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News

 

2010/12/27

An outstanding feature this week for world music lovers in the shape of a special feature on Classic Soca Anthems From The Golden Age Of Soca and the music of Trinidad & Tobago (as well as the wider eastern Caribbean). The vibrant music of this part of the world is sadly too often ignored in the wider world of world music, and here we hope to take one small step in helping to set this to rights. After a brief introduction to the genre of soca music we explore some of the greatest anthems that it produced during its golden age from the 1970s to roughly the mid 90s, complete with embedded YouTube videos/audio. Should provide a good hour's-plus of entertainment with some of the most vibrant music on this earth!

SaveAWiL Logo

The campaign to save fabulous BBC local radio shows DJ Ritu's A World in London and Mick & Lester's Folkwaves from the axe continue to gather strength.

Save AWiL have set in motion an online petition. If programmes like this mean anything at all to you, please, go and sign! Signing up really could not be any simpler or easier and the whole shebang only takes about a minute or so.

Save Folkwaves Logo

Hopefully, the Save Folkwaves folk will get something similar set up shortly. Again, as and when they do, for goodness' sake please go and sign!

The BBC cannot and must not be allowed to get away with such gross acts of cultural vandalism as axing these excellent and popular programmes.

 

For Folkwaves, tonight is its final appearance in the schedules of BBC Radio Derby. A 'Farewell Folkwaves (For Now) celebration/protest' will be held outside the station's studios from around 7pm and Rainlore's World of Music would like to wish them all the best in their endeavours.

Photo of DJ Ritu
AWiL isn't just a great and informative show - here's the pretty face of DJ Ritu behind it!

Meanwhile, A World in London sees its final scheduled broadcast this coming Saturday, 1st January.

However, there is every hope for getting all these programmes reinstated so don't give up the fight folks. The war is far from lost. The first battle, maybe, but the war has only just begun. The avenue of the likely illegality of the BBC's move, i.e., this being in direct contravention of its local radio licence, has yet to be explored properly and OFCOM has yet to be inolved.

Photo of Mick & Lester
..and the, err... the faces behind Folkwaves, Mick & Lester

Also, a joint campaign is starting to look much more of a distinct possibility now, and this is certainly most fervently to be hoped to come about. A united campaign would be far more powerful and effective than the mere sum of its components.

To keep up with all the latest, and to perhaps support these campaigns if you aren't doing so already, you can find them here:

Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook
Save AWiL Blog
on twitter @saveawil
Save' Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby on Facebook

Join the fight!

Happy 2011!

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/12/20

Two brand spanking new and fabulous albums are reviewed this week, one of which is to be released in January, the other in March.

Afro-Latin and jazz flute legend Mark Weinstein's superlative Jazz Brasil, an album of Brazilian music from a jazz perspective and jazz from a Brazilian perspective, is to be released in January 2011. The most mainstream of Weinstein's 'Brazilian' albums, there's something here for everybody. From Jobim and Barroso Brazilian classics to Monk and even a Mann funk groove! To go with the review and the new album, there's also an exclusive in-depth interview with Mark Weinstein in two parts, starting next week! We talked about Jazz Brasil, Brazilian music and Weinstein's love of it, jazz flute, Herbie Mann, future projects and lots more in what turned out to be a most congenial chat.

Then, the incredible Eclectica!'s Flight Of Fancy, slated for a March release. It's this wonderful jazz-string-quartet-with-a-difference's second outing on CD. Essentially a string quartet with second violin and viola replaced by two guitars, Eclectica! comprises the amazingly versatile Lizzie Ball, who is also leader and guest soloist of former enfant terrible of the classical world Nigel Kennedy's Orchestra of Light, on violin and vocals, founder member and cellist of forty years of the Lindsay String Quartet and now also with the Dante String Quartet, the legendary Bernard Gregor-Smith, and jazz guitarists and composers Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier. How much more eclectic could you want your music? If music comes any more eclectic than Flight Of Fancy, even I have yet to hear it. This should appeal as much to the jazz fan as to the classical aficionado, and even to the world music fan and beyond.

If you have any interest at all in the wonderful accordion, last Tuesday BBC Radio 4 presented a fascinating programme titled The Big Squeeze with classical accordionist James Crabb. The programme deals with a bit of the modern history of the accordion, the amazing capabilities of the modern instrument, its importance to post-WWII Italian industry, and more. Absolutely riveting. Thanks go to fellow classical accordionist and composer Romano Viazzani for pointing the programme an link out. You have, sadly, by now just about one day left to catch up with it on BBC iPlayer.

Time is fast approaching for the scheduled end of such excellent BBC Local Radio programmes as DJ Ritu's A World In London and Mick & Lester's Folkwaves, as well as Celtic Fringe and possibly others we haven't yet heard about. Even as the campaigns to save these programmes gather strength and support, the respective BBC Local Radio stations seem hardly bothered to respond in any meaningful way. However, it increasingly looks like the BBC may actually be in breach of its local radio licence in scrapping these shows!

