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Hurdy Gurdy Wizardry

Rao Trio – Sin Titulo (Producciones Efímeras, 2004)

Rao Trio – Sin Titulo (Producciones Efímeras, 2004)

Although the zanfona (Spanish hurdy gurdy) is best known as an instrument used in Spanish regional folk and Celtic music, Rao Trio take the zanfona to the world of progressive jazz and improvised music as well as tango and flamenco buleria.

Rao Trio is led by zanfona master Germán Diaz from Valladolid (Spain), who is known as one of the best hurdy gurdy players in Europe. The other two members are César Diaz on bass and fretless bass; and Diego Martín on drums and percussion. Accordionist Gorka Hermosa is the guest artist on the album.

Sin Titulo is an excellent album that shows the tremendous potential of the ancient zanfona in the hands of a talented and pioneering musician.

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Dr. John and Henry Butler to Perform at The Town Hall in NYC Tomorrow

Dr. John

Two of the finest performers of New Orleans Music are set to perform together at The Town Hall in New York City tomorrow, June 15, 2017. The concert is part of Blue Note Jazz Festival 2017.
Dr. John and Henry Butler will be accompanied by Dr. John’s acclaimed backing band, The Nitetrippers.

The latest work by multifaceted pianist and vocalist Dr. John is a 2-CD live set titled album, The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac and his Music, featuring well-known guests such as Bruce Springsteen, John Fogarty, Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.

 

Henry Butler

 

Butler is one of the greatest blues pianists in the United States. His most recent album is Vipers Drag (2014), with trumpeter and arranger Steven Bernstein and The Hot 9. It includes recreations of classics by Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.

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Ibibio Sound Machine to Perform at Skirball Cultural Center

Ibibio Sound Machine

Ibibio Sound Machine is set to perform on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in Los Angeles. This concert is part of the Skirball Cultural Center’s Sunset Concerts. Admission is free.

Led by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine combines African and electronic elements with ease, inspired by the golden era of West African funk, disco, and electronica.

On March 3, 2017 Ibibio Sound Machine released Uyai (Merge Records).

Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepúlveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90049. Phone: (310) 440-4500.

More information at: skirball.org

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Entrancing Modern Celtic Sounds of Scotland and Brittany

Alain Genty and Joanne McIver – Eternal Tides (Buda Records, 2017)

Eternal Tides is a beautiful and mesmerizing album by two masters in the Celtic music field. Frenchman Alain Genty is a bass virtuoso, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer who has been involved in Breton music for many years. Joanne McIver is a Scottish singer-songwriter from Arran Island who also plays the Scottish smallpipes.

Together, Alain Genty and Joanne McIver celebrate Scotland’s traditions through songs in Gaelic and English plus short instrumentals. It’s contemporary Celtic music, mixing tradition with tasteful modern electric bass, North African rhythms, jazz trumpet, and soundscape electronics. Some of us would call some the pieces progressive Celtic music.

Along with the remarkable vocals of Joanne Mciver and the outstanding bass lines of Alain Genty, you’ll also find an impressive list of well-known guest instrumentalists from the Breton Celtic music scene who add Breton and world music instruments into the mix.

Some of themes of the songs include the uncertainty of distant fishing; a longing of childhood summers on the beach; dockworker songs; and references to Scottish history.

 

 

The lineup includes Alain Genty on bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and electronics; Joanne McIver on vocals and Scottish smallpipes; Patrick Molard on biniou; Jean-Michel Veillon on bombard; Nicolas Giraud on trumpet and berimbau; Christophe Saunière on harp; Thierry Garcia on guitar; Kouider Berkane on violin; and Bachir Mokari on darbuka, bendir and karkabas.

Eternal Tides is an exquisitely-crafted, enchanting album by two giants in the contemporary Celtic music field who masterfully bring together Scottish and Breton traditions.

Buy the Eternal Tides CD or the digital download version.

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Jenny & The Mexicats’ Fresh Mestizo Sound

Jenny & The Mexicats – Mar Abierto (Mexicat Records, 2017)

Globetrotting mestizo music band Jenny & The Mexicats has a new album titled Mar Abierto (Open Sea). The multinational group is led by British vocalist and trumpet player Jenny Ball. Originally based in Madrid, the band later moved to Mexico.

Mar Abierto includes catchy Spanish and English-language songs featuring flamenco rumba, pop, cumbia, reggae, merengue, swing, son veracruzano and pop influences. The English-language set includes Jeny’s neo-soul vocals.

The lineup includes Jenny Ball (UK) on vocals, trumpet and guitar; David González Bernandos (Spain) on percussion and vocals; Alfonso Acosta “Pantera” (Mexico) on guitar and vocals; and Luis Díaz “Icho” (Mexico) on bass.

With Mar Abierto, Jenny & The Mexicats demonstrate that it’s one of the most exciting roots music acts currently based in Mexico.

Buy Mar Abierto

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Captivating and Edgy Reggae

Morgan Heritage – Avrakedabra (CTBC Music Group, 2017)

Modern reggae masters Morgan Heritage continue to dazzle the listener with its irresistible rhythms and masterfully-constructed vocals and harmonies. The award-winning group is at its best when it focuses on roots reggae, adding the admirable vocal mix that characterizes their sound: outstanding lead vocals, equally good backing harmonies, call and response, and edgy Mr. Talk Box electronic vocals.

As a crossover band, Morgan Heritage also features radio-friendly pop, R&B and rock influences that help the band reach larger audiences.

Guests include Kabaka Pyramid, Dre Island, and Stephen and Ziggy Marley.

