Sounds like 17,000 islands

travel advice Indonesia-Raja-Ampat-Papua

Trip to the music of Indonesia, where traditions like the otherworldly Gamelan orchestra blend with modern sounds to manifest waves you never dreamed of!

Yes there are 17,000 islands in Indonesia, and some believe that the lost city of Atlantis is hidden somewhere beneath the Indonesian sea. What a fun idea! Did they play Gamelan? Did they have electric guitars? Maybe this band would have been tops of the Atlantean pops:

From the first hour, a world of new music:

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Kashmiri Sounds like Peace

The recent history of the Kashmir region is both complex and tragic, yet the music is truly beautiful.  This hour of music draws on the many cultures in the region, including the Hindustani classical music of the Kashmir Valley and neighboring Jammu, upbeat Pahari beats from Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir, and Tibetan Buddhist spiritual pop of Leh, among other amazing sounds.

Young renegade hip hop freedom fighter MC Kash is also featured – hear his story in this short doc:

 

 

Pioneering Women in Music

In all styles, in all places, there are strong women who craft songs just as well as the fellas. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2016, we present a playlist of great female composers and performers – from the big band era to the present – who breached the status quo to share their art, and in the process have divined a more equal world:

Ancient Thunder Dragon Beats

Bhutanese dance groupTashi Delek!  Welcome to the last Shangri-La, the magical moutain kingdom of Bhutan.  Yes, they still have a king – and he is on Facebook.  Wedged in the Himalayas between the two most populous nations on Earth, the land of thunder dragons somehow manages to keep a very low profile and a well-preserved cultural identity.  Miraculously, television wasn’t legalized in Bhutan until 1999, so they were essentially the last country to leave the real world and be hypnotized by the warm electric glow.  Tragic, but inevitable.

Bhutan is so special because it represents the preservation of ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture, now that Tibet has been wiped out by China.  Bhutan was united as a nation in the 17th century by runaway Tibetan lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and has since evolved in isolation.  Perched safely in cliff-side dzongs, the Bhutanese are one of the very few societies to have successfully resisted occupation from outside powers for their entire history.

Taktsang Palphug Monastery, with ample parking for up to 6 thunder dragons

Taktsang Palphug Monastery, with ample parking for up to 6 thunder dragons

Until the last few decades, only traditional (really just another word for ‘local’) music existed in Bhutan.  All traditional music can be divided into Boedra (Tibetan style) or Zhungdra (developed in Bhutan).  This stuff is sacred.  And then there’s rock n roll..

Sure, it’s pretty positive stuff.  So is everything on the young Thimphu-based record label M-Studio. But where will they be in another 20 years?  Death metal thrash dub-step polka?  For now, Bhutan teeters the line between ancient depth and innocent modernity.  May they retain their uniqueness, and dragons; forever.

Hear the soundscape of Bhutan {{HERE}}

Craig Aalders )-( Music as Mystery

{Live Sonic Manipulation}

Live Sonic Manipulation!

No one can resist the almighty beat, but on the fringes of the modern musical landscape there is an entirely different beast that defies the comforting confines of rhythmic repetition.  Vancouver-based composer and sound-sorcerer Craig Aalders descends upon the studio this week to share his sublime shifting soundscapes and discuss the rich world of electro-acoustic music — where listeners are encouraged to rethink the boundaries of music and embrace the entire sonic spectrum.  Beautiful vibrations are everywhere, we just need to tune our ears to them.

Stream the broadcast [[HERE]]   And check out Craig Aalders’ bewitching new LP [[HERE]]

For the second part of the show, we travel to the digital shores of Singapore…

Try finding a photo of Singapore that doesn't include a skyscraper

a magical land of old-growth skyscraper forests

Singapore (aka Lion City) is a place of open mixing between Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and British culture.  This has produced a rich ecosystem of mutant styles and singular vibes.  Among the most interesting was a wild and flourishing rock ‘n’ roll scene in the 1960s.  More than simple mimicry, Singaporeans were taking cues from American musicians and adding their own genuine south-east Asian flavours.  Fascinating; an entire parallel universe of music happening alongside the psychedelic rock movement in America, yet entirely hidden from Western listeners.  For a good introduction to the vibrant 60s scene, check out the Sublime Frequencies compilation Singapore A-Go-Go.

The Stylers were one of the best and most prolific bands of the independence era, producing over a thousand records in at least five languages.  Ya ho!  This track mixes Hokkien vocals with surf guitar solos and handclaps:

Craig Aalders joins us on the trip through Singapore, as we uncover Singlish hip hop, sitar jams, experimental modern rock, Malay-style funk, and … French pop?

Stream the Singapore special [[HERE]].  Long live local music.. and the local reinvention of global music.