Archive for February, 2009

Musical Geography – An Interactive Map to World Music @

Did you ever wonder just exactly where a particular country of musical interest to you might be located? On the other hand, perhaps maybe, you would just like to have a view of  all of the countries of the world, so that you can truly be aware of  just all there is out there to explore in the vast and diverse universe of world music. Well, this handy interactive world map should meet all your geographic needs quite nicely.

This map is the beginning of a website which I started some time ago ( However, due to technical difficulties I have had to put the project on hold for awhile, hence the blog. Trust me though, you still have access to quite a useful little tool here when it comes to your musical exploration of the world. If you poke around a little, you will discover that it is quite detailed in its coverage, right down to the smallest of little islands situated out there in the gigantic ocean- literally in the middle of nowhere! While working with the creators of this map as they adapted it specifically for my site, I was amazed at  the huge number of  the world’s countries which I discovered in the process. What an education! I cannot wait to explore them all from a musical standpoint.

So go ahead and explore a little bit  and see what you can discover for yourself. Just click on the continent of your choice and you will be directed to a more detailed rendition of the area. I will caution you, however, that this is still somewhat of a work in progress  and could definitely use some fine tuning in parts, but nonetheless it still serves its purpose quite well.

February 24, 2009 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Sun, Sand, and Surf, Reggae Style – Experience A Little Caribbean Bliss During Those Long, Cold Boston Winters

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in the sun!!! I have always found that even though it may be freeeeezing outside, I can still somewhat recreate my warm and sunny vacation experience with a little of bit of the right music. When it comes to the Caribbean sun and surf, or a warm, sunny fantasy  getaway to  anywhere for that matter, I have found that reggae music always does the trick for me.  Try it, whether you have just been on such a vacation or not, and see if it doesn’t take a little bit of the edge off of winter for you! Oh, and a coconut rum cola or two, or other island beverage of choice, to go along with your audio pleasure doesn’t hurt either. 

Just in case your looking for a good place to start in your quest for reggae music, take a look at our grand collection here at the Boston Public Library. While Bob Marley and the Wailers are considered the classic for this genre, I have included a wide selection of artists for you to sample in this playlist.  For your additional convenience, you can reserve copies of any item in our collection online via our library catalog and you will be notified when the item is in and ready to be picked-up. As this list includes only some of what’s actually available in our reggae collection,  be sure to explore the rest of the catalog as well. Remember, if a title which interests you is currently checked-out, just hop onto our reserve list.

1. Reggae Gold. 2007 – Various artists  

2. Latin Reggae – Various artists

3. Spirits in the Material World: a reggae tribute to the Police – Various artists

4. Legend: the best of Bob Marley and the Wailers

5. Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live (vol. 1)

6. Oai e Libertat – Massilia Sound System

7. Jah No Dead: an introduction to Burning Spear

8. Collie Buddz – Collie Buddz

9. Jimmy Cliff in The Harder they Come: original soundtrack recording

10. Light Your Light – Toots & the Maytals.

February 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm Leave a comment

Boston Public Library World Music Audio Collection – New CDs Ordered (2/13/09)

The cds in this order contain a wide variety of genres including Afropop, reggae, flamenco, Latin, and Indian and global fusions. Click on the links below to hear excerpts from them. As this is just a sampling of what we have to offer, come on in to the main library at Copley Square or any one of  our branches conveniently located throughout the city of Boston and “check out” more of our fabulous world music collection. For your additional convenience, you can reserve copies online via our library catalog and you will be notified when the item is in and ready to be picked-up.

