The opening concert of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s 3 month residency at Pioneer Works was a smash. For this special night, we had an ambitious triple bill, celebrating the full year of the Africa/India series collaborations that had been produced by NYC Radio Live, Afro-Roots Music night and Brooklyn Raga Massive. We featured the “golden voice of Mali,” Awa Sangho, with by the Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars, the electro-acoustic Kora/Tabla duo Orakel with Kane Mathis and Roshni Samlal and the original band in this new genre Afrika Meets India, led by Kevin Nathaniel on Mbira and Eric Fraser on Bansuri.
Here we’ll hear Awa Sangho’s complete set with the Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars the first time these artists came together. You can feel the energy from this explosive set! Many thanks to Sameer Gupta for making this amazing mix.
This concerts will be broadcast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY 7-9pm Febuary 7th at 2016.
Awa Sangho, Vocals, percussion
Daniel Moreno, percussion,
Joshua Geisler, bansuri
Michael Gam, bass
David Ellenbogen, guitar
Arun Ramamurthy, violin
Jay Gandhi, bansuri
Kane Mathis kora,
Roshni Samlal, Tabla
Malick Koly, drumset
On the opening day of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s residency at Pioneer Works, perhaps the world’s greatest carnatic violin player, L. Subramaniam, came and joined us for a revealing interview. His son Ambi and he then treated us to a live performance right in our humble little container studio.
Yehudi Menuhin wrote, “each time I listen to him, I am carried away in wonderment.” A Grammy-nominated artist, Mr. Subramaniam has made more than 200 recordings and has performed with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau and Maynard Ferguson.
L. Subramaniam will be performing this Friday, Febuary 5 at 92nd Street Y, This is his first performance in New York since 2006 and is the only North American event in the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, which he founded and leads. He will be joined by his son, violinist Ambi Subramaniam, drummer Mahesh Krishnamurthy, and Ravi Balasubramanian, ghatam.
The concert is co-presented by World Music Institute and 92nd Street Y.
. Thanks to WMI for bringing L. Subramaniam to NYC Radio Live! And thanks to Sameer Gupta for mixing this.
Orakel is a brand new electro-acoustic project of Kora/oud player, Kane Mathis and tabla player, Roshni Samlal, who began their collaboration at the Brooklyn Raga Massive. Using electronic compositional elements of sound design, field recordings, and drones, they create a new context for traditional elements of Indian classical percussion and Kora repertoire.
They performed live at Shapeshifter Lab a few weeks ago in a dazzling performance and then joined me at WKCR for a broadcast.
This Wed Feb 3rd Orakel will be playing as part of the Africa/India Series. Brooklyn Raga Massive Shapeshifter Launch Party with Awa Sangho and the BRM-All-Stars and and Afrika Meets India.
Of all the concerts I’ve produced this was one of the most exciting and meaningful. This installation of Africa/India Series live at ShapeShifter Lab was a synergy of the Morrocan trance tradition embodied by Hassan Ben Jaffer and Innov Gnawa as we combined forces with the musicians of the Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars.
Thanks to Sameer Gupta for mixing this Mutha!
Maalem (Master)Hassan Ben Jaafer (Sintir, vocals)
Samir Langus (Sintir, Vocals)
Ahmed Jeriouda (Vocals, percussion)
Amino Belyamani (Vocals, percussion)
Said Sayed (Vocals, percussion)
Nawfal Atiq (Vocals, percussion)
BRM ALL-STARS Guy Mintus (Piano, Melodica)
David Ellenbogen (Guitar)
Adam Maalouf (Percussion)
Kevin Nathaniel (mbira, percussion)
Hany ElDiwany (Surbahar)
Michael Gam (Bass)
Sitting in: Pawan Benjamin (Sax), Aaron Shregge (trumpet) Ken Shoji (violin) Vin Scalia (percussion) Jessica Lurie (Sax)
The multi-talented Kane Mathis, most known for his dazzling kora and oud (hear him on podcasts #15, #111, #135 and #147) remastered this most popular of our episodes. This was a meeting of musical royalty from Mauritania, vocalist Noura Mint Seymali, with her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly on fretless electric guitar collaborating for the first time with Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Jay Gandhi (bansuri flute) and Ehren Hanson (tabla).
It was a spontaneous and beautiful meeting of two musical worlds and very much inspired our whole Africa/India Series.
Orakel is an electro-acoustic project of Kora/oud player, Kane Mathis and tabla player, Roshni Samlal, who began their collaboration at the Brooklyn Raga Massive. Using electronic compositional elements of sound design, field recordings, and drones, they create a new context for traditional elements of Indian classical percussion and Kora repertoire.
Recorded a few days ago at Brooklyn Raga Massive’s weekly concert and and jam session at ShapeShifter Lab, this set of music suggests new directions in the between raga and jazz.
It will be broadcast in New York City, on Sunday Dec. 6 on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY 7-9PM and stream at www.wkcr.org
In the 1960’s, led by the Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers led the movement of hard bop which returned the music to its blues and gospel roots. The Raga Jazz Messengers too are exploring soulful territories, blues, swing and different emotional spaces which are not often associated with Indian-Jazz collaborations.
