Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tinariwen: groove on them

Who's the world's hottest band at the moment? I have to say that it's Tinariwen, from Mali, in the Southern Sahara. Their style of music being affectionately known as "Berber Blues". Haunting, trance-inducing and will put a chill through your spine. Robert Plant described their music "Like dropping a bucket into a deep well".

Here's their backstory from the BBC. And a great YouTube video of them playing their biggest hit, "Amassakoul 'N' Tenere".

"Festival in The Desert", is a world music and Tuareg culture festival, to be held on 8-10 January 2009 in Essakane.  Here are some great photos from 2007's festival

[Bonus Link:] Tinariwen playing another great number, "Amidiwan" on YouTube.


Aman Iman: Water Is Life
Label: World Village
Released: February 27, 2007
Categories: World
Listen to this album

Comprised of ex-militant fighters who formed the band while serving time in Ghaddafi's rebel camps, Tinariwen are purveyors of a music called ishoumar, a trance-inducing style that's a blend of Western-influenced desert blues and traditional Tuareg song. African percussion and lots of handclaps provide an earthy rhythm that seems to sway and roll. Their eerie sound is nothing less than mesmerizing.

The world is getting smaller each and every day. One needs to look no further than the latest album from Malian musicians Tinariwen for proof of this indisputable truth. While serving time in Algerian military training camps, singer and leader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib became mesmerized by the "new" sounds of Led Zeppelin and Santana. Inspired to pick up a guitar, he and his band (who were also militants) developed a kind of desert blues. Initially produced very cheaply in low-quality recording studios and distributed on old cassettes, they slowly began to gain an enthusiastic following, first regionally and later internationally. Drawing on the experiences of the fiercely nomadic Tuareg people, Tinariwen writes of unemployment, social oppression, rebellion and subjugation, first by French colonizers and later by the Malian government. Often sung in chorus, the singing is underpinned by a kind hollowed-out, bluesy electric guitar that, at times, seems almost droney. Beautifully played, this eerie sound is technically mesmerizing and leaves quite an impact on your emotions. African percussion and lots of handclaps provide an earthy rhythm that seems to sway and roll -- it's trance inducing. I don't know what it is about the Malian desert that seems to produce this stunning brand of African blues (see Ali Farka Toure) but I for one am hooked. And I am not alone. Tinariwen now claim Thom Yorke, Damon Albarn and, yes, Robert Plant as well as a very enthusiastic Carlos Santana among their devoted fans. It is a very small world indeed. [GA] (March 29, 2007)


FREE MUSIC! Extra Golden and Fleet Foxes - 07/18

Extra Golden and Fleet Foxes
July 18, 2008; 6:00PM; FREE SHOW


Fleet Foxes

We are fans here at MMR of Fleet Foxes, and very much enjoyed their recent appearance at High Noon Saloon (opening for Blitzen Trapper). So we were delighted to see them scheduled to be play again at the Memorial Union Terrace on Friday night!

We also encourage you to get there early and see Extra Golden – who is scheduled to start at 6:40pm! Extra Golden is an international collaboration between Kenyan and American musicians playing an innovative combination of east African benga guitar pop and American rock. The band has five singers, all trading off on lead vocals duty from song to song, and three guitarists trading off on rhythm and lead roles, some times doing all at once.

Extra Golden
This will be the band's second US tour, and their most recent release - Hera Ma Nono (Thrill Jockey) - was recorded during the band's first US tour in fall of 2006, which was the Kenyan members' first trip outside of east Africa.

Their first album was 2006's Ok-Oyot System, recorded mostly in one afternoon at a Nairobi nightclub. Ok-oyot is Luo for "It's not easy," Luo being the ethnic group and native language of Extra Golden's Kenyan members and the benga tradition. . . Well things have certainly not been easy for Extra Golden, from the death of original singer and co-founder Otieno Jagwasi in 2004, to the visa difficulties on the last tour that were solved only with the help of Illinois Senator Barack Obama (a Luo descendant), and more recently the political and ethnic crisis in Kenya after the recent presidential elections. (You may have heard of those difficulties and the support Extra Golden received from their fans around the world recently on NPR's All Things Considered.)

