Tag Archives: featured

Thrilling Oumou Sangaré with a Modern Twist

Oumou Sangaré – Mogoya (No Format!, 2017)

After nearly 10 years since she recorded her last album, the great world music star Oumou Sangaré has a new album titled Mogoya. Oumou is Mali’s finest female and a leading figure in African and world music. She’s also a songwriter who writes most of her material.

Mogoya is a fabulous recording that combines Malian tradition with western trip hop modernity along with some good humor.

Oumou invited trailblazing Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, one of the pioneers of Afrobeat, who adds his memorable signature drum style on “Yere Faga,” a song that provides support to individuals suffering from depression.



The lineup includes Oumou Sangaré on vocals; Toni Allen on drums; Kandy Guira on backing vocals; Guimba Kouyaté on guitar; Benogo Diakité on kamele ngoni; and French production collective A.L.B.E.R.T. (Vincent Taurelle, Ludovic Bruni and Vincent Taeger), who added cutting edge electronic keyboards and other instruments tastefully.



Mogoya is an excellent, beautifully-crafted album by Oumou Sangaré, one of the greatest vocalists in Africa. It was well worth the wait.

Buy Mogoya

Buy Mogoya in Europe


Spellbinding Indian Trance Sounds from Moscow

Zaindiveli – Sagar (SKMR-134, 2016)

Zaindiveli is a remarkable project from Russia. The ensemble combines mesmerizing ambient electronics and trip hop with electric and acoustic musical instruments. The musicians are deeply influenced by Indian music and jazz as well.

Highlights include the opening track, “Sagar” that features rich electronic textures. Track 3, “Wheel Prayer (Prayer Wheels Remake”) features Indian tabla, bansuri and Indian-style violin accompanied by electronic textures and beats. The violin performance is spectacular and leaves you wanting more.

Other goodies include the rhythmic “Ouimix” featuring a combination of electronic and acoustic rhythms.

The Indian influences return on “Haldi” with more masterful violin work.

The final track is also a high point. It’s a meditative piece with electroacoustic ambience and Indian-style vocals.

Zaindiveli was developed by two Moscow-based multi-instrumentalists, Gennady Lavrentiev and Kirill Parenchuk in the 1990s. Additional musicians were later added, including Oleg Mariakhin on saxophones, Sergey “Grebstel” Kalachov on bass, Andrey Demidenko on dhrupad vocals and bansuri, Dmitry Losev on keyboardss and electroacoustics and Vladislava Yakupova on bila (Russian flat bells).

Despite the smooth jazz saxophone on a couple of tracks, the overall result is very satisfactory. The electronics and Indian music influences are beautifully composed and masterfully performed.

Buy the digital download version of or the CD from sketismusic.bandcamp.com


Duke Performances Reveals 2017/2018 Season

Duke Performances announced this week the 2017/2018 season at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The programming includes world music, classical music, new music, jazz, American roots music, hip-hop, theater, and dance.

The world music program this year includes one of the finest flamenco guitarists, Vicente Amigo. The Spanish guitar maestro is known for mixing pure flamenco with other musical traditions.



Also scheduled, acclaimed Israeli vocalist Yasmin Levy who sings in Ladino and combines flamenco and Middle Eastern music; Malian kora master Toumani Diabaté and his son Sidiki for a concert of kora duets; Sudanese-American singer and Alsarah & the Nubatones.



Additional world music acts are set to perform under Black Atlantic: a six-day festival of the music of Africa and the African diaspora. The program includes renowned traditional Dominican bachata musician Joan Soriano; Haitian singer-songwriter Emeline Michel; Afro-Venezuelan vocalist Betsayda Machado and her backing band La Parranda El Clavo; the remarkable Malian act Trio da Kali, a collaboration between some of Mali’s leading jeli (griot) musical families, Hawa Kassé Mady, daughter of Kassé Mady Diabaté, bala player Lassana Diabaté and ngoni master Mamadou Kouyaté; and the great Honduran Garifuna singer-song Aurelio Martínez.

Another world music highlight this season is Spanish flamenco singer Diego El Cigala who has explored the musics of Latin America. His most recent album Indestructible is a tribute to salsa music.


For more information go to: dukeperformances.duke.edu

headline photo: Vicente Amigo


Cuba! Cuba! Discoveries

Various Artists – Cuba! Cuba! (Putumayo World Music, 2017)

World music compilation label Putumayo revisits the music of Cuba on Cuba! Cuba!, an album that features a mix of Cuba-based artists and other acts based in the United States.

The collection features a handful of well-known artists along with musicians that are less familiar. The songs selection leans towards the traditional side of Cuban music, including son cubano and guajira music.