The time has really passed for these campaigns to stumble on individually and they decidedly ought to combine to garner greater strength and effectiveness and deal directly with the BBC on a national level (where the decision to scrap these programmes appears to have originated in the first place) as well as with OFCOM in relation to the likely violations of the BBC's local radio license. Sadly, there seems to be a pronounced reluctance to do so on the part of the Folkwaves campaign. This extraordinary, blinkered and isolationist attitude is not likely to help anyone and can only weaken all campaigns, and it is playing directly into the hands of the BBC, I regret to have to say.

To keep up with what is happening in these campaigns and to lend your support, go to Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook, the Save AWiL Blog, or on twitter @saveawil for DJ Ritu's outstanding A World in London on BBC London 94.9, and to Save' Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby on Facebook for Mick & Lester's equally excellent Folkwaves on the BBC's East Midlands stations.

Fight on!

 

Happy Holidays!

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/12/12

This week, a review of leading UK Jewish music band Shir's outstanding Ashk'Farad, an enchanting album that should be of interest to general world music aficionados as much as to Jewish music specialists. An outstanding blend of klezmer material and Ladino songs, Ashk'Farad was released earlier this year and should be considered one of those "must have" albums! Also, you can catch Shir live on 19th January, 2011 at Vortex Jazz Club in London and on 5th February in Oxford - for details, check Shir's web site.

 

Photo of Freilacmakers Klezmer String Band
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band at their launch for their Klezmer At The Confluence
album at The Center, Sacramento, Ca., on 1st December (Photo: © Yona Golan)

News from leader Andy Rubin is that fabulous California-based Jewish music/world music band The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band held the launch for their Rainlore's World of Music Jewish Music Album of the Year, Klezmer At The Confluence, at The Center in Sacramento, Ca., on 1st December. Those who missed the fabulous gig will have to console themselves with the simply unmissable album!

Exciting news from the world of tango. The UK's premier tango ensemble, Tango Siempre, with premier tango vocalist Guillermo Rozenthuler, will be teamed up with two stellar pro-dancers from the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, in a spectacular tango show called Midnight Tango, touring the UK from April till July 2011. Surely a marriage made in heaven! Advisable to book early. Cacace and Simone and the prospect of possibly seeing their Argentine Tango show dance perhaps once a season have been one of the very few saving graces that have been making watching this otherwise abominable show worthwhile. (Along with Brucie, of course, the king and last of the great all round entertainers, and a house band and singers that manage the seemingly impossible with almost no rehearsal time. And perhaps one half-honest judge in Craig Revel-Horwood.) We are, incidentally, assured that the Rt. Hon. lady who participated in this year's season of Strictly won't be lending all the grace of an inebriated pachyderm to Midnight Tango. (That's Entertainment?!)

Meanwhile in the realm of general world music, the campaign to save DJ Ritu's wonderful A World in London programme on BBC London 94.9 continues to gather pace, with more and more support also comig from various international world music organisations. Please help save London's - indeed, the UK's! - only comprehensive weekly two-hour radio programme devoted to world music by joining the campaign! Your world music show needs YOU! You can also find out how to help and keep up with the campaign on its blog as well as on twitter @saveawil. Don't be disheartened by the entrenched attitude of BBC London - the BBC had to cave in and change its mind before over BBC Radio 6! We can do it! Save AWiL!

For more details, also see News for 2010/11/23.

Similarly, BBC Radio Derby's Folkwaves programme is also being axed. There would appear to be a concerted effort under way by the BBC to reduce cultural diversity on BBC Local Radio. It's time to join forces to save both A World in London and Folkwaves with a concerted campaign at national level!

This from Ian Anderson, editor of fRoots magazine: "News just in that BBC in the East Midlands are axing their long-running and award winning folk programme Folkwaves on Radio Derby at the end of December, using similar arguments [to those used in re: of AWiL - ed.]. This is another show listened to nationally on the web. It may indicate that there's a wider BBC plot afoot to axe "minority/ specialist" music and that a bigger campaign may be in order. Unity is power!" See also the fRoots Forum.