For those of you planning to attend the 10,000 Lakes Music Festival – Extra Golden will be performing Wednesday, 7/23 at 9:30p on the Barn Stage!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Prolific Joseph Arthur
July 12, 2008 - by Mister Bill

My old friends know that I'm "ga ga" over Joseph Arthur's artistry. I saw him give an incredible performance last year at the High Noon Saloon with his band, the Lonely Astronauts. Were you there? You can read my post-show comments ( .

Anyhow, Joseph is in the midst of a creative flurry that I find staggering. He has just completed releasing a series of four solo EPs since Spring and is expected to release a full-length record featuring The Lonely Astronauts this September - Temporary People. ( more)

Coming Soon - Immortal Technique
July 20, 2008 at High Noon Saloon

I'm fortunate to have two children - young adults now - that both have good taste in music, and they both like hip-hop a lot. They've turned me on to many hip-hop/rap artists over the years, but one of my favorites is Immortal Technique - particularly his fantastic recording "Revolutionary Vol. 2." He'll be performing at High Noon Saloon on July 20th together with DJ GI JOE, Poison Pen, Da Circle & J. Arch. (read more)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Photos: Thievery Corporation
Live at Summerfest, July 3, 2008

Thievery Corporation's set at Summerfest was fantastic as expected. Were you able to make it?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Phil Lesh and Friends
Live at Summerfest - July 4, 2008

Well, those of us going to 10,000 Lakes Festival in northern Minnesota later this month got a delicious taste of things to come.  Phil Lesh and Friends put on a great couple sets at Summerfest on July 4th.  I like this line-up of Phriends a lot. . . 

Phil came out playing one of the wildest looking bass guitars I've ever seen.  

They opened with one of my favorites - Shakedown Street.  Here's the full setlist:

Set 1: Shakedown Street, Pride Of Cucamonga, Me And My Uncle, Gone Wandering, Sittin On Top Of The World, Loser, Bertha

Set 2: Golden Road, Don't Let Me Down, St. Stephen, William Tell Bridge, The Eleven, The Wheel (tease), Wharf Rat, The Eleven, Scarlet Begonias, I Know You Rider, Sugar Magnolia, E: Ripple

I became a fan of Jackie Greene at this show.  He's a good guitar player and a soulful singer.  He filled the lead vocals and guitar space nicely.

Jackie Greene and Larry Campbell duelled brilliantly.

What can you say about Larry Campbell?  He's a journeyman guitar player and everything he plays is ultra-tasty.

Steve Molitz on the Moog.  

Yes, Phil's fretboard is really glowing.

Hope you enjoyed the show - and see you at 10KLF!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thievery Corporation
Coming to Summerfest
July 3, 2008

My Summerfest experience this year will start on Thursday night with a performance by Thievery Corporation. I'm driving in to Milwaukee after work, and for the first time we're staying overnight in Milwaukee for the fest - and I'm kind of excited about it. I've loved Thievery Corporation since I first heard them - which was just a few years ago... I now have seven of their albums.

Thievery Corporation is a D.C.-based DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton and their supporting artists. Their music style is dub, acid jazz, Indian classical and Brazilian (such as bossa nova) fused together with a lounge aesthetic.

I'm super excited to see Thievery again at Summerfest. Go if you can.
These guys are super-stars. Not to be missed!

>> read, listen, see more here

Sea and Cake - Alarm (release Oct 21, 2008)

New Album:

Sea and Cake - Alarm  (release Oct 21, 2008)

Sea and Cake Ring the Alarm on New Album

The Sea and Cake are pretty laidback guys, but they've picked up their one-album-every-three-years pace for the follow-up to last year's Everybody. Rather than spending time between records on various solo and side projects, the members of Sea and Cake stuck together and plowed straight ahead.

The smooth Chicago post-rockers already have their next record in the can, and it's called Car Alarm.

This will be the Sea and Cake's seventh full-length record, and Thrill Jockey will release it October 21.

Car Alarm:

01 Aerial
02 a Fuller Moon
03 on a Letter
04 CMS Sequence
05 Car Alarm
06 Weekend
07 New Schools
08 Window Sills
09 Down in the City
10 Pages
11 the Staircase
12 Mirrors