Monday, November 19, 2012

Two for the Road: Womex 2012 Collection and Junior Brown

Map of Portuguese Goa

Tomorrow, after more than three years, I return to the land of my birth, India. Taking the family for a three week business cum holiday trip that will take in Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Agra, Varanasi (hopefully Allahabad) and Goa.

So there may or may not be much activity on these pages in that time. I certainly will be doing lots of music shopping but will probably not post much until I’m back and settled.  More likely, I will be posting on my other blogs (Harmonium Music and One Photo At a Time) so by all means continue to swing around and check out what’s fresh.

Tonight, however, I post two volumes.

The first, is another from the world of roots music festivals. Womex proclaims itself to be the most professional market for international music in the world and was held this year in Greece. Next year in Wales.  This is a selection of the music from the 2012 event that recently finished.  The organizers obviously are able to attract the cream of musical artists to their event and this CD is one of the most enjoyable samplers I’ve heard.  Full of fresh and scintillating and unusual sounds from the prairies of the Canada, the folds of Europe, corners of Asia and Africa.  Like the Australasian Womex of which I’ve been posting quite a bit lately, the European focus of this selection serves the purpose of showcasing the diversity of the region’s musical talent.

            Track Listing:
            01 Ruhverikko (Finland)
02 Njoka (Radio Edit) (Zimbabwe)
03 Pancho Says (Bulgaria)
04 Maria no me Llevo (Colombia)
05 Caboose (Canada)
06 Mazurek Lakowy (Poland)
07 Na Mera Khuda (India)
08 Cab'Verde na Coracon (Cape Verde)
09 Frangosyriani (Greece)
10 Kheljar Man (Macedonia)
11 Electric Pow Wow Drum (Canada)
12 Go Marko Go (Robert Soko Mix) [Serbia]
13 Oi za lisochkom (Ukraine)
14 Cucaracha (Argentina/France)
15 Quaze Caindo (Brazil)
16 Ehe Gia, panda gia (Turkey)
17 Nu Te Fermare (Italy)
18 Movement on Silence (Republic of Korea)
19 Kuchelere Su sepmishem (Azerbaijan)
20 A foldon (Serbia)

The second set, switches gears somewhat. Junior Brown has a voice as deep almost at Johnny Cashs. While he might lose out (just) to the Man in Black, Junior could whup Johnny’s ass with his guitar playing. Brown, hails from outback Indiana which is probably why he poured so much energy into learning the guitar. He found work as a guitarist in a number of American country and swing bands, including the venerable Asleep at the Wheel, before taking up an ‘instructor’s’ gig at the Hank Thompson School of Country Music in Oklahoma. While there he invented a weird contraption that combined the electric and lap-steel guitar which he christened the guit-steel.

His approach to country music is broad.  Western swing, rockabilly and blues all vy for attention on his records and it is indeed, hard to choose his best style. He’s just such a damn hot guitar player, all of his songs are sheer pleasure.  I like Long Walk Back the best for one reason and one strong reason only, the closing blues scorcher, Stupid Blues.  If you’ve ever had a friend who just drank way too much or simply played the fool all the time, this song is the one you want to give him for Christmas.  And it stands on its own as a GREAT blues song, with no country aroma for a mile on either side of the opening and closing bar.

Junior Brown’s music is fun, funny, awesome and infectious.
            Track Listing:
            01 Long Walk Back to San Antone
02 the better half
03 read 'em and weep
04 rock a hula baby
05 lookin' for love
06 peelin' taters
07 freedom machine
08 just a little love
09 keepin' up with you
10 i'm all fired up
11 Stupid Blues

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Day to Remember: Fixing Nizam Khan's dholak

Bachu Khan performing at AWME

What a day. Read all about it at Harmonium Music.

Running around Melbourne on a Sunday afternoon, in search for a goat-skin drum head!

