During our South and Central Asian season of online classes will take us to Pakistan, where modern musicians who find inspiration in ancient folk forms aren’t content with keeping such cool sounds to themselves. In this video Sukhshinder Shinda and Jazzy B sing their hearts out in the style of bhangra, a modern international music based on Punjabi folk. We’ll definitely dance to bhangra when we visit Pakistan in a couple weeks.
All Around This World loves Alash Ensemble, the tremendous Tuvan ensemble with a mission — to take traditional Tuvan throat singing to the international masses! There are other throat singing juggernauts from Russia’s “Tyva Republic” but Alash especially endears itself to us because it makes ancient Central Asian traditional singing seem like the sound of the future. We’ll enjoy Alash even more in a few weeks when our class takes us to Tuva.
Mamer is a Central Asian singer-songwriter at the heart of China’s “alt-country” scene. Hailing from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of Western China, Mamer fuses ancient Kazakh music with modern international folk, helping inspire the creation of a beautiful new genre of music — “Chinagrass.” This video touches on some of Mamer’s pensive work, though he and his band, IZ, also rock out. We’ll enjoy more Mamer when our South and Central Asian tour takes us to Western China.
Yeah, a cliché to start an exploration of South Asian music with Ravi Shankar and Allah Rakha, but they’re so very extraordinary, so close to the core of Indian classical music, that how could we not? Indian classical music underlies its extraordinary diversity of traditional folk music, which musicians perform using a vast array of instruments. From classical and folk foundations Indian musicians, both in India and around the world, have branched out to modern forms like Indian jazz, Indian rock infused with a healthy dose of Indian metal), and pulsating techno-based dance music known as “Asian Underground.”
We’re here! After talking about it for what seems like a thousand years, All Around This World’s online class for kids is finally starting our exploration of the many cultures and musics of South and Central Asia. We’ll start in India and nudge northwest, up through Pakistan to Afghanistan and onto the Central Asian steppe. We’ll travel through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to Tuva, take a right turn to visit Uighur lands, then end our trek with a southward sing through Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Could you ask for anything more?
Tomorrow we embark on a grand new adventure in our online class — All Around This World’s exploration of the countries, cultures and many musics of South and Central Asia. Over the course of the season we’re going to do our best to meld ancient Asian in-the-past classics with the full-steam-ahead music of today. Are you up for the challenge? This guy is.
“La Llave” is a song in Spanish that allows us to ask the all-important question, “where is the key?” When you ask that question to your kids while singing along to this week’s online class don’t pry and ask what key you’re seeking — your car keys? The key to life? Instead we value all searching, almost as much as we value the freedom to make funny faces when we stop and yell, “PON!”
Bomba is a bold and buoyant Puerto Rican music, a particularly invigorating traditional genre that tilts the balance between dancers and drummers, empowering dancers to lead the beat. Watch an entire community make this so as they sing “Rule Sonda.” In our version of the song we traverse the video abyss, imploring your drum-along kids to follow as we dance.
Grandpa and Grandpa usually get along just fine, but every so often they have a tiff. This morning, immortalized in the traditional Taiwanese tune “Ti Oh Oh,” which you’ll hear here in Hokkien, Grandpa is digging for taro root when he unearths a fish. That’s funny stuff, so he laughs…HA HA HA! The tale turns when he brings the fish home to grandma and they disagree about how much salt to put in the pot. A scuffle ensues; the pot crashes to the ground. Trouble, yes, but Grandpa and Grandma have lived a long life. Lost fish? A tragedy to be sure. Still, they laugh…HA HA HA!
A “fiafia” is a Pacific islands fete, a joyful celebration full of song, dance, food and good cheer. Watch Opetaia Foai and Te Vaka — finally getting the international recognition they’ve long deserved after making music for “Moana” — start their “Ki Te La” with a traditional Tokelauean tune about fiafia reminding us how happy we can be. This week in All Around This World’s online class we share our version, in which we’re having such a great time at the party that we ignore the incoming wind.