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.

¡Globalquerque! 2017 Announces First Acts

Xabier Diaz & Adufeiras de Salitre

World music festival ¡Globalquerque! has announced the first set of acts set to perform this year. The festival is scheduled for September 22 & 23, 2017 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Confirmed performances:

Bideew Bou Bess (Senegal)
Debashish Bhattacharya & Derek Gripper (India / South Africa)
Xabier Diaz & Adufeiras de Salitre (Spain)
Iberi Choir (Georgia)
Hong Sung Hyun’s Chobeolbi (Korea)
Pascuala Ilabaca (Chile)
Betsayda Machado & La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)
Trad.Attack! (Estonia)
Trio da Kali (Mali)

More acts will be revealed in the next weeks. More at www.globalquerque.org

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Reggae Star Max Romeo to Appear in Africa Oyé’s 25th Anniversary Festival

Max Romeo

Music festival Africa Oyé has announced that roots reggae legend Max Romeo will be performing at its 25th Anniversary festival. Africa Oyé 2017 takes place Saturday, June 17-18 at Sefton Park, Liverpool. Admission is free.

Max Romeo has had top 10 hits throughout Europe and has been sampled by artists like Jay Z and The Prodigy. Max Romeo’s career started when he signed a contract with Bunny Lee, one of the biggest producers of his time in Jamaica in the 1960s. Hits such as ‘Chase The Devil’ lead to international success and to performances across the world.

After working with producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Romeo’s style evolved from a typically Jamaican ska towards to pop reggae.

Other artists scheduled to perform include Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Jupiter & Okwess International (DR Congo), Dobet Ghanore (Ivory Coast).

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Artist Profiles: Chris Thile

Chris Thile

 

Chris Thile was born in Santa Mónica (California) on February 2, 1981. He’s a renowned mandolin virtuoso who has performed since a very young age with some of the biggest names in contemporary bluegrass. Chris was a founding member of The Grass is Greener with Richard Greene and David Grier and also a member of Nickel Creek together with Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins.

 

 

Thile began playing the mandolin at the age of 5 and started performing at California bluegrass festivals. At the age of 12 he won the prestigious national mandolin championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas in 1993. That same year Thile began recording his first solo album with mostly self-penned songs.

His third solo album Not All Who Wander Are Lost featured guest appearances by Dolly Parton, The Dixie Chicks and Edgar Meyer. Later, Thile teamed with mandolin master Mike Marshall for an album of duets called Into the Cauldron that included jazz, world music and the music of Bach.

 

Chris Thile in 2013 – Photo by Brantley Gutiérrez

 

When you grow up with something you can become so familiar with it that you start to take it for granted ” Chris Thile said about his 2006 album How to Grow a Woman from the Ground. “And especially when you grow up playing it at a time when quite frankly you have nothing to express it’s easy to ignore as a more mature musician the expressive possibilities of that particular musical aesthetic—and they are great they are many. So I came to see that bluegrass was something that I was unfairly dismissing about my musicianship.

“Part of it was getting divorced and realizing that I was singing bluegrass heartbreak songs. That’s what would really resonate with me; those were the songs I was singing—’Bury Me Beneath The Willow ‘ ‘More Pretty Girls Than One.’ And another part of it was living in New York because for me at least New York demands that you find what it is about you that’s unique. There are so many talented people—exceptional people—that to stand out you either have to be completely average or really really different. And having been trained in the ways of bluegrass as a kid I realized how much that meant to me. I felt you can’t fight yourself—any time you’re fighting yourself you might not lose but you just can’t win. And I realized I do that well because that’s what I grew up with. So it signifies a return of sorts; I’m realizing what a meaningful part of my life that music is.”

How to Grow a Woman from the Ground included young musicians with a great reputation in bluegrass music, including fiddler Gabe Witcher whom Thile had met at the Follows Camp festival; banjo virtuoso Noam Pikelny; guitarist and singer Chris “Critter” Eldridge; and bassist Greg Garrison.

 

Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

 

In the following years, Chris Thile collaborated with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, guitarist Michael Daves, Stuart Duncan and many other musicians. He also started a new band called The Punch Brothers.

 

 

 

In late 2016, Chris Thile became the new host of A Prairie Home Companion, a popular radio theater show featuring music, humor and storytelling that is broadcast by public radio stations across the United States.