But the show ended well!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Listening globally Dancing locally: Australasian Worldwide Music Expo 2012

This weekend I’ve been a delegate at the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (Womex) here in Melbourne. I’ve had a blast rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers in the Australian, American, European and Asian music festival industry. Curators, promoters, bureaucrats, musicians and posers such as me.

I’m working with De Kulture Music, an Indian folk music label/group and helping them to make contacts in the local industry as well as promote the upcoming Blue Lotus Music Festival of Indian folk music in Pushkar, Rajasthan in February 2013.  My main duties this week have been to chaperone and logistically manage the only artists from India selected to appear on the bill this year: Bachu Khan

Bachu Khan is a diminutive, traditional Langa singer from Rajasthan who is most famous for his exciting lead vocals in the group Musafir,  which made two CDs, Dhola Maru and Barsaat in the past few years.  I’ve posted some photos of Bachu and his gang of four relatives/accompanists (including his father-in-law!) over at the Harmonium Music Facebook page and feel so privileged (and pleased as punch) to have the opportunity to hang out with such fantastic musicians and people.

In terms of AWME 2012 itself, I’ve been slightly underwhelmed.  Mostly I’ve been surprised at the (seemingly) low turnout to most events. And though everyone in the music ‘trade’ is clued into the Expo, it appears to have no visibility in the public. And the AUSTRALIAN part of Australasian seems to be the focus with a large number of local acts on the bill.  Not in itself a bad thing, and certainly the quality of the acts is very high, but somehow I’m wondering if more could have been done to tap into some of the truly amazing ‘authentic’ folk and popular music in Indonesia, PNG, Timor Leste and China even than promote Aussie acts. 

Still, it has been thrilling to mingle, rub shoulders and bump into so many people who are passionate about ‘world’, ‘roots’ music.  From the presence and visibility of the various Australian funding agencies there is no doubt that AWME will get better every year.

For those of you who didn’t come down yet, you can still get there for the final day, Sunday, November 18.  Bachu Khan is playing at 615pm and I have no doubt his show will be one of the highlights for is vitality and visual and visceral appeal.

So herewith is the official CD of the festival put out by the Expo’s producers, highlighting just a very few of the many acts that appeared this year.  It is, as I say, heavily tilted toward Aussie artists, but all of them are worthy of being included.  I’ve also added a track by Bachu Khan, from the Musafir album Dhola Maru.


            Track Listing:
            01 Old Mission Road [Archie Roach] AUSTRALIA
02 Thin Skin [Clare Bowditch] AUSTRALIA
03 Like Water [Ladi6] SAMOA/NEW ZEALAND
04 African Soldier [Seun Kuti] NIGERIA
05 Satta Massagana [The Abyssinians] JAMAICA
06 The Publican's Daughter [Jordie Lane] AUSTRALIA
07 50 Years [The Medics] AUSTRALIA
08 Never [The Bamboos] AUSTRALIA
09 Shake it Off [Sue Ray] AUSTRALIA
10 Mondeou [Boubacar Traore] MALI
11 Bella Ciao [I Viaggiatori (feat. Kavisha Mazzella)] ITALY
12 Blind Joe's Creek [Kutcha Edwards] AUSTRALIA
13 Looking Glass [Kingfisha] AUSTRALIA
14 Cuando Sera [Watussi] AUSTRALIA/COLOMBIA
15 Mahindra Death Ride [The Bombay Royale] AUSTRALIA/INDIA
16 Manbeliwa [Christine Salem] REUNION ISLANDS
17 Simple Way [OKA] AUSTRALIA
18 Rangi Rang [Musafir feat. Bachu Khan] INDIA

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Call a Nurse, Quick!: Mixtape of Hurting Songs

Now there is a certain school of thought that claims men are the worst patients in the world. Stub the toe and the crutches come out.  Got the sniffles? Well, it just might be cancer of the nostrils.  You can’t be too cautious.  When he’s feeling a bit tired you end up bringing him endless cups of tea as he sighs and scowls under the covers.

