Our Throwback Thursday this week: Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar’s Shime(2009)!
Culture Musical Club began life as part of the youth organization of the Afro Shirazi Party during Zanzibar’s struggle for independence back in 1956. Today, Culture Musical Club is not only the largest, but also one of the most prolific and successful orchestras of Zanzibar as they present taarab music. In addition to innumerable performances in Stone Town, villages of Zanzibar and on Tanzania mainland, this group has toured internationally with outstanding success and has won over audiences in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Arab Emirates and Reunion. They perform new compositions on a regular basis and have developed a distinct and uniquely Swahili style.
Songlines Top of The World Chicago Reader 20 Favorite International Releases 2010
"Several beguiling, popular Zanzibari styles are present…“Muziki Ni Kazi Yetu,” a pungwa song (possession music), is an elegant, soothing bit of exoticism, while “Rejea Tena Chuoni” features mughani-style vocal improvisation imparting a universally resonant message: ‘Go back to school.’” - Billboard
"A strong rhythmic pulse throbs through each piece, but Culture Musical Club retains a measured calm; this isn’t wild club music…it’s unlikely that Culture Musical Club won’t suck you in with their hypnotic sound." - eMusic
Each one of French-Brazilian Márcio Faraco’s songs is exemplary in its finesse and fragile balance between gentleness and seriousness. His distinctive style is free of pathos but has traces of his illustrious influences, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes.
On the cover of his most recent album, Border-Free (Jazz Village), explosive Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes wears an enormous feathered Native American headdress—a reference to a tune of his called “Afro-Comanche,” which honors Comanches deported by Spanish soldiers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries from what would later become the southwestern U.S., many of whom ended up in Cuba (via Mexico and Spain) and integrated into the island’s community. The message is clear: people, like music, aren’t contained or defined by geography. Few musicians have embodied that idea as thoroughly as Valdes, who cofounded influential Cuban jazz-fusion group Irakere in 1973; with his protean talents, he’s obliterated the boundaries between Cuban tradition and jazz tradition. The name of his current group is of course a hat tip to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and though the original tunes nod to Latin music (propulsive clave-based polyrhythms, ubiquitous percussion breakdowns, et cetera), they usually follow the durable “theme followed by improvisation” structure that’s endured in hard bop for six decades. (The band’s previous album is called Chucho’s Steps, a Coltrane reference.) “Bebo,” which Valdes wrote to memorialize his brilliant piano-playing father, sounds like a jazz standard with a clave beat; it’s also one of three tracks to feature the fiery saxophone of Branford Marsalis. Other pieces reach elsewhere for ideas. “Abdel” explores Gnawa music; “Pilar,” which opens as an extended duet with bassist Angel Gaston Joya Perellada, weaves in bits of two pieces Valdes’s mother loved, Miles Davis’s “Blue in Green” and Bach’s Prelude in D Minor; and “Caridad Amaro,” written for his grandmother, borrows from Rachmaninoff. —Peter Margasak”
Since that night in 2007 when she brought the WKC house down, Catherine Russell’s renown as one of the foremost interpreters and explorers of mid-20th century American music has skyrocketed. A Grammy Award winner, she regularly plays Lincoln Center and hundreds of other major venues and festivals worldwide, has made two appearances on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, appeared on “Piano Jazz” with Marian McPartland, and has garnered rave reviews and awards both in France and at home. “Cat” will be backed by Matt Munisteri on guitar, Mark Shane, piano, and Tal Ronen, bass.”
Here’s our Throwback Thursday: our 2008 release of Soul Science by Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara!
With fat, buzzing bass lines, no-holds-barred guitar licks, playful yet virile rhythms, searing fiddle riffs, pounding, viscerally percussive groundswells and vocals that feel as old as the ages yet fresh as the dawn, Soul Science is less of a cross-cultural collaboration than an arresting, endlessly fascinating dispatch from a new nation entirely. Justin Adams (electric and acoustic guitars, Tamashek lute, percussion, banjo, vocals) and Juldeh Camara (lead vocals, one-string fiddle, West African banjo, percussion) have achieved a white-hot synthesis instigated by centuries of history refracted through the kaleidoscope that is the information age.
NPR Music - The Best African Music of 2008 KEXP - Top Ten Albums of 2008 PopMatters - The Best Albums of 2008 & Best World Music of 2008 (#1) BBC Sound of the World - Record of the Month Songlines - Best Albums of the Year
"What really sets this album apart is the amalgam of Adams’s cool, confident take on rock, with Camara’s wailing chops and spectacular rich and emotive ritti sound. Few African blues tracks rock as hard as the edgy, searing, backbeat-driven ‘Ya Ta Taaya’” - Afropop
World Village has forged itself a reputation for excellence on the international musical scene in just a few short years. Seeking out talents from all around the world, carefully designed covers and booklets: these are the key values of the label, which is run by four producers working between France, the USA, Spain and the UK, who pursue an ambitious signing policy.
Jazz Village, the newest label in the Harmonia Mundi family, allows audiences to experience the best of current jazz music, from Europe to the Americas, from traditional to modern, through urban soul and new sound crossbreeds. On the menu: a dozen yearly releases featuring musical veterans, young idols and bright emerging talents.