Tag Archives: United States of America

Artist Profiles: Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland – Photo by Carol Friedman

Charon Shemekia Copeland was born April 10, 1979 in Harlem, New York City. She is the daughter of famed blues guitarist and vocalist Johnny Copeland

At only 19, Shemekia Copeland released her debut recording, Turn the Heat Up! (1998). A year later, she appeared in the movie Three To Tango, while her song “I Always Get My Man, was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club.

Her second album, Wicked, released in 2000, received three Handy Awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination. Two years later, New Orleans R&B legend Dr. John stepped in to produce her third recording, Talking To Strangers (2002). Afterwards, Copeland released The Soul Truth in 2005. The album was produced by celebrated Stax guitarist Steve Cropper (who also played on the CD), and featured a mix of blues, funk and Memphis-style soul.

Shemekia Copeland joined Telarc International for the February 2009 release of Never Going Back. This new chapter in the Shemekia Copeland story represents a crossroads on her ongoing artistic journey – a place where numerous new avenues are open to her. While she will always remain loyal to her blues roots, Never Going Back takes a more forward view of the blues, and in so doing points her music and her career in a new direction.

I’ve had success in my career, and I’m happy with that,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to grow. In order for an artist to grow – and for a genre to grow – you have to do new things. I’m extremely proud to say I’m a blues singer, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing I’m capable of singing, or that’s the only style of music I’m capable of making.”

She added: “I want to keep growing. My main goal when I started this was that I was going to do something different with this music, so that this music could evolve and grow. I got that idea from my father. He didn’t do the typical one-four-five blues. He went to Africa and worked with musicians there. He was one of the first blues artists to do that. I want to be the same way. I want to be innovative with the blues.”

Discography:

* Turn the Heat Up! (Alligator Records, 1998)
* Wicked (Alligator Records, 2000)
* Talking To Strangers (Alligator Records, 2002)
* The Soul Truth (Alligator Records, 2005)
* Never Going Back (Telarc International, 2009)
* Shemekia Copeland – Deluxe Edition (Alligator Records, 2011)
* 33 1/3 (Telarc, 2012)
* Outskirts of Love (Alligator Records, 2015)

Web sites: www.shemekiacopeland.com

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Artist Profiles: Salar Nader

Salar Nader – Photo by Bobby Aazami

Salar Nader, of Afghan origin, was born in 1981 in Hamburg, Germany and migrated to the United States at the age of three . It was in his early months of life when his mother and father noticed his passion for the tabla. No matter where Salar was, he had to bring along his personal tabla set that his father bought for him when he was 6 months old.

At the age of 7, Salar attended his first tabla class in Berkeley, California. The instructor of the class, Ustad Zakir Hussain, who is now Salar’s guru, is a world renowned master of the tabla.

Sooner than expected, Salar was making public appearances on nationwide television screens including; “Nowrooz” festival TV, Nima TV and Jaam-e-Jaam TV. One of his memorable appearances was with Ustad Mawaash (notable Afghan vocalist), when Salar was only 11 years old.

As time progressed Salar became more and more devoted to his tabla training and has since played internationally with renowned masters such as Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, world famous sarangi virtuoso Ustad Sultan Khan, Rob Wasserman, Pandit Chtresh Das and participated at the famous Monterey Music Festival at 18.

With a deep passion for Afghan classical music traditions but also Indian Kathak dance and music, he also enjoyed collaborating with the Dj Cheb i Sabbah and Fareed Haque Group, improvising on an Indian jazz fusion style of music.

He has performed with Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Mawaash, Rahul Sharma, Ahmad Wali, Homayun Sakhi, Fareed Haque Group, Ustad Shujaat khan, Ustad Rashid khan, Kala Ramnath, Ghulam Ali Khan and Riffat Sultana. He has also performed with ensembles such as the Rumi Ensemble (Shahram Nazeri and Hafez Nazeri), Rumination (Farzin Farhadi, Cheb I Sabbah) and Niyaz.

Discography:

Live In Osnabruck, with Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Hassan Riahi (Dreyer Gaido, 2007)

Fie Ma Fie II – Moulana (Dreyer Gaido, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder

Ryland Peter Cooder (Ry Cooder) was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 15, 1947. He is a guitarist well-known for his slide guitar style.

Ry Cooder first attracted attention in the 1960s, playing with bluesman Taj Mahal in The Rising Sons, The Seeds, and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

Cooder played a role in the new appreciation for traditional Cuban music thanks to his collaboration as producer in the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) recording that became a worldwide hit.

German filmmaker Wim Wenders directed a documentary film of the Cuban musicians involved, titled Buena Vista Social Club (1999) that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000. Cooder also produced Ibrahim Ferrer’s Buenos Hermanos, and Mambo Sinuendo, all Grammy winners.

