Salim is one of the most famous singers and band-leaders to come out of Sudan. Born in the Nuba Mountains, Salim has been playing traditional Sudanese music since the 1970s.
Sudan is an incredible country. Home to at least six different civilizations and kingdoms over the past few thousand years, Sudan also created a system of pharaonic kingship like Egypt – the great temple of Ramses II is found on the border between Egypt and Sudan. The Meroe Pyramids, nestled together like a modern cul-de-sac, are on my list of things to see.
The ceaseless rhythm of this song’s 6/8 time signature reminds me of the gait of a lumbering camel up and over and down sand dunes.
Oh man – when the song fully kicks in at 1:55, I just can’t help myself. I wish I knew Pulaar so I could sing along. Maal, who is a genius musician and composer from Senegal, writes some of my favorite west African music of all time. This is one of my favorite tracks of his. This is guaranteed to turn any day into a good one.
Maal worked on this album with Winston Marshall, of Mumford & Sons, and Johan Hugo, of The Very Best. Appropriately, this is what Maal said is the main message of the album: “Life is travel. You are born, you come to the world, and you are traveling until the end. You never know what you’re going to get. When you travel you see that the world is quite interesting—all the different faces, all the different cultures, all the different food, all the different types of music. But it’s all human beings, and it’s all connected.”
A sentiment to remember, surely.
Clan Donald (also known as MacDonald), hails from the western islands of Scotland, and counts Finlaggan Castle on Islay as its seat. The clan dates back to the 12th century and became one of the most powerful of the Highland clans in Scotland. In this folk song, the singer praises Scotland and calls it a land of “heroes and poets,” beautiful nature, and skilled warriors. The singer ends with his hopes that Sir James MacDonald returns from fighting for the Stuarts at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
The Battle of Worcester was the last great battle during the English Civil Wars that pitted Oliver Cromwell and his 30,000-strong army against Charles the II’s 16,000 men, mostly made up of Scotsmen. Although handily defeated by Cromwell, Charles II took back the throne in 1660 and thus began what would become known as the Restoration.
In keeping with this week’s apparent (and accidental) Scandinavian theme, today we travel from Sweden to its erstwhile east wing, Finland.
Finland is a really neat country, a land of 5.5 million passionate and brooding people who all know how to tango. This track, from Finland’s most exciting young electronic musician, Otto Yliperttula – aka, Yotto, is all about passionate and brooding. Yotto specializes in deep house music and last spring joined the highly respectable house label, Anjunadeep. Though he has arguably more popular tracks, this one is my favorite. When the beat drops at 4:48, it’s like merging onto an empty Autobahn in an exquisitely sleek sports car.
Welp, this song makes no sense. And not just because I don’t speak Spanish. But I feel like this week needs some weird 80s-style music, so here you go.
Have you ever had any of the following thoughts?
* Get me out of here.
* Nope nope nope nope nope nnnnnope.
* Oh please, sweet mercy, shut up.
* Is death imminent, and if not, how soon can it get here?
* Perhaps I should practice my breathing techni–oh f%&* my breathing technique.
* I wonder whether the Department of Transportation is hiring. I like being outdoors and standing around with shovels. Why didn’t I ever pursue my dream of being on a road crew?
* What objects currently within reach could I use to break the window and shimmy down the side of this building to freedom?
* If I sold all of my possessions and liquidated my assets, I could buy a shiny Airstream Trailer and drive around the country. Maybe I’d make puppets. I like puppets. Why didn’t I ever pursue my dream of being a nomadic puppeter…puppetist…puppet-mast–no that’s the horror movie…puppeteer?
* How many holidays do I have to spend with her family before I convince her I like them fine and I never have to see them again?
* Her brother, though. Jesus.
* I wonder if I can out-swim a shark.
Oh okay. Well you can wait until Thursday. Peace out.
Oh, Fever Ray. You’re so incredibly weird. Is it because you’re Swedish? Do I really care? No, not really. For other, darker songs, check out “Keep The Streets Empty For Me,” and “Seven.”
PS: Whoopsidaisie, I let the blog lie fallow for a week. Sorry, Yankette Nation.
PPS: Hi, Karl.
Today, humans landed a spacecraft on a comet. On a COMET. I am overwhelmed with how incredibly awesome this is. Naturally, the only song to play is “Dancing Song” by the amazing and delightful U.K. band, Little Comets.
There are a lot of people who woke up this morning with a hangover after watching the midterm results last night. So, today is a good day for your friendly neighborhood anarchist punk bank, Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. Fare forward, voyager.
I curse this world one second. Demand it buy me a sandwich in the next. Or else I’m bummin’ a cigarette. That will help me to forget how hungry I am.
I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! And we’re mixing our drinks stiff tonight. Yeah, we’re mixing our drinks stiff tonight.
Today is the dawn of the draft. And tomorrow we’re shipped off to Iraq. Or else we’re cutting off a toe. Praying that we won’t have to go.
I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! Who’s ready for the war tonight? Who’s ready for the war tonight?
I’m running on caffeine. And nicotine and amphetamines. I hope more stimulants are on the way. Cause who doesn’t have a drug problem these days?
I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! And I’m sniffin’ those pills hard tonight! Yeah, I’m sniffin’ those pills hard tonight!
This guy has one heck of a voice. The range and the control is just gorgeous. I love how spare the song itself is, too. There’s no unnecessary production – just a man with a sexy song and a guitar. Effective, soulful, and different. I’m a fan.
Shameless friend promotion! If you like humor, sexy songs, and haikus, check out Ryan over at the wonderful blog, The Wheelhouse Review.
I present to you Mar, a
Dutch Danish Dutch soul singer from Amsterdam. Dutch soul, you ask? I was skeptical at first too when I first came across his “Mar Variations.” Although I am as worldly as I am handsome, I assumed the Dutch only did wooden clogs and red light district(s), certainly not soul music. But after hearing his ridiculously smooth voice on the second “variation” he released, 1st session, I was hooked. He is now firmly in the category of artists I’d pay for an album of them singing names in the phone book. Or to quote Michael Bolton on Michael Bolton, “I celebrate his entire catalogue.”
Given his Michael Bolton status, it was hard to pick one song, but I decided to go for this one because it’s just a guitar and his voice. This version of “Man x Woman” is a stripped down, acoustic version of the original song, which as all things Mar I celebrate, but had a club/EDM beat that didn’t showcase his voice as much as this version does. The acoustic rendition has all the features of his music, and especially his voice, that find him prominently featured in two of my most-played iPod playlists “head noddin’ pre party” (check out 2u4u for that) and “baby makin’ music” (check out “our attempt” for that). You hear the jazz-inspired ad libbing, the impressive falsettos, and just the absurdly soultastic smoothness of his voice. Seriously, it’s like a silkworm dipped in cocoa butter, topped off with a sprinkling of baby powder. As a bonus, he belts out some falsetto and upper register notes (especially starting at the 3:08 mark) with power you normally don’t hear him show off. Enjoy. And hit me up if you want either of those playlists. You’ll thank me later.