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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Riyaaz Qawwali is set to perform on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Zankel Hall in New York City. Riyaaz performs the ecstatic improvisational Sufi vocal tradition made famous in the West by the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, enthralling listeners with its lively rhythms, joyous melodies and inspirational poetry.
In addition to celebrating the traditional qawwali that has been in existence for over 700 years, the ensemble also weaves various songs and poetry of South Asia into the qawwali framework, using qawwali as a universal message of oneness that transcends religious boundaries.
Most qawwali troupes are composed of Muslim family members, but Riyaaz Qawwali, which is based in Texas, is composed of musicians who represent the diversity of South and Central Asia; they are of Indian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Bangladeshi descent, and come from various spiritual backgrounds, including Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism. The ensemble last appeared in New York at globalFEST 2015 and has an album titled Kashti.
“Skeud” (shadow, reflection) is the fifth album by one of the best-known bands from Brittany. The group combines traditional dances and tunes from Brittany with rock, jazz, Celtic influences from Ireland and even a bit of funk.
The sound of Startijenn is characterized by the sounds of traditional Breton instruments, biniou (bagpipe) and bombard (reed instrument) supported by guitar, accordion and a solid rhythm section of electric bass and percussion.
The captivating Breton folk music styles featured on “Skeud” include an dro (circle dance), rond de Loudia (a dance from the Loudia region), valse, ridée (a dance from the Vannes region) and various other traditional forms.
The lineup on “Skeud” includes Tangi Oillo on guitars; Youenn Roue on bombards; Lionel Le Page on biniou and uilleann-pipes; Kaou Gwenn on percussion; Tangi Le Gall-Carré on button accordion; and Julien Stévenin on bass.
Startijenn was founded in Brest in 1997. Since then, the band has grown to be one of the leading acts in the Breton folk music scene and they have toured internationally, taking the Breton music they are passionate about. Startijenn’s earlier recordings include Startijenn (Coop Breizh, 2006), Pakit Holl! (Paker Prod / Coop Breizh, 2008), Kreiz da Fas! (Paker Prod / Coop Breizh, 2010), and Startijenn – El Taqa Live (Paker Prod / Coop Breizh, 2013).
“Skeud” is a powerful forward thinking album by one of Brittany’s most significant contemporary folk music artists.
When you talk about drums, there are the handmade versions of drums and then there are also mass manufactured drums. Michel Ouellet the owner of MOPERC located in Canada has one of the most outstanding handcrafted drum companies around, making congas, bongos, wooden timbales (tarolas) and soon, once again, batá drums.
Michel is an extremely social individual even though he has a busy shop schedule. He made time to talk with me as did the famed Jay Bereck. Let’s see what Michel has to say about himself and his drum company.
Michel, can you tell me little about your background?
I was born in a “not musician” family but very young I loved and listened to much music. My father was a blacksmith and was very clever with his hands so seeing him working daily, I began very young to make and build different things with my hands, spending my time beside him in his shop.
Michel, when did you first discover the drum, conga, bongo etc?
I moved to Montreal to study Arts at college. There, I began to play bongos with my guitarist room-mates. At the first 80s I began to study Latin percussion with different good players in Montreal as my friends Pierre Cormier and Andre Dupuis who studied in New York and Cuba. I learned rumba at this moment with them. This was my passion. I played hours and hours.
What made you start a drum making company?
At the age of 28 I moved to the country with my little family. I was a carpenter. The first month I arrived here, 27 years ago, I made for myself a djembe with a log with my chain saw! I accompanied African dance class with my first djembe. I made a second one that was better and I did more than 20 instruments in this way. Mostly, djembes and also batás.
During this time I was carpenter, as my career, during this part of my life. In the end of the 80s I began to study the construction of congas made by staves. I found different ways to build them. I saw the LP [Latin Percussion] method, with staves in two or three plies, I saw Skin On Skin who steamed and banded the staves (I went to buy congas at the Jay shop in Brooklyn).
I also saw how Valje (drums) would cut some grooves inside each staves to curve them. And I discovered the Junior Tirado; that Junior would cut each staves in a solid piece of wood. But I began with the steam method myself. Then I changed from cutting the staves to a solid piece of wood. This is the method I’ve used for 20 years and the one which I prefer.
