The World Music Institute (WMI) has announced the 2017-18 series of concerts. The world music programming includes over 40 performances by musicians from 28 countries.
Some of the highlights include acclaimed Ethiopian stars Mahmoud Ahmed and Hailu Mergia; the New York debut of Tuareg rising star, guitarist Mdou Moctar and his band; Portuguese Fado star Mariza; Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan; Hindustani bansuri master Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia; Afrobeat/techno duo Tony Allen & Jeff Mills; Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Malian kora masters Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté; South African jazz legends Abdulla Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela; Ibibio Sound Machine; Canadian Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq; and a special collaboration between Kronos Quartet and Soo Yeon Lyuh, master of the haegeum (Korean two-string fiddle).
Venues include intimate spaces such as Littlefield and The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center as well as large-scale stages like BAM Opera House, Apollo Theater and The Town Hall.
SANS is an ensemble that combines contemporary folk music, jazz and chamber music elements. The group is led by the multi-faceted British multi-instrumentalist and writer Andrew Cronshaw, along with acclaimed Finnish singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio (former Hedningarna), multi-instrumental reeds player Ian Blake, and Armenian duduk maestro Tigran Aleksanyan.
Picture a form of chamber world music that would feel perfectly at home at ECM. It’s meditative, mesmerizing music where Finnish traditions, vocals and instruments join ancient Armenian sounds and English folklore.
Andrew Cronshaw plays electric zither, fujara, marovantele, kantele; Sanna Kurki-Suonio on vocals; Tigran Aleksanyan on duduk; and Ian Blake on bass clarinet, soprano sax.
SANS Live is a beautiful, spellbinding album, masterfully crafted by four world class musicians.
Lin Sheng-xiang is one of the most prominent folk musicians in Taiwan today. As a founding member of the groundbreaking Labor Exchange Band Sheng-xiang fused social activism, folk-rock sensibility and the traditional music of his Hakka roots to widespread acclaim.
His album ‘Planting Trees’ continues his on-going collaborations with poet and lyricist Chung Yong-feng, Okinawan musician Takashi Hirayasu and guitarist Ken Ohtake of Japan.
Her story began in Big Indian, a tiny village perched among the Catskill Mountains of New York although she didn’t stay there long. Lhasa’s (full name Lhasa de Sela) idealistic and unconventional parents rejected routine and stability preferring to follow life wherever it might lead them.
For seven years the family would crisscross the United States and Mexico in a converted school bus Lhasa’s first chapter in a long experience of the road. Her father was a writer and teacher who would work in construction or picking fruit when he had to; her mother was a photographer.
Traveling with them and her three sisters it was her early contacts with books fairy tales radio drama and passing landscapes that shaped her imagination. Even at the time she knew how lucky she was to be spending her childhood as she was although the freedom entailed uncertainty as well.
The soundtrack to those years was a medley of the American and Mexican classics loved by her father and the Latin Arab Eastern European and Asian music her mother would listen to.
San Francisco mid 198s. At 13 Lhasa took to the stage of a Greek cafe to sing Billie Holliday ballads and Mexican tunes a cappella. There she gradually discovered the power of her voice to convey thoughts and emotions she was only beginning to experience herself.
Six years later the road led north to Montreal. It was there that she met guitarist and producer Yves Desrosiers. For close to five years they performed together in downtown bars a collaboration that evolved into original material that eventually took form in La Llorona an album that centered on the persona of a tearful siren of Aztec mythology who would bewitch men with her heartrending melodies.
Infused with a certain nostalgia, the album exuded the fragrances of Mexico and the colors of the Romany full of sensuality and striking instrumentation. Released in February 1997 the Spanish-language album was immediately recognized for its sparkling originality. Hundreds of thousands worldwide were transported by the even throaty voice that delivered such mysterious poetry above the rich arrangements heady like incense.
The first influence was in Quebec where Lhasa began to fill halls and ultimately win the “Felix” for Artiste Quebecois – musique de monde in 1997. Then followed the rest of Canada where she went platinum selling 11 albums and winning a Juno for Best Global Artist in 1998. Then came the U.S. and Europe especially France where La Llorona went triple disc d’or, with albums flying off the shelves.
Lhasa and her band toured relentlessly for several years throughout Europe and North America where her concerts were as acclaimed as the album had been. The demand for live appearances steadily increased. On the eve of the 21st Century Lhasa decided to take a break from touring and consider what might be next.
Realizing that she needed to distance herself from her life as a singer she decided to travel to France to fulfill her childhood dream of performing with her three sisters all circus performers. They met up in Bourgogne and created a show together which premiered in the summer of 1999. The contrast between the life of a touring musician who sees the world fly by with never the time to savor the places and people along the way and the circus life traveling in the company of family and friends sharing trailers and assembling and dismantling the big top and bleachers provided a welcome opportunity for the singer to replenish her inner resources.
When the circus tour had ended Lhasa arrived at a new chapter in her life: Marseilles the ancient port city where half the titles for her new album would be born. In 2002, back in Montreal, where her career had begun she re-united with Francois Lalonde drummer percussionist and sound engineer onLa Llorona and Jean Massicotte pianist who had also contributed to the mixing of her first release. They were to co-produce her second album The Living Road.
Where La Llorona revolves around a mythical siren The Living Road centers on the metaphor of life as a road. A gathering of original titles sung in Spanish, English and French the album bridges physical distances as it links the musical traditions of the present and the past. “That’s what inspires each of the songs on the album,” said Lhasa. “The mysterious force that doesn’t let us box ourselves in that compels us to keep changing. The road is alive we can’t freeze or stop it. And we know we can’t.”
The self-titled and self-produced Lhasa reveled in her eclectic sum of influences was released in 2009.
After battling breast cancer Lhasa passed away on Monday January 1st of 2010 at her home in Montreal Canada. She was 37.
British world music festival Musicport has announced its 2017 lineup. The festival takes place October 20th – 22nd, 2017 at Whitby Pavilion, West Cliff, Whitby.
This year’s program includes:
Afro Celt Sound System: masters of Celtic fusion.
Benjamin Zephaniah & The Revolutionary Minds: Pioneering dub reggae poet, writer, social commentator and music maker with new album “Revolutionary Minds.
Trio Da Kali (Mali): A Malian super group with an impressive roster. Singer Hawa is the daughter of the great Kass Mady Diabaté, still one of West Africa’s great voices. Lassana Diabaté, formerly with Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, is a master of the ancient West African wooden xylophone, the balafon, while ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté is the eldest son of the instrument’s greatest exponent, Bassekou Kouyaté.
Tcha Limberger’s Kalotaszeg Trio (Hungary): A trio showcasing specifically the folk music played by Gypsies in a small region of Transylvania with a universally respected cultural heritage. The three main repertoires played are Hungarian, Romanian, and Gypsy. Led by the remarkable fiddler Tcha.
Kefaya: Ecstatic Indo-prog led by the virtuoso talents of Giuliano Moderelli & Al McSween both who trained at Leeds College Of Music. Winner of Songlines 2017 Newcomer Award.
Maia Barou (Japan/France): The daughter of a Japanese painter and a French author/producer, the flute is her first instrument but she sings using a special technique from a small island in the South of Japan, mixing it with modern and electric sounds.
Maarja Nuut (Estonia): Charismatic fiddler and singer from Northern Estonia. Her music combines traditional dance tunes, songs and stories with live electronics to create an intricate layered soundscape in a space where minimalism and experimental music meet the village musical traditions of pre-war Europe.
Joanne Harris & Storytime Band: The internationally acclaimed author of Chocolat brings a new live show to the festival, featuring dark tales from her forthcoming collection and projections, original music and song from the band she has been a member of since college.
Amaraterra: A London-based group of expatriates from Salento in southern Italy, whose songs in the pizzica dance style speak of love, longing and passion.
Andy Kershaw: A late night DJ set from the broadcaster journalist and foremost advocate of the type of music Musicport promotes.
Maya Youssef Trio (Syria): Virtuoso Syrian kanun player Maya whose virtuosity and unique innovative approach to playing the kanun, originally a traditional instrument, have expanded her audiences to international platforms.
Rafiki Jazz: A UK ensemble spanning four continents with refugee artists at its heart.
Jamie Smith’s Mabon (Wales): One of the UK’s finest Celtic music acts.
Omar Puente’s Cuban Sextet: Omar is a Cuban-born violinist and jazz musician, currently living in England.
Fistful of Spookies: UK contingent of the phenomenon that is the Spooky Men’s Chorale. The Spooky Men’s Chorale emerged the Blue Mountains of NSW fifteen years ago and armed with no more than their impressively cavernous vocal chords, a nice line in deadpan, improbable facial hair and an ill-matched set of hats, have been gleefully wooing audiences throughout Australia, NZ and the UK ever since.
Himmerland (Denmark): A group of five travelling musicians who come from Denmark, Poland and Ghana, in West Africa who met in beautiful wide-skied northern part of Jutland called Himmerland. They compose their own music and infuse it with all the different traditions that run in their blood and travel the world performing it.
Bollywood Jazz Project: A joyous collision of styles as virtuoso jazz musicianship meets the technicolor drama of Bollywood for a journey through cinematic sound and created developed here in Yorkshire.
Orchestra of Samples Addictive TV perform their latest audio visual. The duo has won international acclaim for the project described as “a glimpse into the very essence of music” and “ingenious and compelling”. 200 musicians from more than 25 different countries are sampled, combined and reimagined into extraordinary unique fusions that cross multiple styles and cultures alongside live musicians.
Pete Williams & His Band: Founding member of Dexys Midnight Runners, Pete with his band of merry Midlanders deliver songs of mystery, imagination, love, loss, joy and memory that come down on you like a ton of feathers.
Ian Prowse: All-Liverpudlian musical hero and frontman of both Pele & Amsterdam and a solo artist of renown who has worked with Elvis Costello, John Peel & Christy Moore amongst many others in his long career.
Rory McLeod & The Familiar Strangers present internationally popular performer Rory’s songs in a fresh and exciting new musical environment and bring a musical depth and range to compliment Rory’s outstanding talents as wordsmith his engaging and earthy performing qualities.
Kathakali Theatre Company: (India) Drama, dance, music and ritual are combined in the classical Indian art form kathakali. Featuring eminent artists from Kerala, South India. Stunning both visually and aurally this sacred theatre erupts on stage with striking images that expose the magical world of South India.
O’Hooley & Tidow: A West Yorkshire duo who we have seen develop from the start and who have now become one of the must-see acts on the circuit.
Hardeep Singh Kohli: Comedian, broadcaster, journalist, and chef. In addition to being a BBC Radio 4 favorite, Hardeep’s broadcast credits include shows ranging from Celebrity Masterchef & The One Show to Question Time & This Week. He has also won a BAFTA for his work as director. Here he’ll run cookery stage and DJ.
Bob’s Blundabus: The double decker bar & venue home to clowns, storytellers and comedians and our onsite fringe venue.
Grace Petrie: Folk singer, songwriter, and activist from Leicester who first exploded on to the national protest scene in 2010 with the emotive anthem Farewell to Welfare, which captured perfectly the spirit of the new wave of dissent in austerity Britain.
Bar Steward Sons Of Val Doonican
Hattie Hatstar: Acoustic-comedy-punk-folk-cabaret
Leasungspell: Teesside poet Bob Beagrie’s epic poem set in the wilds of Northumbria in the year 657 AD.
JuJu is Justin Adams (electric guitar, bendir, backing vocals), Juldeh Camara (lead vocals ritti talking drum),Billy Fuller (bass) and Dave Smith (drums percussion).
JuJu’s successful hybrid sound was evident on their acclaimed 2007 debut ‘Soul Science’ and its equally praised follow up ‘Tell No Lies’. ‘In Trance’ came out in 2011, combining rock, African music, dub reggae and avant-garde jazz.
“Justin’s playing gets inside my body and I can hear the music in his head,” said Camara. “Justin plays African style.”
The In Trance recording took place at Real World Studios featuring new band members Dave Smith and Billy Fuller.
Juldeh Camara is a Gambian singer and ritti maestro who was taught to play the single-string West African fiddle by his blind father who himself was taught directly by the jinn. Having lived and worked in traditional Fula society as a griot, the hereditary poets praise singers and musicians who carry the cultural knowledge of their people.
Justin Adams is widely regarded as one of England’s most innovative and original guitarists and a child of punk whose long and varied resume includes producing albums by Saharan desert bluesmen Tinariwen and collaborating with the iconic Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel and Jah Wobble.
Bassist Billy Fuller has collaborated with Massive Attack, triphoppers Malachai and Robert Plant and The Strange Sensation (in which Adams plays lead guitar.
Dave Smith is one of the finest and most versatile young drummers in Britain. He’s influenced by West African percussion and classic jazz drumming.
“The whole album evolved in a very fast and spontaneous manner,” says Adams. “We just went into the studio and did five live takes without headphones or overdubbing. We set out to make swing music dance music trance music; we got all those things.”
Kroke, the Polish world music band that is highly popular abroad, in countries like Germany and Spain, has released a superb album titled Traveller. As the name indicates, the recording reflects the experiences the band members accumulated during more than two decades of touring.
I saw Kroke live a few years ago in Norway and the three virtuoso musicians put together a wonderful show. On Traveller, Kroke’s is equally great. The ensemble showcases its multi-faceted musical essence with a mix of Polish folk, Balkan, French, Spanish and Pat Metheny-style contemporary jazz.
Although Traveller is essentially an instrumental album that highlights masterful viola, accordion and bass work, multi-instrumentalist Tomasz Kukurba delights the listener with falsetto wordless vocals and charming whistling on one track.
The songs titles in English, Polish, Spanish and French indicate the expansive world view of this excellent Polish trio.
The lineup includes Tomasz Kukurba on viola, vocals, violin, whistling, flutes, darbuka, cajón, percussion and mouth percussion; Jerzy Bawol on accordion; and Tomasz Lato on double bass. Guest musician Slawek Berny appears on percussion and drums.
Traveller is an exquisitely-crafted album that crosses musical boundaries and uncharted worlds, and celebrates the international travel experiences of Kroke.
Souffles des Steppes is a fascinating encounter the world of the flute and Mongolian music traditions. French flute virtuoso has been involved in a series of world music encounters in the past years. On this occasion he has teamed up with Mongolian musician Enkhjargal Dandarvaanchig, also known as “Epi.”
Dandarvaanchig plays traditional Mongolian instruments such as the morin khuur (horse head fiddle) and the tovshuur lute. He’s also a throat singing master. Henri Tournier plays various types of western flutes along with the Indian bansuri and the octobass.
Guests include Thierry Gomar on zarb, daf, bayan, Tibetan bowls, bells, rattles; and John Renard on violin and quinton.
The physical version comes beautifully packaged in a hard cover book format with photos and liner notes in French and English.
Souffles des Steppes – Steppes Breath is a beautiful production featuring masterful performances by two global music explorers who interweave western and Mongolian traditions.
Aksak Project is an Italian ensemble that has absorbed multiple musical influences. The group features several multi-instrumentalists who combine western musical instruments with global instrumentation.
In terms of musical inspiration, Aksak Project brings together jazz, funk bass, Italian, North African, Spanish, Arabic, Latin American, and other global sounds along with the mesmerizing sounds of the hang drums.
Trebisonda features instrumentals as well as songs in Spanish and a lingua franca called sabir (a mix of Italian, Spanish and other languages) that was spoken in the Mediterranean from the 11-19th centuries.
The lineup includes Achille Meazzi on guitar, oud, santur, laouto, cello, ronroco, charango, cuatro venezolano, saz, harmonium, sikus; Alberto Venturini on clarinet, bass clariner, darbuka, drums, udu, hang drum, percussion and programming; Eloisa Manera on violin; Gianni Satta on trumpet and flugelhorn; Alessandro Cassani on acoustic and electric bass; Nicola Mantovani on soprano sax; Camilla Barbarito on vocals and spoken word; and Marco Turati on vocals. Special guest Roberto Cipelli appears on piano on one track.
Trebisonda is an exquisitely-crafted album by Aksak Project where jazz, global sounds and a trance-like atmosphere come together effectively.
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