Why you should care
Because music is life.
Every other week, our Performance editor shares what’s happening in her earbuds.
These six tracks hold new sounds from Greece, Brooklyn and the Sahara Desert, as well as an American classic and a gem from the Pacific Northwest’s cutest queer Francophone.
Eleven months to the day before the horror at music venue Bataclan, Tinariwen played a historic show in Paris at 19th-century theater Les Bouffes du Nord. A Malian band of 36 years with a riveting story, Tinariwen performed with extraordinary 75-year-old artist Lalla Badi, a reigning force of the tindé drum and the tindé genre who was a godmother to Tinariwen decades ago when they fled fearsome repression in northern Mali. The recording of that night, Live in Paris, is out this Thursday, November 20.
When I first heard Joan Wasser’s music a decade or so ago, I heard her kinship with Stevie Wonder. She continues to innovate her love of classic soul and classical traditions with her new project, 2001, a collaboration with Benjamin Lazar Davis. Having both done trips to different parts of Africa, they wrote a whole 2001 record loosely based on Central African Republic Pygmy musical patterns. The full work promises to be a tremendous hit — no word when it’s coming out.
With her latest release and signing to Other Music’s label, Monika, a star in her native Greece, is gaining increased international attention with Secret in the Dark, an ode to ’70s New York. If these tracks fail to win you over, check out “Birds,” from 2013’s Primal. Leonard Cohen would approve. And Mélanie Valera is an Olympia-dwelling native of southwest France who records as Tender Forever. Back in 2010, she put out this song for everyone who’s ever had to let go. Her use of percussion evokes thunderstorms in summertime; the harmonies turn bitter into sweet.