Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:04 am
Tonight marks the first night of Passover, the commemoration of the Jews' liberation from slavery. Like millions around the world, I'll be sitting down to Seder to celebrate, in my case with a completely religiously and culturally mixed-up mishpocheh. I'm not Jewish, but Passover is one of my favorite nights of the year. With all of its rituals, this holiday takes eating mindfully to a whole new and incredible level, with every foodstuff, prayer and movement geared towards revisiting and renewing the ancient story of bitterness and then emancipation.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were doing just fine as solo performers. Then one night, Ryan walked into a bar where Pattengale was playing.
"I heard Kenneth perform a song that he had written from the perspective of a dead dog, only very recently having been hit by a truck," Ryan says, wryly. "And it was that sort of uplifting material that drew us together."
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:51 am
Bruce Cockburn makes his 13th appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. When Cockburn first visited Mountain Stage in 1990, he was already regarded as one of Canada's most respected musicians.
Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 1:41 pm
Grammy-winning blues-rock singer Ben Harper has made 10 studio albums over the course of his career. For his latest project, he teamed up with harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite to release a collaborative album titled Get Up! Musselwhite, one of the few white musicians to gain exposure in the blues scene during the 1960s, has released 26 records and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010.
Stacy Rowles once wrote a note to her father, pianist and composer Jimmy Rowles, stating: "Dear Dad, if you buy me a flugelhorn, I'll play the [expletive] out of it." Indeed she did, and she picked up singing, as well. A longtime mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene, Rowles worked with the all-female quintet the Jazzbirds, led by the late multi-instrumentalist Betty O'Hara, as well as the Jazz Tap Ensemble and the DIVA Big Band.
Margaret Bonds, who died in 1972, is perhaps near the top of the very short list of African-American female composers. Thanks to her partnerships with Langston Hughes and soprano Leontyne Price and others, she's remembered in some circles as an important figure in American composition. But, mostly, she's been forgotten.
"It's amazing that people don't know who she was, although she was quite well known in her time," says Louise Toppin, an opera singer and a voice professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Many music lovers know Juan de Marcos González as the man who teamed up with guitarist Ry Cooder to create Buena Vista Social Club. But González was busy celebrating the history of Cuban music long before Cooder arrived on the scene.
Concurrently with the Buena Vista project, González was recording an album with his own band, The Afro-Cuban All Stars. The orchestra now contains expatriate Cuban musicians, young and old alike, from around the world.