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Saturday, April 26, 2008 Options
Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas

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Great collaborations in world music history - a world premiere: The innovative and compelling UK / South Asian vocalist Najma Akhtar and the iconoclastic / visionary US guitarist Gary Lucas have joined forces. They give us a sneak preview peformance a week before their New York concert debut as a duo. Najma and Gary go public at Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette St. in NYC Saturday May 3 at 9:30pm. But we hear it here first!

Najma Akhtar burst onto the nascent “world music” scene in the eighties with her beautiful and uniquely produced cd of ghazals – Urdu sung poetry – Qareeb, on the UK’s forward-looking Triple Earth label. She has released six cds so far, from ghazals and other poetic forms to a collection of R. D. Burman film songs. Among her many other musical projects, she composed her own Bollywood-style musical score for Bollywood Queen, and has collaborated with a range of artists from Jah Wobble to Phillip Glass to Basement Jaxx. It’s been a few years now since Vivid, her most recent release, but Najma and Gary Lucas plan to release a collaborative cd soon, and she also has a new cd in progress with her band in Europe.

Gary Lucas grew up dreaming of playing with Captain Beefheart, realizing his wish on two LPs before Beefheart retired from performance in the 80s. Since then he has laid out a distinctive path as a solo artist, collaborator, bandleader and producer, taking in a huge range of influences and showing an endless desire to explore new musical directions – his collaboration with Najma being a case in point. It’s not his first cross-cultural venture; among his countless other projects is his lovely collection of 1930s Chinese pop songs The Edge of Heaven (Label Bleu).

Special thanks to Gary Nesbitt for the hook-up and transport, and Chris Stubbs, our illustrious engineer.


Najma Akhtar:

Gary Lucas:

Joe's Pub:

This Week's Playlist:

(* = new)

Lobi Traore and Joep Pelt: Baba Kansaye Options / I Yougoba / Diesel Motor / *

Habib Koite: Nta Dima Options / Afriki / Cumbancha

Les Amazones de Guinee: Meillleurs Voeux Options / Wamato / Sterns / *

Tabu Ley Rochereau & Mbilia Bel: Eswi Yo Wapi Options / Various Artists: Rough Guide to Congo Gold / World Music Network / *

Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars: Out of What? Options / Carnival Conspiracy / Piranha
With Maracatu NY

Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra: Borracho #1 Options / Dance With Me / Rounder
Featuring Johnny Karas and Flaco Jimenez

Erika Stucky: Stuckisch Options / Wunderland / Ethnomics

Etran Finatawa: Soto Options / Desert Crossroads / Riverboat / *

Najma and Gary Lucas: Three songs live Options

Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas: Woh Din Options
Demo from forthcoming cd

Najma Akhtar: Apne Hathon Options / Atish / Shanachie

Najma Akhtar: Atish Fishan Options / Atish / Shanachie

Malika Zarra: Run Options / On the Ebony Road

Debashish Bhattacharya: Gypsy Anandi Options / Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar Odyssey / Riverboat / *

Umalali: Fulesei Options / Umalali / Cubancha / *
Vocals: Silvia Blanco

Umalali: Yunduya Weyu Options / Umalali / Cumbancha / *
Vocals: Sofia Blanco

Pierre Akendengue: Evo Options / Africa Obota / Saravah

Ngqoko Women's Ensemble: Inxembula Options / Xhosa Women's Songs / Gallo
May have made a key omission of the fact that this is a Xhosa WOMEN's ensemble - making their appearance at the World Music Institute-produced concert at Skirball in NYC May 16 all the more unique and special.

Ilgi: Situ Koku Options / Agrie Gadi (The Early Years)
I Beat the Wooden Sticks

Debashish Bhattacharya: Sufi Bhakti Options / Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar Odyssey / Riverboat / *
Music bed for events listings

Listener comments!

  Sat. 4/26/08 6:35pm Borracho:

its 18:30 and im borracho already....loneliness

Good music
  Sat. 4/26/08 7:00pm tomasz:

always great to hear Gary Lucas... never heard of Najma before but that last track was lush.
  Sat. 4/26/08 7:18pm alan t.:

It`s a pity that time travel isn`t on the go yet -- ``I`d zip myself across to Joe`s Pub to hear Najma and Gary,great stuff.
  Sat. 4/26/08 7:48pm keith:

I believe that the guitar player on Hurdy Gurdy Man doing the
raga type riff is Jimmy Page. If I'm correct, tickets please....
  Sat. 4/26/08 8:12pm Your DJ:

Hi Keith, yes, that's it but sad to say another listener beat you to it via email... - Rob
  Sat. 4/26/08 8:19pm Azam:

Hate to be a pedant/spoilsport etc, but Page denies it was him on the track and that Alan Parker was the actual guitarist.
  Sat. 4/26/08 8:46pm Your DJ:

Thanks Azam. No problem - good to set the record straight. Of course the ticket winner will stand - wouldn't be fair to change that especially since Gary Lucas thought it was Page himself. But thanks again and thanks for listening...
  Sat. 4/26/08 9:00pm Taylor:

Hi Rob! Thanks for the announcement for the Dollars tomorrow at Barbès. Also, playing after us: THE MANDINGO AMBASSADORS. Guitarist Mamady “Djelike” Kouyate and singer Emile Soumah. Mamady Kouyate later went on to perform for many years with Guinea’s most popular group, Bembeya Jazz National while Emile became the singer for Balla et ses Balladins, a legendary Malian band. Now based in New York City, musical director and lead guitarist Mamady Kouyate has rejoined with his longtime friend and colleague, singer Emile Soumah,Peter Barr on drumset, Andy Alguire on balafon and keyboards, Nick Cudahy on bass, Brian Glashow on percussion and Ismael “Bon Fils” Kouyate on vocal
  Sat. 4/26/08 9:02pm Your DJ:

Sure thing! Forgot to mention the Mandingo Ambassadors - thanks for adding this. I had a chance to see them at Barbes a while back and yes, they're great and certainly a rare treat for us New Yorkers to get a taste of that classic Guinean sound.
  Mon. 5/5/08 3:22am nordestina:

Maracatu = mah-rah-cah-TU, accent on the last syllable. Keep up the good work, Rob. Beijos!
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