Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband

Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband

Click on the jukebox link on their page for a popup that plays their song Banjo Boy. And don’t forget to click on the videos link also for a video. By the way, Savitri has the same shirt, I Do All My Own Stunts too.

I heard these guys on Soundstage on Voice of America radio on the way to work this morning (from 6:00 to 6:45). VOA is the official broadcasting service of the United States government.

K’naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher

See his site at: K'naan
K’naan | The Dusty Foot Philosopher. I think the low bandwidth option gets to the content better but not as snazzy. The high one, plays music. On the low bandwidth here is a link to his poetry worth reading. You wish you had the hip hop track in the background.

Here is more on Aazon.ca

I heard him on CBC, cool, I’m buying the CD ASAP. The following link on CBC which will annoyingly open a new window is here says about his music and their other featured artist and they said there is an interview on the CBC Global Village site also but I can’t find it yet.:

In the early days of hip hop, artist and critics both drew parallels to African oral traditions and the social conscience of Dylan-era folk that soon became buried under a mountain of gangsta imagery. On the next Global Village, two artists uncover the connection and recover the music: Toronto-based Somali rapper K’naan and Senegalese hip-hop group Daara J. We’ve got both recorded live.

Amazon also says:

K’naan, former refugee, now based in Toronto makes music that is a mixture of hip hop, African beats and world music intertwined – combining African drums, chants, handclaps, guitars and organic instrumentation sets this album outside the hip hop herd. K’naan creates music with a message. Leaving Somalia at the age of thirteen on what turned out to be the last commercial flight ever to do so, amidst a crumbling society and the end to this day of any form of central government K’naan carried with him a very strong sense of purpose as well as his amazing lyrical gift, which has made him a beacon for other artists a well as those dedicated to global change. Canada only release! With his unique voice and truly authentic style, K’naan brings an enormous dose of realness and urgency to the hip-hop world in a time when people are desperate for it. From a personal and cultural history rooted in poetry (being the grandson of one of Somalia’s most famous poets), K’naan widens the traditional hip-hop perspective. Discovered and produced by Track & Field, same producers that discovered and produced Nelly Furtado, Dusty Foot Philosopher is comprised of 18 total tracks including ‘Smile’, ‘My Old Home’, ‘In The Beginning’, ‘Voices In My Head’, ‘Wash It Down’, ‘Hoobaale’, ‘Rap Gets Jealous’ and more. BMG. 2005.

Bluegrass in Kuwait

Nothing stranger than driving around Kuwait listening to bluegrass performed by Alison Kraus and Union Station. Definitely not the native culture. The lyrics are a bit whiney at times and the singing a bit nasal, but gotta love the musicality, fiddle and banjo with dobro and acoustic bass. The car stereo goes loud and clean.

And on the topic of the bass line of bluegrass here from answers.com which I think they steal from Wikipedia:

Double bass in bluegrass music

The string bass is often used in bluegrass music. It is the largest instrument in the violin family, and is made in several sizes. Most usual for bluegrass use is the 3/4 size bass. Less frequently used are the full and 5/8 size bass.

The upright bass is plucked for most bluegrass music. Some modern bassists have used the bow.

The bluegrass bass is responsible for keeping time in the polyrhythmic conditions of the bluegrass tune, enhancing the flow of the music with tasteful fills and runs. Most important is the steady beat, whether fast, slow, in 4/4 time, 2/4 or 3/4 time.

Early pre-bluegrass music was often accompanied by the cello, which was bowed as often as plucked. Some contemporary bluegrass bands favor the electric bass, but it has a different musical quality than the plucked upright bass which gives energy and drive to the music.

Common rhythms in bluegrass bass playing are, in 4/4 time (plucking on the beats) 1, 3; 1, 4; 1, 3, 4. In 3/4 time (waltz time) 1; 1,2; and 1,3. Bluegrass baselines are usually extremely simple, typcially staying on the Tonic and Dominant chords throughout.

Cedric Rainwater, bassist for Bill Monroe and later Flatt and Scruggs, helped to define the bluegrass sound with his characteristic walking bass, where each beat in 4/4 time is plucked, going up and down the scale.

Notable bass players in contemporary bluegrass music:

  • Roy Huskey, Jr.
  • Todd Phillips
  • Mark Schatz
  • Mike Bub
  • Edgar Meyer

The Wikipedia dobro article is quite interesting also.

Bruce Cockburn the Mystical Musician

Well, what can I say. I’m not the first to say that, mystic and really deserves that. Though the term has its connotations which he wouldn’t want.

I’ve been a fan of his for more than 25 years. The first album I really heard was Dancing in the Dragons Jaws from 1979 and it had a hit of sorts, Wondering Where the Lions Are. This song was partially inspired by Charles Williams‘ book The Place of the Lion. And Charles Williams due to this book was a friend of C.S. Lewis! Read the reviews on Amazon. I don’t see the book in the Calgary Public Library.

And on the web site with the comments, now I understand more about the lyrics after all these years! I know the meaning of the lion symbol. I’m not giving it away here, read the site.

At a concert while I was in university we waited after the show at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary and there was Bruce backstage. So we went and shook his hand and got autographs. I sure wish I had kept it. That was with my old friend Roger who was and is a guitar player and a great fan and even asked Bruce something about tuning which he answered. No eliteness about the man, certainly.

Believe it or not, the following song was written May 27, 1970!

Golden Serpent Blues

She moves like a golden serpent all day long
Moves like a golden serpent all day long
She lights the candle when the day is gone

She likes to give me honey when I’m down
She likes to give me honey when I’m down
If I ever was a king y’know she was the crown

She carries all the lines down in her palms
She carries all the lines down in her palms
She can drive away the devil with a song

Here is another very recent song on his album You’ve Never Seen Everything:


I never lived with balance
I always wake up nervous
Light comes at me sideways
I hold my breath forever

I never lived with balance
Though I’ve always liked the notion
I feel an endless hunger
For energy and motion

I never lived with balance
I want to feel you near me
There’s an aching in my hipbone
Want to let my heart drop open
It’s daylight in the city
There’s thumping in the stairwell
Kundalini sunrise
A clamouring of church bells

You like to let me worry
But I don’t take you for granted
Come over here and kiss me
I’m savouring your picture
The street is filled with noises
Life going up and down
Light comes at you sideways
Enfolds you like a gown

And there are many, many other depths to his music. I really think he is of the level of some of the great mystical poets. That is the thought that came to me today while driving.

Here is a site with a full listing of his albums.
And here is the official site with all the tracks to play. Note that the official site has some troubles loading sometimes.

I could go on and list more of the great expressions of his music and may do that later.