Borneo Indigenous Tribal Dance 2019

The Borneo Indigenous Tribal Dance 2019 will take place at Miri Times Square from September 27 to 28, 2019. Miri is located in northern Sarawak, Borneo.

The event is organized by Kumpulan Belia Bahagian Miri, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak.

Borneo Indigenous Tribal Dance will serve as a platform for all associations in Miri to cultivate their respective youth to learn, practice, and preserve their cultures and to showcase it to the world.

The objective is to promote Miri city through multi-cultural activities and, at the same time, present the Miri’s ethnic diversity through their dances performed by the local community itself.

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Dymphi Peeters Soars

Dymphi Peeters – Photo by Glenn Cornelisse

Dymphi Peeters started out life in Afferden, Limburg, a small town in the Netherlands of about 2000 people.  As a child, she never imagined becoming a professional musician.  She first learnt wooden flute then moved onto silver flute.  She taught herself the ngoni, an African stringed instrument.  Later, she worked to master the kora, a multi-stringed African instrument. 

Dymphi has performed with several groups, including the Ecstatic Dance Band and Mehmet Polat’s Trio. Mehmet describes her as, “a talented and open minded musician.”

Dymphi Peeters – Gaia

On her recent album, “Gaia” she steps out more on her own.  This CD is a collaboration with Andre Schoorlemmer.  He plays guitar, bass guitar, and also engineers. Dymphi’s songs invent a new world: her powerful voice soars over electronica with the steady pulse of the kora.  Dymphi describes her music as, “inner world music with a meditative atmosphere.” She has a hippy spirit and sunny demeanor. Yet do not be misled by her gentleness.  Her music mesmerizes.

DJL: Were your parents musical? What was your early musical experience?

DP:   My parents were somewhat musical.  My mother was a schoolteacher.  She played the flute and later learned the djembe in her fifties.  My father played guitar.  They always supported my desire to learn to play music.  When I was younger, I performed flute in a small folk music group.  We toured small villages in the Netherlands and abroad in countries like Slovenia and, Croatia. As a teenager, I loved rock music, the Cranberries Alannis Morrisette and the musical Hair.  

DJL: What is your musical background?

DP:  I spent one year learning classical flute at a conservatory.  I played for several years with folk bands, learning Balkan and other folk music, and with a flamenco band. Once, in a music lesson, there was a woman whose African boyfriend had died. She had his ngoni.  I felt drawn to this instrument.  It then took me a year to find my own ngoni to play.

I always had a deep longing to sing.  I met Dobrinka Yankova, who is a Bulgarian opera singer, and took singing lessons from her.  She said I had talent. Later, I learned about freeing the voice in a creative way through voice healing from Marius Engelbrecht.

DJL: What is voice healing?

DP:   It helps people sing with the different parts of their body as a way of healing. I now teach it.  They are welcome to sing their pain and their stories.  They may connect with the core of the earth or with their ancestors.

DJL: Why do you choose to help others through voice healing?

DP:   Voice healing has allowed me to heal myself and to follow my dreams.  I used to work as an educational designer, then became a professional musician. Through work in voice healing, I want people to connect more to their intuition and to all the support which surrounds them. I want them to be their free authentic selves and to stand in their power, in a balance between the divine masculine and feminine energies. I encourage them to create from their inner qualities.

DJL: You have also described the birth of your daughter as being a part of your musical transformation.

DP:   I quit my job to take care of my daughter.  I always carried her close to me in a baby sling .  It was because of her birth that I was guided back to the heart and to love.  As a result of her birth and my longing for music, I started to host concerts in the Netherlands, where ten musicians would come together and play intuitively. These concerts were a true adventure in music. Playing intuitively was freeing for me. When I was in Amsterdam to give an intuitive concert with a friend, I first heard Mehmet Polat. Hey played after us.

DJL: What was it like hearing Mehmet play? 

DP:   When I heard Mehmet play oud for the first time, I immediately connected with his music. It felt like home. I even felt a bit sad that I was not playing this kind of music. It touched something deep in me.

