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 and 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.

New World Music Venue in New York

New York, USA – Cafe Charbon is New York City’s latest world music venue. Located at 168 Orchard Street, corner of Stanton, Cafe Charbon will have live music five nights a week very soon. The programming this month includes Brazilian music, Deep House Tribal, live trance grooves, Afropop, Gypsy jazz, and much more.

June Program:

Brazilian Tuesdays – June 10th and 17th – Just back from Rio De Janeiro, The Barbara Mendes Band Wednesday June 11th – Deep House, Tribal with DJ Aasia

Thursday June 12th – Live Trance-Groove Beats with DD and Sabena

Every Friday and Saturday – the house DJ spins the best of 70’s and 80’s

Sunday June 15th – Live Jazz – Group to be announced

Monday June 16th – Live Afro-Pop with Kaissa

Tuesday June 17th – Barbara Mendes Band

Wednesday June 18th – French Gypsy-mix “Django” with Stephane

Musiuc starts at 10pm. No cover charge, 2 drink minimum. Reservations: 212-420-7520.


Nightclub in the Jungle

London, England – Martin Cradick of Baka Beyond is back from Africa where he and the Baka built a Music House which will function as a night club where the Baka can generate some revenue for their music.

On Martin Cradick’s trip to the Baka at the end of 2002 a mongolu music house was built, but he promised to return to help them build a larger music house in the village near the road. In February 2003 Martin arrived at Lupe with expert timber-framer Andi Main. They both showed up at the same time as the elephants arrived in the area. The Baka had to decide whether to follow the elephants that they had been waiting for, or to follow Martin and Andi to start work on the music house. They decided to go for the house.This is an account from the band’s diary:

The chief of Banana (the name of the village on the roadside that the Baka of this area are affiliated with) had allocated an area of land that could be used to build the music house. It had previously been used by some of the Baka as a plantation, but was now very overgrown. Looking at it we wondered if we were completely crazy to expect to be able to build the music house in four weeks.

After the first day’s work we realised how quickly the Baka could work. Very soon a large area of what had appeared to be inpenetrable undergrowth had been cleared. After the second day they started building a new village on site.

By the end of the first weeks work (actually only 4 mornings work – we started on a Wednesday and by midday it was getting too hot to work) the site of the building had been cleared and leveled and the foundations laid.

We obtained permission to cut down a single Sapeli tree that would provide sufficient wood for the structure of the building. This was then expertly cut up into beams and planks by Theo, who lived in Kika, a logging town about 80km away.

Andi taught both Baka and Bantu how to make tenon and mortice joints which they did using tools donated by the charity “Tools for Self Reliance”. By the end of the second week the first pillars were erected.

By the end of the third week the basic structure of the house was finished, all that was needed was a roof. The entire structure had been built from just the one tree! It was decided to cover it with corrugated aluminium with the traditional rafia palm material underneath that. This would give it the lasting quality of the metal roof with the coolness and ambiance of the traditional roof. In order to attach a metal roof we needed some more lengths of wood which we bought in nearby Moloundu, rather than cutting another tree.

Almost as soon as the roof was on it was tested by the very heavy rain that is normal in this region. As soon as there was a semblance of a building the space was tested by a succession of parties and performances. Even with no electricity it proved to be an inspiring space for music, dance and generally a good time.

To improve the sound as well as the ambience of the space traditional rafia roofing was placed inside the roof. We used planks made from the higher branches of the tree behind the stage. The mats behind are made from the stems of the ngongo plants, the leaves of which are used to roof the traditional mongolu houses that the women build. This photo was taken to send to “Strings and Things” who kindly donated a load of guitar strings for us to take to the Baka guitarists.

The basic construction of the house is now finished but there is more work to be done inside. The design is such that performances can take place on a stage with a dance floor in front of that and a raised platform at the back creating an amphitheatre feeling. Equally the performance can take place in the middle with seating all round. This would be more suitable for traditional dance performances. We are planning to return at the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004 to complete the internal furniture and have an opening to which local and national dignitaries will be invited.

