Artist Profiles: Kristin Scott Benson

Kristin Scott Benson

Kristin Scott Benson grew up in South Carolina, surrounded by a musical family. After receiving a much-anticipated banjo for Christmas when she was thirteen, Kristin became enthralled with the instrument and spent her teen years studying the playing of all the banjo greats from Earl Scruggs to Bela Fleck.

After high school, she attended Nashville’s esteemed Belmont University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Marketing and a minor in Music Business.

She was a member of the Larry Stephenson Band for seven years. In 2008 she joined Nashville bluegrass band the Grascals, replacing Aaron McDaris.

After 13 years in Nashville, she relocated back to the Carolinas with her husband and young son. Her solo release, Second Season, features eight instrumentals (half of them originals) and four vocal performances. The album showcases her powerful banjo playing, while still appealing to fans that aren’t motivated solely by instrumental prowess.

is the four-time International Bluegrass Music Association’s Banjo Player of the Year (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

Kristin Scott Benson is the 2018 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. “My family and I are overwhelmed with gratefulness!” said Benson. “Getting to know my banjo heroes, many of whom are on the board, is prize enough, but Steve Martin’s graciousness is a huge blessing. We don’t know how to adequately say thank you for something like this!”

Discography:

Straight Paths (Pinecastle, 2002)
Second Season (Pinecastle, 2009)
Life Finds A Way, with the Grascals (Mountain Home, 2012)
When I Get My Pay, with the Grascals (Mountain Home, 2013)
…and then there’s this, with the Grascals (Mountain Home, 2016)
Stringworks (Mountain Home, 2016)
Before Breakfast, with the Grascals (Mountain Home, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Gilberto Santa Rosa

Gilberto Santa Rosa

Salsa star Gilberto Santa Rosa was born August 21, 1962 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He made his first recordings for Combo Records, the label of El Gran Combo’s maestro Rafael Ithier. Starting in 1990 he began achieving enormous success with his great shows in San Juan, which would become his trademark.

In 1995, El Caballero de la salsa (the gentleman of salsa) signed with the Sony label and from that time many of his CDs became gold and platinum. Gilberto Santa Rosa is one of salsa music’s superstars and a popular bolero singer as well.

Discography:

Perspectiva (Discos International, 1991)
A Dos Tiempos De Un Tiempo (Sony Discos, 1992)
Nace Aquí (Columbia, 1993)
Tres Con Cache (Bronco, 1993)
De Cara Al Viento (Sony Tropical, 1994)
En Vivo Desde El Carnegie Hall (Sony Tropical, 1995)
Escencia (Epic Records, 1996)
…De Corazón (Sony Discos, 1997)
Salsa Sinfónica En Vivo Teatro Teresa Carreño Caracas (Sony Discos, 1998)
Expresión (Sony Discos, 1999)
Romántico (Sony Discos, 2000)
Intenso (Sony Music, 2001)
Viceversa (Sony Discos, 2002)
Solo Bolero (Sony, 2003)
Auténtico (Sony Discos, 2004)
Asi Es Nuestro Navidad (Sony, 2006)
Directo Al Corazón (Sony Discos, 2006)
Contraste (Sony Music, 2007)
Irrepetible (Sony Music Latin, 2010)
Gilberto Santa Rosa (Sony Music, 2012)
Necesito Un Bolero (Sony Music, 2014)

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Artist Profiles: Um Kulthum

Um Kulthum

Um Kulthum [also written Umm Kulthum, Oum Kolthoum, Oum Kalsoum, Omme Kolsoum, and Oum Kulthoom] was one of the greatest vocalists in Arabic music during the 20th century. She was born in 1904, in a small village in the south of Egypt.

In her singing, the highly influential Um Kulthum offered an authentic art, relevant and rooted in the life of her people. She created a new genre of Arabic singing, which was adopted by many artists. She emphasized the sacredness of the sung lyrics, as though the words were from the Koran or from Arab classic poetry.

