Tag: boston globe

A Tribe Called Red reinvent the Powwow

Boston Globe, May 18, 2013 Every summer all across North America, Native Americans get together for powwows. At these intertribal social gatherings they sing, dance, discuss, and celebrate their traditions and their survival. Every weekend in cities across the land, youth assemble in nightclubs for their own intertribal communion. Electronic music, built of massive bass […]

Multifaceted Mvula experiences a swift rise

Boston Globe, May 16, 2013 Laura Mvula is only just catching up to what she’s done. Twelve months ago the 26-year-old singer was basically unknown, except in a few corners of the Birmingham, England, music world: the gospel a cappella group with whom she first performed, the conservatory where she studied composition, and, if you […]

Book review: “I Would Die 4 U,” by Touré

Boston Globe, March 21, 2013 “A woman who was in a relationship with Prince years ago told me that when he gave women baths he took total control.” This nugget exemplifies what’s engaging about “I Would Die 4 U,” Touré’s study of the protean pop star’s meaning and appeal. It’s gossipy and a little prurient; […]

Legendary saxophonist Lloyd finds new life in new quartet

Boston Globe, March 16, 2013 Who is Charles Lloyd? If you were around for the flower-power era, you may remember Lloyd as a firebrand saxophonist who led avant-garde jazz groups in the 1960s, had a crossover hit with the Woodstock crowd, went off to play with the Beach Boys, then burned out and vanished from […]

Ana Moura explores the possibilities of fado

Boston Globe, March 15, 2013 Fado, the elegant Portuguese song form that is enjoying a great renewal, was never quite as rigid as it appears. Its austere setup, with a singer backed only by acoustic guitars, and its constant reverence for fadistas of the past conceal its openness to new ideas. Amália Rodrigues herself — […]

Miguel Zenón’s rhythms follow a changing culture

Boston Globe, February 21, 2013 The saxophonist Miguel Zenón came from Puerto Rico to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music in 1996, and fast emerged as a major creative voice in jazz, with a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2008 to attest to it. In his young but prolific career, he has made […]

Trumpeter Christian Scott gives jazz much-needed stretch

Boston Globe, August 9, 2012 NEW YORK — The trumpeter Christian Scott terms “stretch music” the big, open-minded sound that he seeks, for his own band and for jazz in general. On his brand-new album, “Christian aTunde Adjuah,” Scott stretches more than just rhythmic and harmonic conventions. The album itself is a sprawling double CD, […]

Congolese guitarist Diblo Dibala

Boston Globe, July 12, 2012 NEW YORK — A corner apartment in Harlem: air conditioning on high against the blazing heat outside, African art objects and concert posters on the walls, incense wafting through the living room. This is the temporary command post of Diblo Dibala, Congolese bandleader and guitarist extraordinaire, as he readies for […]

Nona Hendryx balances soul, conscience

Boston Globe, July 8, 2012 NEW YORK— Let’s say you formed your first band as a Trenton, N.J., teen in the ’50s. You helped invent funk in a trio, LaBelle, that found cult status in the ’70s. You pioneered sci-fi themes before George Clinton. Later, you forged ahead as a solo artist and in collaborations […]

Brazilian’s road album draws from touring, tradition

Boston Globe, June 25, 2012 The Brazilian singer Céu calls “Caravana Sereia Bloom” — her third CD, which came out earlier this year — a road album. It is meant to capture, she says, “many aspects of the road,” a topic she’s had ample time to reflect on as a touring artist. “Since my first […]

Singer Curumin is a shining star in Saõ Paulo

Boston Globe, June 25, 2012 “São Paulo is a huge city, but we don’t have a lot of music tradition,” says singer Curumin, speaking of Brazil’s commercial metropolis, with its area population of 20 million. “Samba belongs to Rio, maracatu belongs to Recife — in Brazilian musical history, we don’t have a lot of people […]

Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna finds a home away from home

