Southern Rock Icon Gregg Allman Dies at 69

Gregg Allman – Photo by Danny Clinch

Legendary Southern rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Gregg Allman passed away on May 27, 2017.

Gregory LeNoir Allman was one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band. Based in Macon, Georgia, the Allman Brothers Band was a pioneer of Southern rock, a remarkable mix of rock, blues, jazz and soul.

Some of the best known songs he performed include “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post.” The Allman Brothers Band won a GRAMMY Award in 1995 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Jessica.”

We have lost a pioneering force in American music, and our condolences go out to Gregg’s family, friends, colleagues, and music fans everywhere,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy.

The family recommends that tributes to Gregg can be made to the Gregg Allman Scholarship Fund at The University of Georgia or the Allman/Lehman Endowed Scholarship at Syracuse University.


A Taste of Rudolstadt Festival

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016 (Heideck, 2016)

You can catch up with the latest in world music acts with this double CD compilation from Germany’s Rudolstadt Festival. This compilation features artists from various countries that appeared in the 2016 edition of the festival.

Rudolstadt Festival is one of the most significant world music festivals in Europe.

Stylistically, the artists range from traditional to contemporary forms of world music. The album comes nicely packaged in a hard cover digibook with liner notes in German and English.

Although some of the artists are familiar names to the world music community, there are also quite a few discoveries, featuring acts that don’t tour North America.

Rudolstadt Festival 2016 is an excellent sampling of the great world music you’ll find at the annual festival.

The album is available from


The Smooth Global Sounds of the Shanti Orchestra

Ricky Kej – Shanti Orchestra

Ricky Kej – Shanti Orchestra (Raveolution Studios, 2013)

Indian-American producer Ricky Kej released Shanti Orchestra in 2013. It’s a set of musical pieces that combines melodic new age music with Indian, Celtic and other global music influences.

Kej invited several well-known names in the new age and Indian classical world. The flutes and sitar play a leading role in many of the pieces. Guests include Alexis D’Souza (vocals), Junior Bay (vocals), Praveen Godkhindi (bansuri), Wouter Kellerman (flutes), and Paul Livingstone (sitar).

Shanti Orchestra is a crossover album that will appeal to fans of highly melodic new age music and the lighter side of world music.

Buy Shanti Orchestra


Artist Profiles: Culture Musical Club

Culture Musical Club – Photo courtesy of Sauti za Busara Music Festival

Culture Musical Club is not only the largest but also one of the most prolific and successful orchestras of Zanzibar and they present taarab music Swahili style at its best.

In addition to countless performances in Stonetown villages of Zanzibar and on the Tanzania mainland, this ensemble has toured internationally with outstanding success and has won over audiences in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Arab Emirates and Reunion with their lush songs and instrumental solos.

They perform new compositions on a regular basis and have developed a distinct and uniquely Swahili style. Their CD-releases have made the name Culture Musical Club known to audiences throughout the world so that rehearsals in their club house have become  a tourist attraction.


The Music of Zanzibar (Globestyle, 1988)

Spices of Zanzibar (Network Medie, 1996)

Bashraf (Dizim, 2000)

Waridi: Parfums de Zanzibar (Virgin, 2004)

Shime! (World Village, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Bad Haggis

Bad Haggis – Photo by Wayde Carroll


Virtuoso bagpipe player Eric Rigler and his Celtic-infused, world music fusion band Bad Haggis combine the traditional sounds of Scottish and Irish bagpipes and tin whistles with Latin American music, Jazz, rock, and African influences. Based in Los Angeles, the band was formed in formed in 1998 and has toured the United States, Scotland and Spain.

Rigler fell in love with the sound of bagpipes at age two. He learned the traditional forms of bagpipe music, but as he got older he was interested in other genres and decided to combine them.

Rigler ‘s bagpipes and whistles are heard on several movie soundtracks, from Hollywood hits Braveheart and Titanic to the 2005 Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby. Eric Rigler also is heard on Troy, Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World, Ladder 49, Road to Perdition, Death to Smoochy, Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me, Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius and many others.

Bad Haggis is led by Rigler on Scottish and Irish bagpipes and various whistles. The lineup has varied throughout the years.


