world Archive

Album Review: Rachid Taha — Je Suis Africain

Are you familiar with a musical genre called Chaâbi? Me neither. Put simply (and reductively), it’s North African folk music, sort of a cousin to another style, raï. One of the foremost artists to combine that style with rock was Rachid Taha; the Algerian musician released more than a dozen albums under his own name,

Free Planet Radio: In Pursuit of Modern Jazz

When Free Planet Radio debuted in 2001, the Asheville-based trio was often described as a world music group. And while by definition that label casts a wide net, it was never quite expansive enough to get to the heart of what Free Planet Radio does. The three creatively adventurous musicians have always explored many styles,

La Santa Cecilia: Honesty Transcends Language

Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia bridges the gap between traditional and modern music. The group of Mexican-American musicians was among the headlining acts at this year’s LEAF Fall Festival. Part of a bill that included Angelique Kidjo, the Wood Brothers, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles and more than 30 other acts, La Santa Cecilia is

Santana Speaks, Part Two

Continued from Part One … Bill Kopp: One of the qualities of your work that has always struck me is the way that you approach each project with what I would call intention. An album like Caravanserai probably didn’t seem like a commercial bid at the time, and it really wasn’t. It was not a

Santana Speaks, Part One

2019 is an important year for Carlos Santana. It’s the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, featuring a breakout performance of his then largely-unknown band, two weeks ahead of the debut Santana LP. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Supernatural, the end-of-century “comeback album that returned Santana to the top of the charts,

Carlos Santana: From Woodstock to ‘Supernatural’ to ‘Africa Speaks,’ Making Music with Intention (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One… Day of Celebration Though Santana has scored numerous awards on his own and with his band – ten Grammys, three Latin Grammys – and sold more than 100 million records across the globe, his commercial popularity has had peaks and valleys. Santana was well into the latter in the late 1990s;

Carlos Santana: From Woodstock to ‘Supernatural’ to ‘Africa Speaks,’ Making Music with Intention (Part 1 of 2)

The venue is packed. The crowd is pumped. They’re here to see and hear guitarist Carlos Santana and his band. As the house lights dim, a giant projection screen at the back of the stage comes alive. It’s showing clips from the 1970 documentary film, Woodstock. The split-screen images are familiar to the older concertgoers;

Album Review: Arouna & Biko — Bamanaya Sira

There’s a convincing argument to be made that so-called “world music” got its start when flautist Herbie Mann explored the ways in which American musical styles (predominantly jazz) could be combined with traditional music of other cultures, notably ones outside the European sphere of influence. Though in retrospect it seems comparatively tame and tentative, his

World Music Dance Party

Two bands, each led by high-profile fixtures of the Asheville music scene, came together in March to present a unique night of music. Michael Libramento’s band, Coconut Cake, pays homage to the music of 1960s African Congo, while Ram Mandelkorn’s group, Below the Bassline, explores the work of Jamaican guitarist-composer Ernest Ranglin. The two musical

Taj Mahal’s American Epic

In addition to being an accomplished and often awarded musician, Taj Mahal established himself years ago as one of music’s foremost cultural historians. Not simply an entertainer and performer, he creates genre-spanning music that embodies his commitment to the study, honor and preservation of indigenous styles of music. He’s currently touring with his Trio. One