Manzanero to Lecture in Spain about Bolero

El Bolero: Miel de la Vida
El Bolero: Miel de la Vida
(Prensa Latina) Mexico – Mexican popular composer and singer Armando Manzanero will lecture on Bolero, a genre born in Cuba and strengthened here in Mexico, at the opening of a radio station in Spain this coming April 7, reported the local “Milenio” newspaper.

Radio Pop will open with a program on the genre that gave birth to the Cuban Trova, when a musician played Tristezas, composed by Pepe Sanchez in 1885, the first bolero ever recorded. He will also talk about the early days of the genre in Cuba, and its assimilation and enrichment in Mexico. Singer Carlos Cuevas and the band Los Juglares de Yucatan will accompany him to Spain. Cuban bolero, born in Santiago de Cuba in the late 19th century, is completely different from what is known with the same name in Spain. The Prensa Latina Publishing House is currently editing the book El Bolero: Miel de la Vida, by Dr. Oscar Oramas Oliva, touring the history of the genre since its appearance to its subsequent spreading around the world.

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Folk Music from Denmark 2003 CD

Copenhagen, Denmark – The 2003 edition of “Folk Music from Denmark” is now available. The album was released by MXP -Danish Music Export & Promotion in cooperation with the Danish Folk Council (Folkemusikkens Fælles Sekretariat) in the “Music from Denmark” series. The CDs are made for promotion only and sent out first and foremost to festivals and media abroad.

“Folk Music From Denmark” presents Danish artists on the current Danish folk scene in a broad sense: traditional dance music, folk rock, singer/songwriters and much more. Visit MXP on the internet at www.mxp.dk.

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Valentin y los del Caribe to Tour Canada – Summer 2003

Valentin y los del Caribe
Valentin y los del Caribe
Vancouver, Canada – From Cuba, Valentin y los del Caribe has been entertaining tourists for almost a decade. Now ready to embark on their first Canadian tour in July 2003, this lively 14-piece Cuban Salsa orchestra is geared to shake up any party scene. A brilliant combination of spicy vocals, tropical percussions, intense trumpets and dynamic trombones, Valentin y los del Caribe is one of Cuba’s top three orchestras currently performing the Varadero tourist circuit.Led by Rene Valentin Campos Santiesteban and his son Rene Amet Campos Artigas, Valentin y los del Caribe incorporates son, smooth salsa, sassy merengue, energizing cha cha, powerful timba, flamboyant bolero, cumbia,bachata and high-energy rhythms into its repertoire of over 100 musical compositions.

Valentin y los del Caribe’s newest CD- Para Bailar Mi Tumbao – on the EGREM label has just been released in time for their Canadian summer tour.

For more information go to:
www.oneworldartsproductions.com

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WOMADelaide 2003

Womadelaide_2003WOMADelaide 2003 – March 7th-9th
Botanic Park, Adelaide, Australia

Like a fine South Australian red wine, WOMADelaide has matured well with age. Debuting in ‘92 as part of the Adelaide Arts Festival, WOMADelaide quickly established its own identity, running bi-annually as a separate event over the last decade, in alternate years to the Arts Festival.

According to WOMAD’s international supremo Thomas Brooman, “WOMADelaide has become one of the jewels in the crown. It’s such a magic setting, the organisation is superb and the audience is truly wonderful”. Celebrating ten years of WOMAD in Australia, and nestled once again into its green Botanic Park home, Womadelaide 2003 opened on Friday night with a huge crowd.

The evening began with a short traditional “Welcome to Country” ceremony from the local indigenous Kaurna people on the main stage, followed by an energetic display of dance and percussion from Burkina Faso’s impressive musical family Badenya Les Freres Coulibaly. As the other two major stages kicked in with Scotland’s sprightly Shooglenifty and Canadian Celtic/Quebecois band La Volee d’Castors (The Flying Beavers), the festival was well and truly off and running.

