The Independent Spirit of Highlander Music

Trebunie-Tutki i Quintet Urmuli – Duch Gór – The Spirit of the Mountains

Trebunie-Tutki i Quintet Urmuli – Duch Gór – The Spirit of the Mountains (Unzipped Fly Records, 2016)

“The Spirit of the Mountains” is an encounter of ancient musical traditions, envisioned by two ensembles highly acclaimed in their respective homelands: Trebunie-Tutki from Zakopane, Poland and Urmuli Quintet from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Using traditional shepherd instruments and polyphonic songs, the musicians tell stories of the highwayman way of life, love and death, and also bring back to life the spirits of their ancestors, the legendary heroes of the mountains.

Highlanders from Podhale, Poland, and Georgians from Kazbek have for centuries been free and independent shepherds, outlaws, and valiant warriors, running away from any authority and led by an internal instinct and a sense of justice, pride and honor. Their music and powerful male singing define this culture.

The artists featured include Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka on vocals, violin, highlander bagpipe, highlander flutes, whistling, steep bells, wooden horn, double flute; Anna Trebunia-Wyrostek on vocals, highlander cello, highlander vocal glissando; Jan Trebunia-Tutka on viola and vocals; Andrzej Polak on violin and vocals; Kuba “Bobas” Wilk on acoustic bass; Nugzar Kavtaradze on vocals, panduri (lute), duduk; Shalva Abramashvili on vocals and chuniri (fiddle); David Ratiani on vocals, bass chonguri (lute); Tamaz Mamaladze on vocals, bass panduri, gudastviri (Georgian bagpipe); and Gela Tabashidze on vocals and salamuri (flute).

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Fiery and Edgy Estonian Folk

Trad.Attack! – Kullakarva / Shimmer Gold

Trad.Attack! – Kullakarva / Shimmer Gold (Trad.Attack!, 2017)

Trad.Attack! is one of the leading acts in the current Estonian world music and contemporary folk scene.  The group combines Estonian traditions with powerful rock drums, intertwining fast-paced dance songs with dreamy, laid back musical pieces and mesmerizing ambient explorations.

The lineup includes Sandra Vabarna on Estonian bagpipe, jew’s harp, whistles, zither, vocals; Jalmar Vabarna on 12-string guitar and vocals; and Tõnu Tubli on drums, vocals, zither and glockenspiel. Actor Aivar Tommingas provides his on one of the tracks.

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Artist Profiles: Verd E Blu

Verd E Blu

Verd E Blu is a traditional Occitan from Gascony, France, formed in 1987. The group plays three hole whistle and string tambourine (ton-ton), bagpipes from the Landes (boha), diatonic accordions, brama-topin friction drum, tricanetas castanets and vocals.

For over twenty years they collected, learned, produced and spread the traditional music and dance of the Gascon province of France, in all its wealth and diversity.

Much of their time is spent training dancers and musicians.

Most of their repertoire is traditional but a third of the pieces are original. This mix corresponds to a choice: to intertwine tradition and modernism.

Band members include Joan-Francés Tisner on vocals, diatonic accordions, percussion; Crestian Josuèr on three hole whistle and string tambourine, diatonic accordions; and Marc Castanet on bagpipes and diatonic accordions.

Discography:

Musicas de Gasconha (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1991)
Musicas a dançar (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1993)
Ompra o só? (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1996)
Musicas a dançar: dus (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2001)
Baladas e danças (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2005)
Jòcs de Dança (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2010)

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Artist Profiles: Catrin Finch

Catrin Finch – Photo by Rhys Frampton

Welsh harpist and composer Catrin Ana Finch was born in Llanon, Ceredigion, UK in 1960. She started learning the harp at six. By nine, she had passed her Grade VIII harp exam. She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at the age of ten and became the youngest of its members to play at The Proms, a summer season classical music series in London.

Catrin studied harp with Elinor Bennett and later attended the Purcell School, an academic institution for children in Hertfordshire. She continued her music studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied harp with Skaila Kanga.