Here's the blurb from the Save' Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby campaign page on Facebook:

"Mick Peat and Lester Simpson have over the last 25 years given so much support to the folk genre through their internationally renowned Folkwaves programme, a show which is now destined to be broadcast for the last time on December 27th. This page has been created to allow people to make their feelings known and to voice their concerns to the faceless bureaucrats at the BBC. It is the very least we can do to demonstrate our collective support for these two fine broadcasters and respected stalwarts of the folk tradition. Whatever support is offered here over the next week or so, I will print off the comments, bind them together and personally present them to the person(s) responsible the decison at the BBC in London. Any artists/musicians/fans who would like to join me to at the handover would be very welcome. Thanks, Phil Carter." "Folkwaves is Derbyshire's, and the East Midlands', premier folk programme and each week includes the very best of local, national and international folk music. Combining their many years of experience performing the music they love, Mick and Lester aim to play a variety of material to please even the discerning listener. The pair are committed to raising the profile of folk music, cherishing the tradition and nurturing new talent. Mick Peat is a professional musician, actor and presenter. As a musician, Mick plays guitar and melodeon, specialising in traditional folk music and has been a trad. music devotee for more than 30 years. He is a founder member of the Derbyshire band Ripley Wayfarers and still plays with the ceilidh band Rogues Gallery. Mick is also an experienced country-dance caller, directing and teaching dances - some of which date back to the 16th Century. He has been co-director of the Amber Folk Festival and Dance Director for Whitby Folk Festival and organises the Festival of the Peak in Derbyshire. As an actor, his film appearances include DH Lawrence's "The Rainbow", "Skallagrig", and as a court official in the film about Queen Elizabeth I, "Elizabeth". TV appearances include "Dalziel and Pascoe" and as a choreographer and Sue Johnston's Dancing partner in "My Uncle Silas". Stage appearances include "The Mysteries" at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and the lead role of Ted Mellor in "By The Baseball Ground" at Derby Playhouse. Mick's interests and hobbies include the countryside, vintage cars and, yes, you've guessed it, listening to new folk music from the British Isles and beyond! Lester Simpson is a singer, songwriter, actor, musician and broadcaster. He works with the internationally acclaimed a cappella trio Coope, Boys and Simpson and has recorded numerous CDs with the trio and other artists, working in Europe, America and New Zealand. His work in film and theatre includes a period with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre, London. Lester has written commissioned work for Flanders Fields Museum, Belgium, Kershaw Comes Home (BBC Radio 1), Peace Concerts (Passendale) The Belper Suite (Belper Millennium celebrations) and March of Time for Wellingborough Council. He also performs as a soloist. "Some of the best songwriting in Britain" - Andy Kershaw, BBC Radio 1. "Shed-loads of talent" Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2. "Lester Simpson is pitch-perfect... I salute him." - Living Tradition."

Please join Save 'Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby campaign on Facebook., as well as the Save AWiL campaign. These programmes need to be preserved, and they need your help!

Don't forget you can now keep up with Rainlore's World of Music on Facebook. New releases and selected gigs all over the planet feature prominently.

A new feature will also see the light of day very shortly on Rainlore's World of Music. Planned for a long time, interviews with leading as well as new artists from all spheres will commence soon, with the first two exclusives in preparation. They're going to be sensational!

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/11/28

There's a long way to go in the campaign to save DJ Ritu's most excellent A World in London Saturday evening show on BBC London 94.9 from the axeman, David Robey, head of the station who remains adamant that the show will end from the New Year. Please join the campaign to save this fantastic world music show on Facebook, or on its new blog. Ideally, both! Please help fight this appalling travesty, and don't be put off by the form letter sent out in reply by Robey's PA - keep arguing the case! The situation may not look good, but don't give up the fight. Dropping AWIL would be a double blow to world music on the BBC as Mark Cole's World Service World of Music show will also be dropped from next March.

For more details, also see News for 2010/11/23.

Stand up for your rights as a licence payer and don't give up!

As we're getting very near the end of the year, this is as good a time as any to pick Rainlore's World of Music's albums of the year, book of the year, and a few really outstanding albums from the past decade. So here goes.

Albums of the Year:

World Jazz Album of the Year: Meier Group - Journey

World Music Album of the Year: Mehran - Angels of Persepolis

Jewish Music Album of the Year: Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band - Klezmer At The Confluence


Outstanding Albums of the Past Decade:

(Joint) World Music Albums of the Noughties: Guillermo Rozenthuler - The Blue Hour/La Hora Azul & Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rio Platenses - A Route To The Roots


That's it!

You can now also follow Rainlore's World of Music on Facebook!

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/11/23

Special: BBC plans to axe DJ Ritu's A World in London Saturday evening world music show on BBC London 94.9FM

For a great many years now the schedule of the BBC's local London radio station, BBC London 94.9 FM, has included a Saturday early evening programme that, broadly speaking, covers the realm of world music. For many years, this was the late great Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City show, and when Charlie became too ill he passed on the reins to DJ Ritu and her A World in London show. In the nearly two years (if memory serves) that A World in London has now been running, it and indeed its superb presenter DJ Ritu have become something of a unique national institution and even national treasure, being heard far beyond the London area via the internet.