1. Into Silence – Deva Premal (Indian Fusion) (Review)

2. Peace Time – Jack DeJohnette (World Fusion) (Review)

3. Serenata – Armik (Spain) (Review)

4. Jah is Real – Burning Spear (Jamaica) (Review)

5. Rough Guide to African Rap – Various artists (Review)

6. Rough Guide to Flamenco Nuevo – Various artists (Review)

7. 45 – Jaguares (Mexico) (Review)

8. Musica Ranchera: Amor, Dolor y Lagrimas – Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano (Mexico/USA) (Review)

9. No es de Madera – Joan Sebastian (Mexico) (Review)

10. Putumayo: Cafe Cubano – Various artists (Review)

11. Viva la Revolucion – Ruben Ramos (Mexico/USA) (Review)

February 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Flamenco! – “Check Out” Our Selection of CDs at the Boston Public Library

In honor of the 10th Annual Flamenco Festival here in town this weekend (2/13-2/15), I have listed here many of the flamenco music CDs in the BPL’s collection. If you’re a little unsure about whether or not this kind of entertainment is for you, well then here’s your chance to flamenco2get a little musical exposure to this fine art before actually purchasing a ticket for a show. Of course, seasoned flamenco fans will also enjoy these selections as well. For your additional convenience, you can reserve copies of any item in our collection online via our library catalog and you will be notified when the item is in and ready to be picked-up. Remember, if a title which interests you is currently checked-out, just hop onto our reserve list.


1. Barcelona (audio samples)

2. Best of Esteban (audio samples)

3. Aires Flamencos

4. Cal (audio samples)

5. Cositas Buenas (audio samples)

6. Flamenco

7. Flamenco Groove Sessions

8. Flamenco Guitar Recital (audio samples)

9. Flamenco New Grooves (audio samples)

10. FlamencoObsesionArte (audio samples)

11. Gypsy Flamenco Rumba (audio samples)

12. Qawwali Flamenco

13. Rough Guide to Flamenco (audio samples)

14. Rough Guide to Latin-Arabia (audio samples)

February 11, 2009 at 2:54 am Leave a comment

Boston Public Library’s Bellydance Music Collection on CD

As a follow-up to my previous review on Sunday Bellydance Night at the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub, I thought I’d just let you in our some of our great local resources here at the BPL as far as recorded music goes. For your additional convenience, you can reserve copies of any item in our collection online via our library catalog and you will be notified when the item is in and ready to be picked-up. Here is some of what we have to offer in the area of belly dance music, but there is more available within our collection of DVDs, so be sure to explore in this area as well. Remember, if a title which interests you is currently checked-out, just hop onto our reserve list.

1. Cafe Belly Dance

2. Cairo Nights (audio samples)

3. Master of the Egyptian Bellydance (audio samples)

4. Rough Guide to Bellydance Cafe (audio samples)

5. Turkish Bellydance (audio samples)

6. Babelsque (audio samples)

7. Modern Bellydance from Lebanon (audio samples)

February 10, 2009 at 3:57 am Leave a comment

10th Annual Boston Flamenco Festival – Hosting International Stars at The Cutler Majestic Theatre (Feb. 13th, 14th, & 15th – All Weekend)

The first of two shows which comprise this year’s festival is the Boston premiere of La Puerta Abierta (The Open Door) and features the flamenco artistry of Isabel Bayon of Spain. She is a longtime dance favorite with a performance career of more than 30 years. She will be accompanied, in part, by Spanish vocalist Terremoto, an icon in the world of cante flamenco. This show is for one performance only, on Friday evening.

The second show is by Noche Flamenco of Madrid, currently considered to be the premiere touring  dance company from Spain. Soledad Barrio, it’s lead dancer and co-founder who has won numerous international awards, is haled as one of the greatest ballet/flamenco dancers of all time. The troupe will perform on Saturday and Sunday evenings, as well as a matinee on Sunday.

Tickets are $65.00, $50.00, and $40.00. The Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8:00, the Sunday matinee at 2:00, and the final performance on Sunday evening  at 7:00. However, one hour before each show, there will be a lecture given by dance critic Debra Cash. Here are further concert details as well as a map of the neighborhood, including restaurant locations.

