Artist Profiles: Alex Caton

Alex Caton

grew up in England, Scotland and the East Coast of the United States. She first put a bow in her hands at the age of four and played violin through her college years at Binghamton University. As her interest in Irish and Old Time music grew, she changed her tunes (and her instrument name) and began playing and teaching fiddle on the side. But it wasn’t until she moved to the Charlottesville, Virginia area to work on a PhD in Anthropology that she found her true calling.

Alex fell in love with the music scene in Charlottesville and soon cast aside her career as a professional archaeologist (she worked up and down the East Coast of the United States, as well as in West Africa) to focus on fiddle music full-time.

Since 2001, Alex has lived in Gordonsville, Virginia, teaching Irish, Old Time and Gypsy music out of her home and playing with a wide variety of local groups including the Irish band, The Ryegrass Rollers.

Alex Caton

In 2003, Alex founded the all-girl gypsy group Las Gitanas, a precursor to Verbunk, the “groovy gypsy” band she started in 2007. But gypsy music didn’t replace Alex’s love for Old Time and Irish music—it just enhanced what she brought to the other Charlottesville groups she played in: Odd Legged Jenny (Irish-Americana), The Two Dollar Bills (Old Time) and an acoustic roots duo with Chris Leva, lead singer and guitarist for the Guano Boys.

In 2005, Alex started a fiddle camp held one weekend in August at the Brazenhead Inn in Mingo, West Virginia. What started as a small group of interested students has grown into a popular gathering for adults and children, beginners and pros, where Alex teaches different fiddle styles and other instructors come to share their expertise in guitar, bass, banjo Irish drum, voice and dance.

Alex’s self-titled CD was released June 7th, 2007 at the Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville. Chris Leva plus aclaimed vocalist and guitarist Pat Egan were just a couple of talented musicians who joined Alex on stage.

Alex Caton

From her base in Central Virginia, Alex Caton has a custom-built barn/music studio for classes and concerts, a coop full of chickens and huge garden.

Discography:

Alex Caton (2007)
The Sinners and the Saved (2009)
Swimming to Lindsey (2013)
Never Take a Daisy Down the Mine (2015)

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Solju’s album Odda Áigodat Wins Canadian International Indigenous Release 2019

Solju – Odda Áigodat

Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018) by Solju is the winner of the The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – the Best International Indigenous Release 2019. The award was given by Manito Ahbee Festival May 17th, 2019.

Solju includes Ulla Pirttijärvi and Hildá Länsman, who were the first Sámi artists nominated for the awards.

The Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 14th annual festival will be held May 15-19, 2019 and feature the Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, Indigenous Music Conference, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, Art Challenge, and Youth Education Day.

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Artist Profiles: Solju

Solju

Solju is a Finnish group led by Ulla Pirttijärvi-Länsman and her daughter Hilda Länsman. They are Sámi musicians from Utsjoki, Lapland, which is the northernmost municipality in Finland.

Ulla and Hilda bring together their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music, providing a dialogue of traditional and modern Sámi culture.

Solju

Solju’s debut album “Odda Áigodat” (New Times) was released in April 2018. In May 2019, Ođđa Áigodat won an award in Canada, The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – Best International Indigenous Release 2019.

Hildá Länsman is also a member of Finnish duo VILDÁ, featuring accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä.

Discography:

Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018)

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The 4th edition of ‘FlamencoEñe’ returns to Malaga in June 2019

Israel Fernandez

The 4th Flamenco Show for International Programmers FlamencoEñe 2019 will be held from June 27 to 29, 2019 in Malaga, Spain. The initiative, organized by the SGAE Foundation, with the collaboration of the Museo Picasso Málaga and the Andalusian Institute of Flamenco-Regional Secretary of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía, aims to internationalize flamenco made in Spain.

Lela Soto

For three days, the Picasso Museum in Málaga Auditorium (Calle San Agustín, 8) will host a total of 12 concerts in showcase format with some of the most representative proposals of contemporary Spanish flamenco. The program combines the usual names and acquaintances of the current scene with young talents, featuring a wide range of styles: Ana Crismán Arpa Jonda, Las Bautistas, Carrasco Family Project, La Fabi, Israel Fernandez and Diego del Morao, José del Tomate and their group, Lela Soto, La Negra and Panky, Pedro Ojesto & Flamenco Jazz Company, Pepe Luis Carmona Habichuela, Rafael Riqueni and Rancapino Chico.

Along with the public, FlamencoEñe will be attended by representatives of various festivals and promoters from around the world, invited by the SGAE Foundation so that they can come into direct contact with the participating musicians and promote new ways of collaboration. Thus, during the three days of the event, musicians will perform live and also hold professional meetings with flamenco programmers from all over the world.

