Christine Salem Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)
As the globalFEST evening wound down, much of the buzz about the biggest finds of the year centered on a seemingly unlikely figure: the vocalist Christine Salem, who made her New York City debut in this performance. Often, it's the artists who make 21st-century, Internet-ready musical hybrids that become the most talked-about GlobalFEST artists, but Salem presents the exact opposite model.
The French group Lo'Jo is something of a throwback: For 30 years, it's made world music best described as "worldbeat," a melange of a little of this (French chanson) and a little of that (dollops of North and West African colors and textures) within a musical community that tends to prize strongly rooted tradition. With Denis Péan's gravelly vocals complemented by the Berber singing sisters Yamina and Nadia Nid El Mourid, the band circumnavigates the globe — often within the confines of a single song.
Do you think flamenco can only be danced by someone wearing a frilly, fire-engine-red dress? Elsa Rovayo, frontwoman of Madrid's La Shica ("The Girl"), begs to differ. She performed at New York City's globalFEST in stretch leggings and a studded jacket, singing and dancing to her signature blend of flamenco and indie rock in a combination of original compositions and traditional flamenco tunes.
Oliver Mtukudzi Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)
GlobalFEST is a great place to discover young new talent, but occasionally the producers welcome familiar friends to their party. This year, it was Zimbabwe's Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, who has been an African musical icon since the late 1970s and brought that sense of homecoming to GlobalFEST with his band The Black Spirits. With his sweet acoustic guitar and husky voice, Mtukudzi gave a lilting and gorgeous performance that evoked traditional Zimbabwean sounds like those of an mbira thumb piano, but filtered them through an accessible, guitar-centered aesthetic.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:54 pm
When he was a boy, Andras Schiff labored over the tedious, repetitive finger studies that are universally loathed by aspiring pianists. He thought they were like spinach: yucky, but good for you if you want to grow up to be big and strong ... on the piano keyboard.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 11:04 am
The Winter Jazzfest turned nine this year, and it's matured into a known quantity, a New York cultural landmark. Its variety of routines have worn in enough to develop some comforting predictability. For such a scrappy, low-to-the-ground happening designed around emerging artists and new repertoires, that's an achievement.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 8:29 am
In this installment of "Sense of Place: Memphis," we pay a visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's storied estate. We hear from Kevin Kern, PR director for Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., and Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
Kern gives us a personal tour of The King's estate, shares how Graceland was really a home to the singer, explains why it might seem small to us today, and offers up a few facts listeners might not know.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 11:32 am
As part of World Cafe's "Sense of Place" spotlight on Memphis, Tenn., we have an interview with Sam Phillips, founder of the famed Sun Studio. In 2002, a year before the legendary producer died, Phillips shared his memories of his early days making records.