Monday, 10 October 2011

This Week's Picks #52

In a terrible and wound-up mood, I'm in need of a major cool down. So, apologies in advance but this week's playlist is a bit angsty and moody – something to chill out (or belt out) to.

Please enjoy!

"City of Refuge" - Abigail Washburn 

Some good ol' banjo music from Bela Fleck's clawhammering wife, Abigail Washburn. Influenced by her time in China, Washburn's banjo playing is not quite what you expect for old fashion Americana. New sounds find there way into the folk strumming for sounds that are both familiar and very strange at the same time.

"You've Got the Kind of Nerve I Like" - Tiny Ruins

I heard this track on Mark Coles' 'The Shed: A Whole New World of Music' show several weeks ago and fell in love. There's something so sweet about this song and though a bit moody, it's just what I needed today.

"Run Away" - Sarah Jarosz

It's all about the lady singers today, and not only is Jarosz an amazing singer with a smooth voice that I can't get enough of, she's a spectacular instrumentalist. A virtuoso on the clawhammer banjo, acoustic guitar, and octave mandolin, there's not much this New England Conservatory student can't do.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

This Week's Picks #51

After taking a much needed break, I'm coming back atcha with some great tunes. Enjoy!

"Gorpuru" - Gurrumul
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is a blind Aboriginal singer and member of the Gumatj clan of north east Arnhemland. His debut album Gurrumul took the world by storm in 2009, making a name for indigenous music and artists. This track is from his recently released second album Rrakala, that appears to be receiving just as much acclaim as his debut.

"Unuttun Mu Beni" - Sezen Aksu

One of my new favourites is the Queen of Turkish Pop, Sezen Aksu. I can hear you asking, 'How can she be the Queen of Turkish Pop? I've never heard of her!' While I'm sure you are probably up-to-date on your pop queens, the album from which this is the first track, Öptum, is her 24th release and still only her first to make it beyond the borders of Turkey. I hope it will be the first of many.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's reader pick comes from Susan Crocenzi.

"Leaving Soon" - Meklit Hadero

Hadero is an Ethiopian-born and San Francisco-based singer that is able to combine all her influences into beautiful and poetic jazz-fusion. Recently selected as one of Google's Artists of the week, US readers can download a few of her tracks here.

Have a great track you want posted? Let me know via Facebook, Twitter, email or in the comments below. And remember: Good music transcends language barriers & cultural differences. Great music blows your mind.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Middle Eastern Protest Singers Targeted

Songlines magazine recently posted an evocative blog about protest singers in the Middle East and their oppression by the current regimes:

With the death toll rising from the ongoing Syrian uprising, one of the voices of the movement, 42-year-old singer Ibrahim Qashoush, has met a gruesome end at the hands of the regime’s security forces. Qashoush, a fireman and poet from the city of Hama in central Syria, had written and sung verses that had become popular features of the uprising in his city, calling on Bashar al-Assad to leave.
      On July 3, he disappeared and according to reports, his body was found in the city’s river with its throat cut and vocal cords ripped out. It suggests the brutality of the regime in the face of open articulation of dissent by protest singers and poets, though all reports from within Syria are impossible to verify due to the regime’s media blackout.
      Hear Qashoush leading the crowds in Hama on this YouTube clip: 

      Meanwhile, across the border in Lebanon, where Syria has for so long had a political as well as military presence, the uprising is building tensions. Beirut hipster Zeid Hamdan was jailed temporarily in July over slander charges he faces for defamation of the Lebanese president Suleiman in a song he posted on YouTube in August 2010. The track, ‘General Suleiman’, calls on not only the president, but also the country’s militiamen, corrupt politicians, arms dealers and foreign intelligence operatives to, ‘go home’. 
     The 35-year-old musician is a veteran of Beirut’s outspoken independent music scene and used to be one half of the electronica fusion duo Soap Kills. Prosecutors will now decide whether to press formal charges in a Middle East climate of increasing discontent towards those in power. 
     Judge the song for yourself at:

See the original article here. You can also read my review of the Barbican's recent Night in Tahrir Square here.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

This Week's Picks #50

I am finally home after one of the longest weekends of my life – Shrewsbury Folk Festival. Now, to be fair, I'm not the biggest folk fan, but I do enjoy a few good bands. However, this weekend was not only complete with freezing cold, rain and blow away tents but also chock-full of tin whistle workshops at 8am, bagpipe workshops at 8am, more Morris dancing than you know what to do with and the most miserable punters you've ever met. To be fair, Shrewsbury is a great festival...for those that LOVE folk. It's on a beautiful site, has great sound, and full of interesting workshops and dancing. And the punters do love their folk and make you feel like you're selling a dirty magazine if it's filled with *gasp* world music.

Therefore in protest to this weekend, please enjoy this week's picks inspired by folk – as in this is as opposite of English folk as it gets.

"Secret Agent" - Tony Allen

 Throw out the clogs and bring out the booty! This famous Nigerian drummer/singer-songwriter knows how to get down and doesn't spend time crying about the 'good old days'.

"Ina Mina Dika" - Goldspot

The Bollywood classic gets an indie remake by the American band Goldspot. Originally sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar, this remake was recently heard in the film Today's Special.

"Blue Eyed Black Boy" - Balkan Beat Box

I've featured these guys a few times, but I really do like them that much. This is the title track from their latest album and you won't see any of those folkies jamming out to it.

How many folkies does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to change the bulb and one to write about how good the old one was.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Well, there were no suggestions this week, so I'll post this beautiful video of the Malian songbird Fatoumata Diawara tweeted this afternoon by @SonglinesMag.

The track is 'Kanou' from Fatoumata's debut album (out 19 September). There is some really beautiful movement and cinematography in this video that makes me love the track even more. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

This Week's Picks #49

The kings of desert blues, Tinariwen, are in the news (hehe, that rhymes!) . This weekend The Observer gave away an eight-track live album by them (which you can still download here for a few more days), Songlines magazine is soon to feature them on their cover, an album set to be released at the end of the month, and their extensive autumn tour will include London's KOKO. So, in anticipation, this week's picks are all Tinariwen inspired.

"Tenere Taqhim Tossam" - Tinariwen feat. TV on the Radio

This is a track off Tinariwen's new album, Tassili, due to be released at the end of this month. This has got to be my favourite track by them so far. They are joined by Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, whose sound fits perfectly into Tinariwen's acoustic album.

