Thursday, 30 December 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's picks comes from Muhummad as a tribute to Teena Marie who recently passed away. Enjoy!

"Behind the Groove" - Teena Marie

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to. 
Please visit our Reader Submission Details Page for more information on how to submit any material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 27 December 2010

This Week's Picks (#25)

The next several series of This Week's Picks are inspired by an often overlooked important aspect of music: the visual. Music is almost always accompanied by costumes, dress, dance, makeup, and/or theatre. The visual can be as simple as a pair of shades on a blues singer or as elaborate as the grand performances of Japanese kabuki theatre.

Last week, we featured dance music. This week, our picks will focus on costume and dress. Please enjoy!

American Style Tribal Bellydance

While this could have been posted in last week's feature on dance, it fits perfectly in the costume/dress category. This is a recent form of dance, developed in California in the 1980s. It takes its inspiration from numerous dance and music styles including Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Spanish, Indian, and Balkan. The costumes aim to reflect the dance's diverse backgrounds. The dancers improvise in groups to music inspired by the same variety of cultures. They wear an elaborate collection of head-wear, jewelery and costuming representing these different cultures. The result is an entertaining and beautiful display of cultural harmony.

African Desert Blues

It is easy for a certain dress or style to become associated with a genre of music. Desert blues, for example, conjures images of light, flowing robes and howli head scarfs. While this may be the traditional Touareg style of dress, it becomes associated with the music the moment artists begin traveling and bringing their music to other cultures. Thus, groups like Tinariwen, rock out in full desert dress and a concert would not be the same without that accompanying visual.


In other situations, the choice of dress may be a conscious decision. AfroCubism is a collaboration of musicians from Cuba and Mali. When seen in a live performance, like the above video, you can easily spot the Cuban musicians from the Malian musicians based on their choice of dress. In this case, the choice of dress is an reaffirmation of culture and background that highlights the collaboration between two different musical genres that are elegantly compatible.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Holidays!

May you and your loved ones have a fantastic Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Kwanza!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's suggestion comes from an anonymous reader. Please enjoy!

"Khalouni" - Souad Massi

Souad Massi is an Algerian singer/songwriter. This track is from her 2005 album, Mesk Elil.

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to. 
Please visit our Reader Submission Details Page for more information on how to submit any material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 20 December 2010

This Week's Picks (#24)

The next several series of This Week's Picks are inspired by an often overlooked important aspect of music: the visual. Music is almost always accompanied by costumes, dress, dance, makeup, and/or theatre. The visual can be as simple as a pair of shades on a blues singer or as elaborate as the grand performances of Japanese kabuki theatre.

Last week, we featured theatrical music. This week, our picks will focus on dance from around the world. Please enjoy!

Spanish Flamenco

I cannot help but start with one of my favorite dances. This is not only my some of my favorite music to listen to, but my favorite to watch in action. Flamenco is thought of as three separate parts- the song, the dance and the guitar. When they come together, you experience raw emotion in both the visual and aural senses. Originating in Southern Spain, it has become a cultural symbol of the entire country. The dance is known for it's emotional intensity, power of expression and proud stature.

Lezginka from the Caucasus

Having seen the Azerbaijani version of this dance last year, I have been enthralled ever since. This video is of the men's dance which is far more energetic and, frankly, more entertaining than the female counterpoint. The men spin, twirl and jump in athletic displays that are fun to watch. The women dance gracefully in elaborate costumes, appearing to float across the floor.

South African Gum Boot Dance

This dance is different in that the musical accompaniment comes from the dance itself. It is a dance performed by dancers wearing gum boots who rhythmically stomp, clap, and slap. The dance was created by gold mine workers in South Africa who were banned from speaking to each other. The dance was not only a means of communication, but a way to keep their spirits alive during the terrible years of the apartheid. It has since evolved into an art form.

Please keep in mind that there are many, many dances and I can only feature a choice few in my series. If I've missed something that you enjoy, please leave a comment below with links to any videos you can find for everyone to enjoy!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Remmy Ongala (1947-2010)*

Sadly, on December 13th, the African music scene lost one of it's greats, Remmy Ongala. Ongala was a respected soukous (Congolese rumba) musician, who helped transform the Tanzanian music scene with the help of his band Orchestra Super Matimila.

Ongala had a passion for speaking out about racism and social injustice. He was often referred to as "The Doctor" for his reputation as a defender of the people. Born in Congo, he began playing in Tanzania in his thirties, writing songs that criticized elite society. However, as his music gained in popularity he was eventually granted Tanzanian citizenship.

Despite growing ill in recent years, he continued to write songs as concerned with social injustice as ever. One song, banned by Radio Tanzania, that urged men to wear condoms was featured on an AIDS awareness album, Spirit of Africa (2001).

Producing music that got a listener to both dance and think, Ongala had a talent that African music lovers will sorely miss.

An essential playlist in tribute to Ongala should include:

"No Money, No Life" (Mambo)

"Kifo" (Songs for the Poor Man)

"Karola" (Songs for the Poor Man)

Remmy Ongala: Tanzania music fans mourn 'the Doctor', BBC News
Remmy Ongala Dies, AllVoices
Remmy Ongala, Afropop Worldwide

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's pick comes from Rafi. Please enjoy!

"Rut Sawant" - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a renowned Pakistani artist. He was an exceptionally gifted musician who was best known for singing Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music that celebrates the various spiritual traditions within Islam. It may sound cliché but it is hard to describe Nusrat without getting emotional. Nusrat’s voice was truly one of a kind, his vocals bellowed an array of mystical and ethereal sounds that captured his audience.

The following excerpt is from an article written by the late Jeff Buckley. Jeff was a phenomenal musician and was a loyal fan of Nusrat. Jeff Buckley captures perfectly how it feels when listening to Nusrat for the very first time.

