If you are not reading RootsWorld online, you have been missing a lot of news, reviews, interviews and music.
Here's just a few recent articles:
Anian is the third release from Welsh artists 9Bach, and the most interesting to date from the ensemble. While Wales has been producing musical innovators for some time now, the image of miners' choirs hasn't faded. (I had to mention them again!) Welsh-language folk and pop rock also suffers from an image problem, compared to say Ireland, that of not being known -- and when known, thought to be somewhat derivative of either Irish 'Celtic' music or UK pop. The innovators haven't often made their voice heard outside of Wales. With 9Bach, and Anian in particular, it becomes more and more difficult for the listening public to write off Welsh language music as parochial and predictable. On the contrary, this record manages to stay rooted in Bethesda, North Wales, while breaking into new global territory. Read David Cox' full review, and listen to some songs from the album.
"I've heard that Miles Davis would only be upset with his musicians when they played it safe and didn't try something new—something you don't often hear while working within traditional Japanese music! For this album, I wanted the sound of the music to be Japanese, but the rhythms and compositional structures and heavy use of improvisation to come from a very non-Japanese place." Kaoru Watanabe talks with RootsWorld's Tyran Grillo about his latest work, Néo.
It may be true that traditional Malian music, or at the very least, music played by Malians on traditional instruments, is alive and well. However, ask Paul Chandler, an American record producer now living in Bamako, about the state of traditional music in Mali and he'll argue that traditional context is being lost. And it's this state of endangerment that helped him make the decision to start recording rural musicians in their environments, ideally capturing the ritual of their performances as much as he could… So like many folklorists, musicians, and musicologists, from Hugh Tracey to Samuel Charters in the mid-20th century, to Michael Baird and Chandler in the 21st, documenting tradition music in its element is and has been an act of preservation… Whatever might be happening to threaten this music in its environment, the recordings on Every Song Has its End: Sonic Dispatches from Traditional Mali are astounding. Bruce Miller delves into a CD and DVD set that hopes to preserve the tradition and perhaps help it continue.
From the opening notes of Already Home, the second CD by the Rheingans Sisters, it is quite apparent that we are listening to highly skilled, sensitive and worldly musical talents… During their teen years, both Anna and Rowan spent years in Sweden, studying traditional fiddle music. This Scandinavian influence is clearly reflected in their music today. Anna now lives full time in France, where she studied traditional music at the Conservatoire in Toulouse, and now plays for dances and teaches fiddle. This strong French musical influence accompanies the Scandinavian and English strains in their music. Our newest contributor, David Smith from Massachusetts, shares the history and music of these rising twin-stars of English folk music.
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