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.

Artist Profiles: Cheo Hurtado

Cheo Hurtado

Asdrúbal José Hurtado, better known as Cheo Hurtado is an acclaimed musician, who received many awards and plays the four-string cuatro, in addition to several other string instruments t. This small instrument is normally used for the rhythmic accompaniment in the folkloric tradition of Venezuela, but Hurtado plays it so sophisticated that it becomes an outstanding solo instrument.

Cheo Hurtado was born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela on May 2, 1960. Son of the guitarist and composer of Venezuelan popular music, Ramón Hurtado, his master, who initiated him in the field at 7 years of age. At 13 he won the first prize in the National Cuatro Festival.

Between 1975 and 1983 he worked as a teacher of cuatro, guitar and mandolin in the Ciudad de Bolivar Culture House, where he founded in 1977 the Carlos Raúl Villanueva Students Band. He was also founding member of the Cuerda de Carmito, a traditional Guyanese musical group, and played acoustic bass in the Angostura Orchestra, conducted by Juanito Arieta. In 1985 Cheo Hurtado moved to Caracas where he founded the well-known Gurrufío Esemble together with Luis Julio Toro and Cristóbal Soto. He was also member of Un Solo Pueblo, a pop music group, and conductor of the Costa Caribe Group and of Bandolas de Venezuela.

Cheo Hurtado has played together with many national and international music figures such as Alirio Díaz, Aldemaro Romero, Paquito D’Rivera, Oscar D’Leon, Simón Diaz, Bela Fleck, Serenata Guayanesa, Soledad Bravo, Lilia Vera, María Teresa Chacín among others.

With Gurrufío Ensemble, Costa Caribe and Bandolas de Venezuela he has toured the USA, Japan and Europe since 1982.

Discography

La Cuerda de Carmito Vol. 1 (1981)
La Cuerda de Carmito Vol. 2 (1986)
El Seis Guayanés (1988)
Costa Caribe Vol. 1 (1989)
Que Te Vaya Bien, with Costa Caribe (1990)
Bandolas de Venezuela (Musicarte/Dorian, 1990)
Sin Fronteras, with Costa Caribe (1991)
Compadre Pancho (Musicarte/1993)
Maroa, with Ensamble Gurrufío (1993)
Cruzao, with Ensamble Gurrufío (Dorian, 1994)
Music from the Orinoco River (Ocora, 1996)
El trabadedos, with Ensamble Gurrufío (Sony, 1997)
Cuatro arpas y un cuatro (Tropical Music, 1998)
Cosas del ayer, with Ensamble Gurrufío (1998)
Ensamble Gurrufío con la Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho (1999)
Ensamble Gurrufío en vivo, with Ensamble Gurrufío (1999)
33 de 4 (2000)
Seis Guayanés (Fundación Bigott, 2002)
En Vivo, with Camerata Criolla (2002)
Sesiones con Moisés Torrealba, with Ensamble Gurrufío (2002)
El cuatro suelto (Fundación Bigott, 2004)
El Reto, with Ensamble Gurrufío (2004)
42 años Instrumenteando (2009)

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Artist Profiles: Chartwell Dutiro

Chartwell Dutiro

Chartwell Dutiro, Zimbabwean musician and musicologist, lives in Britain. He sings, writes and plays music with his group Spirit Talk Mbira. He also teaches at London University and gives workshops worldwide.

Chartwell Dutiro used traditional music with words in Shona to protest against stale authority and the oppression of colonialism, which has left a strong mark on him. His family was relocated into a protected village when he was very young.

Chartwell Dutiro’s first-name was given to him by missionaries when he was a child, although his original name is Shorai, which means ̶You can underestimate me if you wish”. Chartwell began playing the mbira at four, although the traditional instrument was banned at that time. Later he played the mbira for a spiritualist. He also took up the saxophone.

Chartwell Dutiro

Just like his instrument, the Mbira, is used to call the spirits during traditional ceremonies, Chartwell Dutiro calls for guidance from the spirits of the soil and sings that the oppressors have made it hard to survive, but then the reformer does not swim with the current”. His musical fame spread and, one day, he teamed up with Zimbabwean celebrity Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited. This turned into an eight-year musical partnership.

