Milo Miles

Milo Miles is Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic. He is a former music editor of The Boston Phoenix.

Miles is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and he also writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.

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Music Reviews
5:22 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Hugh Masekela: Wedding Songs That Don't Sound Blue

Hugh Masekela.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 5:50 am

In 1968, Hugh Masekela was not quite 30 years old and though he was in exile from his homeland of South Africa, he seemed ready to become at home on the American jazz and pop markets. That summer, he had scored a number one single, "Grazing in the Grass." A year earlier, he'd been one of the few international performers at the 1967 Monterrey International Pop Festival and had appeared in its D.A. Pennebaker documentary. Yet strangely enough, over the next 45 years Masekela never quite found his sweet spot.

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Music Reviews
9:09 am
Wed December 21, 2011

El Rego: A Singer From Benin With Soul And Funk

El Rego, the godfather of Benin funk, and his band The Commandos.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:16 am

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.

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Music Reviews
8:00 am
Fri November 25, 2011

Iron Butterfly Stretches Its Wings On 'Fillmore East'

Iron Butterfly circa 1970.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Before Led Zeppelin, there was Iron Butterfly — these days, a very misremembered band from Los Angeles. Maybe it was the movie industry all around, but '60s garage-rock in L.A. had an expansive, almost cinematic streak. Iron Butterfly was not the most inventive band on that scene, but it became the most famous because of a single, durable, out-of-nowhere hit, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The song was 17 minutes long, and the proper thing to do on underground radio stations was the play the whole thing.

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