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Artist Profiles: Mats Eden

Mats Edén

Mats Edén was born October 30, 1957 in Södertälje, Sweden. has his roots in the rich soil of Värmland. A member of acclaimed Swedish folk ensemble Groupa since its inception in 1980, he also writes the majority of the band’s material.

Having studied composition at Norway’s Musikkskole in Oslo, it comes as no surprise to those familiar with Mats’ playing that he is a nationally recognized master accordionist, having earned the distinguished title of ‘Riksspelman’ (master musician).

His violin work is at once elegant and jagged and distinguishes the band’s sound with his own combination of the sounds of Värmland and of Norway. Mats’ third solo album Milvus (with Jonas Simonson) was released on the ECM label. He has also toured the United States of America and Europe with Ale Moller and Lena Willemark in the ECM project Nordan.

Discography

* Unga Värmlandsspelmän (Caprice, 1977)
* Lika många fötter i taket som på golvet, Oktober (1978, Amigo)
* Höppesving (Amigo, 1980)
* Av bara farten, with Groupa (Amigo, 1983)
* Vildhonung, with Groupa (Amigo, 1985)
* Utan Sans, with Groupa (Amigo, 1988)
* Månskratt, with Groupa (Amigo, 1990)
* Struling (Amigo, 1992)
* Imeland, with Groupa (Amigo, 1995)
* Nordan (ECM, 1996)
* Agram, with Nordan (ECM, 1997)
* Läckerbiten (Amigo, 1998)
* Milvus (ECM, 1999)
* Tokpolskan, with Ellika Frisell (Giga, 1999)
* Lavalek, with Groupa (Xource, 1999)
* Avtryck (Amigo, 2001)
* Träd, with Niss Kerstin Mattsson (Amigo, 2001)
* Fjalar, with Groupa (Xource, 2003)
* Vägen In, with Tina Quartey (Amigo, 2004)
* Crane Dance, with Jonas Simonson m.fl. (Nordic Tradition, 2006)
* Milvus (ECM, 2008)
* Frost, with Groupa (Footprint, 2008)
* Apple Blossom (2015)

web site: http://www.matseden.se

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Artist Profiles: La Barberia del Sur

La Barberia del Sur

La Barberia del Sur was a Madrid-based group formed by some of the foremost talents of the 1980s Flamenco scene, descendants of the purest dynasties. The youngsters dared to venture out and experiment with their traditional music combining it with a variety of musical forms: pop, jazz, salsa, etc.

The members of were:

Pepe Luis Carmona, nephew of the well known flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela Pepe Luis is a flamenco singer in the strictest sense of the word: a master of all the traditional forms of the art.

Enrique Heredia: another heir to a family tradition, that of the Montoyita dinasty, who throughout the years have demonstrated their mastery of all sides of flamenco: guitar, song and dance. He has worked with both the most esteemed flamenco artists and some of Spain’s leading pop musicians.

Juan Jose Suarez in the son of Ramon El Portugues, nephew of Porrina and a first cousin of Gypsy rumba group Los Chunguitos. During his youth, he already served his dues as guitar player in the top tablaos of Madrid. He was also, together with Enrique Heredia, the usual accompanist of one of the great masters of the flamenco cante: the late Enrique Morente.

The group reunited in 2009 for a series of concerts.

Discography

* La Barbería del Sur (Nuevos Medios, 1991)
* Algo pa nosotros (Nuevos Medios, 1997)
* Historias de un deseo (1993)
* Túmbanos si puedes (Nuevos Medios, 1995)
* Arte Pop (1998)
* Una noche en el 7º (2000)
* Negri y Paquete (2002)

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Leading American Roots Festival Sneak Peek with MerleFest on the Road

Locust Honey

MerleFest, the popular American roots music festival founded by influential musician Doc Watson will offer music fans a sneak peek of this spring’s festival with MerleFest on the Road. The festival will present various artists on tour throughout the Southeastern United Sytates during March. The tour will present select artists that will perform at MerleFest 2017 or have performed previously at the festival: Mark Bumgarner, Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys, and Locust Honey.

