Lowdown Brass Band – Lowdown Sounds

Lowdown Brass Band - Lowdown Sounds

Substantial and exuberant, Chicago’s Lowdown Brass Band offers a fresh take on New Orleans second line tradition by injecting it with a heavy dose of street funk, soul, salsa, hip hop and other styles. Vibrant horns are held up by the rumble of the mighty sousaphone and the steady, rolling snare drum. While primarily instrumental, the band adds group vocals to several tracks on Lowdown Sounds, their solid debut album.

“You Know Me” opens the record and announces Lowdown Brass Band to the audience in spectacular fashion. The hard-hitting groove, written by sousaphone player Lance Loiselle, has a great hook and doesn’t let up, grabbing the listener’s attention immediately. It’s followed by “I Got That Feelin’,” another gem featuring busy second line horns with a killer bridge. The vibe is so infectious, even an octogenarian will find their feet dancing across the floor.

The group switches gears on “Quieres Bailar,” a stunning salsa number with additional percussion that reveals a different side to Lowdown Brass Band. Their chameleon-like ability to adapt at the drop of a hat is impressive and broadens their sound indefinitely.

The most surprising moment of the record is the cover of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” featuring Ayers himself on vocals and vibraphone. This great tune packs extra punch with the smooth, harmonized horn section and Ayer’s distinctive voice shining through like a ray of late afternoon sunlight.

Billa Camp adds solid, quick-fire rhymes to “Mystery,” drawing on MC and skate culture. The band slows things down on the laid back, appropriately titled “Easy Greazy.” They conclude with “Death Blow,” an intense and humorous composition that wraps up the record nicely.

Lowdown Brass Band push and pull throughout Lowdown Sounds. The excitement is palpable and infectious. Their CD is excellent and can only be topped by seeing the band in the flesh.

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Splinters & Candy 04/20/15 WVKR

Fast Dervish

Fast Dervish

Splinters & Candy 04/20/15 WVKR by Splinters & Candy on Mixcloud

Splinters & Candy airs every Monday from 4-5PM ET on independent radio 91.3FM WVKR Poughkeepsie. Live streaming at wvkr.org. Each week Alex Brown presents an eclectic collection of music from around the world.

A global sonic safari featuring music from Italy, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, Mali, Thailand, France, Morocco and beyond. Listen to a world full of realities and possibilities.

PLAYLIST

Ludovico Einaudi – “Taranta”
Dina El Wedidi – “In Wonderland (Fi Belad El Agayeb)”
Tania Saleh – “Reda”
Fela Kuti – “I No Get Eye for Back”
Lobi Traoré – “Saya”
The Klezmorim – “Egyptian-Ella”
Boubacar Traoré – “Bembalisso”
Dao Bandon – “Bong Ja Bong (Pipe, oh Pipe)”
The Afrorockerz – “Looking for Change”
Orchestre National de Barbès – “Mimouna”

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Noura Mint Seymali – Tzenni

Noura Mint Seymali - Tzenni

Originally published in RootsWorld Magazine:

http://www.rootsworld.com/0603123/reviews/seymali-15.shtml

Moorish music from Mauritania has been evolving for centuries and now Noura Mint Seymali and her group have taken another step towards sharing that music with the world on Tzenni. Her father, Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, was a visionary scholar-artist who believed progressive Mauritanian music should be embraced, not dismissed for lacking strict traditionality. Her stepmother, Dimi Mint Abba, is hailed as a national treasure who gave her stepdaughter the opportunity to sing backup for her while she was a teenager. Her paternal grandmother, Mounina, was also a respected singer and musician. Needless to say, Noura Mint Seymali’s experience of growing up in an iggawen, or griot, family has strongly shaped her own musical message for a global audience.

