2016 World of Bluegrass Expo Dates Announced


The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced the dates of the 2016 World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. The events will take place September 27-October 1, 2016 in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

The expo is expected to attract hundreds of bluegrass industry professionals, fans and newcomers. Activities include parties, panels and Q&A sessions with artists and experts, the Bluegrass Ramble, the World of Bluegrass Expo, networking, music showcases and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival.

The highlight of the week will be the annual Awards Ceremony, where the finest artists in bluegrass music will be rewarded for their talents.

Tickets for World of Bluegrass will go on sale April 5th at 10 a.m. Central Time. Details regarding pricing the music lineup will be coming soon, so watch this spot for the latest information.

More information at: ibma.org


Flamenco Festival 2016 at Carnegie Hall

Vicente Amigo
Vicente Amigo

The 2016 Flamenco Festival will take place throughout New York City from March 2–19. The festival presents Spain’s most talented singers, dancers, and musicians together with cultural activities and educational programs at venues city-wide.

The performances include guitar maestro Vicente Amigo at Carnegie Hall on Friday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage.

Granada-born conductor Pablo Heras-Casado will lead Orchestra of St. Luke’s in “Colors of Spain” featuring singer Marina Heredia and pianist Javier Perianes at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage.

The following week on Friday, March 18 at 8:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, Sevillian cantaora Rosario Guerrero “La Tremendita” and Iranian traditional vocalist Mohammad Motamedi team up to perform Qasida, a musical fusion of Spanish folk poetry and Persian high art, presented by Carnegie Hall as part of the Flamenco Festival.

Ticket Information

Tickets, priced $35–$65, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.


Veteran Trinidadian Bandleader ‘Pal’ Joey Lewis Dies

Joey Lewis
Joey Lewis
Joey Lewis, who, for 6 decades, led the longest -running, and last of Trinidad’s popular dance orchestras, died in the early hours of February 8, at 78. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011, he effectively stopped playing with the band (originally called the Teenagers) in 2012, weakened by the effects of chemotherapy.

Born on October 26th, 1937, in Gonzales, east Port of Spain, into a family of musicians (his father played guitar, and his mom sang), he began in the bands of elder brothers, Randolph, and Sonny.

Able to play any instrument, he first took to the piano – his electric keyboard riffs on an instrumental version of 1974’s “You’ll Always Be A Friend” by British group, Hot Chocolate, stand out- but the guitar made him popular.

In 1955, the Teenagers became the Joey Lewis Orchestra; its sound distinctly Trinidadian/calypso, but with strong Latin and jazz influences and elements.
He and the orchestra added the nickname ‘Pal’, after (seeing) the 1957 American film, ‘Pal Joey’, starring Frank Sinatra and Rita Haywood.

His 1960 hit, “Joey’s Saga”, in support of the ‘Saga Ting’ dance craze, introduced his unique guitar-strumming style, and saw them as the 1st to play on local television (as resident for the ‘Dance Party’ series).

In the golden era of dance bands (late 1940s to late 1970s), the Pal Joey Lewis Orchestra, with loyal members(, including, for 52 years, until his death in 2009, saxman, George Boucaud), took its place at the top, alongside those led by ‘Sir’ Sel Duncan, Clarence Curvan, the Dutchy (deVlugt) Brothers, and Fitz Vaughn Bryan.

It produced music for and to accompany the costumed masquerade bands on carnival parade days, and worked and recorded with established calypsonians such as the Mighty Sparrow, the Mighty Terror, the Mighty Duke, and soca (or party calypso) pioneer, Lord(later Ras) Shorty, as well as Barbados-born Singing Francine.
And, at a time when radio restricted the airplay of calypsos after carnival (especially in Lent), Joey Lewis’ instrumental versions helped maintain the genre’s profile, and, in the dances, popularity.

He toured North America(, meeting Harry Belafonte and jazz legend, Dizzie Gillespie, in 1964, briefly setting up base in Canada, in the early 1970s), the Caribbean and Europe, won the ‘Brass-o-Rama’ contest(, in which bands rendered instrumental arrangements of calypsos) in the carnival of 1979, and, in 2002, as Trinidad andTobago celebrated 40 years of independence, received a national award (the Humming Bird Medal) for his ‘services in the field of music’.

