As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.
When news spread about an Afghan Whigs reunion tour, we knew we had to have the band on KCRW. The group showed no signs of rust from a 10-year hiatus, playing powerful soul ballads propelled by straight-up rock 'n' roll riffs. It was an honor and a real pleasure to host Greg Dulli and company as they performed a set covering a wide range of their catalog, including "Fountain and Fairfax" from the band's widely worshiped 1993 album Gentlemen.
How do you inject a Celtic core into your music library that will reflect the past and present, honoring the purity of tradition and the spirit of innovation? It's a tall order but we have some suggestions this week to enhance any collection.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Ke$ha uses a dollar-sign instead of an "s" in the middle of her stage name. It's one of those gestures that's meant to bait her detractors — suggesting before anyone else does that she's only in it for the money. It turns out, though, that like pop stars ranging from Madonna on back to Chuck Berry, Ke$ha wants it both ways: mass-audience success and artistic acknowledgment. For Ke$ha, that's what her album title Warrior means: She's fighting a war on multiple fronts.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:57 pm
Every year as I make my lists of best releases, I feel like that cartoon bodybuilder at the beach, ridiculously flexing in hopes of gaining some fluttery attention. How silly! My ego is all wrapped up in proving my superior powers of discernment, and here's the big competition, where my picks prove that I have more muscle than than my peers. Some years defeat the critic's effort to show off, however: consensus is so strong about a few releases that we all have to strike the same adoring poses.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:18 pm
The caveats practically write themselves at this point: Top 10 lists are subjective and inherently insufficient to sum up any given year in music. They capture the opinions of one person and one person only — think "favorite," not "best" — and are bound to reflect not only individual tastes, but also individual experiences over the course of a given year.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:28 am
Forro in the Dark gets its name from the Forro, a type of dance and music that's been popular in northeastern Brazil for more than 100 years. The style's traditional incarnation involves a three-piece band with a triangle, an accordion and a bass-like drum called a zabumba.
Not everyone dreams of a white Christmas — especially those who rarely if ever see snow at all. That's the message singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat wants to send with her new album, Christmas in the Sand.