"Nak Amadjar Nidounia" - Tamikrest  

The younger Touareg blues band, Tamikrest, have been doing their best to keep up with the pace set by Tinariwen. They recently released an album Toumastin to rave reviews. This is my favorite track from that album.

"Adounia" - Bombino

It's unsurprising that the popularity of Tinariwen in the past decade has given birth to numerous Touareg rockers. The latest on the scene is Bombino, and he's good. I had the pleasure to briefly meet Bombino at this year's WOMAD, if only to say hello. I highly recommend checking out his debut album, Agadez.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Rhythm Passport

With so many gigs, tours, shows and concerts out there, it is hard to know where to start looking. But, if you're free this weekend, next Tuesday, or even some evening in October, I've recently discovered a new website that makes it easier to find world music gigs and puts my 'Nomad's Calendar' to shame.

Rhythm Passport was recently launched and is a user-run event listings website that focuses on 'traditional world music to global beats'. Apologies to all my international readers, but Rhythm Passport is only UK-based, though that does not mean 'London-based'. You can find event listings from all over the UK.

The search allows you to filter by date, region, town, venue name as well as the country or continent the music is from. Another great feature is that the next 30 days worth of events are uploaded onto Facebook, making it easy to remind yourself of an upcoming gig you really wanted to check out.

Finally, the best feature of the site are the customised emailing list. If you register and adjust your email settings, the site will email you once a month with a list of events specifically tailored to your preferences (say, South American music in London, or bluegrass in Scotland). You need to register for this feature, but it's definitely worth it! You can register here.  

You can check out the website here:
Or their Facebook here:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

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, I want to know what you listen to.

Send the review you've written and a link to the track on YouTube to my email. 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.

Not really up for writing something? No problem, just send me the link to the track.

Now...what's on your stereo?

Monday, 15 August 2011

This Week's Picks #48

On Thursday I went to Sadler's Wells to see the Tony Award-winning musical, FELA! It was a fantastic show with great music and even better dancing that tell the true story of Fela Kuti and his nightclub, The Shrine. As a result, I've had Fela's unique Afrobeat stuck in my head. So, please enjoy this week's picks, inspired by the legendary Fela Kuti.

"ITT (International Thief Thief)" - Fela Kuti

The Nigerian pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was not only a legendary musician, but also a political activist, speaking when many would not. He set out to use his music as a weapon and fight the political corruption. This track was an attack on International Telegraph and Telecommunications.

"Dem Bobo" - Femi Kuti

The son of Fela, Femi is carrying the name of Afrobeat ambassador. Though one of Fela's other son's, Seun, is also continuing the tradition, I personally prefer Femi's music. 'Dem Bobo' is from Femi's most recent album Africa for Africa, which won the 2011 Songlines Music Award for Best Artist.

"Yellow Fever" - FELA!

Here's a sneak peek at a track from the musical FELA! The spectacular music and dancing make up for the jumpy story line. I highly recommended my London readers to pop over to Sadler's Wells and catch it before it leaves, and all my international readers to keep an ear out and definitely catch it if the show comes your way.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's reader picks is coming at you from DJ Socrates.

'Kilimajaro' - The Shaolin Afronauts

Groovy. I'm loving this! The Shaolin Afronauts are a side project of the Adelaide band The Transatlantics and take their inspiration from 1970s Afrobeat. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

This Week's Picks #47

It's already been a week since I returned from WOMAD and I'm still reeling. I heard some amazing music despite the fact I was there to work and hope to share quick round up in the next few days. In the meantime, this week's picks are inspired by some of the music I heard. Enjoy!

"Galloping Horses" - AnDa Union

Like many attending this year's WOMAD Charlton Park, I was blown away by the Mongolian group AnDa Union. The combination of the two-stringed horse-headed fiddle and spectacular singing, this group is set to make it big. You can see a short clip of AnDa Union performing in the Songlines tent at WOMAD here, where you can hear the powerful voice of their singer.

"Karma Police" - Brassroots

Performing fun covers from the Charlie Gillett Stage, Brass Roots also became a quick favorite of mine. Their repertoire included greats like 'Karma Police' and 'Sweet Dreams' among others.

"Offsprunt" - Alejandro & The Magic Tombolinos

These guys have been everywhere this summer performing several festivals including Larmer Tree and WOMAD. A quintet of international musicians led by Argentinian sax man Alejandro Toledo, the Tombolinos really know how to get a crowd moving while playing their Gypsy stroke rock stroke Middle Eastern stroke Latin stroke a little bit of everything fusion.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

World music icons, any thoughts?

As some of you may have noticed, I am returning after almost a month's hiatus. I wish I could tell you that I had been traveling distant countries in search of good music, but instead I have been taking a much needed break. I would like to thank all those who have stuck around and assure you that Nomad's Playlist is back.

Now, on to more exciting business. Songlines magazine is asking for world music icon suggestions. Do you have an artist in mind that you think has changed the face of 'world music' or an artist is is chomping at the bit to follow in the footsteps of the greats? If so, hop on over to Songline's Facebook page and let them know. They will be putting some of the suggestions in their next issue.!/songlines?sk=app_11007063052 

For more details, read the Icons feature in their new issue (#78, August/September).

Monday, 11 July 2011

This Week's Picks #46

This week's picks are inspired by some funky Ethiopian sounds. Please enjoy!

"Guragigna" - Dub Colossus

A band of musicians from London and Addis Ababa, these guys fuse dub and reggae with Ethio-Jazz to create some kicking tracks. I have been really enjoying the most recent album Addis Through the Looking Glass, of which this is the best track.

 "Yekermo Sew" - Mulatu Astatke

I've featured another track by Mulatu, but here's one more. Mulatu is the father of Ethio-Jazz, though he might as well be the father of cool. *Sorry, that was pretty lame, but it's getting awful late and I'm really enjoying the chill factor of this track*

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Meet the Musicians: Glenn Sharp

In this series, we get to hear from the musicians themselves. This month, we hear from multi-instrumentalist Glenn Sharp.

Glenn has been working as a guitarist for many years and world music is his passion. His recent performances include flamenco, Latin, Arabic and African music.Glenn has worked as a session guitarist on numerous albums and has been a producer for many years. In addition to his solo performances, Glenn is the guitarist for flamenco group Calaita with singer Chico Pere. He has gigged and toured with numerous world-music artists including Nitin Sawhney and Aref Durvesh, and has colloborated with musicians from Nigeria, Sudan, India, Spain, Palestine and Egypt.

