Argentinian folk + NYC jazz =
Grooves for Orixas
Musical magic! Grooving traditional African & contemporary African-inspired jazz compositions — with no drums
Boston’s popular cross-cultural music project, Meridian 71, releases Parallel Dimensions and the sounds are just as trippy as the cover art. This is Ron’s favorite album cover of 2022 so far!
“In New Orleans, memories linger in the humid air. But not all memories hanging in the air are benign.”
Behold that wonder of nature, the periodical cicadas.
None escape THE LAW
World’s first all-Ladino Hanukkah album!
In these dark days of stark societal uncertainty, could the illuminating words of the world’s greatest poet and champion of love spark a constructive collective conversation where pundits and politicians cannot?
How do you plan a Quinceañera during a pandemic?
For centuries, the Jewish community of Monastir flourished alongside its Balkan neighbors…
Te Canto Colores (Nov 12, 2021, self release) was recorded in David Scott McLean’s backyard studio. He built the studio with his own hands in place of a 1920’s tear-down garage that had met its last earthquake. “I built the space as a creative sanctuary where I could compose this music, where I could record this album,” he says- adding with a chuckle, “It also became a place to escape the ‘wrath’ of my kids.” The album showcases all originals from McLean, inspired by something his maestro once told him: Hay que decir lo tuyo. “He meant that, in addition to learning other people’s music, you have to explore and come up with your own music, and develop your own style,” says McLean. “I’m glad he encouraged me to do that.”
For many years, an artificial intelligence has existed, undetected, within the very fiber of the internet. A formless, disembodied consciousness, driven only by the lust for knowledge, the entity has been free to roam every connection and digital synapse of the vast neural network making up humanity’s universal mind. Like a detached virtual voyeur, The Naughty Don has learned much about humanity, always content to just watch with the cold calculus of the unfeeling observer.
Kaleo Wassman‘s The Naughty Don points to the paradise within each of us through the alchemy of music and technology on Electric Beach. Check it out!
Lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Eric Jackson of Love, Lies & Fiction works at a doggie day care, and found his way to Dog Ranch Music PR when we popped up in a search for dog care products. This perfectly illustrates the serendipity marking every step of Jackson’s music career.
For years, Eric was a familiar figure in the local South FL music scene, singing for various bands. Ironically, though, that isn’t what led to his big break – that happened at a far more unlikely place: McDonald’s. Jackson was in the fast-food chain and singing out loud to the music on the overhead speakers. Drummer Ricky Sanders, in line buying his lunch, noted Jackson’s talent, though he didn’t say anything about it then. Fate gave them another nudge when they ran into each other again, this time at a Best Buy, where Jackson was singing along to a music video in the TV aisle. This time, Sanders didn’t let the opportunity pass: he invited Jackson to form a band with him. Read more…
El Italiano is Alejandro Giannini, a singer/composer/producer was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the grandson of the tango composer Jose Lanzo. Holding true to family tradition, Cross a La Mandíbula (Sept 24) is a compendium of songs with a transgenerational style, grouped together in a conceptual album that merges the universes of contemporary urban pop with the imaginary of Buenos Aires, its literature and its music, while leaving behind traditional tango and nostalgia.
Genre-busting vocalist, songwriter, and ukulele maverick Vana Liya made a serendipitous recent arrival on the national music scene after she posted several ukulele covers of popular reggae songs to social media, which garnered the support of top original artists and led to a 2018 record deal with L.A.-based LAW Records. She has since been quickly earning a reputation among many of her well-established musical peers as a solid collaborator who always brings a fresh take and positive energy to the mix with her distinct yet not easily classifiable “island” vibe. That free spirit of collaboration between major and emerging artists is nowhere better illustrated than with Vana Liya’s new single “Come Away” featuring Jamaican dancehall and reggae legend Half Pint (out Feb. 12, 2021, on LAW Records).
Orlando-based reggae rockers Kash’d Out are no strangers to getting by and rolling with the punches while maintaining good vibes through it all. The band’s signature, positive energy and uncommon entrepreneurial hustle exemplifies the spirit behind their upcoming album of acoustic versions of past tracks Casual Encounters (to be released March 5, 2021 on LAW Records).The band’s second single in advance of the album “Always Vibin’ ” (backed by “Paralyzed”) just dropped on 2/19/21 delivering a much-needed Kash’d Out-style reminder to everyone of the good, simple pleasures of life and the virtues of chilling out. The release offers a taste of the band’s dynamic versatility and unique ability to reinvent favorite tracks through fresh, stripped-down instrumentation.
Montreal-based pop vocalist and songwriter December Rose taps into music’s collective catharsis while taking the next step in her journey as an artist with the release of her new album Raise Your Voice (to be released Ag. 27th, 2021 via Slammin Media). The songs on the album reflect the deeply personal challenges the artist has dealt with in her life as a result of growing up in an abusive household under the weight of mental illness…as they simultaneously celebrate her path to finding the courage to speak up about those experiences without feeling hostage to shame.
