Norwegian Setesdal Music and Dance Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Hardanger fiddler – Photo courtesy of Agder Folk Music Archive, 2007

Norway’s practice of traditional music and dance in Setesdal (stev/stevjing has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Setesdal dancers – Photo by Knut Utler, 2012

In Setesdal, dance and music go together. The melodies are named after the ‘gangar’ dance and the ‘stev’ songs, habitually performed in intermissions between dancing and music-making, either solo or by two or more singers in dialog with each other.

The dance is performed by couples in a circular motion and the music is played on the Hardanger fiddle and the jaw harp. This tradition has been transmitted uninterruptedly since the 18th century, and continues to progress, with the consistent composition of new songs and tunes.


Montreal’s Productions Nuits d’Afrique Announces Its Winter 2020 concerts

Mamoutou Dembélé

Canadian world music presenters Nuits d’Afrique have announced a set of upcoming performances. This series of concerts will begin with the winner of the Golden Syli (Syli d’Or) 2019 world music award, Mamoutou Dembélé, known as “Emde” (Mali) who will present a show imbued with Manding blues on February 6, 2020, at Club Balattou in Montreal, Canada.

Fatoumata Diawara at Shakori Hills 2012 – Photo by Angel Romero

The program will culminate with outstanding vocalist and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), who will return to Montreal on February 23, 2020, at The National venue.


Club Balattou, February 6, 2020, 9:00 pm

Urban Africa Evening with Degg J Force 3 and guest
The National, February 15, 2020, 21:00

Fatoumata Diawara
The National, February 23, 2020, 20:30


Artist Profiles: Carmelo Torres

Carmelo Torres

Accordion player and composer, Carmelo Torres is considered one of the leading Colombian cumbia performers. He is the living legacy of Cumbia Sabanera, a rural accordion style of cumbia from San Jacinto, in the Caribbean region of Colombia, influenced by traditional flutes.

He learned to play vallenato first, by himself, before he met the ‘King of Cumbia’, Andrés Landero who became his teacher at an early age. Carmelo started to play cumbias.

Since Landero passed away in 2000, Carmelo’s main focus has been to carry on his teacher’s legacy, keeping the cumbia genre alive and teaching the youngest.

Carmelo is now known as The Accordion Bible. In 2019, Carmelo Torres’ music still has the fragrance of the countryside. The sabana is present when he sings about labor works, nature, life and love. His music can be danced in nightclubs, making it part of new generations, looking backwards and towards the future in the same song.

With his group, he has performed widely at home in Colombia at Caribbean festivals winning all the contests and at the prestigious Festival Colombia al Parque in Bogotá in 2013. Torres has also travelled extensively with his conjunto as far as Europe, Australia, South Korea, Morroco and throughout Latin America, in México, Panamá, Perú, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.

Partial Discography:

Vivo parrandeando (2013)
Me Recodarán (2018)


Mamoutou Dembélé, Emde

Mamoutou Dembélé, Emde

Mamoutou Dembélé, artistically known as known as Emde, was born into a family of musicians and storytellers in Sikasso, Mali. Since jelis or griots are the safekeepers of culture and tradition communicated from one generation to the next, he grew up in an atmosphere of music, storytelling and inherited dance. He was also called upon to transfer this legacy to others, something he has accomplished since childhood.

A self-instructed musician, he started playing at age 6. Eventually, he also constructed his own musical instruments. He created the bahinu (bahouinou, a man’s strings) that has 15 strings and resembles a cross between a kora and a kamele ngoni.

Emde is a descendant of the Bwa ethnic group, spanning Mali and Burkina Faso. He uses the Bwa and Bambara languages. His style combines traditional Bwa music, Mandinka blues, jazz, funk and reggae.

Emde is also a skilled percussionist. He plays a wide range of instruments, including the tamani, jembe, dunduns, calabash, karinyan, filen and yabara.

Currently, Emde lives in Montreal, Canada.

Emde won the prestigious Syli d’Or award in 2019.


the track “Taro Maro” in Lost In Mali (Riverboat Records, 2015)


Irish harping Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

National Harp Day with Clodagh, Oisín and Alva at the Lexicon Cultural Centre, Dún Laoghaire. Co Dublin, Ireland – Photo by Tom Honan Photography, 2017

Irish harping has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The harp is Ireland’s national symbol and has been played for over 1,000 years. Its captivating bell-like sound celebrates Irish mythology, folklore and literature.

Contemporary gut-strung harpers have maintained the ancient repertoire and safeguarded its continuity while responding to evolving styles.

There has been a major resurgence of interest in harp playing over the past 60 years thanks to a growing appreciation of the harp’s role in Irish culture, language and identity.

International Festival for Irish Harp, brothers Éamon and Cormac de Bara (harp) – Photo by Kieran Cummins, 2017

Some of the best known harpers in Ireland include Cormac de Barra, Moya Brennan (Máire Brennan), Janet Harbison, Mary O’Hara and Gráinne Hambly.


The Iranian Musical instrument Dotar Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Master luthier Khoddam Ahmadi in his dotar crafting workshop, Torbat-e Jam, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran – Photo by Farhad Nazari, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO)

The traditional skills of crafting and playing the dotar, an Iranian two-string plucked folk instrument is one of the most relevant social and cultural components of the folk music of the ethnic groups and communities of the Dotar regions.

Master (Bakhshī) Ana Morād Rastegari, Turkmen dotar player, Jargalān, Bojnurd, North Khorasan Province, Iran – Photo by Farhad Nazari, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO)

Musicians play the dotar during significant social and cultural occasions such as weddings and ritual ceremonies, as well as in festivals.

