Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville spent a half-century shaping the sound of New Orleans music. The keyboardist and singer was a founding member of the Meters and the Neville Brothers, and was the voice of the enduring Carnival season anthem “Mardi Gras Mambo.”

In the latest blow for a New Orleans music community that had already lost Dr. John and Dave Bartholomew this summer, Neville died Monday after years of declining health. He was 81.

“It was peaceful,” said Kent Sorrell, Neville’s longtime manager. “He passed away at home with his adoring wife Lorraine by his side. He toured the world how many times, but he always came home to Valence Street.”

Arthur Lanon Neville was born on December 17, 1937, the same day as New Orleans piano legend James Booker. As a boy, he lived in the Calliope housing development and Uptown on Valence Street. He was drawn to the Orioles, the Drifters and other doo-wop groups, as well as the piano-driven music of Professor Longhair and Fats Domino.

Read full article: New Orleans legend Art Neville, founder of the Meters and Neville Brothers, dies at 81 | Keith Spera | nola.com

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(CNN) – Johnny Clegg, the South African singer known for Zulu rhythms and sounds with Western styles, has died, his manager Roddy Quin said in a statement.

The 66-year-old died on Tuesday at his family home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 but continued to tour around the world.

Clegg’s music has been described as groundbreaking during the apartheid era. He co-founded two interracial bands, including Juluka with Sipho Mchunu and Savuka with Dudu Zulu.

“He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity,” Quin said. “An anthropologist that used his music to speak to every person. With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us he awakened awareness.”

The South African government also shared its condolences to Clegg’s family and friends. “He has left deep footprints in our hearts,” according to its Twitter account. “He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.”

Read full article: Johnny Clegg, the South African singer, has died at age 66 – CNN


‘What’s been fashionable never bothered us’ … Beverly Hill, Ian A Anderson and Caroline Walker of fRoots magazine, at Bracknell folk festival, 1985. Photograph: Dave Peabody

When much-loved magazines fold, tributes quickly gush about how they captured new trends or scenes. But some magazines, like fRoots, have always sat outside time. A champion of the local and the international underground for over 40 years, it announced its closure last week after advanced discussions with a new publishing company fell through; an official statement online added that “decreased advertising support in the digital age, along with current political and economic uncertainties” hadn’t helped.

Take a look at its recent 40th-anniversary edition: it’s like a huge fanzine created by a groovy uncle, occasionally gazing at the mainstream but much happier exploring the margins. Its going out guide is staggeringly broad, revealing a fertile UK festival and gig scene rarely covered by the national press. Features include a dig into Kate Bush’s traditional roots, reports on the qawwali ensembles of Pakistan and a free desert festival in Morocco, plus Scottish folk musician Alasdair Roberts celebrating new artist Burd Ellen’s songs about women. The huge reviews section takes in London’s Cafe Oto, Korean experimentalist Park Jiha and Topic Records’ 80th-anniversary CD. Trendy bells and whistles are few, but it’s a rich treasure trove.Folk Roots magazine, with folk musician Shirley Collins on the cover.

fRoots began in 1979, at the height of post-punk and disco. Back then, it was The Southern Rag, a regional quarterly for central and southern England celebrating folk and roots music. It took off. In 1984 it was renamed Folk Roots, going monthly and national on the newsstands with a booming subscription base.

Read full article: ‘A big tree has fallen’: the sad demise of fRoots, bible of British folk | Music | The Guardian

Sandy Denny was just another relatively obscure folk singer in London when a song she wrote, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” showed up on the American pop charts as the title track of a top-30 album in 1968 by singer Judy Collins.

Collins, an astute interpreter who had brought the songs of artists such as Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen to a wider audience when they were still relative unknowns, heard genius in “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” and she wasn’t wrong.

A few months later, Denny – all of 22 years old – would record her own definitive version of the song. It would appear as the centerpiece of Fairport’s third studio album, “Unhalfbricking,” released 50 years ago this month. It inspired countless more covers by a stellar list of artists, from country great Charlie Louvin and Cat Power to Nina Simone and 10,000 Maniacs. But none rival Denny’s version with Fairport, a mix of beauty, sadness and wonder that grows richer with each listen.

