Julian Lennon Picks

VanessadamataVanessa da Mata, as her names suggests (in Portuguese 'da mata' means 'from the forest') is a force of nature.  She was born in Alto Garças, a small town in the central part of Brazil.  This 32 year old singer and composer cannot play all the instruments, but she has an overt musicality.  She gathers more than 250 compositions in book notes and tapes which she always carries in her purse.  Before her debut album brought her name inot the spotlight, many artists recorded some of her songs.  One of them Chico Cesar pushed for making her compositions more famous in Brazil.

Her latest release, "Sim" has a wonderful blend of music and for this week's pick of the week, "Boa Sorte / Good Luck" Vanessa teams up with the genius of Ben Harper.  Even if you don't speak a word of Portuguese her voice will bring you in and make you feel so good, by the time Ben Harper joins in you are hooked.

damonaaronDamon Aaron - Fall is off the new album from Ubiquity Records called "Highlands."  This is a collaboration of work that features hip-hop beats, acoustic guitar, percussion and beautiful relaxing lyrics.

Damon Aaron grew up in the foothills of Los Angeles playing folk and country music with his family noodling with radio shack synthesizers.  He began writing songs while working towards a degree in Fine Art at UC Santa Cruz.  Throughout the '90's he led several soul and hip-hop bands as a singer or an MC.  He played guitars for others like the Breakestra Hip-Hop Artist Divine Styler.

By the middle of the '90's he begain to expand his work into percussion and developed a style that incorporated more folkloric and soul music.  Names like Donny Hathaway, Nick Drake, Bob Marley and Oliver Mtukudzi were primary influences.  He continues his work with bands such as "Najite" and "Olokun Prophecy" as well as more electronic artists like "Barbara Morgentern" and "Telefon Tel Aviv".

He lives in Altadena California with his wife and children and continues to produce his own brand of personal and eclectic soul music and his new album is a must if you enjoy this pick of the week.

realtuesdayweldThe Real Tuesday Weld was originally inspired by a dream of British 1930s crooner Al Bowlly and American actress Tuesday Weld, Stephen Coates began to create music to try to recreate the sounds he heard in his childhood home - 'the crackling of radios playing swing and easy listening in some distant room.' As The Real Tuesday Weld, Coates doesn’t hesitate to put those sounds to subversive use much like some of his most illustrious forebears and influences—such as Serge Gainsbourg and Ennio Morricone.

From his first EP 'The Valentine' on Dreamy records and through many singles, eps and compilation tracks with Motorway Records, Kindercore and Bambini records to the album 'Cupid Meets Psyche' he has developed the sound known as 'Antique Beat'.

The album 'I, Lucifer', was conceived as a 'soundtrack' and companion piece to Glen Duncan’s novel of the same name, a mischievous view of the Devil’s take on humanity - A song cycle of love, loss and redemption set to a jazz, elctronic and pop collage - written as the devil’s advocate, so to speak.

'The Return of the Clerkenwell Kid' released in 2005, was no less audacious in its potent mixture of classic and modern sounds and styles and reprised older songs to tell the story of a love affair from before its beginning until after its end. The album’s sounds cover a much wider stylistic range, extending beyond cabaret and swing to embrace breezy bossa nova, classic pop and gentle psychedelia—adding João Gilberto, Martin Denny, Brian Wilson and the Beatles to the sonic mix.

Now, 'The London Book of the Dead' another song cycle desribing the soul's adventure through birth, life, death and rebirth is about to emerge. It features the Jacques Van Rhijn, Clive Painter, Don Brosnan and Jed Woodhouse from the live band and special guest appearances by Cibelle, The Puppini Sisters, David Piper, Aurelia Thierree and Moses Strongpeace. It is accompanied for the lucky few by an extraordinary recording of a live concert by The Clerkenwell Kid: "At the End of the World"...

Padma3Padma hails from a small suburban town near Sheffield in the North of England. He has been a practising Buddhist for over 10 years, and at one time intended to spend his life as part of a Buddhist Order. In the end it was his inability to cope with that exact thing - order - that led to him going his own way, choosing instead the path of the artist.

Armed with a tent, rucksack, and sleeping bag, and inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac, Zen poetry, and Eastern philosophy, Padma hitched around England, Scotland and France. He slept in woods, by the side of the road, and on friends' floors. During this period he wrote extensively, often by the side of the road, or under a tree, sheltering from the rain.

It is common for committed Buddhists to take Buddhist names, and for that name to be both a goal and the path to it. 'Padma' means 'lotus'. Beginning its life in the mud at the bottom of the pond, the lotus intuitively finds its way to the sunlight, where it opens out its petals and celebrates. It's about integrating the spiritual life with the realties of life, and not getting caught up in being too 'spiritual' - at least not in any false way. It's also about trusting that you naturally know your way - a lotus doesn't need a map to find the water's surface.

In 2005 Padma suffered a near-fatal brain haemorrhage, followed by emergency brain surgery. As soon as he was well enough, he packed up, left London, and headed for the hills. When he's not in the UK performing or recording, Padma now lives in a yurt in the Spanish Pyrennes.


Sonar Kollectiv brings us another soulful, acoustic and nu-jazz artist with Stee Downes who has just released his debut album, "All in a Day".

Kick off your shoes, sit back and relax as Stee takes us on a journey that feels like you need to be drinking a martini while hanging out with Stevie Wonder & Donnie Hathaway.

Happy to share with you 'Asunder' one of the many tracks to offer from this new talent full of soul and groove.

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