In 1975 she died, endowing the world a rich repertoire and one of the greatest human voices.

Partial discography:

Ya Karawan – O plover (1926)
Othkorene – Remember me (1939)
Kull al-ahabbah – All the friends (1941)
Raq il Habeeb – My beloved tendered back (1941)
Ana Fi Entezarak – I am waiting for you (1943)
Ghulubt asalih – Tired of forgiving (1946)
Yali Kan Yashqiq Anini – You who enjoyed my cries (1949)
Rubaiyat Al-Khayyam – Quatrains of Omar Khayyám maqam rast (1950)
Ya Zalemny – You who were unjust to me (1954)
Dalili Ehtar – I am lost (1955)
Dhikrayatun Qessat Hobbi or the story of my love – memories (1955)
Gharib’ Ala Bab erraja – Stranger at the door of hope (1955)
‘Awwidt ‘ayni – I accustomed my eyes (1957)
Arouh li Meen or Arook Lemeen – Whom should I go to (1958)
Hagartek or Hajartak – I left you EMI (1959)
Hobb Eih – Which love maqam bayyati (1960)
Howwa Sahih El-Hawa Ghallab – Is love really stronger? (1960)
Lessa Faker – You still remember (1960)
Ansak Ya Salam – Forget you? Come on! (1961)
Hayart Albi Ma’ak – You confused my heart maqam nahwand (1961)
Hasibak lil-zaman – I will leave you to time (1962)
Zalamna El Hob – We have sinned against love (1962)
Betfaker fi Meen – Who are you thinking of? (1963)
Toof we Shoof – Wander and wonder (1963)
Araka asiya al-dam – I see you refusing to cry (1964)
Enta Omri – Sono – You are the love of my life (1964)
Lel Sabr Hedod – Patience has limits (1964)
Sirat el Houb – Tale of love (1964)
Amal Hayati”; Sono – Hope of my life (1965)
Baeed Anak – Away From You maqam bayyati (1965)
Enta El Hobb – You are the love (1965)
Al Atlal – The Ruins (1966)
Fakarouni – They reminded me (1966)
Fit al-ma’ ad – It is too late” or “The rendez-vous is over (1967)
Hadeeth el Rouh – The talk of the soul (1967)
Hathehe Laylati – This is my night maqam bayyati (1968)
Alf Leila wa Leila – One thousand and one nights (1969)
Aqbal al-layl – Night has arrived (1969)
Es’al Rouhak – Ask yourself (1970)
Wi-darit il-ayyam – And time passed by (1970)
Aghadan alqak – Shall I see you tomorrow? (1971)
El Hobb Kolloh – All the love (1971)
Men Agl Aynayk – For your eyes (1972)
Rihab al-huda al-Thulathiyah al-Muqaddisah – The paths to repentance or the holy trinity (1972)
Ya Msaharny – You that keeps me awake at night (1972)
Hakam ‘alayna al-haw’a – Love has ordered me (1973)
Leilet Hobb – A night of love (1973)
La Diva (EMI Arabia, 1998)
La Diva II (EMI Arabia, 1998)
La Diva III (EMI Arabia, 1998)
La Diva IV (EMI Arabia, 1998)
La Diva V (EMI Arabia, 1998)
The Classics (EMI Arabia, 2001)


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Artist Profiles: V.G. Jog

V.G. Jog

Vishnu Gobind Jog (V.G. Jog) was a venerated elder statesman of the North Indian violin. A highly respected musician and educator, he toured throughout the world as a soloist and with many of India’s great instrumentalists. His distinctive style won him a special place among India’s great musicians, and his soulful music was praised by Westerners such as John Coltrane and Eric Clapton.

Born in Maharashtra in 1922, he studied with Sri Shankar Rao Athavela, Ganapat Rao Purohit, and Allauddin Khan.