The first time I heard the voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was in Harlem, 1990. My roommate and I stood there, blasting it in his room. We were all awash in the thick undulating tide of dark punjabi tabla rhythyms, spiked with synchronized handclaps booming from above and below in hard, perfect time.

I heard the clarion call of harmoniums dancing the antique melody around like giant, singing wooden spiders. Then all of a sudden, the rising of one, then ten voices hovering over the tonic like a flock of geese ascending into formation across the sky.

Then came the voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Part Buddha, part demon, part mad angel...his voice is velvet fire, simply incomparable. Nusrat's blending of classical improvisations to the art of Qawwali, combined with his out and out daredevil style and his sensitivity, outs him in a category all his own, above all others in his field.

His every enunciation went straight into me. I knew not one word of Urdu, and somehow it still hooked me into the story that he weaved with his wordless voice. I remember my senses fully froze in order to feel melody after melody crash upon each other in waves of improvisation; with each line being repeated by the men in the chorus, restated again by the main soloists, and then Nusrat setting the whole bloody thing alflame with his rapid-fire scatting, turning classical Indian Solfeggio (Sa, Re, Gha, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni) into a chaotic/manic birdsong. The phrase burst into a climax somewhere, with Nusrat's upper register painting a melody that made my heart long to fly. The piece went on for fifteen minutes. I ate my heart out. My roommate just looked at me knowingly, muttering, "Nusrat...Fa-teh...A-li...Khaaan," like he had just scored the wine of the century. I felt a rush of adrenaline in my chest, like I was on the edge of a cliff, wondering when I would jump and how well the ocean would catch me: two questions that would never be answered until I experienced the first leap.
(Reviewed by Rafi)

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to. 
Please visit our Reader Submission Details Page for more information on how to submit any material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 13 December 2010

This Week's Picks (#23)

The next several series of This Week's Picks are inspired by an often overlooked important aspect of music: the visual. Music is almost always accompanied by costumes, dress, dance, makeup, and/or theatre. The visual can be as simple as a pair of shades on a blues singer or as elaborate as the grand performances of Japanese kabuki theatre.

This week, our picks will focus on the theatrical side of music from around the world.  Please enjoy!

Japanese Kabuki

Kabuki is an elaborate Japanese performance form. The kanji characters that make up the word "kabuki" mean "sing", "dance", and "skill". It originated in the 1600s and characters were played by both women and men. Now, known as yaro kabuki it is only performed by men. There are three categories of kabuki theatre: historical, domestic, and dance. Today, kabuki is the most popular traditional Japanese dance style.

Indonesian Wayang Kulit

Wayang kulit refers to the most famous of Indonesian wayang (Indonesian theatre), the shadow puppets. The puppets are made of leather and their articulated limbs are maneuvered  by sticks. The performances are accompanied by gamelan orchestras in Java and gender wayang ensembles in Bali.  The stories are usually taken from Ramayana, Mahabharata or the Serat Menak.

Indian Bharata Natyam Dance

Bharata Natyam is a traditional dance accompanied by classical music (light instrumentation and a voice). The dance is highly technical and includes detailed neck, head, eye, feet and hand movements that help tell a story. The more famous of these gestures are the mudras, or spiritually symbolic gestures, generally involving the hands. Generally, a woman dances solo and demonstrates both feminine and masculine aspects of movement.

Monday, 6 December 2010

This Week's Picks (#22)

While making my way across the the American SouthWest on an epic car journey, it feels appropriate for NP to play a tribute to the slowly approaching Mexican border. Please enjoy this week's pick!

"Cumbia Campanera" - Celso Pina

Pina is a well known Mexican singer and accordionist. This track is from his 2003 album El Canto De Un Rebelde Para Un Rebelde. Pina is known for his cumbia music, though this release features many other styles in a left-leaning, politically-charged album. Cumbia is a Latin American style originating in Colombia that has found wide-spread popularity, including in Mexico.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

This Week's Picks (#21)

Please enjoy this week's picks.

"A Night Like This" - Caro Emerald

This track is from Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald's debut album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor released in 2009. She may be new on the scene, but she creates a hip twist on a throwback jazz and swing sound.

"Grand Sud" - Eugenio Bennato

Eugenio Bennato is an Italian artist who specialises in tarantella, folk music of Southern Italy. Tarantella is one of the most recognizable folk styles of Italy.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

This Week's Picks (#20)

Things are a little crazy as I pack and prepare for my trip back to the States, so this week's post is abbreviated. However, I hope you enjoy and please send in your picks for Wednesday's Reader Picks!

"Sweet Home Chicago" - Robert Johnson

Ok, so I'm not going home to Chicago, but rather than criticize me you should be thanking me for not choosing Christmas music (which I have already pulled out). As I pack my bags for a holiday season at home, I do enjoy listening to this track. I'm not the only one craving my old home in the States. 

Thursday, 18 November 2010


First, I should apologize for missing both the "This Week's Picks" and "Wednesday Reader Picks" this week, but I was in Madrid....can you blame me?

