All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced "Musica NA", a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

Carmen Souza’s Transatlantic Vocal Brilliance

Carmen Souza – Creology (Galileo Music, 2017)

On Creology, Carmen Souza continues to explore Cape Verdean, Brazilian and other lusophone influences interweaving jazz elements. Carmen’s vocal range continues to marvel, changing her pitch easily, from childlike voices to deep bass tones. She adds great vocal overdubs, plus male choruses and call and response sections.

Carmen Souza’s band is spectacular as always, with composer and bass maestro on electric bass, backing vocals and percussion. The equally talented Elias Kacomanolis utilizes a wide-range of global percussion and also contributes backing vocals. Zoe Pascal is a guest percussionist.

Although Carmen Souza is widely-known as a vocalist, she showcases her talent as an instrumentalist as well, playing superb piano on her tribute to classic American jazz, “Pretty Eyes.”

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Artist Profiles: Miguel Poveda

Miguel Poveda

 

Spanish flamenco singer Miguel Angel Poveda León was born in Barcelona on February 13, 1973. He grew up in the Badalona suburb and started singing at 15 at local peñas flamencas (Flamenco fan clubs).

In 1993, Miguel Poveda won the most sought-after award “La Lampara Minera” at the 33rd Song Festival de las Minas de La Unión and became known to a wider public. At the same festival, Miguel Poveda obtained three further awards La Cartagenera, La Malagueña and La Soleá

Having gained recognition as a new talent by the professional flamenco world, his artistic career quickly developed. In 1994, film director Bigas Luna took him on as an actor in the movie “La Teta i la Lluna”. One year later he produced his first CD “Viento del Este” together with musicians such as Moraíto, Carles Benavent and José Soto.

In 1996 Miguel Poveda participated in various festivals in Spain and Europe and set out for his first tour of Japan. In the following year he produced a show about García Lorca for a seminar organized by the University of Bologna, Italy.

In 1998 he attended the “Festival of Culture and Arts” in Ramallah, Palestine and was the invited artist in “La Vida es un Sueño” presented by Calixto Bieito in the International Festival of Edinburgh. At the same time he presented successfully his latest show “Suena Flamenco” throughout Europe. The most outstanding pieces of these live concerts are included in his CD “Suena Flamenco”.

Miguel Poveda is one of those artists who grow once they are on stage and manages to connect quickly with the public. In 2003 he moved to Sevilla one of the cradles of flamenco.

 

 

In 2015 Poveda released “Sonetos y poemas para la libertad.” It’s a collection of poems by leading poets from the Spanish-speaking world in Spain and Latin America, including Quevedo, Rafael de León, García Lorca, Borges, Miguel Hernández, Pablo Neruda and Joaquín Sabina. Poveda recreated the expression of these poems through flamenco.

 

Discography:

Viento del Este (1995)
Suena Flamenco (Harmonia Mundi Ibérica HMI 98719, 1999)
Zaguan (Harmonia Mundi, 2001)
Poemas del Exilio Rafael ALberti (Harmonia Mundi, 2004)
Qawwali-Flamenco (Accords Croises, 2006)
Desglac (Discmedi, 2005)
Tierra de calma (Discmedi, 2006)
Cante i orchestra (Discmedi, 2009)
Coplas del querer (Universal Music, 2009)
Coplas del querer en directo live (Universal Music, 2010)
Artesano (Universal Music, 2012)
Real (Universal Music, 2012)
Diálogos De Buenos Aires A Granada, with Rodolfo Mederos (Universal Music, 2013)
Sonetos y poemas para la libertad (Universal Music, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Miguel Angel Cortés

Miguel Angel Cortés

 

Miguel Angel Cortés was born in Granada (Spain) on January 26th, 1972. The Cortés family is well known for its fine guitarists so it is not surprising that Miguel Angel displayed an early enthusiasm for carrying on the family tradition. His unusual talent was discovered when he was given a guitar at the age of 8. He made his debut into the world of flamenco at the Zambra del Sacromonte club in the famous Gypsy caves of Granada.

By the time he was 14 years old Miguel Angel was already touring extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Turkey and Japan accompanying top Flamenco dancers such as Mariquilla, Manolote, Antonio Canales, Javier Barón and Juan Andrés Maya and flamenco singers José de la Tomasa, José Merce, Chano Lobato, Luis El Polaco Morenito de Illora and Estrella Morente.

In 1994, Miguel Angel won the Paco de Lucía Guitar Award. For the past several years he and his brother Paco Cortés have been working and touring with one of the leading flamenco singers in Spain, Carmen Linares. They also worked on a music project in collaboration with several other musicians and El Guito, formerly Paco de Lucia’s dancer.

Miguel Angel’s pride as a Gypsy musician compels him to continue composing and performing Flamenco music. He is traditional in his approach while still being an active participant in the exciting ongoing evolution of Spanish guitar music.

To me it is more important to ‘feel the pain’ with sensibility when playing flamenco because anyone can achieve technical speed by rehearsing 12 hours a day.”