Luckily we connected afterwards. He asked me, “Do you play the kora?”  And I said, “No, I play the ngoni.” Mehmet said, “There’s an album I want to create. I have a particular sound in mind.  Can you learn to play the kora in six months?  I know you have inside you what I need for my trio.” 

Mehmet saw a musical quality in me that I did not know existed. I’m very grateful for his courage to give me an opportunity to play with him. When I’m on stage, I always feel supported by a bigger field of love. I feel connected to his music. I love the music we create from the heart.

Dymphi Peeters

DJL: What was it like to learn the kora?

DP:   When Mehmet talked to me about learning the kora, I had to learn it very fast. It was March and in October we would tour Mexico, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands. He was planning to do a CD.  When he asked me to learn, I had to sleep on the decision overnight, and then I said “yes.”  I felt it was a life-changing opportunity. And so it was!

At times when I was learning the kora, I would say to myself, “What am I doing?”  At first, I was terrible and nervous. Then I would continue to practice and say to myself, “You can do this.”  It was hard, but I had spent a year studying opera, and that experience made me realize I could do it. You can learn so fast if you invest time, and only practice from a place of love for the instrument and for the music.

I learned to play the kora from Mehmet’s sheet music compositions. I watched some Youtube videos and listened to kora music. I taught myself and also took a couple of lessons with Zoumana Diarra. Zoumana was the former kora player in Mehmet’s trio before I joined. I play on a kora built by him. My kora has 24 strings instead of the normal 21.  It also has tuning clips so that I can play in different tonalities.

DJL: The kora plays a central role in your new album. Is “Gaia” the first CD that you have initiated?

DP:   Yes, “Gaia” is the first serious CD I have created with Andre Schoorlemmer.  I did not want to make beautiful music alone. I wanted to create something from a deep place. The album feels very true to me.  I could not have completed it without Andre’s help.

DJL: Who is Andre Schoorlemmer?

DP:   I have known Andre for years. He is a dear friend. I played with him in flamenco concerts and in the intuitive dream concerts I organized. Andre is a brilliant musician. He owns a recording studio. He also creates film music. In 2017, I was asked by DJ Esta Polyesta from the Ecstatic Dance scene to record some kora and vocals so she could create a dance track from them.  I recorded these in Andre’s studio. He started playing with the recordings afterwards just for fun, and created a track called Trance Dance that is also on the latest CD. When I listened to this track, it made me so happy.  Then we decided to make a CD together. The creative process was fun and easy. I so loved Andre’s input and ideas. He challenged me every time. The result of our creative process is “Gaia!”

Dragonfly Ecstatic Dance Band – Into the Unknown

DJL: Why “Gaia”?

DP:   I chose “Gaia” as the name, because I feel the feminine power of being rooted in and connected to the earth. The kora has an earthy quality. It is like a pumpkin. One story goes that the instrument was invented by a woman.

DJL: Your voice is powerful. On the title track, “Gaia,” there is the regular pulse of the kora, your vocal is percussive at times, sounding as the steady tick-tock of a clock, and at times has a deep, grounded vocal. Can you talk about this song?

DP:   In the song, I want us to remember our nature—that we are part of the earth. Gaia is in us all. The song is also about sisterhood, about supporting and loving each other.  It is about being natural, authentic, deep, and intuitive.

DJL:  Speaking of sisterhood, there are tracks on the album that address different aspects of being a woman: “Woman Goddess,” and “Sirens of the Ocean.”  Sirens is a gentle, easy song with a lullaby feel. Your fingers carefully caress the ngoni as you sing alongside it. You create a soft breeze. You call the listener in.

DP:   Yes, that’s true. I want women to come out from the shadows and stand in the light.  And with “Sirens of the Ocean,” I love water and swimming. It energizes me. We are 85% water.  Sound makes the water vibrate. Water has an old wisdom. It is older than we are.

DJL: Your singing is this album’s highlight. Has your voice become stronger over the years?

