Tags Posts tagged with "Travlin’ Music"

Travlin’ Music

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With a last name like Goldfrapp, you’d better start a band or something. British chanteuse Alison Goldfrapp and musician Will Gregory have been whipping up ethereal, otherworldly sounds for over 15 years. I first heard of the duo back in the early-2000s on one of the many lounge music compilation disks in my collection at the time. The tune? This haunting throwback to black-and-white frightfests, “Lovely Head.”

But it was this latest album, Tales of Us, that recently grabbed my attention, transporting me through sonic time and space, no matter if I’m traveling or writing. Check out some of my favorites from the album’s deluxe edition (but you’ll love the whole thing).



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Sharon Wesilds/Flickr

After Germany’s ungentlemanly thrashing of Brazil, 7-1, during the World Cup, I thought I’d share in my adopted homeland’s grief with a little of my favorite melancholy music: seven songs for seven goals. Some of the songs are about love lost and found. One laments accusations of selling out, while another praises the magic of fairies (or lovers). Still others wax melodic about the Marvelous City or the beautiful country in its entirety. All embody, in one way or another, the bittersweet nostalgia Brazilians call saudade, the poignant yearning that comes with losses real, imagined, or inevitable. I mourn this loss with you, meu Brasil, with the intoxicating aural cocktail of happiness within sadness that you mix up so well.

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Mark Doliner/Flickr

Sometimes a city, a state, a country just moves you to sing a song in its honor. And some songs – and singers – are better than others. These soulfully chill paeans to places near and far help transport you when you can’t get there quick enough. Enjoy.

Chaka Khan – “A Night in Tunisia”

Fania All Stars – “Isla del Encanto” (That’d be Puerto Rico, Isle of Enchantment.)

Tom Browne – “Funkin’ for Jamaica”

Cesaria Evora – “São Vicente di Longe” (One of the isles of Cape Verde)

Ray Charles – “Georgia On My Mind”

Morcheeba – “São Paulo”

The Jones Girls – “Nights Over Egypt”

Willie Colón & Rubén Blades – “María Lionza” (Folk Goddess of Venezuela)

Rosalia de Souza – “Ipanema”

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – “April in Paris”

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Rifling through dusty and forgotten things back at the homestead in Jacksonville, I ran across my old CD collection. With over 400 discs, you could say that I was something of a music junkie, but music had been my way of traveling by proxy for years. One of the flyest standouts in my collection is Jazzanova, a Berlin-based collective of DJs and musicians that has been expertly mixing sounds and cultures since the mid-90s. Jazzanova defies categorization, at once jazz, soul, electronica, and house, but it’s the perfect accompaniment to a long drive, a chill evening at home, or an international flight. Have a listen and get lifted:

And then, there’s the live show:


‘Tis the season for chilly, grey, rainy weather across much of the Northern Hemisphere, and as a Florida boy, I’m ill-equipped to handle too much gloom for the next few months. Music, however, can often make an uncomfortable experience much bearable, and these icy little numbers—at turns melancholy, ethereal, moody, blue—allow me to embrace the cold, where ever I may be (and yes, it can get chilly in Brazil, too). That said, here’s hoping for an early spring!

What’s on your chilly weather playlist?

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Some of you might know Japanese supastar DJ Towa Tei from his days as part of electro-disco group Deee-Lite, but after the foursome broke up in the mid-90s, TT set off on his own with a couple of sumptuous lounge-soul-house discs (see Last Century Modern) featuring collabs with underground rapper extraordinaire Bahamadia and Afro-Euro chanteuses Les Nubians. A few of my favorite songs by Towa Tei include his bossa nova-infused lounge tracks that keep the juices flowing regardless of whether I’m working or relaxing. Taking it back to the 90s, bossanese-style!

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Click here to listen!

In this episode of the Fly Brother Podcast:
Fantasy Flight 414 – The Diplomat

Journey with Fly Brother on an ethereal, all-music flight from the capital of the free world to the capital of free expression—DC to Berlin—featuring classic soul, house, downtempo, acid jazz, and a little go-go from local musicians and artists inspired by local sounds. Whether its to work out, chill out, or make out, this compilation will transport you each time you listen. Download and get lifted.

“Chuck Baby” – Chuck Brown
“Hot Music” – Soho
“Moving Like a Train” – Herbert
“Rock Creek Park” – The Blackbyrds
“Amerimacka” – Thievery Corporation f. Notch
“Behold These Days (Berlin ’74)” – Jazzanova
“Donaueschingen” – Kruder & Dorfmeister
“Souvenir” – Manoo & Francois A.
“Just Like…” – Eddy Meets Yannah
“Din Daa Daa” – George Kranz

Click here to listen!

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I’ve been doing a lot of traveling these last few weeks, and through incessant TSA screenings, cramped airplane seats, and nagging jet-lag, there is but one man who can instantly take me from the pain to the pleasure of travel in the course of a 3-minute ditty: Greek-Turkish-French DJ Dimitri From Paris. Combining electro, funk, disco, house, hip hop, and notably, the lush string arrangements of 1950s film scores, DFP is just plain fly (hell, the man’s 2003 album is even titled Cruising Attitude).

Here are a few must-haves for the transoceanic inflight playlist:

and the Fly Ladies’ Anthem:

If you liked that little set, be sure to check out the Fly Brother Podcast, Night Flight 695 – The Trance-Atlantic, featuring music by Dimitri From Paris.

When it comes to music that transports you out of the banality of your office cubicle, there’s no one like nuyorican house DJ “Little” Louie Vega, one-half of 90s music production team Masters at Work – not Lou Bega of that “Mambo No. 5” foolishness – to pilot you from Harlem to Havana to Harare and back. You don’t have to be “into house music” to appreciate the melodious, dance-inducing journey of Vega’s one and only full-length album, 2004’s Elements of Life, which sits squarely atop my list of the most inspiring cross-cultural music collections in existence.

Having grown up with Puerto Rican salsa legend Hector Lavoe as his uncle and the re-mixing of black and Latino cultures Uptown in the 70s, Vega connects all the cultures of the Diaspora with a solid polyrhythmic foundation on each track. He seamlessly links salsa, samba, bossa nova, R&B, jazz, tango, house, and a little Santería for good measure, while singers coo and croon in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Yoruba. Vega harnesses the energy and verve of each rhythm in a way only a New Yorker born-and-bred can: the rumba “Summer Night in Spanish Harlem” is a popping percussion-only paean to the spirits that inhabit black folks’ music, recorded live on the subway, that morphs deliciously into a raucous salsa.

This is the perfect starter for your new, internationalized music collection. Get this album and get lifted.

My favorite track: “Cerca de Mí,” house with a sprinkle of soca (a French Caribbean beat) and smooth-voiced Raúl Midón laying it down in English and Spanish. Religious. (Ignore the video…just close your eyes and listen).