It’s no surprise that ‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’, the new album by Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab is one of the highest rated recording in the past weeks by the two leading world music charts: the Transglobal World Music Chart and the World Music Charts Europe.
‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’ brings back the captivating mix of traditional Cuban and Senegalese dance music along with some innovations. For the first time, Orchestra Baobab has added a permanent kora (West African harp) player, augmenting even more the Senegalese flavor of the band.
The title of the album makes reference to Ndiouga Dieng, the longtime vocalist for Orchestra Baobab, who passed away in November 2016.
The lineup features Balla Sidibe on vocals and timbales; Rudy Gomis on vocals; Issa Sissoko on tenor saxophone; Thierno Koite on tenor and alto saxophone; Charlie Ndiaye on bass; Mountaga Koite on congas; Abdouleye Cissoko on kora; Oumar Sow on guitar; Yahya Fall on rhythm guitar; and Beninese musicians Wilfried Zinzou on trombone and rising guitarist Rene Sowatche.
Two special guests participated in the recording sessions, world music star Cheikh Lo who appears in the song ‘Magno Kouto’ and former Baobab vocalist Thione Seck, who recreates the hit ‘Sey’.
The physical version of the album comes in a very nicely-packaged format, as a hard cover book with song descriptions, photos and illustrations.
On Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng, the extraordinary Orchestra Baobab treats the listener to a beautiful set of passionate songs and infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese beats.
With summer just around the corner many of you are planning to head off to the beach, to the mountains or to grandma’s house while others are planning backyard barbecues, family reunions or pool parties so you are in desperate need of some tunes. As luck would have it I have your smoking raging down the highway, sizzling grilling chicken and hey someone needs to get that Frisbee off the roof tunes for your summer fun. The double-CD set Tedeschi Trucks Band Live from the Fox Oakland is your ticket to some kickass, razor sharp tunes.
Fans know the Jacksonville, Florida blues/rock Tedeschi Trucks Band from past offerings like Let Me Get, Midnight in Harlem, Revelator, Made Up and Everybody’s Talkin. Their latest offering is the fruits of their labors from a 2016 live performance at Oakland, California’s Fox Theater.
Guitarist Derek Trucks explains the springboard for the recording, “We’ve been wanting to properly document the progress of this ban for a while and it really felt like we were hitting our stride and firing on all cylinders last fall.”
Guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi adds, “It was special capturing the live performance from Oakland. The audience was great and the band played with passion. I am thankful we captured the band at this moment in time.”
Headed up by Ms. Tedeschi and Mr. Trucks, The Tedeschi Trucks Band is full of the usual suspects with Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell on drums and percussion, J.J. Johnson on drums and percussion, Tim Lefebvre on bass guitar, Mike Mattison on vocals and acoustic guitar, Mark Rivers on vocals, Alecia Chakour on vocals, Kebbi Williams on saxophone, Elizabeth Lea on trombone and Ephraim Owens on trumpet. Fans get a treat with guest musician Alam Khan on sarode on “These Walls.”
Live at the Fox Oakland is savagely good and kickass cool. Chocked full of the goodness of “Don’t Know What It Means,” “Keep on Growing,” “Bird on the Wire” and “Anyhow,” and that’s just CD 1, the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s sound is tight and razor sharp. With rocking guitar licks, sizzling rhythms, soulful vocals, sassy backing vocals and brass lines so sweet they’ll probably keep the mosquitos away, Live at the Fox Oakland is all you need to get your mojo working again. CD 2 is just as fabulous with offerings like “Leavin’ Trunk,” “Don’t Drift Away,” “I Want More (Soul Sacrifice Outro)” and the rich and rewarding “Ali.”
For fans wanting to get a little live action of the Tedeschi Trucks band should check their local concert venues because the band is currently on a U.S. tour and will have upcoming concerts in places like Philadelphia, Saratoga, Rochester, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Albuquerque this June and July.
It’s doubtful that Live at the Fox Oakland will make your teeth whiter, your kids smarter, help you find the love of a good woman or improve your posture – but you never know because I think I’m sitting a little straighter right now.
Kenyan Afro-Folk singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira has a new album titled Song of Lament that addresses injustice and the refugee crisis. Although news stories made her grieve, she desired “to create art that would serve society at large and hopefully lessen the chaos around us.”
Naomi Wachira currently lives in Seattle (Washington State, USA) and recorded Song of Lament with Dave West on organ and Rhodes; Teo Shantz on drums; Masa Kobayashi on bass; Tommy Sandovallegos on percussion; Eric Lilavois on percussion; Owuor Arunga on trumpet; and Andrew Joslyn on strings.
Earlier recordings include her first EP African Girl (2012), the self-titled album Naomi Wachira (2014) and an acoustic EP, I am Because You Are (2015).