Since 1999, Pandit Jog had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The disease had not only disabled the elderly musician by taking away the violin away from his hands, but was also taking away all his assets. Without music, his sole source of income, the high cost of health care became an unsustainable burden for the Jog family. Additionally, the unexpected death of his son added a misfortune to the indisposed violinist and his family. Various benefit concerts were held to provide him and his family with urgently needed financial aid.

Along with the Padma Bhushan, Jog also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, West Bengal government’s Rajya Natak award, the Kalidas Samman, the Bhuwalka Puraskar and the Hafiz Ali Khan award.

Jog had a long involvement with the All India Radio’s Kolkata center as music composer and producer, as well as being member of the AIR’s audition board.

V.G. Jog died on January 31, 2004.

Discography:

Bismillah Khan With V. G. Jog (His Master’s Voice, 1962)
Raga Kedara / Raga Chandrakauns (Odeon 1963)
Duets (His Master’s Voice, 1965)
Manik Varma ((His Master’s Voice, 1965)
Shenai & Violin (His Master’s Voice, 1968)
Shyam Kalyan / Raga Des / Dhun (His Master’s Voice, 1970)
Violin & Shehnai – Jugalbandi (His Master’s Voice, 1977)
The Distinctive Two, Violin & Flute Jugalbandi (His Master’s Voice, 1978)
Violin Recital (His Master’s Voice, 1982)
Ragas: Jogkaus Khamaj (Chhanda Dhara, 1983)
Jugalbandi Harmonium And Violin (His Master’s Voice, 1985)
Jugalbandi – Duet For Violin And Guitar – Raga Bageswari (Chhanda Dhara, 1988)
Violin (Moment Records, 1991)
Monsoon Raga Nataraj Music, 1993
Waves Of Ecstasy Vol. 2 (All India Radio, 1995)
Waves Of Ecstasy Vol. 3 (All India Radio, 1995)
Indian Classical Duets Vol 1 (ITC Limited, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Hermeto Pascoal

Hermeto Pascoal

Hermeto Pascoal is a prominent Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist. His compositions appear on albums by Miles Davis and other jazz heavyweights.

He was born in 1936 in Lagoa da Canoa, a small town in northeastern Brazil. His reputation in Brazil is the result of a varied career. As a juvenile he learned to play the flute, appearing on a multitude of occasions. When his family moved to Recife in 1950 he spent the following six years as an accordion player for radio stations, ending as the director of a complete orchestra. Pascoal then moved on to Rio, stunned by the possibilities and musical opportunities arising for him.

In 1964 he joined Aito Moreira in a group called Trio Sambraza. Two years later, again with Airto, a first record was released in Brazil with the Quarteto Novo. When in 1969 the group broke up and Airto Moreira left for the States to play with Miles Davis, Hermeto stayed behind.

Pascoals’ international career began two years later. Airto called him to arrange his productions in New York. Miles Davis, who was fascinated by the wilfulness of Brazilian and especially Pascoal’s music gave him room for two compositions of his own on the album Live Evil. In the same year, 1972, Hermeto Pascoal’s first album, together with Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Ron Carter was released; called Hermeto.

In 1964 he joined Aito Moreira in a group called Trio Sambraza. Two years later, again with Airto, a first record was released in Brazil with the Quarteto Novo. When in 1969 the group broke up and Airto Moreira left for the States to play with Miles Davis, Hermeto stayed behind. Pascoals’ international career began two years later. Airto called him to arrange his productions in New York. Miles Davis, who was fascinated by the wilfulness of Brazilian and especially Pascoal?s music gave him room fo two compositions of his own on the album Live Evil. In the same year 1972, Hermeto Pascoal?s first album, together with Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Ron Carter was released; called Hermeto.

Due to the recognition Pascoal received in the United States, the Brazilian record industry’s interest grew rapidly. In 1973 he released an album called A Musica Livre De Hermeto Pascoal. It was due to his innovative power, his restlessness, his search for unconventional musical instruments: bottles, stones, water splashing, and almost everything else that could create sounds; that people started calling him “Bruxo”, the wizard.