The album and the song in particular underlined the artistry of Denny and her bandmates, particularly 20-year-old guitarist Richard Thompson, and sparked a new strain of distinctly British folk-rock that inspired countless bands and artists, including Steeleye Span, Nick Drake and even Led Zeppelin, who recruited Denny to duet with Robert Plant on the distinctly Fairport-like “The Battle of Evermore” in 1971. In later generations, the Fairport sound underlies the work of countless bands, including Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes and the Decemberists.

Read full article: 50 years on, Sandy Denny’s influence remains with Mumford, Decemberists and others – Chicago Tribune

He was the harmonica player Mick Jagger enlisted for a lesson, and the Doors, Patti Smith and Beck all invited on stage to perform with them in Minneapolis. The Minnesota music hero honored by both Bob Dylan and the Replacements. The writer and musicologist who penned blues tomes, magazine articles and Dylan liner notes.

To the friends and family mourning Tony Glover this week, he was also just an ultracool, storied but laid-back guy they relished hanging around.

Glover died Wednesday afternoon of natural causes after being hospitalized since May 13. He was 79.

Using the bluesman pseudonym “Little Sun,” Glover made his earliest and best-known mark on music in the early-1960s acoustic blues and folk group Koerner, Ray & Glover. The trio’s three albums for Elektra Records — especially their 1963 debut “Blues, Rags & Hollers” — were cited by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doors, Bonnie Raitt and many more as an influence on their music.

In a 2002 interview shortly before his longtime bandmate Dave “Snaker” Ray lost a battle with cancer, Glover said, “Ragged but right; that’s what we always aimed for.”

A Minneapolis native who grew up loving Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Leadbelly alongside Ray (his classmate at University High School in Dinkytown), Glover became emblematic of the white kids whose reverence of African-American blues musicians shaped rock music.

Read full article: Minnesota blues hero Tony Glover, an influence on Dylan and the Stones, dies at 79 – StarTribune.com

Singer-songwriter Leon Redbone, who specialized in old-school vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley-style music, died Thursday, his family confirmed. He was 69. Though, in characteristically whimsical fashion, the official statement announcing his death gave his age as 127.

Although Redbone’s pop-defying predilection for seemingly antiquated musical styles of the ’20s and ’30s made him the unlikeliest of stars, he became one anyway, appearing several times as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” — including two spots in the inaugural 1975-76 season alone — and landing frequent appearances with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” into the 1980s. Later popular successes had him singing the themes for TV’s “Mr. Beledevere” and “Harry and the Hendersons,” along with contributing a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Zooey Deschanel to the soundtrack of “Elf,” for which he also voiced the animated character of Leon the Snowman.

Redbone had officially retired in 2015, with a representative then citing unspecified health concerns that had “been a matter of concern for some time” as the reason for his being unable to continue performing or recording.

A post on Redbone’s website confirming his death contained enough deadpan humor and obvious fiction that it was almost certainly prepared in advance by the singer himself. “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127,” it read. “He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing sing along number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends, and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Thank you…. and good evening everybody.’”

Ironically, one of Redbone’s most popular concert pieces was “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” — a number that incorporated whistling solos that further ensured Redbone would be talked about in his absence. That song title, which dates back to 1930, was adapted as the name of a documentary about Redbone that premiered at festivals in 2018 but has not yet been widely released.

 

Read full article: Leon Redbone Dead: Singer Dies at 69 – Variety

Yann-Fañch Kemener, an influential Breton folk music singer died on March 16, 2019. He was involved in the revival of a Breton style called Kan ha diskan.

Yann-Fañch Kemener was born April 7, 1957 in Sainte-Tréphine (Côtes-d’Armor), in the heart of Brittany’s Fañch region (France). He grew up in a family of singers and dancers.

Breton was his mother tongue and the transmission was done naturally. At four, he participated in his first fest-noz (Breton night festival) and his first performance on stage was at 15, encouraged by Albert Boloré.

Influenced by the great voices of elders like Mrs. Bertrand, Yann-Fañch performed gwerz (Breton epic folk songs) and other styles at fest-noz events, together with artists such as Marcel Guilloux, Erik Marchand, and Ifig Troadec.

He recorded Deep Songs of Brittany Vol. 1, including the Skolvan Ballade, Gousperrou ar ranned and La Grande Passion. In 1982, the Charles-Cros academy gave him the Grand Prix Heritage for the three album series Deep Songs of Brittany.

