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.

Senegalese Kora Master Kaouding Cissoko Dies at 38

Senegal – Kaouding Cissoko, a master kora player and member of Baaba Maal’s band,
passed away on July 17th. Cissoko was a diabetic and had to watch his diet. Recently he had sought healers (marabouts) to find out why he was so ill. Eventually, Baaba Maal forced him to go to the hospital where he was diagnosed with acute tuberculosis. He was treated, but it was too late.Cissoko became a member of Baaba Maal’s band in 1991. He collaborated with
Afro-Celt Sound System, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brooks, and Ernest Ranglin.

Kaouding Cissoko recorded one solo CD, Kora Revolution(Palm Pictures, 1999). Produced by jazz bassist Ira Coleman, the recording featured Cissoko’s father, his nieces, Mamy and Sokhna, and his sister, Binta, on vocals. He had recently finished recording material with his niece, Cisse Damba Kanoute, a.backing vocalist with Baaba Maal.

Kaouding Cissoko is survived by his wife and 3 children


Salif Keita Cancels North American Tour

Salif Keita - Moffou
Salif Keita – Moffou
Boston, USA – Malian star Salif Keita has cancelled his 2003 summer tour of the United States and Canada. There are few details as to the reasons behind the decision, although an unconfirmed source mentioned that the booking agent was not able to secure enough dates.

A master of West African rhythms and credited as one of the founders of the Afro-pop genre, Salif Keita is world renowned for his unforgettable live performances, soaring vocals and his emotionally-fueled songs.

Keita’s tour was scheduled to begin July 26 in Brooklyn. Other locations included
New York, Albany (NY), Montreal (Canada), Santa Mónica (CA), Los Angeles (CA), and San Francisco (CA).

His latest album is Moffou on Universal Music, released in 2002.


Colombian Vallenato Legend Dies

Valedupar, Colombia – Francisco “Pacho” Rada Batista died of natural causes late in the evening on July 16.

Surrounded by his large family and thousands of fans, Pacho” Rada was laid to rest this afternoon at 4 p.m. (local time) in the Gaira Cemetery. He was one of the last minstrels of vallenato music and the greatest performer of the “son de la escuela bajera.”

Following “Pacha” Rada’s request, he was taken to the pantheon “led by accordions.” During the funeral he was offered a farewell by his accordion playing children, the king of vallenato “Beto” Rada and Manuel Rada. The Venera brothers also played. María Gregoria Rada Oviedo sang “La despedida a mi padre” (Farewell to my Father).”Pacho” Rada also gave instructions about the songs that should be played at his funeral. These are: “El tigre de la montaña”, “Riqueza no es la plata”, “La despedida” and his latest song “Llegó la hora en que me tengo que morir” (The Time for Me to Die Has Arrived), composed just a few weeks ago.

“Pacho” Rada was born May 11, 1907.


Los Soneros del Barrio Follow the Tradition

Los Soneros del Barrio - Siguiendo La Tradición
Los Soneros del Barrio – Siguiendo La Tradición
New York, USA – Los Soneros del Barrio are back with their third and new album Siguiendo La Tradición (Following Tradition).” Under the Rumba Jams label, this reputable salsa group returns with renewed classic rhythms and impressive danceable musical arrangements.

This new album has one of the best selections in musical arrangers, musicians and producers who work in the New York salsa scene. Among them there are: Ricky González and Dave “Dr. D” Feliciano (producers), Sonny Bravo (piano), Nelson González (Tres), Louie Cruz (arranger), Ángel Fernández (arranger), George Delgado (percussionist), and José Febles (arranger).

José Febles arranged “Timboro” especially for Frankie Vazquez, who decided to record it for the first time with Los Soneros Del Barrio. This song serves as a special tribute to the now deceased José Febles.

Buy Siguiendo La Tradición


Cuban Multi-Instrumentalist Tito Duarte Dies in Spain

Madrid, Spain – The Spanish Performing Rights Society (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores – SGAE) reported today that Cuban composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Tito Duarte died yesterday at age 57 at the Hospital Reina Sofía in Córdoba (Andalusia, southern Spain).

He was the son of legendary Cuban pianist and composer Ernesto Duarte, and was in the Andalusian city working on a show titled Sueños de ida y vuelta (Dreams of Come and Go) by flamenco guitarist Víctor Monge “Serranito”, programmed for today at Córdoba’s world famous guitar festival, Festival de Guitarra de Córdoba. In this regard, and as a tribute, his fellow musicians have decided to continue with the project. There is also a recording project, with the same title, that will be released by the Factoría Autor label, owned by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE). Similarly, Factoría Autor was working this month on what was going to be the new recording by Tito Duarte, La herencia del viejo sabor (The Legacy of the Old Flavor),in which the multifaceted artist had intended to recover old songs from popular cuban music canciones de la música popular Cuban music such as Suavecito (M. Luna), La María (Saumell), Buena Vista Social Club (Israel López “Cachao”), Para Vigo me voy (Lecuona), Mambo in Sax (Pérez Prado), Mambo In (Mario Bauzá) or Como fue (Ernesto Duarte).

