Grafenaur (flute), Maria Graf (harp), David Geringas (cello) from The Virtuoso's Bach Vol 4 (Philips)

The combination of harp, flute and cello, think about it. That's why I had to play it, and this piece added a lovely elegance to the show.