The music house has already been used to entertain local people and as a meeting house for the newly formed Baka association, “Gbine”. It provides a link for the Baka between their forest lifestyle, which is still strong, and there life interacting with the townsfolk of Moloundu and surrounding regions where development is creating more links to the modern world. Their music and dance is developed in the forest and the music house provides a place for them to present this to the outside world and to increase their standing in the eyes of the village and town population who often dismiss them because of their “primitive” lifestyle.


Sones Jarochos from Veracruz

La Bamba - Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
Washington, DC, USA – Smithsonian Folkways has released a new album of sones jarochos from the Mexican state of Veracruz, La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz (Smithsonian Folkways 40505, 2003).

Jarocho describes both the people and culture of the southern coastal plain of Veracruz, home for more than two centuries to one of Mexico’s most exciting musical traditions, the son jarocho. Although son jarocho is lesser known abroad than other Mexican styles such as corridos, cumbias and rancheras; songs such as “La Bamba,” “Cascabel,” and “Siquisirí” occupy a major spot in Mexico’s musical folklore.

José Gutiérrez, Felipe Ochoa, and Marcos Ochoa, raised on the tropical ranchos of Veracruz’s interior, are three of the most accomplished ambassadors of the modern-day son jarocho tradition. They play complex, hard-driving rhythms on the Veracruz harp and on the guitars called jarana and requinto, and sing high-pitched vocal melodies brimming with wit and regional pride. They have toured Europe, the United States, Central America, and Mexico, while in Veracruz they continue to enliven weddings, baptisms, public events, and celebrations of all kinds.
Buy La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz.


Brazil at Jazz en la Costa, Spain

Jorge Ben Jor
Jorge Ben Jor

Almuñécar, Granada, Spain – This year’s theme of the Jazz en la Costa festival is Brazil. Several top Brazilian guests will be performing there: Jorge Ben Jor, Ivan Lins and Rosa Passos.

The festival takes place in the Mediterranean town of Almuñécar, located in the Granada coast, in southern Spain. The venue is the Parque el Majuelo, next to the ancient Phoenician ruins and right under the Arab castle.

For more information go to: Jazz en la Costa


Tamburaland Festival

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – Tamburaland Festival is a festival of tamburica music featuring 10 top tamburica orchestras from across North America. The event is held at the Millvale Croatian Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 7th, 2003, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Artists featured include The Jerry Grcevich Tamburitza Orchestra, 8601, Kontraband, Momci, Mark Spisic Tamburica Orkestar, Veseli, Trubaduri, Skrseni Glas, Sanjari, and the Saint George Combo.There will also be a special appearance by dance ensemble Kumovi who will perform one number during the official program.

For more information about tambura music, visit

For information about the festival, visit


Sonora Carruseles, US Tour

Sonora Carruseles - Heavy Salsa
Sonora Carruseles – Heavy Salsa
Los Angeles, USA – The popular Colombian salsa group Sonora Carruseles will be touring the United States again in June and July 2003. Tour dates will be posted online at

Carruseles is known for their hit songs “Micaela”, “Lola”, “Arranca En Fa” and their newest hit “De Una Vez Gozando”.

This popular Colombian salsa group came into the tropical scene performing Afro-Caribbean rhythms, including a traditional style known as salsa brava, originated in the 1960s. Formed in 1995 by composer/producer/conguero Diego Galé and Mario Rincón, and backed by the record label Discos Fuentes, the group became a boogaloo and original salsa revival, taking over Latin America, the U.S., and Europe after releasing 1998’s Heavy Salsa and 1999’s Salsa Y Fuego.


Regional Youth to Dance with Cuban Musicians

Adalberto y Su Son - Para Bailar Casino
Adalberto y Su Son – Para Bailar Casino
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha)Singer and orchestra director Adalberto Alvarez announced that he is working on a cultural recreation project to be launched soon while preparing a dance music CD whose title will be used in a television program.

In “Para Bailar Casino” (To Dance Casino), a song which will be the theme of a live summer TV program with performances by orchestras and Casino dances; I even include the voices of the dressing room director, he stated. TV director Victor Torres and I conceived the program.