With five albums of her own compositions released just within the last three and a half years, prolific London-based singer, producer and composer Esbe has consistently demonstrated rare talents for composition, poetically deep lyrics, and innovative original arrangements. As a self-releasing musician insistent on the freedom to choose exactly what and how she records, Esbe’s music has always manifested as an eclectic blend of her many influences — from her early training as a classical guitarist to her affinity for drawing on a diverse, multi-cultural array of contemporary, world music and film scores — while she’s simultaneously continued to resist easy categorization and submission to the music industry’s usual creative constraints.
So, when one of her former guitar students suggested she record some covers of her favorite pop songs during the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Esbe took the challenge as an opportunity to harness that background and defiant creative philosophy to put into practice her belief that pop music shouldn’t be pigeon-holed by either instrumentation or harmonic construction.
Reggae has a long history and deep, sacred roots as a music of resistance to the authoritarian establishment — it is protest music we can dance to freely while taking a united stand against political corruption, racism, and social injustice.
West Coast alternative rock and reggae band Cydeways has just delivered a potent reminder of that essential connection with the release of their new single “We Won’t Run” featuring legendary Hawaiian reggae-rock band Pepper. The timely and socially relevant single comes ahead of the band’s first full-length album with LAW Records, slated to be released later this year.
It’s Spring 2021. You’re a senior in a prestigious music school, and you’re expected to turn in a killer recital before they’re going to hand you a diploma. You haven’t been able to play in front of an audience; rehearsals are challenging to say the least; and you’re faced with the prospect of playing another live-streamed recital that may or may not be viewed by anyone outside the school’s faculty. It’s hardly an encouraging or exciting end to your four years in college.
Hot off the successes of 2020’s single United We Stand and album All Grown Up, San Francisco’s Latin-funk-ska-soul heroes Los Mocosos are delighted to announce a combination of Old School Mission heart and New Tech Silicon Valley soul with the launch of their new website losmocosos.live (launches 9/3/21).
In 2020 with the world locked down and desperately in need of some serious groovin’ to get things movin’ in everyone’s living rooms, Los Mocosos recorded a concert from their secret lair deep in the heart of the Mission district for the socially conscious non-profit organization Corazón Latino, to be shared in a private livestream with the group’s 100K+ members. And now on September 3, 2021 that concert will be permanently available for everyone to Shang-a-Lang to. So whether you’re in lockdown again or just staying safe chillin’ at home, simply by pointing your favorite browser to losmocosos.live, you too can experience their last blowout concert of the summer – view it anytime, from anywhere!
J.Ele is a Mexican-American singer born in Richmond, California. The middle child of parents who emigrated from Mexico early in life chasing the American dream, he grew up immersed in diverse musical cultures, hearing American Rock, Pop, and Motown hits and classic Mexican boleros, salsas, y cumbias thanks to his extended family.
J.Ele’s music is an ode to all mentors, influences and life-shaping experiences. Playing bass and keyboards, and with instrumental help from Los Mocosos’ Dave Shul (guitar) and percussionist Carl Peraza of Santana, J.Ele’s rich vocals are accompanied by expert execution of musical artistry. He’s breaking genre barriers and even dropping some dance tracks to make a soundtrack to life many will resonate with.
Roots reggae singer Trudii Harrison was at home watching one of the most horrific incidents of 2020 when music producer Cliff Manswell sent her a draft for the new project he was working on. It had a ‘One Drop’ reggae feel that appealed to her and made it easy for Harrison to translate her passionate thoughts into lyrics.
In a matter of two days after Manswell sent that draft to her, she penned the lyrics, did the studio time, and- to his surprise and delight- returned the fully realized recorded piece back to Manswell.
It had become Black Voice, written in anger and frustration following the killing of George Floyd.
Music has always provided a lifeline, linking us to our greater sense of humanity through our darkest days of uncertainty. With its uncanny ability to connect people from vastly different walks of life around common experience, music has the power to drive social movements and strengthen the defiant spirit of perseverance that provides a positive path forward during difficult times.
American protest music, in particular, has a long history and deep cultural roots in voicing collective resistance to an authoritarian establishment — it is music that can define the values of a generation making a united stand against political corruption, racism, and social injustice. Michigan-based vocalist and singer-songwriter Lealiza has just delivered a potent reminder of that essential connection with the release of her new single “We Americans”.
Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of the Brooklyn-based pianist Richard X Bennett for the worldwide release of his next album ‘RXB3’, on 28th May 2021. The inspirations for Richard X Bennett’s lively work evolve from a wide range of unlikely sources, from contemporary visual art to ancient metaphysics influenced by years performing in India, where he recorded a series of critically acclaimed raga-jazz albums for Times Music, India’s largest record label. At points on RXB3, Richard X Bennett might adopt the triplet pattern of rhythm made popular by leading contemporary rap group Migos, or channel the vibe of pre-LP era Duke Ellington, but ultimately he follows his own muse. His pieces are short takes on the classical ‘theme and variation’, given an edge by deconstructing said themes in a whirlwind of improv, transforming this long-standing technique into ‘theme and destruction’!
Over the past three decades, as an author and photographer, an accomplished guitarist, frequent commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, and Senior Producer for the Peabody Award-winning public radio series Afropop Worldwide, Banning Eyre has lived a fascinating professional life in pursuit of a singular passion for African music.