I had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful Spanish city and consuming more tapas and good Spanish wine then I would like to admit. On Monday night, I went to the jazz club, Cafe Central to enjoy a show that was part of the 2010 Madrid Jazz Festival. In return for missing the past few days' posts, here's a review of that gig:

Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet at Café Central in Madrid Monday 15th November 2010 Review

Patrons lit up cigarettes and chatted calmly amongst themselves as a drummer tested his drum kit on stage. It had all makings of a cool jazz evening. The Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet was set to perform as part of the 2010 Madrid Jazz Festival at the smaller, more “authentic” Café Central jazz club. The quartet started the evening with an energetic chart that was experimental but palatable. The quartet excelled at the showy intensity of most of their pieces, which risked becoming predictable if it weren’t for a few moments of brilliant melody and quiet reserve. The pianist, Moisés P. Sánchez, showed off throughout the night with his fast fingers and extended techniques. The quartet put on a good show that thrilled the audience and that proved to be a good addition to the Madrid Jazz Festival.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Gregory Isaacs (1951-2010)

On October 25th, Jamaican reggae singer Gregory Isaacs lost his battle with lung cancer. Isaacs led a long career singing smooth reggae, starting to record in his teens. Developing a style that was smooth and romantic, Isaacs distinguished himself as a top reggae artist. A drug addiction threaten to end his career early until his 2008 album Brand New Me proved that he was still capable of producing a top quality album. His latest album Isaacs Meets Isaac, with Zimbabwean reggae singer King Isaac, was released while he was still living.

A suggested playlist in tribute to Isaacs long and successful career includes:

“Night Nurse”

“Let’s Dance”

“Soon Forward”

“I Will Return”

“Over and Over Again”

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Ana Moura's London Debut

The Portuguese fado singer, Ana Moura, finally made her London debut on Thursday at Islington’s Union Chapel. Riding on the success of her most recent album, Leva-me Aos Fados (2009), she attracted an enthusiastic audience. 

While Moura’s opening act, Pura Fé, was disappointing, Ana was a true star. Moura and her band were greeted throughout the night to thunderous applause and adoration by the audience. Her strong deep voice often left the audience breathless. The highlight of the night for this reviewer was Moura’s rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations”. Moura’s performance of the classic left me with tears in my eyes. Moura also performed a show-stopper when she switched off the amplification and sang acoustically as if she was in a traditional fado house. 

Moura was accompanied by a band of acoustic guitar, bass, and the talented Bernardo Couto on Portuguese guitarra. While Moura stole the show with her sparkling dresses and powerful voice, Couto’s virtuosity was noticed and appreciated by the audience. 

Moura’s London debut was a definite success. She has left her adoring London fans anxiously awaiting her return.
"Os Buzios"

"No Expectations"

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Check out some of the great gigs coming up tonight and tomorrow.

  • *November 6th, Saturday 9:00pm: Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos @ Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Rd Brixton SW1 1DF) FREE ALEJANDRO TOLEDO AND THE MAGIC TOMBOLINOS, Hoots favs, recently showcased on C4, 'seduced by an exotic sway of melodies..a frenzy of beats and riffs which left us unabel to sit still, gypsy klezmer with shades of Middle Eastern mystery interspersed with vibrant African and Latin, the mix was intoxicating,' Songlines
  • November 7th, Sunday, 6:00pm: Raki and Rebetiko with Cigdem Aslan @ Ottoman Palace (14-16 Camden High Street NW1 0JH) £8-10  An evening of Turkish and Greek song, led by talented singer Cigdem Aslan, in the opulent surroundings of Camden's Ottoman Palace.The evening wil recreate the mood of a typical 'Cafe Aman' or 'Meyhane' with plenty of food on the table and drink flowing freely!
  • *November 7th, Sunday 7:00pm: El Mahico @ Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Rd Brixton SW1 1DF) FREE Rootmaster presents EL MAHICO Hip Hop and Funk with Flamenco guitars and Latin flavour: "Flamenco and rock have been fused before....But Leicester's El Mahico venture into entirely new territory, adding hip-hop and political punch and the musical mix works surprisingly well." 

Also, watch this space for a review of fado singer Anan Moura's London debut.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to.

How do I get my review posted?
Send the review you've written and a link to the track on YouTube to Please include the name you would like us to use as the author of the review (it can be your full name, first name, or user name). We will post up to three tracks in a given week.

I have a great track I would like to share, but I don't want to write a review. Can I still share it?
Of course! Please send us an email with a link to the track on YouTube and we might include the track in our "This Week's Picks" series.

I emailed a review and it did not show up in this week's series. Should I resend it?
No. We keep all the reviews we receive and if your review didn't make the cut for this week's series, we will keep it to possibly appear in another series. However, we have the right to mediate the content on this blog. If we feel your review does not belong on this blog, either for inappropriate content or an inappropriate piece, we will not post it.

Monday, 1 November 2010

This Week's Picks (#19)

Please enjoy this week's picks!

"Yegelle Tezeta" Mulatu Astatke

I have recently fallen in love with this track. It was made famous a few years ago by being featured in the movie Broken Flowers. Astatke is the father of Ethio-Jazz and his most recent album Mulatu Steps Ahead has received great reviews. This track is mellow and, recorded in 1970s, stands the test of time.

"Batarsite" Danyel Waro

Waro is this year's winner of the WOMEX 10 Award for Artists from this weekend's festival. He is a musician and activist from Reunion Island. The genre is called maloya which mixes music from Africa, Madagascar and India.

Monday, 25 October 2010

This Week's Picks (#18)

For this week's picks, we're going retro! These tracks are classics that have no contemporary equal. Please enjoy!

"Independance Cha Cha" - African Jazz

This immortal track was released by African Jazz in 1960 after Congo won its independence. The track reflects the overall good feeling and happiness of a people still basking in the glow of recently won independence. African Jazz was Congo's first full-time performing rumba band setting the tone for the Congolese rumba phenomenon that would take over a continent for the next three decades.

"Enta Omri" - Umm Kulthum

Recognized as one of the Arab world's most famous singers to this day, Umm Kulthum is undoubtedly a classic.Kulthum is an Egyptian singer and actress who was known for her powerful, emotional voice. She could send an entire audience into a musical ecstasy and keep them hanging on every note. This track is one of her most famous songs.

