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.

Adora Dupree-Awoyomi

Storyteller and poet Adora Dupree-Awoyomi died on January 8, 2004. An actress, director, writer, ordained minister, and storyteller, Adora came to storytelling from her family’s spoken-word traditions.She was a well-known
teacher and performer throughout the South, a member of the Network of Cultural
Centers of Color, and on the Alternate Roots touring roster. Adora attended the
Folk Alliance conference in Nashville where she led a workshop on storytelling.

[Courtesy of the

Folk Alliance
].

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Cuba’s Sexto Sentido Quartet a Hit in Moscow

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Moscow, Russia – Sexto Sentido female vocal quartet
and the band accompanying them, brought Cuban musical flavor to the group’s
first promotional tour of Russia, well received by audiences and critics.
Producer and musical promoter Vartan Tonoian invited the young singers who won
first prize in Havana’s Jojazz festival in 2001.

In Moscow, they presented their latest album Bossa Cubana recorded at
Abdala studios in Havana by Elephant Records, and which includes versions of
major world hits such as "The Girl from Ipanema" and the Beatles’ Michelle. ts distinctive feature is a mix of rhythms from Cuba and Brazil. The title
song was presented along with a video clip and shown on M-1 television station.
Arlety Valdes, Yudelkis Lafuente, Melvis Estevez, and Eliene Borrero graduated
from the Amadeo Roldan Institute, and have maintained their same musical format
since 1997. Piano player and composer Rolando Luna, bassist Rafael Paceiro, and
Russian guitar player Roman Miroshnichenko were among the young musicians that
accompanied them.

Sexto Sentido delighted audiences at the El Pajaro Azul and Le Club jazz
clubs. According to the vocal group’s manager Cesar Gomez, Sexto Sentido will
continue its performances here in the spring season, as part of a tour that will
include other European nations.

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Buena Fe Duet Returns to Cuba

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Guantanamo, Cuba – The popular Buena Fe duet performed in the town of Caimanera, after returning from its successful tour in Mexico. Enthusiasm prevailed during the duet’s performance before thousands at the Pedro Agustin Perez square, a stage on which they played songs from their albums “Dejame Entrar” and “Arsenal.” The duet of Israel Rojas and Joel Martinez recently returned from a promotional tour of Mexico, where they confirmed the popularity of some of their songs in that country, the cradle of Hispanic music idols, such as Agustin Lara y Armando Manzanero.

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Kepa Junkera\’s US Tour

San Francisco, USA – Accordionist Kepa Junkera will be touring the US in
January:

10 Sat Real Artways Hartford CT
11 Sun APAP showcase New York NY
12 Mon APAP showcase New York NY
13 Tue Satalla New York NY
14 Wed Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia PA
16 Fri Stanford Stanford CA
17 Sat Marin JCC San Rafael CA
18 Sun Napa Valley Opera House Napa CA
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Dennis Batson

Dennis Batson, a key founder of commercial-free Memphis community radio station WEVL-FM 89.9, an innovative music promoter and a beloved bartender and raconteur at the P&H Cafe, died January 6. Batson was a major force in the chartering of WEVL, which went on the air as a tiny 10-watt enterprise in 1976. The volunteer, listener-supported “alternative radio” station remains dedicated to community programming and music rarely heard elsewhere on the dial, including rockabilly, zydeco, vintage blues, and Celtic music. At the time of WEVL’s founding Batson was a state social worker who plowed his earnings into the station. Batson stayed with WEVL about five years.He was a founder of the
Memphis Dulcimer Festival in 1988, he also founded and promoted a concert series
that brought such diverse folk and acoustic performers as Scotland’s Tannahill
Weavers and Cajun great D. L. Menard to town. A founding member of the North
American Folk Music and Dance Alliance he co-chaired the local committee for the
10th annual International Folk Alliance conference, held in Memphis.

Born in St. Louis, Batson
lived most of his life in Memphis where he earned a degree in anthropology at
the University of Memphis. In recent years he was most familiar for his nightly
role as bartender at the P&H Cafe where his sense of humor and easy manner made
him a favorite of writers, punk rockers, college students, trivia quizzers and
other regulars Batson appeared in two films, Craig Brewer’s "The Poor & Hungry"
(the title itself is an homage to the P&H), and John Michael McCarthy cast him
as the Colonel Parker figure in his short "Elvis Meets the Beatles."

[Courtesy of the

Folk Alliance
].

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Dr Hukwe Zawose Dies at 65

London, England – Real World Records announced today the death of Dr Hukwe
Zawose on Tuesday 30 December 2003 at his home in Bagamoyo, Tanzania at the age
of 65.

