The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Ever heard of Amadou and Mariam? My colleague Peter Marley has an eclectic taste in music, and he has one of their albums on his iPod, and I listened to it, and before long I was hooked. So I've only heard their Dimanche a Bamako (album released in 2004), and they've had a couple more since, which I intend to acquire as soon as time (and the boy) permit. Check them out at their website.

Of course, this music will more often than not be found in the World Music shelves at your local store. As many have pointed out, this is silly: there's more variety of music in the world than the usual compartmentalisation into rock, R & B, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, blues and classical. But the advantage is that one can scan rapidly through all the available fare in alphabetical fashion, and find gems almost serendipitiously.

A good way to find excellent exemplars of music is via Marco Werman's pieces on international music on Public Radio International's daily programme The World. I used to listen avidly to this during my long commutes between work and home back in New Jersey (that cradle of civilisation). I am fairly certain that one of the BBC Radio channels also broadcasts large quantities of international music, but since my commutes these days are mainly underground I don't get to listen to them. Drat. Time to whip out the old iPod and download podcasts, eh?

But do check out the wonderful album Digdig by René Lacaille, a musician from the Indian Ocean territory of La Réunion. Outside of the francophone world, the incredible percussion and melodies of the genres Sega and Maloya are not well known. Here's an opportunity to discover it!


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