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David Dalle
Thursday April 6th, 2017 with David Dalle
Off to the desert with the fantastic new album from Tinariwen; Hindusthani music on the piano(!) with Utsav Lal; Afro-Cuban All Stars celebrating 20 years

We are off to the desert today with "Elwan", the 7th album from Tinariwen. This fantastic album was mostly recorded in the small oasis town of M'Hamid El Ghizlane in eastern Morocco, and features Moroccan guests playing percussion on several songs. Full of the melancholic yearning and languid rhythms that define Tinariwen, which are particularly intense on this album, driven by lamentation about the conflict plaguing Tuareg in their homeland in northern Mali. We will also hear a striking recording from the young pianist Utsav Lal, an Indian pianist who must have been destined to meet the UK instrument maker Geoffrey Smith who had spent 10 years designing and building the "Fluid Piano". This piano allows for different tunings to be set before and *during* playing. The piano had spread throughout the globe carried on European colonialism and expansion during the 19th and early 20th century, to become found almost everywhere, yet though the piano has been used in widely different musical traditions, it is not very well suited to music such as Indian classical music. The rigid equal temperament of a piano does not allow the for the rich and subtle tonal variations in Indian melody and the piano has had difficulty bridging this gap (unlike many other European instruments which have been used successfully in Indian music, some which have become truly Indian instruments such as the violin). The Fluid Piano allows the performer to tune to a specific raga and allow them to bend those pitches as necessary during performance so the piano can truly play all the Swaras and Shrutis expected in a raga. It is truly remarkable. Utsav Lav has trained and performed primarily on standard pianos before encountering the Fluid Piano, and his 2016 recording is the first such recording on the Fluid Piano. We hear a performance of an alap-jor-jhala in Rag Bageshri. My love of the piano and Hindusthani music has finally found a true match! Also the Afro-Cuban All Stars are out with a new live album celebrating 20 years since their famous first album "A Toda Cuba Le Gusta". The line-up has changed over the 20 years, particularly since the first album featured many great (but almost then forgotten) musicians coming out of retirement, and the intervening years has seen the loss of a few of them, including the deaths of Ibrahim Ferrer and Ruben Gonzalez. However the Afro-Cuban All Stars is still led by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez who formed and led the Afro-Cuban All Stars in 1997 and features a mix of generations now. This album features a stellar concert recorded in Mexico.
Tinariwen will be performing in Toronto next Wednesday April 12 and Montreal Thursday April 13.
Tinariwen - Elwan - Wedge/Anti New
Tenere Taqqal
Tinariwen - Elwan - Wedge/Anti New
Imidiwan N-Akall-In
Tinariwen - Elwan - Wedge/Anti New
Tinariwen - Elwan - Wedge/Anti New
Batoul Marouani - Anthologie de la musique marocaine vol. 9 Chants du Sahara - Royaume du Maroc
Sabab el Aza
Hassouna Bangaladish & Azza - Music from Sudan - ARC
Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest - Sylva - Impulse!
Tumba y Bongo
Afro-Cuban All Stars - Absolutely Live II - DM Ahora! New
El Cuarto de Tula
Afro-Cuban All Stars - Absolutely Live II - DM Ahora! New
Afro-Cuban All Stars - Absolutely Live II - DM Ahora! New
Rag Bageshri
Utsav Lal - Fluid Piano - Fluid Piano Recordings
Raghupati Raghav Raja
Utsav Lal - Fluid Piano - Fluid Piano Recordings
Interactive CKCU
Just joined in and diggin' heck outa the new Tinariwen! (How did I miss that?!) It will surely get flogged heavily on This Island Earth as well.

2:28 PM, April 6th, 2017
David Dalle (host)
I know people going to see them in Toronto, Montreal, Oslo in the next few weeks, and I am not one of them :(

2:33 PM, April 6th, 2017
Oh, and feel free to flog that I will also play some more of the Utsav Lal / Fluid Piano on T.I.E. this coming Sunday. The other long raga, and probably one more. ;^)

2:37 PM, April 6th, 2017
Loving this, almost 2-years later. Snarky Puppy is especially hitting the spot today.

10:49 AM, January 17th, 2019