Spellbinding Music is a blog which curates contemporary, modern classical, roots, electronic, jazz and folk music…and everything in between since 2012.
Categorising music by “genres” has always been problematic and has become more or less meaningless in today’s musical landscape. Strict adherence to a specific genre in the 2020s now sounds predictable and formulaic.
1990s fusion – whereby a musician or a group fluent in a certain tradition would perform with another musician or group from a distinct tradition and try to find a common ground – was a first attempt at breaking down barriers.
Cue the 2000s with the emergence of file sharing, MySpace as a social network for musicians, YouTube and Spotify. In other words, any musician born from the late 1980s onwards has more or less enjoyed universal access to music in their formative years and no longer approaches or understands genres as separate categories.
A lot of the contemporary music featured on this blog has a wonderful creative flow that just requires the time and attention it deserves to be appreciated.
Photo credit: © Nikolaj Lund used with permission.
The musician is Danish accordion player Bjarke Mogensen.
The problem with believing in genre categorisation is music becomes conceptualised as a ‘thing’ which houses ideas, an object existing within parameters of finitude. Our way, the way, is to see music as a vessel for the manifestation and nourishment of spirit and life energy” Shabaka Hutchings
Yet, established e-commerce and music streaming platforms still persist with rigid categories and vertical classification systems. Even a content management system like WordPress (on which this blog is hosted) forces categorisations to facilitate navigation. As a result, jazz, folk, modern classical, ambient, electronic etc. are used here as vague signposts, but always pointing towards a new, exciting and spine-tingling hybrid music.
When bands and musicians cross boundaries or venture into novel vocal or instrumental territories, magic often happens. This is the moment when a tune or a song will move us in such a way that it will stop us in our tracks, send shivers up our spine or give us goose bumps.
When music becomes spellbinding.
My only metronome is the skin of my arms, it is whether you give me the shivers or not… Ariane Mnouchkine
Don’t know where to start with Spellbinding Music? Here’s a Top Twelve selected from the first ten years of the blog:
- Arooj Aftab: Vulture Prince
- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Live in Loveland!
- Emile Mosseri: The Last Black Man in San Francisco
- Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8
- Paolo Fresu & Daniele Di Bonaventura: Altissima Luce
- Stéphane Tsapis: Le Piano Oriental
- Birds on a Wire: Ramages
- Nadah El Shazly: Ahwar
- Murcof x Vanessa Wagner: Statea
- Sly & Robbie meet Nils Petter Molvær: Nordub
- Eithne Ní Uallacháin: Bilingua
- Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: When the World was One
Please support the artists and musicians mentioned on Spellbinding Music by purchasing their music directly from their official websites or
from their respective Bandcamp pages.
[Revised and updated January 2023]