Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was a composer of immense popularity, both in his lifetime and beyond. He is to Norwegian’s what Shakespeare is to the English, a favourite son and national treasure. Greig wrote a lot of great music – shorter pieces inspired by the rhythm and harmony of Norwegian folk dances – longer pieces in […]

Elizabeth Cotten was a heroine for the folk set of the early ’60s, an encyclopedia of folk standards and a real live link to the tunes they adored. Her own songs are now an established part of the repertoire, but for a quirk of fate, they might never have been known at all. Born in […]

In the late 60s/early 70s, the kings of out-rock in South America were a Peruvian band called Traffic Sound. For four years they brought acid rock to the masses, and their records are now highly prized by collectors of psychedelia around the world. Like many bands, Traffic Sound was created out of the dissolution of […]

Johnny Thunders, ne’er-do-well plank man for protoglam punksters (or protopunk glamsters) The New York Dolls, set the sneering template for the generation of snotty guitarists to come.  His sound was explosive. It wasn’t art. It was 50’s and 60’s R& B drunk at a party, a pocket full of pills and track marks on its […]

The Palladium days of the 50s and early 60s were the high point of Latin music in America, a golden age of Cuban rhythms and all night parties, of legendary Mambo Kings and  pin-up soneros. But in the late 60s, the glamorous band leaders were  replaced by a  gang of Puerto Rican kids coming from […]

Soul Makossa, a 1973 song by the Cameroonian multi-instrumentalist, Manu Dibango, is one of the few singles to break out of the world music ghetto and really play a part in shaping Western popular music. It helped to give birth to disco in New York, and provided Michael Jackson with a vocal hook for one […]

  Last year the Guinness Books of World Records recognised Asha Bhosle as being the most recorded artist in music history, having sung on over 11,00 records during a career spanning six decades. Although Asha recorded a variety of material, from Indian classical music to pop, she is best known as a playback singer for […]