Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh my, Omar!

Omar Sosa, the multi-instrumentalist from Cuba, began studying drums and percussion at the ripe old age of five. When he was in his teens, he taught percussion to young children before forming the group Tributo in 1986. Listening to his piano work, it’s hard to believe it isn’t his first instrument. Omars’s music runs the gamut from fiery Latin jazz to Keith Jarrett improvisations to World to meditative music promoting the concept of world peace. He’s worked with several vocalists in a number of groups, has produced several recordings, and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy. And to top it off, he’s just one cool dude.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time Flies

The Horse Flies have been around for a while. They originally formed back in 1979. They're a traditional American roots band with plenty of strings attached. But they also mix in everything from jazz to Caribbean rhythms. The Horse Flies released several albums of original music and then entered a period where they only produced original soundtracks. Well, they just released a new CD and it's a dandy. Welcome back, guys!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Out of Africa

Ayub Ogada, the Kenyan singer has been deeply involved in music since he was six years old. He was born to musician parents and went on the road with them at an early age. He eventually moved to London where he performed on the streets. He was invited to perform at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival. He was also invited into Gabriel’s Realworld studios. Ogada has a soothing, mesmerizing voice and he plays the nyatiti—which is a lyre-like stringed instrument. If his voice sounds familiar, it may be because a couple of his songs were used in the film “The Constant Gardner”. His music is full of joy and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. This, my friends, is what World Music is all about.

Please note: I’m going to try to update the blog a couple times a week. Probably Mondays and Fridays.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Soul Geek or Geek Soul?

A nerdy white kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan singing soul? You bet. And he’s good! Mayer Hawthorne grew up listening to his dad’s classic Motown records and originally recorded his soul tunes as a joke. When they were played for the head of Stones Throw records, he thought they might be re-edits of older soul recordings. He eventually signed Hawthorne to a record contract and the rest is history. Think Smokey Robinson. This kid has chops to burn. When you’re watch his videos, it’s hard to match the voice to the person. A definite disconnect. Funny story: When he was interviewed on NPR, he told the interviewer she needed a “Mayer Hawthorne” name. He said, “Your middle name will be your new first name, and the street you grew up on will be your last name.” Now that’s nerdy!