American multi-instrumentalist Rick Epping plays harmonica, concertina, banjo, and jaw harp. He’s a native of California and has been moving back and forth between Ireland and the United States for over 30 years. During this time, Epping has been playing the folk music of both countries since childhood.
Epping has performed with acclaimed musicians such as Bill Monroe, Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb and Irish accordionist Joe Cooley. On his album The Unwanted he features a trio that includes Irish musicians Séamus O’Dowd (fiddle) and Cathy Jordan (Dervish’s vocalist).
Red Chamber is a Chinese music supergroup based in Vancouver (Canada). The ensemble includes four renowned instrumentalists, Mei Han (zheng), Guilian Liu (pipa), Zhimin Yu (ruan), and Geling Jiang (sanxian).
On the album Regrass, the group performs stringband music wizardry exclusively on plucked instruments. The repertoire on the Redgrass CD includes Imperial Court classics of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) as well as contemporary compositions that include bluegrass, eastern European horo, jazz and other genres.
Although Mei Han moved to the Nashville (Tennessee) area in the United States, the group is still active.
Tombak and daf master Pezhham Akhavass has a unique approach to rhythm has gained him recognition as one of the most distinguished Iranian percussionists of his generation.
Born in 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Tehran’s Sureh University. He began learning music theory under the instruction of Naser Nazar at the age of five.
With the support of his father, be began studying the tombak under the guidance of Naser Farhanghfar. He also met members of the Masters in Persian Music, including Hossein Alizadeh and Kayhan Kalhor, and performed with them both locally and on tour in Iran and Europe.
He has collaborated with Irish harp player Diana Rowan and world music sensation Mamak Khadem.
Currently, Pezhham lives in San Francisco, California where he teaches private classes in tombak, daf and setar.
The Sky At Dawn, with Diana Rowan
Shahram Nazeri (Quartertone Productions, 2007) Tombak (2008) Percussions (2008) The Passion of Rumi, with
Liberated [Raha], with Payam Jahanman
Song-of-Sparrows [Avaze Gonjeshkha], with Hossein Alizadeh
Breeze and wheat field [Nasim o Gandomzar], with Aliakbar Moradi The Road, with Mamak Khadem (Innova, 2015)
Argentine bandoneon player, composer and arranger Rodolfo Mederos was born March 25, 1940 in Río de la Plata.
As a composer, Rodolfo Mederos covers a wide spectrum, from traditional tango to symphonic pieces for different instrumental groups. As a performer, he expresses deep-felt musicality. In the 1970s Mederos was one of the few tango musicians who collaborated with progressive rock musicians. Todo Hoy is an example of this kind of work.
Mederos is also a teacher and writer of both bandoneon-related matters as well as tango composition and orchestration.
He lived in Cuba and France and then returned to Argentina, where he founded the influential Generación Cero.
Rodolfo Mederos has collaborated with numerous Argentine artists as well as flamenco vocalists Miguel Poveda and Enrique Morente.
Rita Eriksen is one of Norway’s best vocalists. In addition to her own career, she is frequently used by Norwegian musicians.
In 1996 she released the album Tideland with the well-known Irish singer Dolores Keane on the Kirkelig Kulturverksted record label. This was a CD that was very well received and showed that Rita Eriksen is also a master singing Norwegian traditional folk music. Rita is known for her ability to express different directions in her singing.
Rita Eriksen is half of the duo Eriksen, the other half being her brother Frank. Eriksen has released several albums, including Two Blue (MajorStudio MSCD 1113, 1992), The Water Is Wide (MajorStudio MSCD 1118, 1994) and Alt Vende Tebage (BMG Norge 743213281122, 1995) that established themselves amongst Norway’s best selling artists. The record sales in Norway concerning these three records has now passed 125,000.
Eriksen received the Spellemannsprisen (the top Norwegian music award) for Two Blue and was nominated for both The Water is Wide and Alt Vende Tebage. Eriksen is frequently played on Norwegian radio.
In 2001, Eriksen began to tour as guest vocalist with Vamp, one of Norway’s leading folk groups. She also collaborated with the Tramps in 2002.