"Rag Charukeshi" - Ravi Shankar 

You cannot speak of "World Music Greats" without mentioning Ravi Shankar. Shankar is famous for bringing the sounds of India to America and for his involvement with The Beatles and George Harrison. He is considered to be the best sitar performer of the 20th century.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Be sure not to miss some of these great shows this weekend!

  • *October 22nd, Friday 7:00pm: Llego La Cumbia!: Pollito Boogaloo @ SOAS Brunei Gallery ( Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square WC1H 0XG) FREE Translating as ‘little dancing chicken’ the Pollito Boogaloo boys deliver raw Afro-Colombian roots music drawing from classic 60s Cumbia, Vallenato and Puya and mixing in a little dub and some Haitian voodoo! Fronted by charismatic Colombian vocalist Rafael Berrio they are one of Brighton’s hottest Latino outfits regularly firing up all-nighters in some of the south coast’s smokiest basements and recently played a storming London debut at Arriba La Cumbia.
  • October 22nd, Friday 7:00pm: Diabel Cissokho and Ramon Goose @ The Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £10 Senegalese musician Diabel Cissokho is part of a griot family of musicians with a rich musical heritage. He grew up in Dakar, and started playing the kora at the age of 9. Kora player for Baba Maal for close to three years, he has supported and played with numerous artists, including Nuru Kane, Abdou Diop, Kandia Kouyate and Mama Draba - as well as performing alongside Femi Kuti, Cheikh Lo and Manu Dibango.
  • October 22nd, Friday 7:30pm: Celebration of Life @ Royal Festival Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £10-20 The mighty Celebration of Life Concert returns with reggae veterans Aswad. After two decades on the music scene and fifteen albums under their belts, 'The Lions of Ladbroke Grove' remain one of the country's best-loved reggae bands, mixing musical genres, from pop and reggae to lovers rock and urban roots.
  • *October 24th, Sunday 7:00pm: Krar Collective @ Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Rd Brixton SW1 1DF) FREE Rootmaster in association with Movimientos presents KRAR COLLECTIVE: other-worldy Ethiopian modes and hypnotic rhythms driven by 6-stringed krar harp 

 Diabel Cissokho and Ramon Goose @ The Green Note, Friday

Aswad @ Royal Festival Hall, Friday

Monday, 18 October 2010

This Week's Picks (#17)

The human voice is one of the most amazing instruments we have available. Cultures from around the world have capitalized on its power and range of capabilities, which is the inspiration for this week's picks. Please enjoy!

"Illunikavi" by Tanya Tagaq

This is a new find for me this week. Tanya Tagaq is a Canadian Inuit throat singer. Innuit throat singing is usually sung by two women, but she has created a new form of solo singing. While her movements are quite distracting, she produces some amazing sounds that are fun to listen to.

Live Performance by Huun Huur Tu

Huun Huur Tu is from the republic of Tuva in Russia, famous for it's distinct throat singing (or overtone singing). The style requires singing several (2-4) notes at the same time, and this particular style is the sygyt, or whistling" throat singing.

Elmeddin Ibrahimov

Azeri mugam is famous for it's complicated and impressive glottal sounds performed by the singer. This musician, Elmeddin Ibrahimov may be young, but he has obvious talent. It is unfortunate that this audio and visual do not match up, but Ibrahimov's voice redeems the video.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Keep your weekend free for the great gigs coming up!

  • October 15th, Friday 7:00pm: Jaljala The Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £10 Arabic Rhythms, Eastern European Harmonies, Haunting Melodies, Beautiful Voices. Jaljala is an innovative collaboration between musicians of different nationalities and faiths, from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
  • October 16th, Saturday 8:00pm: Amit Chaudhuri @ Rich Mix (35-47 Bethnal Green Road E1 6LA) £8-£11 Amit Chaudhuri presents his unique mix of raga, jazz, rock, blues, techno and disco – "one of the most original and exciting sounds in contemporary music today", say critics. The Amit Chaudhuri Band will be playing material both from the acclaimed first CD This Is Not Fusion and the new album, Found Music, whose repertoire, as with the first album, emerges from a rich variety of sources and includes improvisational pieces, reworkings of classics, and songs about the globalised world we live in.
  • *October 17th, Sunday 7:00pm: Explosive Nzakomba @ Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Rd Brixton SW1 1DF) FREE Rootmaster in association with Movimientos presents EXPLOSIVE NZAKOMBA: Congolese and Angolan Soukous and Zouk rumbas, Calypso and Reggae
  • October 17th, Sunday 7:45pm: Music for the Mind and Soul: Carnatic Chills @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £12 In an attempt to push the boundaries of Indian classical music a little bit further, Krishnan, Srinivasan and Purushotham come together to create a unique sound fusing three instruments rarely heard together - piano, violin and kanjira.

  Amit Chaudhuri (Saturday @ Rich Mix)

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan (Sunday @ Southbank Centre)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's reader pick comes from Rafi. Please enjoy and send in your pick(s) for next week!

"Mehangai Dayan" from the movie Peepli Live

This lively track is a cheeky song about the rising of prices. The movie, Peepli Live, is a 2010 Indian comedy about "farmer suicides."

Have a great track you'd like to submit for next week? Click here for info on submitting material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 4 October 2010

This Week's Picks (#16)

I hope the following week's tracks will make up for the lack of posts this week. :) Please enjoy!

"Autorail" by Orchestra Baobab

Orchestra  Baobab are a Senegalese Afro-Cuban band that formed in the seventies and epitimizes the sound of the genre. This track is from their 1993 album, Bamba, which features recordings from the 1980s. The band famously mixes Cuban rhythms with Wolof and Mandinka traditions from West Africa creating the smooth sounds you hear in the video.