No other programme so well reflects London's - and indeed Britain's - hugely diverse multicultural population musically as AWIL. It brings the music of diverse culture to its audience, something that cannot be found elsewhere on British airwaves, and moreover all this is presented most excellently and entertainingly. Beyond that, AWIL is also highly educational and most decidedly helps broaden its audience's musical and cultural horizons. As such, DJ Ritu and her AWIL show make an invaluable contribution to not only the general culture of this country but to its multicultural society and to greater tolerance and understanding.

Now, the BBC plans to axe this most excellent programme at the end of December! This would be singular, shameful act of cultural vandalism and is simply beyond comprehension and belief.

Please support DJ Ritu and help save the wonderful programme that is A World in London. You can do so in a number of ways:

You can keep up with what is happening with Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook.

Please send emails of support to DJ Ritu to: saveawil@gmail.com

You can show your support by writing a personal email to David.Robey@bbc.co.uk cc'd to the Director General Mark.Thompson@bbc.co.uk, also please cc to saveAWIL@gmail.com just in case some messages get classed as spam and don't get through to the powers that be. Many thanks!

You can also lodge your complaints on the BBC Complaints - Homepage.

Emailing yourlondon@bbc.co.uk may also be useful.

Please help save A World in London! Unity is Power! Let's try to keep A World In London on the air and get this disgraceful decision overturned.


 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/11/21

From "down under" comes news that legendary folk singer Danny Spooner has now completed his latest album, on the subject of Hunting And Poaching. A preview copy is expected any day now. Look forward to a review here soon.

Rainlore's World of Music is in the process of establishing a presence on Facebook, so you'll be able to keep up with all the latest from there as well soon. A presence on mySpace Music has also been planned for some time and should be implemented fairly soon.

Finally, as we are nearing the end of the year, another first for Rainlore's World of Music. For the first time, "Albums of the Year" will be selected in various categories and announced with the next update. (Only albums released during 2010 will qualify.) Also, some very special albums of the past decade (i.e., albums released during the "noughties").

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/10/28

Mehran may be a name as yet unfamiliar, especially on this side of the big pond, but it is certainly one to look out for. His album Angels of Persepolis, reviewed this week, is an outstanding blend of flamenco guitar, Latin forms, and Persian melodies and an excellent representative of the world music genre, and with jazz ambitions. If memory serves, "mehran" derives from one of the classical Persian languages and the Zoroastrian deity of covenants, and in modern Farsi means kindness. A very poetic name for an artist producing such poetic music as this. While Iranian musicians have made sterling contributions with various kinds of fusion to world music, will Mehran succeed in pushing into serious jazz territory?

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/10/17

A truly momentous week saw the massive two day Jazza Festival London 2010 on 12th and 13th October at the Scala in King's Cross, London. It is reviewed in full on two pages and thanks to the multi-talented Tali Atzmon who kindly supplied some of her excellent photographs it is even illustrated. (I am currently regrettably still unable to do photographs again.) This fabulous festival had something to offer for most tastes, from jazz to rap, singer-songwriter to folk, and more. And of course it was also all in a very good humanitarian cause, for the people of Gaza. Artists included hotter-than-the-sun singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble with Ros Stephen and the Sigamos String Quartet and the fabulous Cleveland Watkiss and Tali Atzmon as well as Palestinian hip hop/rap artists Shadia Mansour and Stormtrap (for the Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen album launch of For The Ghosts Within), Palestinian singer and oud player Nizar Al-Issa, Northumbrian folk sensation The Unthanks, folk singer-songwriter and troubadour Rory McCloud, and the specially formed Jazza All-Stars which included legendary altoist Peter King, Gilad Atzmon, tuba and orenophone virtuoso Oren Marshall, Cleveland Watkiss, tenorist Alex Garnett, and drummer Seb Rochford.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/09/28

The last review of legendary folk singer Danny Spooner's recent albums, Years Of Spooner, is finally here. A fine compilation of Spooner's first forty years of recording released in 2007, this is unmissable! Of course, never content to rest on his laurels and unable to sit still for more than a couple of minutes, this week should see Spooner back in the recording studio to record a new album. More on this soon. And October will also see Spooner return for another engagement at the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C. There may even be time for a few other gigs while he's on that side of the pond.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

 

2010/09/19

A review of The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band's recently released third album, Klezmer At The Confluence - Jewish Music From Sacramento has to be of much wider interest here than just Jewish music aficionados. Don't let the sub-title mislead you - the Freilachmakers' brand of music fits very nicely into general world music with its innovative blend of a miscellany of Jewish music and that distinctive southern Appalachian Old Time string band style and leader Andy Rubin's fabulous clawhammer banjo. It's good to finally see a new album from this fine band after what seems like a very long wait of five years. Here's hoping their next album won't be quite that long in coming along!

