09 February 2009

Monday's mp3: Gimme Grammies

I take the Grammy awards with a big ol' bucket of salt. The reporting around them seems to be more about the attire and attitude of megastars than about the music. Still, nabbing one of those shiny statues can mean a whole lot of attention for artists, so I'll humor the system by reporting the relevant ethnic category winners, in case you hadn't heard.

Many, many deserving artists and albums didn't garner even the recognition of a nomination. None of SoundRoots' top 10 albums of 2008 were on the Grammy lists.

Which leads me to today's music. Ladysmith Black Mambazo are great, but a truly innovative album that deserves wider recognition is Sira by Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze.

Goetze is a German-born, New York-based trumpet player. Cissoko is a Senegalese singer and kora (21-string African harp) player. Sira ("mermaid") is the name of Cissoko's youngest daughter, and an appropriate name for a type of music that seems fanciful and not easily glimpsed in the ordinary musical world.

Their collaboration is a masterpiece of improvisation, melody, and beauty. Somewhere between jazz and griot music, it captures an ethereal spirit of sublime communication between two master musicians in perfect balance.

[mp3] Ablaye Cissoko + Volker Goetze: Gorgorlou

More Ablaye Cissoko + Volker Goetze:

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