"Walodhani No Mazaha (Those Who Thought it was a Joke)" by Mohamd Ilyas

Moving closer to my own research insterests, here's a piece from the spice island of Zanzibar. Mohamad Ilyas is taarab musician. Taarab is Zanzibar's biggest musical export, and is a genre of mixed styles and shows Arabic influences. While I spent time in Zanzibar studying other genres of music, it was impossible to avoid this beautiful music. It is easy to understand why so many people love taarab.

"Mast Qalandar" by Faiz Ali Faiz and Titi Robin

Pakistani qawwali singer Faiz Ali Faiz and French guitarist Titi Robin join forces in this album to create an inspiring fusion. This track is from the recently released album Jaadu (Magic). This track is fun and moving. The qawwali singers add an undeniable force to Titi's music and the creative sounds that come out of this partnership are simply wonderful.

Monday, 27 September 2010

This Week's Picks (#15)

For this week, we're keeping to an "Asian" theme. I don't feature much from the Middle East or East Asia often so please enjoy this week's picks!

"Kidda" by Natasha Atlas

Natasha Atlas is a Belgian singer known for her fusions using largely Arabic genres. Some of her music features hip-hop, drum and bass, and reggae. This track is a beautiful example of this fusion.

"Yi Zu Wu Qu" by Lingling Yu

I first heard this Chinese instrument, the pipa, this week played by a friend and thought it had the most amazing sound. Lingling Yu is a virtuoso on the pipa and is internationally known. She has recently released a new album, Xu Lai and I highly recommend picking it up.

"Rast Taqsim" by Naseer Shamma

Naseer Shamma is an Iraqi musician who follows the Baghdadi School of oud playing. He is the only musician to construct the eight string oud following 9th century texts by the music theorist, al-Farabi.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Searching for the next fix...

Do you love Nomad's Playlist as much as I do? Do you find yourself checking the blog every hour, just in case I've posted the next entry? Do you wish that Nomad's Playlist was a person so that you could marry it and make sweet, sweet (and yet, legitimate) love to it?

In that case, you'll love to hear that you can get your Nomad's Playlist fix on more than one media!

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Finally, pleeeeeaaasse submit your material! I'm SICK of hearing what I like, and more interested in hearing what's on YOUR playlist!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? We love to hear about what our readers are listening to, and if you have a great track to share, send us an email with your review for our weekly "Wednesday's Reader Picks." Here, we want to know what you listen to.

  • Don't forget to include a YouTube or (similar video/audio link) with your submission, so that our other readers can enjoy the music too!
  • We generally keep our reviews less than 100 words— short and sweet and all about the music. If you really love the track and feel inclined to write more, please feel free to do so!
  • Please avoid swearing. We love the fact that you are passionate about the music, but try to keep it clean.
  • If you submitted a track review and it did not appear in the next "Wednesday's Reader Picks" series, please do not resubmit it. We are restricted to the number of readers picks we can post each week and will hold on to yours for another week.

Click Here for more details on submitting material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Something Different

I'm finally finished with my masters dissertation! I know my blog has suffered as of late due to the last minute deadline craze, but it's all over. I thought that rather than post another "This Week's Picks", I should do something completely different. (This could also be because I'm lazy and this requires less work than a This Week's Picks entry.)

I thought I'd post my dissertation abstract, just in case anyone is interested in the topic. If you would like to read the dissertation, please send me an email and I'd be happy for forward you a copy. Please enjoy!


Sound Systems and Spirits: Music and Spirit Possession in Zanzibar

This paper is the result of preliminary field research on music and spirit possession in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The ceremonies I attended during my research revealed concepts of perception, the sacred, modernity, and identity existent within the phenomenon of spirit possession. I offer a critical review of the literature concerning spirit possession on the Swahili coast and music in spirit possession, demonstrating their ineffectiveness in discussing the concepts I encountered. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the literature and methodologies, this paper aims at developing a methodology suitable for further research of music and spirit possession in Zanzibar. The new methodology presented here provides further research with the means of investigating the sensitivity of the sacred, music technology, and musical geography. Offering a new approach, this paper then poses questions the new methodology should investigate.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Today's reader pick comes from Julia. Enjoy!

"Number 1 Bus" by Nuru Kane

I have to admit that I have also been a bit obbessed with this song recently as well. It's so catchy! Kane is a Senegalese songwriter who plays guitar and guimbri, a Moroccan three-stringed lute.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Prepare yourself for a crazy weekend! There are more concerts coming up than you'll know what to do with. If you don't make it to at least one...shame on you. :)

