The Best of Spanish Reggae at Siroco in Madrid


The legendary Siroco club in Madrid will present a reggae music special on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 21:00 (9:00 p.m.). The lineup includes Blueskank Trio, Razaguaya and rising star Nora Norman.



Blueskank, from Madrid, is one of the most effective acts in the Spanish black music scene. The group appears in both electric and acoustic formats, fusing reggae, soul, blues and Afrobeat. Blueskank has toured Spain, the UK, Portugal, Germany, France, Czech Republic, and Austria. The group released its first single “Peace on You” in 2009, the album “Taking Off” (Prod. Psicotrónicas & LaFamille Music, 2011), the live acoustic EP “The Wiser, the Better: From the Inside” (Prod. Psicotrónicas, 2013), and the album “A Thin Line” (Youkali Music, 2014)


Madrid-based Razaguaya returns after five years of silence with its second album, “Enséñame” (Teach me). The new recording is an indie self-release financed by supporters and features guest appearances by Blueskank and Dremen collaborations.


Razaguaya’s reggae style includes dub, rock, jazz, afrobeat and psychedelic music elements.

Nora Norman

Nora Norman was born in the Barcelona suburb of Sabadell and is currently settled in Madrid. Nora Norman became popular in early 2013 thanks to her wonderful soul voice that appeared in several YouTube videos. caught the attention of festivals like Mulafest or newspaper El Pais, which included it in its event tribute to The Beatles.

Nora Norman
Nora Norman

In 2014 she performed at the 101 Sun Festival and was chosen as guest artist by Nick Waterhouse during his tour of Spain, among others. During 2015 she participated in major jam sessions in Madrid or initiatives such as Madtown Days. She recently released a neo soul EP.

Sala Siroco
Calle San Dimas 3. Madrid 28015
Metro stations: Noviciado / Tribunal


Colombian Band Sidestepper Announces UK Tour


Sidestepper will bring the contemporary tropical sounds of Colombia and the Caribbean to the UK in July 2016. The band will be playing tracks from their much-admired Supernatural Love album.

Sidestepper - Supernatural Love
Sidestepper – Supernatural Love

Tour dates:

14 July – Larmer Tree Festival
15 July – Tropical Pressure Festival
17 July – Village Underground, London
17 July – Latitude Festival
20 July – The Welfare, Swansea
29 July – Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea
30 July – WOMAD Festival
31 July – Port Eliot Festival

Buy tickets:

Buy Supernatural Love


The Passionate Boleros of Puerto Rico

Miramar - Dedication to Sylvia Rexach
Miramar – Dedication to Sylvia Rexach

Miramar – Dedication to Sylvia Rexach (Barbes Records, 2016)

This album celebrates the legacy of Puerto Rican artist Sylvia Rexach, one of the essential composers of boleros from Puerto Rico. Boleros are the romantic ballads that started in Cuba and spread to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, from Latin America to Spain.

Boleros are popular with various generations of Spanish-speakers and come in many forms. You’ve probably heard modernized versions performed by well-known world music acts from the Spanish-speaking world. Miramar’s aim is to bring back the old-style boleros from Puerto Rico. These songs were very popular at the time, so you could say that it’s pop music from another era.

The name of this new bolero project, Miramar, has a romantic connection to the sea. In most of Latin America and Spain, you’ll find numerous locations called Miramar: “a romantic snapshot of a place both close and far away from home.”

The band is led by members of salsa band Bio Ritmo, Puerto Rican vocalist Reinaldo Alvarez and Chilean-American keyboardist Marlysse Simmons-Argandoña along with vocalist Laura Ann Singh. “When I first heard duo music, specifically Duo Irizarry de Córdova” says Rei, “to me it was a new expression of pain and longing. It was a concrete manifestation of everything that I love about romantic music.”