The fourth edition of FlamencoEñe has a heterogeneous roster with edgy presentations, highlighting young flamenco creators who are conquering the genre. This is the case of Ana Crismán, who will perform her Arpa Jonda (deep harp) project; the sisters from Alicante, Tere and Ángela, known artistically as Las Bautista; Fabiola Pérez -‘La Fabi’- who will present her latest album: Fruto y flores; the youngest heiress of the the Sordera Family, Lela Soto; and the fusion with charm of La Negra & El Panky.

Flamenco roots and its heritage will also be present in this edition of FlamencoEñe with the presence of artists such as Rancapino Chico, considered ‘the artistic son of Camarón.’

Attendees will also experience the live performance of José del Tomate and his group, son of guitarist Tomatito; or the Habichuela dynasty with Pepe Luis Carmona Habichuela, founder of La Barbería del Sur, son of the great guitarist Luis Habichuela, nephew of Juan Habichuela and Pepe Habichuela. Also Diego Carrasco, one of the current references of avant-garde flamenco, will perform in Malaga to present his show Family Project, accompanied by some members of his lineage.

Finally, FlamencoEñe will allow present flamenco fusion and traditional flamenco. This is the case of Sevillian maestro Rafael Riqueni, considered one of the most prestigious guitar players of the moment.

Another proposal will come from Israel Fernandez (vocals) and Diego del Morao (guitar), undoubtedly, one of the leading flamenco couples at this time; Madrid pianist Pedro Ojesto has also been selected for this show. He will arrive to Malaga with the Flamenco Jazz Company, a project he leads and in which flamenco and jazz merge.

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The Ukrainians Celebrate 30th Anniversary with ‘Summer in Lviv’

The Ukrainians

The Ukrainians’ new album “Summer in Lviv” is based on guitarist Peter Solowka and vocalist/fiddle player Len Liggins’s experiences in western Ukraine last summer, where they discovered the rejuvenated, modern city of Lviv, whose official motto is ‘Live, work and enjoy yourself’.

The Ukrainians – Summer in Lviv

Living in the west but with half the band having a background rooted in the cultures of Ukraine or eastern Europe, The Ukrainians have enjoyed success over the past three decades. Their music includes Ukrainian folk music and western rock music.

Summer in Lviv” reflects the Ukraine of today: conflict, populations migration, immigration, and a struggle for identity. A 30th anniversary re-issue, “The Complete Ukrainian John Peel Sessions” was released on CD and 12-inch vinyl LP in April 2019.

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Successful Nordic Folk Alliance Conference 2019

Vilda – Photo by Emilie Dill

Over 200 music professionals and 27 music acts were part of the inaugural Nordic Folk Alliance conference that took place April 10-12 in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the Waterfront Hotel.

Although the showcase section was focused on the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, delegates from Estonia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States also took part.

Nordic Folk Alliance marks Folk Alliance International’s first formal international expansion. The Nordic Folk Alliance was overseen by representatives from Export Music Sweden, Music Norway, Music Finland, and Tempi (Denmark’s Roots Music office).

Åke Lundström, Folk Alliance International’s Nordic Representative stated, “It was really a great event, and I think that we succeeded in having the folk music community from the Nordic countries, in a professional level, talk with each other and work together.”

More information at liveatheart.se/nordicfolk

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Artist Profiles: VILDÁ

VILDÁ

VILDÁ is a Finnish duo that performs a unique mix of mystical joiks and sounds of the Sami people together with vibrant accordion. VILDÁ includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, joik, frame drum; and
Viivi Maria Saarenkylä on accordion and backing vocals.

When Hildá and Viivi listened to each other’s music for the first time, they came up with the idea of combining traditional yoik and accordion.

Hildá Länsman is a rising yoik singer from Utsjoki who has performed at the New Music Competition and at the Helsinki Music House’s great concert arena. She won the Risteys (Crossroads) award for her vocals at Finland’s first Ethno Gala in 2017.

VILDÁ

Viivi Maria Saarenkylä is an internationally acclaimed accordion player. She was declared accordionist of the Year in Finland in 2018.

Arctic fells, frosty winds, wide waters and deep forests. That is our home – the North. For us it is the birthplace of our attitude as well as many memories, a source of inspiration, stories and tradition, a vast play ground full of endless trails to travel. “

Discography:

Vildaluodda / Wildprint (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)

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Chamber Music Meets Brazil


Benji & Rita – Benji & Rita

Benji & Rita – Benji & Rita (Big Apple Batucada, 2019)

Benji & Rita is a Brazilian music duo based in New York featuring American guitarist, vocalist and composer Benji Kaplan and Brazilian vocalist and lyricist Rita Figueiredo.