  • *September 10th, Friday 5:00pm: DJ Edu Radio 1 Extra@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE A new DJ on the airwaves, DJ Edu of Radio 1 Extra brings his DestiNation Africa to a live audience with a mix of the hottest underground sounds out of Africa - from hip-hop and RnB to dancehall, garage and D&B. 
  • September 10th, Friday 6:00pm: La Paranza Del Geco @ Inn on the Green (3-5 Thorpe Close Ladbrok Grove W10 5XL) £6-8 They played an AMAZING show in May and this time they are back in London with 10 FABULOUS FEMALE DANCERS all the way from Italy and ready to inspire you with their incredible music and moves. Pizzica and Tarantella are traditional Italian music and dance. These days they are very popular again with big festivals all over southern Italy. The most famous is La Notte de la Taranta. Experience the amazing energy for yourself.
  • *September 10th, Friday 6:00pm: Amira Khier @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Sudanese singer Amira Kheir creates something new with a fusion of jazz styles and East African melodies. (Book tickets online)
  • September 10th, Friday 8:30pm: MC Solaar @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/£10 One of the greatest names in modern French music, MC Solaar arrives with his distinctive mix of powerful lyrics and inventive rhymes that have taken him from the French underground to international acclaim. MC Solaar is an intensely charismatic performer whose thrilling live show is dominated by his signature smooth flow and linguistic fluidity, backed by throbbing funky beats that mix traditional African rhythms with urban techno. MC Solaar breaks the rules again with this freestyle touchdown, where he is joined by vocalists and a DJ to create an extravagant live show.
  • *September 10th, Friday 10:30pm: Sarah Ndagire @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE  Uganda 's diva Sarah Ndagire has for a long time been a famous voice on several radio stations in Uganda. She makes her London debut, introduced by DJ Edu. (Book tickets online)
  • September 11th, Saturday 3:00pm: Alemu Aga @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15/7.50 The Ethiopian King David's harp master Alemu Aga brings his spiritual and meditative songs to the festival for the first time. Alemu Aga plays an ancient instrument with ten strings called a beganna, a rare musical instrument of that has survived for nearly 6,000 years and is considered by Ethiopians to be the harp of King David of Israel. This is magical roots music of the ancient world and the closest we will get to hearing music referred to in the Bible.
  • September 11th, Saturday 6:00pm: Rafiki Jazz @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15/7.50 World music's hottest big band brings their exciting mix of global rhythms to the big smoke. Featuring the combined talent of musicians from Zanzibar, Mauritius, Senegal, Colombia, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the UK, who effortlessly blend to create big, vibrant, dancing sounds for today's multicultural world. The result is music of astounding power.
  • September 11th, Saturday 8:00pm: Asheber and the Afrikan Revolution @ Rich Mix (35-47 Bethnal Green Rd E1 6LA) £5 adv/£7 door Brand new super group Asheber and The Afrikan Revolution are taking London by storm. Led by multi-talented musician and educator Niles ‘Asheber’ Hailstones and featuring many of the most innovative grassroots musicians in the UK, they bring to the stage a seamless mixture of continent-wide Afrikan musical styles with elements of Reggae, Jazz, Soul, Blues, Hip-Hop, Funk and Spoken Word from the Diaspora. They are joined by DJ Duke Etienne.
  • September 11th, Saturday 8:30pm: The Master Drummers of Africa @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/10 The world's greatest drum orchestra in full flow is one of the most thrilling and unforgettable spectacles in world music today. The Master Drummers of Africa features ten drummers from ten African nations and draws from 5000 years of tribal rhythms to create ecstatic and freewheeling music straight from the heart of African cultures in a dynamic stage show. They bring us their new show Lighting and Thunder in their first London concert in five years. The Lighting and Thunder suite draws from the rhythms of over 300 tribes of Africa . Using over 100 ethnic drums, the orchestra creates uplifting and infectious rhythms that are mysterious, spiritual, celebratory and utterly compelling.
  • September 12th, Sunday 1:00pm: Khyam Allami and Nicoletta Demetriou @ The Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £10 An exciting and exclusive series of collaborations by London based Iraqi ‘Ūd player Khyam Allami focusing on music from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and elsewhere. After a hectic year of travels and major performances at WOMAD and the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Proms, Khyam will kick off this series of collaborations with a set of solo ‘Ūd followed by a set with Cypriot singer Nicoletta Demetriou. Following their beautiful session for BBC R3's World Routes earlier this year, this is their first proper live performance. They will also be appearing live on BBC London 94.9 (Radio) on Saturday 11 Sep with DJ Ritu between 8 - 10pm.
  • September 12th, Sunday 7:00pm: Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis The Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £10 Kristi Stassinopoulou in singing and story telling, on ac. guitar, Indian harmonium, frame drums and small percussions and Stathis Kalyviotis on laouto, electronic looper, electric guitar, groove sampler and baglamas create a soundscape ranging from purely acoustic to purely electronic, visiting all the in-betweens, with arrangements of Greek traditional folk songs and creations from their own albums.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 2:00pm: 4Seasons Band and Temitope Ajayi@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Gospel jazz funk group 4Seasons Band joins forces with new Afro soul vocal discovery Temitope Ajayi to play music from their debut CD, Sound of Light.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 4:00pm: Sona Jobarteh@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Sensational new kora player Sona Jobarteh brings freshness to the sound of the kora with modern music.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 6:00pm: Mauricio Velasierra Quintet @ Rich Mix Bar  (35-47 Bethnal Green Rd E1 6LA) FREE Velasierra is a pioneering player of traditional Andean flutes.  Reinventing the kena Flute as a fully chromatic instrument, has allowed him to develop a truly original musical language. With influences ranging from African music to jazz, his compositions are a rich mixture of largely unexplored Andean rhythms combined with contemporary melodies and harmonies. 
  • *September 12th, Sunday 6:00pm: Laye Sow @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Singer and guitarist Laye Sow is one of the most exciting new musicians from West Africa, who is not afraid to mix mbalax and hi-life with funk, soul and hip-hop.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 7:00pm: Boujemaa Boujoul @ Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Rd Brixton SW1 1DF) FREE Rootmaster presents BOUJEMAA BOUJOUL: Master musician of the Gnawa tradition Boujemaa Bouboul hails from the ancient southern Moroccan town of Tarroudant. Gnawa is the music of slavery and tells of their history. The Gnawa are the descendants of Sudanese slaves who were imported into Morocco around the 12th century by Arab traders to help build up the Arab empire. Gnawa mystical brotherhoods exist to pass on this history. It is also the music of trance and healing and the Gnawi use their powers to cure sickness and exorcise bad spirits.
  • September 12th, Sunday 8:30pm: London Community Gospel Choir@ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/10 For years the mighty London Community Gospel Choir, founded by the legendary Bazil Meade, has produced some of the finest gospel singers in the country, as well as lending their heavenly voices in live shows and recordings from Sir Paul McCartney to Elton John, George Michael and Mariah Carey. With some of the finest singers in London raising the roof and a funky band providing the pulse, the choir performs a show to lift your spirits and soothe your soul. 
Are we missing a concert happening this weekend? Let us know and we'll correct our mistake asap! 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Today's recommendation comes from our reader, Muhummad. Please enjoy!