Also, good news from Oz. Folk singer hero Danny Spooner's on the mend after a recent episode of not being too well, and he hasn't even missed a single gig. No holding this man back! (Taking it easy doesn't seem to exist in his vocabulary.) With the next site update, we'll finally have the review of another of Spooner's recent albums, Years of Spooner. (Time's been just too short lately.) This a fabulous compilation of songs from the first forty years of his recording career, spanning 1965 to 2005.

A few years ago, Danny Spooner collaborated with the outstanding Australian Chamber Orchestra on an Australian tour (which, a year ago or so was also taken to Europe) and radio broadcast. The broadcast was stunning, and I often wonder why on earth this has not been released as a double album by the ACO. Such a shame, really.

And finally, the sad news of the death of Montserratan soca artist Arrow (Alphonsus Cassell) was announced on Wednesday, 15th September. He died at his home in Montserrat from complications of brain cancer at the age of 60 on the 15th. One of the finest soca artists from outside Trinidad & Tobago, Arrow made soca internationally famous with his iconic soca anthem, Hot Hot Hot from 1982, still a party favourite around the world. It even was used on the popular BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing (for a salsa dance by Karen Hardy and Mark Ramprakash) in the noughties. Arrow's other hits included Long Time and Soca Rhumba; however, Hot Hot Hot will always be remembered as one of the biggest ever soca hits in the Caribbean, along with Barbadian band Spice's In De Conga Line. RIP, Arrow.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/09/05

Another review of another recent album from legendary folk singer Danny Spooner, 2008's Brave Bold Boys. This is a superb collection of, for the most part, songs about folk and popular heroes of one kind or another, some old, some fairly new, and from both the British Isles as well as Australia. The mouthwatering sample track that accompanies the review should send you rushing to buy this great album while it's still available. (Spooner's albums tend to sell out quite rapidly.) More from Danny Spooner soon.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/08/08

At the tail-end of his recent UK tour, Anglo-Australian folk legend Danny Spooner gave me the great pleasure of dropping by and dropping off some of his recent albums. Thus, two of them are reviewed here, Emerging Tradition, a fabulous collection of (both fairly and very) recent songs from the folk tradition from down under that includes such recent favourites as Bring Out The Banners and Hey Rain (aka The Innisfail Song), and his latest album, Bold Reilly Gone Away, undoubtedly the finest and probably a definitive - if there can be such a thing - collection of authentically performed sea shanties. Both reviews feature a smashing sample track to wet your appetite! As always, Danny Spooner is folk at its very finest. More from this extraordinary, legendary singer soon.


NB - Regrettably, upload of the above news for 8th August, and the complete site update, was delayed till 17th August.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/07/04

Just one quick review today, of Breslov Bar Band's outstanding and highly infectious newly released debut album Have No Fear. The band explores the music, both traditional and contemporary, of the Breslov Chassidim - a Hasssidic Jewish community - in a modern idiom and features, among others, guitarist Allen Watsky and Kleztraphobix bandleader and clarinetist Mike Cohen. Whether you're specifically into Chassidic or any kind of Jewish music or not, this fabulous album is bound to appeal!

Regrettably won't be fully up-and-running again for a while yet.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

 

2010/05/02

At long last have caught up with reviews of two outstanding albums by Latin singer (among others) extraordinaire Guillermo Rozenthuler - a kind of modern day João Gilberto and Carlos Gardel in one! If you haven't heard him before you've really been missing something extra special. The albums reviewed are Guillermo's The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina (La Hora Azul), an outstanding collection of originals and traditional Argentine songs recorded in Buenos Aires and released in 2004 that will simply blow you away, and with his own band, formed ion 2003, Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses' A Route To The Roots, their live debut album released in 2008, a superb collection of Argentine and Uruguayan songs (given the inimitable Rioplatenses treatment), a journey of exploration that takes the listener beyond the better known tango and milonga (although a few of these are also included, of course) and introduce him to a variety of less well known regional rhythms and styles. You really don't want to miss these fabulous albums and tanguero maravillosa Rozenthuler.

Of course, Rozenthuler is already familiar on this site through his association with Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble through a gig review (at the Pizza, Soho) and a review of outstanding album Musik. Rozenthuler also regularly appears with all the UK's (and beyond) leading tango ensembles, most recently including El Tango Ultimo and the London Tango Orchestra.

