Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Mayte Martin

Mayte Martin

Mayte Martin is one of the most versatile cantaoras (flamenco singers) of her generation. She is capable of performing the most difficult styles of her repertoire with equal talent and without falling for the clichés linked to flamenco cante. She takes time to explore all of the possibilities for beauty and expression in each cante.

For her interpretive work is above all an exercise in ̶interior listening” a kind of mental composition that must later be re-created with the voice. Mayte controls the ̶micro-intervals”, the melismas that are interspersed between prolonged notes and that give her cante a fluidity and an unusual melodic elegance.

Mayte exudes an expressive and personal style founded on a classic base. Mayte recorded a boleros album with Tete Montoliú and wrote a handful of songs for string quintets before meeting the dancer Belén Maya. Their meeting resulted in the forging of one of the most important and unusual artistic unions in today’s flamenco.

Mayte’s recording, Querencia, with Drac-Virgin Records, provides an in-depth look at the essence of cante and Mayte’s own restlessness as an artist.

Querencia adds rhythmic emphasis without falling into festive clichés. It gives melodiousness to the most solemn of flamenco styles without loosing a speck of depth.

Translated by Rita Granda

Discography:

Muy Fragil (K Industria Cultural, 1994)
Free Boleros (K Industria Cultural, 1996)
Querencia (Virgin Records, 2000)
Tiempo de Amar (Virgin Records, 2002)
De fuego y de agua (KLM, 2008)
Al cantar a Manuel (Nuevos Medios, 2009)
Cosas de dos (2012)

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Artist Profiles: Maxi Priest

Maxi Priest

Maxi Priest (born Max Alfred Elliott on June 1, 196) is a favorite among reggae lovers. Of West Indian descent and the second youngest of nine children he was born in Lewisham, London. His musical journey began as a young child who listened to a variety of musical genres ranging from gospel to reggae and pop.

Priest gained entry into the music world in the mid-1980s when he was given the opportunity to sing over live dancehall sessions with artists like Smiley Culture. In 1984 he became well-known after co-producing Philip Levi’s ‘Mi God Mi King ‘ with Paul ‘Barry Boom’ Robinson which was the first UK reggae song to hit number one in Jamaica.

His 1988 album Maxi gained him worldwide recognition. Priest recorded the album in Jamaica and worked with legendary artists Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and Willie London and was released in the United States by Virgin Records. Maxi gained his first U.S. smash hit with ‘Some Guys Have All the Luck,’ a cover of Cat Steven’s classic ‘Wild World.’

In 1990 Priest released Bonafide. It went gold and contained the single ‘Close To You’ that was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles and number two on the Hot R&B Singles chart.

1991 was a great year for Maxi Priest. He did collaborations with Roberta Flack, ‘Set The Night To Music’ and with Shabba Ranks. He ended the year with the release of a compilation CD titled Best of Me combining songs from his four previous albums.

In 1996 Maxi released Man with the Fun which contained ‘That Girl’ a duet with Shaggy that went on to become a Grammy Nominated track and the accompanying video, directed by Hype Williams became an MTV favorite.

CombiNation released in 1999 crossed multiple genres and had numerous artists and producers such as Sly & Robbie, Robert Livingston Simon Law, and Joe. The album even featured Red Rat and Degree in ‘She Wants to Dance ‘ which added a mix of dancehall flavor to the CD.

His album 2 the Max (2005) includes dancehall hits like ‘Full Hundred’ and ‘Sweat A Go Buss.’

Maxi Priest is one the most successful solo reggae artists in the world.

Discography:

You’re Safe (Charisma, 1985)
Intentions (EMI, 1986)
Maxi (Virgin, 1988)
Bonafide (Charisma, 1990)
Fe Real (Charisma, 1992)
Man with the Fun (Virgin, 1996)
CombiNation (Virgin, 1999)
2 the Max (Relentless, 2005)
Refused (Peppermint Jam, 2007)
Easy to Love (VP Record, 2014)

website: www.MaxiPriest.com

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Artist Profiles: Mawwal

Jim Matus

Mawwal is a collective based in the northeastern United States. The musician behind the project is composer and instrumentalist Jim Matus who plays various types of lutes.

