Content tagged 'World'
Banda Larga Cordel (Album of the Day)
“When I was only two or two and a half,” Gilberto Gil once recalled, “I told my mother I was going to become a musician or a president of my country,” and the Brazilian star's ongoing career includes long stints as both recording artist and politician. Gil's forward-thinking work as a performer features socially conscious lyrics and an ear for new sounds to blend with traditional ones, an approach he began in the 1960s as a pioneer of tropicalia and continued to explore on 2008's BANDA LARGA CORDEL. These 16 Portuguese-sung songs embrace contemporary technology as firmly as vintage samba and bossa nova rhythms, and Gil's mellifluous voice illuminates such highlights as “Amor de Carnaval,” “Cano” and “Máquina de Ritmo.” As we mark its 10th anniversary, the Grammy-nominated BANDA LARGA CORDEL embodies the vitality of both Brazilian music and one of its greatest exponents.
Ananda Shankar (Album of the Day)
A nephew of the great Ravi Shankar, Ananda Shankar was himself a gifted sitar player - and perhaps even more dedicated than his uncle to bridging the gap between Eastern and Western musics. Released in 1970 on Reprise, his self-titled debut featured Indian classical tracks side-by-side with sitar-driven instrumental versions of rock hits (“Light My Fire” and a gloriously over-the-top “Jumpin' Jack Flash”). With psychedelic production touches and early Moog synthesizer work (from collaborator Paul Lewinson), it may qualify as an exploitation album, but like the best releases in that vein, its guilty pleasures are many, and hip club DJs have gotten a lot of mileage out of these funky grooves. Rightfully included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, ANANDA SHANKAR is masterfully played and thoroughly enjoyable.
SONG OF THE DAY: "Orinoco Flow" (Album of the Day)
Enya grew up with musical siblings and was briefly a member of her family's group Clannad before becoming a solo star with “Orinoco Flow,” released in the U.K. 30 years ago today. Recorded at Orinoco Studios in London, the enchanting song was part of the Irish performer's breakthrough album, WATERMARK, but almost wasn't issued as a single. “There was no middle eight, and 'Sail away' was after every line - it drove me crazy, but there was something there that could be worked on,” noted Enya's A&R rep Rob Dickens (who is name-checked in the lyrics), and fortunately the track's quality carried the day. "Orinoco Flow" topped the British chart and earned two Grammy nominations, and it's our Song of the Day.
Equally Cursed and Blessed (Album of the Day)
After scoring a commercial breakthrough with 1997's INTERNATIONAL VELVET, Welsh band Catatonia built on that success with EQUALLY CURSED AND BLESSED. The set's 1999 release date puts it at the tail end of the Brit-pop era, and its confidence and punchy songs are in keeping with that scene - tracks like “Dead from the Waist Down,” “Londinium” and “Storm The Palace” remain irresistibly catchy. Yet Catatonia were more than mere ear candy; frontwoman Cerys Matthews skewers London, consumerism, the monarchy and more on these 11 originals, with a delivery that's as alluring as it is focused. EQUALLY CURSED AND BLESSED deservedly went platinum in the U.K., and we'll give the album another spin now to celebrate Matthews' 50th birthday.
Donde Jugaran Los Ninos (Album of the Day)
With 40 million albums sold worldwide, Mana are among the biggest Latin American bands ever, and DONDE JUGARAN LOS NINOS was instrumental to their success. With the Mexican group touring relentlessly in support, the collection became the best-selling Spanish-language rock album of all time. “Vivir Sin Aire,” “Oye Mi Amor” and “De Pies a Cabeza” illustrate the appealing variety here, and you don't need to be fluent in Spanish to understand the passion of these performances. Mana's big breakthrough, DONDE JUGARAN LOS NINOS was released 25 years ago today in the U.S. (with a couple of bonus remixes), and it's still among the greatest rock albums from south of the border.
N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'Udda (Album of the Day)
Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, was legendary as the Crescent City's greatest musical ambassador, and N'AWLINZ: DIS DAT OR D'UDDA pays further tribute to his hometown. Released 15 years ago this month, the album is a savory mixture of traditional favorites (“When The Saints Go Marching In,” “St. James Infirmary”) and originals (“Shango Tango,” “I'm Goin' Home”) served up with consummate craftsmanship and lots of love. While the Doctor is joined by some high-profile friends here (Randy Newman, Willie Nelson, B.B. King), the lesser-known names do even more to set the tone - players like Earl Palmer, Dave Bartholomew and Eddie Bo and arranger Wardell Quezergue, all of whom who practically bleed New Orleans. For his part, Mac's vocals and keyboard work are his most inspired in years, making N'AWLINZ: DIS DAT OR D'UDDA a late-career peak and the ideal way to remember the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Llego Navidad (Album of the Day)
Rising up out of East L.A. comes the first-ever holiday album from Los Lobos, LLEGÓ NAVIDAD. The Grammy-winning group researched nearly 150 Christmas-related songs from across North, Central and South America for the collection, eventually narrowing the list down to the songs they wanted to reinvent in their own inimitable style. The dozen seasonal selections include regional Mexican folk (“La Rama”), salsa (“La Murga de Panamá”) and novelty (“Dónde Está Santa Claus”) songs, as well as Los Lobos' take on Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad.” LLEGÓ NAVIDAD also features the new “Christmas And You,” penned by the band’s David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez, a track that's sure to become a modern classic.
Latin Playboys (Album of the Day)
Working with Los Lobos in the early 1990s, producer Mitchell Froom heard demos from that band's David Hidalgo that seemed to go beyond the Grammy winners' usual sound – thus the Latin Playboys were born. With Los Lobos percussionist and songwriter Louie Pérez and Froom's colleague Tchad Blake joining in, the group's self-titled 1994 debut takes Mexican-American roots rock into experimental territory, and such impressionistic tracks as “Manifold de Amour” and “Forever Night Shade Mary” reward repeated listening. Giving the collection an A+ grade, noted critic Robert Christgau called it “Magical, mystical, the kind of inner-child fantasia that usually guarantees self-indulgence, but here is a field recording from two amigos' mutual unconscious.” Have a happy Cinco de Mayo with the LATIN PLAYBOYS.
A Day Without Rain (Album of the Day)
Enya's first album of the new millennium was A DAY WITHOUT RAIN, whose instrumental title track was inspired by the heavy precipitation in Ireland, where the collection was recorded. As on previous releases, the singer-songwriter collaborated with the husband-and-wife team of Nicky and Roma Ryan, who handled production and lyricist duties, respectively. Featuring pared-down arrangements highlighting Enya's vocals, the 2000 set includes such enchanting tracks as “Wild Child,” “Fallen Embers” and “One by One.” By far the most famous song on the Best New Age Album Grammy winner is “Only Time,” whose extensive use in media coverage of the September 11 attacks pushed the single into the Top 10 (more recently, it's found a resurgence on TikTok, where it's been mashed up with Ying Yang Twins' “Salt Shaker” in more than 100,000 creates). The 7× Platinum A DAY WITHOUT RAIN stands as the most successful album in Enya's career.