MerleFest 2017 will take place from April 27-30 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Tour Schedule:

Thursday, February 23 – Floyd Country Store, Floyd, Virginia.
Friday, February 24 – Gaston County Museum, Dallas, North Carolina
Saturday, February 25 – Willingham Theater, Yadkinville, North Carolina
Sunday, February 26 – Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, Athens, Georgia
Thursday, March 2 – Isis Music Hall, Asheville, North Carolina
Friday, March 3 – Down Home, Johnson City, Tennessee.
Saturday, March 4 – Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro, North Carolina
Sunday, March 5 – Motorco, Durham, North Carolina

More about Merlefest: merlefest.org

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Acclaimed Ghanaian Artist Rocky Dawuni Releases Shine A Light Music Video

Rocky Dawuni

Ghanaian reggae and afro-roots singer Rocky Dawuni has released a new music video titled Shine A Light, where he New Orleans influences with reggae and samba.

The music video supports the Whole Planet Foundation that endeavors towards poverty alleviation through microcredit loans in communities around the world.

“Shine A Light” appears in Dawuni’s album Branches of the Same Tree (Cumbancha).

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Artist Profiles: Shankhachur Lahiri

Shankh Lahiri
Shankh Lahiri

Tabla performer Shankh Lahiri comes from a family with a strong tradition of Indian Classical Music and has fully devoted his life to this music. Son of the sitarist and Guru Shri Rabindranath Lahiri, he grew up in an environment imbued with the fragrance of Hindustani music.

As a child, Shankh Lahiri received intensive training in both vocal and tabla from his father and went on to graduate with a Sangeet Visharad in both subjects. Currently Shankh, as he is known in the fraternity, is the senior disciple of world-renowned tabla maestro Pandit Nayan Ghosh.

He has accompanied and toured with many reputed and leading artists such as Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt. Arati Ankalikar, Nayan Ghosh (sitar), Pt. Mukul Shivputra, Shri Rakesh Chaurasia and many more.

Aside from his own performing career, Shankh teaches students in Florida through his own organization, Shruti School of Music and the non-profit Shruti Foundation in Tampa.

Shankh is a member of world fusion band WAHH.

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A Tribe Called Red releases “The Virus”Musuc Video

A Tribe Called Red
A Tribe Called Red

Powwow step pioneers A Tribe Called Red has released a music video for its single “The Virus.” The videoclip features poet Saul Williams and Canadian drum group Chippewa Travellers. The video includes footage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The science fiction video is situated in 2047 on “Turtle Island,” a traditional Iroquois earth creation story; where the sky woman fell to a water submerged earth. Animals attempted to rebuild land but the muskrat was the most successful of all; moving dirt from the seabed onto the back of a turtle, re-creating our land.

The video was directed by Tunkasila, produced by DAIS & Mad Ruk, and written by Sol Guy, Ezra Miller and A Tribe Called Red member Bear Witness.

“The Virus” comes from A Tribe Called Red’s latest album ‘We Are The Halluci Nation.’

Tour Dates:
Dec 03 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick Centre
Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
Dec 07 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
Dec 08 – London, ON – London Music Hall
Dec 09 -Toronto, ON – REBEL
Dec 14 – Kingston, ON – Stages Night Club
Dec 15 – Montreal, QC – Corona
Dec 16 – Peterborough, ON – The Red Dog

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L&T: Brad Mehldau

Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau - Nearness
Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau – Nearness

I will be writing a column on Length & Time in music, in each presenting an album and its strategies that pertain to addressing Length & Time. 

Vocal music has surpassed instrumental music in popularity despite the advent of electronica music and its subgenres. It’s a sign of deep cultural change, as the change in importance from the cantanta to that of the sonata with the advent of classical music also was.