Highlights include “Oriente” by Asere, “Caballo Viejo” by La Familia Valera Miranda, “Guajira” by Al Valdés y su conjunto, “El Carretero” by Roberto Torres, “Me Dieron La Clave” by legendary Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro, the now classic “Chan Chan” by Armando Garzón, and “Puente a Mi Gente” by José Conde y Ola Fresca.

The release of this album, and another one titled Cuban Playground, coincide with the announcement of a partnership with an American company called insightCuba that specializes in Cuban tours for Americans. The first Putumayo Cuba! Cuba! Tour is scheduled for November 6th-11th in Havana, and is expected to feature intimate and exclusive performances with internationally recognized Cuban artists along with other cultural activities.

For more information about the Putumayo Cuba! Cuba! Tour and other insightCuba tours, visit www.insightcuba.com or call 800-450-CUBA.

Buy Cuba! Cuba!


World Music/Crash Arts Announces 2017-2018 Season

Boston-based performing arts presenter World Music/Crash Arts has announced the artists scheduled to perform during the Fall 2017 – Winter 2018 season.

The impressive world music, roots and jazz lineup includes:

Vanessa Da Mata
September 10, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

September 13, 8:00 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall

Carrie Rodriguez
September 14, 7:30 p.m.
The Rockwell

Dance Up
September 22 & 23, 8:00 p.m.
The ICA/Boston

Terence Blanchard E-Collective
September 26, 8:00 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall

The High Kings
September 30, 8:00 p.m.
Somerville Theatre

Flamenco Legends by Javier Limon
The Paco de Lucia Project
October 13, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Johnny Clegg
The Final Journey
October 14, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Mashrou’ Leila
October 22, 8:00 p.m.
The Sinclair

Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio
October 28, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

The Sachal Ensemble
Song Of Lahore
October 29, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Irma Thomas, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, & The Preservation Legacy Quintet
November 3, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Yasmin Levy
November 5, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Anna Myer And Dancers
November 10 & 11, 8:00 p.m.
The ICA/Boston

Habib Koite & Bamada
November 11, 8:00 p.m.
Somerville Theatre

The Bad Plus
November 12, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Leyla McCalla
November 18, 8:00 p.m.
Villa Victoria

November 18, 7:30 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall

Compagnie Herve Koubi
January 12 & 13, 8:00 p.m.
The ICA/Boston

Juan De Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars
January 14, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Huun Huur Tu
January 18, 7:30 p.m.
The Rockwell

Umalali & The Garifuna Collective
January 20, 8:00 p.m.
Villa Victoria

BJM/Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal
February 2 & 3, 8:00 p.m.
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
February 11, 3:00 p.m.
Sanders Theatre

Dianne Reeves
February 16, 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Tao: Drum Heart
February 18, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

February 24, 6:00 p.m.
House of Blues Boston

More information at worldmusic.org or 617-876-4275.


MarchFourth’s New Orleans Adventure

MarchFourth – Magic Number (MarchFourth, 2016)

Despite being based in the West Coast, the music of brass band MarchFourth has deep roots in the sound of New Orleans. MarchFourth is a very large ensemble featuring a considerable brass and percussion section plus electric guitars and bass. Additionally, MarchFourth includes gymnasts, costumes, dancers and entertainers on stilts in its live shows.

The band’s latest album Magic Number was recorded in New Orleans and features an irresistible mix of jazz and funk along with some rock numbers, fiery blues harmonica and some Latin American influences. All the music is original, composed by band members.

MarchFourth’s sound has evolved and features more guitar and vocals than previous albums. The band’s name has also changed from MarchFourth! Marching Band to simply MarchFourth.

The lineup includes Katie Presley and Paul Chandler on trumpets; Daniel Lamb and Anthony Meade on trombones; Michelle Christiansen on alto saxophone; Cameron DePalma and Andy Shapiro on tenor saxophone; Jon Vancura on baritone and bass saxophone; Jenny DiDonato on drums and percussion; Cheo Larcombe on bass drum and percussion; Will McKinney on toms and percussion; Dan Stauffer on cymbals; and Jake Wood on snare drums and percussion; John Averill on electric bass; Jon Vancura on guitar; and Taylor Aglipay on guitars and baritone saxophone.



Magic Number features the following guests: Trombone Shorty on trombone; Stanton Moore on drums; Matt Perrine on tuba; and Ben Ellman on harmonica.



MarchFourth’s Magic Number is a delightful and highly entertaining explosion of brass, drums and much more.