Rei loved the way the male and female voices interacted in the classic bolero duos and found Laura Ann Singh, who became the ideal singing partner. “We have to breathe together and feel the songs together, emotionally and rhythmically.” Says Laura Ann, “and because we have this natural chemistry in our voices and trust each other as musicians, I think we got to skip some of the mundane aspects of learning music and go right to the subtle and the abstract.”

Dedication to Sylvia Rexach is a journey through the world of the classic Puerto Rican romantic ballads.

Miramar will be on tour next month:

June 22nd – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
June 23rd – Cedar Rapids, IA – Legion Arts
June 24th & 25th – Chicago, IL – Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Court
June 26th – Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Museum of Art
June 26th – Pittsburgh, PA
July 6th – Washington, DC – Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center
July 24th – New York, NY – Lincoln Center Outdoors

Buy Dedication to Sylvia Rexach


Nana Simopoulos’ Pathway to World Jazz

Nana Simopoulos – Skins (Na Records NR-9206-2, 2016)

Nana Simopoulos is a talented American multi-instrumentalist and composer who bridges the borders between world music and jazz. On “For No reason, the opening track of hew new album, titled Skins, she features a classic jazz swing rhythm, jazz vocals and guitars and saxophone improvisation.

The next song, “Let the Fire Burn Me” offers Middle Eastern influences in the form of frames drums along with vocal, bouzouki and flute melodies from the Near East.

On track 3, Nana Simopoulos ventures further into the East with a seductive mix of Indian tabla, wood flute and fascinating jazz vocals.

“Owl Woman” mixes jazz saxophone with wonderful Indian sarangi and steel drums, bringing together three global cultures.

The Middle Eastern influences return on “The Pathway” although this time, the frame drums intermingle with a Latin jazz beat.

“Anases” is a love song that features Greek-language vocals, global percussion, bouzouki and jazz saxophone.

Track 7, “Merely to Known” has the best vocal work, with delightful call and response vocals and also some of the best guitar work on the album. This lengthy piece gives the other instrumentalists like the bass player and drummer an opportunity to showcase their talent.

The final track has an Indian jazz flavor, with a mix of tabla, sarangi and saxophone.

The lineup on Skins includes Nάnα Simopoulos on vocals, guitar and bouzouki; the late Ustad Sultan Khan on sarangi; Mary Ann McSweeney on bass; Manos Loutas on bass; Royal Hartigan on drums; Michalis Orphanidis on drums; Solis Barki on percussion; Jamie Haddad on percussion; Greg Beyer on steel drums, percussion, berimbau; Dave Liebman on saxophone, wood flute; Charlie Tokarz on alto flute, saxophone; Dimitri Vassilakis on saxophone; and Caryn Heilman, Daví, Solis Barki and Markos Simopoulos on background vocals.


Bel Ochan for Michel Lamartiniere Honorat

"Les Danses Folkloriques Haitiennes"
“Les Danses Folkloriques Haitiennes”

In the history of Haitian dance, and thus of Haitian music, there is a name that few people know but that signifies conviction: Michel Lamartiniere Honorat. A politician famous because of his courage, who was an cultural anthropologist (ethnologist) first, he wrote the very first book on Haitian folkloric dance: “Les Danses Folkloriques Haitiennes.” It has yet to be translated in English.

It is impossible to understand Haitian music without understanding Haitian dance and the fact that the music is for the most part produced to dance others and that dance is the foremost expression of liberty, even more than writing or speech, in Haitian culture. Haitian music is meant to dance Haitians, even politically. Not all does, but the majority of it must or else it will be pushed aside.

Most of Haitian dances carry the names of old African tribes, Igbo, Nago, etc and are preserved rites of belonging and identity. We can safely say that Haitians danced the revolution of 1804, as odd as it may seem in 2016.  For a long time, neo-colonial Haitians defined Haitian folk dancing as “primitive.” Honorat wrote these dances down as ethnography and produced the very first text to go along with the preservation of Haitian dance.

