Monday, June 21, 2010

Cravo e canela - Fiorella Mannoia

Ok, So who doesn't love Brazilian everything? The people are all beautiful, the music is rhythmic and sensual and even the flag is brightly coloured.
Brazil gave us mojitos and cane toads and also really got into the whole idea of having giant parades i bad taste with feathers - just fantastic.

This song is a cover of an old song by the Brazilian songwriter Milton Nascimento and it is one of my favourite of all the Brazilian songs I have encountered. Unusually for Brazilian music this song is in 3/2 - reminiscent of the Qeuebecois 'brandy' dance-tune type. The cover by Italian singer Fiorella Mannoia is really quite a good cover. Fiorella, who had a wonderfully colourful upbringing as the child of a stuntman, has added just a touch of tasteful pop to this song, but also retained some of the elements of Brazilian street music that made the original so good.

Pay Attention to:
-The simple bassline which occasionally breaks out into a crazy african-funk style solo
-The awesome Brazilian percussion. The 3/2 groove really rocks along and the samba style percussion works really well in the framework of 3/2 - 1 and 2 and wooo |1 and 2 and wooo |
-The auto-tuned but still interesting vocal harmonies
-The sexy chords in the chorus. Such a samba thing to move into the relative minor and then move in parallel chords so we end up in a very arcane place in what feels like a quite natural movement.

Why should you listen to this?
This woman is no Ella Fitzgerald, no Celia Cruz, but as she is pushing 70 (a tad younger in the video I attached) she is really going for it. Her voice is quite interesting sounding and there is a bit of Milton being used in the newer version as well. I think that we should not be afraid to like the new poppy versions of old classics, (sometimes). This song while still a poppy cover retains a lot of the elements that make classic Brazilian music unique and appealing.

This goes well with:
Some modern poppy Brazilian music. Something by Rosalina De Souza (see in my links) or even the poppier Ze Ramalho tunes or Edu Lobo tunes such as ponteio (see in the links) will really get your Samba bum going.

As always here is a youtube video to watch, and as this is a cover I have included a Milton Nascimento video as well:



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dance with you - Willie and Lobo

Good morning Monday!
Just the sort of thing for starting a week. The day is a bit rainy around the edges but I don't mind. Today is a 'doing-things' sort of day and this tune is exactly the sort of thing that is good to listen to when you are doing things.

Willie and Lobo is a duo made up of Willie Royal (violin) and Lobo Fink (guitar) and they play a sort of watered-down new-flamenco. Nice groovy songs with simple grooves and some beautiful violin solo's.

This particular song I have off a 'best of 1997 nu-music' sample cd that I think my parents used to play in the car when we went on our family holidays. It really is quite nice, a sort of easy-dreamy feel that comes from the slow moving bass with all the jingly percussion and the very slow lazy vocals that are almost obscured by the effect placed on them.

Pay Attention to:
-The muted trumpet solo. This solo is so simple, yet it really works because the chords move outside of those used in the other parts of the song
-The vocal tack. Doubled by the violin it is really a case of the voice being used as an instrument.
-The percussion! The opening groove is for cajon (spanish for 'box') and the introduction of an effected percussive line over the top that is made out of 'drip-sounds' and also some metallic sounds is really a very beautiful touch.

Why you should listen to this:
Listening to this song might bring out the gypsy within you. Ever feel that life is tawdry and droll? Ever wish you could snuggle up to a hairy gypsy man named Alejandro and make love under the Andalusian stars? Ever wish that your mother could read tea leaves and your father scammed people out of donkeys for a living?
This is the song for you. Put on your best red dress and a big scarf and dance the .... afternoon... away. Also good for cleaning. Be sure to consult your doctor if symptoms persist.

This song goes well with:
Red wine and friends. House cleaning. Bands such as Rodrigo y Gabriella and The Counterfeit Gypsies.

As may often be the case I could not find this song online, so here is a link to another Willie and Lobo song that is in a similar vein:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The barefoot bride set - Jigzag

It is Sunday afternoon and the sun is-a-shining and I have a gig tonight and this is just the perfect cheerful music for right now.

Jigzag, (for those of you who don't know) is a trio made up of Bass-player Liz Frencham, Violinist Caroline Trengove and Guitarist Greg Bryce), play a wonderful combination of (mostly) original songs and tunes. Very bouncy and fun with vocal harmonies and some jazz influenced celtic folk tunes.

This particular song is off their 'live' album and is a three-tune set made up of a little wistful major jig, then a groovy minor gig followed by a happy reel that really rattles along. The reel breaks down into a groovy funk-influenced guitar and violin solo before capitulating in a return of the tune.

Pay attention to:
-The lovely use of voices to give body to the harmonies
-That sexy-as bass playing! Liz is just so wonderful to watch play, always so smiley and the bass here is simple but very effective.
-The effects pedal on the guitar. Jigzag really shake things up here, taking a quite conventional Irish tune-set and going to some really interesting places.

Why you should listen to this:
Because it is fun! Listening to these three great musicians really working their chops off in the breakdown is really really fun. Liz does some sneaky fast walking bass lines and Greg and Caroline really show off what they can do and while this is all happening one can't help but share the fun that these guys are obviously having performing on stage.

What goes nicely with this:
Some groovy folk music like Flook or maybe the string contingent.

Unfortunately I could not find this song on youtube but here is a link to another Jigzag number that is in a similar vein:



Faust arp. - Radiohead

It is Saturday night and I am sitting alone in my relatively new house listening to Radiohead on my newly set up sound-system. Tres tragique.

Radiohead perfectly suits the reflective state of mind that I am in. Faust arp. is one of the more subtle Radiohead songs, with its somewhat unusual phrasing and curious time changes, as well as the surprisingly chromatic movement of the guitar part. Over this music we get a rambling impressionist discourse from singer Thom Yorkethat blends beautifully with the music.

Pay Attention to:
- The quiet simplicity of the String lines. They are just octave doublings yet they word to great effect.
- The thoughtful use of two guitars.
- The nice stereo-effect of recording Thom Yorke's voice twice.

This Song is on Radiohead's most recent album: 'In Rainbows'.
This song is on my playlist 'Audition-Day', made on the evening of a grueling yet enjoyable day spent on the audition panel for a play.

Why you should listen to this song:
In a genre as mercenary and one-dimensional as pop music, Radiohead take pop-song compositional technique and elevate it to an art-form. We hear unconventional rhythms and harmonies as well as unusual instrumentations, not to mention Thom Yorke's wonderful and distinctive voice. This song is an example of Radiohead's aesthetic where a focus has been placed on sensitivity. Like a Webern miniature this song is concise and yet within the short time period there is a subtle use of instrumentation which combines with the poetic lyrics to great effect.

What goes nicely with this song:
Good as a just before bed song, this song goes nicely with the quiter output of artists such as:
The fleet foxes and Nick Drake.

As always here is an attached link to the song.



Hello all my reader(s?).

My name is Owen and I listen to music almost 24-7. I think that I can put a great case forward for being one of the most eclectic of all listeners: in my i-tunes library I have music ranging from Bach to Scelsi, Lunasa to Susana Baca, Whitest Boy Alive to Stevie-Ray Vaughan.

I am a big fan of giving people 'listening guided-tours' of the music as they hear it, so I thought I might share these mini-lectures with the world.

Basically as often as I feel like I will give a little guided tour of some music I am listening to at a given moment and hopefully this will encourage all of YOU to listen to some music that you might not normally encounter.

Please feel free to leave me comments feed-back and suggestions, as well as linking me to some music that you think I should be listening to right now.