 

 

 

Next concert dates:

May 27 – Tortola Pier Park – Road Town, British Virgin Islands
Jun 10 – Camfest – East Orange, New Jersey, USA
Jul 19 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Jul 20 – Ocean Mist – Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
Jul 21 – Wellfleet Beachcomber – Wellfleet, Massachusetts, USA
Jul 22 – Trumansburg Fairgrounds – Trumansburg, New York, USA
Dec 31 – The Trusts Arena – Auckland, New Zealand

Buy Avrakedabra

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Artist Profiles: David Krakauer

David Krakauer – Photo by Selmer Paris

Clarinetist David Krakauer has mastered a wide-range of styles, including classical chamber music, Eastern European Klezmer music, the avant-garde, rock and jazz. He is a natural storyteller who has dazzled colleagues and the public.

Krakauer is in demand worldwide as a guest soloist with the finest chamber music groups. Collaborations have included the Tokyo String Quartet, the Eroica Trio, the Kronos Quartet, the Lark Quartet, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, and the Empire Brass Quintet. Programs ranged from Brahms and Bartok to Schoenberg and Golijov.

As one of the leading musicians of the new wave of Klezmer music, David Krakauer tours the globe with his celebrated Klezmer Madness! Ensemble. While firmly rooted in traditional Klezmer folk tunes the band also pays homage to R&B jazz classical and funk.

His first release on the prestigious French jazz label Label Bleu A New Hot One garnered France’s prestigious Diapason d’Or Prize.

Discography:

Klezmer Madness (Tzadik 711, 1995)

Klezmer NY (Tzadik 7127, 1998)

A New Hot One (Label Bleu 6617, 2000)

The Twelve Tribes (Label Bleu, 2002)

Johannes Brahms – The New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble (New York Philomusica Records, 2002)

Klezmer Concertos and Encores (Milken Archive of Jewish Music, 2003)

Music From The Winery (Tzadik, 2004)

Krakauer Live in Krakow (Label Bleu, 2004)

Bubbemeises: Lies My Gramma Told Me (Label Bleu, 2005)

David Krakauer (Naxos, 2007)

Moravec: Tempest Fantasy / Mood Swings / B.A.S.S. Variations – Trio Solisti & Tweet Tweet – Abraham Inc. (Table Pounding Records, 2009)

The Best of David Krakauer (Label Bleu, 2010)

Pruflas: The Book of Angels (Tzadik, 2012)

Dreams & Prayers (Dreams & Prayers, 2014)

The Big Picture (United For Opportunity, 2014)

Ancestral Groove: Checkpoint (United For Opportunity, 2016)

website: www.davidkrakauer.com

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Reggae Star Max Romeo to Appear in Africa Oyé’s 25th Anniversary Festival

Max Romeo

Music festival Africa Oyé has announced that roots reggae legend Max Romeo will be performing at its 25th Anniversary festival. Africa Oyé 2017 takes place Saturday, June 17-18 at Sefton Park, Liverpool. Admission is free.

Max Romeo has had top 10 hits throughout Europe and has been sampled by artists like Jay Z and The Prodigy. Max Romeo’s career started when he signed a contract with Bunny Lee, one of the biggest producers of his time in Jamaica in the 1960s. Hits such as ‘Chase The Devil’ lead to international success and to performances across the world.

After working with producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Romeo’s style evolved from a typically Jamaican ska towards to pop reggae.

Other artists scheduled to perform include Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Jupiter & Okwess International (DR Congo), Dobet Ghanore (Ivory Coast).

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Campaign Started to Build Pianos in Rwanda

A group of three friends has gotten together to build pianos in Rwanda. After the closure of the only piano factory in South Africa years ago, there are currently no piano makers in Africa. The Rwandan workshop intends to build upright pianos with an African twist, using local materials to make it affordable.

There is an Indiegogo campaign running until June: indiegogo.com/projects/kigali-keys-building-pianos-in-rwanda-piano-africa#/

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Artist Profiles: Tomasz Kukurba

Tomasz Kukurba at Forde in 2010 – Photo by Angel Romero

Tomasz Kukurba was born in Cracow, Poland in 1969. He started playing the violin in elementary school. At the age of ten he sang in the Cracow Philharmonic Choir and toured Germany and France, performing the works of Krisztof Penderecki.

During his time in high school, at the age of fourteen, he started to play the viola, which became his main instrument. Kukurba worked with the avant-garde jazz ensemble Mixtura. Like the other members of Polish band Kroke he studied classical music at the Music Academy of Cracow.

He was member of the Academy’s String Quartet and various other chamber orchestras, playing primarily the music of Penderecki, and joined, along with Tomasz Lato, the Sinfonietta Cracovia and an experimental jazz group.

Discography

* Klezmer Acoustic Music Trio (Oriente Musik, 1996)
* Eden (Oriente Musik, 1997)
* Live at The Pit (Oriente Musik, 1998)
* The Sounds of the Vanishing World (Oriente Music, 1999)
* Ten Pieces To Save The World (Oriente Music, 2003)
* East Meets East (EMI classics, 2003)
* Quartet – Live At Home (Oriente Music 2004)
* Seventh Trip (Oriente Music 2007)
* Out of Sight (Oriente Music 2009)
Live in Førde, with Tindra (Talik, 2011)
* Feelharmony (EMI Music Poland, 2012)
* Ten (Oriente Musik, 2014)
* Cabaret of Death: Music for a Film (Oriente Musik, 2015)
* Traveller (Universal Music Group, 2017)

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