 

Discography:

Little Cowpoke, with Nickel Creek (1993)

Leading Off… (Sugar Hill Records, 1994)

Here to There, with Nickel Creek (1997)

Stealing Second (Sugar Hill Records, 1997)

Nickel Creek (Sugar Hill Records, 2000)

Not All Who Wander Are Lost (Sugar Hill Records, 2001)

This Side, with Nickel Creek (Sugar Hill, 2002)

Into the Cauldron, with Mike Marshall (Sugar Hill Records, 2003)

Deceiver (Sugar Hill Records, 2004)

Why Should the Fire Die?, with Nickel Creek (Sugar Hill, 2005)

How to Grow a Woman from the Ground (Sugar Hill Records, 2006)

Live: Duets, with Mike Marshall (Sugar Hill Records, 2006)

Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile (Nonesuch Records, 2008)

Punch, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2008)

Antifogmatic, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2010)

Sleep with One Eye Open, with Michael Daves (Nonesuch Records, 2011)

The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan (Sony Masterworks, 2011)

Who’s Feeling Young Now?, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2012)

Ahoy!, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2012)

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1 (Nonesuch, 2013)

A Dotted Line, with Nickel Creek (Nonesuch Records, 2014)

Bass & Mandolin, with Edgar Meyer (Nonesuch Records, 2014)

The Wireless, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2015)

The Phosphorescent Blues, with Punch Brothers (Nonesuch Records, 2015)

Bach Trios, with Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma (Nonesuch Records, 2017)

Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau (Nonesuch Records, 2017)

Videos:

Essential Techniques for Mandolin (Hal Leonard 2005) 85 Minute DVD or VHS plus music and tab booklet
Bluegrass Journey documentary (Blue Stores, 2005)

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Flamenco Award-Winners Gala in Seville

Alfonso Aroca – Photo by Gloria Nicolás

 

The Flamenco Viene Del Sur 2017 will present winners of the influential Festival de las Minas de la Unión flamenco contest. The artists are set to perform on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Teatro Central in Seville.

 

Alfonso Aroca (piano)

Although Alfonso Aroca has led soul, funk and music projects around the world, he’s a remarkable flamenco pianist as a soloist and accompanist to flamenco singers and dancers.

 

Antonia Contreras

Antonia Contreras (vocals)

Antonia Contreras started singing flamenco at a very young age. Although she temporarily abandoned her artistic career, she resumed it by convincing himself that cante (flamenco singing) gave meaning to her life.

 

Alba Heredia

 

Alba Heredia (dance)

Alba Heredia belongs to one of the most important dynasties of the flamenco world, Los Maya. She’s the nice of Manolete, Mario Maya and Juan Maya Marote. Alba has danced since her childhood in La Rocío, her grandmother’s famous cave. In 2015 she won El Desplante Award.

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Den Store Stuten Uncovers the Folk Music of Åseral

Mari Ormberg and singer Kari Røyinlid-Song – Den Store Stuten

Mari Ormberg and singer Kari Røyinlid-Song – Den Store Stuten

Fiddler Mari Ormberg and singer Kari Røyinlid have released an album of folk tunes from The Åseral area of Norway. The album, titled Den Store Stuten (Etnisk Musikklubb EM 120) includes a booklet with liner notes that describe the lyrics, the music and the artists.

The Åseral area is where some of the oldest and most authentic techniques, compositions and original tonal types of Norway are found. The earliest melodies can be dated back to the Middle Ages.

Kari Røynlid was born and raised in Åseral. She grew up learning folk music by being a part of the musical environment in the hamlet. She was predominantly taught by Ingebjørg Liestøl, Jens Røynlid and Kari Røynlid (The older).

Mari Ormberg plays hardanger fiddle. She has a bachelor’s degree in (utøvende) folk music. Since she moved to Åseral in 2010, she has been studying the region’s “slåttespel”, the traditional Norwegian fiddle music.

To order the album go to www.etniskmusikklubb.no

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Earth Festival and Roots Music in Northern Castile

The ancient towns of Tabanera del Cerrato and Villahán in the Spanish province of Palencia in northern Spain will host an “earth festival” called Festival De La Tierra on June 3 and 4, 2017.

The events include live music, readings, food, film, rituals, gatherings at a wine cellar, live radio and more.

The artists featured include regional roots music acts Majano Folk, Primitive Groove (ethnofolk jazz), Gritsanda (Leonese folk music), and Los Castos (rural cumbia).