Tzenni follows two promising EPs, Azawan & Azawan II. For these projects Noura Mint Seymali and her husband, guitarist Jeiche Ould Chighaly, recruited Ousmane Touré on bass and Matthew C. Tinari on drumkit to give the group a strong foundation. The ardine (played by women) and the tidinit (played by men) form azawan, the traditional instruments at the heart of Moorish music. Seymali plays the ardine while she sings and Chighaly plays a modified electric guitar in place of the tidinit. In Mauritania, it’s common for guitarists to emulate the tidinit by having the frets altered to allow quarter tones to be played. Chighaly also feeds his guitar through a phase pedal, which adds a nice dose of flange to his phrasing. His dexterous playing is the perfect compliment for Seymali’s dynamic voice and steady ardine backing.

The sonic connection shared between Seymali and Chighaly is tremendous. The subtle support each musician gives one another is resounding and resonates throughout the recording. The album moves cyclically through Moorish modes, offering contemporary versions of classic Mauritanian repertoire alongside original and reimagined compositions. Seymali’s voice is commanding and elegant; a powerful force that demands attention. Chighaly’s surreal guitar work is astonishing and has earned him praise from every corner of the globe.

From start to finish, Tzenni offers an honest glimpse into Mauritanian life. “Eguetmar” tackles homesickness, “Tzenni” addresses the instability of an ever-changing world and “El Madi” takes the perspective of a prisoner jailed before Mauritania’s independence. Throughout the album, the band pays tribute to Noura Mint Seymali’s musical family. “Hebebeb (Zrag)” is an exciting love song written by Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, “Tikifite” is a healing song that was commonly performed by Dimi Mint Abba and “Emin Emineïna Chouweynë” is dedicated to Mounina and mourns her passing. An outstanding album from an inspirational band, Tzenni should not be missed.

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Splinters & Candy 04/13/15 WVKR

One Dollar, Sir!

One Dollar, Sir!

Splinters & Candy 04/13/15 WVKR by Splinters & Candy on Mixcloud

Splinters & Candy airs every Monday from 4-5PM ET on independent radio 91.3FM WVKR Poughkeepsie. Live streaming at wvkr.org. Each week Alex Brown presents an eclectic collection of music from around the world.

Listen to an hour of fascinating music from the USA, Colombia, Pakistan, Cambodia, Mali, Canada, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, Madagascar and beyond. A diverse set of sounds from across the globe.

PLAYLIST

Tipsy Oxcart – “Bone Dance”
Afrosound – “Una Abeja en el Semáforo”
Kamal Ahmed ft. Noor Jehan – “Yeh Raat Jane Keya Keya”
Dengue Fever – “Family Business”
Les Ambassadeurs – “Mandjou”
Le Vent du Nord – “Noce Tragique”
Simon Shaheen – “Al Hinna”
Queen Ida & the BonTemps Zydeco Band ft. Al Rapone – “Frisco Zydeco”
Türküz Türkü Çağırırız – “Türküz Türkü Çağırırız”
Eugène – “Lia Haly”

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Splinters & Candy 04/06/15 WVKR

Rain Party

Rain Party

Splinters & Candy 04/06/15 WVKR by Splinters & Candy on Mixcloud

Splinters & Candy airs every Monday from 4-5PM ET on independent radio 91.3FM WVKR Poughkeepsie. Live streaming at wvkr.org. Each week Alex Brown presents an eclectic collection of music from around the world.

Enjoy an hour of explosive, resounding music from Mali, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Norway, Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana and beyond. International sound escapades.

PLAYLIST

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba – “Musow Fanga”
Les Ambassadeurs Internationales – “Mousso Gnaleden”
Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited – “Nyoka Musango”
Monoswezi – “Mhondoro”
Beautiful Nubia and the Roots Renaissance Band – “Ara”
Boubacar Traoré – “Kolo Tigi”
Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra – “Bamougoutchi”
Mory Kanté – “Nafiya”
K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas – “Asaase Yi So”

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Splinters & Candy airs Mondays from 4-5PM ET on 91.3FM WVKR. Live streaming at wvkr.org. Each week Alex Brown presents an eclectic collection of music from around the globe.