His masterpiece, a milestone in the Brazilian music world, was the album Slaves Mass, released 1977. Many other releases followed after this breakthrough.

Hermeto Pascoal

His influence on Brazilian music extends well beyond his own remarkable output as a writer an multi-instrumentalist. As the father-figure for avant-garde Brazilian Jazz, Pascoal’s pioneering music has prepped a generation of musicians who are now having a great deal to say about the direction of the American music scene.

Airto, had this to say about his mentor: “He is the most complete musician I ever met in my life. I consider him almost a genius.

Pascoal plays flutes, keyboards, guitar and bass with equal facility; and reads, writes and arranges without the benefit of any formal training.

Discography:

Conjunto Som 4, with Conjunto Som 4 (1961)
Em Som Maior, with Sambrasa Trio (1966)
Quarteto Novo, with Quarteto Novo (1967)
Brazilian Octopus, with Brazilian Octopus (1969)
Hermeto Pascoal, reissued on CD as Brazilian Adventure (1970)
A música livre de Hermeto Pascoal (Sinter, 1973)
Slaves Mass (Warner Bros. Records, 1976)
Trindade (1977)
Zabumbê-bum-á (Warner Bros. Records, 1979)
Ao vivo Montreux Jazz Festival (Atlantic, 1979)
Nova história da Música Popular Brasileira, compilation (1979)
Cérebro magnético (Atlantic, 1980)
Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo (1982)
Lagoa da Canoa, Município de Arapiraca (Happy Hour Music, 1984)
Brasil Universo (1986)
Só não toca quem não quer (Intuition, 1987)
Hermeto solo) por diferentes caminhos (Som Da Gente, 1988)
Festa dos deuses (1992)
Instrumental no CCBB, with Renato Borghetti (Tom Brasil, 1993)
Música! o melhor da música de Hermeto Pascoal, compilation (1998)
Eu e eles (Rádio Mec, 1999)
Mundo verde esperança (2002)
Chimarrão com rapadura, with Aline Morena (2006)
Bodas de Latão, with Aline Morena (2010)
The Monash Sessions (Jazzhead, 2013)
No Mundo dos Sons (SESC SP, 2017)
Viajando com o som (Far Out Recordings, 2017)
Natureza Universal (2017)
Palmares Fantasy (Far Out Recordings, 2018)
E Sua Visão Original Do Forró ‎(Scubidu Music, 2018)

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The Captivating Thaitronics of Apichat Pakwan

Apichat Pakwan – Esantronics

Apichat Pakwan – Esantronics (Animist Records, 2019)

Esantronics introduces a wonderful world of hybrid music where traditional Thai music meets European electronic music. Apichat Pakwan includes Thai musicians who perform music from the Northeast region of Thailand, also known as Esan, and Dutch composer and producer Olivier Schreuder.

The project got started when Olivier Schreuder became passionately interested in the music of Laos and Esan. While studying this music in the city of Khon Kaen in the region of Esan in Northeast Thailand he encountered a group of young and very fine musicians with whom he started playing and recording a mix of the traditional music with local instruments like the kaen (mouth organ), phin (stringed instrument), pi phu thai (flute), sor (fiddle), a wide range of percussion and analog and digital electronics.

Apichat Pakwan live at Amsterdam Roots Festival in July 2019

Apichat Pakwan is not a studio only project. The group has performed live throughout Asia and Europe. The lineup varies and there is always room for improvisation. Although the ensemble originally played instrumentals, vocalist and composer Anusara ‘Bee’ Deechaichana joined the project. She wrote the lyrics for the songs.