True or not, you can decide.

But I have been feeling the Bad Health Blues (in the words of Jack Dupree) for the past few days and am only starting to feel better now.  I apologize to faithful patrons who may be tiring of these mixtapes, but you see, I’ve just been so exhausted…can barely keep my eyes open most days! Barely survived, have I.

Less mixtapes on deck but in the meantime, if you’re feeling the dreaded lurgie coming on and want something to comfort and encourage you to get better, try these jazzy, bluesy, swinging, soulful bits of whine and wisdom from musical patients and doctors around the globe!

            Track Listing:
            01 Shakin' Shakin' Shakes [Los Lobos]
02 Too Much Brandy [The Streets]
03 Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad [Jim Brewer]
04 Dizzy Atmosphere [Stan Getz and Chet Baker]
05 It Hurts [Carolyn Franklin]
06 I Don't Need No Doctor [Nick Ashford]
07 Heartaches, Heartaches [O.V. Wright]
08 Bad Health Blues [Champion Jack Dupree]
09 Suze (The cough song) [Bob Dylan]
10 I Didn't Know The Meaning Of Pain [Otis Clay]
11 You Got Me Dizzy [Jimmy Reed]
12 Diseases [Michigan and Smiley]
13 Drugpop [Claude Vasari]
14 Pain [The Watts Prophets]
15 Willy's Headache [Cymande]
16 Weak Man [Dan Baker]
17 Heartaches By The Number (Live) [Dwight Yoakam]
18 Pills [Bo Diddley]
19 Going Back To Bed [Tony Joe White]
20 She Took a Lot of Pills and Died [Robbie Fulks]
21 The Drugs Don't Work [The Verve]
22 Medicine Man [Chris Wilson]
23 Permanent Hurt [John Hiatt]
24 Washington DC Hospital Center Blues [Skip James]
25 Night Nurse [Geoffrey Issacs]
26 Care for Pain [Morphine]
27 Heal Yourself [Ruthie Foster]
28 Getting Better [The A.M. Stragglers]
29 Feelin' Good [Tina Harrod]
30 Ancestral Healing [Pops Mohamed]
31 I Feel Better Now [The Louvin Brothers]

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Night Special: R&B, Funk, Soul Mixtape

Friday night. A little mixtape of some classy Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Funk for the weekend.


            Track Listing:
            01 (Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away [Dr. John]
02 Rainy Night In Georgia (Feat. Chris Botti) [Aaron Neville]
03 September 13th [Deodata]
04 Give It Up or Turn It a Loose [James Brown]
05 F.U.N.K.[Betty Davis]
06 Black Wonders of the World [Billy Paul]
07 Funky John [Johnny Cameron and the Camerons]
07 I Love You, I Need You [Otis Clay]
08 Below The Funk (Pass The J)
09 One More Chance On Love [Candy Stanton]
10 The Bravest Man In The Universe [Bobby Womack]
11 Crazy Love [Ray Charles and Van Morrison]
12 Bridge Over Troubled Water [King Curtis]
13 Below the Funk (Pass the J) [Rick James]
14 How Strong is a Woman [Ann Peebles]
15 Cadillac Jack [Andre Williams]
16 Soul Power [James Brown]
17 Calling [Raphael Saadiq]
18 Hello Stranger [Barbara Lewis]
19 I'm Coming Out {Chic-Mix) [Diana Ross]
20 Soulville [Aretha Franklin]
21 Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)
21 Little Ghetto Boy [Donny Hathaway]
22 Talkin [Brass Construction]
23 Runnin' [Amerigo Gazaway of Gummy Soul]
24 Right Place, Wrong Time [Ray J]
25 Stay In My Corner [The Dells]
26 Washington D.C. [Gil Scott-Heron]
27 Misty Blue [Fiji]
28 Lady Doctor [Johnny Robinson]
30 What a Man [Linda Lyndell]
31 Come On In [Sam and Dave]