As it is the case in traditional Haitian culture and it was especially the case before the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934: an Ochan is a military salute to a great person. A Bel Ochan, a beautiful Ochan, is an Ochan full of gesture and of conviviality, sent from a world that smells of humanity, dignity, and satisfaction. Bel Ochan Michel Lamartiniere Honorat, Mama, a man who even left behind “secret writings” about Haitian vodou that have not been published, because you have accomplished.


Accordionist Kepa Junkera Announces New Album, Maletak

Kepa Junkera and Sorginak
Kepa Junkera and Sorginak

Diatonic accordion virtuoso and composer Kepa Junkera has announced the release of his new album titled Maletak. The album will be available June 3rd.

Kepa explains his concept as follows: “I’m so glad I kept the Triki suitcases!. I had stored them in the attic but they have acquired a special meaning for this project. They inspire me and tell me stories that they only know. The suitcases are the first to travel, they store the excitement generated right before you open them and discover what they contain, the essence of my days, the sonic reason for my travels, the worn nomad instrument waiting impatiently for its best moment.

I wanted to unite luggage and animals in impossible scenery that resonates deeply with my soul. We are in an ancestral landscape that feels close and ours. The Flysch reminds me of the folds of the triki and the ocean moves and roars just like the bellows that breathes in the air and marks the rhythm. Nature, animals, luggage, Sorginak … A journey after all, full of melodies and poetry. Enjoy this mixture and feel the power of nature, the arcane and the unusual.”

The Spanish regions of Galicia, Aragon, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Castilla y Leon are stages of this musical journey. Kepa is joined once more by the all-female ensemble Sorginak.

The guest vocalists include: Sorginak, Ion Elustondo, Beloki, Imanol Urkizu and Xabi Solano from the Basque Country. Eliseo Parra and Gritsanda from Castilla and Leon. Amadeu Guillem Rosell and Ballaz from Catalonia. Beatriz Bernard, Rocio Sapiña and Lourdes Escusol from Aragon. Xabier Diaz and Adufeiras de Salitre from Galicia.

Also featured is an impressive cast of musicians: Daniel Do Pando, Ibon Koteron, Oreka TX, Jose Luis Stack, Josete Ordoñez, Antonio Serrano, Diego Galaz, Germán Diaz and Pedro Lamas.

The CD will be released in a 24-page booklet with photographs by Igotz Ziarreta and Santi Yaniz and 10 cards which are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle created by Rober Garay and Alberto Palomera.


Klezmer Americana

Yom – Songs for the Old Man (Buda Musique, 2016)

French Klezmer clarinetist and composer Yom dedicates Songs for the Old Man to his father. His previous 7 albums were indirectly dedicated to his maternal Jewish ancestry of Transylvania. This time, Yom follows his father’s experience in the USA. Songs for the Old Man combines Klezmer-clarinet melodies with Americana-style guitars such as dobro and steel guitar.

The lineup on the album includes Yom on clarinets; Aurélien Naffrichoux on electric guitar, steel guitar, and baritone guitar; Guillaume Magne on guitars, dobro, banjo; Sylvain Daniel on bass; and Mathieu Penot on drums.

Songs for the Old Man is a fascinating cinematic adventure representing the vast American landscapes combined with Eastern European Klezmer tunes.

Buy the Songs for the Old Man CD in Europe

Buy the Songs for the Old Man digital release


The Nile Project to Present Top East African Musicians in London

The Nile Project
The Nile Project

Top musicians from 6 Nile River countries (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania) will present a dynamic collaboration on Sunday, June 19th, 2016 at Islington Assembly Hall, N1 2UD in London.

The Nile Project explores the cultural connections from Lakes Victoria and Tana to Cairo in joyful music and song. The ensemble released an album titled Aswan.

Established in 2013, the project is a collective, drawing on a pool of over 35 musicians.

