About

About the Blog:

World Listening Post showcases contemporary music from around the globe in the form of brief album reviews accompanied by video clips. It encompasses a wide range of musical styles and encourages listeners to go beyond their own comfort zones by crossing national and linguistic frontiers.

As of May 2017, the blog has posted reviews of albums from more than 50 countries. It has received 10,000 visits from people in more than 130 countries.

WLP was launched in New York on June 17, 2015.

 

About the Blogger:

photo-2I used to think travel and music were separate interests. In my twenties, I journeyed around the world twice without really connecting them. I listened to music in India and Sri Lanka, in Lebanon and Israel, in Madagascar and Mozambique. For a brief while, I sang American folk and country songs in a nightclub in Kyoto, Japan. But I didn’t have a musical worldview. By the time I reached my thirties I was going to concerts to hear the local music wherever I traveled and also discovered that attending familiar Broadway shows (West Side Story in Swedish, Jesus Christ Superstar in Russian, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Spanish) could give me a local theater experience essentially without a language barrier.

It all came together one night—I was in my forties by then—in Paris. I was in a poster shop, killing time before a nightclub show, when I realized I was walking in step with the captivating music from the store’s sound system. “Whose voice is that?” I asked a shop clerk, and she looked at me as if I was a tourist in Memphis who had never heard of Elvis. “That’s Francis Cabrel,” she said. At that moment, as I absorbed the sound of Cabrel’s classic, “Repondez-moi,” I became hooked on greatest French singer-songwriter of his generation. And the more I thought about it, I also realized that of all the great songs in the world, the vast majority are sung in languages other than English and most English-speakers are missing them.

Ever since then, the idea of seeing the world and hearing its music have become inseparable for me. Whenever I visit a country, especially for the first time, I wait for my Francis Cabrel moment, when a song from a taxi radio, a street busker or background music in a store, tells me that I am now in sync with not only the time zone but also the music realm. I am also more systematic now in my search for a country’s music. Immersing myself in a musical culture before a trip and listening to the music after I get home can make a one-week journey last much longer. Sometimes the trip is permanent: I met my wife at a performance of fado music in Rio de Janeiro.

This is the background and organizing principle of my blog. There’s a world of music out there that I no longer cut myself off from. Much of it is beyond my linguistic skills. This doesn’t matter to me and, I suspect, it won’t matter to many others if they open themselves to the experience.

World Listening Post is an extension of my more than 40 years in journalism. The search for music worth sharing is similar to the quest for stories worth telling. I don’t pretend that this blog offers a comprehensive look at the world’s music—if such a thing is even possible. Rather, it reflects my own taste, as well as my determination to ignore all borders in looking for the ultimate playlist.

If you read through my posts, you’ll likely notice a dearth of negative reviews. Every year I sample more than 1,000 new albums, and give a thorough listening to at least 500, but in the end I only review 52. My pans, as well as a lot of music I find good but not great, don’t make it into print.

If you have comments about my choices, want to make recommendations or just share ideas about music, please get in touch.

Alan Tigay

 

14 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi: I am one of the most accute fan of Angelina Wismes. Please can you tell me how you heard of her? I would like to make her famous all over the world.

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    1. Hi Loulou, Although I do lots of research on various sites and in various publications to find artists, I “discovered” Angelina Wismes in the most traditional way possible. Last May I was in Paris and found her CD (which had just been released) in the music department of FNAC. Thanks for writing.

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      1. Dear Alan, many thanks for your reply: I was fortunate to attend two concerts performed by Angelina in Paris. She is just amazing. Have you watched the video of her song “Fly”??? She did write the lyrics and composed the music. Here is the link :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq6LERE63vw. Just share it around. You will notice that her voice is low-pitched in “Fly” compared with the album dedicated to Barbara. Actually, Angelina’s voice is so rich that it can dive deep into grave tones and rise up to high-pitch melody. Anyway, listen to “Fly” and tell me what you think about it. Loulou

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      2. Hi Louou, Yes, I liked the video of “Fly” on youtube. I also liked Hijo de la Luna (by Mecano), one of the songs she performed on The Voice. BTW, I received a beautiful thank-you note from Angelina for my review. She posted it on her Facebook page and as a result my blog exploded with visits today. The best day I’ve had since I launched my blog six months ago. Regards, Alan

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  2. Dear Alan. I just wanted to let you know that I have been posting on my FB page Angelina’s photos since the first of december. I will do so through Christmas. They are all excerpts (screenshots as a matter of fact) from public videos featuring Angelina. Enjoy, That is my way to pay a tribute to her astonishing beauty. And don’t hesitate to talk about her in NYC …..Loulou.

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  3. Alan. Discovered your reviews on iTunes. Thanks for your thoughtful and well researched evaluations. They’ve directed me to some great new music and enlightened me further on the artists I already enjoy. Jim

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  4. Coucou.

    I hope that You someday will find Cumbia music. Originally from Colombia, but played also in Chile. Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico. My favorite Cumbias come from Peru and especially I love Cumbia andinas. Cumbia is tropical, happy music.

    Bonne journée!

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  5. Julie Fowlis is my greatest inspiration. I have all her music but avoid reading the translations. Her gift is so distinct I prefer not knowing the lyrics. You sense what others know, and featuring two of her albums is brilliant! 😉 May I suggest a Scottish duo for a future review? McKay Stout (Catriona McKay and Chris Stout) have a new album out, Bare Knuckle, that is truly remarkable, unlike any I have encountered. Songs composed by McKay. “Louise’s Waltz” is on Youtube, left me moved for days. Need a lift? “Time to Retreat” does it every time. I have never heard any artist make the Scottish Harp so active, vibrant and forefront as McKay. Stout is an exceptional fiddler.

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    1. Hi Jerry,
      Thanks for writing. I couldn’t agree more about Julie Fowlis. I also have a special feeling about her because I discovered her work on my one and only trip to Scotland, about 10 years ago. I like McKay Stout, but I only review albums that have a vocal component. I have a deep interest in language and one of my aims on the site is to demystify music that people perceive as foreign. Probably about 90 percent of the world’s great vocal music is in languages other than English, but most monolingual English speakers, especially in the United States where I live, never to listen to any of it, cutting themselves off to most of the world. I’m trying to do my part to overcome that. Best wishes, Alan

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  6. Dear Alan,
    I enjoyed your review of Africa Mamas!
    I have been recording music in Egypt for the past two years. Combining old Upper Egyptian traditional instruments with new western vocals and melodies. I would love to get a review from you on the album I finished in 2017. I am about to finish up the second one in June, the sequel to ORIGIN. As a little white girl from San Diego who started traveling the world when I was 18, I had never been to the Middle East and had little exposure to its music so I was naturally overwhelmed and inspired by it. This lead me on to a great musical adventure. Let me know please if you are interested.

    In the meantime, here is my website. http://www.eliselebec.com
    https://open.spotify.com/user/1222031669

    Best,

    Elise

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    1. Dear Elise,
      Thanks for writing. I like your music and congratulate you for such an original concept and great performance. Alas, one of the guding principles of my site (which grows out of my personal taste) is to break through the language barrier for English-speaking music lovers who never listen to songs sung in other languages. Of 150 album reviews published so far, I have done only five or six albums sung entirely in English (mostly American, Irish and British folk), and those have been works I found somewhere between extraordinary and transcendent. You may have more luck getting into magazines like fRoots or Songlines, which publish far more reviews than I do and aren’t as narrowly focused.
      Best wishes,
      Alan

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