Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: D’Gary

D’Gary

Ernest Randrianasolo, better known as D’Gary, was born October 22, 1961 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. He’s Madagascar’s best known guitarist.

D’Gary reached an international audience in the 1990s through a famous collaboration with musician/producers David Lindley and Henry Kaiser. Their album, A World Out Of Time, featured D’Gary’s extraordinary, open-tuning playing style developed from traditional instrumental techniques. A series of international recording projects and concerts followed.

D’Gary toured North America with the International Guitar Night ensemble and recorded the International Guitar Night II live album with Brian Gore, Miguel de la Bastide and Clive Carroll.

In 2009 D’Gary toured with Bela Fleck’s Africa Project along with Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, and Anania Ngoglia.

In 2017, D’Gary was one of tyhe stars that appeared in the debut album by Toko Telo, a trio featuring three of the finest Malagasy artists. The group played genres from southern Madagascar, including tsapiky, jihe, and beko.

Discography

Malagasy Guitar – Music From Madagascar (Shanachie, 1993)
The Long Way Home, with Dama (Shanachie, 1994)
Horombe, with Jihe (Stern’s, 1996)
Mbo Loza (Indigo, 1997)
Akata Meso (Indigo, 2002)
Toy Raha Toy (Anio, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Manolo Franco

Manolo Franco

Flamenco guitarist Manolo Franco was born in Sevilla (Spain) in 1960. He debuted at age 15 with Matilde Coral who performed at famous festivals in Spain. Since then he has participated as soloist in prestigious national and international festivals in Stockholm Tokyo Freiburg the Festival de la Guitarra de Cordoba, the Flamenco Summit Madrid and Sevilla Flamenco Biennial.

His discography includes the essential Aljibe solo album as well as countless collaborations as a sideman with several singers and other music genres related to flamenco. His main professional focus is accompanying vocalists. He is a teacher at present at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica `Rafael Orozco´de Cordoba (Cordoba’s Rafael Orozco Conservatory of Music).

His artistic career has been recognized with numerous awards including the Giraldillo al toque in 1984 at the Bienal de Sevilla and the Premio Nacional de la Catedra de Flamencologia de Jerez (National Flamencology Award in 2003.

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Artist Profiles: Malinky

Malinky – Photo by Thomas Gavin

Malinky were Danny Kyle Open Stage winners at Celtic Connections in 1999. Their song-centered repertoire combines a deep appreciation of tradition with a vibrant freshness of approach taking in both classic ballads and outstanding original songwriting alongside sparkling instrumental sets.

Malinky’s current line-up features founding members Steve Byrne (vocals/bouzouki/guitar) Mark Dunlop (whistles/bodhran/vocals) Jon Bews (fiddle/vocals) and new members since 25 — Fiona Hunter (vocals/cello) Ewan MacPherson (mandolin/guitar/octave mandolin/tenor banjo/jaw harp/vocals).

A year on from winning the Danny Award Malinky released their debut CD Last Leaves to widespread acclaim. The album spent six months in the US Celtic Radio Chart Top 1. This success paved the way for a steadily accelerating tour schedule that has since taken Malinky throughout the UK and Europe with headline gigs including the Tonder, Lorient, Cambridge and Sidmouth folk festivals as well as several return visits to Celtic Connections and the prestigious Scottish Folk Festival tour of Germany where the band now tour annually in their own right.

Malinky – Photo by Aidan Ritchie

Their 2002 album 3 Ravens earned the Scots/Irish five-piece rave reviews all-round. Malinky headed into the studio in summer 25 to record their third album once again on leading Scottish independent label Greentrax Recordings; Unseen Hours was released on 1st November 2005 and asserted their continuing position as Scotland’s leading young folk group.

