World Music Mix: Hakim Jamal(UK)-As She Awakens (2023)

Hakim Jamal-As She Awakens

Hakim Jamal(UK)-As She Awakens
Composer: Paul Ashley Wheatcroft
Label: TalkingHead TV Recordings (2023)

On June 21st 2023, a child was born in Algiers. She has not had a simple start to life – her parents are separated by distance, although she is much loved. We keep communication open and we give her what we can in the ways we can, until we can see her. This I also do with my two other grandchildren, but sadly often with little success.
I wanted to give her a gift that would be memorable, and with the skills I have, I created this for her and about her. It was inspired by a video taken of her by her mother as she was waking up one day.
But it’s more than that – children from her part of the world, and I include the Middle East as well as North Africa suffer daily deprivations and injustices. Children of her precise background find themselves even this week caught up in the awful racist theatre of hate that is France.
Yet they remain at heart just children – alive, trusting, hungry, loving, naturally happy – wherever they are.
In my opinion it is our responsibility to make sure they are taken care of; and so this song is for them too. I hope it makes you think of children you know and ways in which you can be kind to them. Peace.

World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Neal Bowen(USA)-Album: Kamikaze Think Thank (Blue Canoe Records, 2023)


Neal Bowen’s music showcases his abilities not only on bass, but guitar, keys, and in production. With the contributions of drummer/producer Jason Cooper and trumpeter/arranger Tom Clary, Neal’s debut album Kamikaze Think Tank is a tribute to his musical heroes that have become a part of his musical voice and vision. Echoes of Weather Report, Dixie Dregs, and Steely Dan can be heard throughout.

Bass, Keys, Guitar, Programming: Neal Bowen
Drums: Jason Cooper
Trumpet: Tom Clary
Saxophone: Jim Spake
Trombone: Victor Sawyer
B3 Organ, Synth: Pete DeGloma
Mixing/Mastering: Neal Bowen, Jason Cooper

Blue Canoe Records

World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Strunz and Farah (USA)-Album: Syncretic Strings

Strunz and Farah-Syncretic Strings

Syncretic Strings
Grammy-nominated acoustic guitar greats Strunz & Farah are releasing their 21st album, Syncretic Strings, in March 2023. Their blend of Latin, Middle Eastern, jazz fusion, and acoustic rock elements has been highly influential among guitarists worldwide.

Recognized for their astounding technical brilliance, melodic eloquence, and colorful and sophisticated compositions, Strunz & Farah have created a new collection of ten studio tracks full of energy and beauty. One cut, “This Could Only Be”, features surprise special guest Al Di Meola on percussion.

As the title suggests, the music offers an exuberant diversity, blending many elements into their unique guitar vision, transcending categories, and further expanding the possibilities of contemporary guitar. A new refreshing feast of color, melody, and driving rhythm from these guitar masters, among their very best yet.

“Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah play with the swiftness of a desert wind and the burning passion of a Gypsy campfire…In addition to being talented arrangers and composers, their technical mastery of the instrument – especially in terms of speed – tests the boundaries of the human capability.” – Guitar Player

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World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Fingerless (Australia): single: More To Come

Fingerless-More to Come
Fingerless (Australia): single: More To Come

Meanjin/Brisbane psych-folk-indie-rock group Fingerless are not ones to stick to any single style. After pulling dungeon/dark synth, psych pop, and an epic ballad (cover) out of the hat last year, they return in 2023 with a cynical take on the rose-coloured glasses “love conquers all” trope.
‘More To Come’ is a love song really, in its broadest sense, but it’s also about life and how we can’t always prepare for everything. Life and love are not fairytales, there are ups and downs the whole way through—there is no happily ever after, there is only now.

The impetus for the song’s themes came from the phrase that you see at the end of a lot of ABC News articles: “More to come.” Like, we know. That’s why we read the news and not the olds. They do make a good point though – there is always more tocome. The world is always changing around us and we have to respond to it. On top of that, as individuals we’re always changing, and we make changes wherever we go. Nothing is static.