In all, the Joey Lewis Orchestra issued 83 albums, 142 singles and 12 CDs, (some, early on, for the RCA label) of originals like “ Pint of Wine”, “Bound To Dance” and “Debbie”, and covers (Kris Kristofferson’s “Why My Lord” and the Cuban classic, “Peanut Vendor”, among them), vocalists engaged sparingly; and continued entertaining sold-out audiences and lovers of ballroom dancing across the country all year ‘round to the present.

Clarence Curvan met Joey Lewis in brother, Sonny’s, band, before both went off to form their own. The two teamed up, a few years later, to create JoVan records. Now based in, and working out of New York City, USA, he remembers Joey ” …recommending that promoters hire me, even before I had a record. That…says a lot about his character. We maintained our relationship to the end“.

Another long-standing musician, saxophonist, Roy Cape, leader, from the late 1970s, of the All Stars, that backed calypsonians in the tents, and fetes (parties) but records mostly soca tunes, started with Curvan, after failing a 1961 audition with Lewis. He described him as “…a Rock of Gibraltar…with a huge influence on local music“.

‘Pal’ Joey Lewis ( October 26, 1937- February 8, 2016) leaves to mourn his wife of 52 years, Julia, children, Gerry (part of the orchestra since the 1980s, eventually assuming leadership), Joanne, Charmaine, Debra (about whom “Debbie” was written), Benedict, Judy and Gail, 8 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and sister, Jean.

from Sean Edwards, Power102FM, Port of Spain, Trinidad


Babilonia Party

Riserva Moac - Babilonia (Bayla Records BAY011 CD, 2015)
Riserva Moac – Babilonia (Bayla Records BAY011 CD, 2015)


Italian band Riserva Moac plays lively music with a party atmosphere, incorporating Balkan brass, Gypsy music, Mediterranean sounds, toe tapping dance beats, ska and more. On the vocal side, the ensemble uses a mix of regular vocals and rapping. Rap is a tired technique that has little new to say so the best moments are the instrumental moments.

Riserva Moac was formed in 2003 with the goal to knock down musical borders as well as geographical and historical fences. The group’s name Moac Moac is an acronym for Molise (a region in southern Italy), Oriente (the East), Africa and Cuba. Previous recordings include “Bienvenido” (2005) and “La musica dei popoli” (2009).

The lineup on Babilonia includes Maya Pavone on vocals; Roberto “Zanna” Napoletano on percussion, accordion and vocals; Patrizio “Basko” Forte on bass; Fabrizio “Pacha Mama” Russo on vocals; Mario Evangelista on electric, cutsic and classical guitar, dobro, mandolin, banjo, steel guitar; Graziano Carbone on drums, Vladimiro D’Amico on saxophone; Alessio Lalli on trumpet; Antonio Sciolli on tuba and helicon; Giuseppe Ferrante on t-bone, euphonium, baritone fluegelhorn,; Mario Cusano on clarinet; Francesco Bruni on guitar; Enrico Greppi on vocals; Master App on vocals; Carla Patullo on vocals; Yam Salia on vocals; and Big Roma on vocals.




Buy Babilonia


Mauritanian Sensation Noura Mint Seymali to Perform in Dearborn

Noura Mint Seymali
Noura Mint Seymali

Noura Mint Seymali, one of the most respected artists in Mauritania, is st to perform on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 at the Arab American National Museum

The Mauritanian artist was raised in a transitive culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Maghreb, and West Africa merge. Noura Mint Seymali is a vocalist and master of the ardin, a nine-­string harp reserved only for women. She is one of Mauritania’s most audacious young artists. Her band is backed by a funk­-style rhythm section, composed of Ousmane Touré and Matthew Tinari.

Noura Mint Seymali’s most recent album is the critically acclaimed Tzenni.

Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 582-2266


Dramatically Elegant Viena

Varttina – Viena (Westpark Music, 2016)

Thirty years in the making, the Finnish folk group Varttina started out as a children’s music project in the village of Raakkyla in 1983. In those years the group has evolved in membership and endured the occasional change in musical direction, putting out such recordings as Varttina (1987), Musta Lindu (1989), Oi Dai (1991), Ilmatar (2000) and Miero (2006), performed live across the globe and collaborated with A.R. Rahman for the musical theatrical production of The Lord of the Rings performed in Toronto, Canada and London, England. Headed up by original Varttina singer, Mari Kaasinen, Varttina is back with thirteenth studio album Viena on the Westpark Music label.

