Top Picks: Running late? There's an app for that, West African music, and more

A Boston time-lapse video captures the city with haunting music, brings 'American Idol' for books to the Internet, and more top picks.

John Nordell/TCSM/File
Paul Revere statue in Boston.
Elikeh’s Between 2 Worlds
The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire

A new voice in Afro-funk

Togolese singer Massama Dogo and his seven-piece Washington, D.C.-based band Elikeh have re-created that revolutionary period of West African music, the time when Afro-funk stars like Fela Kuti and reggae stars like Bob Marley were mixing in black-pride politics with their tunes. Elikeh's Between 2 Worlds bears that same imprint, with pounding rhythms, tight horn sections, and long guitar jams. With such a great freshman album – paid for largely from an innovative Kickstarter funding campaign – their next album is sure to rock.

HYMNS of praise

Górecki Miserere, a 17-cut CD by Decca Recordings, features three sublime, meditative choral pieces by Polish composer Henryk Górecki and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the rich acoustics of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Górecki was noted for championing Poland's struggle for independence from Soviet control; his 12-movement "Miserere" was written in 1981 as a protest against a violent attack by police on union activists in Bydgoszcz.

Passing time in Beantown

Monitor editors may have a hometown bias when it comes to a time-lapse video created by Vimeo user Yao Li of our beloved Boston. But the shots of pedestrians speeding through the North End, boats bobbing dancelike on the Charles River, and the bright beacon of the Custom House, set to the dramatic strains of Hans Zimmer's music from the movie "Inception," had us all entranced. Check it out at

American author search

Just when you thought the Great American Novel was a thing of the past, says think again. The online publisher wants to promote "America's Next Author," with an online writing competition that takes a page from the "American Idol" playbook of online fan voting and professional judging. Winners will get cash prizes in December.

Almost there!

Running late? The free iPhone app Twist automatically alerts your friends or co-workers that you're on the way. Tell Twist where you're headed, who you plan to meet, and whether you're walking, driving, or grabbing public transit. The app will then let those people know that you're, say, 13 minutes away. One warning: Twist burns through battery power quickly. Make sure to charge up before venturing out.

song stories

Ever hear a song and wonder what inspired its creation? The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire answers your questions and much more. Musician and jazz critic Ted Gioia has written an in-depth guide to the great standards of the 20th century, showcasing the stories and writers of 70 familiar chestnuts such as "All the Things You Are," "Blue Moon," "Georgia on My Mind," "Stardust," and "Stormy Weather." The author also recommends a variety of recorded versions of each song that show why these tunes belong in this treasured canon.

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