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Artist Profiles: Chris Stout

Chris Stout

Shetland fiddler Chris Stout is one of the finest fiddlers of his generation in the UK. Stout was best known as a frontline member of Fiddlers’ Bid. His debut solo release First O’ the Darkenin’  however focused attention on his formidable individual talents at the helm of his own five-piece band winning him a nomination for Best Traditional Track at 2005’s Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Stout was born in Lerwick and grew up in Fair Isle until he was 7 years old “…where I caught my first glimpse of the fiddle when I was only 3! It was being played by my friend Ewan Thomson who was 7 years old at the time but has subsequently made the art of violin making his career. I now play two of his instruments a fiddle and viola.”

He played classical music at school and traditional music at home with his father who plays the accordion. “He took me to play at the Accordion and Fiddle clubs which was my introduction to traveling round the halls in Shetland and gave me my first performance experience.”

1990 was an important year for Stout. “I moved schools and became friendly with other young musicians who were mainly fiddle players. This group of youngsters were given the name ‘Fiddlers’ Bid’. They enjoyed frequent afternoon sessions possibly in place of classes such as Math or English with their teacher Willie Hunter. Countless concert experiences at coffee evenings and such like came rolling in.”

In the same year he won Shetland’s ‘Young Fiddler of the Year’ competition for his traditional fiddling. “I became Shetland’s ‘Young Musician of the Year’ for performing a classical repertoire. Having studied for a year with fiddle player Arthur Scott Robertson it was the advice of my classical tutor Teresa Mooreland that I should continue my studies on the mainland.”

In 1991 Stout gained a place at the music school of Douglas Academy in Glasgow where he studied for two additional years before gaining a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD). “During this time I played most weekends with the popular singing group ‘The Clydesiders’. This gave me a real appreciation and understanding of using the fiddle in an accompanying role to the voices. In retrospect it was probably my first opportunity to use the fiddle in an improvisatory style.”

Throughout his studies at the RSAMD he became more fascinated and excited by contemporary classical music. “As part of my degree I spent time working in an electro acoustic music studio. I completed my degree in classical violin and went on to do Masters in electro acoustic composition studying with the leading composer Alastair MacDonald. I was lucky enough to have one of my pieces released on a compilation CD of electro acoustic music featuring some of Britain’s top composers in this field.”

In 2000 Stout took part in a UK tour called ‘Fiddles on Fire’ with fiddlers Dezi Donnelly (Manchester) Eliza Carthy (England) and Susanne Lundeng (Norway). “This gave me my first independent break as a solo fiddle player on a national level.”

Stout has put this eclectic musical experience to good use. “I work with jazz musicians including London based trombonist Annie Whitehead drummer John Rae with his ‘Celtic Feet’ band saxophonist Phil Bancroft and ‘Orquestra Scotland Brasil’ 2003 collaboration.”

I am in demand as an electro acoustic composer. I composed a piece for Phil Bancroft in 2002 which was performed as part of the UK tour ‘Double Helix’. This was one of 3 professional commissions since leaving music college.”

Chris Stout’s quintet features Fraser Fifield (soprano saxophone) Catriona Mackay (harp piano) Malcolm Stitt (guitar) and Neil Harland (bass). The Quintet’s sound draws on the full breadth of Chris’ diverse skills and interests centered on his beloved Shetland traditions but weaving in a rich array of jazz and world-music influences.

In 2007 Stout released his solo album Devil’s Advocate.

Discography:

Around the World, with Fiddlers’ Bid (1994)

Hamnataing, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 1998)

Da Farder den Da Welcomer, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 2002)

First O’ the Darkenin’ (2004)

Naked and Bare, with Fiddlers’ Bid (Greentrax, 2005)

Laebrack, with Catriona McKay (2005)

Devil’s Advocate (Greentrax, 2007)

All Dressed in Yellow, with Fiddlers’ Bid (2009)

White Nights, with Catriona McKay (2010)

First O’ the Darkenin (Greentrax, 2011)

Chris Stout’s Brazilian Theory Live in Concert (2011)

Cauld Wind, with Finlay Macdonald (2013)

Seavaigers, with Catriona McKay (2014)

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Passionate Songs and Infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese Rhythms

Orchestra Baobab – Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (Word Circuit WC092, 2017)

It’s no surprise that ‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’, the new album by Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab is one of the highest rated recording in the past weeks by the two leading world music charts: the Transglobal World Music Chart and the World Music Charts Europe.

‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’ brings back the captivating mix of traditional Cuban and Senegalese dance music along with some innovations. For the first time, Orchestra Baobab has added a permanent kora (West African harp) player, augmenting even more the Senegalese flavor of the band.

