This week we check out a selection of terrific new albums that caught my ear, and will hopefully catch yours, too. Our first track features the unique sound of The Boys of St. Paul’s Choir School singing versions of the devotional song “Ave Maria” by different composers. Their sound is plaintive and pure—different from adult choirs.
We turn next to a song I love from the musical wunderkind and polymath named Rachel Flowers. The video of her live rendition of “Greg’s Favorite” at KCRW’s studios received a tremendous audience response on Rhythm Planet’s Facebook page. We’ll hear the album version today.
Greek singer-songwriter Banda Magda’s eagerly-awaited new album Tigre is finally out. Her music is Mediterranean, continental, and fun. The bubbly sound may remind some of Pink Martini.
Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdes are the sons of great Cuban bandleaders of the past: Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdes. Their new album Familia celebrates these two giants of Cuban music, who also happen to be their dads.
Busy bassist and bandleader Christian McBride assembled a great cast of musicians for his new big band album, Bringin’ It. We hear the fun song called “Youthful Bliss.”
Veteran Nigerian drummer Tony Allen co-founded the afrobeat Nigerian music style along with the late Fela Kuti. Allen has released a new Blue Note side that is a departure for him—more of a big jazz band than a sortie into Fela territory.
Lee “Scratch” Perry is out with a crazy new album called Super Ape Returns to Conquer. He’s a veteran producer who’s stamped his signature on the likes of Bob Marley, the Heptones, The Congos, Max Romeo, and countless other reggae greats. His producer credits read like a who’s who of reggae.
Elida Almeida is the brightest new star in Cape Verde, and I love her music. Her new album, Keybrada, is named after the Cape Verdean village she grew up in.
We wrap up the show with Malian singer Leila Gobi, whose powerful voice is typical of the “Wassalou” sound of Southern Malian women singers.
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 9/29/17
- The Boys of St. Paul’s Choir School / “Ave Maria” / Ave Maria / Sony
- Rachel Flowers / “Greg’s Favorite” / Listen / Rachel Flowers Music
- Banda Magda / “Ase Me Na Bo” / Tigre / GroundUp Music
- Arturo O’Farrill & Chucho Valdés / “Con Poco Coco” / Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico / Motema Music
- Christian McBride Big Band / “Youthful Bliss” / Bringin’ It / Mack Avenue Records
- Tony Allen / “Bad Roads” / The Source / Blue Note
- Lee “Scratch” Perry & Subatomic Sound System / “Curly Dub” / Super Ape Returns to Conquer / Subatomic Sound
- Elida Almeida / “Ki Ta Manda E Mi” / Kebrada / Lusafrica
- Leila Gobi / “An N’ga” / 2017 / Clermont Music