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Episodes of Soundcheck

From the 2022 New York Guitar Festival at The Greene Space, listen to cosmic inventions from guitarist and composer Vernon Reid together with Laraaji on zither and electronics.  Adept at metal, funk and jazz, Vernon Reid gained fame as the main
Lean Year is Virginia-based singer Emilie Rex and filmmaker/musician Rick Alverson, along with Erik Hall, who lives in rural Michigan, where he records and co-produces the band’s records with Alverson. The band’s latest, Sides, is heavy on drea
Mafer Bandola, aka Maria Fernanda González, is originally from Venezuela, and is one of the few women who plays bandola and electric bandola professionally. The Bandola is a traditional 4-stringed instrument found in both Colombia and Venezuela
Wikipedia says Bill Frisell “is an American jazz guitarist.” Well they got “American” and “guitarist” right. Frisell has indeed played jazz, but also country, rock, folk, West African, classical, and lots of less easily defined styles of music.
Colleen is the alias of French multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott, who has been living and working in Spain for the past few years. Her musical ax of choice was a Baroque instrument - the viola da gamba (as well as modified music boxes, melodi
From his beginnings in his father’s band, Terry Riley and The All Stars, Gyan Riley has branched out into classical music (both his own and that of composers like John Zorn), spacey electric guitar excursions, and Eastern-influenced collaborati
Hear the eerie, arresting, co-composed electro-orchestral pop from Minneapolis electro band POLIÇA and Berlin new-music outfit stargaze, led by conductor André de Ridder. The two groups have worked together since the 2015-2016 season, in a “vir
Although he has a background in rock and experimental music, fingerstyle guitarist Glenn Jones is best known as a keeper of the flame of “American Primitive,” the folk-based style associated with the 20th century guitarist John Fahey. With a va
The Austin-based minimalist instrumental ensemble Balmorhea uses acoustic instruments to create atmospheric soundscapes. Comparisons to Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor might not be too far off, but where those bands tend to
From the 2022 New York Guitar Festival, listen to the space-Americana and pastoral country stylings of guitarist William Tyler, whose music pulls in folk, country, indie, and electronic music. His latest record is Lost Futures (2021), with the
Somewhere on the spectrum of art music and prog rock, is the band Palm. Underneath airy vocal melodies, they build out an architecturally precise combination of guitars and percussion, plus extra electronic triggered effects like steel drums, b
The guitarra Portuguesa, or Portuguese guitar, looks a bit like a mandolin on steroids, and has a long history of great performers – all of them men. Until Marta Pereira da Costa showed up.  She plays the double six-stringed, teardrop-shaped in
The singer and songwriter known as Sirintip lives here in New York, but like many musicians who are here in New York, she came from somewhere else. She was raised in Thailand, and spent her teenage years in her mother’s homeland of Sweden, befo
From the 2022 New York Guitar Festival at The Greene Space, hear Malian guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré. The Malian singer and guitarist's career began with collaborations with two of West Africa’s most celebrated musicians: the kora player T
Some time ago, Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress Fatoumata Diawara did a wonderful and daring thing – inspired by her friend Rokia Traoré, she bought an acoustic guitar, and taught herself to play it. Since then, Fatoumata has pu
The New York-based band Innov Gnawa performs the traditional healing music of Morocco: Gnawa - a trancey, rhythmic music that is played on an array of unique instruments — from the lute-like gimbri (sintir), to the metal qarqaba (castinets) wit
Los Angeles-based band Vintage Trouble is a powerfully fun time of old-school soul, southern rhythm & blues, sizzling dance moves, and catchy, crunchy guitar-driven rockenroll. When describing their own sound, the band uses the term “formatted
Singer, songwriter, violinist, guitarist, whistler, glockenspielist, and actor (on Fargo), Andrew Bird, continues “his subversion of indie rock”, (-Schaefer) by including classical, folk, expansive violin solos, and old-time jazz; and has made
Coming from a rock and funk place, Dominican singer-songwriter Vicente García has become something of a folk pop revivalist, incorporating his love of Afro-Caribbean rhythms, from acoustic bachata to reggae on his latest record, A La Mar. Forme
Musician, actor and doctor (otolaryngologist) Jorge Drexler grew up in Uruguay, and now lives in Spain. Listeners may be familiar with Drexler’s music because his theme song for The Motorcycle Diaries won an Academy Award (presented to him by P
Pianist and composer BLKBOK, (pronounced “Black Bach”) has played with some of the biggest pop names: Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, and John Mayer. Born Charles Wilson III, he grew up in Detroit with a traditional classical foundatio
The Bogotá-based Monsieur Periné has taken the the Latin music world by storm since their start in 2008. The eight piece band takes the music of their native Columbia, and infuses it with sweet swing sensibilities of the 1920's and a good dash
The great South African a cappella choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo are a global phenomenon. With their uplifting vocal harmonies and signature dance moves, they’ve been anointed “cultural ambassadors to the world” by no less than Nelson Mandela.
Feminist icon and Mexican folklorist Lila Downs’ 2018 album Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo (Dancehall, Tears, and Desire), is dedicated to strong women everywhere. Her lyrics, inviting all “dangerous” women to join her, often highlight issues relating
New Zealand singer/songwriter Marlon Williams has a voice like butter which can be charming and flirty as in the timeless crooner soon-to-be-classic, “Vampire Again,” or which can convey despair and longing, see his duet with Aldous Harding - "
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