Fanfara Station Wins Andrea Parodi 2019 World Music Award

Fanfara Station

Fanfara Station, a band formed by musicians from Tunisia, Italy and the USA won the 12th Andrea Parodi Prize, the only contest in Italy dedicated to world music. The group performed the song “Rahil” in Tunisian. Additionally, Fanfare Station also won the critic’s award and the best arrangement as well. The contest took place October 10-12, 2019 at the Conservatory “Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina” in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. The winners were chosen by three different juries.

The prize for the best lyrics went to Federico Marras Perantoni’s song “Canzona di mari n.2 – Fóggu e fiàra”, in Sardinian language.

The best music award was given to Elliott Morris (United Kingdom) for “The End of The World Blues”, in English.

The best performance prize went to “Suspiro” by Suonno D’Ajere, from Campania, sung in the Neapolitan language.

The award for the best performance of a piece by Andrea Parodi was won by Setak, from Abruzzo.

Togolese band Arsene Duevi’s song “Agamà”, in Ewe language, won the upcoming artist award.

The Andrea Parodi Foundation decided to assign a special mention to Krzikopa (Poland) who performed “Hasiorki” in the Silesian language.

The competition this year featured a large presence of foreign artists, including Acoustic Tarab Alchemy (from Tunisia and Lazio) with the song “Fattouma”, in Arabic; Saly Diarra (Senegal) with “Musow” in the Bambara language; Maribop (Spain) with “Un munnu dintra un munnu” in Sicilian and Basque languages.

The Albo d’oro (Golden) Award went to Daniela Zedda, photographer and photojournalist of international importance.

All the prizes are made by Maria Conte, a Sardinian goldsmith artist renowned throughout the world.

The event also hosted important guests such as Moni Ovadia and AdoRiza (Friday), Simone Cristicchi, Tosca and La Maschera, the winner of last year’s competition (Saturday). On Saturday there was also an extract from the show “Lingua Madre, Pasolini’s songbook”, with Duo Bottasso, Elsa Martin, Davide Ambrogio. This is an original production of the Premio Città di Loano, the Mare e Miniere festival and the Andrea Parodi Prize, an idea by Enrico de Angelis.

Moreover, various artistic lineups from the Cagliari Conservatory performed in all the three evenings, led by artist director Elena Ledda and conducted by Gianmaurizio Foderaro and Ottavio Nieddu.

The festival was created to honor and enhance the art of the talented singer and musician Andrea Parodi, who evolved from making pop with Tazenda to a highly valuable solo career where he recreated traditional roots music, thanks to which he became an international reference for Italian world music.

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Artist Profiles: Asmaa Hamzaoui

Asmaa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou

Asmaa Hamzaoui is the leading female performer of Gnawa music. Together with her band Bnat Timbouktou, she performs Gnawa music that goes back in time when this community was held as slaves and the music revolved around storytelling about their suffering.

Asmaa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou sing in the native Gnawan language. They advocate for equal rights and for the preservation of traditions and spiritual practices in modern-day Morocco and throughout the world.

In the fall of 2019, Asmaa released her first album Oulad Lghaba, focused on Gnawa spirituality.

The lineup in 2019 included Asmaa Hamzaoui on guembri and vocals; Aicha Hamzaoui on karkabas and vocals; Soukaina Elmeliji on karkabas and vocals; and Lamgammah Hind on karkabas and vocals.

Discography:

Oulad Lghaba (Ajabu! Records, 2019)

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Masterful Mehmet Polat Outside His Harmonic Comfort Zone

Mehmet Polat and Embracing Colours – Quantum Leap

Mehmet Polat and Embracing Colours – Quantum Leap (Aftab Records, 2019)

Ud virtuoso and composer Mehmet Polat presents a new band and direction on his latest album, Quantum Leap. The Embracing Colours ensemble represents a jazzier side of his modal compositions. Although Polat spent recent years inspired by the fertile musical traditions of the Middle East, Africa, India, Europe and the Balkans, this new venture explores focuses on jazz.

Mehmet Polat describes the musicians in his new band: “Joan Terol Amigo is a genius on drums, Hendrik Muller is a master of grooves on bass and Bart Lelivelt is a brilliant accordion player. The ud is a traditional instrument played in all Arabic countries, West Asia and Eastern Europe, and can be a great connector of cultures.”

Throughout Quantum Leap, the masterful ud dances around the admirable accordion and bass, interweaving tasteful jazz, Balkan, Anatolian and Flamenco elements.

Embracing Colours includes Mehmet Polat on ud, Joan Terol Amigo on drums, Hendrik Muller on bass and Bart Lelivelt on accordion.

Guest musicians: Cigdem Okuyucu on vocals (track 4), Eric Vloeimans on trumpet; Imamyar Hasanov on kamancha; and and Michalis Kouloumis on violin.

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Artist profiles: Katarína Máliková

Katarína Máliková

Composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer Katarína Máliková was born in 1990 in Polomka, Slovakia. Her music combines traditional Slovak folk songs, art-pop, classical and world music.

She grew up in Polomka in the Horehronie region, among mountains and traditional songs. The mystical character of her home region left a strong impression in her music.

In my childhood I was touched by folklore and 90s’ pop culture, which hardly found its way to Horehronie,”says Katarína Máliková. “Later, the dreams about the big city came, together with jazz – that was my remedy during my teenage years. My studies of classical music were also a big influence on me. Returning to my birth place Horehronie with the music of Telgárt, Šumiac, or Pusté pole will always be spots that I pass with feeling of something forgotten, mysterious and haunting.”

Katarína Máliková and her band

In 2017 Katarína Máliková and her band performed at major world music festivals and venues in Slovakia and abroad, such as Pohoda Festival (Slovakia), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), EtnoKraków/Crossroads Festival in Krakow (Poland), World Music Festival Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest Ritmo (Hungary).

The lineup in 2017 included Andrej Turčin on first violin;  Janko Tomek on acoustic and electric bass;    Katarína Máliková on lead vocals, piano, keyboards, tambourine, and wind instruments; Katarína Turčinová  on flute and fujara; Klaudia Kosmeľová on piano; Ondrej Druga on accordion and vocals;     Tomáš Hríbik on drums and percussions; and Žaneta Mariňáková  on second violin and tambourine.

Katarína Máliková’s music combines Slovak folk, global sounds, electronic and classical music.

Her atmospheric debut album, titled Pustvopol (barren field) included new arrangements of folk songs from Zvolen and quickly attracted the attention of the media and the public, and soon became one of the top albums in Slovakia.

Discography:

Pustvopol (Slnko , 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Trombitáši Štefánikovci

Trombitáši Štefánikovci

The Trombitáši Štefánikovci (Stefaniks Trombita Players) ensemble was founded in 2008 by brothers Ján and Pavol Štefanik, Pavol Novosád, Ivan Bobot, Peter Peťovský, Daniel Káčer and the youngest from the Štefánik family, Juraj. The group performs the shepherds’ folk traditions of the Moravian-Slovak border, primarily from the Puchov region on Slovakia.

The ensemble uses various Slovak wind instruments such as shepherds’ horns, trombitas, fujaras and various whistles. Many of these instruments are made by the Trombitáši Štefánikovci musicians. Some of the musical instruments manufactured by the ensemble’s members are housed in many museums and used by musicians throughout the world.

Ján Štefánik, Pavol Novosád and Ivan Bobot are the winners of prestigious awards, including Instrumentum Excellence and Zlatá Fujara (Golden fujara), received for the folk musical instruments they manufactured.

Pavol Štefánik is a laureate and award winner as performer of trombitas and shepherds’ horns. The musicians performed on many occassions in Slovakia and beyond.

The album Gruňom hore – Up the Hillside (2017) was the debut of this Trombita ensemble.

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Artist Profiles: Preßburger Klezmer Band

Preßburger Klezmer Band

Bratislava-based Preßburger Klezmer Band was formed in 1995. Founding members included saxophonist Daniel Sloboda; viola player Tomáš Kaiser; clarinetist and saxophonist Erik Rothenstein; and violinist Daniel Alexander. The lineup has changed throughout the years.

Although the group is inspired by klezmer music, Preßburger Klezmer Band also incorporates Slovak, Gypsy, jazz, rock, reggae and Latin music.

The Baladen (Ballads) album contains nearly forgotten songs about love, life and God from the Slovak Jewish Heritage. Vocals are in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino & Bosnian.

Discography:

Lajv ‎(Akcent, 2002)
Mit Libe… / S Laskow ‎(Hev-Het, 2006)
Ot Azoy! ‎(Millenium Records, 2009)
Preßburger Special ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2010)
Tants mit mir ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2012)
Tsvantsik Yorn (Slovak Klezmer Association, 2015)
Baladen (Real Music House & Slovak Klezmer Association, 2018)

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Vitto Meirelles’s Delicious Servings

Vitto Meirelles – Da Hora

Vitto Meirelles – Da Hora (Cooking Vinyl, 2019)

If you have even the slightest affinity for Brazilian music you need a copy of Vitto Meirelles’s Da Hora, out on the Cooking Vinyl label. And, I’m not just saying that because the cover features Mr. Meirelles in the buff with just a guitar. Yes, after years of bitter complaints about CD covers exploiting women’s bodies to boost sales, we can just chalk this up to an About Time Moment. Regardless of the cheesecake photo connotations, Mr. Meirelles has crafted a first rate recording that is a smart, savvy and satiny follow-up to previous recordings Da Fonte and Vem Rei.

Conjuring up an airy and intimate feel on Da Hora, singer, composer and musician Mr. Meirelles enlists percussionists Domenico Lancellotti, Marivaldo Paim, Carlos Sales and Pedro Fonte in addition to his own playing guitar, piano, bass and electric keyboard to weave this silky smooth Brazilian musicscape. Mr. Meirelles’s past work with the like of Gilberto Gil, Salif Keita and Seu Jorge and composing for film and theater serves him well on Da Hora in crafting engaging tracks and moods.

Opening with the “A Fonte Secou” featuring Denis Lavant, listeners are teased with flirty bit of opening accordion before riding the easy, breezy vocals of Mr. Meirelles and some delicious percussion dashed with a bit of cuica.

Lazing his way into “Nada E melhor do Que Voce,” listeners are lulled by backing Brazilian drumming, guitar and keyboards against Mr. Meilleres’s vocals before giving way to sections of just percussion and vocals.

Full of interesting turns of vocal phrasing and percussion, Da Hora transforms what might have been ordinary Brazilian fare into something extraordinary. Equally delicious are servings of “Outro Ceu,” the savvy swinging “Le Cannibale,” “Um Tempo ao Tempo,” the delicately worked “Tudo Era Leve” and the faint vocal backing of easy feeling “O Amor E Tudo.”

Title track “Da Hora” is indeed a standout track, along with “Sou Menina Menino” and the bonus tracks “Tu T’laisses Aller” and “Aguas de Marco.”

Da Hora’s warm intimate feel is dreamy drowsy laze steeped in Brazil, and we all know if Brazilian music is playing then all is right with the world. And hey, there’s a naked man with a guitar on the cover.

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Artist Profiles: Banda

Banda

Banda was founded in 2003 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The ensemble includes musicians with extensive experience in folk music performance as well as other genres. Banda is predominantly inspired by Slovak traditional music, incorporating innovative arrangements.

In addition to Slovak roots music, Banda incorporates blues, jazz, pop, earky music and the traditional music of other cultures as well, such as Moravian, Ruthenian, Polish, Romanian, Balkan, Celtic, and Spanish musical influences.

Banda showcased at the World Music Expo WOMEX in 2017.

The ensemble contributed music for the film Tanec medzi črepinami (Glass Splinters Dance) directed by Marek Ťapák (2012) and also a title song of the TV series called 1890 (2017).

Band members include Samo Smetana on lead vocals, violin, mandolin, bouzouki; Ivan Hanula on vocals, viol, mandolin, bouzouki; Alžbeta Lukáčová on cimbalom, vocals, accordion, percussion; Peter Obuch on double bass, vocals; Ajdži Szabo on percussion; and Eva Brunovská on vocals, keyboards.

Discography:

Jedna (2010)

HraBanda (Pavian Records, 2014)

Ľudová hudba Banda: Na Mijave na rínečku (2015)

Telegrafy (Pavian Records, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Hrdza

Hrdza

Slovak band Hrdza have been making world fusion since the late 1990s. The ensemble is known for its original material rooted in Slovak traditional music, combining east European folk elements with modern musical influences.

Hrdza is a vibrant live act, featuring robust vocals and catchy melodies that engage the audience.

The 2018 album Neskrotený includes 11 original musical pieces predominantly written by the band’s frontman Slavomír Gibarti and 3 adapted very little-known traditional songs with vocals in Slovak, Rusyn and Ukrainian.

Band members in 2018 incldued Slavomír Gibarti on lead vocals, guitar; Susanna Jara on vocals, violin; Dominik Maniak on violin, vocals; Marak Szarvaš on percussion; Pavol Boleš on bass, vocals; and Matej Palidrab on accordion.

Discography:

Muzička (Hrdza, 2002)
Pod božími oknami (Universal Music, 2006)
Hajnajnanyja (Universal Music, 2009)
Hrdzavá osemnástka (Hrdza, 2016)
Neskrotený (Hrdza, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Miriam Kaiser

Miriam Kaiser

Miriam Kaiser is a Slovak violinist, composer, and vocalist. Her musical pieces are rooted in folk traditions and poetry.

Music had a fundamental role in Miriam’s life from her early childhood. Her parents sent their children to learn music and urged them to perform in front of audiences.

Miriam studied at the Bratislava Conservatory. She presented her first musical piece, Prvá (First), when opened for famed Slovak musician Marián Varga.

Miriam’s first EP Isté veci (Certain things), reached number one in Radio 7 and Radio Lumen music charts, and was aired on the Slovak national radio and Radio Regina.

Her first album Deň dňu, was made in cooperation with Milan Adamec, Andrej Hruška, members of the Slovak National Theater Orchestra and the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and other guests. It had a more modern sound and reached a wider audience.

In 2016, Miriam attracted the attention of Slovak music fans with her audiovisual project Colour Sounds in which she mixed rich orchestral arrangements, folk melodies and female vocals with an easygoing electronic sound. These elements have continued as essential elements of her compositions.

Tanec strún was released in 2018. It is dedicated to string instruments and is inspired by Slovak folk music, classical music and the poems of Naďa Mitanová.

Miriam Kaiser

Miriam’s band includes arranger Milan Adamec on violin and Júlia Veselá on cello.

Discography:

Isté Veci, EP (2010)

Deň Dňu ( Miriam Kaiser, 2014)

Color Sounds ( Miriam Kaiser, 2016)

Tanec strún ( Miriam Kaiser, 2018)

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