Golden Age of Rap: BDP, Gang Starr, Run-DMC, Erik B & Rakim, more

The AADL recently added more than two dozen albums from the 'golden age' of rap to its music collection. The golden age refers to rap and hip hop music from the late '80s and early '90s, which Rolling Stone magazine describes as a period when "it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre."

Allmusic goes further to say the golden age "witnessed the best recordings from some of the biggest rappers in the genre's history....Overwhelmingly based in New York City, golden age rap is characterized by skeletal beats, samples cribbed from hard rock or soul tracks, and tough dis raps...rhymers like PE's Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Rakim, and LL Cool J basically invented the complex wordplay and lyrical kung-fu of later hip-hop."

Some highlights from the new additions:

Gang Starr -- Daily Operation (Released in 1992)
DJ Premier's crackling breakbeats and Guru's laid back delivery complement each other perfectly on Daily Operation -- whether Guru is rapping about relationships on "Ex Girl to the Next Girl" or breaking down the perpetuation of violence on "Soliloquy of Chaos", they had a way of accentuating each other's strengths like few other duos in music history.

Boogie Down Productions -- Criminal Minded (Released in 1987)
Criminal Minded is the first record from BDP, with KRS-One on the mic and DJ Scott La Rock laying down his signature sparse-yet-punchy beats. This is the KRS who can use one line to draw you into a scene, another to build the tension, and hit you right in the gut by the third.

Erik B & Rakim -- Paid in Full (Released in 1987)
It's still incredible how Rakim came up with his style back in 1987. There was no one as introspective, complex, and in the pocket at the time, and people are still trying to sound like him today. Erik B's innovative use of samples had everyone digging through dusty crates of James Brown LPs to find the next B-esque drum break to use. No doubt, this is a classic album.

A Timeless Audiobook For Kids

The Melendys are ready for adventure! Are you?

In The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, siblings Mona, Rush, Randy (short for Miranda) and Oliver decide to pool their allowances so one sibling at a time can go on an adventure each Saturday – and so the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club (I.S.A.A.C.) is born. You’ll be swept right along with Melendys to art museums, circuses, tea parties and more. Pamela Dillman’s excellent narration, complete with some fantastic accents, really brings the Melendys’ world to life.

The series continues with The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five and Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Maze.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #385

Professional cellist Edward Kelsey Moore, whose short story "Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix" was selected as an audience favorite on NPR's Stories on Stage series just published his first novel. He lives in Chicago (website).

I sincerely hope you are not expecting The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat * being Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross, - the sensation from Detroit's Brewster-Douglass public housing project that helped put Motown Records on the map in the 1960s. But seriously, you won't be too disappointed once you've met Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean.

Dubbed "The Supremes" since their high school days, these Plainsview (IN) mavens have weathered life's storms together arm-in-arm. Dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean must try to live with a youthful mistake that continues to haunt her. Fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while entertaining visitations from her (dead) pot-smoking mother and an inebriated Eleanor Roosevelt. For four decades, what sustain these strong, funny women through marriages, children, happiness, and disappointments, is their Sunday table at Earl's Diner, the first black-own business in this racially divided town, where they can count on good food, gossip, occasional tears, uproarious banter and each other.

"With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget."

Poised to give Waiting to Exhale, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Steel Magnolias a run for their money. Readers might also enjoy works by Pearl Cleage, and April Sinclair, or other novels on women's friendship.

* = starred review

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Country Fiddles, Classical Italian, Poppy Georgia Boys, Traditional Nordic Music

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

COUNTRY / BLUES / FOLK
The Ranchhands: Fiddle Driven Modern Country Music
"Driven", the most recent release from The Ranchhands, embodies the best elements of today's country music, featuring the rocking fiddle playing of Chris Tedesco, and the star-quality vocal performance of Mickey Kennedy. Keeping true to the roots of classic country style, combined with a modern Nashville production and refreshing original songs, The Ranchhands' sound will appeal to music fans of many different genres.

CLASSICAL
Ensemble Mirable: Rare and Extraordinary Music of the Baroque
"Influenza Italiana", or the influence of the Italian style, is the unifying theme of this marvelous collection of baroque works presented by Ensemble Mirable in their latest recording. The composers represented on this recording are all Italians who helped develop the unique Italian style of baroque composition, or other Europeans who were influenced by the Italian style -- incorporating Italian elements such as the agitated style of Monteverdi or the virtuosic instrumental styles developed by such composers as Marini and Castello. Among those represented here are Becker, Buxtehude, Uccellini, Ortiz, Buonamente, and Falconieri.

POP / ROCK
Boulevard: Up-Beat Rock and New Wave for the 21st Century
Led by songwriter Benji Barton, these "Athens guitar-pop darlings" deliver a stylish performance of rock, new wave and romantic appeal. With songs of despair and bliss set to a disco beat, Boulevard continues to catch the attention of audiences everywhere. Standout tracks on "Vice and Daring" include Marie and Dreams of Home.

WORLD
Dråm: Swedish Folk Music
Dråm [drohm]: Dialect word from Western Sweden meaning "drone" (a sustained note or chord accompanying a melody), a feature found on instruments like the bagpipe, nyckelharpa etc. Also an awarded Swedish traditional music duo, consisting of the two musicians Anna Rynefors & Erik Ask-Upmark. They have been playing together for over a decade, touring all over the world, and are both "riksspelmän" ("Official master musicians of the Realm"). With their fresh and unique take on Nordic music, these musicians have taken the roots music community by storm.

Three key players in 1960s pop music died last week

Tony Sheridan, George (Shadow) Morton, and Kevin Ayers - three relatively unknown yet key players in the history of 1960s pop music - all died last week. Sheridan was the bandleader who taught the Beatles the ropes in Hamburg, Germany, and has the distinction of being the only non-Beatle to appear as lead singer on a Beatles recording. Shadow Morton was the writer and producer of the Shangri-Las' number one hit, "Leader of the Pack" and Janis Ian's "Society's Child". And Kevin Ayers was the mastermind behind Soft Machine, an influential underground band during the first wave of experimental jazz-inflected pyschedelic rock.

Liar & Spy Audiobook: Give It a Listen

In Liar & Spy, Georges’ best friend has left him to join the popular kids, and now Georges is alone and bullied at school. When his family moves into a new apartment building, he finds a note advertising a spy club and soon finds himself joining to spy on mysterious neighbor Mr. X with his new best friend Safer. But not all is as it appears to be in this funny, tense, beautifully-layered novel.

After listening to it myself, I can say that translates into an excellent audiobook, especially during those edge-of-your-seat moments, which really did have me on the edge of my seat.

Liar & Spy is written by Rebecca Stead, whose previous novel, When You Reach Me, won the Newbery Medal in 2010.

Spunky Girl Stories from Around the World

There’s nothing like tales of girls with gumption, to make us laugh and gasp and celebrate the female spirit. The Girl Scouts are cruising Ann Arbor’s cultural events this Saturday for their 100th birthday and we are a stop on the fun train. At 3 pm on March 2, all children in Kindergarten and up are invited to join us for stories about magical nesting dolls, jungle adventures and more with the Girl Scouts.

PreK Bits - Dancing Babies


Denise Owens will lead the DANCING BABIES Program @ Malletts Creek Library on Saturday Feb 16, 2013 from 10:00- 10:40 am.
Denise leads Kindermusik Classes in the Ann Arbor area, and she will have her information available at the program.
DANCING BABIES is a music and motion program for children 0 to 5 years, with their adults.

If you want more MUSIC and MOTION with your kids ... try these:
A Family Album by Verve Pipe.
15th anniversary collection : celebrating 15 years of the best in children's music packed with worldly classics.
Jim Gill Presents Music Play For Folks Of All Stripes
It's Time To Get Up!: Music For Kids Of All Ages
Kid's Dance Party: a Salute To Highschool Musical
Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera!
Dance Along
Exercise Party
... so push back the coffee table ... roll up the rug ... and let the dance begin!

Wonderful World Languages # 3

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year!

This Sunday, February 10 marks another Chinese New Year, a major holiday for millions of people worldwide. Following the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year is based on solar and lunar movements. Literally translating to the “Spring Festival,” this significant holiday emphasizes good luck and fortune in the coming year. To celebrate, people often travel long distances to see their families and participate in traditional Chinese practices such as enjoying Chinese cooking, watching fireworks, handing out red envelopes with money inside, and decorating with flowers and lanterns. This year is the year of the water snake.

Since this popular holiday lasts for 15 days, you can take part by checking out our Chinese language collection or related materials, such as traditional folk music, interpretive music, Ni Hao, Kai-lan on dvd, and cookbooks in English or Chinese. AADL also has a wealth of materials on this topic in English for children!

For more information, check out this article by BBC or Wikipedia.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is joining NPR! Revisit our podcast...

bullseye logobullseye logo

If you like radio -- heck, if you enjoy listening to interesting and funny shows on any sort of device -- you may already be familiar with Thorn as an accomplished host and head honcho at Maximum Fun's podcast network.

Thorn's humble hosting beginnings were way back in 2000, with a show called The Sound of Young America, created and distributed out of his house. The show was eventually picked up by Public Radio International and its moniker changed to Bullseye. This morning, Thorn announced that NPR will start distributing Bullseye in April 2013.

Jesse and Jordan Morris, his co-host on Jordan, Jesse, Go!, visited AADL in 2011 and recorded a podcast. Listen in on their chat about the evolution of production values, their self-directed efforts in the changing media landscape, Dick Cavett, Gymkata and building a community of people who you’ve never met.

Fair warning: foul language ahead.

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