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ancient future

World Rhythms Workshop June 22

The Summer Equinox approaches. What better way to bring in the season than to make some music? Matthew Montfort of the world music group Ancient Future and author of “Ancient Traditions: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India” will present a world rhythm workshop Saturday afternoon June 22nd at Gryphon Strings. His book, which is the basis for this workshop, received rave reviews. Seats are limited; to reserve a space call Gryphon at 650-493-2131. Gryphon Strings is located at 211 Lambert Avenue in Palo Alto. More details can be found on Facebook

Here’s Montfort’s contemplations on Jimi Hendrix and the classical Indian tradition of the Raga.

La Conquête du Monde

Have you ever played the board game ‘Risk’? It’s actually pretty fun. This game, invented by French film director Albert Lamorisse, was originally released as La Conquête du Monde in 1957, and it is one of the longest board game you will ever play. Monopoly might also take a pretty long time to finish, but I wouldn’t know.

(Seeing as I’ve never had the patience to finish a game.)

A simple Google search will show you how the list of the longest play time board games all circle around themes that have engulfed humanity for years, and we’ve yet to win the game. Namely, that of gaining power; as we can see in the war theme of Risk, or Axis and Allies, and the economic theme of Monopoly.

It’s been these struggles and flows that have pushed new forms in shaping us. We have the power to turn obstacles into feats.

The music of the world-music; our most creative form of self and collective expression-is hugely reflective of these pressures and radical shifts in our world’s being. I am particularly fond of music from the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The strange and beautiful complexities of a world soup with a flavor absolutely unique to it. Location and history have given development to music with Latin, European, African, and some Native influences. The recent task of organizing our world music collection brought with it the controversies and questions of…”what goes where?”  Where can you make the separations so that it is accurately reflective of the music, and also easy to understand (without needing extensive knowledge of history and geography). The world then isn’t what the world is now. It’s always a “what if” world of possibilities. What if Columbus had better known what he was doing? What if the Taíno people of the Bahamas had a stronger population today? What myriad of styles would could be united? It’s just like when you consider who you are as a person. What if you weren’t ever bullied? What if you hadn’t gone through that “emo” phase? What if your parents had decided not to move into the city after all? What if you hadn’t taken the spontaneous decision to talk to that strange kid from your core class? What if you hadn’t gotten lost and discovered that beautiful park, or that awesome record store? You never know. You can just push through and continue to develop.

Today, the trend towards communication globalization and the spread of the internet means new information and advances can spread fast. “World Music” isn’t just music from different parts of the world, but the world exploring itself through music. Here at KZSC, we might receive music from a French Jazz artist who has been able to explore African and Latin aspects, fallen in love with this artist or style, – which she might not have ever been able to hear about in a different time- delve into the richness of it, and use it to influence her artistic work.  And think of the worldwide society of different tinkerers throughout time! From Ben Franklin’s first work on electricity, russian inventor Leon Theremin’s instrument, and Daphne Oram’s new methods of composition… As well as creating a whole new genre of music, technology has led to interesting electronic takes on traditional folk music. And who takes credit for this? No one country can precisely claim the electronic movement.

Risk, with a world reflection reminiscent of that from George Orwell’s 1984, is a game where players attempt to grab,separate, and hold the world. The power of music seeks to stand tall in its original context, and yet be shared.

As the world changes and struggles; so too it can learn and grow.

toubab-krewe

French/African Music Show March 16th

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal  will be performing at the First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz at 8 pm on Saturday, March 16th. Sissoko is a Malian Kora player; Segal is a French cellist. The fusion of the two resulted in a collaboration of soothing chamber music featured on their newest album, “At Peace”. NPR refers to “At Peace” as “the most beautiful world music record of the decade”. Find out for yourself March 16th.

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World Music Show Feb. 19

This and next month are full of African and African-influenced music events in Santa Cruz. Tuesday the 19th, world fusion band Toubab Krewe will perform at Moe’s Alley. Toubab Krewe specializes in upbeat instrumentals that draw from African blues, rock, folk, and so much more. Some of the instruments used are the Kora, electric guitar, Djembe, and fiddle. This 21+ event  will also feature New World Ape and Shovelman. The music starts at 8:30 pm;  doors open at 8.

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Interview with Rupa and the April Fishes

Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing Rupa Marya, lead vocalist of the world fusion group Rupa & the April Fishes. Formed in San Francisco, the band has a very distinct, jazz-influenced style of music, overlaid with Rupa’s soothing vocals in English, French, Spanish, and even Hindi. Rupa discussed their newest release, “Build”, as well as other aspects of the band, in this interview – check it out at the link below.

The band will also be performing at Moe’s Alley this Friday, November 2, at 9 pm. Don’t miss it!

Rupa Interview

jacques_brel

“Discovering” Jacques Brel

As I perused our station’s labyrinth of a record collection in search for some “European” music a couple of days ago, I found a record from an artist with a name that rang a bell, but with a track-list that truly seemed foreign. I soon remembered that I had heard the name “Jacques Brel” in Amanda Palmer’s song “Ukelele Anthem”, explaining the slight sense of familiarity; other than that, I had no clue who he was. But I figured, if one of my favorite singers digs his music, it should be decent, right? So I played it and listened to “La Valse À Mille Temps”, which I chose at random.

This tune was stuck in my head for the rest of the evening, and as I naturally do after listening to such an exceptionally incredible piece of music, I immediately read Brel’s biography (on Wikipedia, of course) while listening to his most popular songs on Spotify. Not only was Brel a singer in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, but this godfather of French chanson also starred in various French films. Additionally, he was the original mastermind behind the classic “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, which has been covered by Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, and literally countless other artists.

Of course, through all my internet-searching I learned one main thing; that this so-called “discovery” of mine was far overdue, and I (and everyone else, in my opinion..) need to listen to his music whenever possible.

Something about Jacques Brel’s work truly stands out. I am familiar with the more modern side of French music – also known as nouvelle chanson – and while I’ve always enjoyed it, something has always felt missing. Nothing ever beats the classics, I suppose! (Even Amanda Palmer’s cover of “Amsterdam” didn’t click with me…but I digress.)

I found his music on the 9th of this month, exactly 34 years after his death. There is no doubt in my mind that his music has left an impact on the world that transcends age and time, and that it will never leave us.