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Tsagaan Sar – Mongolian Lunar New Year

My friend Danzka invited me to come watch the first sunrise of the year with him and some his childhood friends. Driving to Bogd Khan National Park adjacent to Ulaanbaatar, we hiked to an ovoo and waited for sunrise. As the sun came close to peaking over the horizon, the Mongolians I was with began yelling “Oooooo haaaay!” as if to coax the sun over the mountains. As it peaked over the horizon, we stretched our arms out to absorb the sun’s energy and make wishes for the coming year. It was a beautiful way to start the year.

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Thursday, March 24th, 2016 Slideshow, Thoughts No Comments

Eagle Hunters and Folk Music in Western Mongolia

A late-January trip to Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s western most province, led to one of my most productive recording trips yet. I was able to capture close to 50 recordings as I traveled through the snow-covered Altai Mountains. This is a song performed by a Kazakh herder, Esilbek, where he sings about the love he feels for his mother.

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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 Slideshow, Thoughts, Video 1 Comment

Records Across Former Yugoslavia

Jugoton

Former Jugoton record store

In Yugoslavia, record labels and stores were run by the state. There were numerous labels based around the country including Jugodisk from Belgrade, Diskoton from Sarajevo, and ZKP RTLJ from Ljubljana. The oldest and largest was Jugoton from Zagreb.
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Small Musicians With Big Dreams

Palabra/ Comida del dia: Locrio

The Spanish word “locrio” has two meanings:
1. A music theory term for the seventh mode of the major scale
2. A Dominican food that is a mixture of rice and small pieces of meat

locrio

Locrio from Comedor Mercedes.

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 Thoughts, Video 3 Comments

Lunch with Jairo Milanes

After an extended vacation of travel with family capped off by a bout of the mosquito virus called dengue fever, I arrived back in Cabarete just in time for a long weekend, during which I had the chance to interview pianist Jairo Milanes at a Dominican-Mexican restaurant in Puerto Plata.

Jairo discussed his experiences touring with Juan Luis Guerra (one of the few Dominican musicians to become popular internationally) as well as his current Latin jazz fusion composition projects and his performances with saxophonist, Sandy Gabriel.

Jairo Milanes

Pianist Jairo Milanes shares a book of solo transcriptions with me during our meeting.

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Monday, February 8th, 2016 Audio, Thoughts, Video 1 Comment

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