Born in Doduma, a rural area of Tanzania, Dr Zawose was a legend in his own land,
a clan leader and community mentor who had single-handedly breathed new life
into the ancient traditional music of the Wagogo people. He first appeared in
Great Britain in the early-eighties with the Master Musicians of Tanzania. His
extraordinary 5-octave vocal range – switching between a high, feminine sound
and a form of throat-singing and his exquisite playing of the buzzing ilimba
thumb piano or the sensuous one-stringed izeze fiddle mesmerized audiences. The
first of many appearances at WOMAD began at Mersea Island, UK in 1985.Basing himself in the old Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo, where he devoted his time
to founding and then teaching at the unique College of Performing Arts and
presiding over a huge extended family, Dr Zawose travelled to the four corners
of the globe, engaging his audiences in his taut and extraordinary web of
singing and dancing talent, often travelling with his brilliant nephew Charles
Zawose. In 2002 Hukwe and Charles accompanied Peter Gabriel as support act
during his Growing Up Tour.

Dr Zawose recorded a number of albums during his life, including the traditional Chibite recorded in 1995 at the Real World ‘Recording Week’ and Spear
To the Heart
on the WOMAD Select label – both featuring emotional polyphonic
vocal pyrotechnics with Charles. Most recently Dr Zawose teamed up with the
highly respected producer/guitarist Michael Brook to concoct a rendezvous of
traditional and modern sounds, ancient spirit meets digital technology. The
result was Assembly (released on Real World Records in May 2002). This
was Michael Brook’s reaction to the news of his death: “Hukwe’s voice and
music always made me feel a sense of light, slightly giddy happiness. In person,
his effect was similar, which makes his passing all the sadder. I’ll miss his
remarkable talent and humour, and feel honored to have known and worked with him
.”

One of his final collaborations was with Peter Gabriel on the track ‘Animal
Nation’ which they also performed together on tour: “I was devastated to hear
of Hukwe’s death. He was an extraordinary musician, singer and composer and made
most of the most beautiful music we have ever put out on Real World Records.

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Plena Libre on Tour

Boston, USA – These are the latest tour dates for Puerto Rican band Plena Libre.

March 14, 2004 8:00pm
Napa Valley Opera House
Napa Valley, CA
707-226-7372
$25

March 16, 2004 8:00pm
Grand Opera House
Wilmington, DE
(800) 37-GRAND
$25March 18, 2004 6:00pm-7:00pm
Kennedy Center Millennium
Stage
Washington D.C.
202-467-4600
Admission Free

March 19, 2004 8:00pm
South Jersey Performing Arts Center
Camden, NJ
856-342-6633
$12 adults /$6 for kids

March 21, 2004 7:30pm
Strand Capitol Theater
York, PA
717-846-1111
$29.00 for A seating,$24.00 for B seating

Saturday, April 24, 2004
Broward Center for Arts
Amaturo Theater
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Box Office # 954.462.0222
$25/ person

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Sol y Canto on Tour

Boston, USA – These are the tour ates for Sol y Canto as of January 7, 2004.

Sunday, January 11 in NYC 3:30pm-4:30 pm
SEXTET (FAMILY SHOW)
Double family show bill with SONES DE MEXICO ENSEMBLE (2pm)! Featuring songs
from "Twice as Many Friends/El doble de amigos", on Rounder Kids

8:45-9:45 pm
Triple bill with PERLA BATALLA, 7:30 pm and PLENA LIBRE from Puerto Rico, 10 pm!!!
In NYC’s newest & most exciting world music dinner/club,
Satalla, 37 West 26th Street, between 6th &
Broadway. 212-576-1155
$15Saturday, January 31, 2004
– SEPTET
Blackman Center for the Arts
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Reprise of Brian Amador’s FleetBoston Celebrity Series-commissioned latin suite,
PRISMA DE AMORES
Sol y Canto with special guest string quintet & bassoonist
617-373-2247
$20/ $15faculty/students/seniors/ $10Northeaster University students

Saturday, February 28, 2004 8:00 pm
SEPTET
Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
PRISMA DE AMORES – Amador’s Latin orchestral suite and popular Latin American
love songs arranged for the symphony
413-733-2291
$12-$43

Saturday, March 6,2004 8pm
-SEXTET
Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Brooks/Rogers Recital Hall in Bernhard Music Center
413-597-2736
Admission Free

Saturday, March 13, 2004 3pm
-SEXTET
Regent Theater, Arlington, MA
781.646.4849
$8 kids; $12 adults

Friday, March 19, 2004 , 8pm
-SEPTET
In NYC’s newest & most exciting world music dinner/club
Satalla, 37 West 26th Street, between 6th &
Broadway
212-576-1155
$15

Saturday, March 27, 2004- QUINTET
2pm
Congregational Church of Needham, Needham, MA
$15

Friday, April 23, 2004, 7:30 pm
SEXTET
Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center
Palm Beach Community College
Belle Glade, FL
561-993-1160
$15/ $13 seniors/ $5 students

Saturday, April 24, 2004, 8pm
SEXTET
Duncan Theater
Lake Worth, FL
561-868-3309
$25/ $20/ $15

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Cuban Guitar Player wins award in Granada, Spain

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Granada, Spain – Cuban musician Martin Tamayo won second prize at the 20th International Andres Segovia Classic Guitar Contest, sharing it with his Bosnian colleague Alen Garagic, in a contest that concluded with a non-awarded first prize. Twenty six guitar players from 14 countries competed for the prize in La Herradura, in southern Spain, which became the adoptive homeland of the famous guitar player. This was the seventh time they do not award the first prize of the contest that was named after the most important classical guitar player of the 20th Century, who proved the Spanish guitar’s worth at a time when it was underestimated and limited to the gypsy world.