I expect to likely have to take a break from updating the site for about six to eight weeks due to surgery shortly, but more will follow ASAP.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/03/28

The world of music, and world music in particular, lost one of its greatest advocates and champions with the death of Charlie Gillett at the age of a mere 68 following a long illness on 17th March. Gillett's many achievements include the seminal book The Sound of the City, the first comprehensive history of popular music, the discovery of, among others, Dire Straits and Ian Dury's first band Kilburn and the High Roads (the latter of whom he also managed), several long-running radio shows including The Sound of the City on BBC London 94.9 from 1995 to 2006 when he sadly had to relinquish it due to health issues and Charlie Gillett's World of Music on BBC World Service since 1999. In the 1980s, he was also the first DJ to play Montserratan soca singer Arrow's perennial monster hit Hot Hot Hot on British radio, and Charlie Gillett was also one of the influential group of people who - reluctantly - coined the term "world music". Gillett's enthusiasm for world music was as tireless as his efforts to promote it, both in the UK and internationally. Many international world music artists acknowledge owing their career to Gillett. In 1991, Charlie Gillett was awarded the Sony Gold Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2006 The John Peel Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio by the Radio Academy.

Gillett's weekly half hour BBC World Service show, Charlie Gillett's World of Music, was compulsive listening for anybody with half an interest in any kind of world music. Charlie Gillett will be sorely missed by all whose lives he touched.

Our thoughts at this sad time are with Gillett's wife Buffy, daughters Suzy and Jody and son Ivan, and two grandchildren. RIP, Charlie Gillett.

 

A special feature in the form of a television review may serve to further draw attention to the plight of the British brass band. BBC2's A Band For Britain, broadcast on consecutive Mondays this month, focused on one of the many of the remaining brass bands that are failing, the Dinnington Colliery Band, and, with the more than capable help of the unstoppable and irrepressible Sue Perkins at its helm, attempted to revive this band with a proud 100-plus year history. The programme also served as a last-minute wake up call to the peril the glorious brass band movement faces, and maybe it can serve as a rallying cry to save our glorious British brass band heritage before it's too late!

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/03/14

One album review and an article this week hope to draw attention to two - almost - "cause celebres". The album in question is the magnificent The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone, featuring The Best Of Colliery Bands, while the article, Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! explores one of the finest accordion resources on the web.

The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone is a compilation album featuring some of the greatest British colliery brass bands surviving today, as well as some of the finest brass band music selections. The album was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the last great miners' strike on 3rd March 1985, as well as to celebrate the survival of the colliery bands and the brass band movement.

Sadly, however, it seems to me that celebrating the survival of the brass band movement may be a little premature when so many former colliery and other brass bands have perished since the 1980s, and many more are struggling to survive today - both financially and in attracting new membership. When even a quite well-known band from a basically fairly prosperous corner of southern England so very nearly faced extinction a few years ago, it certainly became very obvious that the whole brass band movement was facing problems. And it's not only the demise of the mining industry and its support for the colliery bands that's been at the root of these problems. Far more, and more seriously, it is changing public tastes and attitudes. Sadly, the glory days of the height of the most widespread popularity of British brass bands of the 1970s and early 80s have long gone. The days when brass band was televised regularly by the BBC, when brass band even penetrated the pop charts, when in 1977 the Brighouse & Rastrick Band scored a massive and unprecedented singles hit with The Floral Dance and were only prevented from reaching the No. 1 spot by the release of Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre, or when new-wave pop star Jona Lewie had a monster hit with brass band accompaniment in Stop The Cavalry that was only stopped from reaching the No. 1 spot by the sad death of John Lennon and the speedy re-release of some of his records. And who could possibly forget the 1970s Hovis Bread TV commercial with Shaftesbury's Gold Hill standing in for a road somewhere in what we were supposed to believe to be Yorkshire, with a young lad carrying a loaf up the steep hill to the unforgettable strains of the second movement of Dvorak's Symphony From The New World played by a brass band (if memory serves, the Black Dyke Mills Band?)!

Despite the occasional flashes of brilliance since those days (such as 1995's Brassed Off movie), somehow the braas band movement never quite captured the wider public imagination to anything like the same extent again. In the 1970s, there were some 20-30,000 brass bands in Britain, yet today we are left with a mere 500-1,000 perhaps, and many of those are struggling. And this is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Brass band music is not only absolutely glorious music, it's as quintessentially British as Yorkshire pudding, cheddar cheese, pork pie, the great British banger, a sense of fair play and tolerance, the glorious British landscape, excentricity, the Last Night of the Proms, the British sense of humour, jellied eel, pie and mash, fish and chips, 'warm' beer, panto, the boat race, Ascot, the Grand National, Mrs. Beeton, curry and chips, the institution of the monarchy, wippets and greyhounds, cream teas, and whatever else you might care to think of. The brass band is a British tradition and heritage to be immensely proud of and that ought to be cherished and nurtured. Isn't it time we all in Britain took more of an interest and pride in some of the best and finest traditions of the land and kept our heritage alive and well? Before it's too late?

One really has to hope that The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone, as well as the currently running BBC 2 television series A Band For Britain (about the struggles and revival of the Dinnington Brass Band, aided by irrepressable TV presenter Sue Perkins) will go some way in helping to widen popular interest in brass band music and the heritage as a whole.


Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! explores what is probably the greatest single accordion music resource on the web, ZZ Music. Everything from accordion albums by a huge variety of artists, accordion sheet music, books and more to accordions of the highest pedigree from Claudio Beltrami.

Again, accordion music, especially in the UK, tends to be rather neglected and/or ignored. All too often, the accordion is still regarded as either something somewhat old-fashioned or "humble". Yet, neither could be further from the truth. The accordion is one of the most versatile instruments around and finds a place in just about any type of music you could think of, from folk right up to jazz and classical music - concertos have even been written for it, including a contemporary one in the last ten years by accordion maestro extraordinaire Romano Viazzani (three of his solo accordion albums were recently reviewed on this site). If you labour under the very much misguided impression that the accordion is simple or "humble", then you really ought to have a look at - and more importantly, a listen to some of the finest accordions around as played by some of its finest exponents. Even the accordion's still more "humble" cousing, the concertina, is anything but. Not only could a good quality instrument cost you enough to have to extend your mortgage, but again it has found its way into all manner of musical styles including classical - indeed, many a folk concertina player is classically trained on the instrument.

The accordion is at least very much alive, but it certainly is deserving of much wider popular interest in this country especially. Maybe you'd like to explore a little further?

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/03/07

The 2008/09 version of this page has now been archived.

Finally, it has come to our attention that there appear to be a few minor problems with our web forms, specifically with radio buttons and check boxes, with some browsers. This is continuing to be checked out, but as everything seems to work just fine in Internet Explorer, it seems likely that the problem lies with the other browsers in that they may not have fully implemented this aspect of forms. In which case there appears little that can be done about it other than to suggest you temporarily switch to Internet Explorer in order to use our forms, if you are affected. Flash based forms might be another option longer term.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/02/28

A further review of a sensational Nicolas Meier album to close the month. On Vivaldi - Four Seasons, guitar genius Meier is multi-tracked on acoustic, electric and synth guitars as the Modern Guitar Orchestra. Consisting of the whole of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the addition of Meier originals in the form of a brief intro and three pieces forming an epilogue which also feature two solos by special guest, veteran jazz guitar ace John Etheridge, this album represents an excursion into the classical/Baroque realm by the versatile Meier. A very tasty sample track accompanying the review gives you a flavour of this exciting album.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/02/15

Three reviews of albums hot off the presses this month are of particular interest to any world music aficionado. Jazz flute and Latin / Afro-Cuban jazz giant Mark Weinstein's latest release, Timbasa, is his hottest to date and could set anything alight! This is Latin jazz / Afro-Cuban jazz at its very finest, with an incredible percussion ensemble led by the percussion warlock Pedrito Martinez, and a sensational new rising star of Latin jazz piano in Axel Tosca Laugart who has to be heard to be believed. Indeed, Weinstein's album Timbasa just has to be heard to be believed - it's incredible! To help you, there's a fabulous sample track with the review, the Miles Davis classic Milestones. A killer of an album! Even if you just like to groove, this is a must!

The other two albums reviewed are two eagerly awaited releases from jazz guitar wizard Nicolas Meier, also out this month. The Nicolas Meier Trios' Breeze features two trios, one acoustic, the other electric. Providing a superb showcase for Meier's guitars, this 'unplugged' album is almost outrageously thrilling and addictive. The Electric Trio in addition to Meier features drum genius Asaf Sirkis, who needs no introduction, and also bassist and harmonica player extraordinaire Pat Bettison, both also members of the Meier Group. The Acoustic Trio features the percussion of Spanish born Demi Garcia (of among others The Alec Dankworth Quintet) and from the world of soul, bassist Paolo Minervini. If you plan on buying only one jazz guitar album this year, Breeze should be the one! To help you decide, the title track provides a gobsmackin'ly delicious sample track on the review page. Meier's very personal brand of here mainly jazz, flamenco and Latin fusion is irresistable.

The second Meier album is the Meier Group's Journey, a fantastical journey through a soundscape created by Nicolas Meier's very personal brand of Turkish-informed and flamenco and Latin influenced fusion, is likewise not to be missed. Meier as ever is bursting with ideas and his great strengths as writer and leader, in addition to player, shine. Meier Group co-conspirators are legendary reed supremo Gilad Atzmon, here on clarinet, soprano and alto sax, and supreme maestro of the traps Asaf Sirkis, along with Patrick Bettison on bass and his surperb harmonica and classsy Uruguyan pianist Jose Reinoso. A 'supergroup' indeed, with three leaders of such calibre as Meier, Atzmon and Sirkis coming together. Journey is a dream of an album full of strong, imaginative themes and inventive improvising. To make your mouth drool, there's a taster sample track in the form of the title track of Journey with the review.