The new CD marks another moment of renovation in Adalberto y su Son orchestra with the incorporation of young musicians and new singers. Adalberto, the Gentleman of Son, is heading the Organizing Committee of the 1st International Gathering of Casino Dancers to be held at the 14th Festival to be held in Matanzas and at the Varadero tourist resort, from August 8 to 11, with participation of dancers from all continents.

The Music Institute, Havanatur and CIMEX Corporation are sponsoring the event that arrives in time to impede that this choreographic dance style created spontaneously in the late 1940s is materialized in other countries prior to Cuba.


Pestalozzi International Festival of World Music

Sedlescombe, UK – Following the success of the Pestalozzi International Festival of World Music, Crafts and Storytelling 2002, the Pestalozzi Village in Sedlescombe, East Sussex, will be hosting a second major world music festival to be held on the 14th and 15th June 2003.

This year’s festival theme will be ‘Global Fusion’ and aims to promote the similarities between cultures by hosting artists who demonstrate shared influences through their music, crafts, storytelling and puppetry.

A new development this year includes hands-on workshops for audiences to experience activities and provide an interactive way to learn about issues related to Global Fusion.

All this together with food, bars, stalls, camping facilities means this year’s festival will be better than ever.

For more information on the Festival contact: 01424 870444 or visit


New Grammy® World Music Category

Santa Mónica, USA – The Recording Academy® announced today that there will be a new World Music Grammy® category. World music is now represented by two categories in its own field: Best Traditional World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album.

The Traditional World Music category will include recordings of international non-Western classical music and international non-American and non-British traditional folk music, as well as international cross-cultural music based on the above criteria. The Contemporary World Music category will include recordings of world/beat, world/jazz (with a higher percentage of world than jazz), world/pop and cross-cultural music with contemporary production techniques.This important change is the result of an intense lobbying campaign led by the American world music community, including World Music Central and the World Music Coalition, a new organization that seeks the advancement of world music in North America.


Salsa – The Essential Album on Manteca

Salsa! The Essential Album
London, England – Salsa – The Essential Album is the latest compilation produced by British label Manteca. Salsa is the irresistible, passionate dance music and lifeblood for millions all over the world. And not just the Latin world. Want to ‘rumba’ in Rekyjavic? No problem. ‘Mambo’ in Melbourne? Just say the word. Salsa has become a part of all our lives and these 2 CDs contain some of the best that world can offer. Compilation & notes by Sue Steward.CD1:

1 Willy Chirino: Oxigeno

2 Jose Alberto `El Canario’ : Me Dejó Picao

3 Africando: Mopao

4 Albita: El Manisero

5 Rubén González: Choco’s Guajira

6 Cuarteto Patria & Manu Dibango: Carnaval

7 Nava: Mujer Boricua

8 Orishas: 537 C.U.B.A.

9 Tito Puente: Oye Como Va (Live)

10 Orquesta Broadway: Como Camina Maria

11 Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera: Yerbero Moderno

12 Beny More: Yiri Yiri Bon

13 Machito: Escucha Mi Encanto

14 Ismael Rivera: El Chivo De La Campana

15 Eddie Palmieri: Sabroso Guaguanco


1 Yma Sumac: Taki Rari

2 Chichi Peralta & Son Familia: La Ciguapa

3 Fulanito: Guallando Goma

4 Sidestepper: Linda Manigua

5 Orlando `Cachaito’ López: Mis Dos Pequeňas

6 Cubanismo: Alemaňy’s Boogaloo

7 Candido Fabré Y Su Banda: La Lizeta

8 Grupo Niche: Mi Pueblo

9 Joe Cuba Sextet: A Las Seis

10 Son 14 with Adalberto Álvarez: A Bayamo En Coche

11 Sierra Maestra: Tíbiri Tábara

12 Pochi y su Coco Band: Dos Personas

13 The Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Pa’ Gozar

14 Grupo Galé: Descarga Galé

15 The Cesta All-Stars with Charlie Palmieri: Jala-Jala Con Aguardiente