In the Christmas episode of sf writer Spider Robinson's delightfully eclectic podcast (I'm running a little behind in my podcasts right now), Spider introduced the work of American bluesman Paul Pena, playing a couple of his tracks. I was blown away.
Pena, a blind musician, was captivated by the sounds of Tuvan throat-singing, which he encountered for the first time on a late-night shortwave transmission. He taught himself to throat-sing, and met with and befriended Kongar-ol Ondar, forming the band Genghis Blues, which merged throat-singing with Delta blues in a marvellous and haunting way.
Pena died tragically after a misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer led to his being addicted to
-- and then brutally denied -- heavy painkillers, and subsequently died from pancreatitis and complications from diabetes. (Set sez, "He was never brutally denied painkillers -- after he found out that the first Dr. made a mistake in diagnosis, he finally found a competent and good Dr. who helped him manage his pain, quite compassionately, up until the end. ")
His music is a rich legacy, though. The combination of Tuvan throat-singing and the blues is not to be believed -- or missed.
MP3 link to Spider's podcast (Pena segment starts about 5:20),
Genghis Blues DVD,
Genghis Blues CD
Information on Genghis Blues,
Paul Pena homepage,
Paul Pena on Wikipedia,
Spider Robinson podcast
Nicholas Shaxon, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (previously) appeared on The Foreign Desk podcast (MP3) this week to discuss the nature of tax havens, how they hollow out both their host countries and the countries whence their hidden riches comes.
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