world music (14)

12 Giants of 'World Music'

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Globalization has been a sometimes controversial mixed bag in different areas and different parts of the world, but I think we can all agree that on the plus side, one of its grooviest benefits has been to bring to spread many of the exciting cultural achievements of societies much different from our own.


Nowhere is this more exciting than in the field of “world music”, a term that came into vogue beginning in the 1980s to describe music both non-Western and non-mainstream Western. Initially re

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Mariachi, Mexico's Quintessential Music

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¡Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay! Guitars, violins, colorful spangled costumes and big mariachi hats have become an indelible symbol of Mexico throughout the world (believe it or not, I once even spotted mariachi hats on sale at souvenir stands right outside Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa).

There are conflicting stories about the origin of this distinctive form of music and performance – one pegs it to the brief 1860s reign of Emperor Maximiliano (yes, Mexico had exactly one post-Aztec emperor, kept on the th

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Remembering Cuban Music Icon Celia Cruz

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           Celia featured in a wall mural in Miami's Little Havana


“Ay, no hay que llorar
Que la vida es un carnaval
y es más bello vivir cantando…”
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Today marks exactly a decade since the world lost one of its most memorable pop music giants. In the lines above, from one of her signature songs, Carnaval, the late Celia Cruz sang, “No need to cry – life is a carnival, and it’s more beautiful to live singing” (hear it in the video below).  It's this positive philosophy in life that won her milli

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South Africa's Pop "Goddess of Cool"

by Tripatini staff

 

Having released her third album, Kulture Noir, last summer, Simphiwe Dana, a 30-year-old preacher’s daughter from rural Transkei, has become one of South Africa’s top musical sensations in just half a decade. Often compared to the late, great Miriam Makeba, she sings both in English and in her native Xhosa, mixing traditional Bantu musical idioms with contemporary jazz, gospel, and blues influences… and it’s all on gorgeous display in this song/video, Ndiredi, released back

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9008767470?profile=originalCall me a masochist (or whatever), but even after sitting through the often cheesy but extremely popular annual song festival that is Eurovision and even penning a blow-by-blow review in May 2012, I’m back again this year.  What is it about this spectacle that has captivated many in Europe and beyond ever since its inception in 1956? Several reasons, perhaps. Big pop-music spectaculars seem to do reliably well among the public, and many folks do of course tune in because they want to hear good

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by Tripatini staff

The most famous contribution of Portugal to world music — compared to Spain’s flamenco, Argentine tango, and the blues of the United States, and usually sung in a minor key — soulful, melancholic fado originated in the slums of Lisbon nearly two centuries ago and has been seeing revival and evolution in the decade since the passing of its most famous icon, Amália Rodrigues. Fado’s top diva of the 21st century so far is blonde, 38-year-old Marisa dos Reis Nunes — stage na

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by Nelly Huang

Croatia: a land of more than a thousand islands, splattered off the beautiful Adriatic coastline in Eastern Europe. Located at the crossroads of the Balkans and the Mediterranean, this European country is chock-full of intriguing history, Mediterranean cuisine and Slavic cultural heritage.

On a recent visit to the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, I decided to delve deeper into an unconventional side of the country. I ditched the crowds on the beach, left the tourist trail behind me and

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Not too many people know much about (or have even heard of) the tiny, 10-island West African country of Cape Verdeon Boavista island). But even though relatively few actually understood her song lyrics, plenty in Europe, Africa, and the rest of the world certainly knew and loved its most famous native daughter, a soulful singer whom we lost a year ago today at age 70.

Like one of my favorite U.S. jazz icons, Alberta Hunter, Cesária Évora started her career young and at one point left music

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You got me there, actually. When a friend sent me the YouTube link for “Gangnam Style,” by a pudgy, 35-year-old South Korea hippity-hopper called Psy, I was bemused (no, not necessarily amused), to say the list. Whirling frantically from a kids’ playground to a horse barn to a sauna to a disco bus to a subway car to a toilet stall to a merry-go-round – actually, I’ll stop there, as the merry-go-round image is a pretty apt one, with the understanding that it’s kind of a carousel on crack. The mu

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Hungary For a Little East Europop?

by Tripatini staff

Meet Gabriella, Ádám, and Zsolt, Budapest thirtysomethings who formed the electro-pop group Unique in 1997 — and who’ve been music-obsessed ever since they were mini-Madyars. Blonde Gabi, for example, made a splash way back in ’92 when she walked away with “best solo singer” on the Hungarian TV show Teenage Star Search. With her on vocals and her pair of wingmen on keyboards, the trio persevered finally hitting the big time in 2001, when a Unique tune was picked as the theme f

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by Tripatini staff 

Morocco’s one of those Arab countries where a lot of back-and-forth with Europe — particularly France and Spain — has helped foster a boom in pop music, both on Moroccan and European labels. One of its more prominent figures, Saïd Mouskir (usually spelled Mosker), is a 37-year-old of Berber origin from Casablanca’s Derb Sultan neighborhood, who packs more than ten albums under his belt since his first in 1988 — with a group he formed at the tender age of 15. Like many Morocca

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by Tripatini staff 

An oldie but goodie from one of the seminal Spanish pop groups of the 1980′s and 1990′s, reunited just about a year ago. Two brothers, Nacho and José María Cano wrote and played the tunes and Ana Torroja sang ‘em, and many were quirky doozies — I Can’t Get Up Today, This Isn’t a Serious Cemetery, I Crashed a Party, Stereosexual. This one, from the 1987 album Descanso dominical (Sunday Break) describes the annual New Year’s Eve revelry in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol plaza — “sa

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by Tripatini staff

Tiny Costa Rica holds a very special place in Latin America — largely literate and completely armyless as well as beautiful and exciting. And Malpaís, a six-dude band named after a remote beach area at the end of the road on the Nicoya Peninsula coast (literally, the word means “badlands”), is an unmistakable product of the Tico culture and ethos, fusing jazz and rock with local musical and folk traditions. “Boceto para esperanza,” from their first album, Uno (2003), is a mel

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by Tripatini staff


This ditty from 2009 hails from Lebanon via the pouty lips of sultry chanteuse Myriam Fares, who at 27 already has several albums and a brand of perfume under her belt… a decade after snagging first place at the Lebanese Song Festival. “Eih Elly Byehsal?” is in the Egyptian rather than Lebanese dialect of Arabic (which is more widely understood throughout the Arab world), and frankly, there’s nothing remotely deep here (“I’m in love and how can I describe this passion?”). B
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