Apichat Pakwan live at Cinetol Amsterdam in 2019

Although Apichat Pakwan had released some recordings before, Esantronics is the debut full album. It was recorded at various locations in Thailand, as well as in Singapore, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Apichat Pakwan at Houtfestival in The Netherlands, 2019

The lineup includes Olivier Schreuder on percussion, drum programming, Fender Rhodes, kaen, electronics; Pumisakseri ‘Kwang’ Sasida on phin, kaen and sor esan; Angkanang ‘Num’ Pimwankum on percusssion; Anusara ‘Bee’ Deechaichana on vocals; Wimonmat ‘Wiw’ Kangjantha on vocals; Arthit Krajangsree on phin; Pongsapon Upani on kaen; and Chanawat ‘Smurf’ Jonhjoho on sor esan.

Esantronics is a superb album where fascinating, innovative Thai roots music meets masterfully-crafted electronica.

Buy Esantronics

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Folk Alliance International Announces Ethno USA Project Manager

Jay Gilman

Folk Alliance International has hired Jay Gilman in the role of Ethno USA Project Manager. Ethno is JM International’s 30-year-old program designed to revive and keep alive global cultural heritage through international peer-to-peer music camps.

Working from the Kansas City office as a member of the Folk Alliance International staff, and reporting to JMI’s Belgium-based Global Ethno Program Coordinator Suchet Malhotra, Jay will be responsible for coordinating all of the logistics related to producing an annual two-week long international music camp for young adults in the United States.

A Kansas City native, Jay grew up immersed in music, theater, and dance. An M.Sc. graduate of Nonprofit Leadership at UPenn, and an MPA Social Enterprise Fellow of the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore, Jay has been an independent arts consultant for over a decade, with a specific interest in cross-cultural collaboration. He spent five years as the Associate Director for Programs & Productions for Philadelphia Young Playwrights and most recently served three years as the Artistic Director of the Minnesota Fringe.

Regarding his new role, Jay said, “I believe that art remains one of the few forces that can truly change our world.”

More about JM International Ethno.

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Interview with Spanish Stringed Instrument Master Juan José Robles

Juan José Robles

Spanish multi-instrumentalist Juan José Robles has a superb new album titled In-Quietud (Restlessness). Robles uses a wide range of stringed instruments from Spain and beyond. He discusses his career and new album with World Music Central.

How and when did you start working professionally in the music world?

I decided to make my own music after several years playing for others or being part of groups. Once I recorded my first album and saw that it had very good acceptance and reviews, that is when I decided to bet on this, even if it is a “spike and shovel” and the road is not easy.

What do you think are the fundamental elements of your musical style?

Throughout my musical career, I have gone through traditional, classical, folk, blues, flamenco music … and all this has stayed with me. Perhaps that is why, those who listen to my music, think that I have generated my own language from that hodgepodge; and that is recognizable to hear it.

How has your musical expression evolved over the years?

Well, over the years my level of self-demand has grown, all my songs pass several listening filters until they definitely arrive at the studio, I carefully and meticulously select what I like and what I don’t, I eliminate it right away.

Juan José Robles – In-Quietud

What does the title of your In-Quietud album mean?

I have lived situations and moments where I have been too restless, altered, uneasy…., And those situations have led me to a hangover that has generated a pleasant stillness; in those two states is where all the songs on this album have appeared.

Tell us a little about In-Quietud .

It is a continuity of my previous album “Tiempo de espera” (2016), where new structures and elements appear that, as I said before, I have carefully selected. It is also a claim of instrumental music as a form of expression, with as much force as that which bears a voice. On the other hand, traditional music is one of the sources from which I drink, hence I wink at two pieces of my land, Murcia, which I really wanted.

Juan José Robles – Photo by Gerardo C. Saura

In your In-Quietud album you play several types of stringed instruments from the guitar and lute family. Tell us about the following instruments and their differences: octavilla, Valencian guitar, tenor guitar.