Brad Mehldau records instrumental music that could be more popular as vocal music: romantic songs, blues, ballads, and even an album named Ode (as in the genre of poetry.) He seems to feel a particular conviction about instrumental music.

He has just released an album with Joshua Redman, Nearness. Featuring songs with titles such as “The Nearness of You,” but also “Old West,” the album seems to explore a theme beyond the grasp of its listener. Redman’s playing and sharp and sober and so is Mehldau’s for all 6 rhythmic and romantic compositions. Like for classical music, the birth of instrumental music’s hegemony, this sort of music is made to be appreciated and deciphered and even patroned as Jazz often is in present day.

Buy Nearness

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Jitka Šuranská Trio Releases Video Teaser

Jitka Šuranská
Jitka Šuranská

Jitka Šuranská Trio has released a music video to promote its upcoming album Divé husy. The new recording is scheduled for release September 16th, 2016

Jitka Šuranska has won the Anděl Award twice for Best album of the year in World Music category. The first time it was with Písňobraní in 2008 and then in 2013 with Nezachoď slunéčko.

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Artist Profiles: Meta Dia

Meta Dia
Meta Dia

Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Meta Dia grew up listening to the likes of Bob Marley and James Brown as well as local African musical traditions.

Impressing audiences in Senegal since the age of 14, he arrived to New York City in 2002 and soon started collaborating with several noted hip hop artists.

With his own band, Meta & the Cornerstones, Meta’s powerful singing and songwriting abilities shine, as he reinvigorates reggae by reconnecting it with its African roots. Weaving between a multilingual palette of French, English, Wolof, and Fulani, his music breaks barriers as it builds bridges across the Atlantic.

Promoting tolerance and unity, Meta’s music is uplifting and positive, while it re-imagines reggae with an African aesthetic.

Meta and the Cornerstones have taken us back to the foundation of reggae music,’ says Clive Chin, Jamaican producer for The Wailers, Dennis Brown, and Lee Perry. “It’s a band that sounds tight and wicked with infectious lyrics.”

Discography:

Forward Music (2008)

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Artist Profiles: Kassé Mady Diabaté

Kassé Mady Diabaté
Kassé Mady Diabaté

Kassé Mady Diabaté is one of West Africa’s greatest voices and one of the most cherished singers in Mali. He is known for his profound knowledge of Mali’s deepest oral and musical traditions, for his ability to adapt these traditions into a modern context and last, but not least, for the sheer beauty and ethereal quality of his tenor voice.

He was born in 1949 in Kela, a renowned center of the Mande jeli tradition in western Mali, near Kangaba, one of the eats of the great Mali empire (1235-1469).

Kasse Mady’s family, the Diabates of Kela -all of whom are jelis- were the singers for the emperors and their descendants, the royal Keita lineage. And still today they are considered among the most important and authoritative jeli families across seven West African countries where Mande culture predominates.

Kasse Mady is the second person ever to be given the name Kasse Mady, which means ‘Weep Mady’ (Mady is a regional variant of Mohammed). His grandfather, also from Kela, was the first.

Mady, the grandfather, had such a beautiful voice that when he sang, he would move people to tears, hence his nickname, ‘Kasse from Kassi,’ (to weep). Kasse Mady the younger was given this name at birth to honor the grandfather. But no one in the family could imagine that his voice would have the same power and ability to move people to extreme states of emotion.

While still a young boy, Kasse Mady began singing at local weddings and other ceremonies, and around 1970 he was invited to become the lead singer of the dance orchestra of the nearby town of Kangaba. This orchestra was called the Super Mande, a name his brother Lafia Diabate, also a well-known singer, now uses for his own band of Kela musicians who are based in Bamako and who are the principal musicians on the album Kassi Kasse.

The decade of 1970s was an important period in Mali because of the new Cultural Authenticity policies, which were in vogue in the newly independent nation states of West Africa. In Mali, as elsewhere, musicians were encouraged to return to their own folklore instead of imitating rock or Cuban music. As it happened, Kasse Mady’s special blend of traditional Mande folklore with modern instruments was to play an important role in this movement.