Discography:

Last Leaves (Greentrax, 2000)
3 Ravens (GreenTrax, 2002)
The Unseen Hours (Mad River Records, 2005)
Flower & Iron (Mad River Records, 2008)
Far Better Days (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Manny Oquendo

Manny Oquendo

Bandleader Oquendo was a veteran of the days when Latin bands crowded into a studio to polish off a recording in an all-night session. “The first recording (singer) Tito Rodriguez did we took the 7th Avenue train to record for SMC label,” Oquendo recalled. “Tito Puente did the arrangements. You recorded on monaural with just a few mikes. You couldn’t stop and overdub. You just played.”

Oquendo’s musical education consisted of the old-school,just play” approach and he was in the right place to learn. He grew up on Kelly Street in the Bronx New York not far from the great Cuban tres player Arsenio Rodriguez. Colin Powell who’d later become a general lived on the block too so did pianist Noro Morales. And a lot of kids who’d later make their names in Latin music such as Joe Cuba the Palmieri brothers Little Ray Romero grew up playing stickball on Kelly Street.

One floor down from the Oquendo apartment was the Almacenes Hernandez record shop. “There was music constantly coming out of that store and that was my education,” Oquendo recalled. He became an expert on Cuban rhythms and began playing bongo and timbales with a succession of New York’s top bands.

Manny Oquendo died on March 25, 2009

Discography:

Increible (1981. Reissued by Sony Discos Inc. 8397 2000)

Ritmo Sonido y Estilo (1983)

Mejor que nunca (Milestone Records 9226, 1994)

Muévete! (Milestone, 1996)

Ahora (Milestone Records 9288, 1999)

Los New Yorkinos (Milestone/Fantasy Records MCD-937 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Maggie MacInnes

Maggie MacInnes

Maggie MacInnes sings and plays the clarsach. She was born in Glasgow and now lives in Ayrshire. She comes from a long line of Gaelic singers from the small island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and learns most of her songs from her mother the highly acclaimed traditional singer Flora MacNeil, M.B.E.

Maggie has been involved in various groups over the years such as Ossian Fuaim and Eclipse First and has traveled widely with her music touring in many parts of Europe U.S.A. and Canada. She also appears frequently on Radio and Television and has made various recordings over the years.

Autumn 1998 saw the release of Maggie’s first solo CD Eilean Mara on Dunkeld Records which was co-produced by Dougie MacLean and received great critical acclaim. In 2001 Maggie released her second solo CD which is called Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life and features some of Scotland’s finest musicians such as Charlie McKerron (of Capercaillie) Brian McAlpine (formerly of Iron Horse) Sean O’Rourke (formerly of JSD Band) Marie Fielding Paul Jennings and Keith Easdale along with her mother Flora on backing vocals.

Maggie followed up the release of the record by performing at various festivals at home in Ireland and in Italy as well as being invited to Russia for the 1st International Festival of Celtic Music and Dance of Moscow where she was accompanied by the flute and saxophone player Sean O’Rourke and the percussion player Frank MacGuire.

In 2002 Maggie performed at the Celtic Connections Festival and The Edinburgh International Harp Festival and she was one of those chosen to take part in a two week tour of Scotland with Scottish Women which involved Scots and Gaelic singers coming together to showcase some of the finest songs from the two traditions with a backing band of some of the finest Scottish musicians under the musical direction of Brian McNeill Head of Scottish Music in the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Maggie also produced and directed a new show/concert called Burns and the Gaels which looked at the links between the works of Robert Burns and Gaelic music and poetry. This event combined music poetry and song and featured Maggie along with Sheena Wellington Rod Paterson Ishbel MacAskill and Finlay MacDonald amongst others. Burns and the Gaels and Scottish Women were both performed at Celtic Connections Festival in January 2003.

Maggie was chosen by the voting public as Best Gaelic Singer of the Year at the 2004 Scots Trad Music Awards.

Discography

Cairistìona (1984)
Eilean Mara – Island in the Sea (1998)
Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life (2001)
Peaceful Ground – Talamh Sìtheil (2004)
Òran Na Mnà – A Woman’s Song (2006)
Leaving Mingulay – A Fàgail Mhiughalaigh (2009)
The Seedboat – Bàta an t-Sìl (2010)

www.maggiemacinnes.com

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Artist Profiles: Luis Di Matteo

Luis Di Matteo is one of the great bandoneonistas from South America. Living in Montevideo, Uruguay, Di Matteo has carried bandoneon music the furthest in a classical direction after the death of Astor Piazzolla. From the very beginning of his musical career he has shown an impressive independence in his musical thinking and concert performances.

Luis Di Matteo was born in 1934. He began his musical education at the conservatory in his native city Montevideo Uruguay. In 1962 he founded his first ensemble and in 198 he gave his first performances in Europe. Between 1983 and 1986 he cooperated with the music conservatory of Detmold, Germany. In 1987 he wrote the music for the Swedish film production Black Dawn/Los Dueños del Silencio. He took the opportunity of working and recording with a string orchestra for the first time in 199/91. In the Russian city of Uljanowsk (Lenin’s birthplace) he recorded compositions of his own with the chamber soloists of the Uljanowsk National Symphony Orchestra. The premier of his latest major composition Concierto para contrabajo y orquesta de cuerdas (Concert for double bass and string orchestra) performed by the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra took place in Montevideo in the summer of 1995.

The combination of strings and bandoneon have had a long tradition in South America: since the triumphal career of the bandoneon (invented by the German Karl Band) began there in the middle of the 19th century strings have been an integral part of the “orchesta típica” (two bandoneons two fiddles acoustic bass and a piano). However Matteo’s intensive collaboration with strings denotes a decisive step forward in the development of bandoneon music. He has broken with the old cliché that forever tied the bandoneon to the sweet and painful sound of the Tango. Instead Di Matteo in his compositions for this rather difficult instrument has found a form of personal expression that clearly places him within the Western music tradition.

Di Matteo has not only been influenced by traditional South American music but also increasingly by classical music including the modern masters such as Arnold Schönberg. With his compositions for bandoneon and strings he opens our eyes for a new look at the bandoneon’s possibilities of expression.

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Artist Profiles: Louis Mhlanga

Louis Mhlanga

Louis Mhlanga was born November 1, 1956. He is a South Africa-based Zimbabwean award-winning guitarist and producer. Mhlanga taught himself playing the guitar at a tender age and is considered one of the best Southern African guitarists.

Mhlanga’s career began in the 1970s. Fronting many bands in Zimbabwe he mixed American and Zimbabwean influences into his music. Mhlanga became renowned for his guitar skills and worked with Zimbabwean acts such as Shaka Talking Drum Ilanga Mudzimu and Oliver Mtukudzi. Louis eventually headed to South Africa to pursue different musical opportunities leading to collaborations with renowned South African artists such as Hugh Masekela Ray Phiri Sipho Mabuse Mlunhgisi Gegane and Busi Mhlongo.

He has produced albums byThomas Mapfumo NigerianKing Sunny Ade South African musician Vusi Mahlasela and many other artists. A former director of musical theatre Mhlanga also ran Zimbabwe’s Ethnomusicology Trust where he was in charge of developing national teaching programs for traditional and contemporary Zimbabwean music. He also spent a year in the Netherlands. As the musician-in-residence at the Royal Dutch Conservatory of Music Mhlanga taught African guitar courses and eventually recorded an album with bassist Eric Van Der Westen.

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Artist Profiles: Los Cenzontles

Los Cenzontles

Cenzontle is the Aztec word for mockingbird the bird of a hundred voices. Like the cenzontle, Los Cenzontles interpret a variety of regional Mexican styles. Los Cenzontles approach their performances with joyous energy sincerity and depth. Among the styles that they have interpreted are alabanzas, rancheras, pirekuas, son jarocho, Banda Sinaloense, tropical songs and dances of Mexico and the Caribbean and much more.

Since 1990 Los Cenzontles has worked with performed for and received support from numerous celebrities such as Linda Ronstadt Anthony Quinn Los Lobos Cheech Marin Yolanda del Rio Flaco JimÉnez Santiago JimÉnez Jr. Lalo Guerrero Gary Soto and Isabel Allende.

Line-up: Hugo Arroyo – Voice, tololoche (string bass) guitarrón, jarana; Don Gardner – Clarinet saxophone; Julian Gonzalez – Voice violin zapateado; Tregar Otton – violin tololoche palmas; Cristian Rodríguez – zapateado pandero bongos; Eugene Rodriguez – guitar vihuela guitarra de son; Lucina Rodriguez – Voice, zapateado; Fabiola Trujillo – Voice

Discography:

Con Su Permiso Señores (Arhoolie CD 435 1995)

Volando en los Cafetales (Mockingbird Records 1999)

Hypnotizada (Mockingbird Records 1999)

Amor Paz y Sinceridad (Mockingbird Records 1999)

Cancionero (Mockingbird Records 2000)

De Una Bonita compilation (Arhoolie, 2000)

Cuatro Maestros with Santiago Jimenez Jr., Atilano Lopez, Julian Gonzalez and Andres Vega. (Mockingbird Records 2001)

Media Vida (Mockingbird Records 2002)

Plan de la Villa with Julian Gonzalez (Mockingbird Records 2002)

Huapango (Urtext Records 2007)

Songs of Wood & Steel (Los Cenzontles 2008)

Senn-Sont-Less (Los Cenzontles 2008)

American Horizon (Los Cenzontles 2009)

Raza De Oro (Los Cenzontles 2010)

Regeneration (South Central Music 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Loop Guru

Loop Guru

Loop Guru core members Salman Gita and Jamuud have been working together for many years. They function as a collective rarely playing two consecutive gigs with the same line-up. The music which has made the group a big favorite with the “Megadog” and “Whirl-y-Gig” club goers is put together using as a staggering array of instruments ranging from the electric (the Cora, the Sitar and various Gamelan pieces) to the electric to the monster made up of dustbin lids, metal cogs and hip replacement joints.

Regular band members include percussionist Mad Jym and lead vocalists Natasha Atlas who performed on the band’s second single ‘Hope’ in 1993 and Iranian-born Sussan Deihim who appears on Loop Guru’s debut album ‘Duniya’ as well as single ‘Sus-san-tics’ their ‘tribute to her. One track on the album also features the bass player talents of Transglobal Underground’s Count Dubulah.

Discography:

Duniya (Nation Records 1994)
The Third Chamber (1994)
Amrita (1995)
Catalogue of Desires Vol. 3: The Clear White Variation (1996)
Moksha…Peel To Reveal/The Peel Sessions (1996)
Loop Bites Dog (1997)
The Fountains Of Paradise (1999)
Loopus Interruptus…Forgotten Treasures & Lost Artifacts (2001)
Wisdom of the Idiots…Half a History and a History and a Half (2003)
Bathtime With Loop Guru (2003)
Elderberry Shiftglass (2006)

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Artist Profiles: Lo Sirong

Lo Sirong

Lo Sirong is an award-winning poet and singer-songwriter from Miaoli. One of Taiwan’s rare female singer-songwriters, Lo draws inspiration from her Hakka heritage and upbringing.

Traditional Hakka music and literature in Taiwan is often associated the natural beauty of mountains and rivers and rural life. In her music Lo sets out to reinterpret and bring a new vitality to the traditional music and imagery that surrounded her as a young child. Influenced by her father the poet Lo Lang Lo Sirong enters her musical world through her poetry; she applies an improvisational style that highlights both her vocal and literary talents to produce intimate meditations on love family and the human spirit in everyday life.

Lo has produced a large body of work and has written hundreds of songs in Hakka Hokkien and Mandarin Chinese. She has won a number of awards for both her songwriting and poetry from major publications in Taiwan.

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