Wednesday, December 30, 2009

“Tap into the future!”

If you know where that quote’s from, you get 10 points. But I digress. The subject is Carlos Vamos, whom I discovered while surfing the net. I really don’t know a thing about him, I just know he’s an astonishing guitarist from the tapping school. I posted another tap style guitarist, Erik Mongrain a while back, who’s equally talented. I’d have to say Erik is the McCoy Tyner of guitar, while Carlos would have to be the Bill Evans of said instrument. His playing is precise yet delicate. My one question is, why is this guy not a household name?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

K’Naan is O’Kay

I normally don’t listen to much hiphop, but in the case of K’Naan, I’ll make an exception. He was born in war-torn Somalia but moved with his family to Harlem when he was 13. He eventually settled in Ontario. K’Naan performed at the 50th anniversary celebration of the UN in Geneva, where he chastised the world community for not doing more to stop the violence in his homeland. It was at this performance where he was discovered by Youssou N’Dour. His music is very melodic and he has a distinctive voice. Most of his songs have a strong African tinge to them, and include an appeal for peace.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Old Vic

I wasn’t familiar with Vic Chesnutt before I heard he was to perform here in the Detroit area. So I got on line to sample some of his music and was totally blown away. He’s a singer/songwriter from that hotbed of new music, Athens, Georgia. Vic was in a serious car accident 18 years ago, which rendered him partially paralyzed from the neck down. He’s a wonderful guitarist, but it takes a great deal of effort for him to play. His current group consists of Guy Picciotto, Fugazi’s guitarist along with members of A Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You Black Emperor. If you’re familiar with these groups you might not think they’d blend well with Vic’s style. But they compliment him perfectly. His music is dark at times and full of joy at others—and his lyrics are quirky and offbeat. He’s got quite an interesting voice and attending one of his shows is almost like a religious experience. I’ve included a clip with a group that’s close to his current band as well as a 26 minute solo performance that’s part of the “Tiny Desk Concert” series on NPR. Over the years, Vic has recorded with everyone from Lambchop to Bill Frisell to Elf Power.