Every two years, the Malian government sponsored a major festival call the Biennale, in which all the regional ensembles and dance orchestras competed with each other. In 1973, it was the Super Mande from Kangaba who won, thanks to the remarkable singing of Kasse Mady.

Not long before that, a group of eight musicians who had been studying music in Cuba had returned to Mali and formed the group Las Maravillas de Mali, famous for their charanga interpretations of Cuban classics. But according to the dictates of Cultural Authenticity, they had to begin to take on more of a Malian repertoire. After hearing Kasse Mady perform at the Biennale, they decided that he was the one to do this.

The chef d’orchestre was sent down to Kela, 104 kms west of Bamako down a bumpy dirt road, to find the singer. After various ritual consultations with the family, who were (and still are) very protective of their traditions, Kasse Mady was allowed to go to join the band in Bamako. Soon after, the Maravillas began enjoying a huge success throughout West Africa with songs like ‘Balomina Mwanga’ and ‘Maimouna,’ all sung memorably by the young Kasse Mady in Cuban style, but with a new Mande touch.

Around 1976 the band renamed themselves National Badema du Mali (meaning national family of Mali). Kasse Mady launched this new formation with several deep Mande songs that were to become hits, such as ‘Sindiya (later re-recorded by Ali Farka Toure as ‘Singya’ on his first World Circuit album) and ‘Fode,’ which was also the title of Kasse’s first solo album in 1988. Other hits were ‘Nama,’ a song Kasse Mady composed about a true story of an ong canoe that overturned while crossing the river Niger on September 22 in which many people drowned and ‘Guede,’ which he later re-recorded with Taj Mahal. By the mid 1980s, there was no longer much interest among Malian audiences in the old dance bands of the 1970s. The Rail Band was playing to ever decreasing audiences, and the Ambassadeurs, formerly led by singer Salif Keita, had broken up altogether. The trend was for singers to try their luck in Paris, which was an important center for world music at the time.

So when Kasse Mady was invited to Paris to record his first solo album for Senegalese producer Ibrahima Sylla (of Africando fame), Kasse decided to try his luck. He left the national Badema and moved to Paris, where he spent the next ten years. During this period he recorded two solo albums, Fode, an electric dance album which was meant to be the answer to Salif Keita’s Soro but did not enjoy the same promotion; and Kela Tradition, an acoustic album of Kela jeli songs, both on the Paris label Syllart.

Also in this period, he collaborated on in the album Songhai 2 with Spanish flamenco group Ketama and Malian kora player Toumani Diabate, with some stunning versions of classics such as ‘Mali Sajio,’ as well as, the beautiful ballad ‘Pozo del Deseo’ sung together with Ketama singer Antonio Carmona.

But things did not turn out as planned in Paris. Kasse Mady’s non-confrontational and peaceful character did not help him find his way through the labyrinth of royalty payments and contracts and the hard-nosed music business of Paris.

Exploited and disappointed, he returned to Bamako in 1998 where things began to look up for him. The music scene in Bamako had picked up considerably since he had left ten years before. For a start, there was now a new democratic government and a renewed interest among the youth in traditional music.

The kora player Toumani Diabate immediately snapped up Kasse Mady for more collaboration after the successful work they had done together on Songhai 2. Kasse Mady was invited to take part in the acclaimed Kulanjan project with Taj Mahal. Taj was so moved by Kasse’s singing that he presented him with a beautiful steel-body guitar and now, having heard the new album Kassi Kasse, is so entranced by it that he takes it with him everywhere he goes on his extensive concert tours.

Discography:

Fode (Syllart)

Kela Tradition (Syllart)

Songhai 2 (Hannibal, 1994)

Kulanjan (Hannibal, 1999)

Kassi Kasse (Narada, 2003)

Manden Djeli Kan (Universal France/Wrasse Records, 2009)

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