Ry Cooder’s solo work has been an eclectic mix on american roots music, including dustbowl folk music, tex-mex, soul, gospel, rock and other genrese. He has collaborated with many influential musicians, including the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, the Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Hawaiian master Gabby Pahinui, and the late Ali Farka Toure. Cooder also formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt and Jim Keltner.

 

 

Cooder’s 1978 album Bop Till You Drop was the first popular music album to be recorded digitally.

Ry Cooder’s Chávez Ravine, released in 2005 is a tribute to the long-gone Los Angeles Mexican-American enclave known as Chávez Ravine. Using real and imagined historical characters, Cooder and friends created an album that recollects various aspects of the poor but vibrant hillside Chicano community that was razed by developers in the 1950s in the interest of “progress.” The Dodgers Stadium (The Dodgers are a famous American professional baseball team) eventually was built on the spot. Cooder said at the time, “Here is some music for a place you don’t know, up a road you don’t go. Chávez Ravine, where the sidewalk ends.”

Chávez Ravine features various musical genres found in Los Angeles, including conjunto, corrido, R&B, Latin pop, and jazz. The 15-track album is sung in Spanish and English/ Cooder is joined by East Los Angeles legends like Chicano music patriarch Lalo Guerrero, Pachuco boogie king Don Tosti, Thee Midniters front man Little Willie G., and Ersi Arvizu of The Sisters and El Chicano.

Los Angeles was paved over, malled up, high-rised, and urban-renewed, as fortunes were made, power was concentrated, and everything got faster and bigger,” explained Cooder. “But there is a lot I miss now. The texture of certain older neighborhoods, like Bunker Hill, a rural feel in urban places, like Chávez Ravine and the timbre of life there, and just peace and quiet,” he said.

Chavez Ravine was the first recording of a California trilogy. The second volume was 2007’s My Name Is Buddy.

 

Ry Cooder – Photo by Susan Titelman

 

The last recording of the California trilogy is I, Flathead, an album of music by the fictional musician Kash Buk and his band the Klowns, characters in Cooder’s 95-page tale. The album and novella were released together on June 24, 2008, by Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records.

The novella tells the story of Kash Buk and his friend Shakey the alien, together with various friends, lovers, enemies, and associates in a long-gone California filled with deserts, salt-flat racing, Native Americans, seedy dance halls, amusement parks, and sinister plots. The album includes fourteen songs by Buk, a hard-edged salt flat racer and roadhouse musician. With the story and the music, Cooder creates a world where “strange people are the norm,” inspired by country western music, Popular Mechanics magazines, and science fiction movies.

Flathead reflects change and disruption in a young, post-war, do-it-yourself culture of outsiders obsessed with racing cars fashioned from military surplus parts and flathead engines. As Kash Buk explains, “You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story for you animal lovers, and a forbidden-race love song, which every record ought to have at least one of.”

Cooder produced I, Flathead and wrote or co-wrote all the songs. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, alongside Mariachi Los Camperos; Joachim Cooder, and Jim Keltner on drums; Rene Camacho on bass; Francisco Torres on trombone; Ron Blake and Jon Hassell on trumpet; Anthony Gil on bass sax; Flaco Jiménez on accordion, Gil Bernal on tenor sax; Jared Smith on keyboards; Martin Pradler on electric piano and drums; and Juliette Commagere on vocals.

 

Ry Cooder – Photo by Susan Titelman

 

Ry Cooder has composed soundtracks for more than twenty films, including Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, and The End of Violence.

 

 

