a multimedia blog of amateur ethnomusicology
Chasing tunes around the world
Our world is still full of weird and wonderful music and I’ve made it a personal mission to try and dig some of out it and share it here. Banjo players in Morocco and Malawi, Sufi singers in Sudan and India, square dances in the Caribbean - I revel in seeking out the edgy, rootsy, and eccentric stuff that seems to be slowly fading into oblivion.
In my various travels around the world, I always try and find some time to seek out traditional music. Part of the fun is the chase - tracking down forgotten, neglected musicians or seeing a legendary folk music style that most people have only heard on scratchy records or old postcards. But I get the most thrill out of recording the stuff. I’ve developed this site to try and share a bit of what musical gems I’ve found. I also thought I’d share a bit of the how I found them because after all, the chase can be just as fun as the actual music!
A Tale of Two Dervishes - Sufi Music in Khartoum and Delhi
Two of the coolest places you can visit in the cities of Khartoum, Sudan and Delhi, India, happen to be significant Sufi shrines. There is remarkable singing to be found at both There are remarkable similarities between two
Chechamba - Portrait of a Malawian Old Time Musician
Malawi is the land of rolling hills, tea plantations, the “warm heart of Africa,” and yes - banjos. The ragtime banjo-obsessed Englishmen brought the banjo with them a century ago and its stuck. I met Chechamba in Southern Malawi and we bonded over a banjo in his backyard under a moonlit sky. A tribute to the man.
An Afternoon with the Legendary Trallaleri Singers of Genoa
I first heard the other-wordly “Trallaleri”polyphonic singers on Alan Lomax’s famous recordings of Italian folk music in the 1970s. To meet these dudes in the flesh, over a glass of wine, in one of Genoa’s many authenic piazzas was, well, mind-f)@*ingly amazing.