Category Archives: General News

Maggie the Pony Helps Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na

Maggie the Pony and Brehima "Youro" Cisse
Maggie the Pony and Brehima “Youro” Cisse


Malian blues act Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na ran into problems last week during their American tour when the one string of their njarka snapped and they needed to find a replacement. The njarka is a small, one-stringed fiddle, made from a gourd and stringed with the tail-hair of a horse.


The njarka
The njarka




Fortunately, the band’s manager Christopher Nolan contacted a Hudson Valley neighbor who has a horse farm. A visit was arranged, and Maggie the Pony donated tail hairs to Brehima “Youro” Cisse, the band’s njarka master.

Mamadou Kelly’s albums include Djamila and Adibar.


Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na Remaining Tour Dates:

July 27 Joe’s Pub, Manhattan NY
July 29 BSP, Kingston NY
Aug 5 Kennedy Center, Washington DC
Aug 6 Balliceaux, Richmond VA
Aug 7 Bossa Bistro, Washington DC
Aug 10 Union Pool, Brooklyn NY


Turkish Musician Kudsi Ergüner Designated UNESCO Artist for Peace

On July 10, 2016 the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, namedd Turkish musician Kudsi Ergüner, UNESCO Artist for Peace, at a ceremony held at the Congress Center in Istanbul (Turkey) following the opening ceremony of the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee, which ends on July 20.

Kudsi Ergüner is appointed in recognition of his efforts to promote the universal values of music, an essential instrument of dialog between cultures, for his contribution to the protection of musical heritage, his support for the International Decade of the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) and his firm commitment to the ideals of the Organization.

During the ceremony, Director General Irina paid tribute to Mr. Ergüner’s efforts throughout his career to keep alive the musical heritage of his country. “Your life and work have been guided by a profound passion to bring the past to life, to share the wisdom and beauty of traditions, to pass their messages of peace and dialogue to current and future generations, to share the depth of Mevlevi Sufi music, building on Persian and Turkish traditions, mixing this with poetry, literature and living arts across the region,” she expressed.

Born in Turkey in 1952, Kudsi Ergüner is a ney (reed flute) player, composer, musicologist, teacher, author and translator. Trained by his father, Ulvi Ergüner, the last great master of the ney flute, he has given concerts throughout the world and helped revive traditional musical trends. His collaborations with prestigious artists such as Peter Gabriel, Maurice Béjart, Peter Brook and Didier Lockwood helped to spread this music to Western audiences.

As a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Mr. Ergüner aims to work for the updating of the forgotten musical heritage. “I’m an artist but also a man of action and I hope to share my actions in the framework of UNESCO alongside other Artists for Peace,” he declared.

UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to promote the message and UNESCO programs. UNESCO is working with them to increase public awareness regarding key development issues and the role of the Organization in these areas.


WOMEX 2016 Announces First Set of Showcases

Maia Barouh - Photo by Audric Larose
Maia Barouh – Photo by Audric Larose

World Music Expo, WOMEX, announced this morning the first set of artists that will showcase at WOMEX 2016 October in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The high profile gathering of world music industry professionals will take place October 19 – 23, 2016.

The 23 acts announced features musicians from 28 countries, starting with the musical researchers of Radio Cos from the host region Galicia (Spain), expand to global music talent from five continents who will make WOMEX the platform for their international breakthrough. The line-up also includes some well-known artists such as Brazilian Bixiga 70 or Noura Mint Seymali from Mauritania who will be presenting their latest setup to the expected 2,500 delegates.

The 23 WOMEX Showcase acts announced so far are:

Bargou 08 (Tunisia/Belgium)
Bixiga 70 (Brazil)
Black String (South Korea)
C4 Trio (Venezuela)
Delgres (Guadeloupe/France)
Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis (Israel)
Gisela João (Portugal)
Gulzoda (Uzbekistan)
Maïa Barouh (Japan/UK)
New York Gypsy All Stars (Macedonia/Turkey/Greece/USA)
Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania)
Okra Playground (Finland)
Oligarkh (Russia)
Ponk (Czech Republic)
Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)
Radio Cos (Spain)
The East Pointers (Canada)
Throes + The Shine (Angola/Portugal)
Trad.Attack! (Estonia)
Trio Da Kali (Mali)
Tulegur (China)
United Vibrations (UK)
Vassvik (Norway)

More showcase artists, as well as additional film and conference program will be announced in the following weeks.

more at


Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete Announces Summer Seminar Program 2016

Labyrinth Musical Workshop, one of the most respected series of seminars and master classes in Europe, has announced its Summer Seminar Program 2016. The workshops target musicians of all levels who wish to study the modal musical traditions of the world.