Discography:

Patriarca (Antequera Records/Alula Records, 1998)
Bordón De Trapo ‎(Nuba Records KAR7714, 2006)

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The Pan-American Musical Travels of Ladama

Ladama – Ladama (Six Degrees, 2017)

Ladama is a talented female ensemble featuring musicians from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and the United States. The band’s self-titled debut album includes a captivating mix of soul and pop with rhythms and melodies from throughout South America and the Caribbean, sometimes mixing Colombian beats and Brazilian forms. Vocals are in Spanish, Portuguese and English, where the voices of Sara Lucas and Lara Klaus stand out. Ladama uses traditional musical instruments like the bandola llanera from the plains of Venezuela, tambor alegre from Colombia and a wide range of percussion instruments.

Personnel: Mafer Bandola [María Fernanda González] (Venezuela) on bandola llanera; Lara Klaus (Brazil) on vocals and percussion; Daniela Serna (Colombia) on vocals and tambor alegre; and Sara Lucas (United States of America) on vocals, classical guitar and electric guitar.

Guests: Nathan Koci on accordion; Pat Swoboda on acoustic and electric bass; Kyla-Rose Smith on violin; Alex Asher on trombone; cole Kamen-Green on trumpet; and Mohamed Araki on keyboards.

 

 

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Refreshing Bab El West

Bab El West – Douar (Big Banana Music, 2017)

Bab El West is a new French band that combines North African music influences with rock, jazz, blues, pop, soul, Gnawa and African and Latin American rhythms. Douar, Bab El West’s debut, features a great set of songs with pop hooks and outstanding qanun work. The mixture of western rock instruments and traditional Arabic qanun is truly fascinating.

The band was founded by vocalist and guitarist Habib Farroukh (who sings in Arabic), drummer Marc Dupont and bassist Clément Vallin. The trio later added guitarist Hamza Bencherif and qanun master Nidhal Jaoua.

The lineup on Douar includes Habib Farroukh on lead vocals, guitar and percussion; Clément Vallin on acoustic and electric bass, guitar and backing vocals; Marc Dupont on drums and percussion; Nidhal Jaoua on qanun and backing vocals; Hamza Bencherif on electric guitar and backing vocals; and Anthony Honnet on keyboards.

Guests: Yannick Jory on saxophone; Léo Fourastié on percussion; Jalil Belbekri on guimbri, karkabas and backing vocals; a string ensemble featuring Boris Lamerand, Olive Perrusson and Liam Morrissey; Kicca on backing vocals; and Guyzo on lead vocals.

Douar reveals a new world music act with great potential; it’s a likeable mix of western popular music and traditions from the Maghreb.

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Artist Profiles: Michael McGoldrick

Michael McGoldrick

Inspired by Irish parents and encouraged by the thriving traditional music scene in his home town of Manchester, England, multi-instrumentalist Michael McGoldrick began playing Irish music at the age of 8. By the age of 15 he already had already won numerous All-Ireland Championship and became well-known as a member of influential Manchester-based Celtic rock band Toss the Feathers. He later performed with leading Celtic and folk music acts Capercaillie, Flook, Lunasa and Kate Rusby.

On Fused, McGoldrick teamed up with members of Capercaillie and Flook to create a sound that borrows as much from ambient trance as it does from traditional Irish music. Guests on the record include Karan Casey formerly of Solas and Karen Matheson and Manus Lunny of Capercaillie.

In 2010 he performed at Celtic Connections with the Future Trad Collective along with Ian Fletcher and Andy Dinan. The band released a self-titled album in 2011.

Discography:

Live at the 32 Club with Toss the Feathers (1988)
Rude Awakening with Toss the Feathers (Magnetic Music, 1993)
Columbus Eclipse with Toss the Feathers (Magnetic Music, 1989)
Awakening with Toss the Feathers (1991)
TTF’94 Live with Toss the Feathers (1994)
The Next Round with Toss the Feathers (Magnetic Music, 1995)
Flook! Live! with Flook (Small, 1996)
Morning Rory (Aughgrim Records, 1996)
Lunasa, with Lunasa (1997)
Otherworld with Lunasa (Green Linnet GLCD12 (1999)
Fused (Vertical Records, 2000)
At First Light, with John McSherry (Vertical Records, 2001)
Wired (Vertical Records, 2005)
Aurora (Vertical Records, 2010)
Future Trad Collective (Vertical Records, 2011)
Live, with John McCusker & John Doyle (Vertical Records 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Michael Bazibu

Michael Bazibu

Michael Bazibu is a Ugandan multi-instrumentalist and virtuoso adungu performer based in Kampala. He’s one of the lead musicians of the Ndere Troupe a cultural development organization that performs a repertoire of authentic Ugandan dances and songs accompanied by various indigenous percussive stringed and wind instruments.