February 9, 2009 at 2:07 am Leave a comment

Bollywood at the Boston Public Library – Check Out Our CD Collection

Bollywood is currently all the rage on the world music scene! We have quite a sampling of Indian motion picture soundtracks here at the BPL, and if you want to take in all the action of these fine films as well, then have a look at our Bollywood collection of DVDs. For your additional convenience, you can reserve copies of any item in our collection online via our library catalog and you will be notified when the item is in and ready to be picked-up. Here is some of what we have to offer. Remember, if a title which interests you is currently checked-out, just hop onto our reserve list.

1. Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold (audio samples)

2. Jab We Met (audio samples)

3. Metro  

4. Om Shanti Om (audio samples)

5. Train

6. Guru

7. Salaam-E-ISHQ (audio samples)

8. Singh Is Kinng (audio samples)

9. Ultimate Bollywood Collection (with DVD)

10. God Tussi Great Ho (audio samples)

February 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

Boston Public Library Family Concert – Traditonal Drumming from Guinea, West Africa (Feb. 18th – Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.)

Renown West African musician Mohamed Kalifa will be performing traditional drum rhythms, songs, and dances from Guinea at the BPL for listeners of all ages. As a past recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Award for his achievements in the area of cultural education, he continues to share his extensive knowledge of traditional Guinean music as well as his virtuoso performance skills with countless students of all ages throughout the New England area. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music and also performs with his traditional ensemble “Spirit of Africa” and his Afropop bands “Afro Manding” and “Koliba Jazz”. This family concert definitely promises to be educational as well as entertaining.

Concert details:

Where: Boston Public Library @ Copley Square

Venue: Rabb Lecture Hall (Ground floor of the Johnson Building)

When: Wednesday, February 18th @ 10:30 a.m.

Admission: Free to all

For additional info. contact: 617 – 536 – 5400 / x2328

February 8, 2009 at 3:15 am Leave a comment

Sunday Belly Dance Night at the Middle East – One Great Show!

Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub (The Corner) – This past Sunday evening (2/1) I and four companions enjoyed great ethnic food topped by a fantastic belly dancing display. The performance, which usually begins at 9:00, didn’t actually get underway until 9:45 which was a little disappointing as this meant that some of us, including myself, had to miss the second half of the show. I was, however, glad that I made it out to Central Square, nonetheless!

I got there quite early, so I had time to sit a bit with a glass of wine and  just soak in the atmosphere. This place is definitely not fancy, but has a rather nice casual, cozy, neighborhood kind of feel and I like that. The eclectic crowd spans all ages and interests, but everyone seems to somehow fit in, even while socializing in their own little niches. 

We came for dinner and the show, but the bar is quite popular for those who just want to grab a drink and some conversation. One thing that really stands out about their menu is that while it is filled with tempting Middle Eastern cuisine, it also hosts a number of selections of American fare as well, so as to please those who would choose not to indulge their appetite ethnically speaking. I enjoyed the Pumpkin Kibby Labanieh (ground pumpkin, cracked wheat,  and seasonings, with a center of sauteed onions and nuts)  topped with yogurt sauce and Middle Eastern spices and accompanied by rice pilaf- very yummy! I had trouble deciding between this dish and the Msaah (baked eggplant, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and chickpeas, with a special sauce) also with rice pilaf  in addition. My entree alone was more than enough food for me, but their appetizers which include stuffed grape leaves, amongst other treats, and desserts, such as chocolate Baklava, also looked promising, if only I had had more room. Well, maybe in my case, this was a good thing as I am currently keeping a close eye on my weight, but I would encourage you to check out the rest of the menu as I have only given you a brief introduction to the Middle East Restaurant’s fine cuisine. 

And now for the height of the evening- belly dancing! Our first dancer, Susi, was a true professional and extremely entertaining. She danced for what seemed to be such a long time to be able to keep-up with all of that energy she was emoting. I’d say at least 20 minutes or so. I was mesmerized the entire time and definitely disappointed when her routine had to end. I could have easily, quite happily watched her dance all night long!!! Aside from all the extraordinary energy and choreography which she displayed, there were other little interesting extras included in her routine, such as quite effortlessly balancing a small jug on her head while she continued to dance and the use of finger cymbals, always a favorite belly dance feature of mine. A rather nice aspect which I enjoy in cafe-style performances such as this, is the intimacy between the dancer and their audience as they weave in and out amongst the tables displaying their craft. As an observer, you get a much truer feel for the intensity of the dancing and can really take in more of the finer details of the performance, as well.   