DP:   When I was young, I was scared to use my voice. I talked very softly. My voice became much stronger once I practiced voice healing and took classical singing lessons. Voice healing is like a cleansing of energy. I worked through the energy blockages in my body over the years. That’s how I could get more conscious of my body, and how my voice got stronger.

DJL: Are there female singers that have inspired you?

DP:   I was always drawn to female voices.  I’m inspired by Dobet Gnahore from Côte d’Ivoire. Her music has a homecoming feeling in it for me. I enjoy Ane Brun from Norway and Gjallarhorn who are a Finnish folk band. I love Loreena Mckennitt‘s music and Nynke Laverman, who performs Dutch fado.

My main theme in life is to dare to take my own space, to be my authentic self, and to stand in my power. The more you are present in your body, the more you can sing from your body—the freer your voice gets.  My voice is a metaphor for all the aspects of my life. The more I liberate my voice, the more free and powerful I can become in my life.

From a hidden place, she unfurls her long wings, spreads them wide and sings. She soars as the kora accompanies her.  Now sure of herself, she flies.  

More information about Dymphi

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Same Sky, Talented International Artists Come Together Through Digital Platform

Various Artists – Volume One Same Sky

Various Artists – Volume One Same Sky (Beyond Music, 2019)

Beyond Music, the innovative digital platform designed to encourage and nurture international collaborations, has released Volume One Same Sky. The cross-genre album features 23 artists from 17 countries who collaborated using the system. The artists shared ideas and generated song demos via the online platform. Beyond collected 110 submissions, and 10 winning songs were chosen. Same Sky is the first volume in what will be an annual undertaking.

In terms of production ad arrangements, Volume One Same Sky is designed to be an easy listen, appealing to a wide audience. Even though many international artists are involved, this is not exactly a world music album. You’ll find mainstream pop, well-constructed neosoul, Americana, hip hop and then various captivating songs that are rooted in tradition.

The tracks that focus on world music are the ones that attracted my attention the most, including the excellent “Saat Al Rahman” where global music meets classical, featuring the fabulous Seville-based Israeli singer Mor Karbasi; the engaging Arabic fusion of “Egyptian”; and the edgy global electronica and Indian hybridization of “Our Colors.”

The producer of the album, Larry Klein put together a band featuring highly regarded session players: Dean Parks, Ed Harcourt, Adrian Utley, Manu Katché, Clive Deamer and Dan Lutz.

The international artists include Abdullah Alhussainy (Egypt); Beshar Al Azzawi (Iraq); Mariana Baraj (Argentina); Andreas Bernitt (Denmark); Heather Bond (USA); Moshe Elmakias (Israel); Danielle Eog Makedah (Cameroon); Brice Essomba (Cameroon); Sandro Friedrich (Switzerland); Sheryl Gambo (Congo); Jivan Gasparyan Jr. (Armenia); Eduard Glumov (Kazakhstan); Mor Karbasi (Israel); Max Keller (Switzerland); Elly Kellner (Netherlands); John Lumpkin II (USA); Syssi Mananga (Belgium/Congo); Kane Mathis (USA); Kate Northrop (USA/Switzerland); Bijayashree Samal (India); Sasha Shlain (Russia); Ingrid White (Cameroon); and Msafiri Zawose (Tanzania).

More about Beyond music.

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Garifuna Collective, Uplifting Musical Traditions and Resilience

The Garifuna Collective – ABAN

The Garifuna Collective – ABAN (Stonetree Records, 2019)

The Garifuna Collective delivers an album where Garifuna musical traditions are combined with modern musical forms such as dub and subtle cutting edge electronics. The irresistible songs feature call and response choruses, delightful electric guitars and hip-shaking rhythms.

The recording features musicians from Belize and Honduras, representing different generations. The lineup includes Marcela Aranda on vocals; Desiree Diego on vocals and maracas; Mohobub Flores on vocals and turtle shells; Sheldon Petillo on vocals; Emilio Thomas on vocals; Rolando “Chichiman” Sosa on vocals and percussion; Denmark Flores on Garifuna drums; Sam Harris on electric guitar and vocals; Guayo Cedeño on electric guitar; Eli Levinson on sampling and programming; Iván Durán on electric and acoustic guitars, bass; and Al Ovando on electric guitar, bass, percussion, claps.