Boston Globe, June 8, 2012 Yuna didn’t have to come to America. Things were going just fine for the young singer-songwriter back home in Malaysia three years ago, when a Los Angeles artist management company started courting her on the strength of the songs she’d posted online. She had parlayed MySpace popularity into a budding […]

Boston singer Marianne Solivan’s NY move pays off

Boston Globe, May 25, 2012 NEW YORK — This city may boast the nation’s highest concentration of jazz musicians, venues, recording opportunities, and cover-charge-paying aficionados, but that doesn’t mean you can just show up here and get a gig. Just ask singer Marianne Solivan. When she first got here in 2007, with enough money for […]

With jazz trio Pilc Moutin Hoenig, anything can happen

Boston Globe, May 18, 2012 When pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Ari Hoenig play music together, whether in concert or in the studio recording an album, the plan is always the same: There is no plan. No sheet music. Nothing discussed in advanced. Only improvisation. “We go on stage and we don’t […]

Tessa Souter adopts classical airs

Boston Globe, May 14, 2012 The jazz vocalist Tessa Souter, who released her fourth CD, “Beyond the Blue,” last week, has always had an eclectic, even adventurous, approach to repertoire. Alongside songbook standards and Brazilian classics like “Manhã de Carnaval,” she’s delivered scintillating takes on spiritually intense works like Pharoah Sanders’s “The Creator Has a […]

For singer-songwriter Morley, it’s all about connections

Boston Globe, May 11, 2012 NEW YORK — There are lots of birds in the lyrics of Morley, the singer-songwriter who’s found an original place for herself at the intersection of the jazz, folk, funk, and world-music scenes here, and who flits between these worlds with the grace and ease of the winged creatures that […]

Star Slinger finds sweet spot between headphones, dance floor

Boston Globe, May 6, 2012 Even by today’s accelerated standard of Internet-amplified music fame, this one happened pretty fast. Two years ago, the producer Star Slinger was just Darren Williams, age 24 at the time, another provincial British kid messing around making beats, albeit with a degree in music technology from a college in Leeds. […]

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire makes a jazz life on his own terms

Boston Globe, May 4, 2012 NEW YORK — Ambrose Akinmusire — young trumpeter, recent signee to the hallowed Blue Note label, and author, with his quintet, of one of last year’s best-received jazz albums — is a creature of habit. “Annoyingly so,” he says, laughing. He wakes every day at the same time, and makes […]

Rapper Big K.R.I.T. serves rhymes caught in a time-honored tension

Boston Globe, April 29, 2012 There’s a juxtaposition you sometimes hear in hip-hop, a mood swing that throws the listener from heights of hedonistic excess to the depths of an artist’s soul-searching on life, loss, and the meaning of it all. Strip-club anthems might give way to raw expressions of despair, even laced with evocations […]

Atlas Soul makes worlds collide—and party

Boston Globe, April 27, 2012 WATERTOWN – As Anwar Souini describes it, he was browsing the North African section in a Central Square record store in Cambridge one day in 2006, when he came across a CD that intrigued him, by a group called Atlas Soul. That the shop even had a North African section […]

Modeselektor capture the varied sounds of Berlin on ‘Monkeytown’

Boston Globe, April 13, 2012 There’s a track called “Berlin” on “Monkeytown,” the new album by German electronic music duo Modeselektor. Considering that the pair of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary grew up in Berlin, and are among the top ambassadors of the city’s vibrant arts scene — with three albums, their own record label, […]

Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett puts Motor City in his sound

Boston Globe, April 6, 2012 When speaking about jazz, it is established custom to identify a musician’s city of origin, even if he or she left it long ago. This recalls the time when culturally specific scenes thrived in different cities, with distinct idioms and influences, exporting players in this mold onto the national stage. […]

CD review: Filastine, “Loot”

