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Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me is a stunning collaboration between a revered Canadian troubadour, an innovative Belizean producer and some of the top musicians in the respected Garifuna music scene of Central America.

Danny Michel first fell in love with the Central American country of Belize 15 years ago when he traveled there for a break from a cold Canada winter. What started as a vacation from the grind of touring and recording changed Michel s life and led him down a long and winding road towards the creation of Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me.

During his prolific career Michel s style has ranged from power pop and alternative rock to singer-songwriter fare, leading him to be compared to everyone from Paul Simon to Elvis Costello. His albums have led to multiple Juno Award nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the GRAMMY) including one for New Artist of the Year in 2004.

After many years of traveling to Belize, in 2011 Michel reached out to Belizean producer Ivan Duran to explore the possibilities of working together. Duran, who runs the recording studio and record label Stonetree, is well known in world music circles for bringing Garifuna music to wider international audiences.

Danny Michel traveled the pot-holed roads by bus from the Caribbean coast to Benque Viejo, the inland town lying in the shadows of the Xunantunich Mayan ruins where Stonetree is based, with no guitar, no songs, and no expectations. Michel recalls, "I was terrified. I went down and walked into a room full of strangers who are all sitting there thinking who the hell is this guy. It was really intimidating. But it was absolutely incredible that I was welcomed with open arms."

Danny brought some songs, lyrics and arrangements, while The Garifuna Collective brought the powerful rhythms, melodies and instruments of their heritage.

An 8-song version of Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me was released in Canada by Six Shooter Records in the fall of 2012 and it immediately received tremendous accolades. Renowned critic and former editor of Billboard Larry LeBlanc called it "One of the finest musical works of our time. A career album. Now Magazine exclaimed It s a fun and uplifting listen, bursting with acoustic and electric guitar, saxophones, organic, rich backup vocals and tons of Garifuna percussion. The obvious comparison is Paul Simon s Graceland, but there are also moments of heavier Talking Heads-like funk. And Toronto weekly The Grid called the album A blend of folky grit and tropical rhythms, nestled somewhere in between the rootsy vibes of Bedouin Soundclash and the slick funk of English singer-songwriter Charlie Winston. However you want to define the genre, this combination works. The album was nominated for a Juno for Best World Music Album.

For the international release, Michel returned to Belize to record three new tracks, the funky Behind the Waterfall, the rousing anthem Sad and Beautiful World and the moving This Is What Is, which features the voice of Paul Nabor, the 83-year old Garifuna legend. These songs join What Colour Are You? a catchy riff on perceptions and attitudes, the irresistible grooves of The First Night and the earthy beats of Survivor s Guilt among other gems.

The release of Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me coincides with the launch of the new album Ayó by The Garifuna Collective, their first since front man Andy Palacio passed away suddenly in 2008. Fans of Danny Michel can discover the roots of his inspiration with this magical album whose songs of heartbreak, hope and joy will take
your breath away.

Review

One of the finest musical works of our time. --Larry LeBlanc

A blend of folky grit and tropical rhythms, nestled some- where in between the rootsy vibes of Bedouin Soundclash and the slick funk of English singer-songwriter Charlie Winston. However you want to define the genre, this combination works. --The Grid

The rootsy pop of prolific Canadian singer-songwriter Danny Michel has earned him a large and loyal following. [The Garifuna Collective] are a group of musicians from Belize, and the album was recorded on their home turf. The resulting fusion of Western pop and world music brings Paul Simon's Graceland to mind. For those us who can't afford a winter vacation in Central America, this gem is a lovely musical substitute. --Exclaim!

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. What Colour Are You? 4:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Survivor's Guilt 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. A Cold Road 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Behind the Waterfall 4:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Break It You Buy It 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Just the Way I Am 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Sad and Beautiful World 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Into the Light 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The First Night 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. This Is What Is 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 2, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: 2013
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cumbancha
  • ASIN: B00CX7OXKQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,257 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Greg St Martin on March 11, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Though Danny Michel has been around for some time, I'd only heard of him about a year ago & what I heard was impressive. Now, my CD buying budget is limited but when I saw that the best radio station in the world (in my opinion) CKUA had rated this record No. 1 on their Top 100 Records Of 2012, I had to buy it. CKUA's rating is more than justified & I have to say this is the Best Record I've heard in the past year, in a very good year of music. Some reviews have compared Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me to Paul Simon's Graceland but I'd say it outshines that record for several reasons. When recording in a foreign country with local musicians there can be a temptation to let their style dominate, but Danny kept his perspective to write original songs that incorporate the Garifuna Collective talents but not exploitive of their styles. Its a respectfully hybrid style of music that has a certain restraint that makes this record extremely listenable and fun. Congratulations Danny!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By belinda huitema on April 14, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Browsing for new releases from stonetree records i came across this wonderful album. I love the mix of cultures: all musicians complement each-other. It seems that they bring themselves to a higher level. and thats wonderful to listen to.
I lived in Belize for a couple of years and putting on this cd brings me back immediately to The Jewel.
I want to thank all who worked on this for sharing their beautiful talents!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Hausner on March 2, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love this latest effort from possibly one of the most taleted singer / songwriters to ever come out of Canada. I have been a fan since the fist time I saw him perform about 10 years ago. Do yourself a favor and check out his earlier albums,
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Format: Audio CD
It seems I'm coming to the music of Danny Michel later than most, but I'm glad I found him.

In preparation of attending this year's huge Folk Alliance International music conference in Kansas City, MO (where over 1100 singer-songwriters or bands performed in over 2600 "showcase" slots!), I spent over 23 hours looking at You Tube clips to determine which performers that were new to me were worthy of seeing out and seeing perform live. I narrowed my list down to about 100 and was able to get to see about 80 of them, among them was Canadian singer/songwriter/humanitarian Danny Michel.
Actually, before I saw him perform I attended a talk he gave about his mission to Belize to help build a school for children there. (He raised over $40,000). I had been in Belize (on a vacation_ just two weeks before I saw him. He explained how he recorded this album in Belize with a local Garifuna band called the Garifuna Collection. He later took them on a tour to Canada.

The songs are all Michel originals (the lyrics anyway) and the sound of the recording is not unlike Paul Simon's hit album "Graceland". Simon used the African band Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the music of Belize mixes the African beat with some reggae influences.

I really like this album and - if you are a fan of Simon's "Graceland" project, I think you'll like this one too!

The 41-minute CD comes in a tri-fold digipak. I wish that it had a booklet with lyrics or more of an explanation for the project. Instead, four of the six panels have just full-page photos - and the 5th just lists the titles of the songs.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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