A further review of another Nicolas Meier album is already lined up for the next update.

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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2010/01/31

Long overdue perhaps, but better late than never, are reviews of one of the very finest of today's maestros of the accordion, Romano Viazzani's albums from 2007. A trio of outstanding solo accordion releases, they could and indeed ought to be treated as a boxed set but work equally well on their own. Piazzolla - Ángel Suite / Bobiç - Liturgical Suite, Encore, and Viazzani takes Stok cover a huge gamut of styles and genres, form Baroque, contemporary classical, via Argentine Tango and Italian dance classics to contemporary music and rock/pop. A veritable gourmet feast for any music lover, and especially for the accordion connoisseur. There's bound to be something for any world music lover here. Tasty sample tracks accompanying each review (if you don't have Flash Player 8 or later set up yet, now's the time!) should wet any appetite to crave more. To buy, just go to the ZZ Music label's web site. (This small Indie label seems to specialise entirely in accordion - something long needed.) Of course, Romano Viazzani will already be familiar on this site, at any rate to jazz lovers, through his long association with the great Gilad Atzmon's extended Orient House Ensemble. The present recordings are accordion at its most glorious. More, please!

 

Rainlore's World of Music

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Reviews


There is a full index of all reviews available on Rainlore's World of Music. Also, there is an index listing all CD reviews , which includes reviews of music from all genres, and another one listing all live music reviews.

Reviews added 2010/12/20:

Eclectica! :  Flight Of Fancy (2010/12/18)

Mark Weinstein :  Jazz Brasil (2010/11/25)

 

Reviews added 2010/12/12:

Shir :  Ashk'Farad (2010/12/08)

 

Reviews added 2010/10/28:

Mehran :  Angels Of Persepolis (2010/10/27)

 

Reviews added 2010/10/17:

Jazza Music Festival London 2010 - Page 1/2, Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NL, Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th October, 2010 (2 pages - page 1/2) (2010/10/15)

Jazza Music Festival London 2010 - Page 2/2, Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NL, Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th October, 2010 (2010/10/15)

 

Reviews added 2010/09/28:

Danny Spooner :  Years Of Spooner (2010/09/20)

 

Reviews added 2010/09/19:

The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band :  Klezmer At The Confluence (2010/09/15)

 

Reviews added 2010/09/05:

Danny Spooner :  Brave Bold Boys (2010/08/29)

 

Reviews added 2010/08/08:

Danny Spooner :  Bold Reilly Gone Away (2010/08/03)

Danny Spooner :  Emerging Tradition (2010/08/03)

 

Reviews added 2010/07/04:

Breslov Bar Band :  Have No Fear (2010/06/24)

 

Reviews added 2010/05/02:

Guillermo :  The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina (La Hora Azul) (2010/04/29)

Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses :  A Route To The Roots (2010/04/29)

 

Reviews added 2010/03/28:

Television Review: A Band For Britain (March 2010, BBC2) (2010/03/23)

 

Reviews added 2010/03/14:

The Best Of Colliery Bands :  The Music Lives On: Now The Mines Have Gone (2010/03/09)

 

Reviews added 2010/02/28:

Nicolas Meier - Modern Guitar Orchestra :  Vivaldi - Four Seasons (2010/02/16)

 

Reviews added 2010/02/15:

Nicolas Meier :  Journey (2010/02/14)

Nicolas Meier Trios :  Breeze (2010/02/14)

Mark Weinstein :  Timbasa (2010/02/14)

 

Reviews added 2010/01/31:

Romano Viazzani :  Encore (2010/01/28)

Romano Viazzani :  Piazzolla - Ángel Suite, Bobiç - Liturgical Suite (2010/01/28)

Romano Viazzani :  Viazzani takes Stok (2010/01/28)

 

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Artists' Profiles

Artists' profiles consist of brief profiles, complete with discographies, contact/booking and other useful information, for some of the artists whose work has been featured on Rainlore's World of Music.
 

Profiles added:

 

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Articles & Features

Both formal and informal articles, both on as well as off site, on all manner of topics relating to World Music. Titles are accompanied by brief descriptions of the content. A full index of articles and features is also available.

Features/Articles added 2010/12/27:

Classic Soca Anthems From The Golden Age Of Soca (2010/12/26)

 

Features/Articles added 2010/03/28:

Television Review: A Band For Britain (March 2010, BBC2) (2010/03/23) Three-part series that focused on the plight of the failing Dinnington Colliery Band and, 'under the baton' of Sue Perkins, aided the band's revival.

 

Features/Articles added 2010/03/14:

Double Zed Music - Everything Accordion! Article exploring what is probably the greatest single accordion music resource on the web, ZZ Music. Everything from accordion albums by a huge variety of artists, accordion sheet music, books and more to accordions of the highest pedigree from Claudio Beltrami.

 

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