1. How long have you been performing and what inspired you to get into music? 
I have been gigging now for 20 years. All sorts of performances, from events groups to solo classical recitals, hip-hop, jazz, experimental electronica and finally ‘world music’, flamenco in particular. When I was eight years old, I heard my next door neighbour playing guitar. I don’t think she realised at the time that she was to be my teacher every week for the next five or so years! I discovered flamenco in 1996. I saw a Paco Peña gig and the next morning I changed everything and dedicated to myself to learning flamenco guitar. Been hooked ever since!

2. What or who are your influences? 
Far too many to mention, so I will just concentrate on the more recent ones. My guitar hero is Gerardo Nuñez, who is also a fantastic composer, my saz hero is without doubt, Erkan Oğur (also a wonderful composer) and my oud favourites are Simon Shaheen, Nasser Shamma and Nizar Rohana.  I would say my biggest influences are Erkan Oğur, Trio Joubran, Yasmin Levy, Vicente Amigo, Goksel Baktagir, Yair Dalal as well as classical composers such as Gorecki, Duruffle, Verdi and Arvo Pärt.

3. What are your all-time favorite albums? 
Anadolu Beşik and Gülün Kokusu Vardı by Erkan Oğur
Duquende y la guitarra de Tomatito 
Ganoub - en arabe vent dire sud 
Maqamat Ziryab by Simon Shaheen
Koyaanisqatsi by Philip Glass
Ciudad de las Ideas by Vicente Amigo
Vision by Tarik Banzi
Verdi Requiem 
East meets East by Nigel Kennedy and Kroke
Miles_Gurtu by Robert Miles and Trilok Gurtu
Power to the Women by Madosini
Sounds of Sudan 
Berber Blues by Cherifa
Rise by Anoushka Shankar
Everything by Le Trio Joubran, Camarón, and Gerardo Nuñez

4. What are you listening to right now? 
The Silimbo Passage by Seckou Keita–amazing combination of kora and Egyptian violin with some flamenco vibes!

5. Have any upcoming gigs/shows we should know about?
Working on a collaboration with percussionist Guy Schalom for gigs later this year; a fusion of Flamenco and Arabic music with Flamenco dance. All my other forthcoming dates available at

Hear samples of tracks from Glenn's latest album with the Jadid Ensemble:
Read my review of the Jadid Ensemble review:

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

This Week's Picks (#45)

I just got back from a fantastic show at the Barbican featuring Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright, three of the most amazing voices on one stage. So, here are a few videos for this week's picks before I head to bed. Enjoy!

"Malaika" - Angelique Kidjo

"I Put a Spell on You" - Dianne Reeves

"Amazing Grace" - Lizz Wright

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Album Review: Resonance/Dissonance by Khyam Allami

Album: Resonance/Dissonance
Artist: Khyam Allami
Release Date: On sale (June 2011)
Genre/Region: Middle Eastern

The oud (Middle Eastern lute) is a beautiful instrument to begin with, but when combined with Khyam Allami's musical sensitivity, it is divine. Resonance/Dissonance is the debut album of a young artist who has already had quite an amazing career. With degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies, he has gone on to be the first recipient of the World Routes Academy scholarship from BBC Radio 3 and world class performer.

I attended Khyam's album launch on May 4th and was impressed. He ran through each track in order and offered a beautiful preview of the upcoming album (which was to include a DVD of performances). I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of his album. When I finally did, I was not disappointed. 

Though this is Khyam's debut album, he did not treat it as such. It is bold and ambitious. Risky for a first release, it was a risk worth taking. Khyam's solo oud weaves poetic melodies, at times dark and soulful. Joined by percussionist Vasilis Sarikis, Khyam pieces together an album that is meaningful and intense. His website states, 'conceptually, it is filtered through a life in London influenced by myriad figures; the work of C.G. Jung, the mysticism of Jorge Luis Borges, the independence and forward thinking of Frank Zappa, and Secret Chiefs 3, the ingenuity of various masters of Middle Eastern music such as Hossein Ali Zadeh, Naseer Shamma and Riyadh al-Sunbati.'

As an album with such a range of inspirations, it comes as no surprise that it takes the listener for a ride through a variety of emotions. A quiet and thoughtful beginning, the album opens with the track 'Individuation'. Building upon a very simple and yet elegant melodic theme, the track is pensive but not calm. Then the album moves through semi-improvisations that are all as intense and thoughtful. It features graceful moments of simplicity as well fiery passages of virtuosity. Ultimately, the album rests and reflects with final track, 'Reverie.'

If this all sounds like flowery, over-indulgent praise, have a listen for yourself. Khyam is not only blessed with a virtuosity for which all musicians strive, but a sense of musicality and musical passion that cannot be learned.

You can hear a preview of the album on Khyam's website:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

This Week's Picks (#44)

With a crazy week behind me and another crazy week ahead, this week's picks are much more relaxing than usual. Here are some tracks for those in need of a moment to catch their breath. Please enjoy!

"The Tourist" - Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz is a talented singer/songwriter from Texas, known for her striking voice and brilliant guitar/banjo/mandolin playing. This track is from her newest album Follow Me Down and is an excellent cover of the Radiohead song.

"Hingala!" - Djivan Gasparyan

Recently, when I am in need of a moment of peace, I have found myself putting on the track "Chiraki Par" from the album Blind Note. The track features the beautiful Armenian duduk and is unfortunately not up on YouTube. Here instead is renown duduk master, Djivan Gasparyan. Gasparyan has played with several big artists including Peter Gabriel, Sting and Hans Zimmer. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

This Week's Picks (#43)

Once again, I find myself apologising for the tardiness of my posts. Let's see if I can get back on track. I hope you enjoy this week's picks in the meantime.

"Tawazon I: Balance" - Khyam Allami

This is a track from Khyam Allami's brand new album (released last week) Resonance/Dissonance. I recently attended Allami's album launch, and while I've enjoyed listening to this rising oud star for the past few years, his concert was really something special. I hope to post a review of Allami's new album soon, but in the meantime please enjoy this track and pick up the album yourself.

