The massive Colours of Ostrava Festival books major (and less major) acts from the world over. This year, there was a special opening night entitled "Crossroads" dedicated solely to currents in Czech music.
Cynical music fans like to talk about the things that aren't happening today; things that aren't happening in jazz, that aren't happening in R&B. A few months ago, I was invited to witness what was happening at New York's Joe's Pub, in the person of recording artist, Somi.
Though she is uncomfortable with the label, Bebel Gilberto is, for many folks, bossa nova royalty: Her father, Joao Gilberto is arguably the founder of the quiet sophisticated distillation of samba, and her mother is the singer Miucha
The World Cup lets us non-Brazilians (and some Brazilians) bask for a moment again in the mythical Brazil -- land of dazzling futbol, beautiful beaches, sultry supermodels and supernatural jungles, all moving to a samba beat.
I expected a somewhat bare bones acoustic presentation from this, but as soon as I walked into sound check, I heard a fully electrified band warming up. The signature cavaquino (Portuguese ukulele) was there, but so was a synthesizer and a full kit.
Amira is certainly one of the best known of the new generation of Sevdah artists. Raised in Bosnia-Herzegovina, she learned most of the songs in her repertoire from her mother. She also displays the kind of bel canto interpretation that characterizes the form.
Without a chance to brush up on my poor speaking or understanding of French, I was whisked away from LA to Montréal, Canada after an invite came into my inbox to attend the 3rd annual world music conference/festival Mundial Montréal.
The sounds of the world are just that, and Saltarello's haunting harmonies from the Middle-Ages crossing into contemporary compositions, threw us into their Northern French Canadian region of Abitibi, cold and far, far away!
Taking the concept to the next stage literally, Drexler applies the technology to a live audience setting, picking audience members to come on stage and choose the parts of the songs, which he then has to sing in real time.
It's Faust meets Romeo and Juliet. It's soul, funk, gospel and the blues. It's the music of the late Howlin' Wolf brought to life on stage. It is what you want to experience when you want to be taken away even for just a moment by a live musical and theatrical performance.
There's something shakin' in Poland these days. Musicians who are curious about their folk legacy (the real one) have been discovering its joys, and are passing that joy along to a whole new generation of young people. And they are dancing up a storm... to the Mazurka.