Artist Profiles: Manolo Franco

Manolo Franco

Flamenco guitarist Manolo Franco was born in Sevilla (Spain) in 1960. He debuted at age 15 with Matilde Coral who performed at famous festivals in Spain. Since then he has participated as soloist in prestigious national and international festivals in Stockholm Tokyo Freiburg the Festival de la Guitarra de Cordoba, the Flamenco Summit Madrid and Sevilla Flamenco Biennial.

His discography includes the essential Aljibe solo album as well as countless collaborations as a sideman with several singers and other music genres related to flamenco. His main professional focus is accompanying vocalists. He is a teacher at present at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica `Rafael Orozco´de Cordoba (Cordoba’s Rafael Orozco Conservatory of Music).

His artistic career has been recognized with numerous awards including the Giraldillo al toque in 1984 at the Bienal de Sevilla and the Premio Nacional de la Catedra de Flamencologia de Jerez (National Flamencology Award in 2003.

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Copla with a Jazz Twist

Natalia Mellado – Caminos De Vuelta

Natalia Mellado – Caminos De Vuelta (Cabalgache, 2014)

Natalia Mellado is a talented singer from southwestern Spain that specializes in copla, a type of Spanish folk song that was very popular in the 20th century. Natalia sings copla with a twist, adding jazz, flamenco and traditional folk music elements from other cultures as well as Latin American rhythms and genres such as tango.

The album features arranger Raúl Ramoson piano; Oscar Fernández on bass; Adrián Alameda on drums and percussion; Javier Bruna on flute; Victor Bruna on clarinet; Jesús Sacristán and Isaac Maroto on palmas; and Oscar Herrero on flamenco guitar.

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Fufu Tryout

Dominic Egli’s Plurism with Feya Faku – More Fufu

Dominic Egli’s Plurism with Feya Faku – More Fufu (Unit Records, 2016)

More Fufu is an album Swiss jazz drummer Dominic Egli. His band Plurism plays contemporary jazz with some world music influences such as Latin beats and kalimba. Plurism’s special guest on More Fufu is renowned South African trumpeter Feya Faku. More Fufu includes impressive drumming and interplay between the trumpet and saxophone.

The lineup includes Dominic Egli on drums and kalimba, Feya Faku on trumpet and flugelhorn; Raffaele Bossard on double bass and frikywa bell; Donat Fisch on alto and soprano saxophone; and Puno Selesho on spoken word.

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Artist Profiles: Malinky

Malinky – Photo by Thomas Gavin

Malinky were Danny Kyle Open Stage winners at Celtic Connections in 1999. Their song-centered repertoire combines a deep appreciation of tradition with a vibrant freshness of approach taking in both classic ballads and outstanding original songwriting alongside sparkling instrumental sets.

Malinky’s current line-up features founding members Steve Byrne (vocals/bouzouki/guitar) Mark Dunlop (whistles/bodhran/vocals) Jon Bews (fiddle/vocals) and new members since 25 — Fiona Hunter (vocals/cello) Ewan MacPherson (mandolin/guitar/octave mandolin/tenor banjo/jaw harp/vocals).

A year on from winning the Danny Award Malinky released their debut CD Last Leaves to widespread acclaim. The album spent six months in the US Celtic Radio Chart Top 1. This success paved the way for a steadily accelerating tour schedule that has since taken Malinky throughout the UK and Europe with headline gigs including the Tonder, Lorient, Cambridge and Sidmouth folk festivals as well as several return visits to Celtic Connections and the prestigious Scottish Folk Festival tour of Germany where the band now tour annually in their own right.

Malinky – Photo by Aidan Ritchie

Their 2002 album 3 Ravens earned the Scots/Irish five-piece rave reviews all-round. Malinky headed into the studio in summer 25 to record their third album once again on leading Scottish independent label Greentrax Recordings; Unseen Hours was released on 1st November 2005 and asserted their continuing position as Scotland’s leading young folk group.

Discography:

Last Leaves (Greentrax, 2000)
3 Ravens (GreenTrax, 2002)
The Unseen Hours (Mad River Records, 2005)
Flower & Iron (Mad River Records, 2008)
Far Better Days (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Manny Oquendo

Manny Oquendo

Bandleader Oquendo was a veteran of the days when Latin bands crowded into a studio to polish off a recording in an all-night session. “The first recording (singer) Tito Rodriguez did we took the 7th Avenue train to record for SMC label,” Oquendo recalled. “Tito Puente did the arrangements. You recorded on monaural with just a few mikes. You couldn’t stop and overdub. You just played.”

