Late last night Radio NZ Concert presented a recording of Zach Condon and Beirut performing at the Womad festival in 2008. I much enjoyed the opportunity to hear this band play again their charming, spirited and contemporary take on traditional East European folk [Balkan gypsy] music. The sounds seem to me invariably cheerful in their quirky enthusiasm. The energy the songs and tunes convey are not always so geared-up one might say they were exuberant [though at times they are], but there is always an energy and a joy in the music-making even when they might perhaps be described as ‘soulful’. Condon clearly enjoys himself making this music and he has an extraordinary voice. Often when he embarks on a musical phrase i wonder how on earth he is going to continue the notes to achieve a satisfying, or even possible, sequence – and yet he does, and it’s wonderful, and pleasurably haunting.
I urge you to seek out his and Beirut’s music making. You can find them on MySpace Music , while on YouTube you’ll find lots of videos of their performances and there is a very good copy of a video of a track from their Lon Gisland EP at Alma Ha’rel .com .
Late night radio is a great source of interesting music and i’ve come to especially love listening to the world music offerings from Charlie Gillet in his weekly show from BBC World. This programme is something else i commend to your attention: and if you miss it on Radio NZ National on Tuesday evenings after the 11 o’clock news Charlie’s site on BBC Worldservice has each programme available for re-listening for the following week – with details of every recording he plays, and all previous play lists.