Keeping true to this theme, the artwork for the new single was developed using AI image generation – an emerging technology that we don’t really understand. Some of the lyrics and imagery from the song were used as the prompts for creating the original image on Midjourney. What does this kind of technology mean for visual art and (human) artists working in this space? And let’s not forget that AI generated music has been around for a while now, and it’s awesome and terrifying in both its generative and integrated forms.

The band returned to Black Box recording studio (Moorooka) in 2022 to record this new single, as well as a few other tracks including The Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time cover, ‘Charlie’ (featured in 4000 Records’ recent House Keys compilation album). This was the band’s first time working with Jeff Lovejoy (Resin Dogs, Sahara Beck) as producer and recording/mixing engineer.

“We recorded these songs live, with vocal, percussion and acoustic guitar overdubs added later, “says Cheeseman. “We prefer to do it this way because that’s how we write the songs. It feels better, it’s more fun and it just makes sense. One really cool thing that happened during recording was getting to use the same 1950s mic stand that was used in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis film. Jeff worked on the film as a music equipment consultant and had stand!”


World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Plena Libre(Puerto Rico)-Album: Cuatro Esquinas (2023)

Plena Libre-Cuatro Esquinas-jazzworldquest

Plena Libre celebrates 30 years of bringing the iconic sounds of their Puerto Rican homeland to stages worldwide w/the release of new album Cuatro Esquinas (Four Corners) and worldwide tour dates

Puerto Rico’s multi-Grammy–nominated musical masters, Plena Libre have consistently been enthralling audiences around the globe over the course of their storied 30-year, 16-album career with their original sound — one that infuses the traditional plena and bomba rhythms of Puerto Rico with a fresh spring mix of Afro-Caribbean and jazz styles to create groove-laden dance music that honors their deep sense of the unique indigenous musical traditions, while embracing modern trends.

Now, Plena Libre are celebrating their 30th anniversary in style, unleashing a new wave of awe-inspiring hand drumming, vivacious horns, and soul-soaring three-part vocal harmonies with the release of their new album Cuatro Esquinas (Four Corners), to be released March 31, 2023. The fine-tuned, original band of 12 versatile virtuoso musicians will also be captivating audiences across the map in 2023 with live performances scheduled at festivals in Puerto Rico, the United States, and Europe, including an appearance at the prestigious New Orleans Jazz Festival.

Founder, bandleader, and bassist Gary Nuñez stress the appropriateness of the title, since the group’s music, and especially that of this new album, reflects personal, universal situations, accompanied by the unique sounds of the Puerto Rican rhythms of the bomba and the plena. The album title was inspired by Nuñez’s youth, growing up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood where “Four Corners”, alluded to a local meeting point that sometimes even carried an unfairly bad reputation.

Says Nuñez, “Cuatro Esquinas”, in my adolescence, used to be a meeting point in my neighborhood, with some ‘bad reputation’. It was known as ‘4 Esquinas’ because in each corner there was a bar or bodega. It was the place where people met and all sorts of characters gathered there and replaced their sorrows with some joy, romance, adventure, or consolation. It is the part of our history that does not appear in the “stories” that we were told about who Puerto Ricans are”

Cuatro Esquinas is a representation of some of those experiences, captured in a mix of “traditional” and original songs. Featuring four vocalists singing in lush three-part harmonies – with an aggressive, tight, yet sensitive style, which balances the traditional with the contemporary, the global, and the local – Plena Libre creates a brand of music and live performance that captivates the multicultural audience, invites to dance and to listen to their sound.

The track, “Tu cintura con la mía” was arranged by Luisga Núñez, son of Gary Nuñez who shares with his father a passion for parranda, bajo, and vocal harmonies — bringing a taste of the next generation to the distinctive elements of the group.

“We dedicate this recording to the public and to all those people who have supported Plena Libre, through those 30 years. To all the musicians who are and who have been part of this experience, we are GRATEFUL”, enthused Núñez, who took the opportunity to particularly thank his wife Valerie Cox “for the unconditional, necessary and total support for three decades and to all the musicians that were part of this album, making it possible”.