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Roots of Black Perú Come to North America

Bloomington, Indiana – On January 20, 2004, Perú Negro, the only
Afro-Peruvian performance troupe to last 35 years, releases Jolgorio
(Times Square Records), their second CD in recent years, and launches a North
American tour that will hit a dozen cities.

The story starts in the early 1700s when Peru’s slaves were banned from using
drums. Their rhythms were adapted to the cajón—a wooden box used in
agriculture and the fishing industry and a mainstay in Black Peru. A
hybridization of African, Spanish and Peruvian Indian music evolved over the
next 200 years. In the late 1950s the African elements of Peruvian music were
reborn.

For those familiar with the music of Black Peru, many tracks on Jolgorio—which
translates as “a state of celebratory frenzy”—will sound familiar. Songs like
Jolgorio
and Taita Guaranguito appear on their new CD to show the
artistic evolution achieved by the group while maintaining strong ties to their
roots.

Two groups set the standards of contemporary Black music in Peru. One was the
seminal group Cumanana, founded by Nicomedes Santa Cruz and which disbanded in
the ’70s, and the other is Perú Negro. In 1969, Ronaldo Campos was playing
cajón
in a Lima tourist restaurant. With encouragement from the restaurant
proprietor, Campos adapted his repertoire to emphasize Black music, and Perú
Negro was born. Soon after, Perú Negro won the grand prize at the
Hispanoamerican Festival of Song and Dance in Buenos Aires, Argentina and
overnight became a national treasure in Peru.

Partial credit for the performance evolution of Black Peruvian music goes to
a Cuban drummer named Jesús “el Niño” Nicasio who performed in Peru in the early
’50s. El Niño and Campos played together in Cumanana, where they incorporated
Cuban conga and bongó into Black Peruvian music. El Niño invented the first drum
patterns used for this genre. (El Niño’s son “Macario” later perfected these
patterns as a member of Perú Negro and today el Niño’s grandson “Macarito”
continues the tradition as a member of the group.) Perú Negro’s adaptations took
on their own form and are now accepted as a wholly Peruvian phenomenon.

Perú Negro’s ascent came at a time when a new revolutionary military
government sought to gain popular support through the promotion of indigenous
Peruvian folklore, writes Heidi Feldman in her forthcoming book, Black
Rhythms of Peru: Staging Cultural Memory Through Music and
Dance (Wesleyan
University Press, 2005). “The collapse of the military revolution and its
cultural policy in 1980,” continues Feldman, “compounded by evening blackouts
and bombings during the Maoist guerrilla army Sendero Luminoso’s crusade of
terror—put an end to much of Perú Negro’s local theatrical work in the 1980s.
The company stopped performing in theaters and returned to its origins,
entertaining tourists in restaurants and peñas (nightclubs).”

When Ronaldo Campos died in 2001, his son Rony took over Perú Negro’s
direction. Under the younger Campos, the group is experiencing a revival. The
latest repertoire features such innovations as the presence of a flute, now
becoming integral to Black Peruvian music, and Cuban drums made Peruvian, such
as the wooden batajón which is a cross between a cajón and a
batá
(double-headed Afro-Cuban drum). The group reinterprets standards and
composes new songs. They also feature some dances they had stopped presenting
due to the economic crisis of the ’80s & ’90s; like Son de Los Diablos,
which requires intricate and costly costumes.

The diverse elements in Perú
Negro’s repertoire reflect a complex history of Blacks in Peru. Villancico
Negro
compiles Christmas chants from the mostly Black districts of El Carmen
and Chincha. The violin chords reflect a lamento Andino or Andean lament;
a melancholic tuning that may “sound wrong” to those unfamiliar with the
tradition. The dance Toro Mata mocks the minuets and waltzes that slaves
observed while serving the parties of slave masters who danced pompously dressed
in colonial ruffles. The stiff, almost military alignment of the dance imitates
the opening of the minuet, but the dancers mock the rigidity and absence of
natural grace required for this dance. They accentuate this difference in style
with explosions of rhythm, corporal dexterity, and in subtle elegance. Cesar
Calvo’s solemn poem De España embodies the paradoxical influence of the
colonizers who brought both slavery and Christianity: “from Spain Christ
arrived, but so did the master, and just like the master did with Christ, he
took Blacks and crucified them…” While the paradox created tragedy, the hybrid
of influences of Perú Negro has created music rich with profound rhythm,
passion, and history.

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