Tal National is a band built on bringing people together. Their home
country of Niger is split into a wide variety of cultures and
ethnicities -- Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg voices all vie for
attention under their national banner, and all are represented in the
vast membership of Tal National's ranks. This gives the band's music its
own particular mash of ethnomusical touchstones, from the bounce of
kora, highlife and afrobeat, to the dusting of Tuareg Blues and the
roiling boil of Hausa percussion -- they are truly their country's best
bring together the remarkable talents of 5 young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With a contemporary and lively approach they breathe new life into the old traditions through their sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and spirited and energetic performances of Welsh step dancing.
They blast their way through some of the old favourite reels, jigs and hornpipes with fast paced and uplifting arrangements before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs.
Following the release of their debut album, ‘Bling’ in 2008, which attracted four star responses from the critics, the five-piece have been playing to big audiences and rave reviews at concerts and festivals around Britain and Europe, including the coveted Cambridge Festival; Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Shrewsbury Folk Festival; Moseley Folk Festival; Derby Folk Festival; Bromyard Folk Festival, Whitby Folk Festival a concert tour of Italy, Austria and Belgium along with a number of performances at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany, where they’ve received the award for the best group.
“Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by
God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In
this spirit this Charleston, SC based quintet performs timeless music
of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the
United States. South Carolina natives Quentin Baxter, Kevin Hamilton, Charlton Singleton, and Clay Ross first came together in 1998, fresh out of University, to form a seminal Charleston jazz quartet. Now, united by years apart and a deeper understanding of home, these accomplished artists have come together again, joined by one of the low-country’s most celebrated vocalists Quiana Parler, to revive a “Heartland of American Music” born in their own backyards.
Amy Rigby has made a life out of writing and singing about life. With bands Last Roundup and the Shams in eighties NYC East Village to her solo debut Diary Of A Mod Housewife out of nineties Williamsburg; through a songwriting career in 2000s Nashville and during the past decade with duo partner Wreckless Eric, she’s released records on visionary independent labels Rounder, Matador, Signature Sounds and reborn Stiff Records as well as her and Eric’s own Southern Domestic Recordings.
The Old Guys, her first solo album in a dozen years, measures the weight of heroes, home; family, friends and time. Philip Roth and Bob Dylan, CD/cassette players, touring, the wisdom of age and Walter White, groupies, Robert Altman, egg creams and mentors are paid tribute. Twelve songs written by Amy and recorded by Wreckless Eric in upstate New York, The Old Guys is the sound of a good girl grown up, never giving up.
Black Irish is Shannon McNally’s most personal project yet, which is saying a lot, given the Americana singer-songwriter’s deep catalog. But it speaks to the power of connection, and the power of music to create it and to reflect it. The kick off track “You Made Me Feel For You”, was written by her producer, Americana icon, Rodney Crowell, and serves as a metaphor for their collaboration - how his particular understanding of her unique gifts pulled out the career-defining album many have been waiting for since she came on the scene.
This episode is scheduled for distribution by NPR Music in April 20, 2018.