The title of the album makes reference to Ndiouga Dieng, the longtime vocalist for Orchestra Baobab, who passed away in November 2016.

The lineup features Balla Sidibe on vocals and timbales; Rudy Gomis on vocals; Issa Sissoko on tenor saxophone; Thierno Koite on tenor and alto saxophone; Charlie Ndiaye on bass; Mountaga Koite on congas; Abdouleye Cissoko on kora; Oumar Sow on guitar; Yahya Fall on rhythm guitar; and Beninese musicians Wilfried Zinzou on trombone and rising guitarist Rene Sowatche.

Two special guests participated in the recording sessions, world music star Cheikh Lo who appears in the song ‘Magno Kouto’ and former Baobab vocalist Thione Seck, who recreates the hit ‘Sey’.

The physical version of the album comes in a very nicely-packaged format, as a hard cover book with song descriptions, photos and illustrations.

On Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng, the extraordinary Orchestra Baobab treats the listener to a beautiful set of passionate songs and infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese beats.

Buy Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng in the Americas and rest of the world

Buy Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Chiwoniso Maraire

Chiwoniso Maraire – Photo by Judith Burrows

 

Chiwoniso Maraire spent most of her adolescence in both Zimbabwe and the United States. She was born and raised in Olympia Washington where her famous father Dumisani Maraire lived and taught traditional Shona music between 1972 and 199 and was a renowned stage performer along with her mother Linda Nemarundwe Maraire.

Musical instruments were a core element of my childhood. By the age of four I was playing mbira; Tichazomuona my first recording with my parents was released when I was nine ‘ remembered Chiwoniso.

Chiwoniso played and recorded as a child with her father’s marimba groups Dumi and Minanzi and then with Mhuri ya Maraire’ (The Maraire Family). At the age of 15 she returned to Zimbabwe with her family.

 

Chiwoniso Maraire – Photo by Walter Murray

 

In 1994 Peace Of Ebony won the the Best New Group out of Southern Africa award in the Radio France International Discovery contest. P.O.E’s entry ‘Vadzimu’ a song they composed specifically for the competition was a potent mixture of the Shona English and French languages riding over a heavy mbira-laced rhythms. Vadzimu appears on the Putumayo ‘African Grooves‘  compilation.

Chiwoniso Maraire – Photo by Taurai Maduna

The success with A Piece of Ebony led her to join Zimbabwe’s leading band Andy Brown and The Storm. It was at that time that her talents as singer and musician blossomed. The Storm achieved huge success both in Zimbabwe and abroad. They played various concerts in Europe and Africa including performances at the SADC Music Festival in Zimbabwe in 1995 and The Masa Festival in Ivory Coast in 1997.

At the same time Chiwoniso continued to write her own music and performed alongside other artists with the support of The Storm. She also embarked on the 2 year General Certificate in music course with the Zimbabwe College of Music and studied sociology as well. She believes that the artist has to flow with the times otherwise the public turns away to follow the latest craze. Keeping with that belief Chiwoniso took up the challenge of learning and playing percussion including the mbira an African thumb piano indigenous to the Shona people of her country.

In Zimbabwe’s old tradition women were not allowed to play the mbira but the bright young star lived in a time where the past and the present must work together to move forward. The mbira she said “Is like a large xylophone. It is everywhere in Africa under different names: sanza kalimba etc. For us in Zimbabwe it is the name for many string instruments. They are many kind of mbiras. The one that I play is called the knuwga-knuwga which means brilliance-brilliance.”

Music had always been a natural element of Chiwoniso’s environment. “My mother performed until she was eight months and half into her pregnancy. I was born in our house. An American-Indian midwife assisted my mother in the delivery. That’s how my parents wanted it to be.” While her parents were teaching music in the downstairs rooms of their home Chiwoniso and her brother would play around with the percussion instruments that were all over the house. “My father never forced us to play music and did not care even if we broke any of the instruments as long as we created our own experience.”

As a vocalist Chiwoniso’s musical gift developed and matured with The Storm over the years and led her to the recording of her first solo CD Ancient Voices for which she received the Decouverte Afrique 98 award presented by R.F.I. (Radio France International) and the French Foreign Office.

In 1998 Chiwoniso won the Radio France International Discovery Competition in her own capacity and signed a contract with Lusafrica   resulting in her first CD Ancient Voices recorded and produced by Keith Farquharson.