"Sunshine Day" - Osibisa

And now for something completely different...this should make your hips shake, feet tap, or at the very least, head nod. Osibisa is an Afro-pop band started in the 1970s that claim to have contributed to the founding of 'World Music'.

Friday, 10 June 2011

John Statz- Kickstarter

John Statz put together a fantastic album last year (reviewed here) and is planning his next venture for a fourth studio album. This August, he will be working with the legendary producer Bo Ramsey to release a new album, Old Fashioned. 

His last album was something really special, but with the help of Bo Ramsey, I expect the new album to blow it out of the water. Statz is using Kickstarter to help fund the project and needs your help. Visit his campaign page to pledge and receive some really cool stuff, I promise it will be worth it!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Album Review: Sol by Aurn Shenoy

Album: Sol
Artist: Arun Shenoy
Release Date: October 30, 2010
Genre/Region: Fusion, Flamenco, Jazz

This four track EP is a preview of the full length album Rhythm of the Sun scheduled to be released mid-2011. While the running time is quite short and I look forward to hearing the full length album, this is a great preview of what is to come.

Ambitiously, Shenoy tries to update the flamenco sound, fusing it with jazz and rock. For the most part, he is successful. Flamenco works remarkably well with jazz sensibilities. The first and best track on the EP is "Rhythm of the Sun" and is a prime example of this. Sensual rhythms support a weaving, jazzy piano and create a deliciously seductive track. The track "Sleepy Town" is another great example of fusion gone right, though it is less jazzy than the first piece. 

The other two tracks, however, fall short. "The Violin Song" begins with a very flamenco sound and has promise. Unfortunately, after a minute or so, a very pop-ish drum beat kicks in and the track takes a turn for the worse. "Wanderlust In Keys" is very much the same- lots of potential overshadowed by synthesizer and drum beats.

Despite that, when Shenoy fuses jazz and flamenco well, he creates beautiful sounds and a sensual atmosphere. Overall, this is a promising preview of Shenoy's upcoming album.

You can listen to tracks and watch videos of Arun Shenoy on his website or Facebook:
Official Facebook page: 
Official Website:

Monday, 30 May 2011

This Week's Picks (#42)

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I assure you that I have some great stuff coming up including some album reviews. So stay posted and in the meantime, please enjoy this week's picks!

"Dois Nordestes" - Matuto

Matuto is Brazilian slang for "country boy" or "country bumpkin" and that's exactly what this band brings to the table. The music is very "Carnival meets a jazzy Appalachia" as a fun blend of Brazilian rhythms, bluegrass and jazz improv.

"Tabsakh Dalet" - Bombino

A Tuareg from Niger, Bombino (Omara Moctar) is recognized as a great guitarist of the Sahel and Sahara regions. Bombino is the focus of a new film, Agadez by filmmaker Ron Wyman about Tuareg blues. He has also recently released a new album by the same name.

Monday, 16 May 2011

This Week's Picks (#41)

This weekend, London will be the battlefield for the Battle of the Balkan Brass.  It will feature Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra, fighting to see who is the best Balkan brass band. To get in the mood, here are some great Balkan brass tunes.

"Manea Cu Voca" - Fanfare Ciocarlia

Let's start with the groups about to battle it out. Fanfare Ciocarlia is a gypsy brass band from Northern Romania. This track is from their 1999 release Baro Biao. Fun and energetic, it's easy to see why they are in the running for best Balkan brass band.

"Voz" - Boban Markovic Orkestar (featuring Marko Markovic)

And in the second corner, Boban & Marko Marko Markovic Orkestar. This group is from Serbia and the track is from the album The Promise. It is more subdued than most of their tracks, but just as fun. It's going to be a close battle.  

"Paradehtika" - Goran Bregovic 

Another heavy weight of the Balkan brass bands is Goran Bregovic. Bregovic, however, tends to fuse other styles in with the Balkan brass including tango and popular music. This track is from his album Alkohol, which won last year's Songlines Music Awards for best artist. 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Happy Birthday to Nomad's Playlist!

One year ago, I came up with the idea that people might be interested in music I've found via various media. As it turns out, not quite as many people are as interested as I had expected, but one year later and I've got a fantastic group of readers and have found a lot of great music. Looks like my blog is all grown up now.

In celebration of NP's one year anniversary, I've decided to collect some of my favorite videos from the past year. I hope you enjoy!

"Pesebre"- Axel Krygier featured in April

"A Namorada" - Carlinhos Brown featured in March

"Music for a Found Harmonium" - Penguin Cafe featured in February

"Djon Maya" - Victor Démé featured in February

"Crazy Train" - Iron Horse featured in January

"Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)" - Gotan Project featured in January

"Yegelle Tezeta" Mulatu Astatke featured in November

"Mast Qalandar" by Faiz Ali Faiz and Titi Robin featured in October

"Jolie Coquine" by Caravan Palace featured in August

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Meet the Musicians: Charlie Cawood

In this series, we get to hear from the musicians themselves. This month, I have interviewed the London-based musician and composer Charlie Cawood. 

Charlie began lessons at the age of 11, studying classical guitar and theory, as well as electric guitar. After GCSEs he skipped A-Levels and went straight to the Guitar Institute, where I became versed in the dark arts of rock fusion and jazz harmony. He has also studied Flamenco, Indian and Chinese music, as well as attended Sound Design courses at Point Blank Music Production school. Hold holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance at the School of Oriental and African Studies. 

1. How long have you been performing and what inspired you to get into music? 
I've been playing music for over 11 years and performing professionally for 6 of them. I was originally inspired by Rock/Metal bands, but a big change occurred when I discovered Indian classical music and flamenco. This naturally led to me getting into all kinds of world music, as well as electronica, contemporary classical and jazz.

2. What or who are your influences? 
Broadly speaking, I'm influenced by any artist who uses their creativity to explore deeper levels of themselves and strives to forge their own individual creative/artistic identity. This includes music, but also literature, film and visual art.

3. What are your all-time favorite albums? 
10,000 Days by Tool
Pandemonium by Killing Joke
Rant in E Minor by Bill Hicks 
Eternal Wheel by Ozric Tentacles
Kid A by Radiohead 
Sing To God by Cardiacs 
Monoliths and Dimensions by Sunn 0))) 
That list is off the top of my head, and totally inadequate!

