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.

Sublime Toy Raha Toy

Toko Telo – Toy Raha Toy (Anio Records, 2017)

Toko Telo is a world music supergroup that brings together three of the finest and best-known Malagasy artists. The lineup includes guitar virtuoso and vocalist D’Gary (Ernest Randrianasolo), vocalist and percussionist Monika Njava voice & percussion; and accordionist and vocalist Régis Gizavo.

The trio delivers masterful performances showcasing their talent in a set of original songs by D’Gary, Régis Gizavo and other songwriters. You’ll find fiery guitar and accordion pieces, along with beautiful laid back songs.

Sadly, Règis Gizavo died on July 16, 2017. Toko Telo have decided to continue to perform in his honor.

Toy Raha Toy is an impeccable album representing music rooted in the traditions of southern Madagascar, performed by three world class musicians.

 

 

Buy the Toy Raha Toy CD or the MP3 download.

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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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New York’s World Music Institute Reveals The 2017-18 Season

The World Music Institute (WMI) has announced the 2017-18 series of concerts. The world music programming includes over 40 performances by musicians from 28 countries.

Some of the highlights include acclaimed Ethiopian stars Mahmoud Ahmed and Hailu Mergia; the New York debut of Tuareg rising star, guitarist Mdou Moctar and his band; Portuguese Fado star Mariza; Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan; Hindustani bansuri master Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia; Afrobeat/techno duo Tony Allen & Jeff Mills; Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Malian kora masters Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté; South African jazz legends Abdulla Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela; Ibibio Sound Machine; Canadian Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq; and a special collaboration between Kronos Quartet and Soo Yeon Lyuh, master of the haegeum (Korean two-string fiddle).

Wu Man

Venues include intimate spaces such as Littlefield and The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center as well as large-scale stages like BAM Opera House, Apollo Theater and The Town Hall.

For a more details, tickets and complete list of events go to www.worldmusicinstitute.org, or call 212-279-4200.

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A New Vision of Fado

Yolanda Soares – Royal Fado (Compaes Records, 2016)

Eclectic classically-trained Portuguese vocalist Yolanda Soares draws her inspiration from fado, although she doesn’t describe herself as a fado singer. On Royal Fado she showcases her gifted voice accompanied by Portuguese guitar and Welsh harp. In addition, Yolanda Soares incorporates flamenco, tango and Middle Eastern influences. This unconventional, innovative fusion works out very well.

The Welsh connection comes from the album’s producer Chris Marshall who brought in acclaimed harp player Claire Jones; baritone singer Rhydian Roberts; Portuguese guitar maestro Custódio Castelo and traditional choral group A Moda Mae from Alentejo.

On Royal Fado, Yolanda Soares brings passion and a new imagination of fado.

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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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The Beautiful World of Elemotho

Elemotho – Beautiful World (ARC Music EUCD2721, 2017)

Elemotho is the artistic name of award-winning Namibian musician and singer-songwriter Gaalelekwe Richardo Mosimane. Beautiful World is his new album where he showcases his talent as a songwriter. The album opens with a beautiful song featuring vocals, mesmerizing mbira, guitar, birds and spoken word.

Throughout the album, Elemotho sings in various languages, including English, Setswana and other Namibian languages, with great solo, overdub and harmony vocal work. On most songs he’s joined by guitarist Samuel Batola (Congo Brazza) who delivers superb melodies in a call and response fashion.

Beautiful World features a mix of traditional Namibian songs along with EElemothos’s compositions. Elemotho grew up with storytelling around the campfire and that experience has inspired him to “create something that could make you dance as well as listen, smile as well as cry, find peace as well as wisdom.”

The album features Namibia-based artists Sam Batola on guitars and backing vocals; Fernando Pio Paulus on drums; Tilie Nanghama on backing vocals; and poetess Naita Hishoono (spoken word). The International musicians include Diego Galaz (Spain) on violin; Jorge Arribas (Spain) on accordion; Spain-based cellist Matthieu Saglio; Yaron Bichacho (Israel) on percussion; and Terry Lewis II (USA) on saxophone.

 

Buy Beautiful World

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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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