King Cabbage Brass Band – a New Orleans-styled group based in Tulsa – has released their first album: ‘Live at Cain’s Ballroom.’ On the new radio program airing this week, I’m playing the wonderfully funky track “Kings & Queens.” It’s an original composition written by King Cabbage Brass Band leader Greg Fallis, and performed by Fallis, Nicholas Foster, Jordan Hehl, Dave Johnson, Ryan Hatcher, Bishop Marsh, Andy McCormick, Kristin Ruyle, Dylan Ward, and Isaac Washam. NPR Music featured a video of the band playing this song on their Live Sessions pages. You can check it out right here too! Go to the Listen page in our main menu for direct links to live-streams of the program on three NPR stations: Thursdays at 3 pm (Central) on KAMU in College Station, Texas; Saturdays at 7 pm (Pacific) on KPBX in Spokane, Washington; and Sundays at 6 pm (Central) on KWGS in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On the radio program airing this week I’m playing the song “Chaque jour nouveau” by the trio Meïkhâneh from Rennes, France. It’s a wonderful song from their latest album ‘Chants du dedans, chants du dehors / Songs from Inside, Songs from Outside’ released by Buda Musique / Cas Particuliers / Socadisc. The song features Meïkhâneh ideoband members Maria Laurent on vocals and banjo, Milad Pasta on riqq – a Persian frame drum related to the tambourine, and Johanni Curtet on the morin khuur – the two-stringed horsehead fiddle from Mongolia. He also performed the Mongolian overtone singing heard in the latter part of the song. As it says on their website about their unique sound, “Meïkhâneh’s compositions are fed by imagination, improvisation and traditional music from Europe, Mongolia and Iran.” You can see the trio performing the song in this video below, which was recorded live in the studio.

Go the Listen page linked in the menu to find out how you can hear the radio program on three NPR stations this week!

Some of the albums featured on this week’s Halloween and Día de los Muertos special

On this week’s special radio program, we’ll celebrate the festivals of Halloween and Día de los Muertos . You’ll hear joyful songs in remembrance of loved ones for the Day of the Dead, music connected with the Celtic roots of Halloween, and some simply silly, spooky songs as well. Starting off the playlist is “Calaverita,” a lively dance song by Mexican-American band La Santa Cecilia from their 2015 album ‘Buenaventura.’ Calaveritas are the little sugar skulls you see used as Day of the Dead decorations. The wonderful video for this song features a colorful array of Día de los Muertos festivities. You can watch it on YouTube since it can’t be embedded on this page. Enjoy!

La Santa Cecilia – “Calaverita” video

(And as I was writing this, I learned that La Santa Cecilia have just released a new 8-song album on October 22, 2021. It’s titled ‘Quiero Verte Feliz’ and you can listen to it now. Here’s a link to the video for the title song, which features Lila Downs. I’m sure I’ll be playing songs from this album on upcoming programs!

La Santa Cecilia with Lila Downs – “Quiero Verte Feliz” video

courtesy of BelaFleck.com

On the radio program airing this weekend, I’ll feature artists nominated for Best Album in the Global Music, Regional Roots, and a couple of other categories of the upcoming 2021 Grammy Awards. One of those albums is Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions – “a new comprehensive film and music set documenting Béla Fleck’s transcontinental exploration of the banjo’s roots,” which was originally released in 2008. This greatly expanded box set – released by Craft Recordings in the beautiful package pictured above – is nominated in the Best Historical Album category. I’ve never seen the documentary film, but I have heard the music featured in the film and love being able to hear more tracks that were not released on the original album. (I’ll be watching the film soon.) I’m playing pieces that feature Béla Fleck performing with musicians Oumou Sangaré and Toumani Diabaté on one track and with ngoni players Bassekou Kouyate and Harouna Samake on another.

The radio program Here & Now recently featured an excellent story about the reissued album – Béla Fleck’s Journey To Find Truth In Origins Of The Banjo – which features conversations with Bassekou Kouyate and Béla Fleck.

And I did not know this until looking at Béla Fleck’s YouTube page just now: he has the full-length version of the ‘Throw Down Your Heart’ film posted on there! The video is from a live-streamed event that aired on the YouTube page on December 11, 2020. It features Béla introducing the film, the film itself, and then a long segment of Béla in conversation with the film’s director, Sascha Paladino. I’m posting the video below, but I have no idea how long it will stay up there on his page for viewing. (Note that the intro doesn’t start until after 6 minutes into the video since it was a live-streamed event.) Watch it as soon as you can! I know I will…