Buy Magic Number


Santur Soul

Renzo Ruggiero – Alma (Phenix 001, 2017)

Alma is the new album by Italian santur virtuoso Renzo Ruggiero. Alma is a beautifully-crafted work featuring spirited world music instrumental pieces rooted in Mediterranean, Spanish and Middle Eastern melodies along with dreamy slow tempo, trance-like pieces. All the compositions are originals by Ruggiero except for a 12th century song and a Gurdieff-De Hartmann piece.

Ruggiero currently lives in Toledo, the ancient city in central Spain, not far from Madrid, that has become a home to many artists. An international cast of talented instrumentalists join Ruggiero on the album.

The lineup on Alma includes Renzo Ruggiero on santur, acoustic bass guitar, vocals, nyckelharpa, steel tongue drums, percussion, sound design; Javier Paxariño (Spain) on saxello and bansuri; Hames Bitar (Syria) on oud; Susana Shiava (Spain) on Tibetan singing bowls; and Anna Sato (Japan); Amable Rodríguez (Spain) on guitar; and Michele Carreca (Italy) on guitar and theorbo.



Alma is a mesmerizing work that showcases the talent and versatility of Renzo Ruggiero and his multi-faceted santur.

Buy the digital download version of Alma or get the CD from https://beloud.co/shop/en/renzoruggiero.


Mandinka Trailblazer

Ba Cissoko – Djeli (Cristal Records, 2016)

Djeli is the title of the latest album by Guinean multi-instrumentalist and composer Ba Cissoko. He’s a jeli (griot) who has mastered various string instruments, including the kora, ngoni, and guitar.

Djeli features a mix of original Afro-rooted material, including vibrant electric Mandinka music, Afropop, reggae and some traditional-style Mandinka pieces.

The lineup includes Ba Cissoko on kora, ngoni, guitar and vocals; his cousin Kourou Kouyaté on bass; Alhassane Camara (aka Dartagnan) on drums and percussion; Abdoulaye Kouyaté on guitar; and Karamoko Bangoura on kora.



Djeli features memorable performances by some of the finest musicians in the current Guinean scene.

Buy Djeli


Suma Flamenca 2017 Reveals June 12-19 Programming

Madrid’s superb flamenco festival, Suma Flamenca, has announced the artists scheduled to perform next week, June 12-19, 2017.

Acclaimed artists Los Carmona, Dorantes, Rafael Riqueni, Pansequito, Manuela Carrasco and David Coria are set to perform at the Teatros del Canal (Sala Verde).


Manuela Carrasco


Other concerts include Enrique Heredia ‘Negri’ at Centro Comarcal de Humanidades (Cardenal Gonzaga Sierra Norte); Diego Guerrero at Centro Cultural Paco Rabal; and La Noche Canalla at Café Berlín.
The festival also features master clases by Mercedes Ruiz, Javier Barón, Juana Amaya and Olga Pericet.


Enrique Heredia ‘Negri’


Rafael Riqueni


June 13
David Coria
8:30 p.m.
Sala Verde, Teatros del Canal

June 14
Aurora Vargas and Pansequito
8:30 p.m.
Sala Verde, Teatros del Canal

June 15
Dorantes & Taksim Trio
8:30 p.m.
Green Room of the Canal Theaters

June 16
Familia Carmona – Habichuelas
8:30 p.m.
Sala Verde, Teatros del Canal

June 17
Manuela Carrasco
8:30 p.m.
Sala Verde, Teatros del Canal

June 17
Enrique Heredia ‘Negri’
9:00 p.m.
Regional Center for Humanities (Cardenal Gonzaga Sierra Norte)

June 17
Diego Guerrero
8:00 p.m.
Paco Rabal Cultural Center

June 17
Noche Canalla
11:00 p.m.
Café Berlin

June 18
Rafael Riqueni
7:30 p.m.
Sala Verde, Teatros del Canal

headline photo: Dorantes & Taksim Trio


Remarkable Solo Celtic Guitar

Soïg Sibéril – Habask (Coop Breizh, 2017)

Virtuoso guitarist Soïg Sibéril has become of the finest performers in the Celtic guitar field. He’s been involved in countless musical projects with leading Breton and Celtic music artists.

Although he’s recorded solo albums before, Habask is truly a solo album, with no guests. It’s just Soïg and his guitar, playing acoustic music inspired by the traditional music of various Celtic cultures.

Habask features mesmerizing originals by Soïg Sibéril along with adaptations of traditional songs from Brittany and other parts of the Celtic music world.

Habask delivers exceptionally expressive acoustic guitar performances rooted in Celtic music.

Buy the digital download version of Habask. Or buy the CD from www.coop-breizh.fr