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 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. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled "Los sueños de Angélica.".
Sergio Monroy was born in Cadiz (Spain). He has developed a unique synthesis of flamenco and piano music. His debut album was acclaimed in the new flamenco community for its freshness and accessibility, wedding flamenco with jazz. Sergio fuses all the components of flamenco – the guitar, the palmas (hand-clapping) and the voice – without imitating them, bringing all the piano’s melodic resources, rhythm and harmony into play.
Monroy’s career began at an early age: at seventeen the pianist performed his first open air concert at the Mentidero square in Cadiz and his true debut came at twenty when he accompanied celebrated flamenco singer Miguel Poveda in the Central Lechera theatre, also in Cadiz, in 2000. Since then he has performed in many renowned theatres in Spain, ranging from the prestigious Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid to the Mercado de Música Viva showcase in Vic. He has also played concerts in England, Netherlands, Germany, United States of America and France.
His first album, titled Monroy – Piano Flamenco, was released in 2003. It already showed his interest in approaching flamenco and jazz and included appearances of celebrated singers such as Javier Ruibal and Miguel Poveda. Chicuco, his second recording, showed the ancient wisdom of Cadiz flamenco and a deep respect for the folk songs as they were sung at the popular Mentidero square and where they were caught in the air by this fresh-minded flamenco artist, eager to renew his sound.
Chicuco is how you call in Cadiz the brisk boy from the northern coast who has come to the town to help out in the little corner shops. It is a true homage to his roots, to his father, to a lifestyle and a spirit. There is also a village in Mozambique and a valley in northern Mexico called Chicuco. And Monroy is wise and humble enough to listen while he’s working and melting together an universe of artistic influences: flamenco, jazz, Spanish folk music, Cuban son and other rhythms.
Segundo Falcón was born in 1970 in a section of Sevilla (Spain) that is known as El Viso del Alcor, where a family of cantaoras (female singers) by the name of Janegas are concentrated.
Antonio Mairena discovered him. Even as a child, Segundo Falcón had expressed a passion for flamenco. He debuted at a local flamenco club called El Rincon del Pilar when he was just 8 years old. His apprenticeship continued at other clubs, competitions and tablaos where he accompanied many big names in flamenco, including Mario Maya, Manuela Carrasco, Pepa Montes, Javier Baron, Israel Galvan, Juana Amaya, etc.
In 1990, he became part of the flamenco show at the tablao Los Gallos de Sevilla.
Segundo Falcón has achieved his own style and sound by re-introducing influences from certain teachers and artists whom he admires, such as Enrique Morente and Enrique El Extremeño.
Thanks to the support of some of those teachers, Segundo Falcón’s recording career had a great start with the release of Un Segundo de cante, which includes samples of solea, fandangos, seguidillas, tangos, and bulerias.
In January 2002, he was appointed director of the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco (CAF) (Andalusian Flamenco Center). He managed the center until 2006.
In April 2002, Segundo Falcón and Arcangel performed in Sevilla with the Chekara Orchestra from Tetuan, Morocco, under conductor Jallal Chekkara. The performance was called ‘Flamenco Couscous’ as it mixed different types of flamenco with Moroccan music.
Seán Óg Graham is from Portglenone, Co. Antrim, Ireland. He’s one of Ireland’s best button accordion players. Seán Óg Graham has achieved numerous All-Ireland titles and is also a gifted, self-taught guitarist.
Seán Óg Graham has several television appearances to his credit, and has appeared as guest soloist with the Irish Harp Orchestra, the Canadian Youth Orchestra and Alan Kelly’s ‘Celtic Legends’ show. He has recorded with various Irish musicians and recently he has been accompanying Solas members Winifred Horan and Mick McAuley at their ‘Serenade’ concerts in Ireland and Europe.
Seán Óg is also a talented composer. He’s a graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at Limerick University, where he has been guided by oustanding musicians.
Salar Nader, of Afghan origin, was born in 1981 in Hamburg, Germany and migrated to the United States at the age of three . It was in his early months of life when his mother and father noticed his passion for the tabla. No matter where Salar was, he had to bring along his personal tabla set that his father bought for him when he was 6 months old.
At the age of 7, Salar attended his first tabla class in Berkeley, California. The instructor of the class, Ustad Zakir Hussain, who is now Salar’s guru, is a world renowned master of the tabla.