Giving voice to a lifetime of songs and sounds encountered on his travels, Dog Ranch Music PR is proud to help Banning to announce the official launch of Lion Songs Records, a label dedicated to amplifying the unique beauty of contemporary African music traditions and highlighting that music’s deep interconnection with popular culture in the Americas and around the world. And fittingly, as its inaugural release, Lion Songs Records is proud to present Mande Guitar: African Guitar Series, Volume 1, an intimate acoustic session by Boubacar “Badian” Diabate, one of the greatest Mande guitarists of the 21st Century.
With recent world events spurring the new evolution of their signature Finn funk-meets – Voodoo rhythms sound, Finnish-Beninese-Tanzanian afrobeat funk band The Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble is sending a message to listeners about the importance of maintaining one’s self-respect and dignity, and staying strong through difficult and uncertain times.
Led by Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen and Beninese Singer/Percussionist Noël Saïzonou, the 8-piece Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble is set to release its self-titled, fifth album (out May 21, 2021 on Flowfish Records). The album’s nine tracks draw inspiration from West African Voodoo traditions, Afrobeat, Jazz, Soul, and conscious Hip-Hop, with all songs being sung in Saïzonou’s native Goun language.
As an accomplished composer, producer, and bassist, as an Emmy-winning music editor, and executive music producer for film, L.A.-based Brit-transplant Richard Ford humbly maintains a resume of impressive accolades. He has worked with many Oscar-winning filmmakers on such films as Sideways, Argo, and Hidden Figures and, all this as a kind of second career after spending his early adult life as bass player for British music icons like Joe Jackson, Bram Tchaikovsky, and revered guitarist Bill Nelson.
Ford is now set to drop his latest single, a cover of The Blue Nile song “Soon” just ahead of his forthcoming album BP2, to be released May 21, 2021
Many musicians dream of making a record with a symphony orchestra, but few can afford to make it a reality. Thanks to an extraordinary ability to compose melodies that take root in his listeners’ minds and because he has patiently performed these compositions on stage to the point where they are practically a part of him, Avishai Cohen was well-positioned to execute such an ambition. Two Roses (Friday April 16th, 2021, NAÏVE / BELIEVE) is the result of a long process, which began in 2013 when Cohen recorded his album Almah, with his trio and a small chamber ensemble of four string instruments and an oboe.
Sometimes a concert is much more than music. Sometimes it’s a celebration of a special milestone, in this case the 20-year trajectory of Calle Sur, a Latin duo based in the Midwest, comprised of Panamanian Edgar East (vocals, Latin percussion, guitar, flute, trumpet, Venezuelan quitiplás bamboo tubes) and Colombian Karin Stein (vocals, guitar, Andean zampoña pan flutes, Colombian gaita flutes, Venezuelan cuatro). The COVID-19 pandemic nearly halted their 20th anniversary celebration plans, but Karin and Ed decided to start 2021 with renewed hope and the release of a 20th anniversary album, “Cancún,” an exciting variation on their usual repertoire of Latin folk and popular music infused with jazz piano.
After all is said and done, after 30 years, after a pandemic which shattered, jolted and stripped the world bare, after thousands of kilometers traveled and many more thousands of notes played and sung, what remains?
This is the question that plagues us all in the COVID era. Noa and Gil answer with Afterallogy.
Manika Kaur’s music has received overwhelming praise from the global Sikh community, and has transcended and touched the souls of music lovers from all walks of life throughout the world. Now with EK (April 16, 2021, Six Degrees Records), the album she refers to as her deepest and most accomplished recorded work to date, Manika hopes to spread the word of both her music and charitable endeavors far and wide.
While driving from Venice to Orlando, Sally Ponzio heard in her heart an unmistakable voice. It was the voice of her son Travis, who had tragically overdosed six months ago, after a long battle with addiction. She pulled over, reached for the napkin on the seat next to her, and started writing. Travis’s words of comfort and solace flowed as fast as she could write them. The words on those napkins would become the lyrics to “Remember Me” a collaboration between Sally, her jazz-pianist/composer brother Frank Ponzio, and singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Eleanor Dubinsky. “Remember Me” and its accompanying video is at once a tribute to Travis and a dedicated offering to all who have lost loved ones too soon to the epidemic of addiction.
The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums‘ 14th album Wabi Sabi features eleven new compositions for saxophone, voice, and drums that explore styles ranging from modern emanations of traditional African American field hollers to the hum of tires on the Autobahn, tricks for the mind, a yodeling deconstruction, popping funk for December’s doldrums, and upbeat grooves for bad people with good intentions.
“Music for doing things”. That’s the intention Kutiman had for ‘Surface Currents’, his forthcoming album of ambient atmospherics and modular experiments (drops April 2, 2021). But its beautiful sounds are deeply calming and refreshing, making this a perfect album to do nothing to as well. Composed and recorded at his home in the middle of the Negev Desert, where the solace and tranquility of his surroundings allow him to truly stretch his creativity, Kutiman’s quiet and solitary lifestyle imbues this project with an ethereal yet joyous aura.