Discography

* Ry Cooder (Reprise, 1970)
* Performance, soundtrack (1970)
* Into the Purple Valley (Reprise, 1972)
* Boomer’s Story (Reprise, 1972)
* Paradise and Lunch (Reprise, 1974)
* Chicken Skin Music (Reprise, 1976)
* Showtime (Warner Brothers, 1977)
* Jazz (Reprise, 1978)
* Bop Till You Drop (Warner Brothers, 1979)
* Borderline (Warner Brothers, 1980)
* The Long Riders, soundtrack (Warner Brothers, 1980)
* The Border, soundtrack (1981)
* Southern Comfort, soundtrack (1981)
* The Slide Area (Warner Brothers, 1982)
* Paris, Texas, soundtrack (Warner Brothers, 1985)
* Music from Alamo Bay, soundtrack (1985)
* Blue City, soundtrack (1986)
* Crossroads, soundtrack (Warner Brothers, 1986)
* Why Don’t You Try Me Tonight, compilation (Warner Brothers, 1986)
* Get Rhythm (Warner Brothers, 1987)
* Pecos Bill (Windham Hill, 1988)
* Johnny Handsome, soundtrack (1989)
* Rising Sons, with Taj Mahal(recorded 1965/66, released 1992)
* A Meeting By The River, with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Water Lily Acoustics, 1993)
* Trespass, soundtrack (Warner Brothers, 1993)
* Geronimo: An American Legend, soundtrack (Sony, 1993)
* River Rescue – The Very Best Of Ry Cooder (1994)
* Talking Timbuktu, with Ali Farka Touré (Hannibal, 1994)
* Music by Ry Cooder, film music (1Warner Brothers, 1995)
* Last Man Standing, soundtrack (Polygram Records, 1996)
* The End of Violence, soundtrack (Outpost Records, 1997)
* Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit/Nonesuch, 1997)
* Primary Colors, soundtrack (1998)
* Mambo Sinuendo, with Manuel Galbán (Nonesuch, 2003)
* Chávez Ravine (Nonesuch Records, 2005)
* My Name Is Buddy (Nonesuch Records, 2007)
* I, Flathead (Nonesuch Records,2008)
* The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed (2008)
* San Patricio, with The Chieftains (2010)
* Live On Air (2010)
* Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Mobile Fidelity, 2011)
* Election Special (Nonesuch, 2012)
* Live in San Francisco, with Corridos Famosos (Nonesuch, 2013)

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Riyaaz Qawwali to present the Sufi Music of Pakistan & India at ‘A World In Trance’ Music Series

Riyaaz Qawwali

American qawwali music ensemble Riyaaz Qawwali is set to perform on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Roulette in New York City.

Riyaaz Qawwali performs the trance-like improvisational Sufi vocal tradition made famous in the West by the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, enthralling listeners with its lively rhythms, joyous melodies and inspirational poetry.

In addition to performing traditional qawwali that has been in existence for over 700 years, the ensemble also adds various songs and poetry of South Asia into the qawwali framework, using qawwali as a universal message of oneness that transcends religious boundaries.

Most qawwali ensembles are composed of Muslim family members, but Riyaaz Qawwali, which is based in Texas, is composed of musicians who represent the diversity of South and Central Asia; they are of Indian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Bangladeshi descent, and come from various spiritual backgrounds, including Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

The ensemble’s discography includes Kashti and Ishq.

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Artist Profiles: Rick Epping

Rick Epping – Photo from New Road Live in Dublin, February 2014

American multi-instrumentalist Rick Epping plays harmonica, concertina, banjo, and jaw harp. He’s a native of California and has been moving back and forth between Ireland and the United States for over 30 years. During this time, Epping has been playing the folk music of both countries since childhood.

Epping has performed with acclaimed musicians such as Bill Monroe, Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb and Irish accordionist Joe Cooley. On his album The Unwanted he features a trio that includes Irish musicians Séamus O’Dowd (fiddle) and Cathy Jordan (Dervish’s vocalist).

Discography

Pumpkinhead (Mulligan LUN 001, 1978)
Jiggin’ the Blues, with Frankie Gavin and Tim Edey (G2CD7011)
Music from the Atlantic Fringe (Compass, 2009)

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Easy Star All-Stars Announce 2017 West Coast Tour

Popular reggae band Easy Star All-Stars will be touring the West Coast of the United States and Canada starting in May of 2017, including the first ever appearance at the California Roots Music and Arts Festival. The 16-stop tour will run through late June as Easy Star All-Stars travels to reggae-friendly cities across the West Coast and Mountains. Supporting acts include The Late Ones and The Elovators.

Easy Star All-Stars is well known for its reggae versions of full albums by legendary rock and pop acts Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson, as well as its own original material from its decade plus as a recording act. All of the band’s albums have reach the top on the Billboard Reggae Charts, including Lonely Hearts Dub Band, Thrillah and Dub Side of the Moon.

Tour Dates:

May 27 – California Roots 2017 – Monterey, CA
May 28 – Romano’s Concert Lounge – Riverside, CA
May 29 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
May 31 – Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
June 1 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA
June 2 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
June 3 – Summer Arts & Music Festival – Garberville, CA
June 4 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
June 5 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
June 7 – Fox Theater – Boulder, CO
June 8 – Gothic Theater – Englewood, CO
June 9 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
June 10 – World Village Festival – Boise, ID
June 23 – Nectar Lounge – Seattle, WA
June 24 – Tall Tree Music Festival – Port Renfrew, BC, CAN
June 25 – Star Theater – Portland, OR

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Artist Profiles: Ray Abshire

Ray Abshire

 

Ray Abshire plays traditional Cajun dance music, performing regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Festival International in Lafayette, where he lives. Currently, he leaves home only to play festivals and music camps. Born into a musical family – he is a cousin of Cajun great Nathan Abshire – Ray Abshire grew up during the South Louisiana “Dance Hall” era of the 1950s and 1960s and began playing professionally when he was 14.

He performed with all the well-known Cajun masters whose recordings form the foundation for students of Cajun music today; a highlight of his collaborations is the time he spent as accordion player with the legendary Balfa Brothers Band from 1969 to 1975.

Ray Abshire’s accordion style is traditional and he sings in the classic Cajun tenor high voice. Remaining true to the traditional sound he grew up with, Abshire draws from a large repertoire of songs rarely heard today, as featured on his CD, “For Old Times Sake” with fiddlers Courtney Granger and Kevin Wimmer on Swallow Records, released in 2003.

 

 

Discography

* For Old Times Sake (2004)

* Arrête Pas la Musique (Don’t Stop The Music) (Swallow Records, 2006)

* All night Long (Swallow Records, 2013)

* Cajun Accordion Kings (Valcour Records, 2017)

Web site: rayabshire.com

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Artist Profiles: Pine Leaf Boys

The Pine Leaf Boys

The Pine Leaf Boys, a remarkable band from southern Louisiana, play traditional Cajun and Creole music with new, unique arrangements.

The band features some of the finest players in the Cajun music scene. Accordion and fiddle player Wilson Savoy is the son of legends Marc and Ann Savoy, while master fiddler and superb singer Courtney Granger comes from the Balfa family lineage.

Bassist Thomas David was born and raised in Lafayette. He started playing drums professionally at age 8 alongside his father, Ken David, bassist with Jambalaya Cajun Band.

Discography

* La Musique (Arhoolie Records, 2006)
* Blues de Musicien (Arhoolie Records, 2007)
* Allons Boire Un Coup (Valcour, 2007)
* Homage Au Passe (Lionsgate Records, 2008)
* Live at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2009)
* Back Home (Valcour Records, 2010)
* Pine Leaf Boys (Valcour Records, 2010)
* Live at Jazzfest 2012 (Munck Mix, 2012)
* Danser (139th Broadway, 2013)
* Live at Jazzfest 2014 (Munck Music, 2014)
* Live at Jazzfest 2016 (Munck Music, 2016)

Web site http://www.pineleafboys.com

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Orkesta Mendoza to Perform in UK in 2017

Orkesta Mendoza

American band Orkesta Mendoza will be touring the UK in the next weeks. The band is led by multi-faceted artist Sergio Mendoza, who is also a member and co-producer of acclaimed Southwestern music band Calexico, and an arranger and founding member of Mexrrissey.

Orkesta Mendoza plays borderless music that includes the entire Americas (North, Central, South), embracing mambo and cumbia with same interest as psychedelic pop, twang rock and analog electronics.

The band will present its new album ‘¡Vamos A Guarachar!’ (Glitterbeat Records), released at the end of 2016.

UK Tour (La Linea):

Friday, 21 April – Rich Mix, London
Saturday, 22 April – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Sunday, 23 April – Band On The Wall, Manchester
Monday, 24 April – Sage Two, Gateshead
Tuesday, 25 April – Komedia, Brighton
Wednesday, 26 April – Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge

UK Festival Performances:
Friday, 28 July – WOMAD Charlton Park, Wiltshire
Saturday, 29 July – Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset

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Superb Latin Jazz Guitar Discoveries

Steve Khan – Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes (Tone Center, 2017)

Guitar maestro Steve Khan continues his remarkable series of Latin jazz explorations with Backlog. Khan skillfully combines soloing with rhythm guitar techniques as well as subtle slide effects. He’s supported by an outstanding rhythm section featuring three percussionists and a bass player.

The rich, irresistible percussion section adds an undeniable Afro-Cuban flavor to the music, even when Khan performs jazz standards by Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, a tribute to the late Bobby Hutcherson, or even Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Go Home.”

There is no smooth jazz here. Steve Khan delivers real contemporary jazz infused with beats from the Spanish-speaking region of the Caribbean.

The lineup on Backlog includes Steve Khan on guitar, Rubén Rodríguez on baby bass and electric bass; Bobby Allende on conga and bongo; Marc Quiñones on timbales, bongo and percussion; Mark Walker on drums.

Guest featured Rob Mounsey on keyboards and orchestrations; Randy Brecker on trumpet; Mike Mainieri on vibraphones vibraphone; Bob Mintzer on tenor saxophone; and Tatiana Parra on vocals.

On Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes Steve Khan delivers a set of masterful performances opening new pathways for the electric guitar in the context of Latin jazz.

Buy Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes

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