The first congas I made I showed them to the percussionists in Montreal and they began to order some, and then ordered more. Later, I went to Toronto and the results were good, In 1990 I found the proper method officially, after 2 years of research.
The 90s were the years I developed my methods and different instruments. I have made batás, tamboras, congas, bongos, timbales, djembes, sabars, dununs, talking drums and different other little drums. Even a couple of drum sets for friends.
Quickly, I knew that my market would be in the bongos, congas and djembe drum making. Therefore, I have put the others drums on the aside and I just started offering timbales.
What kind of styles of music do you play and where have you traveled to expose your great product? Who have been some of the sponsors of your drums for your MOPERC Company?
In the 2000s. I came back on the scene with different models, salsa and grupo de son. I have Cuban friends Habana Café; with a salsa timba band. They still have a good success here in Canada.
I have played this style of music for 12 years on congas. But 8 years ago I quit the scene for keep my energy for my business.
I traveled to Cuba many times where I have concluded partnerships with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Yoruba Andabo, Afrocuban All Stars, La Charanga Habanera and different musicians such as Panga (Tomas Ramos Ortiz), Rolando Salgado, Pacha Portuondo, el Chino…
In the USA I have held clinics during these last years in different places as PASIC in Nashville, in Los Angeles and once In New York.
Last year, at the age of 55 and after more than 25 years of business I made a move to sell MOPERC Company and retire. But for some technical and human reasons the sale did not work. I think it is because I have not finished with this work. Now I’m very glad to be here as owner and founder for some more years. I have many projects. The sales go very well. I sell much in USA, much in Canada and a little in Europe. Some of my drums go to South and Central America and some to Asia, Africa …
How is the drum production going? Do you plan to start making batá drums again?
I’m working now on a new model of conga made of oak and mahogany. I used to make many congas and bongos with oak and mahogany in the 90s and I loved the sound projection of these woods. That will be more a vintage style model reminiscent of the old Cuban drums used in the rumba before and after the revolution. I like oak for the great projection and volume it offers. I love mahogany for its warm and rich tone. These are very nice looking grains of wood too. During these years I worked with maple, birch, ash, mahogany, cherry, oak, and others.
I’m working now also on batás drums. I have made some set during the years. Yoruba Andabo, Muñequitos de Matanzas and others play my batás around the world now. I have many demands. I’ll come back with these “high class” models of batá’s soon in 2016.
What is in the future for MOPERC, your drum Company?
We just went out with wood timbales (tarolas) recently and we have had great comments and success with them. We produced 2 videos demonstrating the wood timbales with my good friend and great Cuban percussionist based in Toronto: Rosendo Chendy De León.
I’m working on other different videos with my partner Francis Mercier. We are planning to film videos in Montreal, Toronto and also in Cuba this winter.
I do not have retail dealers, my preference it not to. So the best way for my product to be heard is on videos, and certainly producing live clinics with musicians. That is why in 2016, I will be producing several clinics in Montreal, Toronto, New York in and probably in Miami.
I have a small team, 2 employees in my workshop, plus myself and Francis, who helps me to develop and create the marketing utilizing these videos. We only focus on quality and contact with musicians. It had been always my target; “to make them happy and proud of their instruments”. Money and success come only after when this is well done. I think every craftsman and his craftsmanship should be like this.
Esperanza Fernández (Spain) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba) are set to perform on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Roulette in New York City.
Esperanza Fernández, one of the flamenco world’s leading singers, and Havana-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, come together for Oh Vida!, a performance dedicated to two legendary figures: Cuban singer-bandleader Beny Moré, known as El Bárbaro del Ritmo, and the Gypsy flamenco singer Manolo Caracol, known for his passionate voice.
Fernández, born in Seville into an important Gypsy family of artists, is deeply rooted in the singing traditions of Lebrija and Triana. She worked with such luminaries as Mario Maya, Camarón de la Isla, and Enrique Morente.
Piano maestro Gonzalo Rubalcaba, acclaimed for his solid technique and originality, has developed his own distinctive voice and challenged the traditional musical classifications of the day.