Boston Globe, April 3, 2012 A found-sound quality pervades “Loot,’’ the third album from Filastine, a Los Angeles-raised, Barcelona-based musician-activist who wanders the globe from warehouses to squatters colonies to ecological danger zones, forging ties with fellow dissidents along the way. Pushing a shopping cart rigged with microphones and speakers, he makes and manipulates field […]

No masking his minimalist approach

Boston Globe, March 30, 2012 It’s never a bad idea to strip the clutter away. Valid from home upkeep to personal relations, the principle holds equally true in pop – particularly electronic music, where layers of effects and flurries of adornments threaten dissipating the signal into noise. This has been an issue of late, as […]

Spoek Mathambo brings the future sound of South Africa

Boston Globe, March 23, 2012 “It would be nice if you call me Nthato. It’s how I introduce myself.’’ Nthato Mokgata is trying hard to manage his identities in the face of his blossoming fame. By day he’s Nthato, the low-key, well-spoken 26-year-old from Johannesburg who dropped out of medical school to make his career […]

Zakir Hussain’s conversation of forgotten rhythms

Boston Globe, March 16, 2012 It was only a few weeks ago that Zakir Hussain, the world-famous drum virtuoso and master of the Indian tabla, was making the latest of his discoveries of obscure percussion styles in his home country. Driving through Maharashtra state, his party stopped for a roadside break by a temple in […]

Raga concert explores ties between Indian and Afghan music

Boston Globe, March 9, 2012 NEW YORK – Music is rarely the subject of news from Afghanistan. War, terrorism, corruption, and other such topics have dominated the headlines. And if the Taliban – who outlawed all music save religious chants during their rule from 1996 to 2001 – had had their way, there wouldn’t be […]

Dafnis Prieto plays more than meets the ear

Boston Globe, February 24, 2012 NEW YORK – In a prominent spot on the shelf in the peaceful living room of drummer Dafnis Prieto’s apartment in Washington Heights sits a row of books on one of Prieto’s favorite subjects: optical illusions. Close by is a stack of volumes on an artist famous for his use […]

George Clinton gets to the bottom of funk with Berklee students

Boston Globe, February 10, 2012 He started in doo-wop, then went psychedelic. Throughout the 1970s, his bands Parliament and Funkadelic carved out bold, crazy new spaces in rock and funk, deploying a cast of loopy, absurdist characters fresh off the Mothership – the UFO that for many years throned above their concerts. Samples of their […]

Nimbaya! beats the odds — and the drums

Boston Globe, February 10, 2012 The tremendous swirl of color and rhythm; the rich layering of djembe drums with the kora lute and marimba-like balafon; storytelling theater that starts as gentle conversation and escalates into a dance party that pulls the audience out of their seats: Nimbaya!, the dance and drumming troupe from Guinea, delivers […]

Sunny Jain and Red Baraat make bangers from bhangra

Boston Globe, January 29, 2012 NEW YORK – The drummer Sunny Jain tells the story of a time when he auditioned before Wynton Marsalis, the great trumpeter and consummate arbiter of all things jazz in general, and particularly New Orleans. In lieu of a bass drum, Jain had substituted a dhol – the two-sided drum […]

World music top albums of 2011

Boston Globe, December 18, 2011 1. SUSANA BACA “Afrodiaspora’’ Soulful pedagogy from the sublime-voiced Baca, who this year was named Peru’s culture minister, and here leads a grand tour of Africa-rooted music from Latin America and the Caribbean, including New Orleans, with her customary grace and serene mastery. 2. MAMANI KEITA “Gagner l’argent français’’ A shimmering, just-right […]

Jazz comes first for all-female Mosaic Project

Boston Globe, December 9, 2011 It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s still the case that when a jazz group forms in which all the players are women, that fact attracts at least as much notice as the music they perform. It’s unavoidable: all-women groups remain rare in a jazz world where most performers, listeners, […]