After a short break, they hosted their usual “open mic” session. The dancers were of various levels and appeared either as a group or solo, performing a brief (5 min. or less) routine. While obviously not near the spectacle of the featured act, they were nonetheless interesting to watch and added variety to the evening. Part of the “stage”, if you could call it that, at the Middle East Corner is its storefront window area. Many of the open mic participants partook of this venue, thus displaying their skills to pedestrians as they strolled by. They managed to capture quite an audience and it was amusing to see the local crowd’s reactions to this rather unexpected impromptu  form of sidewalk entertainment. All appeared to be getting into the show and having a great time.

Another break in the action was taken before the next featured act of the evening was to commence. Sadly however, my evening ended here as I and some of my companions had to leave for home in order to be able to get up for work sensibly the next day. I especially wished that I could have stayed to see Sabrina, the other principle dancer for the evening, as I had seen her act before and just loved it. Two of my lucky companions did stay for her show and I was assured later that she was indeed fabulous!

I know that I haven’t said a word about the music at this point, but it was recorded, so what can I say except that it was a bit too loud for my liking. Too bad they can’t host a live band to accompany the performers on Sunday as they do on the Wednesday Belly Dance Nights. Oh well, I just love Middle Eastern music anyway! All in all a great evening. 

Here is the weekly schedule for Sunday and Wednesday Belly Dance Nights at The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub’s Corner, which is located on “the corner” of Mass Ave. and Brookline Street in Central Square in Cambridge. The show is free, which is a really nice extra. Get there well before the first performance in order to guarantee yourself a good table from which to enjoy all the action.

February 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

Barlola Tapas Lounge – Weekly Live Flamenco Shows in the Back Bay (Sundays – 7 & 9 p.m.)

If you can’t make any of the fabulous February flamenco shows happening in Boston and still want to experience this great Spanish art, herein lies another great opportunity. Established in September of 2005, Barlola is conveniently located in the heart of the Back Bay at the corner of Dartmouth and Commonwealth. Situated on the ground floor of the historic Vendome building, once a late 19th-century hotel for the wealthy and famous, this Spanish eatery offers loads of atmosphere. What it also offers however, is live flamenco dancing accompanied, of course, by great Spanish music. I prefer to enjoy my world music in a variety of settings, the ethnic restaurant being one of my favorites. There’s just something about the taste and distinctive aromas of the native cuisine that greatly intensify the whole musical experience.

And speaking of native cuisine, when its comes to Barlola, you are in for a real gourmet  treat. They offer truly authentic tapas from the various locales of Spain, prepared by a native culinary staff with 30 years of experience. Get a load of these gastronomic delights: Boquerones (fresh white anchovies over vegetable vinaigrette toast), Manchego y Serranno (Manchego cheese and Serranno cured ham with toast), Pinchos de Vieiras y Uvas (grilled sea scallops and black grape skewers), Crostones de Cangrejo con Salsa de Piquilles y Gambas (Maine crab meat, sofrito and cheese crustini’s with piquillo-shrimp sauce), Ravioles de Pato con Salsa de Curasao y Arandanos Silvestres (duck confit stuffed raviolis with a creamy Curacao liquor and wild blueberry sauce, Frixuelos (milk caramel crepes with coffee cream sauce, and Budin de Pan (bread pudding with mango sauce). Check out the rest of the menu, as I have merely offered you a sampling of Barlola’s interesting and tantalizing array of tappa treats. They also offer their own specialty drinks at the bar or dinner table.

Live flamenco performances happen every Sunday evening at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at Barlola. Dinner, brunch and a full bar are available. For their hours click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. To locate them on the neighborhood map, click here.

February 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

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February 2009