Sooner than expected, Salar was making public appearances on nationwide television screens including; “Nowrooz” festival TV, Nima TV and Jaam-e-Jaam TV. One of his memorable appearances was with Ustad Mawaash (notable Afghan vocalist), when Salar was only 11 years old.
As time progressed Salar became more and more devoted to his tabla training and has since played internationally with renowned masters such as Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, world famous sarangi virtuoso Ustad Sultan Khan, Rob Wasserman, Pandit Chtresh Das and participated at the famous Monterey Music Festival at 18.
With a deep passion for Afghan classical music traditions but also Indian Kathak dance and music, he also enjoyed collaborating with the Dj Cheb i Sabbah and Fareed Haque Group, improvising on an Indian jazz fusion style of music.
He has performed with Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Mawaash, Rahul Sharma, Ahmad Wali, Homayun Sakhi, Fareed Haque Group, Ustad Shujaat khan, Ustad Rashid khan, Kala Ramnath, Ghulam Ali Khan and Riffat Sultana. He has also performed with ensembles such as the Rumi Ensemble (Shahram Nazeri and Hafez Nazeri), Rumination (Farzin Farhadi, Cheb I Sabbah) and Niyaz.
Live In Osnabruck, with Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Hassan Riahi (Dreyer Gaido, 2007)
Salar Aghili is one of the leading Persian classical vocalists of his generation. He was born in Tehran in 1977, has studied under the guidance of Sediq Taarif and combined training in the vocal repertoire of the old tradition with the delicate contemporary style of master Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
As a young and distinguished vocalist, he gained attention internationally through his collaboration with musicians, composers and ensembles including the Tehran Symphonic Orchestra, the Iran National Orchestra and the Dastan Ensemble.
His extensive credits include prestigious music festivals throughout the world, and acclaimed recordings.
Percussionist Rumen Sali Shopov is a Roma (Gypsy) artist from Gotse Delchev, a crossroads town in Southwest Bulgaria near the borders with Greece and Macedonia, whose musical traditions he has mastered along with those of the local Bulgarians, Roma, and Turks.
An astonishing musician on tambura (long-necked luten) and bouzouki, as well as an accomplished vocalist, drummer, and dumbek player, Rumen is also one of the greatest living exponents of the southern Bulgarian/northern Greek style of ceremonial and celebratory tapan.
He was the concertmaster of the Nevrokopski Folk Ensemble, Bulgaria’s first national folk ensemble, for more than 20 years, and led two of Southwest Bulgaria’s most important bands, Shturo Make and Orkestar Orbita, performing throughout the Balkans, Europe and Canada.
He has played at five Herdeljezi Festivals with many bands, including with Yuri Yunakov, and at countless other events.
He has toured the United States of America; teaches at music and dance camps around California, all across America, and in Canada; and participates in many folk arts events throughout California, notably as tapan player at the annual Turkish Festival in Monterey and at Greek and Kurdish weddings.
Sabir Khan, born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan (India), belongs to the Sikar gharana (school) of music that has introduced several influential figures to Indian classical music.
He is the ninth generation in his family to take up the sarangi and is considered to be one of the finest players of the younger generation. He began studying music when he was six years old with his grandfather, Ustad Gulab Khan, a renowned sarangi player and vocalist.
Soon afterwards, he began training with his father, the acclaimed sarangi player and vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan, and his late uncle Ustad Nasir Khan. With a technique displaying tonal, melodic and rhythmic prowess, he is proving a worthy successor to his proud lineage.
The Sultan of Sarangi, with Ustad Sultan Khan (Dreams Entertainment, 1988)
The Legacy, with Ustad Sultan Khan (Worldwide Records, 2011)
Ryland Peter Cooder (Ry Cooder) was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 15, 1947. He is a guitarist well-known for his slide guitar style.
Ry Cooder first attracted attention in the 1960s, playing with bluesman Taj Mahal in The Rising Sons, The Seeds, and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.
Cooder played a role in the new appreciation for traditional Cuban music thanks to his collaboration as producer in the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) recording that became a worldwide hit.
German filmmaker Wim Wenders directed a documentary film of the Cuban musicians involved, titled Buena Vista Social Club (1999) that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000. Cooder also produced Ibrahim Ferrer’s Buenos Hermanos, and Mambo Sinuendo, all Grammy winners.
