Flamenco Romantico

Rafa El Tachuela – Flamenco Romantico

Rafa El Tachuela – Flamenco Romantico (ARC Music, 2006)

After his fruitful collaboration with master Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy on the best selling album Flamenco Arabe, flamenco guitar virtuoso Rafa El Tachuela returns with a masterpiece of work, a collection of romantic and beautiful compositions in Flamenco Romantico.

The moods evoked on the 12 instrumental tracks range from harmony and longing to quarrels and beauty. Born in Berlin, Rafa El Tachuela began teaching himself flamenco guitar at the age of thirteen.
He has toured through Europe as a soloist. Our picks on this album include the upbeat Con Temperamento and the Arabic-tinged Juntos en la Inspiracion.


Sekou Kouyate to Showcase at Visa for Music in Rabat

Guinean kora innovator Sekou Kouyate is set to perform on November 23, 2017 at 21:30 at Salle la Renaissance in Rabat, Morocco. This concert is part of the Visa for Music showcases.

The lineup includes Sekou Kouyate on electric kora and vocals; Teun Creemers on bass; and Frank Durand on drums.

Sekou Kouyate released an excellent solo album in 2015 titled Sabaru.


The Second Annual GroundUP Music Festival in Miami Beach Reveals Exciting 2018 Program

The second annual GroundUP Music Festival will take place February 9-11, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. Hosted by acclaimed jazz fusion band Snarky Puppy, the festival will feature a special set from Snarky Puppy each day together with performances from an eclectic list of international superstars.

The program includes: The Wood Brothers; The Flecktones Trio feat. Béla Fleck, Victor Wooten and Futureman; Robert Glasper; Lionel Loueke, Joshua Redman, Michael League, & Larnell Lewis; Eliades Ochoa (Buena Vista Social Club); Kitailo featuring Buika; JoJo Mayer/Nerve; Knower; Mark Guiliana’s BEAT Music; Under One Sun; Weedie Braimah & the Hands of Time; Paris Monster; C4 Trio; Harold López-Nussa Trio; and GroundUP artists Charlie Hunter & Silvana Estrada; Banda Magda; Becca Stevens; FORQ; Roosevelt Collier; Breastfist; Sirintip; and Alina Engibaryan.

North Beach Bandshell
Friday-Sunday, February 9-11, 2017

Tickets and information at: www.groundupmusicfestival.com


Artist Profiles: Robert Plant

Robert Plant – Photo Credit by Pamela Springsteen

Robert Anthony Plant was born August 2, 1948 in West Bromwich, West Midlands, England. He is a rock singer most famous for being the lead singer of one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Led Zeppelin. Robert is known for his powerful style, with a wide vocal range that embodies folk and blues passion at its finest. The British musician has a great appreciation for world music, especially African music.

In 1966 Plant became a professionalmusician. By 1967 he hformed the Band of Joy with John Bonham and created two fundamental working partnerships. The first such partnership was with Terry Reid – the two became friends playing on the progressive music circuit of the mid-1960s; the second was with bandleader Alexis Korner with whom Plant worked as harmonica player and co-vocalist in various Korner ventures many of which featured pianist Steve Miller and were featured as the opening act for the band Free.

In early 1968, Plant’s psychedelic dream ended. Bonham left the Band of Joy to tour with Tim Rose while Plant continued to work with Korner. Plant’s friend, Terry Reid recommended Plant to Jimmy Page for a revised Yardbirds line-up, declining the gig himself to pursue what looked to be a promising solo career. Plant in turn recommended Bonham and with Page’s fellow session musician John Paul Jones on bass, what began life as ‘The New Yardbirds” became the creative force known as Led Zeppelin.

Plant was influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, which inspired some lyrics on early Led Zeppelin albums. The passion for diverse musical experiences drove Plant and Page to explore the African continent, specifically Morocco which they both revisited during their reunion album No Quarter in 1994. From blues to folk to African tribal music, Plant enjoyed diverse influences.
Led Zeppelin’s greatest success came with “Stairway to Heaven,” an epic fantasy song that draws influence from folk, blues, Celtic, traditional music and hard rock among other genres. While never released as a single, the song has topped charts as one of the greatest songs of all time on various polls around the world.

Plant enjoyed great success with the band throughout the 1970s but it ended abruptly when Plant and his wife Maureen were seriously injured in a car crash in Rhodes, Greece on August 4, 1975. This halted production of Led Zeppelin’s album Presence for a few months while he recovered. Things also took a turn for the worse in 1977, when his oldest son Karac died of a stomach infection. Karac’s death later inspired him to write the Led Zeppelin song “All My Love” in tribute.

