Sory Kandia Kouyaté was one of the most celebrated singers in West Africa when he died suddenly in 1977. He was just 44, and given his spectacular voice, it's a safe bet that Kouyaté would have been an international star had he lived just a few years longer. Now, some of his finest recordings have been collected on a two-disc retrospective called La Voix de la Révolution.
Bear in Heaven, the brainchild of Jon Philpot, spent the winter trimming down (from a quartet to a trio) and stocking up, releasing its third album I Love You, It's Cool this spring. To promote the record, Philpot posted it in its entirety on the band's website, but not before slowing the audio down 400,000 times. At its original tempo, Bear in Heaven's music is at once ambient and energized, resonating in synth-driven waves that swell and pulse through an electric sea.
Bahamas' music has really grown on us at KCRW. The group is led by Afie Jurvanen, who previously played guitar with Feist and is such an aficionado of the instrument that he doesn't even have a bassist in his band. Instead, he's accompanied by a drummer and a pair of backup singers who reinvent his gorgeous pop songs in a live setting.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:22 pm
File this under Strange Bedfellows. The crazy-huge success of E L James' Fifty Shades erotic trilogy — which as of late May stood at more than 10 million sales in all formats and 60 physical printings, according to publisher Vintage Books — has made quite the impact in ... classical music, of all things.
If you don't know Taken by Trees, the solo project of Swedish singer Victoria Bergsman, then perhaps you're new to All Songs Considered. In 2009, Taken by Trees' made my year end top 10 list and then seemed to vanish. The album, East of Eden, was made in Pakistan but embodied American popular music in the way only a Scandinavian could do (as in so many cases, that meant "better").