Happy New Year.
While paddling my raft around the lagoon this morning, I came upon a case of beer bottles. Ecstatic, and thinking I was in for a taste of true civilization again, I popped off the top. Only to discover that it was a message in a bottle.
A whole case of them. *Sigh.* Back to making crab beer jack to get me through the long winter nights. Blech.
Well, let’s get to it.
An exciting honor for a folk-rock icon: Richard Thompson is now Richard Thompson, O.BE.. Here’s the telegraph article from the New Year Honours List. “About time! Well-deserved, in my humble opinion!” —TJ McGrath, the original Fairport Fanatic.
The Alan Lomax Archives have set up their own label, Global Jukebox, which is great news for anyone with an interest in field recordings, folk music of the western hemisphere, and music historians. The label was launched in December, and the releases are coming as fast as I can type. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but they started the Southern Journey 1959–1960 series with Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea, which was released on Dec. 14 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lomax’s travels in the south, and they’re already on their third release, having put out I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore on Dec. 28. You can follow Lomax on Facebook if you like. Which makes me giggle. There is also a YouTube channel dedicated to videos of Lomax recordings that’s worth checking out. [culturalequity.org] If that’s not enough for you (or if you just want something visual instead), Viking has just published Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World by professor, music scholar, and biographer John Szwed. Oh, and that box set of Haitian recordings we were lucky enough to review earlier this year? Two Grammy nominations. Congrats!
Nettwerk Records sent us a little message that they signed soothing-voiced troubadour William Fitzsimmons. They included couple paragraphs about his background. This tidbit was especially interesting:
Born to two blind parents, Fitzsimmons grew up in a home where sound – particularly music – was integral to communication. His parents had an assortment of guitars, pianos and other instruments, and introduced young William to the music of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, among others. For many years, armed with a Master’s degree in counseling from Geneva College, he worked as a mental health therapist, and only began recording his songs during graduate school breaks.
Fitzsimmons’s new concept album, based around psychopathological disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, will be coming out in the spring. Fitzsimmons put this documentary up on YouTube over the summer:
Fans of world music of all stripes in the New York area might like to check out globalFEST 2011. It happens at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St., at 7:00 on January 9th. Fans of World Music might like to check out the links and listen to these folks, because they’re pretty good.
Full globalFEST 2011 artist lineup:
Chamber Music: Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Ségal (U.S. debut)
Creole Choir of Cuba
Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole (NY solo debut)
Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda
Pedrito Martinez Group
Rhythm of Rajasthan
Yoro Ndiaye (U.S. debut)
The last group, a late addition to the globalFEST, is a traditional Egyptian band. There’s something you probably haven’t heard recently! Much of the support for this event came from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. [www.globalfest-ny.org]
The taiko drumming group Kodo will swing through North America this winter on a world-wide tour to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Taiko drummers are insanely fun to watch:
The tour starts in Spokane, WA on January 26th (four days after their newest CD comes out) and will hop, as gracefully as a a tour can dressed in loincloths, back and forth between U.S. and Canadian cities until it reaches New York. [http://www.kodo.or.jp]
Finally, a couple weeks ago Driftwood contributor Mitch Ritter sent a link to a video about Portland, OR jazz band The Blue Cranes’ “Tour by Train.” This was originally used for their kickstarter campaign (which concluded successfully). http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1711589666/blue-cranes-tour-by-train