An inspired set from Pakistan’s Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali showcased not only the still-maturing talents of the late Nusrat’s talented grandnephews, but also the dub backing of UK beatmeisters Temple of Sound. Having not played together for seven months the collaboration between the two groups was a little sloppy at times, but Count Dubulah’s bass-heavy lines still managed to mesh perfectly with the qawwalis’ potent and impassioned vocals. Muazzam’s body language was at times distinctly reminiscent of his famous uncle, all flailing arms and facial contortions, and their Pakistani backing chorus boasted some of the most enthusiastic hand-clappers I’ve ever seen. It should be fascinating to watch these young Ali Khan men develop more fully over coming years.

Another Friday highlight was an animated set from Mexico’s Zapatista-inspired ska/hiphop outfit Los de Abajo. Fresh-faced and full of fun they managed to create WOMADelaide’s first-ever mosh pit, with a blend of bright brass and righteous resistance. The night closed beautifully with the expected sarod brilliance of classical Indian maestro Amjad Ali Khan, accompanied by his two sons and musical heirs, Amaan and Ayaan.

Early on Saturday afternoon Australian acts King Kadu from the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinean/Fijian/Aboriginal band Drum Drum were equally impressive. Both acts combine modern technology with traditional culture, and the group members all looked sensational. Other local acts that received good responses included Greek/Aussie instrumentalists Apodimi Compania and indigenous country/folk singer Kerrianne Cox.

Colombia’s ageless Toto La Momposina excited the Stage 2 crowd with her fiery, colourful display of cumbia and salsa rhythms, and a wardrobe that would put Las Vegas showgirls to shame. Her experienced band was relaxed, but tight, effortlessly shifting from lively Cuban son to bouncy bolero beats. Meanwhile diminutive young Irish singer Cara Dillon more than filled the vastness of Stage1, her strong tradition-based vocal renditions winning over the hearts of even the harshest Celtic critics.

As the afternoon began to fade, Jamaican guitar legend Ernest Ranglin didn’t have to work too hard in order to please the rapturous crowd. At 70 years of age and still skanking strongly, his flurried fret runs and laid-back demeanor was backed by a seasoned posse of Jamaican session players who swung freely. Looking like Nelson Mandela’s funky younger brother, and with his hollow-bodied guitar glistening in the sun, Ranglin effortlessly worked through his familiar jazz/reggae “Below The Bassline” repertoire. No surprises here, but sometimes the tunes that you know are just the ones that you want to hear. An understated triumph of cool groove.

Elsewhere, American guitar virtuoso Bob Brozman was in fine form on one of the smaller stages, dueting with veteran Okinawan sanshin player Takashi Hirayasu. Working the material from their two excellent collaborative albums, their sets and workshop were a delightful and educative journey into the pop/jazz stylings of Japan and Okinawa, with a little bit of Hawaii and vaudeville thrown in as well.

Less successful on Stage 1 was Benin/French singer Julien Jacob whose songs were based around his own made-up vocal language, and backed by a competent but underwhelming band. While pleasant enough, his set quickly became predictable once the language novelty wore off, and his repeated pacing of the stage didn’t make for a very visually stimulating show. Bobby McFerrin he’s not, and he really should have been presented on a smaller stage.

Later, Senegal’s dreadlocked wonder Cheikh Lo energized the record Saturday night audience with a stirring set. Looking like Sammy Davis Jr. gone to seed, the whippet-thin Lo led his excellent band through their paces. With complex Senegalese mbalax rhythms ricocheting against some exciting tama drum excursions, Lo himself was both visually and vocally strong. While possibly not as personally
magnetic onstage as past Senegalese WOMADelaide superstars Baaba Maal and mentor Youssou N’dour, Cheikh Lo’s eclectic performances this year would certainly have satisfied most West Africa music fans.

But the main man on Saturday night was French/Algerian bad-boy Rachid Taha. With a seemingly endless supply of attitude, arrogance and rock star pretension, Taha’s set was an explosion of frenetic electric oud and guitar soloing, screaming stadium cock-rock posing, and generally a whole lotta fun. Swinging his microphone like some crazed Arabic version of Roger Daltry (but lacking the finesse to actually catch it properly) Taha strutted the stage like a pumped-up rooster, urging his crack band to ever-increasing levels of testosterone-fuelled musical self-indulgence. Most of the crowd loved it of course, but divided opinions the next day varied from “The best thing I’ve ever seen” to “What a wanker!”. Rachid, it would seem, is something of an acquired taste.