Oquendo’s musical education consisted of the old-school,just play” approach and he was in the right place to learn. He grew up on Kelly Street in the Bronx New York not far from the great Cuban tres player Arsenio Rodriguez. Colin Powell who’d later become a general lived on the block too so did pianist Noro Morales. And a lot of kids who’d later make their names in Latin music such as Joe Cuba the Palmieri brothers Little Ray Romero grew up playing stickball on Kelly Street.

One floor down from the Oquendo apartment was the Almacenes Hernandez record shop. “There was music constantly coming out of that store and that was my education,” Oquendo recalled. He became an expert on Cuban rhythms and began playing bongo and timbales with a succession of New York’s top bands.

Manny Oquendo died on March 25, 2009

Discography:

Increible (1981. Reissued by Sony Discos Inc. 8397 2000)

Ritmo Sonido y Estilo (1983)

Mejor que nunca (Milestone Records 9226, 1994)

Muévete! (Milestone, 1996)

Ahora (Milestone Records 9288, 1999)

Los New Yorkinos (Milestone/Fantasy Records MCD-937 2000)

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Delightful Goldenhair

Goldenhair by Brian Byrne and James Joyce

Goldenhair by Brian Byrne and James Joyce (Node Records, 2016)

Goldenhair is an album composed by acclaimed Irish musician Brian Byrne. He wrote and arranged the music with lyrics based on the writings of James Joyce.

Despite the Irish origin, don’t expect an Irish folk music album. Goldenhair focuses primarily on jazz. The album includes songs and spoken word segments and has an impressive list of guests, Judith Hill, Glenn Close, Julian Lennon, Kurt Elling, Sara Gazarek, Curtis Stigers, Kate McGarry, Kristina Train, Declan O’ Rourke, Cara Dillon, Jack Lukeman and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

 

 

 

Although most of the album is grounded on jazz, it also features evocative bagpipe, neosoul, gospel, blues and bluegrass. Goldenhair brings together the best of music and literature.

Buy Goldenhair

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Steel Pan Melting Pot

Steel Pan Fusion – Melting Pot

Steel Pan Fusion – Melting Pot (Steel Pan Fusion, 2017)

Steel Pan Fusion is an excellent London band led by Trinidadian steel pan maestro and composer Wade Austin. He takes the versatile steelpan to the exciting world of jazz fusion with a group of skilled colleagues that add electronic keyboards, creative drumming, funk bass, soca, world music elements and other tasty ingredients.

The lineup includes Wade Austin and David Vine on steel pan, Sam Blue Agard on drums, Liam Joseph on bass, Phillip Harper on percussion, Andre Louis and Joe McGrail on keyboards, and Adriano Rosetti-Bonell on saxophone and flute.

Two additional pannists appear as guests: Daiel Louis and Delphina James.

Melting Pot delivers superb fusion highlighting the steel pan.

Buy Melting Pot

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Exploring Raga

Various Artists – Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga

Various Artists – Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga (ARC Music EUCD2730, 2017)

This 2-disc set contains a music CD of field recordings made in India in the late 1960s by the late Deben Bhattacharya, featuring various artists playing ragas. The second disc is a DVD with a very interesting 30-minute film titled Ragas, also directed by Deben Bhattacharya.

In the 1960s many western musicians were “Discovering” Indian music. The ‘Raga’ documentary was filmed in 1969, in the early days of documentary filmmaking, and presented by Yehudi Menuhin.

The album booklet contains liner notes by Simon Broughton, biographical information about Deben Bhattacharya, the documentary and ragas and artists feature don the audio disc.

Overall, a fascinating introduction to raga from an Indian perspective.

Buy Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga

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Fine Choro from Toronto

Tio Chorinho – Chora Brazil

Tio Chorinho – Chora Brazil (Tio Chorinho, 2016)

Tio Chorinho is a great instrumental ensemble from Toronto that specializes in choro music, a Brazilian genre from the Rio de Janeiro region. It’s lively, uplifting music that brings together Portuguese guitar traditions and African beats.

The group’s sound revolves around the sounds and interplay of the cavaquinho, guitar and mandolin. On Chora Brazil there is also notable flute work by guest musician Alheli Pimienta. The music selection includes classics by Jacob do Bandolim, Waldir Azevedo and Pixinguinha.

The lineup on Chora Brazil includes Eric Stein on mandolin; Avital Zemer on 7-string guitar; Maninho Costa on percussion; Carlos Cardozo on cavaquinho; and Andre Valerio on guitar and cavaquinho. Guests: Alheli Pimienta on flute; Riquinho Fernandes on [percussion; Milos Popovic on accordion and Flavia Nascimento on vocals.

Buy the album from www.tiochorinho.com/music

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