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

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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.

 

 

 

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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
www.accesscommunity.org/events/noura-mint-seymali-mauritanian

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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

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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.

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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.

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Riyaaz Qawwali to Bring the Sufi Music of Pakistan & India to New York City

Riyaaz Qawwali
Riyaaz Qawwali

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.

Time: 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Roulette
509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue
Downtown Brooklyn
917-267-0363

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Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Announces 2016 Juno Awards World Music Album of the Year Nominees

The World Music Album of the Year nominees for the 2016 JUNO Awards were announced by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) at a press conference at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on February 2, 2016. Juno Award winners will be announced during Juno Week in Calgary, March 28 – April 3, 2016.

The nominees for World Music Album of the Year include Resistance by The Souljazz Orchestra; Moorka by Lemon Bucket Orkestra; Revuelta Danza Party by Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra; Neo-Reconquista by Boogat; and Healer by Alex Cuba.

 

Resistance by The Souljazz Orchestra
Resistance by The Souljazz Orchestra

 

Moorka by Lemon Bucket Orkestra
Moorka by Lemon Bucket Orkestra

 

Revuelta Danza Party by Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra
Revuelta Danza Party by Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra

 

Neo-Reconquista by Boogat
Neo-Reconquista by Boogat

 

Healer by Alex Cuba
Healer by Alex Cuba

 

The Souljazz Orchestra

The Souljazz Orchestra
The Souljazz Orchestra

The Souljazz Orchestra is a multicultural ensemble based in Ottawa, Ontario. The group combines soul, jazz, African, Latin American and Caribbean styles, using a brass section and a wide variety of percussion.

Resistance adds a French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences such as coupé-décalé, zouk, and ndombolo.

The Souljazz Orchestra’s discography includes Freedom No Go Die (2006) and Manifesto (2008) set the bar high. Rising Sun (2010), Solidarity (2012) and Inner Fire (2014).

 

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Toronto-based The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is described as Canada’s only Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-superband. The group got started as a street busking band in 2010. The original quartet grew into a much larger ensemble that uses brass and bows. World tour followed.

Moorka was recorded in a friend’s barn in Waterloo right after their three month Canadian tour and was released in March 2015. It includes re-worked folk songs the band learned in Romania, Ukraine, Serbia and Macedonia from local musicians on their last European tour, each tune modified with a blend of funk, punk, psychedelia, blues and swing.

 

Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra

Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra - Photo by Adelaida Pardo
Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra – Photo by Adelaida Pardo

The Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, from Montreal, fuses Afro-Colombian music and dance, with the brass and violin melodies of Eastern Europe. The group’s shows bring together live music, choreographed dance, circus, theatrical staging and dynamic audience interaction. Revuelta Danza Party is the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra’s debut album.

 

Boogat

Boogat
Boogat

Boogat is based in Quebec City, Quebec. He’s a Latin American vocalist, who continually reinvents himself with his plentiful discography. His style is described as a mix of worldbeat and tropical-bass. Some of his songs have attracted Hollywood, including placements in the TV series Homeland, and the film, The Forger, with John Travolta. Neo-Reconquista is his latest recording.

 

Alex Cuba

Alex Cuba
Alex Cuba

Vocalist Alex Cuba was born in Cuba and currently lives in British Columbia. His style has gradually changed from Cuban roots music and soul to pop. Healer is a pop and Spanish-language R&B album.

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Breton Energy

Startijenn – “Skeud” (Paker, 2015)

“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.

Buy Skeud from Amazon UK or directly from the band: www.startijenn.bzh/en/shop/

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Somaliland Act Sahra Halgan Trio to presents new album “Faransiskiyo Somaliland” at Studio de l’Ermitage

Sahra Halgan
Sahra Halgan

Sahra Halgan Trio is set to perform at Studio L’Ermitage on Wednesday, February 10, 2016as part of the 9th edition of the Festival Au Fil des Voix.

Sahra Halgan Trio is currently the only artist from Somaliland in the field of world music. The trio features Sahra Halgan on vocals, Aymeric Krol on percussion and Maël Salètes on guitar.

The band will present its album, “Faransiskiyo Somaliland” (Buda Music / Universal), released on October 23, 2015.

Studio L’Ermitage is located at 8 Rue de l’Ermitage, 75020 Paris, France.

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