Apart from Gary Núñez as director and bassist, Plena Libre is made up of: Víctor Vélez (vocals/percussion), Luisga Núñez (vocals/percussion), Rafi Falú (requinto), Miguel A. de Jesús (vocals/percussion), Alex “Callejero” López (vocals/percussion), Rafy Torres, Randy Román and Kevin Ortiz on trombones, Pedro Dominicci (timbales), Manuel Rivera (congas), Karla Martínez on piano and Yarina Torres in charge of choirs.

Cuatro Esquina will be available on all major streaming platforms on March 31, 2023.

Check here for tour updates:


World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Armagos (Greece)- Album: “7 times in America” (2022)

Armagos-7 Times in America

“7 times in America,” the latest album by Greek pianist Armagos, is a wonderful display of musicianship and sensitivity. The seven pieces’ minimalist style enables for the compositions’ true beauty to stand out. With emotional depth and that special cinematic quality previously present on his previous albums, the compositions have a softly meditative nature painted with great care and finesse. A beautiful album for listeners who appreciate the inventiveness blessed with grace.


World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Al-jiçç(Portugal)- EP Traveler / Rupta

Al-jicc- Traveler Rupta

‘Chants’ is Al-jiçç’s fifth album and represents a new aesthetic evolution of the band. It was composed and produced during the pandemic, with the musicians individually recording their parts.

The music started with six little themes composed on an electric piano, which served as a harmonic basis for the improvisations. These improvisations were edited and manipulated, with the mixing and post-production playing a fundamental role on the record.

Keeping the Mediterranean-inspired melodies as a brand, in ‘Chants’ these were mixed in a universe influenced by Miles Davis’ electric period (in ‘Route’), by Dub (in ‘Zadar’) or more ambient electronics ( in ‘Lost Signal’).

This record represents a new direction for Al-Jiçç, using the melodic side as a starting point for more electronic and contemporary universes.

Nuno Damião – guitar, keyboards and percussion
Gonçalo Lopes – clarinet and bass clarinet
Ricardo A. Freitas – electric bass
Jorge Lopes Trigo – percussion

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 BEST OF BANDCAMP JAZZ – January 2019 and September 2021
” The quartet Al-jiçç embrace a number of influences, (…), With slinky tempos that slide into thick grooves, the quartet (…) give the different melodic approaches a bird-of-a-feather quality. the interplay between guitar and bass clarinet , like shadowplay between the sun and shade, results in some seriously absorbing moments.” Dave Sumner

World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Noga(Switzerland/Suisse) Nouvel album: LEV

Nouvel album LEV
Sortie le 14/04/2023 2023 chez Evidence Musique

Entre world, jazz, et musique classique, la chanteuse Noga annonce son nouvel album LEV pour le mois d’avril 2023.Avec ce disque, la musicienne suisse nous éblouit et nous démontre le pouvoir transformateur de la voix. Elle nous rappelle à l’épure et à sa beauté comme autant de forces à se réapproprier.

Et nous insuffle cette énergie fédératrice et nourricière telle qu’elle nous l’adresse en concert.  Noga prend appui, en hébreu, sur des poèmes millénaires, pour faire face au chaos de notre époque. Avec son groupe de musiciens complices, elle convoque des sons très actuels et invite à un voyage dessiné à partir de psaumes. Vibrations positives et bienfaisantes.

 est un album organique, avec des touches d’électronique subtiles qui créent des textures sonores singulières aux émotions libres. Sur fond classique et allures jazz, la musique se teinte de notes tribales, d’éclats moyenâgeux, d’accents méditerranéens, de réminiscences hippies, pop ou fifties… dans un paysage rythmé par la pulse des percussions et la voix bienfaisante de Noga.

On peut découvrir en premier extrait le clip de Shir, qui met en valeur l’incroyable chant de Noga.