For those with stamina the late night WoZone dance club, held at the Student Union of nearby Adelaide University, was a jammed-packed way to keep the party going through the wee hours. Highlights that I enjoyed, before finally succumbing to a few hours of much-needed sleep, were DJ Desperado (aka Thomas Brooman in retro-ska disguise), a dazzling beat-heavy session from the Temple of Sound fellas, and a sample-rich World sound montage from Melbourne’s disc-spinning, odd couple Systa BB & DJ Angelina.

Back at Botanic Park on Sunday afternoon, most acts took the opportunity to flog their CDs, appear on a different stage, and further impress with a second set. Tatarstan/Australian singer Zulya Kamalova led her band through a moving performance, her achingly beautiful voice highlighting the many reasons why it would be no surprise to see her increasingly representing this country overseas in coming years.

Spanish band Felpeyu demonstrated once again the group’s dexterous mastery of their Asturian/Celtic heritage, and solid second sets from Totó La Momposina (with big brass!), Ernest Ranglin, Cheikh Lo and Los de Abajo confirmed their star status. Yet another impassioned performance from Rachid Taha (actually the same set, just with different pants) was slightly more in a Bruce Springsteen mode this time, compared to his Saturday night Algerian Elvis impersonation. It was also impossible to get him off the stage at the end of his set. That guy was born to be contrary.

An all-star Festival Finale brought the weekend to a close. Bravely working by the Chaos Theory, English cellist Matthew Barley made a gallant attempt to supervise the unorganizable throng, which while ragged, still successfully encapsulated the musical spirit and comradery of the entire weekend. Notable contributions in this mad final set were made by Irish troubadour Andy White, Takashi Hirayasu, Ranglin, Zulya, various Temple of Sounders, Toto’s entire brass section and sundry Mexicans. The security boys had a nightmare trying to decide who to let onstage and who to turn away, and in the end, to their credit, simply gave up. A pleasant time was had by all. One helluva good festival.

Postscript:
As a result of a deal announced earlier in 2002 between WOMAD International and the South Australian Government, WOMADelaide will henceforth become an annual, rather than bi-annual, festival. Dates for the 2004 event are yet to be confirmed.

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Barbaros Erkose Ensemble – Sweden & Denmark Tour

Barbaros Erkose
Barbaros Erkose
San Francisco, USA- Clarinet maestro Barbaros Erkose will be leaving Istanbul with his ensemble for an extensive concert tour of Sweden and Denmark, performing 11 concerts in 12 days.

Live, whether sharing the stage with American jazz or traditional Turkish musicians, Barbaros Erkose embraces and incites the audience with the vitality and passion of Turkish and Gypsy music. He balances out the great celebratory joy of Gypsy music with the melancholy of jazz, euphoria with a touch of the blues.

While his passion makes his performances more than energetic enough to keep hips swaying in bacchanalian celebration, his finesse and subtlety makes him capable of holding a concert hall enthralled. Though his roots are Turkish and Rom, Erkose is a citizen of the world and his music speaks a language that captivates people of all cultures.

Concert Dates & Locations:

April 2 – Malmo, Sweden
April 3 – Aalborg, Denmark
April 4 – Copenhagen, Denmark
April 5 – Lund, Sweden
April 6 – Helsingborg, Sweden
April 9 – Norrkoping, Sweden
April 10 – Gavle, Sweden
April 11 – Vasteras, Sweden
April 12 – Grebbestad, Sweden
April 13 – Stockholm, Sweden
April 14 – Oxelosund, Sweden

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Salif Keita – Moffou

Salif Keita - Moffou
Salif Keita

Moffou (Universal Music 8527, 2002)

From his days as featured singer with the Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs through his high-profile solo career, Mali’s Salif Keita has possessed one of the world’s greatest voices. Still, he has made his share of uneven albums. While 1999’s rockishly disappointing Papa left him no place to go but up, Keita’s latest release triumphs not only in comparison but in its own right.


