La Danza Poetica #18 La Danza dell'Anima

The dance of the soul - poetic voices and soul beats from around our musical planet. Starting out with Amerigo Gazaway's brilliant dream collaboration of Yasiin Bey and Marvin Gaye and L'Orange’s dream collaboration with Lady Day, a new track from Aja Monet, and two poems from Kosal Khiev whose film Cambodian Son is now premiering in the States.

Then, we give ourselves over to Australia's global music festival WOMADelaide, with poetry and music from Cuba, Austria, India via the USA, Algeria, Persia via Australia, Reunion Island, Spain and Tunisia. Soul is the connection!


Airileke - Jungle Birdz
Airileke - Bubu Billy
Hiatus Kaiyote - Leap Frog
Amerigo Gazaway - Intro Theme (The Departure)
Amerigo Gazaway - Inner City Travellin' Man
L'Orange - Cafe Society
Kosal Khiev - Full Circle Spiral
Hiatus Kaiyote - Sphynx Gate
Kosal Khiev - What's Next
Aja Monet - Nomads
L'Orange - Halliday
Buika - Don't explain
Roberto Fonseca - El Mayor
Roberto Fonseca - Mi Negra Ave María
Living Room - Drum & Dran
Red Baraat - Aarthi
Rachid Taha - Ya omri
Kutcha Edwards - Scars
Mehr Ensemble - Submission
Danyèl Waro - Kilimann (Version 1)
Mehr Ensemble - Locomotion
Mehr Ensemble - Ederlezi in Dashti
Emel Mathlouthi - Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free)
Aja Monet - You Make Holy War

Notes on the show

Poetry, in the first section of the show, comes from exiled American spoken word poet Kosal Khiev. Masahiro Sugano’s film Cambodian Son is a documentary film that follows the journey of Kosal from the streets of Phnom Penh to the stages of London during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Having fled Cambodia with his family as a child, then spending time in America's prisons, Kosal was exiled from the States and has been living in Cambodia since, and growing as a poet.

This powerful story, which follows him after he received the invitation to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia in London 2012, is having premiere screenings across March. I'm hoping that we will also get screenings in Australia soon (watch this space). And watch the extended trailer here:

Amerigo Gazaway has created a brilliant, dream collaboration between Brooklyn rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and soul legend Marvin Gaye. The Departure (Side One) - the latest release from his “Soul Mates” series - continues the narrative in creating collaborations that never were - and that raise the ire of record companies (Bizarre Tribe is still unavailable due to Sony action, and now Side One of Yasiin Gaye has been given a takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America ... stay tuned to his website for news on that).* I think it's a shame that copyright issues compromise the future of what to me is clearly a respectful homage to a great artist - and in my mind, would no doubt bring fresh young audiences to Marvin Gaye's original catalogue. There is a clear difference between sampling and not crediting, and paying homage through sampling and clearly crediting. Hopefully, Side One, and Side Two (due soon) will be cleared so that we can all share in the genius of both Marvin Gaye, and Yasiin Bey. Here's what Amerigo Gazaway said about the work:

“As a producer and fan, there is something truly powerful and humbling about listening to the original [Marvin Gaye] multitracks. It’s almost as if you can feel the rawness and vulnerability in his voice. If you listen carefully on certain takes, you can sometimes even hear him harmonizing faintly in the background with the female backup singers. It honestly gives me chills every time I hear it.“  *Update - the dl does seem to be available ... what's goin' on? I don't know .... trust the energy, get it if you can :)

More dream collaboration, from a recent discovery - the producer, poet, musician, old soul from North Carolina, the “Henry Miller of hip hop”, L’Orange. Master weaver of classic 1950s jazz, soul, radio and vintage film noir. From his 2011 album 'collaborating' with Lady Day ... Old Soul:

Check this new track, just out, the first single from the upcoming album, The Orchid Days:

Speaking of Billie Holiday, Concha Buika's fascinating interpretation of Don't Explain also features. From her album La noche más larga (2013)) Buika is a feature of the 2014 WOMADelaide festival, and the rest of this month's podcast allows itself to be taken over by that great festival experience.

With the festival season wrapping up in the South, and just getting started in the northern hemisphere, the rest of this dance is led by the rythym of our free dancing feet! In the beautiful botanical gardens of Adelaide, the WOMAD festival brings the world to Australia every March. There are many artists playing this year from Femi Kuti to the Balanescue Quartet. From folk to jazz to orchestral to hip hop. For LDP 018 I basically closed my eyes and plucked some of the music and poetry that really speaks to me from this huge program. This is only a tiny selection from the huge variety of sounds on offer.

Starting with Cuban pianist and composer Roberto Fonseca. From his 2012 album, Yo, which has been released locally here in Australian this February. Mi Negra Ave Maria features the improvised poem by Mike Ladd, Obatala’s Daughter. Get ready for the hairs on the back of your next to stand, get ready to stand, this is pure spiritual elevation! And, get the album (< click on the cover)...

Also featured in the show: The transcendent voice of Emel Mathlouthi, Tunisian singer, poet and composer best known for her protest songs that gave voice to the 'Arab Spring' in Tunisia - including the song featured in this podcast, Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free). The title track from Emel's 2012 album. Living Room, from Austria, is Björk percussionist Manu Delago and Christoph Pepe Auer. Some beautiful, soulful jazz vibes. The hard-driving, North Indian Bhangra rhythms and jazz syncopation of Red Baraat out of the USA also feature, as does Australia's honoured and treasured songwriter and storyteller Kutcha Edwards. Another great social activist and storyteller is also in Adelaide this weekend - Rachid Taha, the brilliant idiosyncratic Algerian singer and agitator. Ya Omri is from the soundtrack to the film Cheba Louisa. I have to say also, I really love this version of Now of Never with Jeanne Added. Rock, and, just so cool..

Another dream collaboration comes up in the show, of my own - mixing up Australia’s Persian ensemble Mehr with the storytelling of maloya singer and poet from Réunion Island, Danyèl Waro. Musician, poet, instrument-maker and militant supporter of Creole culture, Waro brings together the island’s essential African, Asian and European influences. He is the living embodiment of the connection between poetry and music. The separation of the two is a Western conceit. Poetry is music, and music is poetry. We know that. But sometimes, we should be reminded.

Notable is the Mehr Ensemble's album Love and Devotion. Formed in Tehran, Iran, and now based in Melbourne, the group performs ornate original compositions within the Radif tradition of classical Persian music, while also drawing inspiration from the diverse regional musics of Iran and neighbouring regions such as Kurdistan and Azerbaijan. Above all, in the time-honoured fashion of authentic Persian music, Mehr takes its aesthetic direction from classical Persian poetry, especially that of Mawlana Rumi. In this show, I play three of the tracks from Love and Devotion. 

If there is a connection between these tracks I’ve selected this time around, for me it is, common human soul connection through voice, collaboration through spirit. Collaboration that crosses oceans, continents, and time. Festivals are for me, opportunities to shed any restrictions that life and work may have built up around me, and surrender to the experience of music, poetry and art. WOMADelaide is one of my favourite festival experiences mainly due to the diverse lineup they always provide. Also, due to the embracing comfort of the giant Moreton Bay Fig's roots! If you are at the festival this weekend, shed your city skin and surrender. If not, I hope that this podcast can take you there, a little bit!