Mali’s Desert Bluesmen.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Terakaft – In Concert At FIP studios – April 4, 2013 – Radio France/FIP
You’ve probably heard about Terakaft this year. Described as the next generation of Mali‘s Desert Bluesmen, they did a small tour of the U.S. earlier this year, playing SXSW and becoming a surprise hit in the process. They are also coming back to the U.S., with gigs in Los Angeles (at the El Rey Theater) in November and several other cities.
But what you’ve most likely heard about Terakaft is they have been banned in their native Azawad, Mali. The members of the group are currently living in exile in Algeria. With the new, insane fundamentalist regime having taken over, they have decided all Western and non-devotional music be outlawed and Militants have been spotted burning amplifiers, instruments and threatening musicians with amputation and death if they continue doing what they love. And you think getting a band together is tough here . . . . .
Needless to say, the world (at least the sane, rational part of it) has come to the rescue by shedding light on this lunacy. And in the process, has made some startling discoveries from a world of music a lot aren’t all that familiar with.
Terakaft are an amazing group of talented musicians. To say they are virtuoso guitarists is an understatement. They play an intoxicating mixture of East and West and all with such subtle, effortless grace and such avoidance of theatrics that their performances are mesmerizing.
This concert, recorded by Radio France – FIP and performed at FIP studios’ auditorium to a sold-out crowd, gives ample evidence of how truly unique this group is. It was recorded on April 4th of this year.
They are coming to L.A. in November. Get tickets now. Check their tour schedule and see if they are playing where you are. See them and experience them.
Despite all the insanity going on in the world – there are parts that are magnificent. Celebrate those.
Paul Hindemith – one of the vital figures in 20th Century Music.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Paul Hindemith: Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra – CBS Symphony, Thor Johnson – World Premier – May 15, 1949 – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Something special this weekend. A world premier performance of the Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra by German 20th century music legend Paul Hindemith. This broadcast, part of the adventuresome CBS Radio series Invitation To Music was aired on May 15, 1949 and features the CBS Symphony conducted by Thor Johnson.
Hindemith was one of the most significant figures in 20th Century German music. A gifted violist, conductor and violinist, he was part of the legendary Amar String Quartet in the 1920s as well as already achieving considerable attention as a composer and part of the Modern Music movement. Having escaped Germany at the time of the Nazi rise to power, Hindemith finally landed in New York in 1940 and continued his career as well as obtaining American citizenship in 1946.
The Concerto for Woodwinds, harp and Orchestra has been recorded several times since it’s premier, but this is the first one.
So you get to hear it just as the rest of the world did for the first time.
The Suites were milestones.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Duke Ellington in concert at the Ravinia Festival – July 1, 1957 – CBS Radio Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The legendary Duke Ellington this weekend. The Radio premier of his Such Sweet Thunder, Suite on characters from Shakespeare as performed during the Ravinia Festival on July 1, 1957.
The Suites of Duke Ellington were milestones – they took Jazz to a whole new level, further expanding on the idiom, taking it to that place where Jazz and Classical rubbed elbows and became best friends. Considering how revolutionary Jazz had become during this period, it was the next logical step and it took someone with the imagination and foresight to bring all those elements together. Duke Ellington was the one.
Unfortunately, this premier isn’t complete. Most likely, a complete recording of this was made at the time, but this was network radio. CBS Radio had time constraints, and there was only 30 minutes available to make the case. So the frustration, knowing there was a ways more to go, and the CBS announcer breaking in and closing the broadcast, is palpable.
But this is history. And as I always say – sometimes history isn’t available under the best possible conditions. But this is a historic performance, and if you haven’t heard it before, or are only now becoming aware of Duke Ellington, here is good place to check it out.
And the weekend rolls on.