WOMEX News – September 22, 2003

womex-250Berlin, Germany – By the Guide Rate deadline on Friday, 12 September, there have been as many pre-registrations for WOMEX 2003 as there had been last year in total. Participants can have a look at the Who is Coming list and the Exhibitors list at Who is Coming.

WOMEX expanded its hours and will officially open one day earlier on Wednesday evening.On Sunday, participants will have two hours more for trade fair business beforethe Award Celebration starts at 14:00.

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday, early birds can pick up their registration badge and WOMEX Bag and set up their stand from 17:00 – 20:30.

Wednesday night at 20:30is the official WOMEX & WORLD FLAMENCO FAIR OPENING. Don’t miss it with the first WOMEX showcase of MUSAFIR (Rajasthan/India) and the WFF showcase of DAVID PENA DORANTES “SUR” (Spain)

SUNDAY: The WOMEX AWARD CELEBRATION for Freemuse – the World Forum on Music and Censorship ( http://www.freemuse.org ) will be celebrated on Sunday at 14:00 with showcases by AMAL MURKUS (Palestine/Israel) and MARCEL KHALIFE (Lebanon/France).It is followed by the announcement of the nominees for the BBC RADIO 3 AWARDS FOR WORLD MUSIC.

This is always a good opportunity for last meetings and farewell so keep it in mind when planning your return home. After the Award Celebration you can still visit the World Flamenco Fair with its last showcases until 20:30.


Each year WOMEX features a different official WOMEX photographer. This year, Robert Corwin will secure best coverage of all WOMEX activities. Robert has been photographing folk and roots based music for 38 years. His work is seen in CDs, publications, promotion, television, and official Olympic t-shirts and posters and on the web at http://www.robertcorwin.com. As the official photographer, Robert
is available to photograph artists or stand exhibit in the trade fair as well as other activities.


Face the Music

John Wubbenhorst and Facing East – Facing Beloved
John Wubbenhorst and Facing East

Facing Beloved (Facing East Productions 03050541, 2003)

A lot of fusion music has been based on and around the sounds of India. So what sets this apart? Well, the title and content of the opening track, “Continuous Celebration,” might give you a clue. This is stuff that makes you feel glad to be alive in a world where there often isn’t a lot to feel glad about. Flutist Wubbenhorst and his bandmates (percussionists Subash Chandran and Ganesh Kumar, guitarist Jorge Zamorano and bassist Steve Zerlin) are dazzlingly good musicians who clearly don’t feel the need to spend every second showing off how dazzling they are. Yes, many of the complexities of Indian music and the fusion it inspires are here, but the fact that these guys can get away with naming a track “Infectuoso Groovatissmo” shows they’re having fun and they want the fun to be catching. The moodier selections like “There is Only Light” serve as sort of palette-cleansers (albeit good ones) between the livlier pieces where the sparks really fly.

This band’s debt to such trailblazers as Shakti is acknowledged on “John Beyond” and elsewhere, though not only through the shared characteristics of nimble acoustic guitar and ghatam (clay pot drum) work. Like Shakti, Facing East are able to sustain lengthy compositions like the 15-minute title track, unfolding stark melodic colors that gradually give way to rhythmic euphoria that is equal parts wild and controlled. They blaze their own trail by emphasizing the rhythms of southern India, not bothering with the familiar tabla drum and instead utilizing the ghatam and kanjira (lizard skin frame drum) as their percussive backbone.

The combination of the two achieves some nicely slippery lock-ups with the bass and fuels tunes like “Irish Raga” with both chops and charm. This is one of those discs that sounds good off the bat and grows on you with repeated listenings. And if the fine music here is meant to prove the assertion of the liner notes (and a brief spoken excerpt on the album itself) that “there is no greater religion than beauty itself,” hey, that’s good enough to get me to the church on time.

Buy Facing Beloved


Digital Bled

Digital Bled  - Caravana
Digital Bled – Caravana
Digital Bled (France)
Caravana (Tinder Records)

Digital Bled, led by Portugal’s DJ Joao Pedro Velosos mixes dub, funk, and hip hop tempos with musical
styles from southern Europe and north Africa. When Pedro was 11 years old and living in the suburbs of Paris,
he began to experiment with different instruments and styles of music. As he grew older, he discovered Pink
Floyd, David Bowie and funk (compliments of the theme from the American TV show, Shaft). As the years flew
by, Pedro built a home studio where he mixed soundtracks for movies and fashion shows. Now, along with
other international musicians and DJ’s, Pedro brings us his “electro-transhumance” peppered with Arabic
influences with his latest release, Caravana.While electronica, hip hop and house music is not my thing, Digital Bled will appeal to individuals that enjoy the
rave culture. I prefer acoustic drums and instruments. Still, I try to be open minded when reviewing CD’s
realizing that we all have different taste in musical styles. However, as far as genre goes, Digital Bled offers
some transcendental moments and the Arabic ingredients add an originality to the mix.


(Originally appeared on Cranky Crow World Music summer reviews 2002)


New CD by June Tabor

June Tabor - An Echo of Hooves
June Tabor – An Echo of Hooves
London, England – An Echo of Hooves (Topic Records TSCD543) is the title of June Tabor’s new CD.

The recording features a program made up exclusively of the great traditional folk ballads – story telling at its dark, urgent best. June’s regular trio of accompanists (Huw Warren – piano, cello; Mark Emerson – violin, viola; Tim Harries – double bass) is joined by Martin Simpson, guitar and Kathryn Tickell, Northumbrian pipes.Her first steps to becoming a singer began in the Midlands, before her arrival at Oxford University. She quickly became immersed in Oxford’s lively folk scene but also found time to make an appearance on University Challenge. June quickly developed a reputation as a rare,unaccompanied singer who crawled inside the very heart of every song she performed. The predominantly traditional debut solo album Airs and Graces (Topic) (1976) was followed by Ashes and Diamonds (Topic) which showed a desire to extend her repertoire. By the 1980’s she was working in an inventive duo with the renowned guitarist and singer, Martin Simpson.

Now living in the Welsh countryside, she is passionate), June Tabor continues to portray the world’s glory and grief in a unique and exquisite style


Charlie Gillett’s World 2003

World 2003, compiled by Charlie Gillett
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – Following up his World 2002 compilation for Narada, veteran BBC world music DJ Charlie Gillett has collected new music from around the planet for this new double album, World 2003, out on Narada.

Gillett has presented world music on BBC London, BBC Radio 2, and the BBC World Service for over 30 years, establishing a loyal — and global — listening audience.

This album features only the very best music played most frequently on Charlie’s shows — the songs which have received the most enthusiastic audience response, including performances by Lisbon’s Fado sensation Mariza…Mexican-American songstress Lila Downs (who performed on the 75th annual Academy Awards telecast), Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab, young Uzbek star Sevara Nazarkhan, alternative Latin singer Manu Chao and many more.


3 from 6 Degrees Records

Karsh Kale – Redesign
Karsh Kale – Redesign
(Six Degrees, 2002)

MIDIval PunditZ – MIDIval PunditZ (Six Degrees, 2002)

dj Cheb i Sabbah – Krishna Lila (Six Degrees, 2002)

is a party unto itself with a variety of international DJ or mixing guests including Bill Laswell, DJ Spooky, Ming with FS, Banco De Gaia, MIDIval PunditZ, Navdeep, Mukul and DK/Pyar Amor (the only femme DJ on the disc). The New York City underground dance scene mixes with Euro beats and the New Delhi techno craze in which the guests revamp Kale’s Realized.

Delicate bansuri flutes float in and out of heavy drum beats while the exotic sarangi melts into thumping bass lines. Then haunting vocals compliments of Sarah Sarhandi (Home), Ustad Sultan Khan (Deepest Blue & Light up the Love), Vidya Shah (One Step Beyond & Anja), Fulgani Shah (various) and Shahid Siddiqui float over the top.

Fulgani Shah’s classically trained voice rides over tabla slapping beats (Kale) and bansuri ( Steve Gorn and Ajay Prassana) on Banco de Gaia’s remix of Distance. Bill Laswell’s remix of Empty Hands is nothing short of phantasmagoria. And Light Up The Love could be called a hi-fi Hindu Stereolab. I’ve not heard the original recording that has been remixed here so dubbers and dancers will have to form their own expert opinions regarding Redesign.

MIDIval PunditZ – MIDIval PunditZ
New Delhi electronica sensation MIDIval PunditZ has been dubbed, “A true Indian music outfit for the future,” by Skim Magazine out of Switzerland. For those individuals fortunate enough to have heard MP’s track, Fabric gracing the soundtrack of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding or caught Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj in concert with Tabla Beat Science (August 2001) will understand the excitement generated by this duo.

Although Raj and Raina knew each other as children, they didn’t bring their collective talents together until 1994 when Gaurev moonlighted as a DJ and Tapan worked as an engineer at a recording studio. The duo pooled funds together from their relations in the same manner that young filmmakers beg and borrow then they formed their own studio. However, it wasn’t until 1997 when Gaurev and Tapan rediscovered ragas and decided to blend the past with the future thus creating a fusion of Indian classical music with modern technology.

MP’s latest CD features India’s top classical vocalists, Vidya Shah and Smiti with flute performances by Rajendra Prassanna and Shailendra skimming the top of heavy bass riffs and drum beats. The end result ranges from slow ambient trance music, to goth to absolutely exotic. The tracks are sexy, provocative and sacred.

Extasis features a santur (a hammered dulcimer that originated in Persia) that proves its power by blending with contemporary instruments. Far From Home showcases the vocal talents of Vidya Shah (an emerging talent). Bhangra Fever offers a lilting and delicate melody enhanced by a pounding surf of dohl drums and chanting. We are told that “Delhi swings.” And of course, there is much evidence to support that statement. New Delhi swings with dot com and electronica. The youth are celebrating their parents’ traditions in the dance clubs across New Dehli where the past and the future melt into one. Mira Nair once said that Indians will take any import and make it their own. Globalization doesn’t pose a threat when a country can transform McDonalds or Hollywood into an authentic product of India. And MIDIval PunditZ has married Euro beats with ragas and created something totally Indian, at the same time foreign and familiar.

DJ Cheb i Sabbah – Krishna Lila
Algerian born and veteran disc spinner dj Cheb i Sabbah’s release Krishna Lila (based on Lord Krishna’s loves with 16,801 wives) completes a trilogy that began with Sabbah’s Shri Durga (1999) and followed by MahaMaya (2000).

Krishna Lila took two years to complete in which Sabbah traveled around India recording Indian virtuoso musicians in New Delhi, Bombay and Madras. The collection of devotional songs on this disc, with the exception with the drum & bass track, Raja Vedalu land in the classical music territory. The album
consists of bhajans sung in praise of Krishna, but the songs are both erotic and sacred (think tantric sex).

Krishna Lila has been divided into South and North while featuring two types of songs, dhun (chants) from the south and the more sophisticated singing style called thumri practiced in North India. Although the Algerian Sabbah had no ties to Indian classical music, he carefully researched his subject then recorded musicians in Madras, Bombay, New Delhi, New York and San Francisco while threading five sung languages into an exquisite tapestry that carries with it a timeless quality.

Sabbah also combined the talents of fellow dj-musicians Karsh Kale and Bill Laswell along with a who’s who of Indian classical music including Madras vocalist Baby Sreeram who sings on the three opening tracks. Other musicians that appear on the CD include A.K. Devi’s on saraswati vina, vocalist Radhika Rajiv and flautist Deepak Ram, just to name a handful.

Krishna Lila (The blue god) successfully blends electronica (used sparingly) and classical ragas while never straying from music’s sacredness. Listeners are introduced to the Carnatic form from South India and Hindustani form of North India. And for listeners unfamiliar with Indian classical music will also be introduced to some new sounds compliments of the santur, bansuri flute, sarod and vina (a sitar like instrument) used in their traditional sense as opposed to enhancing Asian trance music. However, having said that, Krishna Lila compliments Karsh Kale’s Redesign and MIDIval PunditZ’s release.

(Originally appeared on Cranky Crow World Music).


Cesaria Evora Releases Voz d’Amor

Madrid, Spain –

Cesaria Evora - Voz D'Amor
Cesaria Evora – Voz D’Amor
(BMG), is the title of the new and intimate album by Cesaria Evora, which was released in Europe on September 17th.

This new release, as charming as previous recordings, is close in style to the celebrated Miss Perfumado.

Voz D’Amor was recorded with musicians led by pianist Fernando (Nando) Andrade who have backed Cesaria on stage since the start of 2000 and appeared on her previous album, Sao Vicente di Longe. It also features artists from Cuba, Madagascar (Régis Gizavo) and Brazil (Hamilton de Holanda), who lend a particularly warm sound to the album.

Even though she is now internationally renowned, Cesaria Evora does not forget her origins, a life that included fighting and difficulties. The “bare-footed diva” has known to keep loyal to her identity, preserving her enormous tenderness.


Postage Stamp Cancelled in Tribute to Cuban Singer Benny Moré

(Prensa Latina- Cumbancha) Cienfuegos, Cuba.- Cuban Culture Vice-Minister Abel Acosta cancelled a postage stamp in tribute to singer Benny Moré (1919-1963), within the activities of Popular Music International Festival named after the brilliant artist. “This action gives the Festival a new dimension and at the same time guarantees that along with the other cultural events taking place here that the nation will not lose the memory of Benny Moré,” Acosta commented. For this occasion a special cancellation containing the cane and the broad-brimmed hat, icons of the artist honored was used. “This stamp, Cuban Philatelic Federation President José Raúl Lorenzo said, is part of Cuba’s postage heritage.” Cuban Music Institute Vice-President Jesús Gómez Cairo and Hilda Moré, daughter of the singer born on August 24, 1919 in Santa Isabel de las Lajas also signed the postcard.


Recalling Emiliano Salvador

(Prensa Latina- Cumbancha) Every time anyone talks about Cuban-style Latin Jazz, it is indispensable to mention the name of Emiliano Salvador in capital letters, above all for his undeniable national values. Born August 18, 1951, Salvador left a legacy to Cuban music, a milestone, deriving from his “Cubanness” while fusing the genre with indinenous rhythms such as son, guaguancó and mambo, with extraordinary richness and harmonic beauty.

Emiliano, one of the many talents coming from Art Schools during the 60’s, in the piano and percussion specialty, despite its short existence, his career could be classified as brilliant in a genre where also Chucho Valdés and Gonzalito Rubalcaba, who represented a new form to approach Cuban feeling in the genre, stand out.The excellent pianist, who died October 22, 1992, was one of the founders of the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC led by Leo Brouwer and from where figures such as Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés and Sara González whose music in undeniable part of Cuban music from the 60’s.

Born in Puerto Padre, former province of Oriente, his first teacher was Emiliano Salvador Mora, his father, who directed a popular music orchestra. After graduating from piano and percussion in the National Art School (ENA) he took lessons of instrumentation, orchestration and other subjects in 1969 and perfected his piano knowledge. He become famous as one of the greatest Latin jazz pianists when he recorded his first long play titled Nueva Visión.

He visited several countries with his musicians and shared with great figures of the jazz scene. He died after he finished his fifth album, in a period when he was reaching maturity in his art, but Emiliano Salvador is one of those indispensable beings who, paraphrasing Brecht, never die.


Reyner Mariño Tour Continues in Pinar del Rio

Reyner Mariño - Alma Gitana
Reyner Mariño – Alma Gitana
(Prensa Latina- Cumbancha) Pinar del Rio, Cuba – As part of its second national tour, Reyner Mariño’s flamenco company is performing in this city. The show will include seven songs and five instrumentals and promote his EGREM-produced album Alma Gitana -an album that fuses flamenco with Cuban rhythms, rock and jazz.

The young artist received the Concert Music National Award in 2000, while the group he leads was nominated for high distinctions in Spain in the two last years.The invitation to participate in the Biennial and in the International Flamenco Fair in Sevilla, the most important international event in flamenco, are some of the recognitions obtained by the group, which celebrates its third anniversary on October 21.

Mariño is considered a virtuoso on the guitar, who shows considerable interest for going deep into the different subgenera that composes flamenco art. He got positive reviews by critics and a warmth welcome by the audience during his first tour around Andalusia, Spain.

Buy Alma Gitana


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