4. What are you listening to right now?
At the moment, I'm listening quite a bit to an English band called Cardiacs, who, despite their musical and creative brilliance, remain relatively obscure. The last album I listened to was Music of the Mind by an English Jazz musician called Finn Peters. On this album, he creates compositions based on his own brain-wave patterns, to astounding effect. I'm also slowly getting into John Zorn's expansive back catalogue, as well as Cocteau Twins, Amon Tobin and the Master Musicians of Jajouka.

5. Have any upcoming gigs/shows we should know about?
In April, I recently performed a gig with Rachel Hatfield, a singer-songwriter I'm currently working with, as well as at the Turkish Cultural Festival in Tottenham, playing Turkish Gypsy music with clarinettist Nicki Maher. Rehearsals with also be starting soon with Spiders of Destiny, a Frank Zappa cover band I play in, so with any luck we'll be playing live within a few months!

You can hear tracks by Charlie on his MySpace page, listed above.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Some of the great shows coming up this weekend! 
  • May 12th Thursday 7:00pm: OuterIndia: Shusheela Raman @ Rich Mix (35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA) £8/11 We are proud to announce the trailblazing OUTERINDIA residency at Rich Mix on the second Thursday of each month. OUTERINDIA will weave a web of intense links between London, the Subcontinent and the world, showcasing visionary artists in the musical, visual and written arts. Celebrating the variety and influence of South Asian culture, OUTERINDIA is all about channeling the breadth of work by artists born in the Subcontinent, the Diaspora or drawn to the culture from outside, and offering it to the eyes and ears of London in new and magical ways.
  • May 12th Thursday 7:00pm: Gypsy Fever @ Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £8 Gypsy Fever is a five-piece Gypsy band from London. Fusing their Balkan and Anglo-Saxon heritage, they draw inspiration from diverse musical backgrounds including jazz, rock, Balkan gypsy, folk and classical to create a unique sound all of their own.
  • May 15th Sunday 7:00pm: Amira Kheir @ Green Note (106 Parkway NW1 7AN) £6 Sudanese-Italian singer/songwriter Amira Kheir is creating a sound that is inspired by traditional Sudanese singing and instrumentation, and blended with elements of Jazz, Soul, East and West African as well as Middle Eastern music. 
Can't make any of these? Then, check out Nomad's Calendar for details on other upcoming shows. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

This Week's Picks (#40)

For some reason, I'm in an East African mood. Therefore, this week's picks are from the beautiful country of Kenya. Please enjoy!

"Sandore" - Suzanna Owiyo 

Suzanna Owiyo is a Kenyan artist from Kenya. Owiyo uses a fusion of traditional western Kenyan music and contemporary rhythms. Using both contemporary and traditional instruments including the nyatiti (Kenyan harp), Owiyo creates a music that is fun, danceable and unforgettable. This track is from her 2009 album Mama Africa. I would also like to point out that Owiyo owns the best pants suit I've ever seen.

"Otenga" - Kenge Kenge

  Also from Western Kenya, Kenge Kenge explores Benga influences. Benga evolved as a genre in the 1940s to 60s in Nairobi. Kenge Kenge performs Luo Benga which involves several traditional instruments including nyatiti, bul drums, the nyangile sound box, ongeng’o metal rings, asili flute, and the oporo horn.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Yikes! I just realized I've missed an entire week! Time flies when you're having fun! I hope this week's reader picks makes up for lost time. This pick comes from reader DJ Socrates. Enjoy!

"Cordão da Insônia" - Cèu

Cèu is a Brazilian singer-songwriter and this track is from her latest album, Vagarosa.

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. 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Be sure not to miss some of the great shows coming up this weekend! Can't make any of them? Then, check out Nomad's Calendar for details on other upcoming shows.
  • April 22nd Friday 1:00pm: Teymour Housego @ Clore Ballroom (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Teymour Housego has established himself as one of the UK's leading multicultural flautists. He has collaborated with numerous musicians, including Nitin Sawhney, Talvin Singh and Jethro Tull amongst others, and co-founded the flamenco fusion group Alcazaba. For this Alchemy appearance, he previews some tracks from his new album Haunting Bazaar, with co-composer the brilliant French guitarist and singer Yves Mesnil and a selection of other musicians.
  • April 22nd Friday 7:45pm: Melissa Laveaux @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £17.50 Twenty-four-year-old Haitian singer Mélissa Laveaux came to world attention in 2009 with music that evokes the spirit of her homeland. The music is drawn from a deep and intimate knowledge of the global musical milieu, a bilingual raw mix of acoustic soul/jazz and percussive Creole folklore - a fresh offering to the folk scene. Her lyrics, recited in her soulful and original voice, evoke Joni Mitchell, Macy Gray, Nina Simone and Rokia Traoré. 
  • April 23rd Saturday 8:00pm: Fernado's Kitchen @ Rich Mix (35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA) £8/11 Fernando’s Kitchen presents a Nu World music night, featuring Fernando’s Kitchen band, performing as a 6 piece line–up of spanish guitar, double-bass, oud, flamenco cajon, percussions, vocals, and trumpet.  Fernando’s Kitchen is a group of multi-cultural musicians, performing their very own modern Flamenco Latin and North African music, also called Nu world music. A fusion of passionate guitar and oud melodies, exciting rhythms and mesmerising vocal
  • April 24th Sunday 8:00pm: Afri-Kokoa @ Rich Mix (35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA) £7/10 On this great occasion we have the pleasure of featuring a truly innovative musical fusion of contemporary Afro-jazz (a mix of Afro-Funk and jazz) that is ‘Helele’ – a live six-piece outfit, composed of the balafon, saxophone, bass, guitar, drum and percussion. Founded in 1994 by founder Alphonse D Touna from Cameroon. A multi-skilled talented musician, composer, performer and musical instrument designer.
  • April 24th Sunday 8:30pm: Talvin Singh and Niladri Kumar @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £11/14 A breathtaking evening of music created by two uniquely innovative musicians. Talvin Singh is known for his groundbreaking style, creating original sounds by juxtaposing Indian traditions and modern European aesthetics. He is primarily a tabla player, as well as a producer and composer, based in London. Niladri Kumar is a fifth generation sitar player with a fresh, experimental approach to his instrument known for his exploratory style of performance.

Did I miss a gig coming up this weekend? Let me know and I'll be sure to post it. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

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.

And come on readers! I'm sick of hearing my own picks!!

How do I get my review posted?
Send the review you've written and a link to the track on YouTube to our email. 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.

Monday, 18 April 2011

This Week's Picks (#39)

A slightly brief version of "This Week's Picks" for you this week, but I hope you enjoy none-the-less!

"Untitled" - Mumford and Sons

While these guys have become giants on the folk/rock scene mainly for their ability to make folk more accessible to the younger generation, I came across a great list of 10 of their lesser known songs. Ever since stumbling across this, I've had this track stuck in my head and I love it. I have to admit that one of my weaknesses is great harmony. If you have a track with fantastic harmony, I love it. And I just melt to the harmonies in this track. Plus, I still think you can't go wrong with electric banjo.

"Pesebre"- Axel Krygier

This song features bleating sheep. How can you not love it? I used to like this song just because it was so weird, but it really grows on you. Even better, I saw the Argentinian Axel Krygier live last night at KOKO, and boy can that guy put on a live show!? He is amazing live, always moving and so incredibly full of energy. It makes me love this track even more.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Machester's Cultural Collage World Music Festival

For those of you who live in or around Manchester, here is a fantastic festival coming your way in a few weeks. Mark your calendars!

The Manchester Cultural Collage World Music Festival will celebrate it's second year this May. The festival was started last year by a group of volunteers and attracted almost 10,000 people at the various events.

This year the festival will take place various venues around Manchester between May 5th and 14th, 2011. There are 25 events across 14 different venues and it will feature some fantastic acts including the multimedia drumming band Djembekan (Ivory Coast, Guinea, Argentina, France, UK), Kanda Bongo Man Band and Dancers (DR Congo), Alejandro Toledo & The Magic Tombolinos (Balkan), Niko Paterakis (Greece), Gorilla Chilla (Bangladesh),  Ska Cubano (Jamaica, Cuba, UK) and the world premiere of Ano Throsko:A Musical for the 21st Century featuring over 30 musicians.

For a detailed list of the festival's events, please visit their programme.  
To see photos from last year's festival: 

I would love to see and hear about how much fun you had attending this festival. If you plan on attending any of the Cultural Collage World Music Festival, please email me a letter or send me photos and I will post them on a "Festival Fun" follow-up.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Meet the Musicians: Dominik Johnson

In this new series, we get to hear from the musicians themselves. This month, I have interviewed Manchester multi-instrumentalist and virtual session musician Dominik Johnson.

Dominik Johnson
Dominik is multi-instrumentalist, session player, composer and producer based in Manchester and specialises in plucked instruments. His passion is creating Instrumental World Music for Film, TV and Media productions and creates 'Library Music' for one of the top production music companies, such as London's 'Felt Music Library'.

1. How long have you been recording and what inspired you to get into music?
I've been recording professionally, both as an recording artist and session player, for around five years now. My passion lies in recording productions rather than performances, but I love collaborations with other musicians and producers in the studio. My early years of music began with a keen interest in the Spanish/Classical guitar and the Renaissance lute. It's from this repertoire an that my interest in 'World Music' evolved.

2. What or who are your influences?
My musical influences range from all kinds of traditional folk music from all over the world...
I take a keen interest on Spanish, Indian, Latin, Mediterranean and Chinese traditional music, but I'm not a purist. I like to create my own style using influences from these traditions. One of my biggest musical influences is Julian Bream - I consider him to be one the finest musicians and spanish guitarists around - I'm surprised how many UK 'spanish guitarists' have never heard of him!

3. What are your all-time favourite albums?
Titi Robin - Un ciel de cuivre
Julian Bream - The Woods So Wild
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba- Segu Blue

4. What are you listening to right now?
I'm currently listening to a lot of pipa music from Liu Fang.
(Click here to hear a pipa solo by Liu Fang)

5. Have any upcoming gigs/shows we should know about?
I very rarely do any live performances as I've not found the right musicians yet to be on stage with.  I'm also never quite happy with the sound quality of a lot of venues.

But I have been involved with a World Music project called 'Ano Throsko' run by Greek artist Niko Paterakis. The show is on May 7th 2011 in Manchester and it involves over 30 musicians, playing all kinds of instruments. If you have an interest in fusion music - the show is for you.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Summer is certainly on its way and the concerts are starting to pile up. If you're looking for something fun to see and hear this weekend, just check out all the great gigs coming up in London. 
  • April 14th Thursday 6:00pm: OuterIndia: Susheela Raman @Rich Mix (35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA) £8adv/£11door Outerindia weaves a web of intense links between London, the Subcontinent and the world, showcasing visionary artists in the musical, visual and written arts. Celebrating the variety and influence of South Asian culture, OUTERINDIA is all about channeling the breadth of work by artists born in the Subcontinent, the Diaspora or drawn to the culture from outside, and offering it to the eyes and ears of London in new and magical ways.
  • April 14th Thursday 7:00pm: Orkestra Del Sol @ Dingwalls (Camden Lock, NW1 8AB) £6/11 "The swagger of a Balkan wedding with the riotous energy of a Latin carnival!" The 9-piece brass band from Edinburgh is back with a new album! "Magnificent!" The Independent "The genius of the Orkestra is the way they hide serious musicianship inside tongue-in-cheek humour. It's a winning combination" The Scotsman
  • April 15th Friday 7:45pm: Bolivian, Latin American, Italian and French Music @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £14 Marcos Puña is undoubtedly one of the best young Bolivian classical guitarists. In his debut concert at Southbank Centre, he performs a programme of Latin American and Bolivian music including masterpieces by Abel Carlevaro (Uruguay), Dilermando Reis (Brazil) and Manuel Ponce (Mexico). Bolivia is represented in his recital by composers Eduardo Caba, whose Kollavina is inspired by ancestral indigenous rhythm, and Matilde Casazola, whose five pieces are rooted in rich Bolivian folklore.
  • April 15th Friday 8:00pm: Raghu Dixit Project @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £10-20 Raghu Dixit's remarkable rise has been nothing short of spectacular. The former Bharatanatyam dancer's rousing folk rock is not only the symbol of metropolitan India's blossoming alternative music
    scene, but is also making waves internationally. Alchemy 2011 marks the beginning of an exciting two-year collaboration with Southbank Centre Resident Artists, dance artist Gauri Sharma Tripathi and British folk band Bellowhead, in collaboration with the British Council.
  • April 15th Friday 8:15pm: Jahan E Khusrau: Anjuman E Dil @ Royal Festival Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15-35 A rare opportunity to experience the renowned devotional and Punjabi folk music exponent Hans Raj Hans, with Sufi lyrics selected and composed by Muzaffar Ali. A vocal artist who effortlessly encompasses these traditions and has worked alongside other renowned artists such as the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hans Raj Hans has a unique ability to present Sufi music in its truest form. The evening is shared with Sufi Kathak exponent and devotional dance specialist Manjari Chaturvedi.
  • April 17th Sunday 6:00pm: Soumik Datta's Circle of Sound @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £13 An explosive audio-visual encounter between two virtuoso stars of contemporary British Asian music. London-born Soumik Datta is one of the UK's most brilliant South Asian musicians and is an artist in residence at this year's Alchemy festival.A spectacular player of the sarod, a muscular plucked instrument of the Indian classical tradition, Soumik collaborates with Austrian-born drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger (Taalis) who plays a Western drum kit like a tabla virtuoso. 