Chartwell has been in Britain for six years. His music emphasizes spirituality but also has political messages. The song ‘Gamura makaka, that he recorded for Refugee Voices ‘ is about old men bossing people around and stale authority. He believes in the power of music: “I think music can bring people together. The moment we start playing music language doesn’t matter, the language is in the music”.

It’s too much, old men bossing people around Their presence is an overbearing weight to our hearts Here, there, and even there, you are the boss!

But I have got my arrow to serve as my word

Discography:

Dendere Ngoma (2010)

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Artist Profiles: Ceolbeg

Ceolbeg – Ceol beag is a Gaelic phrase meaning literally small music. It refers to the jigs, reels, and strathpeys of traditional Scottish pipe music and contrasts with ceol mór, the big music of the pibroch or classical Highland bagpipe repertoire. Ceolbeg’s music ranged from solo instrumental pieces to powerful bagpipe driven Celtic rock.

The original lineup included Peter Boond on flute and whistles; Mike Katz on bagpipes, whistles and bass; Colin Matheson on bass, keyboards, guitar, and mandolin; Davy Steele on vocals; Wendy Stewart on clarsach (harp); and Jim Walker on percussion.

The group disbanded in 2001.

Discography:

Not the Bunnyhop (Greentrax Recordings, 199)

Seeds to the Wind (Greentrax Recordings, 1991)

An Unfair Dance (Greentrax Recordings, 1993)

5 (Greentrax, 1996)

Cairn Water (Greentrax Recordings, 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Catriona MacDonald

Catriona MacDonald – Photo by Leila Angus

Catriona MacDonald began playing as a child back in 1981. Less than two years later, she took both the title of Young Fiddler of the Year in the annual Shetland Folk Society competition and the deputy leadership of a new fiddle group, Shetland’s Young Heritage, set up to help preserve Shetland traditional music and to help teach Shetland traditional fiddle to local school children. In 1991 her dexterity and presence became acknowledged on a wider stage, when she won the prestigious BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award, a high profile competition featuring the cream of Britain’s young traditional players.

However, fiddle playing was not her only talent and at the age of eighteen, Catriona found herself studying voice at the Royal College of Music in London (where she met former playing partner accordionist Ian Lowthian). After graduating from four years study it was time to focus on Catriona’s first love the Shetland fiddle so she returned to Scotland and started her professional career.

Catriona has worked closely with accordionist Ian Lowthian and was behind a fantastic project the String Sisters premiered at Celtic Connections in January 2000, bringing together six of the most exciting female fiddle players in the world. String Sisters features a stellar international line up comprising Liz Carroll (USA), Liz Knowles (USA), Annbjorg Lien (Norway), Natalie MacMaster (Canada) and Altan’s Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (Ireland). Catriona was also a member of Blazin’ Fiddles.

Discography

Bold (2000)
The Old Style, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2004)
Magnificent Seven, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2005)
Live in Scotland, with The Unusual Suspects (2005)
Blazin’ Fiddles Live, with Blazin’ Fiddles(2007)
Over the Moon (2007)
Live, with String Sisters (2009)
Big Like This, with The Unusual Suspects (2010)
Thursday Night in the Caley, with Blazin’ Fiddles (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Cathie Ryan

Cathie Ryan

 

Irish-American soprano vocalist and songwriter Cathie Ryan grew up in Detroit, Michigan,  surrounded by traditional Irish influences.  She is expert at the ancient art of sean nos (pronounced “shan-nos”) unaccompanied singing, and its traces can be heard in her delicate trilling and subtle ornamentation. The Detroit influences are also there in the form of blues and R&B beats.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

“I would describe my music as coming from an Irish-American experience,” Ryan said. “I was raised by Irish parents in an American city setting, and my music comes from that, from all of that. But I always thought you had to do one or the other: you were either an American singer or you were an Irish singer. It has taken time to understand that I can be both. I just sing what’s in me.”

Cathie has released several solo albums and is featured on more than forty compilations of Celtic Music.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

There is nothing like a live show, being with an audience, sharing the music. That is the best part of being a singer and writing songs ,’ she says.

