Canary Records owner (and a rather fine experimental musician himself) Ian Nagoski should be commended for his work in bringing to life so many wonderful albums from the turn of the 20th Century cut by Balkan and Jewish musicians who left their home countries and made quite good names for themselves in places like New York City. These recordings are lovingly restored, and apparently are leftover tracks transferred from 78rpm discs for a forthcoming 5-volume / 6-LP series to be issued in early 2019. Considering how lovingly Ian treats this material, this upcoming collection sounds like a grand project!
Ana Ćurčin is a folk singer born in Baghdad, Iraq, raised in Moscow, Russia, and currently residing in Belgrade, Serbia. And she sings Americana beautifully. What a world we live in.
Byzantine Time Machine are a new discovery, thanks to a darling friend in Italy who hipped me to their mix of ethno-dub music a few months ago.
Get out in the streets, and don’t forget to bring your horn!
I have a long, happy history with the Bulgarian ethno-folk band Lot-Lorien. They’ve been through several singers since their commencement, and most were female, but during their stay in England, they came across a local singer called Jake Wilson, whose voice meshes quite well with their instrumentation.
Kayno Yesno Slonce are a band based out of Sofia, Bulgaria, who straddle genres so easily that they’re nearly impossible to classify. There is a gentle beauty in the music that reminds me of Bert Jansch or The Incredible String Band, but one can hear elements of Wyrd Folk like Shirley Collins or the more instrumental endeavors of Current 93. For those of you who like neofolk, Balkan music, or something slightly hazy and psychedelic, this album is a stunningly good choice for your ears.
A very pleasant surprise from our friend and colleague, Vincent Moon, who churns out stream of startlingly beautiful compilations from places off the beaten path (Ossetia, Chechnya, etc). His label, Collection Petites Planètes, presents a compilation done with the assistance of Fatime Kosumi, a Kosovar singer of Albanian heritage, covering folk tunes for female choir.
Turkish oudist Mehmet Polat, a familiar name to this blog, has new music available!
Jonny Wrate of Roads and Kingdoms Magazine writes the article for the year for me!
Many years ago, while living in Macedonia, my friends and I would discuss music, and two, Igor and Goran, turned me on to the fact that Mexican music was actually a big deal in the former Yugoslavia. It was the most amusing thing I had ever heard, as I grew up with a lot of boleros in my house (Los Panchos, Los Tres Ases, and others, for example). It blew my mind that such a scene would exist, but they were emphatic in telling me that such a creature DID indeed exist. They even showed me record covers like the one above, recorded by the ever-tacky, ever awesome Ljubomir Milić.
Wrate’s back story really does a nice job of filling in the history of a very unique time in my beloved Balkans which ties into the music I loved as a child.