The self-titled album Benji & Rita introduces listeners to a fascinating form of Brazilian music that incorporates Brazilian rhythms, contemporary chamber music, jazz and European classical music influences.

The album features two guest ensembles, Vent Nouveau and Suono Quartet plus Rogerio Boccato on drums and percussion and various other guests on percussion, brass, guitars and bass.

The wind ensemble Vent Nouveau includes Katrina Owens on alto flute; Torin Olsen on C flute; Kristen Mather de Andrade on clarinet, bass clarinet; Bill Owens on flugel horn; and Keith Kile on tuba.

The string ensemble Suono Quartet includes Delaney Stöckli on violin I; Francesca Dardani on violin II; Elise Frawley on viola; and Renat Pinchon on cello.

Purchase Benji & Rita

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Artist Profiles: The Heptones

The Heptones

The Heptones are one of reggae’s legendary groups, led by the charismatic Leroy Sibbles along with Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. They became huge hitmakers while at the top Jamaican label, Studio One. After recording numerous rock steady anthems, they were also one of the few groups to make a successful transition from rock steady to reggae.

Deep in the Roots, released in 2004 was recorded at Kingston’s famed Channel One Studio by top roots producer Niney the Observer, with backing by the Soul Syndicate band. Features previously-unreleased extended mixes, plus rare tracks.

Co-founder Barry Llewellyn died on November 23, 2011, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Discography:

The Heptones (Studio One, 1967)
On Top (Studio One, 1968)
Black is Black (Studio One, 1970)
Freedom Line (Studio One, 1971)
Book of Rules (Jaywax, 1973)
Cool Rasta (Trojan Records, 1976)
Night Food (Island Records, 1976)
Party Time (Island Records, 977)
Better Days (Third World, 1978)
Good Life ( Greensleeves Records, 1979)
King Of My Town (Jackal Records, 1979)
Mr. Skabeana (Cha Cha Music, 1980)
One Step Ahead (Sonic Sounds, 1981)
On The Run (Shanachie, 1982)
Back on Top (Vista Sounds, 1983)
In A Dancehall Style (Vista Sounds, 1983)
Swing Low (Burning Sounds, 1985)
Changing Times (Moving Target, 1986)
A Place Called Love (Moving Target, 1987)
Sing Good Vibes (1988)
Mr. “T” (1991)
Observer’s Style (1994)
Pressure! (Real Authentic Sound, 1995)
Rebel Love (2016)

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Artist Profiles: Julio Antonio Montoro Curbelo

Julio Antonio Montoro Curbelo

Producer, composer and guitarist Julio Antonio Montoro Curbelo Julio studied the Cuban tres as well as the guitar at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana. He graduated in 1991.

While at school, he performed in jazz festivals playing with various bands. In 1993 he joined the group of singer Mireya Escalante on keyboard and guitar and also as musical director.

In 1996 he joined the group Kemell y la Barriada as pianist, recording several albums and participated in various international tours. He toured Europe with several Cuban ensembles, including Reve, Charanga Habanera, and later joined Felix Baloy of Afro-Cuban All Stars.

Since 2013 he has worked with Edesio Alejando and his son Cristian performing in Cuba and producing music television and film scores.

In 2014, Julio Antonio became the musical director and arranger of the band Tomezclao. They toured the UK, performed at Glastonbury festival and produced 3 CDs for Tumi Music.

He has worked as the guitarist with vocalist Laritza Bacallao, performing at the “Cuba Mucho Gusto” festival in Brasilia, Brazil. While in Brazil, he also worked with the famous Brazilian pianist Joao Donato at Club Do Choro.

In 2014 Julio Antonio released his debut album Alma Latina with Tumi Music. This was quickly followed by the CD Guajira Mas Guajira with Eliades Ochoa. In 2017 he set up his Alma Latina Studio, where he recorded albums for Candido Fabre, Reina y Real, Arturo Jorge among others.

In 2017, he participated as the guitarist and tres player in the CD “Tronco Viejo” with Johnny Ventura and also worked with Silvio Rodriguez.

In 2018 he recorded the “Black Roots” album.

He currently lives in Havana with his daughter “Sady” and his wife. His daughter, 4 years old at the time, contributed towards the Black Roots CD.

Discography:

Alma Latina (Tumi Music, 2014)
Guajira Mas Guajira (Tumi, 2015)
Black Roots (Tumi, 2018)

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