Can't make it to any of these? Check out the Nomad's Calendar for a full list of upcoming events.

Know of a great gig/concert coming up that isn't listed? Email me and I'll post it on the calendar.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week reader Discobethan introduces us to some fantastic Latvian music. Enjoy!

"Likais" - Auli

The group Auļi take the deep musical heritage of their native Latvia and push the possibilities of using only drums and bagpipes to make amazing, loud, rhythmic music, blurring the lines between world and folk, between traditional and contemporary. It's part of the redefining of indigenous Latvian culture in the post-Soviet republic, after centuries of occupation.

Live, they're astonishing. Raw power and energy fills the room and infects everyone with sound and rhythm. Their music slips between definitions yet appeals to many, and they've played at darkwave, metal, medieval and folk festivals. It's world in the best sense - a group of passionate people bringing their culture to the global stage in a new way while never losing sight of what makes them unique. Their pulsing sounds infuse ancient music with modern, vital life.

The group formed in 2003 with nine Latvian men and one Estonian woman, who play drums, bagpipes and stringed instrument called a giga. The bagpipes are traditional to the Baltics, part of the great European-wide pipe culture. Historical records talk about drum and bagpipe troupes but no music has survived. So the group takes traditional melodies and plays with them as well as composing original pieces. In Latvian the word 'auļi' has two meanings: 'gallop', representing the rhythm of drums; and 'beehives on the tree' - the sound of drones. Auļi has released three critically-acclaimed albums and the latest, Etnotranss (Ethnotrance) won Best Folk Music Album 2010 at the Latvian Music Awards as well as the 2010 Folklore Award for 'Creativity based in traditional culture'.
(Written by Discobethan)

Monday, 11 April 2011

This Week's Picks (#38)

Wow, I just realized I'm approaching my 1 year anniversary! Just over a month to go. Exciting! In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this week's picks.

"O Ou Ni Sou" - Rokia Traoré

This track is from Rokia Traoré's killer album, Tchamantché released in 2008. This album was recently picked by Songlines magazine as one of their top 75 albums. This relaxed track makes it obvious why this album was chosen. A soft steel drum in the background perfectly accompanies Rokia's sophisticated voice. While this is definitely a contemporary sound, it is wonderfully and distinctly African at the same time.

"Lemba" - Muntu Valdo

I have spent a lot of time listening to and loving Muntu's music. This track is from his new album The One & The Many (out today!) but the video is of live performance, which is where Muntu shines. Using an elaborate pedal board, he pulls off an impressive one-man-band sound, playing everything himself. 

"Many Things" - Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

In tribute to the concert I will be missing on Wednesday, here's some funk from Seun Kuti, Fela Kuti's youngest son. Seun just released his newest album From Africa With Fury: Rise and is touring. On Wednesday he and the Egypt 80 will be performing at the Royal Festival Hall and I will sadly miss the show. It should be a great one, and if you go, please write a review and let me know how it was. This track however, is from an older album Many Things.

Enjoy these? Have some tracks you'd like to share? Let me know via Twitter and I'll post it on Wednesday's Reader Picks!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week's reader picks are coming at ya from DJ Socrates. Enjoy!

"Knyon Mun Sok Jet Te" - Cambodian Space Project

Cambodian Space Project was co-founded by Srey Chanthy and Julien Poulson and offers some great Cambodian music! This track is a cover of the hit by Pan Ron, who we've also featured.

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. 

Monday, 4 April 2011

This Week's Picks (#37)

I hope you enjoy this week's picks!

"Ndakuvara"- Oliver Mtukudzi

Oliver Mtukudzi is a Zimbabwean guitarist. He started began playing in the band Wagon Wheels with Thomas Mapfumo. He has since struck a name for himself, recording 59 albums. Though he was not as politically outspoken as Mapfumo, this particular track was directed at the Zimbabwe's president Mugabe, and the political violence organised by his party.

"Gypsy Part of Town" - J.U.F.

I can't help myself. I love this stuff. I have featured the band, Balkan Beat Box several times, but this is the collaboration of Gorgol Bordello and BBB. J.U.F. stands for Jüdisch-Ukrainische Freundschaft inspired by German industrial band Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, who got their name from the GDR state organization Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft (German-Soviet Friendship).

"Eddeaa" - Abjeez

These guys not only make some fun music, but fun videos! Abjee is Persian for "sister" as the two main singers Safoura and Melody Safavi are sisters. Abjeez is a "Persian world-pop" band, as they've deemed themselves, and write songs with often humorous lyrics and a lot of fun to listen to and watch.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday's Reader Picks

I know I know. I didn't get to the "This Week's Picks" on Monday. Sorry. I have been overwhelmed by work...but I'm sure you don't care. But... I promise to make it up to you today!
This week's Reader Pick comes from BelindaJ75 and I'm really loving it! Maybe, I'm just in the right mood for this, but this track SO hits the spot today! So...please enjoy!

"Codine" by Jason Isbell and the 4000 Unit

This is a track from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's yet-to-be-released album, Here We Rest. The album releases on April 12, 2011. Jason Isbell hails from northern Alabama, which was hit hard in the recent economic downturn. “The mood here [on Here We Rest] has darkened considerably,” says Jason.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

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.

And come on readers! I'm sick of hearing my own picks!!

How do I get my review posted?
Send the review you've written and a link to the track on YouTube to our email. 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.

What are you listening to?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

This Week's Picks (#36)

I was listening through the "Life of Songlines in 75 albums" playlist today and one of the tracks was from Cedric Watson's self-titled album. I love this track and it put me in a real zydeco mood. So I hope you enjoy this week's Creole picks!

"Zydeco Sont Pas Salés" - Clifton Chenier

Considered the "King of Zydeco", Chenier invented the vest frottoir (the famous zydeco washboard vest)  in 1946. Using the washboard and usually a push-button accordion, zydeco has a distinct sound and is Creole music from southern Louisiana and Texas. It was Chenier who toured and brought zydeco to the rest of the world.

"Paper in My Shoe" - Boozoo Chavis

Another zydeco great, Boozoo Chavis is credited with writing many of the zydeco standards. This particular track is the song that made him famous. While Clifton Chenier may be "considered" the King of Zydeco, Boozoo was officially crowned the King of Zydeco in New Orleans in the 1990s.

Cedric Watson Live

This is the artist from the Songlines' playlist that got me grooving to zydeco today. Unfortunately there don't seem to be very many descent videos of him up on YouTube. So, we'll have to settle with this one. But there is a great recording of "Cedric Zydeco" on the Songlines' playlist, so definitely go check that out. While he is an accordionist, vocalist, and songwriter, he is making a name for himself as a reviver of the old Creole fiddling styles of Canray Fontenot and Bebe Carrier. Lots of energy and fun to listen to, Watson is the future of zydeco.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Meet the Musicians: Nicki Maher

In this new series, we get to hear from the musicians themselves. For the inaugural post in the series, I have interviewed London clarinetist, Nicki Maher.

 Nicki Maher
Nicki was brought up on a musical diet of Newfoundland folk and Western classical music. She discovered the clarinet when she was eight. Having muddled through the complexities of Brahms and Poulenc, Nicki emerged triumphant having obtained her grade eight with honours, awarded by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since then she has explored the chirps and trills of klezmer clarinet and has delved into the excitement of the additive rhythms of the Balkans with David Bitelli at the University of Southampton. She has also attended the Jewish Music Institute’s (JMI) Klezfest for the last three years under the guidance of Merlin Shepherd, Christian Dawid and Frank London. In September 2009, she started her Masters in Music Performance at SOAS studying the intricacies of Turkish music. As part of this course, she learnt Turkish Romani klarnet style with Selim Sesler and Serkan Çağrı in İstanbul. She has been part of the SOAS klezmer ensemble (which she now co-directs), SOAS Rebetiko band, SOAS Iranian band and has returned to her roots playing the music of the British Isles and its diaspora with the SOAS ceilidh band and the Lime Quartet. She also leads her own band playing Turkish Romani music.

1. How long have you been performing and what inspired you to get into music?
Well, according to my mum I’ve been performing since I was two... she has recounted a certain situation to me numerous times in which I stood up on a table in a classy French restaurant and belted out several nursery rhymes at the top of my lungs, complete with a flannel on my head... and this was all directly before diving head first into the desert trolley...
As for the inspiration... I’m not sure. My parents have always been interested in music but neither of them are musicians.

2. What or who are your influences?
I have a very diverse set of influences. I grew up listening to the folk music of Newfoundland (where my dad is from) so I imagine that this could be where my folk-ward leaning comes from.

When I ‘seriously’ started learning music, I learnt classical clarinet and classical theory and harmony. When I got to university I rebelled against my past and decided to start learning jazz. I was lucky enough to meet David Bitelli, the jazz horn teacher at Southampton University, who then introduced me to Klezmer and Balkan music as well. Since then I haven’t looked back. I would say that my main clarinet playing influences are – jazz (Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman, Johnny Dodds; Klezmer (Naftule Brandwein, Dave Tarras, Sammy Musiker, Merlin Shepherd, and Christian Dawid); Balkan (Miroslav Bušinovski, Tale Ognenovski, Ivo Papasov and Ferus Mustafov. Turkish: Mustafa Kandıralı, Selim Sesler and Serkan Çağrı).

3. What is your all-time favorite albums?
I have to say that I’m more of an individual track person than having favorite albums. If I had to pick, then I guess the best albums that I own and can think of right now would be:
Selim Sesler – The Road to Keşan
Ivo Papasov – Dance of the Falcon
La Bottine Souriante – Rock and Reel
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper or Magical Mystery Tour. Can’t decide.
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

This list is definitely not definitive or exhaustive.

4. What are you listening to right now?
An ezan on YouTube in makam Segah! Have a listen too if you like:

5. Have any upcoming gigs/shows we should know about?
Yes! With the SOAS klezmer ensemble on the 31st March at The Victoria (E8 3AS) in Dalston. And on the 1st April with Basso Remvasso at St. Ethelburgas (Bishopsgate/Liverpool st.) 
You can hear Nicki with the SOAS Maqam Project here:

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

There are some really hot shows going on in London this weekend! Check them out:

  • March 17th Thursday 7:00pm: SOAS Radio Live @ Favela Chic (91 Great Eastern Street) £5 Following the success of the first event back in January, Soas Radio Live returns to Favela Chic's bohemian dance-floor, this time bringing to the stage not one but THREE live bands and THREE live sets from Soas Radio's very own DJs.
  • March 19th Saturday 8:00pm: Palatka Gypsy Band @ The Warehouse (13 Theed St, SE1 8ST) £10-15 The famous Palatka Gypsy band from Transylvania will be playing at the Warehouse, home of the London Festival Orchestra, on 19th March 2011.
  • March 20th Sunday 7:00pm: Erkan Ogur and Ismail Demircioglu + She'Koyokh @ Union Chapel (Compton Ave, Highbury Corner, London N1 2XD) £20 Truly magical Turkish traditional music in the beautiful Union Chapel from the legendary singer and multi-instrumentalist Erkan Ogur, widely regarded as a revolutionary musician who changed the Turkish music scene with his fascinating interpretations of traditional Anatolian songs.
  • March 20th Sunday 8:30pm: Palatka Gypsy Band @ Inn on the Green (3 Thorpe Close, W10 5XL) £10 As one of the very few remaining expressions of Palatka Music, the Palatka Gypsy Band can be considered the last avatar of a centuries-old tradition.

Palatka Gypsy Band @ The Warehouse on Sat and @ Inn on the Green on Sun

Can't make any of these? Check out the full calendar for more upcoming world music events in London 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

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 our email. 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.

What are you listening to?