Sunday, January 24, 2016

Daniela Mercury: Virtual Vinyl and the Soul of Brazil

She’s had more #1 hits in Brazil than any other female artist. Globally she’s sold over 20 million albums. Daniela Mercury is a superstar, a true international name. Yet, for all her success, she’s remained a woman who refuses to bow to convention, both musically and personally. Every album is a reinvention, an exploration. And on Virtual Vinyl (released on January 22, 2016 by DRG Brazil) it’s a journey she continues, the latest chapter in Mercury’s story, electric, soulful, and always passionate.

Virtual Vinyl is a glorious fusion of styles, but that’s been a hallmark of her career, starting from the trios eléctricos of Carnaval in her native Salvador, through the adrenalin surge of the regionalaxé music style that made her famous and beyond.

“I always mixed rhythms and styles,” Mercury told Wave magazine. “I am an eclectic artist, open to new things. I like to create… In 1999, I brought, for the first time, electronic music to the Carnaval in Salvador, in 2010 I mixed my songs with my band to the songs of the 2 de Julho Orchestra, there were over 40 musicians, and it was a beautiful show that thrilled the partiers. On other albums, I mixed the beat of candomblé with electronic music, I mixed reggae with rock.”

But always the heartbeat under the global influences has been firmly Brazilian and it remains that way on Virtual Vinyl, as songs like “Tô Samba Da Vida” (“I’m Samba Life”) and “De Deus, De Alah, De Gilberto Gil” (“God, Allah, Gilberto Gil” – a homage to the lauded singer-songwriter who was also Brazil’s Minister of Culture for several years) attest.

It’s the next step from her previous two albums, 2009’s Canibália and Daniela Mercury & Cabeça de Nós Todas from 2013. Both showed her working with perfect confidence, mixing up styles from samba-reggae to Tropicalismo and beyond. This time around the influences are more widespread, from Brazil’s own Carioca funk to the turntable scratching and samples that have long been the rhythm of hip-hop.

Virtual Vinyl is her story, her world, a continuation of her manifesto. That’s apparent even on the cover, where Mercury poses with her wife, Malu Verçosa, in a photograph deliberately reminiscent of some of the loving portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Originally trained as a dancer, Mercury made her debut at Salvador Carnaval when she was just 15, releasing her first solo album 10 years later. The first two songs from the disc both became huge hits, and she was set on the road to fame.

By 2000 she was already adding electronic music to her arsenal, and Sol da Liberdade, produced by the late Suba, transformed her into a global name. She’s someone who sees music as a whole, a continuum that’s constantly shifting and referencing its own past, something she acknowledged on Canibália when she duetted with the ghostly voice of Carmen Miranda, Brazil’s first global icon. Even the title of the new album – Virtual Vinyl – shows something beyond the surface, beyond any easy pigeonhole.

“I’m interested in so many things,” Mercury says. “I like to be involved in every part of recording, every part of creating the stage shows. That’s just who I am. Dancing took me to singing, and that’s led to everything else. One thing I’ve never wanted to do is define and limit myself.”

That relentless curiosity has also led her to set up her own foundation to help bring children to the arts, as well as work as a UNICEF Ambassador. She’s a woman who refuses to stand still. In her life, as well as her music, she’s constantly pushing and changing things around her.

“I’m a naturally curious person,” Mercury explains. “I keep listening to new things, seeing new things, and that comes out in the songs I write, or how I approach them. Why not? is always a good philosophy.”

Virtual Vinyl; heartfelt music.

Septeto Santiaguero nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album Grammy

Latin Grammy recipients Septeto Santiaguero inks Booking Agreement with Cuza Agency and Emerson Bran Management

The Orchestra is available for the Jazz, Salsa and World Music Circuits for 2016.

View the video for 'El lunar' here:
Montreal based Cuza Agency has come to a booking arrangement with the darlings of the Cuban Traditional Tropical sound Septeto Santiaguero for the territories ofNorth & South America. The deal comes ‘hot on the heels’ of a couple of prestigious recognitions for the septet, a 2015 Latin Grammy Award (Best Traditional Tropical Album) and a 2016 Grammy Nomination (Best Tropical Latin Album) for their release Tributo a Los Compadres: No Quiero Llanto a collaboration with Dominican salsero José Alberto El Canario.

The 3x Cubadisco Award winners and 2x Latin Grammy nominees whose sound and style is deeply rooted in the musical tradition of their hometown of Santiago de Cuba have toured more than 30 countries around the world. They have performed extensively at the most important venues and festivals in world music, jazz and salsa circuit such as the Bataclan, Frankfurt Opera, Porgy & Bess and Cinema Paradiso as well as renowned events including Womad Festival (UK), Fiesta de los Sanfermines (Pamplona), Veranos de la Villa (Madrid), Festival Jazz Rally (Dusseldorf), Fordefolk Festival (Norway) and Tempo Latino (Vic-Fezensac) just to name a few!

Now with 8 albums under their belt Septeto Santiaguero will continue to expose the roots of Cuban son and guaracha upon receptive audiences under the competent guidance of the Cuza Agency and Bran Management.

The Cuban Press has annointed Septeto Santiaguero to succeed Buena Vista Social Club as the ambassador of authentic Cuban Music to the World
Reviews for Tributo a Los Compadres: No Quiero Llanto

“The album, which came out earlier this summer as a double CD, reupholsters old music with relentless technical perfection. You have to give it space.”
The New York Times

“Taken as a whole this is a fine and musicianly event heartily recommended. If you’re looking for excellent modern recording and clean playing, plus a galaxy of stars that make up the firmament of Cuban – then and now – then there’s certainly much to enjoy and admire In this double CD. This is clearly a project that is invaluable to the literature of Afro-Cuban music.”
Latin Jazz Network

“Septeto Santiaguero teams up once again with José Alberto (they worked together on Septeto’s “Vamos pa’ la fiesta”), but this time as co-leaders, and the results are amazing.”
Salsa Power

 “No Quiero Llanto not only escapes the sad fate of less-fortunate projects of this scope, it is also Septeto Santiaguero’s best recording in many ways.”

“No quiero llanto” es un doble disco con mucha música, 18 temas, que consigue fusionar la tradición sonera con gran respeto y una deliberada dosis de modernidad.
Músicas del Mundo

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dinosaur Eyelids

Dinosaur Eyelids is alternative rock and roll for a new generation. Based in New Brunswick, NJ the 100% DIY band has earned a reputation for incendiary live performances. Their highly-anticipated fourth album "Bypass to Nowhere" was released to critical acclaim and debuted at #1 at WRSU Rutgers Radio. Their third album "Conflagration" was released in 2012 to airplay on 200 radio stations across North America.
They have played over 90 shows throughout the Northeast and are house favorites at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick and John & Peter's in New Hope, PA. Other frequent shows include The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ), North Star (Philadelphia), Fontana's (NYC) and Arlene's Grocery (NYC).
"The LIDS" have opened for Parlor Mob and shared the stage with Dean Ween of Ween. Their debut album "Winter Solstice" was released in 2009. Their second album "Down a River" was released in 2011 to nationwide airplay and critical enthusiasm.
Musical influences range from Soundgarden to Wilco, Ween and The Replacements.
Evan Staats-vocals Scott Staats-bass Patrick McKnight-guitar Mark Leone-drums
Their music is available through Amazon, iTunes and CDBaby. They are on Pandora, Spotify, Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

FAQ: What does your name mean? A: If you close your eyes to reality you hasten your own extinction.

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