In 2009 Eriksen released a Christmas album titled Velkommen inn.
Her album Øyeblikk (Moments) came out in 2014. Rita wrote most of the songs and lyrics herself.
* Two Blue (MajorStudio MSCD 1113, 1992)
* The Water Is Wide (MajorStudio MSCD 1118, 1994)
* Alt Vende Tebage (BMG Norge 743213281122, 1995)
* Tideland, with Dolores Keane (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 1996)
* Blamandag (MajorStudio MSCD 1142, 1998)
* From the Fountain (Odeon/EMI, 2005)
* Hjerteslag (BigBox, 2008)
* De Aller Beste (Best of..)(Sony/BMG, 2009)
* Velkommen inn (BigBox, 2009)
* Øyeblikk (MayB Records, 2014)
Ricardo Miño Alvarez was born in 1949 in Sevilla, Spain. He began his remarkable career at 10 in his native Triana, the most Gypsy of Sevilla’s neighborhoods. At twelve, Ricardo began his professional career by touring with Pepe Marchena and La Niña de los Peines in the now legendary tour Asi Canta Andalucia.
At thirteen, Ricardo became a student of acclaimed guitar maestro Niño Ricardo and soon after began to accompany legendary singers and guitarists such as Antonio Mairena, Pepe Pinto, El Fosforito and Paco de Lucia.
He has recorded for various labels in Spain, such as CBS, Hispavox, Columbia, Belter and Dial among others.
His international tours include performances in Japan, Morocco, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the United States of America.
Ricardo Miño has recorded several collaborations with sitar player Gualberto, including Puente Mágico and Con Trastes.
His son Pedro Ricardo Miño is an acclaimed flamenco pianist.
Flamenco Fury (1976) Flamenco de Concierto (Claves, 1976)
Puente Mágico (Dial, 1983)
Jacaranda (Senador, 1992)
Puerta De Triana (Senador, 1998) Con Trastes (Pasarela CDP5/724, 1998)
Ricardo Miño: 50 años caminando juntos by Ángel Vela Nieto, Published by Sevilla: Libros con duende, 2014. ISBN: 9788493988692.
Anita Katakkar is a Canadian percussionist who specializes in tabla. Her ancestry is Indian and Scottish. She grew up listening to Indian music through her grandmother.
Anita studied tabla with Ritesh Das in Canada and later in India with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. She spent 10 years as a member of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble.
In 2009 Anita formed Rakkatak in Toronto. It started as a solo project with Anita on her tabla, a laptop, and a sequencer to create a decidedly personal mix of classical Indian music and electronica. Rakkatak became a band with the addition of bassist Oriana Barbato and sitarist Rex Van der Spuy. Rakkatak’s style changed, concentrating on a less electronic form of Indian fusion.
In addition to her Rakkatak work, Anita teaches tabla, collaborates with yoga instructors and frequently DJs for Yoga classes in Toronto-area studios. She created music to link breath to movement with her Yoga Trax project.
Rakkatak (2010) Open (2014)
Small Pieces (Rakkatak RA017, 2017)
Reelroad plays traditional Russian music in an original post-folk style in concert halls and festivals throughout Europe and Russia.
In 2008 the band crossed the Atlantic to perform at world music festivals in Mexico and the United States. In early 2009 Reelroad celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Reelroad’s repertoire favors obscure folk songs from northern Russia and central Siberia, music driven underground for decades. Reelroad has two styles of performing Russian folk music. The first echoes the village with the sound of Russian instruments such as the gusli (zither), zhaleika (fife) and kaljuka.
Traditional vocals are prominent, due in part to Reelroad members Anastasia Karaseva and Aleksandrs Dmitrijevs, founders of the traditional village choir “Dubinushka.” Acoustic guitar, violin, flute and bagpipes round out the sound.
In the second style, developed for the large stage, Reelroad projects and amplifies the village sound with bass guitar and drums. All seven Reelroad members are musicians. Four serve as vocalists as well, singing in traditional Russian village vocal style.