La Mar de Músicas, the significant world music and rock festival in Cartagena (southeastern Spain), will celebrate the traditional, cutting-edge and mestizo sounds of Latin America. The festival, organized by the City Council of Cartagena, will feature 23 groups from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Chile, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil and Guatemala as well as additional acts from Africa, North America and Europe. La Mar de Músicas is expected to run July 14 to 22. Of the 48 concerts scheduled, 22 will be free.
In addition to music, arts fans visiting Cartagena can look ahead to a series of events featuring other art forms: La Mar de Arte (Art), La Mar de Letras (Literature) and La Mar de Cine (Film).
La Mar de Músicas opens on Friday, July 14 with Puerto Rican artist René Pérez, the leader of Calle 13. He’ll present his first solo work, “Residente”. That same night, the festival will showcase innovative Colombian act Puerto Candelaria, Ecuadorian Nicola Cruz, Peruvian psychedelic folk band Kanaku y el Tigre, and Mexican indie star Carla Morrison.
Two additional acts from Puerto Rico are scheduled: iLe, René’s sister and also former Calle 13 member. She’ll present her first solo album that inspired by 1950s boleros. African-American artist Mark Underwood, who relocated to Puerto Rico, will showcase his futuristic folkloric concept under the name of Ifé.
In addition to Puerto Candelaria, the Colombian lineup includes mestizo rock masters Aterciopelados and roots innovators Systema Solar.
Mateo Kingman is the other artist representing Ecuador. His music makes reference to nature and jungle sounds.
Bareto, one of the finest Peruvian bands at the moment is projected to showcase its alternative tropical sound.
Cuban music fans can look ahead to concerts by La Dame Blanche (Yaite Ramos Rodriguez), a vocalist and flute player who mixes urban and tropical genres. The festival has also planned to celebrate the lifetime achievement of legendary Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés, who’ll receive the La Mar de Musicas 2017 prize. Pablo Milanés is set to perform a special concert accompanied on stage by Pablo López, Rozalén and Jorge Marazu.
Chile returns to La Mar de Músicas with a tribute to the influential folklorist Violeta Parra. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the writer of the iconic song “Gracias a la vida” and the festival has planned a special concert that includes Chilean singer-songwriter Manuel García and the granddaughter of Violeta, Tita Parra. This tribute includes an exhibition, a lecture and the projection of the documentary that her brother Ángel Parra made. La Mar de Musicas will also feature irresistible Chilean cumbia masters Chico Trujillo.
The talent from Brazil includes young female singers Céu and Maria Gadú who are well known in their country, as well as Brazilian Afrobeat act Bixiga 70, a world music sensation in 2016.
Representing Honduras is Garifuna music star Aurelio. Another Central American artist, Madrid-based Guatemalan artist Meneo is scheduled to present his vision of global electronica.
Argentine band Chancha Vía Circuito is set to present its combination of Latin American folk sounds and electronica.
Celebrated pianist Michel Camilo, from the Dominican Republic and flamenco guitar maestro Tomatito will present the latest part of their longtime collaboration. The two artists have been working together for years, celebrating Latin American music, jazz, flamenco and Spanish music. Their latest album is Spain Forever.
Two artists from the United States are set to perform, folk innovator Leyla McCalla and jazz singer Kandance Springs. Leyla McCalla plays a mix of old time folk music, jazz and traditional Haitian music.
Africa is usually well represented at La Mar de Músicas. This year the festival’s last day has programmed a great African party with Malian star Oumou Sangaré, who will present her new album, and the most important African reggae act, Alpha Blondy. Other African acts include Konono nº1’s congotronics and Angolan artists Toto ST and Elenco Da Paz.
European acts include influential pop singer-songwriter Franco Battiato (who was also an electronic music pioneer in Italy); acclaimed British reggae band UB40; Portugal’s Rodrigo Leão, who will be accompanied by Australian artist Scott Matthew; and Norwegian act Moddi.
The Spanish part of the festival includes Rosalía, Raúl Refrëe, Rocío Márquez, the new sensation Estricnina (Juanito Makandé and Canijo de Jérez) and Macaco.
The festival regularly programs local and regional talent from the Murcia region. The artists featured this year are Perro, Ayoho, Noise Box, La Farándula and the project Fémina Project featuring the vocals of Saray Melo and Paula Marengo.
La Mar Chica, the musical section dedicated to children, has scheduled concerts by Feten Feten, Jamaikids, Malvariche and Perlita.
Fabrizio Cassol – Strange Fruit (Outhere Music/Instinct Collection, 2017)
Strange Fruit is a cross-genre project developed by Belgian saxophonist and composer Fabrizio Cassol, who has a background in classical and jazz music. Strange Fruit, however, is definitely much closer to world music. The album features one of the stars of Malian music, Oumou Sangare, as well as other well-known vocalists.
