Karen Matheson is widely recognized as the acclaimed vocalist of Celtic band Capercaillie. Karen started performing as a child in her local village hall in Argyll on the West coast of Scotland. She was brought up listening to traditional songs that have been her inspiration for over 30 years.
With Capercaillie, Karen has enjoyed tremendous success. Capercaillie have sold more than a million albums. The group composed the music of the movie ‘Rob Roy’, with Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange, in which Karen appeared, singing a Gaelic lament.
As a solo artist, Karen has been involved in various projects of collaboration worldwide including the award-winning BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, where she filmed tracks with artists like James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigle Sisters, Nanci Griffith, and various esteemed Scottish musicians. Her many collaborations include Algerian singer Idir, Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz and Portuguese star Dulce Pontes.
In December 2010 she was presented with an Honorary degree in music from the Robert Gordon University – another achievement to add to her OBE and award of “Best Gaelic singer” from the inaugural Scottish folk awards – just some of the many plaudits earned from an astonishing career.
Her 2015 solo album Urram is a musical love letter to her families’ Hebridean roots, with a collectionset of timeless Gaelic songs that draws out the character of Island life, through waulking songs, love songs, lullabies, mouth music and evocative poems to the surroundings. The album features international guest musicians including Seiko Keita (Senegal) on West African kora, Soumik Datta (India) on sarod, Scotland’s McFall’s chamber on strings, Innes White & Sorren MacLean on guitars, and long-timemusical partner Donald Shaw on piano.
The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland’s leading traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts.
Born of a session in Paisley, Scotland and named for the town’s historic weaving industry and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill, the group has made an international name for its special brand of Scottish music, blending the beauty of traditional melodies with the power of modern rhythms. The Tannahill Weavers began to attract attention when founding members Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie added the full-sized highland bagpipes to the on-stage presentations, the first professional Scottish folk group to successfully do so. The combination of the powerful pipe solos, Roy’s driving guitar backing and lead vocals, and Phil’s ethereal flute playing breathed new life into Scotland’s vast repertoire of traditional melodies and songs.
Three years and a dozen countries later, the Tannahills were a Celtic music sensation in Europe, having won the Scotstar Award for Folk Record of the Year with their third album, The Tannahill Weavers.
Since their first visit to the United States in 1981, the Tannahills’ unique combination of traditional melodies on pipes, flute and fiddle, driving rhythms on guitar and bouzouki, and powerful three and four part vocal harmonies have taken the musical community by storm.
Over the years the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music, and their tight harmonies and powerful, inventive arrangements have won them fans from beyond the folk and Celtic music scenes.
1994 saw the release to critical acclaim of Capernaum, which won the Indie Award in the USA for Celtic Album of the Year from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors and Manufacturers (NAIRD, now AFIM).
Tannies veterans Phil Smillie, Roy Gullane, John Martin and Les Wilson are versatile musicians who have received worldwide accolades over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recordings. From reflective ballads to foot stomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Scottish spirit.
The lineup that appeared on 2006’s Live and In Session featured Roy Gullane on guitar, vocals; John Martin on fiddle, viola, mandola, mandolin, cello; Colin Melville on Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles, guitar; Phil Smillie on flute, whistles, bodhran, vocals; Les Wilson on bouzouki, keyboards, vocals. Guests included Douglas Millar on keyboards and Hugh (Shuggie) MacCallum on assorted percussion.
In 2011, Tannahill Weavers was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and in 2014 they were joined by innovative piper Lorne MacDougall.
Are Ye Sleeping Maggie (Hedera Records HRCD11, 1976)
The Old Woman’s Dance (Hedera Records HRCD12, 1978)
The Tannahill Weavers (Hedera Records HRCD13, 1979)
Tannahill Weavers IV (Hedera Records HRCD14, 1981)
Capercaillie is the band that created a stir like no other Scottish band since Silly Wizard. Capercaillie plays groundbreaking contemporary Celtic music featuring the ethereal, yet powerful Gaelic vocals by Karen Matheson, intricate rhythms, and a combination of traditional Scottish and electric instruments.
The original founders of the band, vocalist Karen Matheson, accordionist Donald Shaw and multi-instrumentalist Marc Duff, met at school in Oban, their hometown in northwestern Scotland. Matheson’s voice was described by acclaimed actor Sean Connery as having “a throat that is surely touched by God”.
