25 May 2007

Interviews! Headlines! MP3s!

I'm getting ready to do some live radio this morning with members of Vagabond Opera and the March Fourth Marching Band, but I wanted to post a quick update of some worldly things (and you may expect more on those bands and a report of tonight's show here in Olympia soon...).

Is the epitome of "world music" an album that was recorded on three continents and incorporates musical elements from all three? In my book, that's a subcategory called "world fusion," but not so for Paste Magazine in their brief interview of Bebel Gilberto, in which the artist says: "I just hope my music is inspiring and makes people feel sexy."

A longer and more enlightening interview finds Bob Duskis and Pat Berry of Six Degrees Records talking about their 10th anniversary on the roller coaster ride of the music industry and how they've managed to hang on. "We wondered, 'What would it be like if producers from Rio and Mali were mixing these things up?' " Duskis recalls. "So that's what we went for, and we found hybridized bands like the MIDIval PunditZ, who grew up steeped in traditional Indian music like ragas, but were also club kids who loved the Chemical Brothers, hip-hop and trance. ... It's not some guy in England bringing in a sitar sample...."

Did you read this week about the survey of US Muslims? Maybe you saw some of the resulting alarmist headlines? For a reality check, read
Shahed Amanullah's article "What Polls About US Muslims Don't Tell You," puts into perspective the finding that 6% of US Muslims believe that suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam. When asked if "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "often or sometimes justified," 24% of all Americans agreed - four times the 6% of US Muslims who share that view.

A pair of interesting articles appeared in The Christian Science Monitor recently: one about how Brazilian rock star Tico Santa Cruz of the band Detonautas is taking a stand against Rio's increasing violence; another about the progress -- and criticism -- of South Africa's preparations for the 2010 World Cup.

So that's what's been on my mind of late. That and the increasingly tall stack of CDs on my desk waiting for review. I plan to spend at least a little of this holiday weekend listening to those, so you can expect some fresh reviews here in the next week. As for today's listening, you can't go wrong with the crazy musical antics of the March Fourth Marching Band -- and if you're anywhere near Olympia, I expect to see you at their Capitol Theater show tonight.

[mp3] March Fourth Marching Band: Yiddish Blues
from their self-titled CD
(the M4 website offers two more full length tracks, "Crack Haus" and "Pilo Erect")
(and some song samples from Vagabond Opera)

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