Factoría Autor has confirmed today its intention to finish the CD project “as the best tribute we can pay. Most of the songsd are already recorded, as well as Tito Duarte’s performances and arrangements”.
Many well known artists participate on La herencia del viejo sabor, such as Luis Dulzaides, Víctor Merlo, Horacio Icasto and Jorge Pardo, as well as singers such as Miguel Bosé, Moncho and Ángela Carrasco. The album was being recorded at the Sonoland studios in Madrid, produced by Julio Palacios and Luis Miguel Fernández.

Duarte toured Latin America recently with Miguel Bosé, a Latin pop star.


The Three Pickers: Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs

Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs - The Three Pickers
Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs – The Three Pickers
Boston, USA – Rounder Records released this week The Three Pickers, on a CD and DVD.

For one historic evening, American music legends Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs joined forces as The Three Pickers, to film a concert for Public Television.

The music they made before a live audience is as relaxed as a front porch picking session, celebrating the virtuosity and good humor of these three bluegrass masters. With special guest Alison Krauss.

It was history made that night,” said Ricky Skaggs

The audio CD contains three bonus tracks: “Daybreak Blues” by Doc and Richard Watson, “Doin’ My Time” by Earl Scruggs with Family and Friends, and “Ridin’ That Midnight Train” by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky

The DVD contains the bonus tracks “What Is a Home Without Love?” and “John Hardy,” plus an exclusive 30-minute documentary featuring interviews with and songs by The Three Pickers


Cuban Music Legend Compay Segundo Dies at 95

Compay Segundo in Raleigh - Photo by Angel Romero
Compay Segundo in Raleigh – Photo by Angel Romero

Havana, Cuba – Legendary Cuban musician and composer Compay Segundo died on Sunday, July 13th in Havana, Cuba. Details about his death were not available, but as World Music Central reported on July 9th, he was seriously ill as his kidney ailments intensified, and the artist had to cancel contracts and presentations abroad.

Máximo Francisco Repilado Muñoz was born in the small mining town of Siboney, in the eastern Province of Santiago de Cuba.

According to the Spanish Performing Society (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores -SGAE), Compay Segundo had 129 songs registered with them, many of which have now become classics. Compay Segundo wrote very popular songs such as Chan Chan, which became a hymn to several generations of Cuban musicians. He also wrote Amor de loca juventud, Balcón de Santiago, Calderito de tomar café, Sarandonga, Se secó el arroyito and Sabroso.

For a detailed look at Compay Segundo’s life and discography, visit World Music Central’s profile of the Cuban musician: Compay Segundo.


CD Review: Shanti by Abhijit Pohankar

Abhijit Pohankar - Shanti
Abhijit Pohankar – Shanti
Abhijit Pohankar

Shanti (Times Music, 2000)

Abhijit Pohankar is a brilliant Indian keyboardist and composer. On Shanti he creates electronic arrangements and rhythms that generate a mystical atmosphere for the beautiful vocals by Pandit Ajay Pohankar.

Acoustic instruments such as flute, tabla and harps are interweaved with the electronic sounds. The recording has the intention to provide peace and relaxation, but this is not flaky new age. It’s music that has true spirit.Abhijit Pohankar is one of the few professional classical keyboard players in India and a disciple of santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.

Buy Shanti


CD Review: Agua ‘e Coco by Huracán de Fuego

Huracán de Fuego - Agua 'e Coco
Huracán de Fuego – Agua ‘e Coco
Huracán de Fuego

Agua ‘e Coco (Nubenegra IN1121-2, 2003)

Unfortunately, western audiences are exposed to very little music from Venezuela. Spanish label Nubenegra has produced two recordings by one of the finest Afro-Venezuelan bands, Huracán de Fuego (the group’s name means Fire Hurricane). Agua ‘e Coco (Coconut Water) is the latest recording.

Unlike other groups who rework old songs, Huracán de Fuego creates its own music. The roots are crearly Afro-Venezuelan, but there are also African-American influences in the form of rappping. An impressive array of percussion instruments play the main role along with lead vocals, choruses and occasional flutes.Huracán de Fuego was founded by Maracaibo native Nestor Gutiérrez, who played the congas in a salsa group before becoming fascinated by the great wealth of traditional Venezuelan drums.

Gutiérrez gathered together a talented group of percussionists who share his passion to preserve the traditional instruments and performance practices in danger of disappearing in many parts of Venezuela. Huracán de Fuego’s music embraces the regional drumming techniques, style of singing, and barefoot dance associated with traditional drum performances


A Record Breaking Year for WOMEX: 1000 Delegates Preregistered

womex-250Berlin, Germany – At the end of June there were 1000 registrations and more than 160 stand bookings for WOMEX 2003. The event will be held in Seville, Spain, October 22-26 of 2003.

The largest world music conference has been increasing year after year and it looks like 2003 will be the biggest event so far. Due to the high demand for stands, the organizers have increased the available space from 160 to 216.

You can check all fully paid registrants on the Who Is Coming list.