In February 2016 they gathered for 2 weeks in Aswan, Egypt, and after performing at the African Union in Addis Ababa are now touring their new sound.

Tickets £22.50
Doors open 6.30pm, starts 7.30pm


Austria’s Glatt&Verkehrt Festival Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Austrian music festival Glatt&Verkehrt will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year July 1-31, 2016. The festival takes place in Krems, in the beautiful Wachau valley. The program includes world music, jazz, classical music and avant-garde music.

Fri, 1 July 2016
Open-air in rain or sun
Schaugarten der Arche Noah, Obere Strasse 40, 3553 Schiltern
Cantata Viennapoli & Bodo Hell (Italy/Astria/Slovenia)
World premiere
Musical, literary and botanical curiosities

Sat, 2 July 2016
17:00 Departure | boarding from 16:30
Ship station/stop Krems-Stein No. 33
Ship cruise through the Wachau region
NIFTY’s, Donauwellenreiter, Zur Wachauerin as well as Steven Bernstein & The Universal Melody Brass Band
Concert in Spitz/Landing stage ca. 19:00 / Planned arrival in Krems ca. 21:30

Sun, 3 July 2016
17:00 | Open-air
Bio-Weingut Geyerhof, Oberfucha 1, 3511 Furth
Steven Bernstein & The Universal Melody Brass Band (USA)
World premiere

Fri, 15 July 2016
19:00 | Entry and refreshments from 17:00
Stift Göttweig, 3511 Furth
Reprise from the music workshop
Finale evening of the music workshop, free admission

Fri, 15 July 2016
20:00 | Open-air in rain or sun
Spitz Castle, Schlossgasse 3, 3620 Spitz an der Donau
Zur Wachauerin / Antonio Fian & Kollegium Kalksburg (Austria)

Sat, 16 July 2016
20:00 | Open-air in rain or sun
Spitz Castle, Schlossgasse 3, 3620 Spitz an der Donau
Erwin Steinhauer & klezmer reloaded extended (Austria)
“Ich bin ein Durchschnittswiener”
Kino im Kesselhaus, Music documentaries in cooperation with Glatt&Verkehrt:

Wed, 13 July
19:00 SONG OF LAHORE (Main theater)

Tue, 19 July
21:30 JANIS – LITTLE GIRL BLUE (Open-air)

Wed, 20 July
19:00 HEIMATKLÄNGE (Main theater)

Wed, 27 July 2016
Original, Cover, Satire
– Christian Muthspiel’s Yodel Group (Austria/Switzerland/France/USA)
– Gerhard Polt & die Well-Brüder aus´m Biermoos (Germany)
– The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UK)

Thur, 28 July 2016
, 18:00
Instrumental Virtuosity
– Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Ségal (France/Mali)
– Brasiliran – Samba meets Bandari (Brazil/Iran)
– JOHN MEDESKI’S – Mad Skillet (USA)

Fri, 29 July 2016
Strong Voices – Female Vocalists From Three Continents
– Trio Mandili (Georgia)
– Lucia Pulido & Erik Friedlander (Colombia/USA)
– Rokia Traoré (Mali)

Sat, 30 July 2016
Cuatro, Slide- & E-Guitar
– C4 Trío (Venezuela)
– Desert Slide – Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt & Divana Ensemble (India) IND
– Ernest Ranglin & Friends (Cheikh Lô, Courtney Pine, Tony Allen, Ira Coleman, Alex Wilson) (Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal, USA, UK)

Sun, 31 July 2016, 17:00
Cimbalom, Vocal & Brass – Gypsy Spirit
– Cimbalom Duo (Hungary)
– Mec Yek (Belgium)
– Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra (Colombia)

Sun, 31 July 2016
11:00 Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche / Free entry
Sound art matinée, as part of the Glatt&Verkehrt festival: With Jeroen Vandesande & Robin Hayward (Belgium, UK)

More at

headline photo: Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt


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