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If you’ve seen the animated Pixar/Disney film, “Brave,” which is set in a fantasy medieval Scotland, you’ve heard the voice of Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis. She sings mainly in the Gaelic language – or Gallic, as they say in Scotland – and had a surprise hit in the UK a few years back with her version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” In this video, Fowlis performs “Tha Mo Ghaol Air Àird."
Original band members Dom Flemons and Rhiannon Giddens spoke with Quick Hits reporter Mirissa Neff backstage at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma, California. The two live and breathe African American traditional music, and once you get them started on the topic it's clear that their knowledge runs deep. The interview includes a sample of Thompson's music and a clip from a music video.
Featuring Dom Flemons on the bones and Rhiannon Giddens on the 5-string banjo, "Old Corn Likker" was performed backstage exclusively for Quick Hits. This is a square dance song with Flemons calling out to the dancers and telling the story of a man who fell off a wagon and lost his hat due to some overindulgence in some homebrew alcohol.
You’ve probably heard this song on the radio this summer. To the band’s amazement, it’s a worldwide hit. “It’s even big in Turkey,” they told us, shaking their collective heads, pleasantly bewildered. But it’s easy to see why the song has caught on with its rolling, infectious energy, that chorus of “heys!” and a foreboding lyric that ends up reassuring us we’re all going to make it back safely.
Iceland has a long tradition of Nordic myths and folk tales, many involving spirits and animals transforming themselves into people. So, it’s not too surprising that a band like Of Monsters and Men would call their debut album, “My Head is an Animal,” and create a song like “Dirty Paws,” about an epic battle between the birds and the bees and a four-pawed beast that saves the day.
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