Category: Music

Ravi Shankar, godfather of world music, a century after his birth

One hundred years after the birth of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, his meditative reinvention of Indian classical raga music has particular resonance during the corona crisis. The loneliness that many experience during the corona crisis is a feeling that was often shared by Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. “I have received so much love, but my loneliness has not disappeared,” said the musician in 1977. “Somehow I got it by inheritance, and I’m carrying it all the time in my life.” Perhaps Shankar’s lonesome spirit explains, 100 years after his birth, why his music has a special relevance in this...

Lara Downes Explores the Many Resonances in Roots Music

Lara Downes | Credit: Max Barrett In liner notes for her new album, Some of These Days, pianist Lara Downes expresses the 14-track CD’s origins and significance. A line in an African-American spiritual, “Welcome Table,” provides the album’s title and the final track is an adaptation by Downes of the composition by African-American composer Florence Price (1887–1953). Following a pull quote from the refrain,...

Bay Area Musical Luminaries Plan a Tribute to Hamza El Din

Hamza El Din | Credit: John Werner There were so many right reasons why the tribute to the late Nubian musician Hamza El Din, at San Francisco’s Presidio Theatre, was planned for March 21. “It’s on the weekend of World Water Day,” notes the producer of the event, Mina Girgis, who’s also the founder of the Nile Project and a fellow at UC Berkeley’s Othering and...

THE SENSATIONAL JOSEPHINE BAKER ARRIVES IN PARIS — 2/13/20

from Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne. Josephine Baker arrives in Paris and immediately becomes a sensation: “Josephine Baker … sailed for France with a party of two dozen other black musicians, singers and dancers in September 1925. … [Only] nineteen, Josephine Baker, the lithe and sensual mulatto from St. Louis, Missouri, exploded in 1925. Though so young, she was already well...

Pop culture: restoring Namibia’s forgotten resistance music

There is a rich history of 20th century music in Namibia that was suppressed and all but erased by political forces. Now an archive project called Stolen Moments – Namibian Music History Untold is restoring it to the public domain. It is a national treasure hunt for the Namibian music culture that wasn’t allowed to flourish during apartheid in Namibia...

Once A Symbol Of Freedom, Sudan’s Pop Radio Station Has Fallen Almost Silent

Enlarge this image When Omar al-Bashir was ousted from the Sudanese presidency in April of 2019, there was an explosion of new culture in Sudan. In a country under strict Islamic law, suddenly, graffiti appeared on walls. Music of all kinds blasted from speakers. Men and women commingled openly at a protest camp in front of military headquarters. Standing as...

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