Xmas tunes that Sizzle from the Caribbean to the Vaticizzle


Pope Francis needs a beat when he’s blessin’ on the street

This year’s Unorthodox Xmas special is a truly unique sonic feast!  For the first hour, we substitute snow and chestnuts for sand and coconuts. Behold a tropical holiday fiesta of classics and obscurities:

And for the second hour, a trip to the hotbed of Holy: Vatican City! It’s not all choirs and crosses, there are forays into Pope-approved hip hop and prog rock along the way. I couldn’t possibly make that up.

Interview with Trad.Attack!

Vancouver’s Folk Music Festival is an amazingly eclectic showcase of bands from around the world – the perfect place to discover young bands before they blow up on the international scene.  On their first Canadian tour, Trad.Attack! were hands-down one of the standout acts at this year’s festival. Mixing ancient Estonian folk music with punk rock virility, they have transformed the Baltic scene and are ready to take over the world – one country at a time.  They also happen to be hilarious and very skilled in the Canadian language.  Hear an exclusive Wandering Rhythms interview with Trad.Attack! right here:

Impromptu background music provided by another Folk Fest delight, Betsayda Machado y la Parranda el Clavo, on their first tour to el norte:

The Land of Post-rock Vikings

Viking metalheads from the band Týr.  Real nice guys.

Týr:  Classic Viking metalheads reviving the 90s.  The 1090s.

Midway between Norway and Iceland lies a splattering of islands lost in time.  O the mysterious Faroes.  Only 50,000 humans make up this quasi-nation, politically tied to Denmark yet refusing membership in the European Union (as decided by the conservative Norse Gods).  Yet despite geographical isolation and the continued practice of whale hunting, the Faroese are surprisingly futuristic in their musical meanderings.

Tindholmur island

Tindholmur Island. Get your free-range organic pilot whales and puffins here (not approved by PETA).

Aside from the requisite Viking-revival bands wielding electric axes, the Faroe Islanders are also making some very tasteful electro-funk hip hop, jangly folk, sinister drone-scapes, ambient jazz, experimental pop, and my personal favourite: grit hop played on giant industrial machines, courtesy of the band ORKA.  To boot, there is a great Faroese record label, TUTL, that provides a potent platform for local bands to broadcast their music in Scandinavia and beyond.

Dig into these sounds and more on the [[FAROESE FEATURE]].

Nordic/Baltic? Bizarre/Blissful!

Let the stereo typecasts and contradictions continue forever & never!  Estonia lies on the cusp of incognition, not quite Nordic, and also not much like the other Baltic nations to the south…  They are a surprisingly progressive nation just doing their thing and reaping the rewards of hovering below the world radar.

But guess what Estonia…  WE SEE YOU!  And yes, you are just as freaky as your Finnish brethren across the gulf.  Thank the Norse Gods!  Jolly accordions, synthesizers from deep space, cellos of catharsis, kannel harps, warped guitar wonkerings…  We barely know you but it could be true love.  Open ears to the sky.