The Jazz Messengers are, Sameer Gupta, drums; Jay Gandhi, Bansuri, Pawan Benjamin – Saxophone, Sharik Hasan, Piano and Michael Gam, Bass.
In this very special podcast we speak with Banning Eyre and Thomas Mapfumo. Eyre’s critically acclaimed biography Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe has recently hit shelves and Banning takes us through the companion CD, providing a deep musical education of this towering figure. Later we’ll hear an interview I recorded with Thomas Mapfumo in Brooklyn in 2011.
This episode will broadacast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY 11pm December 6, 2016 and stream at www.wkcr.org.
Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe, stands beside Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour and Franco as one of Africa’s greatest and most consequential composer/bandleaders. For over 40 years, he has merged ancient African traditions—especially that of the sacred, metal-pronged Shona mbira—into the currents of international music, from rock to reggae to rap. Mapfumo’s artfully barbed lyrics have targeted the racist regime of Ian Smith and the corrupt one of Robert Mugabe with equal resolve and courage. That’s the essence of chimurenga—the music of struggle: past, present and future.
To celebrate the upcoming release of her new album, From the Ground Up. musical polymath Hadar Noiberg brought her trio to Continental Records, to record a special live set just for us! This special podcast will also broadcast this week on the radio, WKCR 89.9 FM-NY and stream www.wkcr.org at 11pm EST on November 8.
It was really exciting to have her bring in an all star band:
With Phil Duke at the controls, we recorded 4 songs with Hadar Noiberg (flutes), Allison Miller (drums) and Haggai Cohen Milo, Double Bass. We also hung out with Hadar as she shares some gems from wide and varied musical journeys.
Two weeks ago, on John Coltrane’s Birthday, Brooklyn Raga Massive performed a stunning tribute to the Coltrane Legacy. Recorded in front of a capacity crowd at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NYC Radio Live will share the concert in it’s entirety. It will be broadcast on the radio at WKCR 89.9 at 7pm on October 11th. Musical Director Sameer Gupta joins host David Ellenbogen for an on-air discussion of the relationship between the music of these two worlds.
The all-star ensemble includes:
Sameer Gupta – Drumset/Tabla (musical director),
Brandee Younger – Harp,
Jay Gandhi – Bansuri,
Arun Ramamurthy – Violin,
Pawan Benjamin – Sax,
Trina Basu – Violin,
Neel Murgai – Sitar,
Ben Tyree – Guitar,
Rashaan Carter – Bass
Michael Gam – Bass
Roopa Mahadevan – Vocal
Pyeng Threadgill- vocal
Anupam Shobhakar – Sarod
Jessica Lurie – Sax
Ken Shoji- Violin
Dawoud Kringle – Dilruba
Giancarlo Luigi – Chekere and Percussion
One from the archives: There was much talk about Randy Weston on the last few episodes about Gnawa music. I thought I’d broadcast part 1 of an interview I did with him a few years back. This was first broadcast as a podcast that I never really got going with. If you haven’t checked him out, I hope this will inspire you to check out some albums or see him in concert.
Part 2 coming soon…we hung out and spoke for hours that day.
After contributing seven decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary.
Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa,
his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire.
“Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat,” states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, “but his art is more than projection and time; it’s the result of a studious and inspired intelligence…an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique”.
In our first collaboration with the stellar Rubin Museum of Art, we presented at sold out concert, an Evening with the Brooklyn Raga Massive. It featured a first set of Dan Weiss and Sameer Gupta in a tabla duel followed by a second set of Max ZT, hammered dulcimer, Ehren Hanson, tabla, Jay Gandhi, bansuri and Arun Ramamurthy violin, plus a jam session/ party in the cafe afterwards. Here’s the entire 2nd set.
Amir ElSaffar brings his deep knowledge of Iraqui maqam to the context of jazz, creating a fresh, new, vibrant style of music. The multi-instrumentalist (vocalist, trumpet player and dulcimer) joined me for an intimate, at home, interview. He shares tracks from his stunning new album Crisis.
Recorded live at Lincoln Center, Gnawa Diffusion are true rebel rockers who deftly slide from traditional Gnawa sounds to reggae, rock, dancehall and and million other styles. The group’s leader and visionary is Amazigh Kateb who hails from Algeria. I was lucky to hang with Amazigh a few days later in Brooklyn, (along with Alexandre Tannous) and record our discussion.
Thanks to Meera Dugal for setting up these last two great Gnawa Podcasts !
We had a blast hanging out and recording, and this lines up with a big free concert they’ll be playing this Thursday at Lincoln Center, and the release of their new self titled album.
InnoVe Gnawa is a musical band made of artists from different parts of morocco all the way to NYC gathering to Keep this ancient healing Gnawa music.
InnoVe Gnawa is a gnawa band comprised of artists from different parts of Morocco. Led by master Maalem Hassan BenJaafer, InnoVe Gnawa celebrates this ancient spiritual music of North Africa in NYC with an innovative, hypnotic, and ecstatic take on this trance-inducing folk tradition.