Read full article: Traditional Breton Singer Yann-Fañch Kemener Dies at 61 | World Music Central.org

Les Poules à Colin, a group of 20-somethings who are the offspring of traditional musicians, are putting their own spin on centuries-old sounds. (Luna Calmette-Ratelle/Radio-Canada)

There’s a traditional Québécois song that’s devoted entirely to leg afflictions.

Sung without instruments, Le pied fait su’l’cant plaintively describes a misshapen foot, a crooked ankle, a fat thigh.

For Françoise Malo, who grew up in Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu, it’s one of many simple call-and-response songs she’d belt out with her family — a Québécois tradition that stretches back generations.

It wasn’t until she sang it for Mélisande, a contemporary singer and jaw harp player, that the song began its second life.

Mélisande, who performs with her partner, Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand, decided to re-record the song, adding in echoing synths and hard-driving beats for a sound they call “électrotrad.”

“Then I added some lyrics,” said Mélisande “I am not perfect. But I am sexy like this.”

The story of Le pied fait su’l’cant‘s transformation from call-and-response folk song to empowering electronic hit is, in many ways, the story of Québécois traditional music.

As each new generation of musicians looks to the past, they update the music with the sounds and spirit of their times.

“It’s amazing to dig into this tradition that is so old and so rich,” said de Grosbois-Garand, who serves as musical director and plays flute and bass.

“On stage … we have synths and drums and a lot of technology. We really make a 21st-century version of that tradition,” he said.

Read full article and listen to audio: With an eye on the past, Quebec traditional music is reinventing itself — again | CBC Radio

Salif Keita, Mali’s most famous musical son, is going home. “I’m returning to the land,” he says. “I was a farmer’s son. I am a farmer’s son. Now, I will go back to the country and cultivate.” Cultivate what? I ask, not for the first time. Keita does not answer, not for the first time. He closes his eyes and falls silent. When he does speak, it is bursts of a few words and short, stilted answers.

I am in a modest hotel suite in the north of Paris with one of the greatest musical talents the African continent has ever produced. Keita, known as the “golden voice of Africa”, has enjoyed a career spanning more than half a century. Now nearly 70 years old, he is known not just for his extraordinarily powerful and passionate voice, but for the genetic condition he has called albinism that has made him, he says, “white of skin and black of blood”. He has sung for Nelson Mandela, and in aid of Ethiopia. He continues to sing to highlight the desperate plight of those with albinism across Africa, giving his time and talent to raise funds.

Keita is eating breakfast, a plate of fried chicken and onions, chunks of crispy baguette and milky tea. His answers are brief and so softly-spoken it’s a struggle to catch the occasional word in between the food and the clatter of cutlery. More than once, he stops eating, looks pained, and rubs both his hands vigorously over his face.

He is in Paris to promote his 14th album Un Autre Blanc (Another White), the title a reference to his struggles as a singer-songwriter with albinism. Keita says it is definitely his last. “I will do some concerts and perhaps some tours. Nothing major and not another album.” He shakes his head. “Too much work. I am going to rest.”

Read full article: Salif Keita: ‘Democracy is not a good thing for Africa’ | Music | The Guardian

The sun has set for one of the brightest stars in Kenyan music history, Ayub Ogada. The legend, who put nyatiti on the map, was discovered dead at his residence in Nyahenya, Kisumu County, on Friday evening. He was 63.

Born Job Seda in 1956, Ogada is arguably one of Kenya’s greatest musicians. His memory lives on not only in the music, but in the hearts and hands of countless musicians that he has inspired the world over.

Musicians Suzanna Owiyo, Makadem, Rapasa Nyatrapasa Rapwapwa, Daniel Okiror, Papillon and Daniel Onyango, are just but some who attribute their love for music and nyatiti, to the legend.

“It is Ayub who inspired my generation to pick up the nyatiti and continue telling our stories. His music will forever be with us,” writes nyatiti player, Daniel Onyango, in a eulogy.

He also played other traditional musical instruments such as kalimba, orutu and traditional flutes, as well as contemporary instruments like the guitar and piano.

His death comes just weeks after the passing on of Kenyan bass player Bruce Odhiambo, Zimbabwean musical legend Oliver Mtukudzi, and a year after the death of renowned South African trumpet maestro, Hugh Masekela.

Read full article: Curtain falls on legendary musician Ayub Ogada : The Standard