Anastasia Karaseva plays the tin whistle, Spanish pandereta and Irish harp.
Alexey Belkin manages Reelroad and plays Galician and Scottish bagpipes, zhaleika (fife) and winged gusli (dulcimer).
Aleksandrs “Kep” Dmitrijevs plays acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica.
Natalia Vysokikh is a professional violinist.
Alexey Skosyrev made the fretless bass guitar he plays, as well as Anastasia’s harp.
Svetlana Kondesyuk, a graduate of the Academy of Arts, plays the flute and Galician bagpipes.
Denis Nikiforov learned to play the drums in the army, studied at the Academy of Arts, and works at the famous Hermitage museum.
In addition to concert performances, Reelroad teaches Russian folk dances in clubs and dance schools. The band welcomes dancers of all skill levels and aims to dispel the belief Russian folk dances are boring or difficult.
Ray Abshire plays traditional Cajun dance music, performing regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Festival International in Lafayette, where he lives. Currently, he leaves home only to play festivals and music camps. Born into a musical family – he is a cousin of Cajun great Nathan Abshire – Ray Abshire grew up during the South Louisiana “Dance Hall” era of the 1950s and 1960s and began playing professionally when he was 14.
He performed with all the well-known Cajun masters whose recordings form the foundation for students of Cajun music today; a highlight of his collaborations is the time he spent as accordion player with the legendary Balfa Brothers Band from 1969 to 1975.
Ray Abshire’s accordion style is traditional and he sings in the classic Cajun tenor high voice. Remaining true to the traditional sound he grew up with, Abshire draws from a large repertoire of songs rarely heard today, as featured on his CD, “For Old Times Sake” with fiddlers Courtney Granger and Kevin Wimmer on Swallow Records, released in 2003.
Puerto Rican ensemble Plena Libre performs a unique mix of Afro-Puerto Rican plena, salsa, bomba, jazz and other Afro-Caribbean genres.
“Más Libre,”(Freer) was released in October 2000 on RykoLatino. Their eighth recording and third for RykoLatino, came a year after their critically acclaimed “Juntos y Revueltos”. Más Libre drew from an even wider sonic vocabulary – jazz, reggae, salsa, samba, songo, bomba, merengue, and cumbia.
Since their inception in 1994, Plena Libre, led by bassist, arranger, composer and producer Gary Núñez, has become a strong force on the musical scene of Puerto Rico.
Plena Libre was born out of plena jam sessions in which Gary Núñez participated. In those sessions Gary began to focus on this rhythm that had been brushed aside by the more popular salsa and merengue. He also decided to break this genre out of its folkloric mold. Since then, Plena Libre band has been expanding the borders of plena music.
“When I was 20 years old,” remembers Gary, “I met Noel Hernandez, who is now my compadre. He opened my eyes to my Puerto Rican heritage, got me into studying my history and my musical roots. I realized then that, as much as Puerto Rican musicians were known worldwide in many fields of music, the music that was truly traditional to Puerto Rico was hardly known. I wanted to change that, to devote myself to the music that is based on our African heritage, the plena and the bomba. Up to then they were relegated to holiday get-togethers and in danger of disappearing entirely. That’s how Plena Libre, or ‘free plena’ was born.”
Plena Libre has performed hundreds of shows in Puerto Rico, and has toured in the U.S., receiving extraordinary reviews for their performances and for their recordings that have generated over 15 hit songs and sold over 150,000 copies in Puerto Rico alone.
Plena Libre became the first group to hit the charts with a plena tune in almost 15 years with “El Party” from their first recording “Juntos y Revueltos” (1994) that was re-released by RykoLatino (RLCD 1005) for the international market .
In May of 1999 Plena Libre became the first plena group to perform at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum with their unique presentation “Puerto Rico Sabe a Plena”. A crowd of over 5,000 and the critics applauded Plena Libre’s performance that was later broadcast on commercial TV.
Their list of accomplishments includes an award by the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico’s Legislature (1999), “Fundación Rafael Cepeda” (1997), and an award given by Loiza, the town known as the birth place of the bomba y plena, (1995).