During the 1990s, Finch won several competitions for young harp players, including the Nansi Richards Prize and the Blue Riband at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

She has performed with many of the world’s top orchestras. She has collaborated with numerous classical and world music acts, including Colombian group Cimarrón and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita.

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita

Catrin is devoted to promoting the harp and classical music in general to a new and broader audience, through her annual Academi Catrin Finch Academy Summer Harp School, an Annual Harp Fun Day and her ‘Classical Café’ evenings.

Discography:

Carnaval de Venise (Sain, 2001)
From Coast to Coast (Kissan Productions, 2002)
Crossing the Stone (Sony Music, 2003)
The Harpist (Sony Classical, 2004)
Barddoniaeth Daear / Poetry Of Earth, with Jeremy Huw Williams (Sain, 2005)
Live – Byw (Kissan Productions, 2006)
Unexpected Songs, with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber (2006)
String Theory (Kissan Productions, 2007)
Little Angels (Kissan Productions, 2007)
Bach: Goldberg Variations (Deutsche Grammophon, 2009)
Annwn ‎(Kissan Productions, 2011)
Blessing, with John Rutter (Deutsche Grammophon, 2012)
Clychau Dibon, with Seckou Keita (Astar Artes Recordings, 2013)
Lullabies (Deutsche Grammophon, 2013)
Tides (Kissan Productions, 2015)
Soar, with Seckou Keita (Bendigedig, 2018)

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Cimarrón to Honor Carlos Cuco Rojas with its UK Tour alongside Catrin Finch

After Cimarrón’s director and harper Carlos Cuco Rojas passed away on January 10th, the Colombian joropo band announced that they will continue touring worldwide. In the upcoming winter tour, Cimarrón will perform in the United Kingdom along with renowned Welsh harpist Catrin Finch.

Next Monday, January 20, Cimarrón will perform at Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan, Wales, with singer Ana Veydó leading the band, continuing the legacy of maestro Rojas. “We planned to cancel our next concerts, but we believe that the idea of performing at large UK stages is the best tribute we can pay to Carlos. His dream was to tour again with Catrin Finch,”said Veydó.

Cimarrón and Catrin Finch will meet again 10 years after their last collaboration. In 2007, 2009 and 2010, both marked a footprint in the world music circuit with the first encounter of the Colombian llanera and Welsh harps, in addition to an album recorded live with traditional joropo pieces and traditional music of Wales.

Cimarrón’s most recent album, Orinoco (Latin Grammy nominated for Best Folk Album), was awarded Top of the World Album in Songlines magazine and became one of the best 2019 albums on the British radio program World Beat.

Last year, the Orinoco promotional tour took Cimarrón’s joropo to China, India, Lebanon, Algeria, the USA and Dominican Republic. For 2020 the band has confirmed dates in the United States and Germany.

UK Tour 2020

January 20 CARDIGAN Theatr Mwldan

January 22 LIVERPOOL Royal Philharmonic Music Room

January 23 MANCHESTER Stoller Hall

January 24 CAERNARFON Galeri

January 25 BRISTOL St Georges

January 26 GLASGOW Celtic Connections Festival

January 28 BRECON Theatr Brycheiniog

January 29 ABERYSTWITH Arts Centre

January 30 SOUTHAMPTON Turner Sims

January 31 SWANSEA Taliesin Arts Centre

February 1 GATESHEAD Sage

February 3 CARDIFF St David’s Hall

February 4 BURY ST EDMUNDS The Apex

February 5 NOTTINGHAM Lakeside

February 6 LONDON Cecil Sharp House

More about Cimarrón and Catrin Finch

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Círculo Flamenco de Madrid Unveils Early 2020 Program

Manolo Franco at the Bienal de Flamenco

Performing arts presenter Círculo Flamenco de Madrid has announced its programming for the first quarter of 2020.  The programming includes flamenco concerts at the OFF Latina venues, and book presentations at No Tarima Libros in Madrid, Spain.

The first show will take place on January 16, presenting one of the great flamenco guitarists from Seville, Manolo Franco.