Labyrinth is located in Crete (Greece) in the picturesque mountain village Houdetsi 20 kms from the capital city of Heraklion.

In addition to helping students learn the necessary technical and theoretical skills of each musical idiom, the seminars and master-classes encourage students to come closer to the spirit of the tradition they are studying, and to eventually enter into this world where musical language is just one of many other intertwining elements.

Throughout the seminars, teachers and students become part of one big “parea” (company in Greek). Aside from the time spend in the classes, teachers and students play music together, eat together, talk about matters of common interest, share stories etc.

Summer Seminar Program 2016

June 13-18, 2016

Efrén López – Music Group, An introduction to Modal Music.

June 20-25, 2016

Efrén López – Hurdy Gurdy (zanfona)

Giorgis Manolaki – Bouzouki

Ross Daly – The structure & phrasing of Makams

June 27- July 2, 2016

Ido Segal – Improvisation in North Indian classical music

Ciro Montanari – Tabla and the rhythmic cycles of North India

Giorgis Xylouris – A journey into Cretan music

July 4-9, 2016

Evgenios Voulgaris – Yayli Tanbur & Makam

Murat Aydemir – Tanbur Through The Ages

Patrizia Bovi / Peppe Frana – Medieval Music

Pavlos Spyropoulos/Theodora Athanasiou – Accompaniment in modal music

July 11-16, 2016

Martha Mavroidi – Motif & Rhythm

Senih Űndeğer – Turkish style violin

Muhittin Kemal Temel – Ali Ufki, Dimitri Kantemir and 17th century Ottoman Music

Manos Ahalinotopoulos – Modal music in the world of the Greek clarinet

July 18-23, 2016

Tigran Aleksanyan – Armenian Duduκ

George Papaioannou – Violin 2nd Part

Uğur Önür – The music & instruments of the nomads of South West Anatolia

Yiorgos Mavromanolakis – Oud for less advanced students

July 25-30, 2016

Kourosh Ghazvineh – Kurdish Makam with Tanbur

Arslan Hazreti – Kamancha

Ivan Varimezov – Gaida, Balkan rhythms and repertoire

Tzvetanka Varimezova – Bulgarian choral singing

August 1-6, 2016

Hooshang Farahani – Iranian Tar & Radif

Daud Khan Sadozai – Afghan rabab

Periklis Papapetropoulos – CİHAN TÜRKOĞLU- Saz

Djamshid & Bijan Chemirani – Τhe poetry of rhythm

August 8-13, 2016

Yurdal Tokcan- Turkish Oud (Master Class)

Göksel Baktagir – Kanun

Eleonore Billy – Nyckelharpa

Christos Barbas – Music Group: The Instrument as a Voice

August 15-20, 2016

Ahmet Erdoğdular – Classical Ottoman Singing

Ömer Erdoğdular – Ney

Derya Türkan – Kemençe

Periklis Papapetropoulos – Lavta

August 22-27, 2016

Ross Daly – Modal composition

Kelly Thoma – Lyra with sympathetic strings

George Papaioannou – Violin 1st part

Adel Sαlameh – Arabic Oud

August 29- September 3, 2016

Zohar Fresco – Frame Drums (Master Class)

Harris Laμbrakis – Rhythmic improvisation

Vagelis Karipis – Percussion in Greek tradition, Rhythms & Techniques

Peppe Frana – A modal perspective

Anna-Maria Hefele – Over-tone singing (Master Class)

September 5-10, 2016

Zacharis Spyridakis – Cretan Lyra

Michalis Kontaxakis – Cretan Mandolin

Giorgis Manolakis – Cretan Laouto

Fragiskos Baltzakis – Askomantoura

More information at


Newly Formed Cuban Orchestra, The Buena Vista All Stars Announce The Legacy Continues” World Tour

The Buena Vista All Stars
The Buena Vista All Stars

Son De Cuba Jf Management announced today that The Buena Vista All Stars will be touring this summer. The original Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club gave its last concert in 2015 and the newly formed The Buena Vista All Stars features some of its members.

The 15-piece The Buena Vista All Stars includes several original members: trumpeter Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal, trumpeter Manuel “Guajirito” Mirabal Plasencia, vocalist Ignacio “Mazacote” Carrillo, bongosero Alberto “La Noche” Hernández and bass player and band director Pedro Pablo Gutiérrez.