Varttina’s tight, neat sound is crafted out of the talents of vocalist and kantele player Mari Kaasinen; vocalist and kantele player Karoliina Kantelinen; vocalist Susan Aho; accordionist, bansuri player and vocalist Matti Kallio; fiddler, nyckelharpist, bowed lyre player and vocalist Lassi Logren and guitarist mandocellist, bouzouki player, mandolinist and vocalist Matti Laitinen. Keeping to that sharply honed sound centered on the blending and the myriad of harmonies of its female vocalists, Viena is just as energetic, beguiling and edgily eccentric as ever and the result is contagiously joyful.

Drawing influence from a trip to Russia’s Viena Karelian folklore villages where the last of the “rune singers” and Kalevala folk tradition and poetry have eked out an existence for thousands of years, Viena is a tribute to the region’s untouched nature and the musical roots.

Opening with the lovely “Taivasranta” or “The Heavenly Shore,” fans get the full force of these elegantly entwined vocals surrounded by guitar, accordion and kantele (a Finnish plucked instrument belonging to the dulcimer and zither family).

Dipping into the traditional, Viena offers up the vocally sensational track “Raijan Joiku,” before giving over to the joyfully worked “Kanaset” and the delicately dreamy “Kelo.”

Working through stunners like “Ukonlammas,” the traditional “Kokko” and irrepressibly delightful “Kiri,” Viena exudes the richness of Finland’s musical traditions. Closing traditional track “Oi Dai” with its happy energy is reason enough to check out Viena.

By turns Viena is infectiously folksy and dramatically elegant and well worth the legacy of Varttina.

Buy Viena in North America

Buy Viena in Europe


Renowned Irish Band The Gloaming to Perform at Duke University

The Gloaming in New York - Photo by Rich Gilligan
The Gloaming in New York – Photo by Rich Gilligan

The Gloaming, a contemporary Celtic music band, is set to perform at Baldwin Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

The quintet includes some of the world’s greatest Celtic musicians, including vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird (Afro Celt Sound System), fiddle master Martin Hayes, hardanger fiddler Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh, guitarist Dennis Cahill; and Brooklyn-based pianist and producer Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman (The National, Grizzly Bear, and Nico Muhly).

The Gloaming released a self-titled 2014 debut album, The Gloaming . The ensemble’s second recording, 2 is scheduled for release later this month.

More details at: dukeperformances.duke.edu/calendar/gloaming


Ciaran Algar Releases The Final Waltz

Ciaran Algar -  The Final Waltz
Ciaran Algar – The Final Waltz

Multi-instrumentalist Ciaran Algar has a new album titled The Final Waltz (Fellside). Ciaran plays fiddle, guitar, banjo, and percussion and is one of the most highly-regarded young musicians on the Folk circuit today.

In 2015, Ciaran began working on a solo project that resulted in his debut solo album, The Final Waltz. The primary vocalist in the band is emerging singer, Sam Kelly. The majority of the album, nonetheless, is instrumental, and the tunes that are used in the sets are a selection of Ciaran’s favorites that he has learned over the last 11 years of playing Irish fiddle. Rather than recording every tune set with fiddle and guitar, Ciaran has combine traditional tunes with a contemporary-style of accompaniment. The Ciaran Algar band will be touring in 2016.

Ciaran’s musical influences come from deep within the Irish tradition. This Irish connection led to Ciaran taking part in the Fleadhs run by Comhaltas, in which he was really successful. Over 8 years of competing, he won 20 regional titles, 12 British titles and 1 All Ireland title across various categories (fiddle, fiddle slow airs, bodhran) all by the time he was 16 years old.

In late 2011, Ciaran met young singer and guitarist Greg Russell for the first time, and played a few songs with him. The duo has won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (and a third nomination) and released two albums, Call and Queen’s Lover, and a live DVD, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar in Concert.


Flamenco Guitar Master Vicente Amigo to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Vicente Amigo
Vicente Amigo

Composer, producer, and one of the finest guitarists in the world, Vicente Amigo is set to perform at Carnegie Hall on Friday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. This concert is part of his first major tour of the United States.

Amigo won the Latin Grammy Award in 2001 for his album Ciudad de las Ideas (City of Ideas). The guitarist is known for pushing flamenco’s boundaries, venturing into other cultures. His most recent album, Tierra, combines Spanish and Celtic traditions and debuted at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in 2013.