 Pour regarder et diffuser le clip de Shir :
Tout le monde est perdu, tout le monde se cherche… et l’on pense trouver la réponse en soi… et si elle se trouvait dans la connexion aux autres et aux générations précédentes ?” Noga

Chanteuse, auteure, compositrice, Noga est aussi improvisatrice et performeuse. Membre de différents groupe et projets, elle a sorti une dizaine d’albums sur divers labels. LEV est son second disque chanté en hébreu. Quelle que soit la langue, le propos reste le même : utiliser la voix pour canaliser la lumière et se mettre au service de la vie, tout en jouant une musique actuelle, crossover et libre.

Noga est aussi connue pour l’association Catalyse qu’elle a fondée et qu’elle préside, avec à Genève un centre dédié à la voix.  Avec sa musique qui emprunte au jazz, aux musiques du monde et à la musique contemporaine, l’artiste suisse, née de parents émigrés d’Israël, canalise son éducation cosmopolite, les langues qu’elle maîtrise, la diversité des sons, styles, valeurs qui l’ont bercée, pour servir ce qui l’appelle : nourrir notre humanité commune et dissiper nos peurs.

Pour son nouvel album LEV, elle s’est tournée vers des poèmes ancestraux, en explorant leurs sonorités pour élever la fréquence vibratoire et la connexion entre les êtres.Le passé peut-il se conjuguer au présent ? Peut-on revisiter les psaumes et tirer de ces chants millénaires une vibration universelle et positive, qui élève la connexion entre les êtres et permet aux coeurs de battre, collectivement, à contre-peur ?

Face à la montée des courants anxiogènes, Noga s’affirme dans une musicalité qui parle au corps, à l’esprit et à l’âme, et revient à ses racines pour les transposer, aujourd’hui, dans des airs lumineux en équilibre sur un fil de spiritualité reliant passé – présent – futur.

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World Music Mix

World Music Mix: Haftor Medbøe and Konrad Wiszniewski(UK)-Poiesis(Subcontinental Records, 2022)

Haftor Medboe and Konrad Wiszniewski-Poiesis

Poiesis is a mesmerizing improvisational musical journey that takes the listener on an ambient and ethereal adventure created by Haftor Medbøe on guitar/effects and Konrad Wiszniewski on saxophones. The album is collection of ten dialogues permeated by an unearthly sense of infinity and borderless astral energy.

What came out from the synergy between the two musicians is a balanced sonic experience in which each instrument finds its right place in time while leaving no room for overstated interventions. The result is not just organic in its essence but adventurous reaching the unexpected.

From mellow to majestic, going through meandrous melodic lines that reach the lyrical realm, the fusion between acoustic and electronics offers a singular and enthralling experience. It is also about the solidarity of human souls facing the mystery of the universe using the music as vehicle for meaningful expression.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “All life is an experiment”, a vision that both musicians embraced throughout their spiritual encounter fueled by individual creative freedom.


World Music Mix

World Music Mix: The Holy Rollercoasters(Australia) – Album: Odyssey

The Holy Rollercoasters -Odyssey

Meanjin/Brisbane livewire indie soul octet THE HOLY ROLLERCOASTERS are Ithaca-bound at last with the final installment of their Odyssey trilogy

Odyssey releases on February 8th on 12” vinyl and digital

Launching at It’s Still A Secret on February 25th

“Odyssey … has at its heart an utterly satisfying bombast and pose: the smell of greasepaint and the bright, blinding shine of floodlights infuse every note, every stab of the horns and every lyrical expression.”

  • Backseat Mafia

Homer’s Odyssey is a legendary, decade-long journey of myth-making, god-dwelling and monster-defeating. This album has similarly been a tumultuous quest for The Holy Rollercoasters, dividing the album into a triptych of EPs – Odyssey I in November 2021 and Odyssey II in April 2022, with the final collection of tracks being released as part of the album as a whole on February 8th, 2023.

With both EP’s receiving favourable reviews and airplay from alternative media and community radio alike and with their respective Brisbane launch shows selling out, The Holy Rollercoasters are ready to put the psych in your soul with Odyssey, a heady retelling of the epic poem, set in a post-civil war Australia.


World Music Mix