Mawwal performs mostly original material by Matus inspired by various global traditions such as the music of India, North America and Eastern Europe and the rhythms of the Middle East and Africa. Matus is involved in numerous other projects.

Discography:

This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place (Ancient Records, 2008)

Sight Up (Ancient Records, 2011)

High Hills in the Creaving Road (Ancient Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio was one of the most important modern Celtic bands in Galicia (Spain) in the early 1990s. Its only album Matto Congrio released in 1993 was an exciting combination of Galician Celtic music with Irish music, rock, salsa, samba and reggae. The album was recorded in Dublin and featured top Irish musicians as guests, including Paddy Moloney on the uilleann pipes.

The group’s founders Carlos Núñez, Santiago Cribeiro and Anxo Lois Pinto were all graduates of the Obradoiro Escola de Gaitas e Zanfonas de Vigo (Vigo School of Bagpipes and Hurdy Gurdies) the most important school in the development of new Galician musicians. After Matto Congrio disbanded Carlos Núñez went on to become one of the most sought after pipers and flautists in international Celtic music. In addition to touring worldwide with The Chieftains he has recorded solo albums for major labels and is a frequent guest in many recordings.

Former Matto Congrio members Santiago Cribeiro, Anxo Lois Pinto and Isaac Palacin formed a new group called Berrogüetto which became one of the top contemporary Galician folk music bands.

Musicians:

Santiago Cribeiro – accordion, piano, keyboards

Anxo Lois Pinto – violin, bagpipe, soprano sax

Diego Bouzon – Spanish and electric guitars

Isaac Palacin – drums percussion

Carlos Núñez – flutes and bagpipes

Pancho Alvarez – bass mandolin guitar

Discography:

Matto Congrio (Lyricon, 1993)

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Artist Profiles: Matlubeh

Matlubeh

Matlubeh is known as the turquoise of Uzbekistan. Her voice has such a large range that she is able to move freely from classical music shahsmaqam to folk music.

Originally from a Tajik village near Samarkand she sings in her native tongue as well as in Uzbek (a language closer to Turkish as opposed to Tajik which is more related to Persian. From the age of four she accompanied her mother who was later to become her first singing coach. “In my family music is in the blood,” she says. “My mother would take her dayera and sing with the accompaniment of her children at all sorts of occasions like wedding ceremonies etc ..). There were ten of us children and my mother hoped with all her heart that one of us would grow up to be a musician. When I was little I listened to the radio and imitated great classical singers. I wrote songs and sang them while we picked cotton. I owe all of my success to my mother and her advice. I think of her words before each concert: “You must sing so that your voice can reach its highest point and give its fullest strength.”

Matlubeh is a good example of how musical transmission operates in the Uzbek tradition. While her mother was a folk music singer in a village Matlubeh went on to become one of the greatest singers of classical and folk music in Uzbekistan. When Uzbek television featured a documentary on her life it did not fail to pay homage to her mother who at that time had already passed away but is considered one of the greatest representatives of the folk tradition.

After five years of music study at the Music University and conservatory of Tashkent the young singer began to perform with The Shashmaqam Ensemble of Radio Uzbekistan. She is now the soloist of this ensemble. When she is complimented on her vocal technique she is quick to praise her professors: “I owe everything to my mentors Aref Khan Haternov and Turgun Alimatov.”

Currently as she continues her engagement with radio she performs and records with Turgun Alimatov one of the last masters of classical music. After a private concert in his garden in Tashkent Turgun Alimatov pointed to Matlubeh and said: “I have tried to give everything I know to this student. She is my hope for the future.”

As a singer originally from the Samarkand and region who lives in Tashkent, Matlubeh sings both the classical and folk music of the two regions.

Discography:

Turquoise of Samarkand (Long Distance, 1996)
Yar Kelour (Iris Musique, 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Mary Ann Kennedy

Mary Ann Kennedy

Mary Ann Kennedy, daughter of singer Kenna Campbell was born and brought up in Glasgow in a house where Gaelic was the language of the home and in a community where speaking two languages was the norm even if not everyone spoke the same second language.

Mary Ann trained as a classical musician alongside Radio Scotland ‘Grace Notes’ presenter Jamie MacDougall and remembers accompanying him on the clarsach on many occasions while he was still a sweet-voiced angelic boy soprano. Her first love though is the traditional music that has surrounded her all her life and after several years in the BBC newsrooms she has returned to freelance broadcasting and performing choosing to base herself in the Highland capital city of Inverness.