New Afro Celt Sound System Album Generates Controversy

A new album titled The Source by Afro Celt Sound System is the focus of a dispute between various members of the band. According to The Source’s publicist, “The current line-up of the band features original members including founder Simon Emmerson, N’Faly Kouyaté, Johnny Kalsi and Jamie Reid and they have also included Moussa and Mass as part of the band as they’ve been with ACSS since the second album.

There are 14 Afro Celt musicians on the new album The Source who have played with the band past, present and future. Jamie Reid has returned as their visualizer and in house artist. Griogair has joined as the new member and is a core part of the band and there are other world class musicians who join them on stage.


Simon Emmerson
Simon Emmerson


The press release continues: “Simon Emmerson believes that as the founding member of ACSS he has rights to the name and to the ACSS partnership but unfortunately, the partnership has come to an end. He is continuing to perform as ACSS because he believes he has rights to the name. He made repeated attempts to resolve the matter but due to the refusal of the others to work toward unity; it has become a matter to be decided by the Courts.

The new Afro Celt Sound System website has lots of information about the band, live shows and the new album The Source: www.afroceltsoundsystem.ORG.UK

The name of the band of The Source appears as 2016: Afro Celt Sound System. Meanwhile, World Music Central received a statement from another version of Afro Celt Sound System that states the following:

For the record, we wish to state that the soon-to-be-released album ‘The Source’, originated by departed co-founder Simon Emmerson and two other former members of this band, will never be accepted or recognised by us as a legitimate Afro Celt Sound System album.

As many are already aware, this was a recording project started in secrecy, an act that not only threatened the livelihood and careers of the remaining Afro Celt Sound System band members, but also, as we now know, has saddened and disillusioned many of our friends, fans and business associates around the world.

There is very little to celebrate about music made in such a manner.

We had no objection to Emmerson’s recording project being released under his name with the addition of “formerly of Afro Celt Sound System” or something consistent with his withdrawal from the band. Instead he has chosen to use only the band name and release his album on his own record label, ECC Records, set up with multi-millionaire Mark Constantine of Lush Cosmetics. The damage and confusion being caused by this, as well as the betrayal felt by his former colleagues and fellow musicians, could easily have been avoided had this new group been called by another name. This issue of who is entitled to the name is now being dealt with in the UK High Court.

Afro Celt Sound System has always been about creating its own original music. This is the main reason why the band has become internationally renowned, not because of any one individual. Our unique blend of musical integrity, innovation and craftsmanship has been the single most important factor behind the band’s achievements over the past two decades.

Afro Celt Sound System, James McNally and Martin Russell version
Afro Celt Sound System, James McNally and Martin Russell version

The release continues: “The remaining co-founders of the group, James McNally and Martin Russell, have been responsible for the creation of the majority of the band’s music. Without their involvement it comes as no surprise that ‘The Source’ contains non-original material – music that has already been performed and recorded numerous times by others. It is also no surprise to find this recently-formed line-up performing very little music from the back catalogue in their ongoing live shows.

We’d like to thank the distinguished previewers of this album, recent concert-goers and many others who have contacted us to show support and share their disappointment, not only in what has happened, but also with regard to what they have heard so far. It is obvious that three ex-members of the band does not Afro Celt Sound System make.

As stated, this unfortunate dispute will have to be resolved in the UK High Court where we believe that justice and truth will prevail, but whatever the final outcome of the situation, we categorically state our belief that ‘The Source’ will never merit a legitimate place alongside our previous work – music that was once made with love, honesty, respect and integrity.”

The James McNally and Martin Russell version of Afro Celt Sound System has announced the release of a new album titled Born.


IBMA Announces World of Bluegrass 2016 Showcase Artists


The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced its Official Showcase Artists, a group of 30 committee-selected artists that will be a part of the Bluegrass Ramble during the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 27-29, 2016.

Each act will perform at least two times over the course of the three-night Ramble event, at one of five downtown Raleigh clubs plus the Raleigh Convention Center, giving industry and fans multiple opportunities to hear as much music as possible. Venues hosting Ramble artists are The Lincoln Theatre, Kings, Architect Bar, Long View Vintage Church and The Pour House.