In 2003 Cathie was included in the famous Irish music collection, A Woman’s Heart’ A Decade On placing her among Irish music’s finest female vocalists and songwriters. It was the first time Americans were featured in the series and she shared the honor with Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

Her original songs have been recorded by distinguished Irish vocalists such as Frances Black and Mary Black among others.

Discography:

Cathie Ryan (Shanachie, 1997)

Mother, with Robin Spielberg and Susan McKeown (North Star, 1999)

The Music of What Happens (Shanachie, 1998)

Somewhere Along the Road (Shanachie, 2001)

The Farthest Wave (Shanachie, 2005)

Through Wind and Rain (Mo Leanbh Records, 2012)

website: http://www.cathieryan.com

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Artist Profiles: Catherine-Ann MacPhee

Catherine Ann McPhee
Catherine Ann McPhee is one of the great Gaelic voices. She was born in the Island of Barra (Scotland) and worked as an actor and singer proud of her heritage for many years. Her big break came in the 198s when she was asked to record an album. She now has three albums in her repertoire and her voice has become one of the most after in the Gaelic language world. She has recorded with Hector Zazou and has recently sung alongside Bjork, Siouxie and the Banshees and Suzanne Vega.

Catherine-Ann MacPhee was brought up on the Island of Barra. The Barra of her childhood was predominantly a singing island, especially Eoligarry, the small village where her home was. It was also home to many of the Island\’s singers, not least her grandmother and various other members of her family who encouraged the natural talent that they all saw in her at a very young age. At the age of seventeen, she was invited to join the first Gaelic Touring Repertory Theatre Company Fir Chlis. She toured with them for three and a half years throughout Scotland and England.

After Fir Chlis’ premature demise, Cathy Ann joined John McGrath’s 7:84 Theatre Co. and continued to tour as an actress and singer for some years. During this time she released her first recording, Canan Nan Gaidheal, followed in 1991 by Chi Mi’n Geamhradh, then the Sings Mairi Mhor album in 1994 and Suil Air Ais, ten years later. She is now in demand performing and teaching at many feisean, from Barra to Seattle.

After living in South Uist (Outer Hebrides) for some years Cathy Ann moved to Ottawa, Canada.

Discography:

Canan Nan Gaidheal [The Language of the Gael] (Greentrax, 1987)

Chi Mi’n Geamhradh [I See Winter] (Greentrax, 1991)

Sings Mairi Mhor (Greentrax, 1994)

Òrain nan Gàidheal (1997)

Suil Air Ais [Looking Back] (Greentrax CDTRAX25, 2004)

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Artist Profiles: Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell is known and respected all over the world for his masterful flute playing and singing, solo as well as with his band, Boys of the Lough and for the enormous number of tunes and songs he has stored in his head over a lifetime in music. A co-founder of the band and a member for nearly thirty years, Cathal and the Boys Of The Lough have performed in major concert halls throughout the world and have recorded nearly twenty albums.

Born in Co. Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, he won All-Ireland Championships in both flute and tin whistle at the age of 18. Five years later he started touring with the first incarnation of the Boys of the Lough and has been with them ever since as instrumentalist and lead singer. He has become well known over the years as a true virtuoso of the flute and pennywhistle.

Discography

The Boys of the Lough (Trailer Records, 1973)
Second Album (Trailer Records, 1973)
Live at Passim’s (Philo Records, 1974)
Lochaber No More (Philo Records, 1976)
The Piper’s Broken Finger (Transatlantic Records, 1976)
An Irish Jubilee ‎(Topic Records, 1976)
Good Friends … Good Music (Transatlantic Records, 1977)
On Lough Erne’s Shore (Topic Records, 1978)
Wish You Were Here (Transatlantic Records, 1978)
Regrouped (Flying Fish, 198)
In the Tradition (Topic Records, 1981)
Open Road (Topic Records, 1983)
To Welcome Paddy Home (Philo Records, 1985)
Far From Home – Live (Shanachie Records, 1986)
Farewell and Remember Me (Shanachie Records, 1987)
Sweet Rural Shade (Shanachie Records, 1988)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1992)
The Fair Hills of Ireland (Lough Records, 1992)
The Day Dawn (Lough Records, 1994)
Midwinter Night’s Dream (Blix Street Records, 1996)
The West of Ireland (Lough Records, 1999)
Long Expectant Comes at Last (2000)
Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (Lough Records, 2002)
Twenty (Lough Records, 2005)
Rising Fawn Gathering, with Norman Blake (Western Jubilee Recording Company/Plectrafone Records, 2009)
Good Friends – Good Music (Rounder, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson specializes in spirited Irish fiddle music with American Folk and World Music Influences.