The dotar is played together with epic, historical, lyric and gnostic texts that are fundamental to the ethnic history and identity of the performers’ communities.


The Mesmerizing Northumbrian Folk of Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening – Hollowbone

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening – Hollowbone (Resilient Records, 2019)

Kathryn Tickell is a multi-talented artist from Northumbria in northeastern England. She plays the highly melodic Northumbrian pipes (also known as small pipes) and fiddle, and she is a talented singer and composer as well.

Her 2019 album Hollowbone was inspired by the remote countryside along Hadrian’s Wall, the construction that marked the wild northwestern border of the Roman Empire.  This area later became part of a kingdom known as Northumbria that encompassed northern England and southeastern Scotland.

Kathryn Tickell and her band The Darkening play a modern style of Northumbrian Celtic and Scottish folk music, combining acoustic instruments with rock style drums and subtle synthesizer at times. The band also incorporates South American charango.

There is a beautifully-constructed balance between evocative traditional and new, captivating songs along with charming instrumentals, highlighting the masterful skill of Kathryn Tickell’s bagpipes and her interplay with accordionist Amy Thatcher and fiddler Kate Young.

The lineup on the album includes Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes, fiddle and vocals; Amy Thatcher on accordion, synthesizer and vocals; Kate Young on vocals, fiddle and charango; Cormac Byrne on bodhran and percussion; Kieran Szifris on octave mandolin; and Joe Truswell on drums.

Buy Hollowbon in North America

Buy Hollowbone in Europe

More about Kathryn Tickell


Dominican Bachata Inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Bachata maestro and instructor Mártires de León at The Bachata Academy – Photo courtesy of iASO Records, 2016

The music and dance of Dominican Bachata was inscribed on Thursday, December 12th, 2019 in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Bachata, a genre born in the Dominican Republic, intertwines rhythmic bolero music with Afro-Antillean styles. Overall, the lyrics communicate heartfelt love, passion and nostalgia. Bachata is conventionally performed by a small group of musicians with the guitar as lead instrument, along with percussion accompanied by a bass instrument.

Bachata dancers – Photo courtesy of Centro León

The dance is fervent, including sensual hip movements by couples who perform it at all traditional celebrations in the Dominican Republic. Bachata is learned freely from a young age.

One of the most famous modern bachata stars is Juan Luis Guerra (Grandes Exitos de Juan Luis Guerra y 4.40, greatest hits).


Morna added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Sr. Olímpio, violin player, and Manel Caloti, ten strings guitar, performing ancient mornas – Photo by Augusto Brázio and Ministry of Culture and Creative Industries, Cape Verde, 2018.

Morna, a musical genre from Cape Verde was added this week to UNESCO’S Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Morna is a traditional style that incorporates vocals, music, poetry and dance. Morna can be either sung or played only with instruments, primarily string instruments such as the guitar, violin, and cavaquinho.

The lyric poetry can be improvised, with topics including love, departure, separation, reunion, longing and the motherland. It is currently mainly performed in Cape Verdean Creole.

Practitioners include instrumentalists, singers, poets and composers, and morna is performed at significant life events such as weddings, christenings, and family reunions.

The most famous morna singer for many years was the late Cesaria Evora.


The Flamencos y Mestizos Series Returns to Madrid in December 2019

Naike Ponce & Paquete

The SGAE Foundation will present the latest edition of Flamenco y Mestizos (Flamenco and hybrids) this month. The ongoing series provides a window to emerging projects. The series will take place December 12-14, 2019 at Sala Berlanga in Madrid, Spain.

Flamencos y Mestizos will cover all aspects of current flamenco, focusing on singing, dancing, the guitar and saxophone.

Antonio Lizana – Photo by Ana Solinis

The first show will be on Thursday, December 12, with the project of young saxophonist and singer from Cádiz, Antonio Lizana, who fuses jazz and flamenco. The next concert that day will present singer Naike Ponce, from Salucar de Barrameda, accompanied by the guitar of Juan José Suárez ‘Paquete’, a member of the prestigious flamenco lineage of Los Porrina.

María Marín – Photo by Eantorique
Lucía Álvarez ‘La Piñona’

The next day, December 13, Flamencos y Mestizos will open with the self-taught vocals of María Marín, who will travel throughout the world with her voice, accompanied by her inseparable guitar. The second session of the night will showcase the dance performance of a young artist from Cádiz, Lucía Álvarez ‘La Piñona.’

La Fabi at Flamenco Eñe
Antonia Jiménez – Photo by Paco Lobato

The SGAE Foundation will conclude this series on Saturday, December 14 with the moaning style of La Fabi (Fabiola Pérez), who will present her album Frutos y flores, where she displays her powerful voice. The other artist featured, Antonia Jiménez will demonstrate that women can also embrace the curves of a guitar with fury, talent and passion.

Created in 2015, Flamencos y Mestizos has become a window for emerging artists who investigate the borders between deep flamenco and mestizo (hybrid) flamenco. The series is directed by producer, composer and singer Paco Ortega.

Shows start at 21:00 (9:00 p.m.) at Sala Berlanga, Calle Andrés Mellado 53, Madrid. Price: 5.50 euros. Advance sale at the box office and


Thursday, December 12
Antonio Lizana (sax and vocals)
Naike Ponce & Paquete (vocals and guitar)

Friday, December 13
María Marín (vocals and guitar)
La Piñona (dance)

Saturday, December 14
Antonia Jiménez (guitar)
La Fabi (vocals)


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