Bonham’s unfortunate death in 1980 brought the Led Zeppelin era to a close. Following the band’s breakup”, Plant pursued a successful solo career. Plant formed a short-lived all-star group, The Honeydrippers, that had a Top Ten hit with a remake of “Sea Of Love”.

Plant and Jimmy Page renewed their long-time partnership in 1995 for four years in the No Quarter project, a mix of North African, Egyptian, and folk roots sounds.

Plant’s wide-ranging enthusiasm for non-Western musics, including the music of Morocco, met with his lifelong fascination with American West Coast psychedelic rock to form a new fusion of styles and colors known as Strange Sensation. Their first album Dreamland received great critical acclaim and two Grammy nominations in January 2003.

Plant recorded with Afro Celt Sound System and along with Skin and Justin Adams traveled to north of Timbuktu in Mali to participate in the 2nd Festival of the Desert, a gathering of African, Saharan and assorted musicians that included Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen and Tartit. This project ultimately became a CD compilation Festival in the Desert on the Harmonia Mundi label.

In 2003, Plant released the retrospective Sixty Six to Timbuktu that included a selection of Plant’s solo work from his first recording date to his appearance in Mali.

In October of 2004, Plant revived his long-dormant Es Paranza label for its first release in many years. May of 2005 saw the release of Plant and the Strange Sensation’s album Mighty Rearranger that featured twelve new original songs. A major year-long tour followed. At the close of 2005, the critically acclaimed Mighty Rearranger received two Grammy nominations in vocal categories.

In 2006, Robert and the band embark on a new adventure with a series of dates across Europe and beyond. A stopover in Sweden in late May saw Robert, along with the other members of Led Zeppelin receive the prestigious Polar Music Prize. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the award to Led Zeppelin in the presence of other dignitaries with the following words: ‘The 2006 Polar Music Prize is awarded to the British group Led Zeppelin, one of the great pioneers of rock. Their playful and experimental music combined with highly eclectic elements has two essential themes: mysticism and primal energy.”

In October of 2006 Rounder/Zoe Vision released Plant and the Strange Sensation DVD, a ten-camera High Definition shoot for USA Soundstage productions. This was the first commercial DVD in Robert’s career. This continued the critical recognition of the work of Plant and the Strange Sensation.

2006 closed with the worldwide release of Nine Lives (Rhino), a beautifully designed boxed set containing all of Plant’s solo work since 1980, accompanied by outtakes live cuts and a DVD with contributions from Tori Amos, Phil Collins, Roger Daltrey, Bobby Gillespie and Lenny Kravitz among others.

In 2007, Robert worked on album number three with Strange Sensation.

Raising Sand, a project and partnership with Grammy Award winning bluegrass artist Alison Krauss was released in October 2007 on Rounder Records. Produced by T-Bone Burnett, Raising Sand includes blues, country and folk-rock.


Pictures at Eleven (Swan Song Records, 1982)
The Principle of Moments (Es Paranza Records, 1983)
Shaken ‘n’ Stirred (Es Paranza Records, 1985)
Now and Zen (Es Paranza Records, 1988)
Manic Nirvana (Es Paranza Records, 1990)
Fate of Nations (Es Paranza Records, 1993)
Dreamland (Mercury Records, 2002)
Mighty ReArranger (Sanctuary Records, 2005)
Raising Sand, with Alison Krauss (Rounder Records, 2007)
Band of Joy (Rounder Records, 2010)
Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch Records, 2014)
Carry Fire (Nonesuch Records, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Robert Mirabal

Robert Mirabal

Robert Mirabal was born on October 6, 1966 in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, USA.

There’s always a flute player in every tribe. I never would have guessed it at the time but I’ve become that flute player,” says Robert Mirabal.

The tribe is the Taos Pueblo. The time was when Robert was 18 and he encountered for the first time the Native American flute. Now his handcrafted flutes are in the Smithsonian National Museum.
From the pow-wow auction where he saw that first flute to Japan, the UK and all the world, Robert plays with the noble purpose of honoring the land his family his ancestors and his tribe, who have occupied the same area of Northern New Mexico for over a thousand years.

While deeply aware of his heritage Robert looks at the responsibility universally: “I offer my work as a healing for the human spirit and a remembrance of why we are all here together.”