"Candela" by Buena Vista Social Club

 I know,  I'm surprised too! I can't believe we haven't featured these guys yet. This all-time favorite Cuban band is internationally famous, and for good reason! Formed in the 1990s, the group named after a members dance and music club in Havana have found their success by playing Cuban and Latin American grooves.

Do you have a track you'd like to post for our "Wednesday's Reader Pick" series? We'd love to hear it! Click here for more information on submitting material to NP.

Monday, 6 September 2010

This Week's Picks (#14): My Favorites (continued)

Last week, I realized I had not yet featured some of my all time favorite music. This week I'm showcasing a few more of my all-time favorite tracks. Please enjoy!

"La Bush Resistance" by Balkan Beat Box

I know I've already featured these guys in my very first "This Week's Picks" but I just love these guys so much. This track, from their self-titled album, is not only a great one for their ability to update Balkan sounds, but for the lyrics. "Bring the dance and leave the guns." It's a great philosophy.

"Ja Fun Mi" by King Sunny Ade

I blame my obsession with world music on this man. When I was seven I came across his album, E Dide, and asked my mom to buy it. I got it and could not stop listening to it. How many seven year olds jam out to Nigerian pop music? While I couldn't find E Dide on YouTube, here's another great track from a great artist.

"Tabla Toy" by Beats Antique

Picking just one song from this trio was difficult. Like most of the other artists feature this week and last, I love just about every song they've ever made. One of the trio is a dancer, dancing during their live shows, therefore, every song has a great beat or deliciously slow melody to snake along to. While this video does not feature any dancing, I highly recommend checking out some other videos that do, like this one.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's pick comes as a suggestion from the reader Rafi. Enjoy!

"Quelqu'un m'a dit" by Carla Bruni

Bruni is an Italian-born French singer. She is also married to the president of France, Sarkozy and is the first lady of France.

Monday, 30 August 2010

This Week's Picks (#13): My Favorites

Striving to not only bring my readers new music, but introduce myself to new music, I've realized that my "This Week's Picks" have ignored some of my absolute favorite tracks. So please enjoy this week's picks.

"In the Shadow of Life" by Niyaz

I think I have a girl crush on Azam Ali. She is quite the versatile musician perusing a solo career as well as selling some top albums with the groups Niyaz and Vas. I'm not sure there's a track Niyaz has performed that I don't like. Ali was born in Iran, grew up in India and eventually ended up in Los Angles. She brings all of these influences into her music and that is what keeps her music so fascinating. This track is from their first album, Niyaz (2005). There is something about the sounds in this piece that strike some chord deep within me. Normally, Niyaz is quite upbeat and rhythmic (for example, click here), but this track is a diversion from that and is one of their best tracks.

"Tala Sawari" by Ravi Shankar

Everyone knows and loves Ravi Shankar, but I can't help but name him as one of my favorites. I, like many others, easily became captured by the sounds of the sitar and have vivid memories of relaxing as a kid in my room to this album. One of my first CDs was the Beatles' St Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band, that featured the track "Within or without you," which was my introduction to the sitar. I fell in love with the instrument, and shortly afterward, fell in love with the name that has been immortally connected to it: Ravi Shankar.

"Mutoto Kwanza" by Angelique Kidjo

I've already featured Angelique Kidjo while covering this year's World Cup concert, but she's deserves another track. I love this woman, and so does almost everyone else. She's one of the biggest female names to come from Africa since Miriam Makeba. This track is from her album Oyaya! (2004), my first album of Kidjo. I have since collected most of her albums as I love her energy and most of all her voice!

Stay tuned for next week, where I finish my last pick of personal all-time favorites. In the meantime, send me yours!

Monday, 23 August 2010

This Week's Picks (#12)

Please enjoy this week's picks in which we share with you our favorite tracks for the week.

"Naftule attitude 2 (Naftaley's freylekh)" by Yom

This track is from 2008 album, The New King of Klezmer Clarinet. It certainly takes no stretch of the imagination to see why Yom has been dubbed the king of American Klezmer. At the risk of offending all my clarinet friends, I admit that I'm not a fan of classical clarinet, but throw it into the mix in some Mediterranean music, and I am loving it. This piece may be on the short side, but it is about all you can take before you explode from clarinet awesomeness.

"Do Not Love Too Long" by The Abramson Singers

Now here is something you don't hear too often, Canadian folk. The Abramson Singers, from Toronto, formed after Leah Abramson, singer/songwriter, had to stop playing the guitar due to tendentious. Rather than give up music, she wrote a cappella and thus the Abramson Singers were formed. The Abramson Singers are able to beautifully weave vocal melodies together is a mix of folk and indie.

"Red Wine" by Bibi Tanga and The Selenites

Bibi Tanga grew up in Paris as an immigrant from the Central African Republic. Tanga takes his influences from jazz, afro-beat, and funk. Sporting a distinct retro-chic look, Tanga and The Selenites mix this influences together and are able to produce a sound that remains cool and has got just the right groove.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? We love to hear about what our readers are listening to, and if you have a great track to share, send us an email with your review for our weekly "Wednesday's Reader Picks." Here, we want to know what you listen to.

  • Don't forget to include a YouTube or (similar video/audio link) with your submission, so that our other readers can enjoy the music too!
  • We generally keep our reviews less than 100 words— short and sweet and all about the music. If you really love the track and feel inclined to write more, please feel free to do so!
  • Please avoid swearing. We love the fact that you are passionate about the music, but try to keep it clean.
  • If you submitted a track review and it did not appear in the next "Wednesday's Reader Picks" series, please do not resubmit it. We are restricted to the number of readers picks we can post each week and will hold on to yours for another week.

Click Here for more details on submitting material to Nomad's Playlist.

Monday, 16 August 2010

This Week's Picks (#11)

Please enjoy this week's picks!

"Diaphanes" by Dhafer Youssef

Youssef grew up in Tunisia and at a young age made his first oud out of whatever he could find lying around -- cans, bicycle spokes, fishing net. That young oud player, with his homemade oud, has grown up into a magnificent player. Playing music that captures your attention like only the oud can, Youssef performs music best for contemplation or meditation. The soft melodies are relaxing, and yet provoke introspection and reflection. This track is from his 2003 album, Digital Prophecy.

"Asfalt Tango" by Fanfare Ciocarlia

To wake you up after the calming tack by Youssef, here's something a little more exciting. Fanfare Ciocarlia is a gypsy brass band from Northern Romania. This track is from their 1999 release, Baro Biao. This track is a perfect example of the Balkan groove and should at the very least get your foot tapping.

"Africans" by Nneka

Nneka is a Nigerian-German hip hop singer who sings in either English or Igbo. She grew up in Nigeria, but started her music career after moving to Germany when she was 18. This track was released on her 2005 album, Victim of Truth and asks Africans to wake up and stop blaming.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

This weekend see the group featured in our Wednesday's Reader Picks, the Krar Collective.

August 15th, Saturday 8:30pm: Krar Collective and Yak Attack @ The New Empowering Church (1A Westgate Street E8 3RL) Live music by Ethiopian phenomenon KRAR COLLECTIVE - a six string power house of great grooves and exotic moods. Just played at WOMAD festival - everyone loved them. YAK ATTACK (Afro Asian Funk / Himalayan Blues Dub)Rooted in the foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas, Yak Attack is a London based, shape-shifting musical outfit built around a core of Afro-Asian rhythms. Fusing Nepali/Himalayan folk and Raag with Funk, Afrobeat, Blues, Dub and other traditions and influences as and when the Yaks feel like it.

To see some videos of the Krar Collective, check out Wednesday's post. Here are some videos to get you in the mood for Yak Attack:

(you might want to skip to 0:55 on this video)

Can't make this show? Check out our Nomad's Calendar and be sure not to miss of the other upcoming shows! Do you know of a show that's not on our calendar? Let us know and we'll get it up there.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's reader picks come not as a track review, but an artist suggestion from Julia. The artist is Krar Collective.

The krar is a 5 or 6 stringed lute from Eritrea and Ethiopia that often amplified. The Krar Collective is a group based here in London that (obviously) features the krar and plays Ethiopian music with a contemporary edge. Unfortunately, the group has only a few videos available online and the sound quality is not the best, but it does give you an idea of the group's vibrancy and you don't need descent sound quality to admire the energetic dancing.

For a better sound quality sound recording, check out their sample track on their MySpace page:

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ilham Al Madfai and Khyam Allami

Did you miss last night's BBC Prom featuring Ilham Al Madfai and Khyam Allami? If so, don't worry, you can still catch the concert on BBC Radio 3's website for the next seven days.

I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy this recording. The concert, though late night, was buzzing with energy. Ilham Al Madfai got the audience dancing while Khyam Allami left them dazzled by the beauty of the oud at its best.

Here's more from the BBC Radio 3's website about the two artists:

Two generations interpreting Iraqi music for a contemporary audience: Pioneering Iraqi singer and guitarist Ilham Al Madfai and his group play his own songs and traditional Iraqi favourites, and are joined by Ilham's student, oud player Khyam Allami. Damascus-born and London-raised, Khyam is the first student of Radio 3's World Routes Academy.

Ilham Al-Madfai was once known as the Beatle of Baghdad. He formed his first band in the 1960s, the first band in Iraq that used "modern" instruments in playing Arabic music. His family was against his involvement in music, and sent him to London to study architecture. But he continued to perform with a group, particularly at Cafe Baghdad in London. Leading musicians attended his gigs including Paul McCartney, Donovan and Georgie Fame.

Ilham returned to Iraq to develop his musical career. He introduced Spanish guitar rhythms from Andalusia to Iraqi folk song, appealing to a newer, younger audience. He reached a peak in popularity during the 70s, becoming Iraq's most popular musician of the time.

Click here to listen to the broadcast of last night's Prom.

Monday, 9 August 2010

This Week's Picks (#10)

I've had two weeks since the last post and have found some amazing music that I couldn't wait to share. Please enjoy some of my recent obsessions-- this week's picks!

"Storm" by Yoshida Brothers

This has become my obsession for the past few days- rock shamisen. It just doesn't get any cooler than that. The Yoshida Brothers (Ryoichiro and Kenichi Yoshida) are from Japan and both picked up the shamisen, the tradition Japanese lute, before they were five. They released their first album in 1999 and have become a shamisen sensation since then. This track is from their 2003 album, Yoshida Brothers.

"N'Diale" by Jacky Molard Quartet and Foune Diarra Trio

This is a live performance of the the title track from the recent 2010 release of the album N'Diale. Jacky Molard hails from Brenton and has a reputation for his collaborations after working with musicians from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romanian and Kurdistan. In this, his most recent collaboration, he joined forces with Foune Diarra a singer from Mali. Mixing Celtic sounds with Bambara songs may be a surprising choice, but its true that the two traditions work well together.

"Jolie Coquine" by Caravan Palace

This six person group can best be described as electro gypsy jazz. The group started as many do, a few musicians getting together to jam, but what really launched Caravan Palace's career was a request to create a soundtrack to silent porn films from the early 1900s. After that, they found their own sound, a combination of drum and bass, swing, and the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, and I'm glad they did. I love this sound and again, this has become a bit of an obsession for me. Anyone want to listen to it again?

(Reviews by Alexandra)