The acts selected include:

10 String Symphony – Nashville, Tennessee
Annie Lou – Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
Bill and the Belles – Johnson City, Tennessee
Cardboard Fox – Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
Carolina Blue – Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Hackensaw Boys – Washington, D.C.
Hannah Shira Naiman – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
High Plains Jamboree – Austin, Texas
Hot Buttered Rum – San Geronimo, California
J2B2 (John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band) – Nashville, Tennessee
Jenni Lyn – Nashville, Tennessee
Joe K. Walsh – Portland, Maine
Kaia Kater – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Missy Raines & the New Hip – Nashville, Tennessee
Molly Tuttle Band – Nashville, Tennessee
Old Salt Union – Belleville, Illinois
Red Wine – Rapallo, Italy
Run Boy Run – Tucson, Arizona
Steep Ravine – Watsonville, California
Tellico – Asheville, North Carolina
The Andrew Collins Trio – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Honey Dewdrops – Baltimore, Maryland
The Lil’ Smokies – Denver, Colorado
The Loose Strings Band – Galax, Virginia
The Unseen Strangers – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tim Carter & Bang Bang – Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Town Mountain – Asheville, North Carolina
Trout Steak Revival – Denver, Colorado
Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike – Bell Buckle, Tennessee
Zoe & Cloyd – Asheville, North Carolina

All of the Official Showcase acts can be heard on the free Bluegrass Ramble 2016 compilation, found at:


Chris Thile Revealed As New Host of “A Prairie Home Companion”

Chris Thile - Photo by Brantley Gutierrez
Chris Thile – Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

American mandolinist Chris Thile will replace author and storyteller Garrison Keillor as the new host of A Prairie Home Companion. Starting October 15, 2016, Thile will host a new 30-week season with 13 new, live broadcasts, produced shows and repeats on public radio stations throughout the United States.

The only live music and variety show currently aired in the United States, A Prairie Home Companion is a popular Saturday night radio presentation. The show includes musical performances and comedy.

A Prairie Home Companion will continue to be broadcast live on Saturday nights from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as from theaters across the United States. Each of the new live shows will contain a mix of well-known and up-and-coming musicians, humor with sketch comedy and spoken word, plus an original “Song of the Week” composed by Thile.


Rounder Records Announces World Music Digital Reissues

Los Pleneros de la 21 - Somos Boricuas / We Are Puerto Rican: Bomba y Plena en Nueva York, one of the legacy albums reissued
Los Pleneros de la 21 – Somos Boricuas / We Are Puerto Rican: Bomba y Plena en Nueva York, one of the legacy albums reissued by Rounder

As part of its continuing efforts to release hundreds of back catalog albums into full digital distribution, Rounder Records will be releasing a selection of World Music titles during the month of April. As per the previous, genre-specific, months, many of these albums will be making their debut on streaming services.

Before “world music” became a widely-used category, Rounder was releasing roots-oriented records from around the world. The next set of digital re-releases includes many of the best of them, including the calypsonian Growling Tiger with the Trans-Caribbean All-Star Orchestra, featuring the Cuban trumpeter Alfredo ‘Chocolate’ Armenteros, and the Klezmer Conservatory Orchestra’s celebratory Oy Chanukah!.

The twenty-one albums now available for the first time on all the major streaming services include music from Ghana, Puerto Rico, China, Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Cape Breton (Canada), St. Croix, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico. The collection also includes Texas conjunto music.

The complete collection includes:

6/30/2015 Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys
6/30/2015 Natalie MacMaster Live
4/1/2016 Flaco Jimenez Arriba el Norte
4/1/2016 Mingo Saldivar y Sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas I Love My Freedom, I Love My Texas
4/1/2016 Joseph Cormier and Friends Old Time Wedding Reels, And Other Favorite Scottish Fiddle Tunes
4/1/2016 Steve Jordan El Huracan
4/1/2016 Tony De La Rosa Así Se Baila En Tejas
4/1/2016 Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band No Strings Attached
4/1/2016 Sisi Chen Tides and Sand: The Art Of The Chinese Hammered Dulcimer
4/1/2016 The Khac Chi Ensemble Moonlight In Vietnam
4/8/2016 Tabu Ley Rochereau Et L’Orchestre Afrisa International Africa Worldwide: 35th Anniversary Album
4/8/2016 The Klezmer Conservatory Band Oy Chanukah!
4/8/2016 Los Pleneros de la 21 Somos Boricuas / We Are Puerto Rican: Bomba y Plena en Nueva York
4/8/2016 Los Pregoneros del Puerto Music of Veracruz
4/8/2016 Growling Tiger Knockdown Calypsos
4/8/2016 Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai & the Master Drummers of Dagbon Master Drummers of Dagbon, V. 1
4/8/2016 Blinky & the Roadmasters Crucian Scratch Band Music
4/8/2016 Mighty Zandolie & Black Prince with Lord Blakie Raw Kaiso I: Live in Concert in Port of Spain, Trinidad
4/8/2016 Steve Jordan The Return of El Parche
4/15/2016 Various Artists A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Live
4/22/2016 Various Artists Conjunto! Texas-Mexican Border Music, V. 1