Amália Hoje brings new life to fado’s strongest voice

Boston Globe, December 2, 2011 From the start, it doesn’t feel like fado. Nor does the players’ entrance fit the norm for Lisbon’s hallowed style of melancholy song. It is not the genteel Portuguese guitar but a sharp synthesizer beat that ushers the artists on stage. There are not one but three singers – a […]

She puts the world into her music

Boston Globe, November 19, 2011 NEW YORK – In the course of five albums, the singer Kiran Ahluwalia has blended the Indian classical and folk forms that are her specialty into collaborations with Portuguese fado musicians, the Celtic fiddle of Natalie MacMaster, the Inuit throat singing of Tanya Tagaq, and more. For Ahluwalia, such partnerships […]

From Seattle, with a clean slate

Boston Globe, November 4, 2011 Their new album’s title is a shout-out to 1930s Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, born of their fascination with film studies. The songs are oblique tributes and reflections inspired by film stars, activists, political prisoners, Barack Obama, and … weedhead comic Tommy Chong. Two tracks are eulogies of a kind: one […]

Jazz artist draws richly on Indian roots

Boston Globe, October 30, 2011 It’s been a subtle kind of homecoming for Rudresh Mahanthappa. Of course, southern India was never really home for the alto saxophonist, strictly speaking: Though his parents came from there, he grew up in Colorado and developed his jazz chops at the Berklee College of Music, then on the Chicago […]

Theophilus London makes his name – and his brand

Boston Globe, October 23, 2011 So it actually happens this way: One moment, you’re a kid in Brooklyn with a mixtape, riding classic samples from the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson. Next moment – OK, three years later, but still pretty darn fast – your major label debut is out and playing a different […]

To her ears, Balkan Tales sounds like home

Boston Globe, October 21, 2011 NEW YORK – Here’s a concept: an American-based band that plays music inspired by the folk traditions of the Balkans in southeastern Europe, and that is actually led by someone from that region. This takes nothing away from Balkan Beat Box, Zlatne Uste, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Slavic Soul […]

Accordionist continues on his Balkan-influenced quest

Boston Globe, September 30, 2011 Jeremy Barnes won’t mind if you call him quixotic. In fact, he will take it as a compliment. Like Don Quixote, whose adventures in the Cervantes epic birthed the adjective, Barnes set out long ago on an oddball yet high-minded adventure as the accordionist and co-leader of the New Mexico […]

Their notable conversations

Boston Globe, September 25, 2011 NEW YORK – One of them played at Woodstock. The second got his doctorate in physics at age 24. They found their third member in a small town in France and the fourth working as a personal trainer at an Equinox gym. Behold: A jazz quartet. Of course, more than […]

Das Racist is not your typical rap story

Boston Globe, September 23, 2011 NEW YORK – Back in the day – that is to say, a couple of years ago – Himanshu Suri held down a suit-and-tie job channeling executive talent to Wall Street. That was before he became Heems, full-time rapper and music entrepreneur and one of two MCs in the absurdist […]

Cuban choir salutes Haiti from a distance

Boston Globe, September 11, 2011 After the awful earthquake of January 2010 that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an unusual form of consolation and aid arrived from nearby Cuba, alongside the medical corps that the Cuban government quickly dispatched. This other, less orthodox relief group took the form of a 10-person vocal choir, five women and five […]

Getting down with dub

Boston Globe, September 3, 2011 In the beginning there was dub. Well, in the beginning there was reggae. But from the early 1970s in Jamaica, sound engineers led by now-historic figures such as King Tubby stepped out of the shadows and became performers in their own right. Using controllers, mixers, and effects, they generated a […]

Honoring his roots, Touré blazes his own trail

Boston Globe, August 20, 2011 Four years ago a conversation with Vieux Farka Toure was a loose affair held in a kitchen in Queens while the Malian singer-guitarist and his bandmates cooked lunch amid boxes of CDs. It was Toure’s first US tour; he had a name – he is the son of the great […]