On January 23 there will be a presentation of the magazine Recopilatorio Artistas Flamencos de Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Flamenco Artists Collection of Sanlúcar de Barrameda), by Servando Repetto.

Antonio Campos – Tardo Antiguo

The last event in January will be the presentation of the new album from Antonio Campos, titled Tardo Antiguo.

The February program will begin on February 6th with a concert by Ángel Gabarre accompanied by Montoyita on guitar.

On February 13, the Círculo Flamenco de Madrid will present the book Tremendo asombro by José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, a poet from Archidona who found traces offlamenco in the theaters of Havana.

The last show that month will be on February 27, an encounter with radio producer José María Velázquez-Gaztelu, who will celebrate the 35th anniversary of his radio show Nuestro flamenco.

March will begin on January 12th with the traditional Flamenco Women’s Day (Día de la Mujer Flamenca), which will feature La Kaíta as the protagonist, in addition to the many guests who will join in.

On March 19th, Paco Zambrano will present his book Porrina de Badajoz, an essential biography that has just sold out its second edition.

The quarter will close on March 26th with the concert by Jerez artists Miguel Lavi and Manuel Parrilla.

 All events will begin at 9:00 pm, both in OFF Latina, and at No Tarima Libros.

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Afro Roots Fest 2020 Program in Miami Announced

Sinkane

Performing arts presenters Community Arts & Culture and Rhythm Foundation have announced the Afro Roots Fest 2020 lineup at the North Beach Bandshell on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Alsarah

 The artists set to perform are Sudanese American Sinkane and Sudanese artists Alsarah and her band the Nubatones. DJ Le Spam will open the night.

North Beach Bandshell is located at 7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

More about Afro Roots Fest and ticket information.

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Masterful Classical and Folk Guitar Melodies

David William Ross – Amor Fati (Ravello Records, 2019)

David William Ross – Amor Fati (Ravello Records, 2019)

Guitarist David William Ross has a background in classical music and as a jazz guitarist, although he ventures beyond, into other musical genres.

His album Amor Fati presents an impeccable set of folk lullabies, contemporary Argentine tango, and various other influences performed on the classical guitar, combining passionate works along with gentle and introspective pieces.

BuyAmor Fati

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Puerto Rican Percussionist and Batacumbele Founder Ángel “Cachete” Maldonado Dies at 68

Angel “Cachete” Maldonado

Ángel “Cachete” Maldonado, a renowned percussionist and co-founder of the celebrated Afro-Puerto Rican Batacumbele ensemble died on January 10, 2020. He was 68 years old.

Maldonado was born in Barrio Obrero, Santurce, and became a leading Afro-Caribbean percussionist.

He performed with some of the leading Latin jazz, salsa, jazz and Puerto Rican artists, including Carlos Patato Valdés, Pablo Rosario, Ernie Agosto, Larry Harlow, Eddie Palmieri, Louie Ramírez, Conjunto Libre, Típica 73, Machito, Dizzie Guillespie, Gato Barbieri, Freddie Hubbard, Weather Report and Jorge Dalto.

To learn more about Ángel “Cachete” Maldonado, read Les Moncada Chats With Legendary Latin Percussionist and Orchestra Leader Angel “Cachete” Maldonado.

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Enthralling Songs from Rising Iranian Artist Nelia Safaie

Nelia Safaie – Songs from Lands of Silence

Nelia Safaie – Songs from Lands of Silence (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2019)

Songs from Lands of Silence is the excellent debut album from Iranian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nelia Safaie, produced by Mahsa Vahdat and Erik Hillestad.

The album highlights the vocal and instrumental talent of Safaie. Her music is rooted in Middle Eastern traditions, featuring transfixing frame drums, evocative duduk and beguiling string instruments.

The lineup includes Nelia Safaie on vocals, baglama, tar and setar; Emre Sinanmis on duduk; Gjermund Silset on acoustic bass and guitar; and Keneth Ekornes on percussion.

The physical edition includes Farsi-language lyrics and their translations to English.

Buy Songs from Lands of Silence

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