A legendary percussionist, Román Díaz is a pillar of the New York City Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition and one of the music’s great innovators. He is considered an Olú Aña or “keeper of the sacred drum” Before his Raga Cubana concert with the Brooklyn Raga Massive (we hope to share that soon!) he gave this workshop where he spoke of the legends, history and musical foundations of Afro-Cuban Music.
The California Honeydrops are more than a band, they’re a traveling party. All stellar musicians they’ve earned their stripes playing with folks like B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Allen Toussaint. We caught up with them as they were touring with Bonnie Raitt at NYC’s Beacon Theater and got to sit down with their lead singer, multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski. We also got to hear some selections from their latest album, A River’s Invitation.
As a lifelong fan of Shakti, hanging with V. Selvaganesh was a dream come true. Here the master percussionist V. Selvaganesh talks about his music and shares his experience with John McLaughlin’s Remember Shakti and other great collaborations. He breaks down the South Indian rhythmic system and we hear selections from his album Souhka. Our friend Arun Ramamuthy joins the discussion.
Born in Chennai to Grammy-winning musician Vikku Vinayakram, a former member of the original Shakti, he is the grandson of T. R. Harihara Sarma, who founded the Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya (Sri JGTV school) in Chenna
Selvaganesh first gained world fame through tours with John McLaughlin’s group,Remember Shakti. His debut international solo album, Soukha, was released in 2006 featuring all other regular members of Remember Shakti including John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, U. Srinivas and Shankar Mahadevan, as well as sitar player Niladri Kumar and Selvaganesh’s father T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram. He has also formed a new group called dr JSM, with the UK-based Goan songwriter/producer dr.Joel and the young Carnatic singer Mahesh.Their Indo-Celtic album entitled Turn on the dreams was released in the UK in 2005.
In 2012, Selvaganesh made his film directorial debut with Bodhai, a short film in Tamil. He also composed the soundtrack which was released in digital format by Saregama.
Here he is with Remember Shakti
Whoa! This one went viral. Here is the full hour podcast interview and below is a half hour of video interview with George Porter. As the bass player of the Meters, George Porter, Jr. defined one of the most influential styles of popular music. It’s now called “Funk.” Beyond that he’s on a million records including all the killer material coming out of the Sea-Saint studio in New Orleans with cats like Allen Toussaint, Earl King, Lee Dorsey, Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, The Lastie Brothers and later with people like Paul McCartney and John Scofield, (check out Sco’s Piety Street Album!)
George Porter Jr. and his Funky Friends will be in performing in New York City
Here’s the full half hour of video from the second part of the interview where he teaches how NOT to play “Cissy Strut”
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! This was recorded live by James Clark and mixed with love by Sameer Gupta.
This video from Josh Adler at Treeline Pics really captured it! Check out his whole web series chronicling the “Raga Rennaisance”
This concerts was 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)
Guy Mintus (Piano, Melodica)
David Ellenbogen (Guitar)
Adam Maalouf (Percussion)
Kevin Nathaniel (mbira, percussion)
Hany ElDiwany (Surbahar)
Michael Gam (Bass)
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.
Kane’s new group with tabla maestra Roshni Samlal Orakel, will perform live for our Africa/India Series this Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 8pm and ShapeShifter Lab.
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”.