Discography:

The Nile Project – Aswan (2013)

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Artist Profiles: Mestisay

Olga Cerpa (Mestisay)

Mestisay is a popular group in Spain’s Canary Islands. They were innovative experimental and eclectic while maintaining a strong connection to their folk traditions. Their lyrics were evocative of life’s special quality on these islands steeped in a unique mix of Spanish and transatlantic with a flavor of Africa borne on the dry wind that comes in from the East.

The album La Rosa de los Vientos (the rose of the winds) is like a kaleidoscope of all those traditions that have influenced the culture of the Canary Islands: among others Portuguese fado African percussion and Cuban bolero. Through their songs Mestisay gives homage to such artists as Ellis Regina Astor Piazzolla and Mercedes Sosa.

La Rosa de los Vientos features the track Sangueo an original from Equatorial Guinea which was translated with the help of “Hijas Del Sol” (The Daughters of the Sun) Piruchi and Paloma.

In some of their albums the group explores the strong ties of the Canary Islands with countries in the Americas with a large number of immigrants from tghe Carty Island such as Venezuela and Cuba.

The group is led by renowned vocalist Olga Cerpa.

Discography:

Canciones de las dos orillas (CCPC, 1989)

El cantar viene de viejo (Manzana, 1992)

Querido Néstor (CCPC, 1994)

La Rosa de los vientos (Nubenegra, 1996)

Viento de la isla (EMI-Odeon, 1998)

Mestisay (Sintonia, 2001)

Canciones del Sur (Ibermemory, 2003)

Toda una vida (2005)

Poeta en la isla (Factoria Autor, 2006)

Querido Néstor II (2006)

El Cabaret del Capitan Varela (La Central, 2008)

Pequeño fado y otras canciones de amor (La Central, 2009)

Atlantico Radio (Mestisay, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Mercedes Peón

Mercedes Peón

Mercedes Peón who was born in La Coruña (Galicia, Spain) in 1967 has dedicated many years to recovering traditional music in her native Galicia and to teaching it in town schools and cultural associations. She has pioneered the formation of various female groups of singers and tambourine players.

Peón has also fronted several prestigious musical bands in Galicia and hosted a section about early Galician music on the local TV show Luar (Homeland).

As a music researcher, she published a book by installments titled Raiceiras (Roots women) that contains part of her field work in collecting songs. Peón has lectured on Galician folk music throughout the world and has received numerous awards for her teaching and her dedication to preserving the Galician tradition. “Ever since I was fortunate enough to fall In love with the songs of the people of Imense (a small town on the Galician “Death Coast”) I have spent years searching for those tunes that only the eldest among us can still remember because much as we may regret it over these last generations the oral transmission chain has been broken both here and In most of the world.”

The multitalented artist runs a record label called Discotrompo that promotes Galician traditional and folk music. Peón has also organized several festivals among them the traditional music festival for the Federation of European Cultural Associations and another called “Galicia Terra Unica”.

As a performer, as well as an accomplished singer, she is also a master of Galician bagpipes and of several traditional percussion instruments. Peón was awarded the special jury award in the Cídade Vella festival in Santiago de Compostela, the prize tobest singer and bagpipe performer at the Santiago de Compostela Folk Days and the Macallan award for Galician pipers at Lorient’s Festival Interceltique.

Peón has performed at many festivals throughout the world and she appeared as a guest on recordings and in live performances by artists such as Xosé Manuel Budiño, Manu Chao and Carlos Núñez.
Isué was her first solo album split between arrangements of traditional pieces and her own multicultural original compositions featuring a wide array of traditional Galician and international musical instruments combined with modern instruments. “… these years have witnessed the birth of a new phenomenon more commercial than cultural called “Celtism” which has assimilated apart from tunes from the Northern territories the pieces that were being composed by new Galician artists who took our traditional music as a springboard.

The fact is that by chance or design during this time I have had the pleasure to discover music from other ethnic groups especially from North Africa and find in them so many affinities both in rhythm and expression with our melodies that I have good reason hr wanting to look further south (or North if we refer to Africa) for musical connection and communion. Nevertheless I plead “not guilty” if this new album is wrongly categorized (though everybody is free to pigeonhole it as they wish).

That said I myself must face the ever-complicated task of defining what this new venture into the realms of music means for me. I humbly consider that this record made with all my loving care expresses many of the things I have learned and my knowledge of the Galician oral tradition (no doubt my understanding of it and my means of expression are the channel for these feelings I let fly from deep within me to whoever wishes to share them).

I should also stress that in order to place it stylistically it could be defined as fusion music for as I said before current trends move in that direction mixing modernity with the oldest sounds and creating somewhat paradoxically totally innovative sounds with intimate harmonies that do not leave aside the frenzied rhythm of Galician traditional patterns such as “ribeiranas” and “empunadas”.

To cut it short these are sincere and complicated melodies matching oldness with modernity and so on. But above all the work is infused with passion and love. My advice therefore is that you listen to ‘it and then say what you will.”

Discography:

Isué (Resistencia RESCD106, 2000)
Arjú (Discmedi DM 838-02, 2003)
Sihá (Discmedi DM 4325-02, 2007)
Sós (Do Fol, 2010)

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