Throughout Strange Fruit, Fabrizio Cassol and his collaborators travel through various musical genres. The album opens with a fabulous rhythmic piece titled” Didadi Horns” featuring the vocals and spectacular tamani (talking drums) of Baba Sissoko and the equally remarkable sound of the soku one-string Wassulu fiddle. This piece also features electric guitar and bass along with a powerful jazz brass section that brings it close to Afrobeat.
Oumou Sangare appears on track 2, “Soukora” joined by La Choraline Choir, superb ethereal electric guitar by Manu Codjia, Babao Sissoko’s ngoni along with Fabrizio Cassol’s reverberating saxophone and more of the soku fiddle.
The pace changes drastically on track 3, “Strange Fruit,” featuring soprano Claron McFadden accompanied by Eric Legnini on piano. It has an African American spiritual flavor.
Another unexpected turn appears on track 4, “Strange Fruits,” that features La Choraline Choir mixing Bach and Billy Holiday. On “Strange Fruits,” classical, jazz, and Malian sounds come together. Electric bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou gets an opportunity to showcase his talent on this track.
Track 5, “If Jesus” has a folk-blues feel. It features American soprano Melissa Givens accompanied by Hammond organ and an electric band.
“I Can’t Sleep Tonight” features the soulful vocals of Marie Daulne (Zap Mama) along with La Choraline Choir. This song has some of the finest vocal interactions in the album.
The spiritual side of the album return on “Sehet Jesus”, track 7, featuring a jazz combo accompanying the remarkable vocals of Claron McFadden.
Oumou Sangare’s unmistakable vocals return on track 8, “On Les enfants de la rue” , a funk jazz piece that also features La Choraline.
Track 9, “Choeurs Pygmees” is a great a cappella vocal piece partially inspired by pygmy vocals, featuring remarkable interplay between Marie Daulne and Kezia Daulne along with La Choraline.
“Some Days: (track 10) is the longest composition on the album. This jazz song features Belgian male vocalist David Linx and Claron McFadden. Near the end, this piece turns quite adventurous venturing into exciting jazz-rock territory.
With track 11, “Farka” the album’s vibe turns back to world music led by Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s beautiful guitar, Magic Malik’s flute and Baba Sissoko’s vocals supported by a meaty brass section.
The album concludes with a laid back acoustic Malian piece featuring Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s acoustic guitar and something that sounds like a kora although it doesn’t appear in the credits.
This album came out originally on the Blue Note label in 2012.
Strange Fruit is an impressive, beautifully-arranged album that brings together a multi-ethnic cast of talented jazz, classical, spiritual and world music artists.
The prolific Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya loves to collaborate with other musicians. He has released exquisite solo albums as well as remarkable collaborations with jazz and world music artists. On this occasion, Debashish and his brother Subhasis (tabla) team up with two acclaimed jazz musicians, Norwegian saxophone player Anders Lønne Grønseth and innovative American guitar player Kenny Wessel.
The East West fusion works perfectly, especially when the two totally different guitar styles interact with each other. Debashish uses his habitual mesmerizing resophonic guitars while Kenny Wessel uses the electric guitar and the interplay is exquisite.
Anders Lønne Grønseth’s saxophone also blends well with the guitars and tabla, especially when he uses the softer form of playing the sax, when it feels more like a whisper.
The lineup includes Debashish Bhattacharya on chaturangui and National resophonic guitars; Anders Lønne Grønseth on tenor and soprano saxophones; Kenny Wessel on electric guitar; and Subhasis Bhattacharya on tabla and percussion.
A group of three friends has gotten together to build pianos in Rwanda. After the closure of the only piano factory in South Africa years ago, there are currently no piano makers in Africa. The Rwandan workshop intends to build upright pianos with an African twist, using local materials to make it affordable.
Obnoxious is a cult album that was originally released in 1970 by Brazilian label Quartin. It’s a recording full of musical surprises and lavish unexpected arrangements by composer, guitarist and vocalist José Mauro.
The opening track, “Obnoxious”, sets the tone for the entire album. You’ll find orchestral arrangements, loungy brass, great Brazilian percussion, psychedelia and more. The arrangements sound like a fabulous Brazilian soundtrack to a secret agent movie.
But there is also a melancholic undercurrent and Catholic references in the lyrics that sets it apart from the “happier” forms of Brazilian music that were popular at the time.
The lineup includes José Mauro on vocals and guitar; Maurilio on trumpet; Paulo Mora on alto sax; Altamiro Carrilho on flute; Rildo Hora on gaita; Salvador on keyboards; Geraldo Vespar on guitar; Sebastiao Marinho on bass; Juquinha and Marnao on percussion; Wilson Das Neves on drums; and Roberto Quartin’s string ensemble.