January 30th, 2003



Spent a bit of time today listenning to a backlog of music that I've downloaded lately -- been concentrating on getting downloads of Asian/Indian/Middle Eastern traditionally influenced dance/ambient/pop...

So, I stumble happily upon the surprisingly good Buddha Bar compilations out of France, which grew out of the music they play at Paris' bar of the same name.


I suddenly find myself wallopped upside the head with absolute beauty and bliss in the form of Omar Faruk Tekbilek's version of "La Ilaha Il Allah". It reminded me of something that Vangelis might've recorded in his prime had he lived on the other side of the Bosphorus, but although it used modern electronic instrumentation, it was also very respectful in its use of traditional instruments.

I did a search and found his lovely website -- it turns out that Tekbilek is a master musician who plays well over a dozen instruments. Although born in Turkey, he met his wife while touring, and now lives with her in upstate New York. At first, he couldn't find regular work as a musician in the US, so for years he worked in a clothing company, playing in NYC clubs on the weekends. Fortunately, his talent was discovered and he has been able to quit his day job, though he is much better known in Europe than in the US -- he was recently nominated for an award in the 2003 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music. Tekbilek has performed with other notable musicians, such as Ofra Haza, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Simon Shaheen.

So, now a man in his early 50's, Tekbilek is finally starting to be considered as one of the best Middle Eastern musicians in the world, even if surprisingly few people have heard his music yet.

Here's your chance. BBC3 is streaming "Don't Cry My Love" off of his new album "Alif". It sounds gorgeous. I want...

***Extra! Omar Faruk Tekbilek also does a radio show every Sunday night at 11 PM EST (8 PM PST/ 4 AM Monday, GMT), on WDYN, which streams all of their broadcasts!***

Yet another Buddha Bar

While not nearly as fancy (or expensive) as its Parisian counterpart, San Francisco has its own Buddha Bar, located right by my favorite places in Chinatown, and charmingly presented in this award winning short film by Rodney Ascher, shot entirely as still images with a disposable camera and animated in Adobe AfterEffects. (Quicktime required.)

I know it's kind of early, but I suddenly feel the mood for a drink..!

But who's counting?!

Before we get involved in another war, it might be a good idea to take a good look at those who have died already in the war on terror. After all, four US soldiers died just today. These four are hardly the only ones who have died so far, however. There are many more. Here are a few of them...

There was Dan McCollum, who left behind a new wife, with a baby on the way.

Jeanette Winters came from a poor family and was studying to become a doctor.

There was Steve Bryson, the only son of a military family. Steve, like his uncle before him, died in a military plane crash.

There's Anissa Shero, from Grafton, a coalmining town in West Virginia. Anissa was the second woman to die in Afghanistan. "She wanted to get out of Grafton. She wanted a big life," said Shelley Ball, Shero's cousin and lifelong friend. "She'd say, 'I want to get out of here.' And she did."

Today's deaths raises the tally of US soldiers who have died so far in the war on terror up to at least 54 -- you can see many of them and read more about their lives here. These soldiers haven't just died in obvious locales such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf, but also in less obvious ones such in the Philipines, where U.S. troops are taking part in military exercises on Mindanao, helping the Philippine government quell an Islamic majority that has been seeking autonomy from the Philipines for over 40 years. Despite autonomy votes in 13 provinces with apparent Muslim majorities, autonomy was granted in only the four poorest provinces. The explanation given by the Philippine government was that some of the voters were "squatters" routinely evicted when their settlements were burned.

The person putting together the site listing all the casualties has gone through four webpages so far to make sure that *ALL* of those who die in the war on terrorism are remembered. I emailed him and pointed out one person who died that he forgot to list, and let him know about the helicopter crash. Something tells me that he's going to be a lot busier soon...