ABAN presents well-constructed, uplifting songs illustrating the new trends in Garifuna rooted music.

Buy ABAN

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Global Chaos Theories from the The Souljazz Orchestra

The Souljazz Orchestra – Chaos Theories

The Souljazz Orchestra – Chaos Theories (Strut Records, 2019)

Canadian jazz collective The Souljazz Orchestra, led by songwriter and arranger Pierre Chrètien, combines a wide range of musical with sociopolitical messages. On the music side, The Souljazz Orchestra presents an extraordinary kaleidoscope of sound that includes Afro-Caribbean beats, jazz, disco, captivating Afrobeat, funk, reggae, and soul.

With insistent energy, the lyrics address issues that are close to band members: insincerity of modern day politics, police rough treatment and income inequality.

The Souljazz Orchestra will be touring North America and Europe in the next weeks.

Tour dates:

Sep 20 – Ottawa, ON – Babylon
Sep 27 – Montpellier, FR – Rockstore
Sep 28 – Rambouillet, FR – Usine à Chapeaux
Sep 29 – Chelles, FR – Les Cuizines
Sep 30 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Oct 01 – Gent, BE – Vooruit Balzaal
Oct 02 – Madrid, ES – Café Berlín
Oct 04 – Granada ES – Planta Baja
Oct 05 – Zaragoza ES – Las Armas
Oct 06 – Barcelona ES – La Nau
Oct 09 – Dusseldorf DE – Zakk
Oct 10 – Mainz DE – KUZ
Oct 11 – Athens GR – Gagarin 205
Oct 12 – Thessaloniki GR – WE Complex
Oct 13 – Berlin DE – Gretchen
Oct 14 – Dresden DE – Tonne
Oct 16 – London UK – Jazz Cafe
Oct 17 – Dublin IE – Sugar Club
Oct 18 – Épinay-sur-Seine – PMO
Oct 19 – Nancy FR – Nancy Jazz Pulsations
Nov 16 – Gatineau QC – Le Petit Chicago
Nov 21 – Sherbrooke QC – La Petite Boîte Noire
Nov 22 – Montréal QC – Groove Nation
Nov 23 – Québec QC – L’Anti
Nov 28 – Waterloo ON – Starlight
Nov 29 – Hamilton ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 30 – Toronto ON – Velvet Underground

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Artist Profiles: Brian Dunning

Brian Dunning

Brian Dunning had been a professional flutist in Ireland, playing regular classical and jazz gigs, before coming to the U.S. in 1977 to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. “I remember hearing a flute solo on a tune by Them (with Van Morrison) when I was about 16.” Dunning recalls, “and it really used to send me. But jazz became my love.” So it’s not surprising that Dunning’s influences would include both classical master James Galway and jazz great Herbert Laws. But it was after hearing Micheal Ó Domhnaill and Kevin Burke playing duets at a music festival in Birmingham, Alabama that Dunning realized what direction his own music might take. “I jammed with Micheal there,” he says, “and that really made me want to write music that had on Irish flavor but with the freedom of jazz.”

From collaborating with bodhran player Tommy Hayes in a Celtic-tinged improvisational project called Puck Fair, Dunning and O Domhnaill settled into their long-term musical relationship in Nightnoise.

Dunning has also collaborated with keyboardist Jeff Johnson since the late 1980s, recording several albums together, including The Music of Celtic Legends – the Bard and the Warrior (1997), Byzantium (2000), and Patrick (2004).

His music appeared on the soundtrack to Gangs of New York, Windhorse, and The Outcasts.

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Artist Profiles: Markku Lepistö

Markku Lepistö – Photo by Tania Arcieri

Markku Lepistö, from southern Ostrobothnia, is one of Finland’s most dynamic accordionists, having been playing folk and dance music since age five.