Capercaillie sold over a million albums worldwide. These include three silver and one gold album in the UK, and the first Gaelic Top 40 single. Capercaillie also wrote the music for the 1995 Hollywood movie “Rob Roy.” Karen Matheson appeared in the movie, singing the song “Ailein duinn”.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Capercaillie, Survival Records released the double CD anthology “Grace and Pride – The anthology 2004 – 1984” on September 13, 2004. The album collected 38 tracks from each of the band’s 15 albums, including previously unreleased and rare tracks.
In 2013, the band released an album titled At the Heart of It All. The Capercaillie lineup at that time included Karen Matheson (vocals), Donald Shaw (keyboards), Charlie McKerron (fiddle), Manus Lunny (guitar), Ewen Vernal (bass), and Michael McGoldrick (flute/pipes), all of whom are some of the finest musicians in the Celtic music scene. The list of guests on At the Heart of It All includes: vocalists Julie Fowlis, Kathleen MacInnes, Darren MacLean, Sineag MacIntyre and Kris Drever (Lau). The instrumentalists include Irish banjo virtuoso Gerry O’Connor, masterful uilleann piper Jarlath Henderson, fiddler Aidan O’Rourke (also from Lau), percussionist James Mackintosh, and jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith.
Bi Kidude was an institution in Zanzibar, and East Africa’s greatest musical legend. The diva of Zanzibar taarab, she also played other musical styles including more ngoma-based unyago and msondo.
Her real name has been described as Fatma Baraka Khamis or Bi Fatuma Binti Baraka. She grew up in a family of seven in the Zanzibari village of Mfagimarigo. Her father was a coconut seller.
Bi Kidude’s exact date of birth was unknown, much of her life story was uncorroborated, giving her an almost mythical status. Kidude started out her musical career in the 192s, and learned many of her songs with Siti bint Saad. She performed in countries all around Europe, Middle East and Japan and finally recorded her first solo album (Zanzibar, Retroafric Recordings) in 1994, while in her mid-eighties. She also released a second locally-produced album (Machozi ya Huba, Heartbeat Records) with her traditional drums influencing the burgeoning Zenji Flava local hip-hop scene in one of the most remarkable juxtapositions of musical style in modern World Music.
Since fleeing a forced marriage at the age of 13 and escaping her homeland of Zanzibar, Bi Kidude led an extraordinary and varied career as a drummer, singer, henna artist and natural healer. Her first journey was to the mainland of Tanzania, where she walked the length and breadth of the country barefoot.
With renewed confidence and a new attitude to tradition (by now Kidude had thrown off her veil and shaved her head!) she returned, slowly to Zanzibar where she acquired a small clay house in the 194s and settled down to life grounded in the traditional roots of society.
Bi Kidude was part of the Unyago movement, which prepares young Swahili women for their transition through puberty and excelled at the art of henna designing for young brides, manufacturing her own wanja application from age old recipes fit ‘to make a rainbow shine.’ Bi Kidude performed traditional unyago music and was the island’s leading exponent of this ancient dance ritual, performed exclusively for teenage girls, which uses traditional rhythms to teach women to pleasure their husbands, while lecturing against the dangers of sexual abuse and oppression.
Her many talents were acknowledged by Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) at the second Festival of the Dhow Countries in 1999, when she was awarded Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to the Arts.
Bi Kidude’s is a remarkable story, one which challenges our perception of age, and of the role of women in Islam. She never conformed to the media stereotype of a Muslim woman ever since she removed her veil. To see a ninety-something year old Muslim woman drink, smoke, flirt, dance and drum was a unique experience. To witness the transformation as she reversed the aging process and changes from a wrinkled granny into a vital shining star was nothing short of revolutionary.
In the summer of 2004 Bi Kidude toured Europe with Zanzibar’s illustrious Culture Musical Club taarab orchestra. Midway through this tour, the whole of Zanzibar was thrown into shock and disarray when a rumor spread fast through the island that Bi Kidude had died. From the narrow streets of Stone Town to the bazaars of N’gambo and throughout the villages this was the only topic of conversation as the island rapidly acquired the atmosphere of mourning. This rumor continued to spread even long after the offices of Busara Promotions had disseminated confirmation from Bi Kidude’s European promoters that on the contrary, she was alive and very well. She was surprised to hear that people in Zanzibar think that she has died:
“Sijafa bado. Labda sababu watu hawajaonana nami sasa karibu mwezi. Lakini bado tunaendelea na safari na bado safari ndefu ya miezi miwili. Lakini sijambo, sina wasiwasi miye. Kuimba naimba na nguvu zote ambazo ninazo ili watu wafurahi.”
“I haven’t died yet. Maybe people are saying that because they haven’t seen me around for almost a month. But we are still continuing our tour which lasts for two more months. Me, I’m well, I have no problem. Me I sing with all my strength and continue to make people happy.”
In 2006, ScreenStation Productions with Busara Promotions produced a 66-minute video documentary titled As Old As My Tongue: the Myth and Life of Bi Kidude.
“Over the last three years we have filmed with Bi Kidude and her extended entourage,” said director Andy Jones. “From her humble home in a township on the edge of historic Stone Town to the grandeur of the Theatre de la Ville in Paris we have captured moments of love, jealousy, protection and exploitation of a witty and humble woman. Musical moments combined with highly personal observation form the trunk of our story. The music is extraordinary. From the seemingly poetic but really biting satire of the grand Taarab orchestras to the telling rhythms of primal sexuality expressed in her x-rated Unyago the film is punctuated with sensational live footage.”
In 2005, Bi Kidude bint Baraka was presented with the WOMEX 2005 Award for her lifetime achievements and contributions to world music.
This intriguing and inspiring woman was a repository and leading exponent of Swahili culture. (Bi Kidude) herself said, “How can I stop singing? When I sing I feel like a 14-year old girl again.”
Battlefield Band plays Scottish music of rare passion and joy. Inspired by their rich heritage of Celtic music and fired by the strength of today’s Scottish Cultural scene (which they themselves have done much to create and fuel), Battlefield Band mix the old songs with new self-penned material, and perform them on a unique fusion of ancient and modern instruments – bagpipe, fiddle, synthesizer, guitar, cittern, flute, bodhran and accordion.
This is the gold standard, the band against which all others are measured. After 3 years they still lead the way for Scottish music — introducing new musicians, new music; always involving their ever widening audience, as they travel the world.
In 22 the band welcomed back Pat Kilbride. A member of the band in the mid-seventies, and featured on the classic album At The Front, this was his second stint on the Battlefield. In the intervening years, this fine musician and singer has toured with Kips Bay and recorded a highly regarded solo CD.
Dookin’ was released in 27. Dookin’ is the Scottish word for what you do at Halloween – as in ‘dookin’ for apples. This is a reference to what Battlefield Band has been doing for all these years, Dookin’ into the great pool of Scottish and Irish music and song.
Battlefield Band founder Alan Reid describes the group’s 29th album Zama Zama… Try Your Luck: “This album started as a collection of songs and tunes about gold. But as we searched, like the alchemists of old, it turned into a wider idea. In the process we saw the greed, disasters and victories inherent in the search and exploitation of various sources of wealth in this world. Then, as if by demonic serendipity, along came the worldwide economic crisis. We watched the major banks, insurance companies and Hedge Funds etc., implode, discrediting the entire financial system and many of its managers and advisers – but there was still more to come. We, in Britain, could only stand and watch aghast as many Members of Parliament, and the House of Lords at Westminster, the Mother of Parliaments’ were exposed for their cynical misuse of the expenses system, often amounting to fraud. As we put this album together we have been amazed, angered, depressed and hilariously horrified.”
Line-up came out on the 18th August 2011. The musicians featured in the recording include a new member, fiddler and piper Ewen Henderson, from the Highlands of Scotland. The lineup at the time was Sean O’Donnell on Vocals, Guitar, Cittern; Ewen Henderson on Fiddle, Bagpipes, Vocals, Piano; Alasdair White on Fiddle, Whistle, Bouzouki, Bagpipes; Mike Katz – Bagpipes, Whistles, Bouzouki, Guitar, Bass, Vocals; and a special appearance on harmonica from Scottish bluesman Mike Whellans
Battlefield Band (1977)
At the Front (Temple Records, 1978)
Stand Easy (Temple Records, 1979)
Preview (Temple Records, 198) Home is Where the Van Is (Temple Records, 198)
The Story So Far (Temple Records, 1982)
There’s a Buzz (Temple Records, 1982) Anthem for the Common Man (Temple Records, 1984)
On the Rise (Temple Records, 1986)
Music in Trust Vol 1 (Temple Records, 1986)
After Hours: Forward to Scotland’s Past (1987)
Celtic Hotel (Temple Records, 1987)
Music in Trust Vol 2 (1988)
Home Ground – Live From Scotland (1989)
New Spring (Temple Records, 1991)
Quiet Days (Temple Records, 1992)
Opening Moves (Topic Records, 1993)
Farewell to Nova Scotia (Escalibur, 1996) Threads (Temple Records, 1995)
Across the Borders (Temple Records, 1997) Live Celtic Folk Music (Munich, 1998) Rain, Hail or Shine (Temple Records, 1998) Leaving Friday Harbor (Temple Records, 1999) Happy Daze (Temple Records, 2001) Time and Tide (Temple Records, 22)
Best of Battlefield 1976 – 2003 (Temple Records, 2003)
Out for the Night (Temple Records, 2004) The Road of Tears (Temple Records, 2006) Dookin’ (Temple Records, 2007) Zama Zama… Try Your Luck (Temple Records, 2009) Line-up (Temple Records COMD214, 211) Room Enough For All (Temple Records, 2013) Beg & Borrow (Temple Records, 2015)
Battlefield Band – Live in Concert at the Brunton Theatre (Temple Records, 2008
Agustin Henke was born in Sevilla (Spain). He learned flamenco percussion at an early age with the prestigious Manueli Soler. Later on, he took part in shows such as “Por aquí te quiero ver” together with bailaores (dancers) Javier Baron, Israel Galvan or Rafael de Carmen, guitarist Pedro Sierra and the cantaora La Tobala. His most famous shows include La Tirana and Flamenco Republic by the María Pagés Company.
He has recorded with the greatest names in Spanish flamenco, and currently accompanies artists such as El Niño de Pura, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Pedro Sierra, Carmen Linares, Manolo Franco, Cantores de Híspalis, and Juana Amaya.
Besides the cajón, his remarkable adaptability endowed him with mastery of the jembe, the Indian tabla, and the crótalos (finger cymbals), while accompanying himself with a half drum kit, congas, pandero (frame drum), or even tinaja (clay pot).
Today, he is one of the most sought-for percussionists in Spain, both on stage and in recording studios.
In the southeast of Tajikistan, where the majestic Pamir Mountains reach heights only slightly lower than those of the Himalayas, local traditions of devotional song, mystical music, and dance have flourished among mountain-dwelling Pamiri peoples. Together with Badakhshan’s rugged geography, these practices have nourished the preservation of many aspects of traditional culture.
The members of his Badakhshan Ensemble live in and around Khorog, the regional capital and the country’s largest city, where they earn their livelihood as professional musicians. Their repertory includes maddah, devotional songs that can embody the spiritual power known as baraka, laments with spare instrumental accompaniment called falak, and traditional popular songs, called khalqi.
For Badakhshanis, music and dance are intimately linked, and Soheba, an outstanding dancer as well as one of Badakhshan’s finest female vocalists, illustrates the rich symbolism of Pamiri dance.
Baba Zula was founded in 1996 by Levent Akman (percussion, rhythm machines, toys), Murat Ertel (saz and other strings, vocal) and Emre Onel (darbuka, sampler, vocal) in Istanbul, was joined by Oya Erkaya (bass guitar, vocal in 2003.
With its specifically unique sound created by melding traditional Turkish musical instruments with electronic elements, Baba Zula has brought a brand new dimension to Turkish Folk Music. Baba Zula’s music is basically an amalgamation of recorded natural sounds with both traditional and modern acoustic and electronic musical instruments, a culmination of disparate electronic effects. Starting out by improvisations, later fixed into musical elements which make up their music such as theme, tune, style and sound, reached through recordings and rehearsals, the group has carried this method of ‘defined improvisation’ into concerts, movies, theatrical plays, use of video, slides and films, prepared by the additional members who have joined forces with the core group in its live performances.
The group, which from the very beginning has shown great interest in featuring guest musicians and players in concerts and albums, has been accompanied by stars such as the Thracian Selim Sesler (clarinet master), the Canadian singer Brenna McCrimmon (specialized in Balkan folk music), Fahrettin Aykut (drummer), Tuncel Kurtiz (movie star and player), Ahmet Uğurlu (movie star and player), Ralph Carney from San Francisco (saxophonist) and the diva Semiha Berksoy (first Turkish opera singer and painter).
Baba Zula’s debut album, ‘ Tabutta Rovasata = Somersault in the Coffin’ (Ada Music), including the original soundtrack for dervis Zaim’s first movie with the same title about a car thief who returned the cars he stole to their owners and fell in love with a peacock, was released in 1996. The album also includes four songs in which the movie stars Ahmet Ugurlu, Tuncel Kurtiz and Aysel Aydemir contribute in vocals.
Their album, ‘ 3 Oyundan 17 Muzik’ (Doublemoon) comprising music created for the plays ‘ The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint Exupery, ‘ Frog Tales’ by Arnold Lobel and ‘ Kitchen Accidents’ by Perihan Mağden, was released in 1999. Apart from a number of other artists, Ralph Carney, Brenna McCrimmon and Selim Sesler have also taken part in this album as guest stars. Baba Zula, who has also made the music for the film ‘ Renkli Turkye = Colored and in Turkish’, directed by Ahmet Cad#rc# and about a movie mechanic falling in love with an ex-pornstar, has also taken stage in Britain and Macedonia. Baba Zula also opened Manu Chao concert which took place in June 22 during Efes Pilsen Summer Festival.
Levent Akman and Murat Ertel of Baba Zula were invited to Cologne, Germany to perform with two German musicians Gerard Doeke and Norbert Torzik at the Mediteranneen Film Festival on the 6th and 8th of December
In April 23, Baba Zula did a concert at the Festival of ‘Printemps de Bourges’ in front of fifty thousand spectators.
Zen, Baba Zula members former band (Levent Akman and Murat Ertel) received the ‘best original score’ award for ‘Dokuz / Nine’ (Turkish Cinema Writers Association) and Ankara International Film Festival in January 23.
Their third and latest album ‘Psychebelly Dance Music released in May 23 was mixed and mastered by the British musician and producer Mad Professor who previously worked with Massive Attack , The Orb, Lee Perry and alikes. Their fourth album ‘ Duble Oryantal’ which is released on Doublemoon Records by the end of May 25, is again mixed and mastered by Mad Professor
The band played at Roskilde Festival on 3rd of July, 24. The band also appeared in the Golden Bear award winner, film director Fatih Ak#n’s new documentary on the sounds of Istanbul, played and recorded with Einstuerzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke.
Tabutta Rovasata – Somersault in the Coffin (Ada Music, 1996)
Argentine pianist Adrian Iaies’ unique style can best be described as a fusion of traditional tango and contemporary jazz. In 2000 he was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the jazz category for his album Las Tardecitas de Minton’s (Acqua Records). Throughout his extensive career he has toured extensively on both sides of the Atlantic having shared the stage with artists such as Ron Carter, Lee Konitz, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Chucho Valdes, and Dino Saluzzi.
In November 2000, Iaies recorded a new solo record in Barcelona called Tango Reflections which was released worldwide in April, 2001. He has toured extensively in promotion of this release including dates in the Spanish Jazz Festival, La Semana de Jazz Latino de Madrid, the Miami Film Festival, and the Festival Internacional de los 7 Lagos in Argentina.
Although well established as a duo Bachue, has expanded to include the fantastic percussion talents of Edinburgh-based drummer Donald Hay. The unique combination of electroharp, piano, voice and percussion has dazzled and mesmerized audiences wherever they play.
Corrina Hewat and David Milligan first performed as Bachue back in 1996, originally appearing with percussionist Davy Cattenach (then with The Old Blind Dogs) and fiddler Kenny Fraser. The band has performed and recorded with various line-ups since then, but for the most part it’s Corrina and David’s duo format that has earned their enviable reputation as one of the Celtic music scene’s most innovative groups.
For the new album, The Butterfly, Bachue joined forces with jazz trumpeter Colin Steele, whose warm, lyrical sound complements the band’s unique sound perfectly.