One of a select number of singers to have won both Gold Medals at the National Mod, she is also twice winner of the International Celtic Harp competition in Lorient Brittany. Mary Ann was given a Saltire Award for Lasair Dhe the finale of the 1999 Highland Festival involving Cliar and Gaelic choirs from all over the Highlands and Islands. She is a member of the band Cliar hailed as ‘one of the most beautiful sounds in 21st Century Scotland’ and is a partner in the Skye-based record label Macmeanmna (Gaelic for imagination).

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Artist Profiles: Dennis Cahill

Dennis Cahill

Dennis Cahill is a virtuoso guitarist versed as well in classical, blues and rock as he is in traditional Irish music. A native of Chicago, he studied at the city’s prestigious Music College before becoming an active member of the local music scene.

Cahill’s innovative accompaniment is acknowledged as being a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. In addition to his recordings and live work with Martin Hayes Dennis has performed with such renowned fiddlers as Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers and Kevin Burke.

Cahill and Hayes, along with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and pianist Doveman, are the members of The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup

Discography:

The Lonesome Touch, with Martin Hayes (Green Linnet 1997)
Live in Seattle, with Martin Hayes (Green Linnet 1999)
Welcome Here Again, with Martin Hayes (Green Linnet 2008)
The Gloaming (Brassland Records, 2014)
The Gloaming 2 (Brassland Records, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: María Salgado

María Salgado

María Salgado was born in Toro in the province of Zamora, Spain. From the beginning she assimilated and became familiar with the basis and sources of traditional folk music. In Segovia, the great master of Castilian music Agapito Marazuela revealed to her the essence of genuine traditional interpretation. In fact, on the basis of his teachings she made a great recording of songs taken from the “Cancionero de Castilla” which Marazuela painstakingly recovered at the beginning of the 20th century. In Canciones De Amor y Trabajo, María Salgado rearranged old melodies and included the most modern musical instruments. This she did in such a way that these vigorous songs lose none of their true spirit.

With her other tutor, Joaquín Díaz, she came to realize the importance of knowing and loving the recent past and she learned to re-discover it from a different angle from a more human and wiser view point. She took part in and collaborated in numerous recordings with Joaquín. Together they worked with other folk musicians such as Raíces, Candeal and Angel Carril on El Calendario Del Pueblo a project made up of several volumes.

These early beginnings give us a better understanding of María Salgado´s full and artistic development. Several solo recordings and many collaborations and joint recordings prove this her constant search for originality but always starting from the very depths of things from the essence of artistic being no matter what this may be or wherever it may be found.

There are few back-ups as essential as poetry and María has sung verses by Luis López Alvarez (her version of the Romance De La Reina Juana always seems different in each performance), works by Luís Díaz Viana of which she has made two mono recordings – Recuerdo and Profecía Por España ( a disc with Lorca echoes and one of Jesús Quintero’ s most frequently performed in “El Loco de la Colina”) and “La Ultima Dama”. She has also taken part in the recording made in honor of the Cuban composer María Teresa Vera together with Martirio, Omara Portuondo and Pablo Guerrero.

Poetry in the words, a fine sensibility in the interpretation variety in the themes –these are some of the ingredients used by María Salgado over the last years to create a widely recognized and tremendously coherent career. She can claim that thanks to her recording Mirándote it is clear that there are Habaneras from inland, away from the coast, which are just as beautiful and mysterious as those from the Mediterranean. In a recording made with Sudanese singer Rasha and Galician singer “La Sal de la Vida” she has clearly shown that the language of music as the language of art in general terms is the most powerful way to unite peoples and cultures.

In her recording “Siete Modos de Guisar las Berenjenas” (Seven Ways to Cook eggplant) she grouped together songs from a wide variety of origins and their only common factor is their beauty. Nostalgic Sephardic melodies taken from Greece live comfortably alongside new songs by Juan Pablo Silvestre and traditional Spanish songs from the plains and Andalusia.