From her first show in a small Irish pub in the U.S. Virgin Islands to her Carnegie Hall appearance for the New York Police Department (NYPD) Memorial Concert, Cady Finlayson has brought her spirited Irish fiddling to numerous venues throughout the United States.

Cady Finlayson received her Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music and the President’s Award for Irish fiddle study at Blas World Music Centre in Limerick, Ireland.

Her Shines Like Silver was listed as one of the top 2 CDs of 2002 by WVPE. Recording credits include the soundtrack to Irish film Snakes and Ladders, baseball film Random Acts, the Peace on Earth Holiday Folk Tour with Judy Collins, and CDs for artists including Pierce Turner, Piper John Bradley and Holly Palmer.

Her all-star Irish band includes singer Honor Finnegan, guitar master Kyle Sanna and a driving rhythm section led by Tim Alworth. Her CD, Harp and Shamrock, celebrates her love of both traditional Irish music and American folk/world music percussion.

Discography:

Shines Like Silver (2002)
Harp and Shamrock (Violincaddy Music, 2004)
Irish Coffee (2007)
Electric Green, with Vita Tanga (2010)

www.cadyfinlayson.com

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Artist Profiles: Carreg Lafar

Carreg Lafar in 2016

Carreg Lafar was formed in 1993, in Cardiff, by musicians coming from different parts of Wales: Wrexham in the North, Llanelli and Swansea on the South Coast and the valleys of South East Wales. Their backgrounds were diverse, but they all share a love and enthusiasm for the music and culture of Wales. The original lineup featured Rhian Evan-Jones on fiddle, Antwn Owen-Hicks on bodhrán and vocals, James Rourke on flute, Linda Owen Jones on vocals, and Simon O’Shea on guitar. Danny KilBride has been playing guitar with the band since 2007.

The band spent a lot of time researching and arranging traditional material, culminating in their debut album Ysbrydy Werin released in November, 1995 on Sain Records.

Carreg Lafar’s live performances are passionate and lively. The band has performed at Celtic and world Music festivals in Wales and Brittany. Through a mixture of traditional and traditionally inspired original music, the group conveys a fresh and vibrant spirit whilst remaining firmly rooted in the language and musical heritage of its homeland.

Discography:

Ysbrid y Werin (Sain Records, 1995)

Hyn (Sain Records, 1998)

Profiad (Sain Records, 2002)

Aur (Sain Records, 2016)

website: www.carreglafar.co.uk

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Artist Profiles: Calum MacKinnon

Calum MacKinnon

Calum is from the island of Tiree in the Hebrides. He started learning the fiddle at an early age, from a neighbor, Willie Kemp, who studied with James Scott Skinner. He was runner-up at the 1988 US National Scottish Fiddle Championships, and returned to judge the Nationals in 1989, 1991, 1998 and 2001.

The irresistible energy and sensitivity of Calum’s playing has made him a highly sought-after performer and teacher. His busy performance schedule of concerts and workshops has taken him across the United States and Canada and to Scotland, England and Japan. Calum plays extensively for Scottish country dances across the US and Canada with his band, The Music of Spey that includes pianist Andy Imbrie and bass and cello player Ralph Gordon. He also plays frequently for dances with Muriel Johnstone, Scotland’s premier country dance pianist.

Calum performed with harper Sue Richards on her solo CDs, Grey Eyed Morn, and Hazel Grove, and on the highly popular Scottish country dance recording, Memories of Scottish Weekend, recorded live at the Ramblewood Scottish Weekend in 1998.

Discography:

It’s About Time, with Muriel Johnstone (Skerryvore Records, 2003)

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