The octavilla is a 12-string instrument, with 6 courses, which is located in the area that borders Castilla La Mancha with the Valencian Community; is a mainly melodic instrument and its loudness is of medium-acute timbres. The Valencian guitar has 5 strings, which are usually made of nylon, and is used to rip with chords in traditional music, being its acute sound range. The tenor guitar has 10 strings, with 5 courses, and is widely used to accompany with chords in the traditional formations of the [Spanish] peninsular southeast, such as Murcia and Almeria, and its sound range is medium.

In addition to the instruments mentioned above, you also play guitars, bouzouki, bandurria and lute. How do you decide which instrument you will use in each track? Which one do you like the most?

These four instruments are those with which I usually compose almost everything and the decision is easy, since I usually respect the instrument with which I compose the subject. And regarding tastes for an instrument, let’s say it goes through times, I currently give more attention to the bouzouki and the lute, although I never stop playing the guitar and the mandolin.

Juan José Robles

Who manufactures your string instruments?

The lute is by Diego Gallego (Murcia), the bouzouki is by Carlos do Viso (Vigo), the mandolin and octave guitar by Tomás Leal (Casasimarro, Albacete), the bandurria by Javier Rojo (Madrid) and the guitar by Juan Azorín (Molina de Segura, Murcia).

Do you keep or collect stringed instruments?

I used to collect them, but then I decided to be pragmatic and I only keep the ones I use, which add up to 12.

Would you like to play some other stringed instrument from some other region of Spain or other cultures?

Yes, my pending subject is the zanfona [hurdy gurdy], which I already had one and played it some time ago; although I got rid of it to buy a flamenco guitar. So it may be my next goal.

Do you give classes or workshops?

Yes, I teach guitar, lute, bandurria and guitar classes permanently in a popular music school; and also music workshops and traditional Murcian song with Carmen María Martínez Salazar.

Which musicians of the new generations in your area deserve the attention of root music lovers in general?

The world of traditional music around the peninsular southeast, lately is closely related to meetings of traditional formations (crews, rounds, pandas, …). These have always been formed by older people, but today there are many young people and children paying close attention to this sociocultural movement and some with great talent, where great vocals and string players stand out.

If you could bring together the musicians or groups that fascinate you most to record a record or collaborate live, who would you call?

Of course I would stay with the band that accompanies me live: Enrique González and Óscar Esteban on percussion, Pablo Orenes on double bass, Tóbal Rentero on the laúd, guitarro and dulzaina, and José Antonio Aarnoutse and Constantino López on guitars; the latter also producer of the album. And I would call singers Carles Dènia and Rocío Márquez; cavaquinho player Luis Peixoto; Diego Galaz and Jorge Arribas (Fetén Fetén) to play violin and accordion and Efrén López on zanfona.

What other projects are you working on?

I am part of Mujeres con Raíz, a group of traditional Murcian music and I am still working on an upcoming job, which we must start from now.

More about Juan José Robles and his discography.

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Artist Profiles: Juan José Robles

Juan José Robles

Juan José Robles Mayol started his musical career as a child in rondallas (ensemble of stringed instruments) and folk bands in his his hometown, Alhama de Murcia, in southeastern Spain, playing the Spanish guitar, the lute and the bandurria.

At fifteen, he and his colleagues they founded the folk-rock group Malvariche, with whom he recorded three albums: “La Leyenda” (1992), “Que llueva, que llueva” (1995) and “En concierto” (1997).

From 2002 to 2008, he was part of the Camerata Aguilar orchestra, an ensemble with which he ventured into classical music. He participated in two of their recordings: “Scaramouche” (2003) and “Los Aguilar” (2008).

In 2007 he received the Professional Music Degree, in the specialty of plectrum instruments, at the Professional Conservatory of Music of Murcia.

In 2008, he became part of Manuel Luna’s Cuadrilla Maquilera. He participated in the band’s “Por Parrandas” (2010) and “Viajes Sonoros” (2016) recordings; and also performed with La Banda del Pepo, where he experimented with instruments such as saz, cümbüs and zanfona, among others.

In 2015, he founded with other colleagues, the traditional Murcian music group Mujeres con Raíz, with whom he recorded “Las edades de la vida” (2017).

Juan José Robles

His solo career began in 2016, with the self-release “Tiempo de espera”, focused on the instruments that always accompanied him in his long career. This first work was well received by the public and the media specialized in traditional and folk music. The lineup included Juan José Robles on various string instruments; Enrique González on percussion; Óscar Esteban on tambourine; Pablo Orenes on acoustic and electric bass; Constantino López on acoustic guitar and mandola; Jero Galián on Spanish guitar; Pepe Ludeña on violin; José Antonio Aarnoutse on flamenco guitar; Dani Valera on palmas; Carlos Beceiro on zanfona; Roberto Cubero on mandolin; and Carmen María Martínez Salazar and Jaime Lafuente on vocals.

“Tiempo de espera” was presented at the inaugural gala of the EXIB 2016 (Ibero-American Music Expo), in Évora (Portugal), sharing the stage with Portuguese artists Luís Peixoto, João Afonso and Celina Da Piedade, among others.

Juan José Robles at EXIB – Photo by Angel Romero

Between 2017 and 2018, he participated in the farewell tour of Paco Muñoz and in 2018 in Simfonic by Pep Botifarra & Pau Chafer.

In 2019, Juan José Robles released the album In-Quietud.

Discography:

La Leyenda, with Malvariche (1992)
Que llueva, que llueva, with Malvariche (1995)
En concierto, with Malvariche (1997)
Scaramouche, with Camerata Aguilar (2003)
Los Aguilar, with Camerata Aguilar (2008)
Por Parrandas, with Manuel Luna y la Cuadrilla Maquilera (2010)
Viajes Sonoros, with Manuel Luna y la Cuadrilla Maquilera (2016)
Tiempo de espera (Juan José Robles, 2016)
Las edades de la vida, with Mujeres con Raíz (2017)
In-Quietud (Juan José Robles, 2019)

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Folk Alliance International Reveals Recipients and Inductees of the 2020 International Folk Music Awards

BeauSoleil, winner of the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards (Living)

Folk Alliance International (FAI) has announced the award recipients and inductees for the International Folk Music Awards (IFMAs). The awards will be presented on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, on the opening night of FAI’s 32nd annual conference taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana. The IFMAs recognize folk music legends, unsung heroes, and rising talent.

Mahalia Jackson, winner of the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award (Legacy)
Preservation Hall , winner of the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards (Business/Academic)

The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards, named after FAI’s co-founder and determined by membership vote, are presented to honor the cultural impact of legendary folk music figures and organizations. The 2020 recipients are celebrated cajun band BeauSoleil (Living), the “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson (Legacy), and the iconic Preservation Hall (Business/Academic).

Ani DiFranco – Photo by GMDThree

Ani DiFranco will receive The People’s Voice Award, presented annually to an individual who unashamed embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public career.

The Pickathon festival, based in Portland, Oregon, will receive The Clearwater Award, presented annually to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production.

Spirit of Folk Awards, honoring those involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music through creative work, community building, and leadership, will be presented to Ake Lundstrom (Nordic Folk Alliance), folklorist/writer Ben Sandmel, Ellen Bello (Native American Music Awards), refugee-artist Ephraim Bugumba, Jan Ramsey (OffBeat Magazine),  and Laura Hassler (Musicians Without Borders).

This year’s inductees into FAI’s Folk DJ Hall of Fame include Holger Petersen (CBC, CKUA – Edmonton, Canada), Mary Katherine Aldin (past KPFK –  Los Angeles, USA), and Nick Spitzer (PRX – New Orleans, USA).

Following a compilation of year-end charts, FAI members will vote to determine the 2019 Album, Song, and Artist of the Year, which are announced and presented during the IFMAs.

More about Folk Alliance International

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