Eric Rigler – Photo courtesy of Aix Records


Rigler has recorded with various artists such as Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban and Tracy Chapman.

He’s also heard and sometimes seen on A&E television’s Crossing Jordan as well as other TV series like JAG, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and others. Rigler was the piper who led former President Ronald Reagan’s burial, televised worldwide.



Ark (2000)

Trip (2001)

Span (2004) Live-concert, double-sided DVD

Wine Dark Sea (2005)



Singer-songwriter Raimon Receives Lifetime Career Tribute

Raimon receiving a certificate of recognition – Photo by Juan Miguel Morales

Award-winning Singer-songwriter and poet Raimon received a tribute on May 12, 2017 at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona.

Raimon was born in Xàtiva/Játiva (Valencia, Spain) in 1940. He became one of the most significant Catalan-language singers-songwriters in the 1960s and 1970s, part of the Nova Cançó movement.

Organizers of the event, invited Michael Mason, director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, who gave the singer a certificate of recognition.


Artist Profiles: Crooked Still

Crooked Still, original lineup

Crooked Still is an alternative bluegrass band that combined banjo, cello and double bass.

In the spring of 2001, vocalist Aoife O’Donovan and bassist Corey DiMario were classmates at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In the meantime,  just across the river in the laboratories of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, a young cellist named Rushad Eggleston from the Berklee College of Music met every night to jam with Greg Liszt, then a graduate student and aspiring four-finger banjo player. A random meeting at a late-night party brought all four of these musicians together for the first time and Crooked Still was born in the summer of that year.

Their acoustic fusion transformed traditional American tunes  without losing authenticity. “It’s almost like we’re going back and making imaginary history ” said Eggleston.

As its members finished school, Crooked Still regularly performed around Boston, gaining a great reputation and growing its fan base.

Hop High (Signature Sounds Recordings 2005) the debut album from Crooked Still was released at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in July 2004 and was the top-selling CD at the festival that year. Following the success of this first festival appearance Crooked Still appeared at concert halls nightclubs coffeehouses and festivals in many American states and three different countries.

In 2007, Rushad Eggleston left the band and one year later two new musicians joined the band, Tristan Clarridge (cello) and Brittany Haas (fiddle).


Crooked Still


The ensemble took a 3-year sabbatical in 2011.



Hop High (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2005)

Shaken by a Low Sound (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2006)

Still Crooked (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2008)

Crooked Still Live (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2009)

Some Strange Country (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2010)

Friends of Fall (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2011)


Artist Profiles: Crasdant


Crasdant is a group formed by some of Wales’ top performers. Led by harp player Robin Huw Bowen, Crasdant explores Welsh music and folk dancing.

The other band members include Stephen Rees on fiddle and pibgorn;  Andy McLauchlin on flute, pibgorn and whistle;   and Huw Williams,  Welsh clogger.


Crasdant (Sain Records, 1999)
Nos Sadwrn Bach – Not Yet Saturday (Sain Records, 2001)
Dwndwr – The Great Noise (Sain Records, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger is a virtuoso fiddler, guitarist and outstanding singer. He was born in Eunice, Louisiana. Granger is Christine Balfa’s cousin and was the youngest member of Balfa Toujours. He recorded his debut CD for Rounder Records at the age of 15. He quickly became a reputable musician in the Cajun music scene and received several Cajun French Music association (CFMA) awards.

In 1999 Courtney joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle playing together with the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney also recorded with the legendary bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien.

Courtney’s repertoire includes Cajun and classic country tunes. His masterful fiddling and soulful singing has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers, playing with renowned artists Jason Frey Dirk Powell and Horace Trahan. He joined the famous Cajun band The Pine Leaf Boys in summer 2008.

In 2016 he released Beneath Still Waters, his first solo country album.


Un Bal Chez Balfa (Rounder, 1999)

Live at Whiskey River Landing, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 696 2000)

Live at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2009)

Back Home, with The Pine Leaf Boys (Valcour Records, 2010)

Live at Jazzfest 2012, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2012)

Danser, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2013)

Beneath Still Waters (Valcour Records, 2016)


Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music