Ry Cooder’s solo work has been an eclectic mix on american roots music, including dustbowl folk music, tex-mex, soul, gospel, rock and other genrese. He has collaborated with many influential musicians, including the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, the Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Hawaiian master Gabby Pahinui, and the late Ali Farka Toure. Cooder also formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt and Jim Keltner.
Cooder’s 1978 album Bop Till You Drop was the first popular music album to be recorded digitally.
Ry Cooder’s Chávez Ravine, released in 2005 is a tribute to the long-gone Los Angeles Mexican-American enclave known as Chávez Ravine. Using real and imagined historical characters, Cooder and friends created an album that recollects various aspects of the poor but vibrant hillside Chicano community that was razed by developers in the 1950s in the interest of “progress.” The Dodgers Stadium (The Dodgers are a famous American professional baseball team) eventually was built on the spot. Cooder said at the time, “Here is some music for a place you don’t know, up a road you don’t go. Chávez Ravine, where the sidewalk ends.”
Chávez Ravine features various musical genres found in Los Angeles, including conjunto, corrido, R&B, Latin pop, and jazz. The 15-track album is sung in Spanish and English/ Cooder is joined by East Los Angeles legends like Chicano music patriarch Lalo Guerrero, Pachuco boogie king Don Tosti, Thee Midniters front man Little Willie G., and Ersi Arvizu of The Sisters and El Chicano.
“Los Angeles was paved over, malled up, high-rised, and urban-renewed, as fortunes were made, power was concentrated, and everything got faster and bigger,” explained Cooder. “But there is a lot I miss now. The texture of certain older neighborhoods, like Bunker Hill, a rural feel in urban places, like Chávez Ravine and the timbre of life there, and just peace and quiet,” he said.
Chavez Ravine was the first recording of a California trilogy. The second volume was 2007’s My Name Is Buddy.
The last recording of the California trilogy is I, Flathead, an album of music by the fictional musician Kash Buk and his band the Klowns, characters in Cooder’s 95-page tale. The album and novella were released together on June 24, 2008, by Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records.
The novella tells the story of Kash Buk and his friend Shakey the alien, together with various friends, lovers, enemies, and associates in a long-gone California filled with deserts, salt-flat racing, Native Americans, seedy dance halls, amusement parks, and sinister plots. The album includes fourteen songs by Buk, a hard-edged salt flat racer and roadhouse musician. With the story and the music, Cooder creates a world where “strange people are the norm,” inspired by country western music, Popular Mechanics magazines, and science fiction movies.
Flathead reflects change and disruption in a young, post-war, do-it-yourself culture of outsiders obsessed with racing cars fashioned from military surplus parts and flathead engines. As Kash Buk explains, “You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story for you animal lovers, and a forbidden-race love song, which every record ought to have at least one of.”
Cooder produced I, Flathead and wrote or co-wrote all the songs. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, alongside Mariachi Los Camperos; Joachim Cooder, and Jim Keltner on drums; Rene Camacho on bass; Francisco Torres on trombone; Ron Blake and Jon Hassell on trumpet; Anthony Gil on bass sax; Flaco Jiménez on accordion, Gil Bernal on tenor sax; Jared Smith on keyboards; Martin Pradler on electric piano and drums; and Juliette Commagere on vocals.
Ry Cooder has composed soundtracks for more than twenty films, including Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, and The End of Violence.
Rusk was a Norwegian folk music trio from the Solør and Finnskogen area in Norway, near the Swedish border. The band featured vocalist Unni Løvlid, fiddle player Vegar Vardal, and accordionist Frode Haltli, raised in Våler i Solør, in the heart of this forested region.
Their first CD Rusk contains traditional dance music, traditional songs and psalms from the mysterious woods of Finnskogen with new arrangements.
On Rusk II, the trio recorded Norwegian ballads that frequently recount tragic tales, Swedish ballads, self-composed material, and even a version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” that was popularized by the legendary Johnny Cash.
An album by charismatic Brazilian Amazonian singer Dona Onete. Her songs are about seduction, plants that make your body ‘agitate’ and stories related to the Amazon. The septuagenarian artist is enjoying new popularity in her country and abroad thanks to international releases like Banzeiro.
On Banzeiro, Dona Onete delivers infectious Brazilian rhythms like bangue and a style she developed called carimbó chamegado where she combined two genres called lundum and carimbó. She mixed them with the rhythm of the songs from the slaves. Dona Onete describes carimbó chamegado as slower and sexier than carimbó.