Ancient Voices was a tremendous success and brought critical acclaim to this talented young Zimbabwean mbira player. Of note was Chiwoniso’s ability to flawlessly interweave English and Shona an ability that has become a strong signature in her work. Ancient Voices is a successful fusion of blues, jazz, reggae and rhythms from Zimbabwe.

Chiwoniso fronted her acoustic group Chiwoniso & Vibe Culture for several years. From 21 to 24 she was also a core member of the multinational all-women’s band Women’s Voice whose original members hailed from Norway Zimbabwe Tanzania America Israel and Algeria.

 

Chiwoniso Maraire – Photo by David Brazier

 

Her musical collaborations have included recording with Marie Boine Brilliant Kris Kristofferson and Sinead OConnor on the CD celebrating the 1th commemoration of the Nobel Peace Prize Awards composing and performing for the UNDP Africa 215 song project Les Tams-Tams de l’Afrique alongside Salif Keita Habib Koite (Mali) Ismael Lo Youssou Ndour Manu Dibango Baaba Maal (Senegal) Achieng Abura (Kenya) Saintrick  and Koffi Olomide (Congo).

She did a huge amount of session work through the years working with artists from around the world in greatly diverse styles. Chiwoniso released an acoustic solo CD Timeless with her group Vibe Culture.

In 2006 Chiwoniso won second place in the World Music category of the International Songwriting Competition. Out of around 15 entries from 82 countries throughout the world two songs from her new album reached the semi-finals – one of which “Rebel Woman’ made it through to the finals and earned her 2nd place.

In September 2008 Chiwoniso released her fourth album and first international album in over ten years Rebel Woman on the Cumbancha label.

Chiwoniso died July 24th, 2013.

Discography

A Piece of Ebony: From the Native Tongue (1992)
Ancient Voices (Lusafrica/Tinder, 1998)
Chiwoniso & Vibe Culture: Timeless (2004)
Rebel Woman (Cumbancha, 2008)

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Artist Profiles: Chirgilchin

Chirgilchin – Photo by Gary Ehlenberger

Chirgilchin are the 1998 champions of the Tuvan national throat singing competitions in Kyzyl the capital of Tuva. Chirgilchin means either mirage or miracle in the Tuvan language.

In 1996 Alexander Bapa also the founder and producer of Tuvan Throat Singing group Huun Huur Tu gathered the cream of the younger generation of Tuvan musicians and formed Chirgilchin. One of the group’s more extraordinary features is the appearance of a Female Throat Singer which is still quite uncommon in Tuva.

All Chirgilchin’s songs are in the Tuvan language and the group plays instruments such as the Doshpuluur – a kind of lute with two strings the Igil – a violin with two strings the Limbi – a trapezoid harmonic soundbox Flute and the Dymbra – a rattle drum used by the Tuvan Shamans in their rituals.

 

Chirgilchin

 

A Chirgilchin performance will also get the public acquainted with shamanism. The Tuvan religious culture is primarily shamanistic but for some hundreds of years has also been strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism [or Lamaism as they call it]. Indeed many people note the relationship between some Tuvan throat singing styles and the religious chanting of Tibetan lamas.

Throat-singing or overtone singing is the audible expression of producing two or more notes at once. This startling technique was developed in response to the sounds of the natural environment in which Central Asian nomadic tribes roamed.

A particularly rich throat-singing tradition survives in Tuva and neighboring Mongolia. In these areas marked by vast grasslands and mountain ranges throat singing is called khoomei. The singer produces overtones by varying the shape of his mouth and pharynx; as a result two three or even four distinct tones can be heard at once. The fundamental tone remains constant while melodies are sung with the highest overtone resembling the sound of a flute.

Line-up:

Aydysmaa Kandan: female vocalist khomus (Tuvan mouth harp) tenchik (bells)

Mongoun-ool Ondar: throat singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur khomus
vocals.

Igor Koshkendei: throat-singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur doshpuluur khomus guitar.

Aldar Tamdyn: throat singing (kargyraa and khoomei styles) morin-khuur doshpuluur limbi igil

Alexander Bapa: founder producer arranger manager. Founder of Huun Huur Tu producer of their first two CDs (6 Horses in my Herd and The Orphans Lament)

Discography:

The Wolf and the Kid (Shanachie, 1996)
Aryskan’s Wind (1999)
Ezir-Kara (2002)
Collectible (2005)
Will Teach (2006)
Pictures of Tuva (2008)
Kaldak Khamar (2009)

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