Robert Mirabal

In addition to the music and instruments he creates, Robert is also a celebrated painter, poet and playwright. He is the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge, a book of poetry prose and short stories. He has lent his words and insights to several educational and documentary films, including two narrated by Robert Redford “Silent Witness” and “Sacred Sites.” He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and the New York Dance and Performer’s “Bessie” Award for composition.

Robert’s 2001 live album Music from a Painted Cave is also the title of a TV special of the same name that was broadcast by PBS.

Mirabal formed a band called Rare Tribal Mob that featured Robert Mirabal on vocals, flute, ocarina, percussion, didjeridu; Reynaldo Luján on tribal rhythms, vocals; Michael Kott on cello; Stev Castillo on guitars; Kenny Aronoff on drums, percussion; Star Nayea on vocals, percussion; Robin Peffer on bass; and Patrick Mirabal on vocals, flutes, percussion.


Nomad, with Nomad and Mor Thiam (1994)
Song Carrier (1995)
Land (1995)
Warrior Magician (Silver Wave Records, 1996)
Native Suite, with Bill Miller (1996)
Mirabal (1997)
Native American Lullabies: Under The Green Corn Moon (1998)
Taos Tales (Silver Wave Records, 1999)
Music from a Painted Cave (Silver Wave Records, 2001)
Indians, Indians (2003)
Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth (2005)
Johnny Whitehorse (Silver Wave Records, 2005)
Pueblo Christmas, with Patrick Mirabal (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
In the Blood (2007)
Johnny Whitehorse: Totemic Flute Chants (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
Johnny Whitehorse: Riders of the Healing Road (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
The River (Innova, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Robben Ford

Robben Ford

Robben Ford was born on December 16, 1951 in Woodlake, California, U.S.A.

Robben Ford’s earliest musical steps were in the blues playing with his brothers in the Charles Ford band and backing harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite. Robben then joined the legendary Jimmy Witherspoon. But his career took an unexpected turn in 1974 when he was discovered by saxophonist Tom Scott.

Ford began to perform and record with Scott’s jazz-fusion band L.A. Express and joined them in backing songwriter Joni Mitchell for two years. He played on her Court and Spark tour and double album Miles of Isles (1974) as well as contributing his guitar work to The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975).

Based on his live work with Mitchell, Ford was recruited to join George Harrison on what would be the ex-Beatles only solo tour ever. In the program book for the Dark Horse tour it is noted ‘Only once in a blue moon is there an artist so natural to the blues and to jazz as Robben Ford.”

In 1979, Ford released his solo debut album, a fusion-flavored production called The Inside Story. Out of that recording came the legendary group Yellowjackets that would go on to record two albums for Warner Records.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Ford worked with so many different artists that he was labeled a “fusion guitar player.” Robben says “it just wasn’t true. Not in my heart anyway. And it wasn’t until my second album Talk to Your Daughter in 1988 that I got to make my first blues offering.” That album received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Recording.

The promotional tour for Talk to Your Daughter eventually led to the formation of a full time blues-based band called Robben Ford and the Blue Line, with Roscoe Beck on bass and Tom Brechtlein on drums. The trio recorded a series of landmark albums including a self-titled debut in 1992 Robben Ford & the Blue Line, Mystic Mile in 1993 and 1995’s Handful of Blues.

By the second half of the decade Robben was again ready for a change. After a friendly split with the Blue Line he recorded Tiger Walk in 1997, backed by Keith Richards’ rhythm section. “Tiger Walk was an instrumental rock and R&B record which was nothing that my audience expected at the time,” says Robben. “And the next record Supernatural (1999) was an even further departure.” The album Supernatural was well received and “In the Beginning” (from Tiger Walk) was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Instrumental Rock category.

Robben returned to blues with Blue Moon in 2002 and Keep on Running in 2003. Keep on Running includes a core group of first class players: bassist Jimmy Earl and drummers Toss Panos and Steve Potts.


Discovering the Blues Live (1972) (Live)
Sunrise (1972)
Jimmy Witherspoon & Robben Ford Live (1976)
Schizophonic (1976)
The Inside Story (Elektra, 1979)
Love’s a Heartache (1983)
Talk to Your Daughter (Warner Bros., 1988)
Words and Music (Warner Bros., 1988)
Robben Ford (Warner Bros., 1988)
A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing (ITM, 1992)
Handful of Blues (Blue Thumb, 1995)
Blues Connotation (1996)
Tiger Walk (1997)
Supernatural (Universal Classics & Jazz, 1999)
Blue Moon (Concord Jazz, 2002)
Keep on Running (Concord Jazz, 2003)
The Color of Things (2005)
City Life (Westwind, 2006)
Truth (Concord, 2007)
Soul on Ten (Concord, 2009)
Bringing It Back Home (Provogue, 2013)
A Day in Nashville (Provogue, 2014)
Live at Rockpalast (Repertoire, 2014)
Into the Sun (Provogue, 2015)
Lost in Paris Blues Band (Ear Music, 2016)
Supremo (2017)


Artist Profiles: Rob Curto’s Forro For All

Rob Curto

Forró For All is a band dedicated to the sound of Northeastern Brazil’s traditional ‘forró p’ de serra’ performed with a sensibility born of New York City’s diverse and dynamic musical culture.

Forró For All’s founder accordionist Rob Curto mixes elements of jazz with a language and feel that is distinctly Brazilian. Curto’s virtuosic accordion playing and the band’s wide-ranging musical influences bring a fresh perspective to forró with improvisation, original compositions and rhythmic and harmonic innovations. Rob has spent years intimately involved with the music and culture of the Brazilian Northeast working as a musician in Brazil and has developed a reputation there as an extremely skillful and artistic forró accordionist.

He studied with great accordionists from Pernambuco, Brazil such as Arlindo dos Oito Baixos, Camario and Silveirinha and with guitarist Alencar 7-Cordas from Paraiba. Rob keeps as his main source the work of Dominguinhos (with whom he has performed) Sivuca, Oswaldinho, Hermeto Pascoal and of course the great innovator of forró Luiz Gonzaga.

In addition to his work with Forró For All, Rob Curto tours and records with world music artists such as Mexican singer Lila Downs and klezmer artist David Krakauer and also recorded with Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista.


Forró For All


Artist Profiles: Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi in 1911, Robert Johnson came to prominence in the 1930s, recording his 26-song catalog during two recording sessions in 1936 and 1937. The blues songs Johnson recorded over the course of those sessions went on to influence two generations of blues masters and became the foundation upon which much of rock and roll was built. He passed away in 1938 at the age of 27.

From early blues craftsmen like Muddy Waters and Elmore James to modern blues/rock innovators like Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, no one has escaped the wide-ranging influence of this blues master.

Recommended recordings:

The Complete Recordings (The Centennial Collection)
King of Delta Blues Singers
King of the Delta Blues Singers Vol. 2


The Search for Robert Johnson
Can’t You Hear the wind Howl? The Life & Music of Robert Johnson


Artist Profiles: Remmy Ongala

Remmy Ongala

Known as “The Doctor,” Remmy Ongala was based in Dar es Salaam with his band Orchestre Super Matimila. In Tanzania, Remmy’s popularity amongst the people particularly the young was unrivalled – only the President was better known.

The steady melodic drive of Congolese-style soukous was at the root of Matimila’s music lifted by the fluid East African guitar style and infectious Tanzanian rhythms. The music had a broad spacious quality with hints of Latin and Caribbean influence. Above this soared the rich soulful vocals of Remmy Ongala.

Remmy’s aim was to make people dance but also to make them think. The voice of the Tanzanian artist always had something politically astute or deeply philosophical to say. His concerns were rooted in both the daily life of Dar es Salaam and politics on a global scale. By introducing English lyrics he widened his potential audience yet further.

As he said ‘I am successful in Tanzania because I write songs about serious topics; my music is known as Ubongo Beat because in Swahili ubongo means brain and my music is heavy thinking music.’
Remmy Ongala died on December 13, 2010 in Dar es Salaam.


Songs for the Poor Man (Real World 235, 1990)
Mambo (Real World 232, 1991)
Sema (WOMAD Select, 1996)


Artist Profiles: Relativity


Relativity was a groundbreaking Celtic super group that played traditional Irish and Scottish music with a new edge” as well as original tunes.

It tied together the talents of some of the best Irish and Scottish contemporary folk musicians, featuring members from The Bothy Band (Micheal O Domhnaill and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill) and Silly Wizard (Johnny and Phil Cunningham).

Several members of the band went on to create another band called Nightnoise which became very popular.


Johnny Cunningham – fiddle
Micheal O Domhnaill – guitar
Phil Cunningham – accordion, keyboards
Triona Ni Dhomhnaill – vocals, keyboards


Relativity (Green Linnet, 1985)
Gathering Pace (Green Linnet, 1987)


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