Discography:

Recuerdo y profecia por España (1977)

El calendario del Pueblo (2 volumes 1977 and 1978)

Canciones de boda (1979)

Canciones de amor y de trabajo (1980)

La última dama (1981)

Siemprevivas (1992)

Mirandote (1993 and 1998)

A Maria Teresa Vera (1995)

La sal de la vida (Nubenegra, 1997)

Siete modos de guisar las berenjenas (Nubenegra, 1998)

Abrecaminos (2006)

Amor a Cuba (RTVE, 2008)

Abrazo-abraso (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Manuel Flores

Flamenco percussionist Manuel Flores was born in Morón de la Frontera, Spain in 1969. Considered one of the masters of hand rhythm (compas) from Moron he has participated in the Bienal de Flamenco and the Feria Mundial de Flamenco. For many years Flores was the rhythmic “anchor” for singers and dancers such as Chano Lobato, Andorrano, Kiko Veneno, Juan de Juan, Nano de Jerez, Rafael de Utrera and Javier Ruibal and guitarists Paco del Gastor, Diego de Moron, Juan del Gastor, El Leri, and Eduardo Rebollar.

Outside of Spain he has been involved in flamenco performances in the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, the United States, France and Belgium. In 1998 Manuel Flores began to collaborate with Martirio. He soon became an integral part of her flamenco group and performed on her album Mucho Corazon subsequently touring with her in 2003 and 2004.

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Artist Profiles: Malkit Singh

Malkit Singh

 

Malkit Singh was born on September 13, 1962 in Hussainpur, Punjab, India. He’s a Punjabi music icon that was catapulted from virtual obscurity in the early 1980s to this his overwhelming status as one of the pioneers of Bhangra music all within a short musical lifetime. He is probably the leading Bhangra act in the world today the idol of all generations and holder of the unofficial title as the King of Bhangra.

His 17th album “Millennium Mixes” represented a colossal union of the musical and lyrical presence that has kept him at the forefront of the Bhangra music scene. His albums Midas Touch, Forever Gold and Upfront were worldwide hits and reached platinum sales.

Malkit Singh has proved himself in the mainstream with his remarkable debut on the Apache Indian single Independent Girl – taking Punjabi music culture and gospel to realms yet unknown. Known as ‘the Golden Voice of Punjab’ Malkit Singh and his ‘Golden Star’ troop have been touring around the world receiving honors from the former Prime Minister of India and recorded and filmed with Apache Indian.

The album Upfront was the renaissance that Bhangra had been waiting for. It has since become the biggest selling Punjabi album in history and spawned the super hit Tootak (Hey Jamalo). The track was awarded the honor of being The Most Outstanding Track of the Bhangra Era in 1993 justifying its longevity.

Over the years he has accumulated a wide range of awards for his songs his live act sales and for individual services to music. One of the most distinguished accolades was presented in 1997 The Recognition of the City of Los Angeles for Services to the Indian Community. “I wanted to bring back the desi style that originates from real Bhangra. My style is desi…it’s always been desi…my audience has always been desi and my fans want that old music style and powerful lyrics.”

 

 

Discography:

Nach Giddhe Vich (HMV, 1986)
I Love Golden Star (T-Series, 1987)
Up Front (HMV, 1988)
Chott Nigary Lawo (HMV, 1988)
Putt Sardara De (Saga, 1988)
Hai Shava (T-Series, 1989)
Fast Forward (T-Series, 1989)
Dhotakada Bai Dhotakada (OSA, 1990)
Gal Sunja (Saga, 1991)
Ragga Muffin Mix (OSA, 1991)
Singho Ho Jo Kathe (Saga, 1992)
Tere Ishq Nachiyav (Saga, 1992)
Chak Deh Dholia (OSA, 1993)
Midas Touch (OSA, 1994)
Forever Gold (T-Series, 1995)
Agg Larr Gaayee (OSA, 1997)
Millennium Mixes (OSA, 1999)
Nach Nach (OSA, 2000)
Mighty Boliyan (OSA, 2001)
Paaro (OSA, 2002)
Midas Touch 2 (Music Waves, 2003)
21st Chapter (OSA, 2005)
Billo Rani (MovieBox, 2009)
Sikh Hon Da Maan (MovieBox/T-Series, 2014)
Midas Touch 3 (MovieBox/Saga Hits, 2017)

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