Music News 5/1/2019


Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, there is no OTHER (Nonesuch, $14.98) – Rhiannon Giddens has already released a powerful album this year, Songs of Our Native Daughters, with the collective quartet featuring singers, composers and banjo players Leyla McCalla, Amythist Kiah, and Allison Russell.

Now Ms. Giddens collaborates with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi (primarily playing frame drums and piano) on another mix of originals and new arrangements of songs such as “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Gonna Write Me a Letter” (from Ola Belle Reed), “Trees on the Mountain” (from Carlyle Floyd’s opera, Susannah), and Oscar Brown, Jr.’s lullaby “Brown Baby.” Ms. Gidden’s gut-string banjo has echoes of the oud and her duets with the Turrisi’s frame drum are especially strong. Highly recommended.

NOTE: Ms. Giddens will be playing with Our Native Daughers on July 24 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Cultural. On September, she will be in concert at the Kennedy Center.

Vampire Weekend, FATHER OF THE BRIDE (Columbia, $14.98) – Ezra Koenig and Vampire Weekend return with 18 perfect pop songs in a variety of styles, featuring an array of clever arrangements and instrumentation.  It is their first album since 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City.

Marvin Gaye, YOU’RE THE MAN (Motown, $14.98, LP $24.98) – Marvin Gaye (1939 – 1984) was born at Howard University Hospital, and grew up in DC, before achieving stardom at Motown. The Postal Service is honoring Mr. Gaye with a stamp in what would have been his 80th year.

You’re the Man features assorted tracks that Mr. Gaye made in 1972 after the release of What’s Going On and before Trouble Man. The album includes notes by biographer David Ritz.



FALLA: EL AMOR BRUJO (Naxos, $12.99) – Perspective Ensemble (founded at Columbia University) perform the 1915 original version of Manuel De Falla’s El Amor Brujo, and his puppet opera El Retablo de Maese Pedro (1923), based on scenes from Don Quixote. The ensemble is conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez, who leads DC’s Post-Classical Ensemble.

Caroline Shaw / Attacca Quartet, ORANGE (Nonesuch, $13.98) – Caroline Shaw is a singer, violinist, and a composer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013. Here, the Attacca Quartet plays Shaw’s works for string quartet.


The Strumbellas will headline at the 9:30 Club tomorrow, Friday, May 3, with opening act The Moth & The Flame. “One of the emerging flag bearers of the relatively new sub-genre of Alternative Country known as Pastoral Pop are The Strumbellas, whose penchant for sunny, melodic, chant-laden, singalong songs is unwavering.” Their new album, Rattlesnake, appeared in late March. 

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