Moffou
, easily Keita’s best since his 1987 landmark Soro, is a feast of acoustic instruments, spiritually soulful singing, richly subtle rhythmic undercurrents and an African roots sensibility unlike anything this remarkable singer has embraced in a long time. There are a couple of voice-and-guitar tracks on which Keita’s slightly raspy, Islamic-inflected tones effortlessly cut to the marrow, songs where the nuances of rhythm and melody are so tightly entwined as to be virtually inseparable, and one irresistible dance jam, “Maman,” with a solidly airy groove that will have remixers scrambling for their knobs.The instrumental backing includes the sharply attuned work of longtime guitar collaborator Kante Manfila along with a crafty balance of flutes, accordion, n’goni lute, varied percussion and more.

Moffou
. Other recordings available:

Remixes from Moffou

  • In Europe:

    Moffou
    . Other recordings available:

    Remixes from Moffou
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    Mamar Kassey – Alatoumi

    Mamar Kassey - Alatoumi
    Mamar Kassey

    Alatoumi (World Village 470003, 2002)

    Even if your global music collection is fairly extensive, chances are you don’t own a great deal of music from Niger. It just so happens that the music of Niger hasn’t been as widely recorded and distributed as that of some other African countries in the same general area (Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, etc.), and if the high quality of Alatoumi is any indication, it’s a shame.

    Mamar Kassey (the name sounds like one person, but it’s a band) play deliciously twangy roots music not unlike what you’d hear coming from other lower Saharan regions, but it jumps with a passion very much its own thanks to a tightly intertwined mix of modern guitar and bass sparring intensely with not-so-modern lutes, flute and percussion.

    Some of it is as funky as can be, but the disc is incredibly alive in its more thoughtful moments as well. Lead vocalist/flutist Yacouba Moumouni’s voice has a wailing Arabic keenness to it, and on songs like "Dommo," it straddles the rising and falling rhythms and hair-standing-on-end female background vocals with style and grace. His sparse but deft flute work is nice too, helping to bring out the intricacies of instrumental passages where shades of Senegalese m’balax and Nigerian juju are heard.

    Alatoumi is terrific from start to finish, easily one of the best African releases of the year. Anyone who may have regarded Niger as a non-presence on the music map had better seriously change their way of thinking.

    Buy the recording:

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    Tania Libertad – Costa Negra

    Tania Libertad - Costa Negra
    Tania Libertad

    Costa Negra (World Village 468014, 2002)

    Peru’s Tania Libertad could be categorized alongside Susana Baca easily enough. Both women base their sound around Peru’s African roots, and both sing with considerable range and depth. But where Baca’s sound most often opts for a small-scale intimacy, Libertad engages with a grander, more orchestrated sound.

    The characteristic Afro-Peruvian percussion foundation (including the cajón box drum) is present, with guitars, bass, violin, accordion and saxophone, giving many of the songs a sparkle that takes things beyond the Peruvian border.

    The African connection is particularly strong- Libertad duets beautifully with Cape Verde’s Cesaria Evora on one track and utilizes Senegalese players and instrumentation on a couple of others. Vocally, Libertad resembles not only Susana Baca but Colombia’s Totó la Momposina as well (in fact, the African touches on Costa Negra are every bit as successful as those on Momposina’s Pacanto album, albeit with a different regional sensibility).

    Tania Libertad is poised to become a major voice on the global scene, a voice with the strength to both ride the grooves and envelop the emotions. Costa Negra has plenty of both, and that’s what makes it so satisfying.

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    Euro Lounge

    Euro Lounge
    Euro Lounge
    New York, USA – Putumayo released this week the follow up to the commercially successful World Lounge collection. Euro Lounge features a range of artists from the electronica and pop scenes including Arling & Cameron (The Netherlands), Gare Du Nord (Belgium), Mambotur (Germany / Chile), Mastretta (Spain), Bandabardo (Italy), Bossa Nostra (Italy / Brazil ), Gabin (Italy), Vanja Lazarova (Macedonia), S-Tone Inc. (Italy) , Thievery Corporation (USA), Ilhan Ersahin (Turkey) and Daniele Silvestri (Italy).

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    Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion