Tag Archives: accordion

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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Impeccable Contemporary Finnish Folk

Karuna – Tuulispää (Kuu Records, 2016)

Karuna features three talented contemporary folk music instrumentalists and composers from Finland. Tuulispää is Karuna’s second album and it brings together exquisite chamber music and lively and evocative Nordic folk music influences.

The music is inspired by events such as the drowning of the Syrian child Aylan in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a beautiful sunrise and the observation of animals like deer and moths.

The lineup includes Teija Niku on accordion and melodeon; Juha Kujanpää (who also leads a progressive rock band) on piano and keyboards; and the multifaceted Esko Järvelä on nyckelharpa, violin, and guitar. Järvelä is involved in multiple folk, folk-rock and world music projects like Esko Järvelä Epic Male Band, Frigg, Baltic Crossing and Tsuumi Sound System.

 

Tuulispää’s musical pieces are beautifully crafted, delicate and rich in virtuosity. A delectable Finnish folk album.

Buy Tuulispää in the Americas

Buy Tuulispää in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Cedric Watson

Cedric Watson

Born in San Felipe, Texas in 1983, singer, fiddler, accordionist and songwriter Cedric Watson developed an early love for Cajun music and moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, where he studied not only pure Cajun music but the Creole fiddling styles of Canray Fontenot and Bebe Carriere and was quickly acclaimed for his mastery.

A founding member of the Pine Leaf Boys, Cedric Watson formed a new band, Bijou Creole. In Bijou Creole, Watson explores the roots of Louisiana’s Creole music. Playing a variety of old-school zydeco styles, original material, and Creole traditional songs, the polyrhythmic and syncopated sounds of Africa and the Caribbean are unmistakable in this ensemble of talented musicians.

Michael Doucet (BeauSoleil, Savoy-Doucet Band) says, “To propel our Louisiana Creole culture into the future seems to be quite a task, but if one lives for the music as Cedric does, the path seems effortless.”

Along with Watson, Bijou Creole is rubboard (washboard) player-percussionist Mike Chaisson, bassist Blake Miller, guitarist Chris Stafford, and drummer Jermaine Prejean.

Discography

Goin’ Down to Louisiana (Valcour Records, 2006)
Cedric Watson (Valcour Records, 2008)
L’Esprit Creole (Valcour Records, 2009)
Homage Au Passe, with Pine Leaf Boys Lionsgate Records, 2009)
Creole Moon: Live From Blue Moon Saloon (Valcour Records, 2010)
Le Soliel Est Leve, with Bijou Creole (Lache Pas Records, 2011)
Le Troubadour Creole, with Bijou Creole (Lache Pas Records, 2013)

Web site: www.cedricwatson.com

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Artist Profiles: Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly

Born in Co. Roscommon in 1972, Alan Kelly grew up in a house steeped in traditional music and dance. His grandfather was a fiddler; his grandmother, a melodeon player; his father, Frank Kelly, a piano accordionist from Fourmilehouse in southern Roscommon.

Alan chose to follow in his fathers’ footsteps and learn the piano accordion. Very soon, Alan had forged his own inimitable style influenced mainly by his father Frank and local musicians such as Paddy Ryan, John Carlos, Patsy Hanly and Frank Jordan.

In his early music years, Alan went on to win All-Ireland titles on piano accordion and piano, and also with brother John in duets and neighbor and life long friend John Wynne in trios.

Determined to become a full time musician Alan moved to Galway in 1993 where he quickly became part of the thriving traditional music scene, forging an excellent reputation for himself.

In 1994 he landed a part in the Druid Theatre’s award winning production of Vincent Woods’ ‘At the black pigs Dyke’ and spent the next 12 months performing in Dublin, Galway, Glasgow, Toronto and Sydney. He also toured with Druid’s and Vincent Woods production of ‘The Yellow Bittern’ in 1995.

Back in Galway, Alan decided to concentrate on his debut solo album and in 1997 he released Out of the Blue (BBM 001) on his own label Blackbox Music. Co-produced by Alan and Steve Cooney and featuring a host of Ireland’s top musicians, the album received ecstatic reviews from the critics, earned him a ‘Best Newcomer’ award from Irish Music Magazine and launched Alan on his solo career.

Extensive touring ensued, especially in the United States of America and Canada where ‘Out of the Blue’ was released on the Kells label.

However, it wasn’t long before theatre beckoned again and towards the end of 1997, Alan was invited by New York’s awarding winning avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines to join their production of Peter and Wendy in Los Angeles and has since performed with them in New Haven (’98) San Francisco (’99) Dublin Theatre Festival in 1999 and New York 2002.

Alan Kelly

Also, in 1997, he was invited to become a member of the house band for Sibin, a weekly music program for TG4, performing with artists such as Matt Molloy, Sean Keane, Cathy Ryan, Kieran Goss, Mick Hanley, Sean Tyrell, Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey.

During January 1999 Alan toured with Music Network’s “Best of Irish” nation-wide tour alongside Michael McGoldrick, Karen Casey and Cathal Hayden playing to full houses all over the country. In the same year he also featured on Michael McGoldrick’s groundbreaking album ‘Fused‘ and continues to tour regularly with this band appearing at festivals such as Lorient 1999, Celtic Connections 2000 and Cambridge 2001 as well as many others.

In 2000, Alan released his second solo album Mosaic (TARACD4011) with a concert at the Galway Arts Festival featuring an 8 piece band with a line-up which included guitarist, Arty McGlynn, saxophonist, Richie Buckley, trumpeter, Danial Healy and Sean Smyth on fiddle. Produced by guitarist Arty McGlynn, Mosaic features many new compositions from both Alan and Arty, as well as traditional music from Scotland, Finland and, of course, Ireland.

Alan Kelly and the Mosaic Band quickly established itself as one of the hottest live acts on the Irish scene with its exciting blend of traditional, salsa and jazz rhythms, and propelled Alan onto the World Music stage.

Also in 2000 he worked with the award winning Lyric Theatre in Belfast for their production of Brian Friel’s “Wonderful Tennessee.

Alan’s other recording credits include appearances on Niamh Parsons’s Loosely Connected in 1992, Michael McGoldrick’s Morning Rory in 1996 and Fused in 2000, and Sean Keane’s Seansongs in 2002. He guested with Lunasa on their Irish tour promoting their album Otherworld and also collaborated with Alison Brown, the Grammy award winning banjo player on her Irish tour in 2001. During July 2002 Alan toured with Ireland’s legendary De Danann in Canada.

Alan’s most recent recording project has seen him return to his Roscommon roots for a duet album with his brother John. The album titled Fourmilehouse (BBM 2003) is traditional music served straight up, with no need for studio sweeteners or sleight of hand.

Today Alan is credited with single-handedly reviving the piano accordion in Irish traditional music.

Discography

Out of the Blue (Black Box Music BBM 001, 1997)
Mosaic (TARACD4011, 2000)
Fourmilehouse (Black Box Music BBM, 2003)
After the Morning (Black Box Music, 2009)
Small Towns & Famous Nights (Black Box Music BBM 006, 2011)
The Last Bell (Black Box Music BBM 007, 2014)

web site: alankellygang.ie

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Zydeco Master Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural Dies at 68

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural passed away on September 24 at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was 68 years old. Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural was the leader of one of the greatest Zydeco bands, Buckwheat Zydeco.

Buckwheat Zydeco’s powerful live shows were legendary for the fun and abandon they inspired. It was the first Zydeco band to land a major record label deal, the first to perform on a national television show, the first to have its music featured in major motion pictures, TV shows and national TV commercials, the first to record with top rock musicians and the first to introduce Zydeco to the music mainstream.

Buckwheat Zydeco embodied a genre and represented a community with his signature playing style that brought distinctly creole zydeco music to fans across the globe. Buckwheat played both for and with legends, performing at both Clinton inaugurations, touring with Eric Clapton, and collaborating with a seemingly endless list of artists over his 40-plus year career. He won an Emmy for his work in TV and a GRAMMY in the genre he helped define. The world lost a music heavyweight today. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy.

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. was born in 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, a close-knit community where many black people express their Creole heritage by speaking French, and by playing and dancing to Zydeco. This hybrid genre blends Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and blues, with soul, rock, country and the French-rooted Cajun music of the Creoles’ white neighbors.

As the son of a Zydeco accordionist, Buckwheat grew up steeped in this culture, and also absorbed Lafayette’s ample outpouring of blues and Gulf Coast “swamp pop.” He began his professional career as an R&B sideman, playing keyboards for artists such as Joe Tex, Barbara Lynn and Clarence Gatemouth Brown.
In 1971, Dural began leading his own R&B and funk band, Buckwheat and the Hitchhikers, playing the contemporary sounds of popular bands like Parliament Funkadelic and Earth, Wind &Fire. The group achieved a regional hit with “It’s Hard to Get.”

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural

By the mid-1970s, South Louisiana began to experience a grass-roots cultural renaissance as Zydeco and Cajun music, once scorned as overly ethnic, gained appreciation as treasured cultural resources. As the demand grew for Zydeco bands, Dural was offered a gig playing organ for the “King of Zydeco,” the late Clifton Chenier. Buck (as he was also known) worked hard and learned all that he could. After three years of touring, recording and accordion apprenticeship, he left in 1979 to lead his own group, Buckwheat Zydeco and the ils Sont Partis Band. Like Chenier, Buckwheat continued to blend traditional Creole Zydeco with the latest black-contemporary styles, drawing on all of his rich and varied musical experience.

Recording prolifically for various independent labels, Dural attracted the attention of music journalist Ted Fox, who became his manager and co-producer. In 1987, Fox arranged Buckwheat’s signing with Island Records, and he became the first Zydeco artist to appear on a major label. This resulted in the band’s fourth Grammy nomination.

During the years of critical acclaim that has ensued, Buckwheat Zydeco toured constantly, headlining at major venues as well as sharing stages with the likes of U2 and Eric Clapton, and even The Boston Pops. Clapton also recorded as a special guest with Buckwheat Zydeco – as did Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Dwight Yoakam and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos – on some of his numerous projects that followed.

The band performed at both of President Clinton’s inaugurals, and Buck was featured on the Closing Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta before a worldwide television audience of three billion.

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural

Another first project for Buckwheat Zydeco was the release of the band’s lively children’s album, Choo Choo Boogaloo, on the Music For Little People label which won numerous awards and rave reviews. It features zydeco originals as well as classics such as “Iko, Iko,””Cotton Fields,””Little Red Caboose,” and “Skip To My Lou.” In the spirit of creating a genuine family feeling people of all ages contributed to the music, including a talented young people’s gospel choir from Baton Rouge.

Buckwheat Zydeco celebrated its 20th anniversary by releasing a retrospective album. The Buckwheat Zydeco Story – A 20-Year Party, a compilation of the band’s best recordings, was released on Buckwheat’s own Tomorrow Recordings label on July 6, 1999. It features 74 minutes of music on one disc as well as comprehensive liner notes in a 16-page booklet in a slipcased package.

The album’s cover features an unforgettable image of Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. in front of the tiny boyhood home he shared with eleven brothers and sisters in Lafayette, Louisiana. It is both a tribute to his roots and a statement of how far he and the Creole music he loves have come. The album’s colorful original art was created by award-winning Jackson, MS artist H.C. Porter whose work is exhibited in shows and museums around the United States.

The studio recording, Trouble, was released on Tomorrow Recordings on January 12, 1999. Buck felt strongly that this was his best album in a dozen years. Perhaps more aptly titled than Buck even knew, Trouble was originally released in May of 1997 by Mesa/Atlantic just as Mesa was undergoing a shake-up. Unsatisfied with the results of the original release – and unwilling to give up on what they felt was one of the band’s key albums – Dural and Ted Fox, convinced Atlantic to revert the album to them.

On Trouble, Buckwheat decided to concentrate on the skilled players within his band, and revisit the live-on-the-bandstand feel of the Zydeco and R&B dance halls where he first learned his craft.

Discography:

One For The Road (Blues Unlimited Records, 1979)
Take It Easy, Baby (Blues Unlimited Records, 1980)
Peoples Choice (Blues Unlimited Records, 1982)
100% Fortified Zydeco (Black Top Records, 1983)
Turning Point (Rounder Records, 1983)
Ils Sont Partis (Blues Unlimited Records, 1984)
Waitin’ For My Ya Ya (Rounder Records, 1985)
On a Night Like This (Island Records, 1987)
Taking It Home (Island Records, 1988)
Where Theres Smoke Theres Fire (MCA Records|MCA Special Products, 1990)
Buckwheats Zydeco Party (Rounder Records, 1992)
On Track (Atlantic Records, 1992)
Menagerie: The Essential Zydeco Collection (Mango Records, 1993)
Choo Choo Boogaloo (Music For Little People, 1994)
Five Card Stud (Island Records, 1994)
The Best Of Louisiana Zydeco (Avi Entertainment, 1996)
Trouble (Tomorrow Recordings, 1997)
Buckwheat Zydeco Story: A 20 Year Party (Tomorrow Recordings, 1999)
The Ultimate Collection (Hip-O Records, 2000)
Down Home Live (Tomorrow Recordings, 2001)
Classics (Rounder Records, 2003)
Jackpot! (Tomorrow Recordings, 2005)
The Best of Buckwheat Zydeco: Millennium Collection (Island Records, 2006)
Lay Your Burden Down (Alligator Records, 2009)
Let The Good Times Roll: Essential Recordings (Rounder Records, 2009)

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Interview with Zydeco Accordion Virtuoso Jeffery Broussard

Jeffery Broussard
Jeffery Broussard

Louisiana accordionist Jeffery Broussard is considered one of the most influential accordionists in modern Zydeco music. He has innovated Zydeco, developing the new Zydeco sound in Zydeco Force. Jeffery currently plays more traditional Zydeco with his own band, Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys. Zydeco music was developed among Black Creoles in Southwest Louisiana in the 1940s. Zydeco mixed traditional Creole music, the Francophone fiddle and accordion traditions, blues and R&B.

Jeffery Broussard was born in Lafayette, Louisiana on March 10, 1967 to Ethel and Delton Broussard. He is the youngest of 11 children, having 5 brothers and 5 sisters. The family lived in Frilot Cove, Louisiana, a rural community northwest of Opelousas, in southern Louisiana, on a farm where his father was a sharecropper.

Jeffery grew up fishing in the bayous (marshlands), riding horses across the fields with his friends. His music career started very early in life. At the age of 8 he started playing drums in his father’s band, the acclaimed Delton Broussard & The Lawtell Playboys. After seventh grade, Jeffery left school to farm full time to help his parents. Jeffery spent long days digging and sorting potatoes.

Whenever he could, Jeffery would sneak in to the house and played his father’s accordion, teaching himself how to play.

During his teen years, Jeffery played drums in his oldest brother Clinton’s band, Clinton Broussard & The Zydeco Machines. It was in this band that Jeffery played the accordion in public for the first time. His brother would let him play a few songs from time to time. It wasn’t until Jeffery joined the band Zydeco Force that he began to sing.

Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys are set to perform at the National Folk Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. Concerts dates include Friday, September 9 at 6:00 pm at Wrangler Stage; Saturday, September 10 at 2:45 pm at Dance Pavilion; Saturday, September 10 at 9:30 pm at Wrangler Stage; Sunday, September 11 at 12:00 pm at Dance Pavilion; and The Big Squeeze: Accordion Traditions on Sunday, September 11 at 3:15 pm at Lawn Stage.

World Music Central talks to Jeffery Broussard and band manager Millie Broussard about the upcoming concert.

Angel Romero – Can you tell us about the band you will be taking to the National Folk Festival 2016 in Greensboro?

Millie Brossard – I’ll first start off by saying Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys are excited about performing at the National Folk Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys as you may know plays the traditional Creole Zydeco. He is commonly referred to as pound for pound the best accordion player around, although he is not limited to just the accordion. Jeffery plays every instrument. He is an awesome fiddler which he also uses in his performance… and there is a point in his performance where he does the old “switch-a-roo” with Djalma Garnier III who is the bass player, and in the midst of a song Djalma will take over fiddle and Jeffery will play bass, the crowd goes wild.

The rubboard player, which is the youngest member of the band but also the largest, we have given him the nickname “Big Truck,” is Jeffery’s youngest son, Jeffery Broussard Jr.

The guitarist Daniel Sanda is an awesome guitarist. “Daniel Boone.” as we refer to him. He has a way to make that guitar sing with his soulful notes.

The drummer, Paul Lavan Jr is not only talented on drums but accordion as well. He is the comedian of the group and never misses a beat.

Together these guys make up Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys. We are not just a band. We are family. We laugh. We cry. We love.

Jeffery Broussard - Photo by Robin Murray
Jeffery Broussard – Photo by Robin Murray

When and why did Jeffery start playing?

Millie Broussard – Jeffery first started playing professionally at the tender age of 8 in his father’s band as a drummer when the original drummer could not make it to gig. Jeffery’s father (Delton Broussard of The Lawtell Playboys) told Jeffery “get dressed boy, you are playing drums tonight.”

So as many Zydeco musicians today, the accordion was not Jeffery’s first instrument. It wasn’t until his teenage years that he picked up the passion for the accordion and has then mastered it.

When did the band come together?

Jeffery Broussard – The Creole Cowboys has been in existence for approximately 9 years and going strong. Thanks to God and my fans.

Tell us about Jeffery’ first recordings and musical evolution.

Millie Broussard – Jeffery’s first recording was in the 1980s when he was accordionist/vocalist for the ever so popular band Zydeco Force. Still today many of the younger Zydeco musicians try to mimic Jeffery with old tunes from Zydeco Force. However, as the sayings goes, “often imitated but never duplicated” (laughs out loud).

How’s the current Creole music scene in Louisiana?

Jeffery Broussard – The Creole music scene in Louisiana is still going. However, with the new generation of music and younger musicians adding their own zest to the music, I’m afraid it will lose its authenticity as the younger artist are adding more hip-hop and less accordion, so my goal is to keep the tradition and culture going, not by preserving the music but by performing and promoting it!

Which are your favorite musical festivals, and what makes them so special?

Jeffery Broussard – I really can’t say I have a favorite festival or place of performance as each festival or place has its own uniqueness…and I love spreading my love for the music and culture everywhere. I can say this, no matter where we perform no matter the size of the crowd, we give it our best. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 or 10,000 in audience, the performance will still be the same.

What are some unusual reactions you have got during your live performances?

Jeffery Broussard – I can’t recall any unusual activities at any of my performances because I myself and band members are of high energy and we cut up and act silly interacting with audience, so anything unusual I wouldn’t notice. It’s all about fun. Zydeco is a happy music.

If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with who would that be?

Jeffery Broussard – If I could collaborate a group of musicians my choices would be as follows: Buckwheat Zydeco; Nathan Williams and The Zydeco Cha-Chas; CJ Chenier; Terrance Semien; Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys; Geno Delafonse and The French Rocking Boogie Band; and I have to add as he is not a Zydeco musician but he is an awesome awesome accordionist, Joaquin Diaz. He lives in Montreal by way of Dominican Republic.

What music are you currently listening to?

Jeffery Broussard – As I love Zydeco, playing and listening to Zydeco. I listen to Gospel a lot more, because it is God that blessed me with this talent.

Do you have any upcoming projects to share with our readers?

Jeffery Broussard – Not only will I have new Zydeco CD but a Gospel CD as well, and, yes, I will be playing all the instrumental parts myself so be on the lookout for more of Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys.

Discography:

Keeping The Tradition Alive! (Maison de Soul, 2009)

Return of the Creole (Maison de Soul, 2011)

Live at Jazzfest 2013 (Munck Mix, 2013)

Live at Jazzfest 2014 (Munck Music, 2014)

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Suitcases Express Iberian Music Tales

Kepa Junkera & Sorginak – Maletak (Fol, 2016)

Accordion player Kepa Junkera and his regular companions Sorginak have released one of Kepa’s finest albums in years. Although Kepa Junkera is still known as a virtuoso’s accordionist, he’s also taken an interest in percussion and plays a wide range of percussion instruments. He’s joined by the all-female ensemble Sorginak, who sing and play frame drums.

Maletak (suitcase) makes reference to the old accordion cases Kepa kept in a loft that reminded him of his numerous travels. On this occasion, Kepa and his colleagues explore the folk music and rhythms of the various regions of Spain.

The regions covered include the Basque Country, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Aragon, Cantabria, Galicia, Castile La Mancha, Asturias and Extremadura. Even though Kepa has composed all the music, he adds more authenticity to the project by bringing in an impressive list of guest musicians representing various folk music traditions.

Kepa follows the lead of Spanish folk music innovator Eliseo Parra, who appears as guest on the album. Parra has been exploring the folk music of the Iberian Peninsula and has reintroduced dozens of traditional musical instruments and rhythms.

As indicated earlier, the album features extensive use of percussion, especially frame drums along with the accordion, Spanish guitars, zanfona (hurdy gurdy), gaita (bagpipe), horns along with many guest vocalists and vocal ensembles.

The guest vocalists include Sorginak, Ion Elustondo, Beloki, Imanol Urkizu, Xabi Solano, Eliseo Parra, Gritsanda, Amadeu Rosell, Guillem Ballaz, Beatriz Bernard, Rocio Sapiña, Lourdes Escusol, Xabier Diaz, Adufeiras de Salitre, La Ronda de Motilleja, Hermanos Cubero, Pandereteras de Fitoria, Acetre, Amigos de Extremadura, and Olga y los Ministriles.

The extraordinary ensemble of musicians includes Kepa Junkera on accordions and percussion; Sorginak on percussion; Daniel Do Pando on trompa; Ibon Koteron on alboka; Oreka TX on chalaparta; Jose Luis Montón on guitar; Josete Ordoñez on guitar; Antonio Serrano on harmonica; Diego Galaz on fiddle and mandolin; Germán Diaz on zanfona (hurdy gurdy) and Pedro Lamas on saxophone and bagpipe.

Kepa Junkera’s album design always attracts attention. The beautifully packaged CD contains a large horizontal 24-page booklet with lyrics, photographs by Igotz Ziarreta and Santi Yaniz, and a set of 10 cards that are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle developed by Rober Garay and Alberto Palomera.

Maletak is a beautifully-crafted music project by a talented and diverse group of musicians that illustrates the rich diversity of Spanish folk music. Highly recommended.

Buy Maletak in the Americas

Buy Maletak in Europe

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Mesmerizing Tarantella Beats from Southern Italy

Giuliano Gabriele – Madre (iWorld, 2015)

Madre (Mother) is the second album by multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and composer Giuliano Gabriele, one of the rising stars of Italian contemporary folk music. Madre celebrates the tarantella, the spellbinding trance rhythm of the tarantella from southern Italy.

Giuliano Gabriele takes the tarantella to a new level combining tastefully acoustic instruments like accordion, frame drums, zampogna and Calabrian lira with electric guitar, bass and electronic programming.The lyrics are in Italian and various southern dialects.

The lineup on Madre includes Giuliano Gabriele on vocals, diatonic accordion and zampogna (bagpipe); Lucia Cremonesi on viola, electric viola, marranzano (jaw harp) and Calabrese lira; Giovanni Aquino on electric guitar; Eduardo Vessella on tammorra (frame drums) and percussion; Gianfranco De Lisi on bass; and Gianmarco Gabriele on drums.

Guests include Gabriele Russo on viella (hurdy gurdy); Goffredo Degli Esposti on zuffolo con tamburo (Italian fipple flute with snare drum) and buttafuoco (zither); Giuseppe Grassi on mandola; Giola Mignanelli on vocals; Francesco Loccisano on chitarra battente; Antonio Infantino on guitar and vocals; and I Tarantolati Rotanti ensemble on vocals and percussion.

Madre is a fascinating recording that provides a modern vision of an ancient mesmerizing rhythm from southern Italy.

Buy Madre

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Contemporary Portuguese Folk Music from the Heart

Celina da Piedade – Em Casa (independent, 2012)

One of the great discoveries this year is the talented Portuguese virtuoso accordionist, vocalist and composer Celina da Piedade. She was one of the artists selected to perform at the Ibero-American Music Expo (EXIB) opening ceremony earlier this month.

Celina’s most recording album is 2012’s two-disc album Em Casa (At Home). This is fabulous release featuring a mix of traditional songs and dances recreated by Celina along with original compositions. The presentation includes ensemble pieces and solo performances as well.

Although a lot of Celina’s music is rooted in Portuguese music, especially the Alentejo region, she also incorporates folk traditions from other parts of Europe, like Brittany, Spain, England, etc.

While most of the time, Celina’s style is acoustic, she doesn’t have any problem using synthesizers and other electronic tools. It’s done tastefully and the electro-acoustic combination works perfectly.

The repertoire includes mazurcas, roundeaus, waltzes, fandangos, and corridinhos, as well as Portuguese songs set to Breton hanter-dro and Galician muiñeira dance rhythms.

Em Casa highlights Celina da Piedade’s talent as a singer, accordionist, arranger and composer. She delivers beautiful accordion melodies throughout the album and some of her highly engaging songs encourage the listener to sing along.

Em Casa features an impressive roster of musicians from Portugal and abroad: Rodrigo Leão on keyboards and programming; Kepa Junkera on accordion and tambourine; Kelly Thoma on Cretan lyre, Efren López on zanfona (hurdy gurdy), Vicky Marques on drums, Eddy Slap on bass and guitar, Samuel Uria on vocals, guitar and banjo; Tania Lopes on percussion, Marco Pereira on cello; Miguel Nogueira on guitar; Maria João Matos on violin; Viviena Tupikova on violin; Bruno Silva on viola; Tony Carlos Gomes on cello; Paulo Pereira on flute; Valter Rolo on piano; Joana Bagulho on cravo; Paul Abelho on percussion and programming; Carlos Guerreiro on vocals, xylophone, tambourine, bass drum; Jose Manuel David on vocals, gaita de fole (bagpipes), Chinese flute, and classical flute; Ana Isabel Dias on harp; Alex Gaspar on serrote; José Barros on viola braguesa (Braguese guitar); Luis Peixoto on mandolin; Pascale Rubens concertina; Toon Van Mierlo on saxophone; and Vasco Ribeiro Casais on nyckelharpa and programming.

Celina da Piedade’s Em Casa is an impressive, beautifully-crafted album by one of the current masters of contemporary Portuguese folk music.

Buy Em Casa in North America

Buy Em Casa in Europe

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Accordionist Kepa Junkera Announces New Album, Maletak

Kepa Junkera and Sorginak
Kepa Junkera and Sorginak

Diatonic accordion virtuoso and composer Kepa Junkera has announced the release of his new album titled Maletak. The album will be available June 3rd.

Kepa explains his concept as follows: “I’m so glad I kept the Triki suitcases!. I had stored them in the attic but they have acquired a special meaning for this project. They inspire me and tell me stories that they only know. The suitcases are the first to travel, they store the excitement generated right before you open them and discover what they contain, the essence of my days, the sonic reason for my travels, the worn nomad instrument waiting impatiently for its best moment.

I wanted to unite luggage and animals in impossible scenery that resonates deeply with my soul. We are in an ancestral landscape that feels close and ours. The Flysch reminds me of the folds of the triki and the ocean moves and roars just like the bellows that breathes in the air and marks the rhythm. Nature, animals, luggage, Sorginak … A journey after all, full of melodies and poetry. Enjoy this mixture and feel the power of nature, the arcane and the unusual.”

The Spanish regions of Galicia, Aragon, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Castilla y Leon are stages of this musical journey. Kepa is joined once more by the all-female ensemble Sorginak.

The guest vocalists include: Sorginak, Ion Elustondo, Beloki, Imanol Urkizu and Xabi Solano from the Basque Country. Eliseo Parra and Gritsanda from Castilla and Leon. Amadeu Guillem Rosell and Ballaz from Catalonia. Beatriz Bernard, Rocio Sapiña and Lourdes Escusol from Aragon. Xabier Diaz and Adufeiras de Salitre from Galicia.

Also featured is an impressive cast of musicians: Daniel Do Pando, Ibon Koteron, Oreka TX, Jose Luis Monton, Josete Ordoñez, Antonio Serrano, Diego Galaz, Germán Diaz and Pedro Lamas.

The CD will be released in a 24-page booklet with photographs by Igotz Ziarreta and Santi Yaniz and 10 cards which are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle created by Rober Garay and Alberto Palomera.

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