A graduate of the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, where he studied kantele, woodwinds, double bass and fiddle, Markku was a member of the now defunct ensemble Pirnales, has played with the group Progmatics, more recently in a duo with Aldargaz mandolinist Petri Hakala and in the klezmer group Doina Klezmer. Markku joined Värttinä just before the Vihma recordings.

In 2011, Lepistö released an album titled Accordion Samurai along with four other accordion colleagues: Riccardo Tesi (Italy), Bruno Le Tron (France), Didier Laloy (Belgium) and David Munnelly (Ireland).

A follow-up Samurai album titled Te featured David Munnelly; Riccardo Tesi (Italy), Simone Bottasso (Italy) and Kepa Junkera (Spain).

Discography:

Silta (Aito Records, 2002)
Polku (2006)
Tupasoitto (2009)
Accordion Samurai (Homerecords, 2011)
Samurai Accordion – Te (Visage Music, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Antonio Machin

Antonio Machín

One of the early legends of Cuban music, Antonio Machín led his own acoustic band in the 1920s, and eventually emigrated from the island, first to the United States, and finally to Madrid (Spain), just before World War II. Machín lived and recorded in the Spanish capital for several decades until his death in 1977.

Antonio Lugo Machín was born in 1900 in Sagua La Grande, in the province of Santa Clara, on the northern part of the island nation of Cuba. His mother was a colored Cuban and his father was European, a Spaniard from Galicia.

Machín’s early years were very difficult and he was forced to work at the age of eight to help pay some of his father’s numerous debts. One day, he was in the street by his house singing quietly. A priest that walked by heard him and immediately encouraged him to sing at a party. He sang Ave María by Schubert. From that day on Machín was determined to become a singer.

Machín’s ambition was to sing opera, but this was very difficult for a poor colored Cuban at the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, he focused on singing popular music.

At the age of twenty he had become the idol of the young women in his neighborhood. Machín would sing them serenades under the moonlight. He worked as a mason. Machín also traveled across Cuba as a singer. In 1926 he moved to Havana were he met a Spaniard named señor José, who helped him get a contract to sing at a small cafe in Havana.

Living in Havana, Machín was exposed to many kinds of music. He joined several quartets and sextets. One of the most important ones was Trío Luna, which he formed together with Enrique Peláez and Manuel Luna. In 1926 Machín formed a duo with the famous guitar player and singer Miguel Zaballa. They performed at various night clubs and live radio shows. Their fame was such that in 1927 Don Azpiazu, leader of Orquesta Habana, added the duo to the performances held at the Casino Nacional de La Habana.

At the age of 27 Machín became a vocalist at the Casino Nacional of Havana, the first singer of color ever to do so. The Casino Nacional was the place where you could find upper class Cuban and American land owners, movie stars, millionaires and diplomats, who danced and sought romance.

In 1929 Machín and his friend Daniel Sánchez founded a sextet that also included Alejandro “Mulatón” Rodríguez. They made several recordings. A year later, Machín toured the United States with the Casino Nacional orchestra. On April 26 the band played at the Palace Theater in New York. Machín sang El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor), the first Cuban song to become a national hit in the United States.

In New York, Machín proved to be a prolific artist, recording over 400 songs with the legendary Cuarteto Machín, comprised of claves, tres, guitar, and trumpet. Although the members of the band varied, Machín was frequently accompanied by his old friend, guitarist Daniel Sánchez, who sang duets with him on the majority of the recordings.

Machín is one of the finest Cuban bolero singers that ever lived. Several compilations of his work, covering various phases of Machín’s career are available from various Spanish and American labels.

Discography;

Las 50 Mejores Grabaciones de Antonio Machín en Discophon (1903-1977)
Tributo Al Bolero Cubano
Antonio Machín, Sus 20 Grandes Éxitos

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Artist Profiles: V.K. Raman

V.K. Raman

V.K. Raman, one of the leading flutists in the Carnatic style of Music, started learning flute at the age of 9. At the age of 15, he started giving full-fledged concerts. Since then Raman has performed in many prestigious organizations in India and abroad. Raman has had the privilege of performing flute duets along with his Guru, the great flute maestro Dr. N. Ramani on several occasions.

