Wednesday’s World Music Challenge!

(Maybe the beginning of a new series…..we’ll see…)

This Wednesday: Mulatu Astatke, The Grandfather of Ethio-Jazz

The absolute Master. A sound not entirely like anything else you’ve ever heard.

The Challenge?

Don’t. Move.



Just try and listen to this and NOT move.

I’m pretty sure it’s impossible.

Even if by some strange chance you are able to keep your various limbs and digits from thumping, bumping or tapping, I am quite certain that the neurons in your Auditory Cortex will be having their own Massive Dance Party.

It’ll probably raise your heart-rate too….

So there you go. A (BIG!) little something to help you Groove and Boogie your way over (or past or through) Hump Day!


You know the drill.

Press play.

Go on about your day.

Sunday’s Soundtrack for Surfing: Tigran….again

Been a while since I did one of these, but I recently came across this “lockdown” performance by one of my all-time favorite musicians/composers/performers and I had to share.

There is Jazz. There is Piano. There is Cross-Cultural Music. There is Jazz Piano. There is Cross-Cultural Jazz Piano Music.

And then there is Tigran Hamasyan, in whom they all become one, and he becomes one with them. One living, breathing Behemoth of Passion: he and the piano become the one body that delivers forth……this……Universe of Sound.

I have never witnessed another pianist who is so at one with his instrument. I swear that, watching him play, one can see him swinging his instrument around–as much as any Jimi Hendrix or David Gilmour or Joe Satriani does with their guitar–through some kind of 4th-Dimensional Space that he is creating right there in front of us. And he is taking us there, into that space, leading us through strange enchanted lands of Tone and Harmony…

…and Rhythm….let’s not forget what amazing Rhythmical Journeys he is capable of taking us on as naturally as we take a walk down the block for a pack of smokes.

Now, what really gets me about this performance, if you pay attention, is the near-alien, almost inhuman, organic-machine-like movement and precision of his hands (especially the right) that you can see throughout the video but really comes to the fore starting at about the 4:48 mark…..

And, really, if you think about it, it is rather alien…..Tigran and Piano Become One…..a Homunculus of Human Tissue, Steel, Brass, Felt and Wood….(from the elbow up, his right hand really is rather reminiscent of the face-huggers from the Alien movies….no?)

Here is a great in-depth discussion of some (perhaps only a bit) of what Tigran is doing (poly-) rhythmically in his music…if you feel like getting your head bent…..

And here: the two songs mentioned by Mr. Bruce…..if you’re of a mind to hear how all this rhythmical-technical wizardry plays out to create amazing music…..

And here…..finally…..your actual Sunday Soundtrack. Tigran playing an awe-inspiring concert of solo piano music……


You know the drill.

Press play.

Go on about your day.

Sunday’s Soundtrack for Surfing: Super Long Play Edition….

….From World Circuit Records, via Youtube, of course.

Their playlist of full albums.

Approximately twenty-eight hours of non-stop (and hopefully mostly commercial-free….) world class World music.

Let it be your soundtrack for the week.


You know the drill.

Press Play.

(But in this case….)

Go on about your week.


Monday’s Music Box: Live! The Silk Road Ensemble

Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-national, inter-national and amazing world music project, playing

Arabian Waltz.

A piece by Lebanese-born composer Rabih Abou-Khalil,

(Who is, as it happens, [in the “It’s a small world after all…” tradition] is someone that I have been listening to for a long time)

(I used to have a couple of his albums on vinyl [yes….that long of a time…])

(…and, in the manner of musical ‘kismet’, I just came across this piece today…)

(…and I’ve been planning on sharing some of Abou-Khalil’s stuff for some time now, so…I guess you know what’s coming next week…)

Live at Park Avenue Armory in New York, NY.

I cannot recommend the work of The Silk Road Ensemble highly enough.




Monday’s Music Box: DakhaBrakha….

…on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts…

…simply indefinable, unclassifiable, un-genre-able…

…but undeniably brilliant…

…(as Bob Boilen says, “…music that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard, with strands of everything I’ve ever heard.”)…



Monday’s Music Box: En un lugar en primavera

Or, “In a place in spring.”

A rather loose “improvisation on world music,” if Google Translate and my memory of Latin can be trusted.

Javier Paxariño is, simply put, a woodwind bad-ass (he’s the guy on the left).  I simply can not get enough of listening to (and watching) his playing.  We’ll be seeing plenty more of him in the future.

The percussionist, Nantha Kumar, is jaw-dropping too, but then, classically trained Indian percussionists just kind of are.

Lots more to come in the future from “Espacio Ronda” on Monday’s Music Box as well.  My favorite Youtube channel.  If you, like me, are a lover of musical styles from around the world, I cannot recommend this channel highly enough.  I regularly get lost in their archives for hours.