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!