Enchanting and transcendent music flows from Raman’s flute as he has mastered superb blowing and fingering technique by which the tonal quality is at its peak. He plays the krithis in Gayaki (Vocal) style, combining it with the unique mind-boggling possibilities of his instrument. He has also performed Jugalbandhi, Fusion Concerts and has been very
successful as a Music Composer. He is a Grade I composer of All India Radio and Doordarshan. He has scored music for many Audio / Video Albums,CD’s and Dance/Theatre productions in India and abroad.

‘Surmani’ Raman , an ‘A’ Grade artiste of All India Radio has captivated the audiences in a number of India’s major music
festivals and toured widely in USA, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Japan.

Discography

Raman has released more than 50 albums,.

Mohana Rama
Swara Raga Sudha
Magic Bamboo
Divine Melodies
Sur Milan (Sagar Music, with Dr. Suma Sudhindra on the Veena)
Sur Sangam (Sagar Music, with Nanda Kishore Muley on Santoor)
Classical Indian Flute (Inner Splendor Media, 2007)
Classical Indian Flute & Violin With Virtuoso Brothers V.K. Raman and Mysore V. Srikanth (Inner Splendor Media, 2008)
Classical Indian Flute and Violin Vol. II With Virtuoso Brothers V.K. Raman and Mysore V. Srikanth (Inner Splendor Media, 2008)
Confluence (Felmay, 2009)
Navarasa – Eternal Emotions

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Artist Profiles: Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs ranked as one of the true superstars of reggae music, with a career that spanned three decades and legions of loyal fans worldwide. His humble upbringing began in Kingston, Jamaica where he was born in 1951.

Like many before him, he started his singing career in the early 1970s by working with a number of producers and entering various local talent competitions. His first records of notice were on Rupie Edwards’ Success label.

To gain artistic freedom and financial control of his own work, Isaacs started his own African Museum label and shop in Kingston in 1973 with singer Errol Dunkley. In order to finance his label, he continued to work with other producers such as Winton “Niney The Observer” Holness, Gussie Clark, Lloyd Campbell, and Alvin “GG” Ranglin for the rest of the 1970s.

His early recordings were responsible for the development of his singing style, love ballads with his cool relaxed nasal style, as well as his ease with songs about social protest. By 1980, Gregory had become one of the top stars in the reggae world, touring the UK and US extensively.

He signed with Virgin Records’ Frontline label and gained a considerable name for himself outside the reggae world. Isaacs continued recording singles on his African Museum label in Jamaica – ultimately those singles were gathered for the Virgin releases. His preeminence during this period was confirmed by the nickname of “Cool Ruler,” given to him by critics and fans after the title of one his albums.

By the mid 1980s, he had a number of personal and financial problems and ended up in a Jamaican prison for a short time. After his release, he began work recording for scores for different producers, which included some of his best material for King Jammys, Bobby Digital, and Steely and Clevie.

His 1988 landmark album, Red Rose for Gregory, and the single “Rumors” brought him to worldwide prominence again. Since then he has recorded a number of albums, scores of singles, and has continued to tour extensively worldwide.

Over the years, Gregory Isaacs worked hard to keep his legendary status and reputation in the reggae business second to none.

The Artists Only! label released Gregory Isaacs – Live at Maritime Hall in conjunction with 2B1 label the fall of 1998 to a great response.

Turn Down the Lights (1999) was produced by the legendary Lloyd “King Jammys”.

Come Take My Hand (2006) was produced by Emmanuel (Rude) Davies For Rude Productions. The 17-track set includes 14 vocal pieces and 3 bonus instrumental versions on CD, and 12 tracks on vinyl. Musicians on this album include Sly and Robbie, Carlton (Bubblers) Ogilvie, Earl (Broad Finger) Francis, Paul (Jazzwad) Yebuah, Jermaine (Ajang) Ford, to name a few.

Gregory Isaacs died October 25, 2010 in London, England, UK.

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Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion