Electric Bhairavi is a wild musical party where operatic vocals meet surf guitar along with Indian music, chicha and Spaghetti Western influences. There is also a quirky John Zorn-esque vibe to the whole album.
The band is based in New York City and features Kamala Sankaram on vocals; Drew Fleming on guitars; Jeff Hudgins on reeds; Gil Smuskowitz on bass; and Brian Adler on percussion.
The highlight of the album is the piece “Electric Bhairavi.”
Born in Paris and raised in Eseka in Cameroon, Kristo Numpuby plays assiko music, the traditional rhythm of the southern Cameroon forests, using a guitar, knives, forks and spoons and empty bottles for the percussion. Singer, bassist and guitarist, the Afro-Parisian draws on the rhythms of the forest as inspiration for his compositions.
At the age of 8, he began composing songs for children, and took an interest in percussion. “In the village, there were always evenings with musicians, either baptisms, marriages or wakes,” he said. They became opportunities for me to admire the percussionists, playing bare-chested with their big muscles.? The education that his musician-grandmother gave him made Kristo a boy with a great interest in anything musical. “My grandmother, Ngueba, ran a bar in Eseka, he explains. “We listened to lots of different music all day long?classical, jazz, rhythm and blues, James Brown, Afro-Cuban, rumba from Zaire, highlife, makossa and biguine. You could say that I was totally immersed in a very colorful music world.”
Kristo received his first guitar at age 12. He began playing all the hits he heard on the radio. Two years later, he was a guitarist in one of the four groups in his school. At 18, he formed a trio that played only his own compositions. The three musicians constantly played each other?s instruments during their concerts. He was the lead singer in a group that mostly played assiko music, which no young people usually played.
Kristo says, “My buddies didn’t understand how a guy like me who spent his vacations in Paris was still interested in village music. Even though I liked disco and all the music in fashion, that music still fascinated me. Why? I can’t tell you. But I found real pleasure in playing Jean Bikoko, Medjo Me Nsom and Dikoum Bernard, and to finger the guitar strings like them in an unusual way. The assiko musicians and dancers have a special knowledge and a particular technique. I liked their style of music because it was different. But I was just as interested in classical technique as in that of the forest guitarists.”
In 1990, Kristo Numpuby got back into the music he had somewhat left behind. “After finishing high school in Duala, I went to the University of Yaunde, before heading off to Paris in 1986. I wanted to be a TV director. There were such beautiful posters in the metro and TV ads that left you breathless: “Generation Mitterrand, Citroen cars, Dim stockings?I was completely subjugated. There were advertising schools everywhere. I got a technical qualification and then for your years I was an advertising wonder kid. This is how I wound up in the studio to oversee the recording of advertisements that I was responsible for. We had a problem finding musicians. I reacted quickly, and Morning Limbe, a blues piece composed in 1982, became the soundtrack.”
Eventually, music replaced advertising. Kristo began hanging out in recording and rehearsal studios, and became a studio bass player. “In December of 94, I was touring in Ghana with an African star for the Panafest. At the hotel, I ran into Stevie Wonder. I had about 20 of his records at home. When we finished talking, he asked me if I had some work of mine he could listen to. I had nothing to show him from what I had been doing musically. That’s when I understood that I had to record my compositions.”
After his first album, Assiko City (Lon Yes/Night & Day) in 1997, Kristo Numpuby developed a faithful following in Paris, and played the prestigious New Morning venue that December. The following year, in 1998, he played on the radio and television show, ?Africa Live,? and took part in the Afro-Pfingsten Festival in Winterthur, in Switzerland. A number of his instrumental cuts were used as soundtracks for radio and television clips.
On stage, Kristo varies in style from sharp traditional African rhythms to the folk sounds of African-Americans, played on acoustic instruments. This singer-guitarist, accompanied by a percussionist bottle player and two other musicians, is one of those artists who excites and surprises his audience at every concert.
Acclaimed Spanish flamenco guitarist and composer Daniel Casares is set to perform in New York on March 24, 2018 at Joe’s Pub. Casares will present his latest work, Picassares, inspired by the paintings of the Malaga-born genius Picasso. “To me it is an opportunity to show instrumental flamenco and to claim the sound of the guitar, initiatives like Flamenco Eñe give us life,” said Daniel Casares. The next day, Casares will also participate in the Flamenco Rave in Miami.
Henri Dikongue was born December 6, 1967 in Duala, Cameroon. Henri Dikongué grew up as part of a family of musicians. He was raised in the capital city, Yaunde, where he learned acoustic guitar from his uncle. His grandmother brought him to a Protestant choir where he first learned to sing. Like all young people in Cameroon, Dikongué was surrounded by the vibrant sound of makossa, a bubbling dance rhythm that blends guitar lines with unstoppable percussion.
It took years of soul searching before he was willing to devote himself to a life in music. After going to Switzerland to live with his sister, who had emigrated there, he soon became disenchanted with the Swiss system and moved to Bensacon, a French city near the Swiss border, where he began to study law. Dikongué obtained a law degree, but soon discovered that music was his true passion, so he joined the pan-African music and Theater Company Masques & Tam-Tam. There he met singer Alfred M’Bongo and percussionist Manuel Wandji, both of whom would become very influential in his career. He then joined Banthu Marantha, a South African vocal group for which he composed several songs. Dikongué moved to Paris in 1989 where he became a devout student of classical guitar. All the while he maintained strong connections with the creative African music scene in Paris. His first album, “Wa,” was praised by critics who saw him as a representative of the new generation of African musicians, creating melodic music that is intelligent, poetic and innovative.
Gino Sitson is a Cameroonian who is considered a jazz singer, yet sings mostly in his native Bamileke language. His phrasing reminds one of Bobby McFerrin or Al Jarreau.
He is the only singer incorporating indigenous African polyphonic technique into the jazz vocal tradition, and not only that, his musical, as opposed to lyrical, compositions constantly plays with both traditions.
While living in France, major musical names like Manu Dibango, Jorge Ben, Papa Wemba, Ray Lema and John Williams all employed him to take a lead singing role in their projects.
A native of Cameroon, Francis Mbappe is a talented bassist who has graced the stage with musical greats such as Herbie Hancock, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Ashanti Tokoto, Francois Louga, and Ernesto Djedje.
By the age of nineteen Mbappe was bass player and musical director for Manu Dibango’s band, with whom he toured extensively from 1982 until 1990. He appears on the albums Surtension, Abele Dance, Baobab Sunset and the renowned Wakafrika release which also featured Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, and King Sunny Ade.
Upon arrival to New York City in the 1990s, Francis started the band FM Tribe with some of the most exciting, innovative players around. With funk in the conception, rock in the attitude, swing in the movement and soul in the spirit, Francis Mbappe led his band FM Tribe through the New York City music circuit and recorded a stylistically revolutionary album entitled Need Somebody.
Before becoming one of New York’s most sought after bass players, Francis also co-produced and arranged the album Guido Vittale for Koning Plank, featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, as well as working on music for the film Young Maestro, featuring Elizabeth Taylor and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
Francis Mbappe also runs his music production company FM Groove Inc., bringing people of different races, educations and backgrounds together in an attempt to unify people through acts of artistic expression.
Need Somebody (FM Groove, 2000) Celebration (FM Groove, 2005)
Seeds of Djuke (liveWired Music, 2009)
Peace is Freedom (FM Groove, 2010)
Kong Nay was born March 15, 1944 in Kampot, Cambodia. With his trademark dark glasses, he is Cambodia’s most recognizable traditional musician. He is always in demand for Cambodian cultural events and is regularly appearing on Cambodian television.
Blinded by smallpox at the age of four, Kong Nay began his studies on the chapei dang weng lute at thirteen. Chapei, named afte the musical instrument, is a traditional form of improvised song-making that is often compared to American Delta Blues.
Coming from a musical family, Kong Nay grew up around relatives who were masters of traditional instruments, copying religious manuscripts, Buddhist chanting, poetry and the chapei dang weng. In his youth, Kong Nay often faced ridicule from his peers for his disability. Rather than being disempowered by their prejudice, however, Kong Nay sought to find a vocation that would bring him independence and respect. The chapei, whose sound had excited him from childhood, turned out to be the perfect instrument. Within two years of beginning his studies, at the age of fifteen Kong Nay began to perform professionally. His reputation grew quickly, and he soon earned the nickname Kung “Handsome” Nay.
Kong Nay, while still sometimes performing classical poems like those by Phirum Ngoy, is best known from his incredible gift for improvisation, a prized skill he acquired after studying poetry for nearly two decades.
During the Khmer Rouge genocide, Kong Nay, like so many other Cambodians, was forced to work for long hours with little food. Unlike most of his fellow musicians, however, Kong Nay was unbelievably spared from the regime’s attempts to wipe out intellectuals and artists.
In 2007 he received the Gold Grand Cross of Cambodia Cultural Reputation by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In 2017 Kong Nay received the Arts and Culture Prize of the prestigious Fukuoka Prize.
Ouch Savy is Kong Nay’s female protege. Savy is one of the new generation of Chapei musicians who are at the beginning of an emerging musical awareness that could come to rival imported karaoke and pop.
“There is nothing wrong with popular music,” she says, “but we Cambodians have to do something new for ourselves rather than merely copying other countries’ music. By putting traditional and modern music together, I want to play something that young people have never heard before.”
Savy has already made over 20 television appearances and performed improvisational pieces with the Los Angeles-based Khmer American fusion outfit, Dengue Fever. Her talent is widely recognized.
Mekong Delta Blues, with Master Kong Nay (Long Tale Recordings RWLT002, 2007)
Sarikakeo, with Ieng Pheakdey Samnang and leng Sithul (Three Sixty Records, 2009)
WOMAD Cáceres 2018 has announced another set of artists scheduled to perform this year. The additional acts include acclaimed Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab, their compatriots Hermanos Thioune, rising flamenco star Soleá Morente, and the Mexican electronic duo Sotomayor. WOMAD Caceres will take place May 10-13, 2018 in Caceres, in western Spain.
Artists previously announced include (chk chk chk), Red Baraat, Canalón de Timbiquí, The Gramophone Allstars Big Band and Papaya, Oumou Sangaré and Elemotho Gaalelekwe.
The world music festival has the support of the Junta de Extremadura (regional government), the Diputación de Cáceres and the City Council of Cáceres through the Gran Teatro Consortium.
In addition to concerts, the event includes cinema, poetry, gastronomy, crafts, exhibitions, and other activities.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek, one of the greatest artists in the world music scene is set to perform on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at 8.30pm at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Omar Faruk Tekbilek will perform his remarkable combination of traditional Sufi, traditional folk and contemporary music from Turkey and the Middle East.
The lineup includes Omar Faruk Tekbilek on ney, vocals, baglama, zurna and percussion; Hasan Isakkut on kanun; Itamar Erez on guitar and piano; River Guerguerian on drums and percussion; and Murat Tekbilek on percussion. Special Guests: Brian Keane on guitar and Ara Dinkjian on ud.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s most recent CD is “Love Is My Religion.”
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