Vicente Amigo - Ciudad de las Ideas
Vicente Amigo – Ciudad de las Ideas


Vicente Amigo - Tierra
Vicente Amigo – Tierra


I’ve always been interested in mixes,” says Amigo. “We ourselves are products of a mix of our father and our mother, how could we be against it? Besides, one of the wonders in music is that is open-ended, infinite, and in the place you least expect it, you can find something that enriches you as a musician and as a person.”

Amigo’s March 4 concert will focus specifically on flamenco with a few selections from Tierra arranged for Amigo and his fellow musicians: Antonio “Añil” Fernández (second guitar), Francisco “Paquito” González (cajón), Ewen Vernal (bass), and Rafael de Utrera (vocals), along with special guest flamenco dancer Antonio Molina “Choro.”

Amigos’ discography includes De Mi Corazon Al Aire (Sony Music Spain, 1992), Vivencias Imaginadas (Sony Music Spain, 1995), Poeta (Sony, 1997), Ciudad de las Ideas (Europe: BMG Music 74321784952, 2001) / City of Ideas (USA: Windham Hill, 2002), Un Momento En El Sonido (2005), Paseo De Gracia (SonyBMG, 2009), “Vivencias” La Obra Completa de un Genio (2010), and Tierra (2013).

Ticket Information

Tickets, priced $35–$65, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.


Exhilarating and Captivating Karsh Kale

Karsh Kale – Up (Six Degrees Records, 2016)

Six Degrees Records’s release of Karsh Kale’s Up is a bit like being shoved off a cliff and reveling in an expansive freefall surrounded by a frenzy of tabla and percussion, sizzling guitar lines, moody electronica and soaring vocals. It is a glorious swan dive into musical imagination of producer and multi-intrumentalist Karsh Kale.

With recordings like Cinema (2011), Realize (2006), Liberation (2007) and Broken English (2006) to his credit, Mr. Kale had continued to dazzle fans with performances around the globe, including a stint at spinning records for the Obama White House, as well as opening for A.R. Rahman at the Hollywood Bowl and joining Alicia Keys, the Black Keys, Norah Jones and Gary Clark, Jr. for a tribute concert to George Harrison. He’s also collaborated with the likes of Imogen Heap and Anoushka Shankar.

Proving there’s no rest for the weary, Mr. Kale uses that frustration of balancing the demands of an artist on the go and the constant travel with fatherhood as part of the inspiration for Up.

Mr. Kale says of the experience, “When you’re always traveling you’re never really ready to go. I’d be a father in Brooklyn one moment then fly to India and go straight to a TV show or a festival.”

Squeezing every ounce of creative juice of that frustration, Mr. Kale’s Up rides on air of constant motion and movement wrapped in intricate rhythms, high flying guitars and keyboards, furthered along by way bansuri flute, sitar and electronica to conjure up an Indian inspired mix that downright heady.


Karsh Kale
Karsh Kale


Up proves potent with opening track “High” with vocalist Milan Xai, bassist Tony Grey, electric bansuri player Ajay Prasanna and Mr. Kale on keyboards, samples, tabla, drum programming and additional bass. Title track “Up” is just as lush with Warren Mendonsa on acoustic and electric guitars, Ravi Chary on sitar, Karan Joseph on keyboards and Benny Dayal’s vocals and Mr. Kale on tabla, keyboards, drum kit, as well as offering up some sleekly cool vocals. And, Up just get better with tracks like “Butterfly Effect” with vocals by Ankita Joshi and Sabir Khan on sarangi, the electronically airy “Thin Line of Blue” and the kick ass “Play” with vocals by Sa Dingding.

“Be Like Water” is a marvel of tabla, drum and bass programming and keyboards and a solo endeavor by Mr. Kale. Equally delicious is the razor sharp edged “Shiva” with its fiery guitar lines, the sultry moody “Snowflake” with vocals by Ranjit Arupurakal and Papon and the delicately lovely closing track “Shyam” with vocalist Monali Thakur, bassist Tony Grey, electric guitarist Warren Mendonsa, bansuri player Ajay Prasanna with Mr. Kale taking up keyboards, bass and drum programming.



Exhilarating and captivating, Up is a headlong leap into the exotic and the ride down is delicious.

Buy Up in North America

Buy Up in Europe


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