Carly Jamison “Ungrounded” – New Album Spill Preview

Ungrounded CD Cover Art 600 pixels wide

Two years ago Carly Jamison sent us her first album for review. You can see the review here. It was a corker (imho) and one of the tracks actually made it into my Festive picks for the year.

Well, she got in touch the other day to let me know that her second album, Ungrounded, is out on 28th October and asked if I’d like to hear it and offer a pre-release taster for my friends on the ‘Spill. She has, in her own words, moved up in the world since last time out: a proper distribution deal with Sony/RED and a much fuller sound, production and instrumentation. Gulp! I thought reading all that. What I liked most about the first album was the roughness around the edges, the “as-live” feel of the production and the balls it took to get it recorded and distributed in the first place. First listen was undertaken with a certain foreboding, there’s horns on this one FFS!

I needn’t have worried. Carly has come up with the goods again. If her first album was eclectic and slightly unruly in its romp through the canon of American Rock, revealing – perhaps – an artist still in search of her own style but not afraid to experiment, this is far more solid and focussed. Here’s an artist who knows what she wants to sing, knows what she’s doing and is obviously having a good time doing it.

The album kicks off strongly with Superman Fantasy, a riff heavy, horn driven number which has already seen a fair bit of youtube action in animations and in Man of Steel Fan Trailers. It’s good enough and will no doubt help Carly reach a wider audience than before, but for me the album really starts after this.
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Webcore on Japanese TV

Webcore was kind enough to send Mrs Maki and me the DVD of his family’s appearance on a Japanese TV programme. We thought the rest of you would like to see it. Here it is with an introduction from the man himself:

Back in April this year a Japanese TV company asked me if I would play a Beatles’ song by the River Mersey, discuss Irish immigration to Liverpool, including any Beatles Irish connections, and indulge them in several other other sketches and vignettes, including going to my house, meeting my family, and singing Galway Bay for the population of Japan.
They turned out to be fantastic people; the lovely and extremely personable presenter, Yuuke, whom I hadn’t met before she approached me on camera; the director and crew; and especially Jim, the fighting-fit 66-year-old Oxbridge gent co-ordinator who got me the gig, fluent in Japanese, looking like a movie star, wowing the women like a clean-shaven Robert Redford.
I don’t play Beatles’ songs, I told them, and I’m certainly not going to play Galway Bay – my grandmother sang that one.
Then they told me how much I would be paid. Erm, I’m prepared to compromise, I said: I choose the Beatles’ song, and you film me reading Galway Bay off my laptop so that it’s obvious I wouldn’t normally play it.
As part of a 90-minute programme, a fourteen-hour day’s filming was edited down to 10 minutes.
As the day went on I was attempting to edit the filming in my mind, knowing that they couldn’t fit it all in to a TV programme, and I knew that it was the director’s job to create a coherent cut from a mass of material.

I was sorta unsurprised at what was included in our ten minutes. Leza had written the song only the week before, and Kevin had learned the guitar part only the night before.

I’d just like to say that MAKINAVAJA volunteered to organise and arrange this post for me. I couldn’t have managed it. So a big public thank you to him for being a gentleman and a scholar.

Friday Night Flamenco – The Origins

Carretas Gitanas

We can’t end our exploration of Flamenco without going back to the beginning and talking about the music and cultures that have come together to make Flamenco one of the best known artistic and cultural movements in the world. So we’re going to take a short trip through time trying to find out a little about all the factors that over the ages have influenced and contributed to what today we know as Flamenco. The origins are hard to trace and pin down – a lot of what has been written is based on oral tradition and tales handed from generation to generation (no doubt getting embellished and twisted over the years) – but this is what we’ve found out and we want to share it with you.
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Friday Night Flamenco – A Few More We Couldn’t Leave Out

This is the second of our posts highlighting the work of a number of artists we felt we had to mention before we bring the series to a close. We hope you enjoy it.
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Friday Night Flamenco – A Few We Couldn’t Leave Out

As Friday Night Flamenco draws to a close we are going to round it off with a couple of posts in honour of the artists we have perhaps only mentioned in passing or missed out altogether. It doesn’t feel right to finish without mentioning them. Some of them are artists from a long time ago and despite being an integral part of the history of the genre have only a limited presence on-line. Others are still active. This is the first of two posts, the second will be next Friday (16th December). We will be doing a special post for Christmas Eve and finish the series the following Friday (30th December) with a look at the history and origins of the genre. We hope you have enjoyed the series and thank you all for the interest shown and the informative, inquisitive and challenging comments we have received. We’re currently toying with a few ideas for further posts about music in Spanish
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Friday Night Flamenco – Enrique Morente and family

There is so much we could say about the subject of this week’s post but we’ll keep it short. Enrique Morente, who passed away earlier this year, was a true giant in the Flamenco world in his own right: a Cantaor of no little talent and one of the bravest when it came to experimenting both with form and cross-genre fusion. For that alone he would be remembered with respect and admiration. But there was so much more to the man than that. His investigation of the history of Flamenco, of the roots of the lost forms or palos and the work he did both with his own recordings and those of others to bring them back into the public consciousness and revive their popularity was a major and totally decisive contribution to the resurgence the genre has enjoyed in recent decades. Simply put, without Enrique Morente Flamenco would not have traveled as far as it has in the last thirty years and the debt aficionados such as ourselves and many of today’s most successful performers owe him is immeasurable.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Arcángel

This week we’ve decided to have a look at the career so far of one of our favourite contemporary Cantaores, Francisco José Arcángel Ramos “Arcángel”. Arcángel has worked his way up through the ranks and now enjoys considerable success and respect in Flamenco circles and beyond. This is, perhaps, in many ways the not entirely surprising story of the rise and consolidation of a surprisingly remarkable talent.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Different routes to recognition

This week we are going to take a look at two more cantaores who are enjoying considerable success both commercially and, in our opinion, artistically. Two very different artists who have won Grammy Awards this year. Both of whom have deep Flamenco roots but, like so many of our favourite artists, have looked beyond traditional horizons and tried their hand at other genres. Niña Pastori’s brand of light, pop-tinged Flamenco has made her famous and led to her being invited to feature on many more mainstream artists’ projects but she still conserves a fine Flamenco voice and considerable “duende” when singing some of the more traditional palos. Diego “El Cigala” draws on a deeper Flamenco heritage and both his voice and delivery have at times been compared favourably with the great Camarón himself and yet he has been involved in at least two of the most memorable cross genre projects of the last decade. We hope you enjoy finding out a little more about them or revisiting their work.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Breaking the mold

This week we’re moving back a little to take a look at the careers so far of two artists who have been willing to assume change and new challenges, looking for new paths and byways for Flamenco to explore.
We’re going to have a more detailed look at the work of the great Cantaora Mayte Martín (who we have already seen singing a Vidalita in our post on Cantes de Ida y Vuelta 3) and that of Belén Maya the Bailaora: two brave women who, with an open mind and no little talent, have challenged and pushed the limits of traditional Flamenco.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Favourites this year

After last week’s post in the company of Los Farrucos, we thought we’d slow things down a little this week and spend some time in the company of a couple of young singers who have a lot to offer and are causing something of a sensation this year. The first, Sandra Carrasco, we have seen before in our post on Fandangos: the second, Pablo Alborán, is a young singer-songwriter from Málaga whose work probably falls more into the category of Latin Popular Music or Flamenco Pop, but whose voice (especially the quiebros) betrays a deep rooted Andalusian heritage and whose collaborations with Flamenco artists will hopefully make him one to watch over the next few years.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Los Farrucos: My dance is my legacy

Today we are going to talk about a family whose prowess, art and Gypsy heritage begin with the grandfather and have been handed down through subsequent generations. A family that reflects and embodies many of the elements of the true ethnic pride and identity that have always characterised the Gypsy race. In this post we are going to get to know Los Farrucos, whose name, as we have mentioned before, comes from the Arabic “Farouq”, which means “brave”. This is a long post (we have tried to trim it down but couldn’t leave anything else out) so please take your time over it.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Two Rocíos

Rocío Márquez

Rocío Molina

After last week’s trip through time in the company of the castanets we’re coming back up to date this week with a look at two of the brightest talents on the current Flamenco scene. As well as sharing enormous and exciting talent they share a name: Rocío. Rocío is a common girl’s name in Andalusia. There is an annual pilgrimage, known as El Rocío, to the shrine of Nuestra Señora del Rocío in Almonte in Huelva. The Sevillanas that are sung and danced along the way are known as Sevillanas Rocieras. So, maybe it isn’t so surprising that they share a name. What is surprising is how much both have achieved whilst still in their mid-twenties. We hope you enjoy this post, in which we will try to explain just why we are so excited by these artists – by what they have done so far and by the prospect of further treasures to come.
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Friday Night Flamenco – ¡Castanets!

Today we’re going to jump back in time to speak about las castañuelas (castanets), an instrument that has a strong influence not only in Flamenco but also in the most traditional and classical forms of Spanish Dance. As we are going to do an overview of the use of castanets in general, we’ve tried to keep it short and at the same time to avoid leaving out the most relevant examples of the extremely broad variety of musical styles this instrument is used in.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Paco de Lucía

It’s a real challenge to write about Paco de Lucía because, although he’s a household name well beyond the realms of Flamenco, the range and variety of styles he has covered is so wide that it’s impossible to condense it all into one post. We are going to do our best, however, to make sure that this week’s offering reflects at least the essence and central pillars of his incomparable body of work.
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Friday Night Flamenco – Family Sagas (1)

To speak of the Montoya family is to speak of art, tradition, legend and character. The Montoya family tree has many branches and today we’re going to take a look at just one as an example of how flamenco traditions are passed on from generation to generation. This is a long post but there’s no way to make it shorter without losing its essence. Settle in, then, for a chance to get to know la Familia Montoya a little better.

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Friday Night Flamenco – Solo Artists (3)

In the third of our series on solo artists, we’re going to take a look at a leading Bailaora and one of my favourite Cantaores. Get ready for a master class on the use of both El Mantón de Manila and La Bata de Cola from Matilde Coral and for some fine tanguillos and bulerías in the mischievous company of the incomparable Chano Lobato.
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Carly Jamison – Everything Happens For A Reason

Carly Jamison’s début album Everything Happens For A Reason is a welcome change from a lot of the self-indulgent, self-penned, self-performed, self-recorded and self-referencing stuff that seems to get served up these days by your average DIY self-promoter. For a start it’s been recorded in the old fashioned way, with a band in a studio all playing together and, it would seem, having a good time doing it. And, as many of you will know, that’s a real plus for me. There are overdubs of course but it isn’t overproduced. Just enough to tidy up a pleasing “as live” sound that I particularly liked on first and subsequent listens.

There are a number of keepers on here. Bring It On kicks things off on a very upbeat note. I can hear a bit of Chrissy Hynde in here. That’s a good thing because it’s not an imitation – just a similarity. Simple guitar licks and sharp lyrics. Great way to kick off an album.

The album is strong both lyrically and musically. Carly draws on a wide range of influences whilst staying firmly within the American Rock cannon. There’s Alt Country, Southern Rock and good old fashioned Rock all given an energetic workout. The lyrics are what Carly asked us to listen to when she got in touch and in true Maki fashion, I decided to listen to the music and ask my non-English speaking friends and family for their opinion. And you know what? The lyrics are great but so is the music and so is her voice. In this respect The Hills of Jericho and Dreaming, a slower and much more personal number, really stand out.

All in all, a cracking début that deserves repeated listens and probably far more long winded praise than I’m giving it here. An artist with a lot to say and a great way of saying it! Visit her website to have a proper listen.

Thank you Carly. I’m already looking forward to future releases.

Friday Night Flamenco – Solo Artists (1)

Welcome back to Friday Night Flamenco. After our stroll through the different palos, or styles, before the summer, we felt it was time to pay tribute to some of the most influential solo artists who bring them to life, many of whom, of course, are personal favourites. Cantaores, guitarists and other musicians. This week we thought we’d start with a guitarist and a pianist.

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Raymund Rogers 1958 – 2011

Further to Amy’s “art” post last week. I have always wanted to share my love for my good friend Raymund Rogers’ talent. And I’d been leaving it ’cause, as you know, there’s always time for these things. Well, carpe diem my friends, seems that time’s been doing an awful lot of catching up on us recently. Ray died a couple of weeks ago and I never got round to it. I have no idea how good Ray was as an artist. Pretty good, I reckon, but I’m not qualified to say. As a person: the best. Always willing to forgive my pathetic attempts to keep in touch and at the ready with a bed and hospitality in his charming little cottage in Boscastle. The only true childhood friend who made it into middle age still as a friend. It’s hard to reconcile his death from cancer of the colon with his lifestyle – Ray was a vegetarian, clean living, generous spirit who put a lot more into this world than he took away with him. I’ll miss him. Here are a few of his paintings. Rest in peace, my friend.

Joining the Girls

Stepping Stones

To The Sea

Boscastle Icicles

Friday Night Flamenco 16 – A Celebration

Today is my birthday and Mrs Maki has insisted that this post should be specially for me! She has chosen a series of clips by my favourite artists, not only as a birthday present, but also as a way of looking back over the series so far.

As we mentioned last week, we’ve seen all of the major palos currently sung and danced in the World of Flamenco: here’s a map of the geographical area we’ve visited and below there’s a chart showing the Provinces of Andalusia, as well as Extremadura and Murcia, with a list of the palos that have developed there and are traditionally associated with each area.

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Friday Night Flamenco 15 – Sierra Morena

To round off our trip through the different Palos, today we are stopping off in The Sierra Morena to take a look at a number of important styles that form part of the very origins of Flamenco. This is not the end of the series but is the last stop in our journey through the different Palos and regions that are part of the origin, development and current reality of Flamenco culture.

A map showing the Sierras crossing Andalusia.

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Friday Night Flamenco 13 – Flamenco in Cadiz (1)

This week we’re back in Cadiz. There is general consensus that the Province of Cadiz and especially the area around Jerez de La Frontera must be considered the cradle of Flamenco as we know it today. Any list you could make of Cantaores, Bailaores, Guitarists and other flamenco artists and styles would inevitably show the importance of the area. The styles have developed and progressed all over Andalusia and beyond of course, but Cadiz is where most palos started.

We are going to take a more detailed look at many of the styles that originated and are still sung and danced in Cadiz.
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