All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced "Musica NA", a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

Puerto Rican Hipness in West Side Story Reimagined

Bobby Sanabria – West Side Story Reimagined (Jazzheads, 2018)

Drummer, musical director and arranger Bobby Sanabria and the Multiverse Big Band have recreated the music originally composed for a popular Broadway musical theater play called West Side Story. The piece, inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, focused on the love story between members of two New York Gangs, one of which is Puerto Rican.

Although Bobby Sanabria was born in the USA, he grew up in a proud Puerto Rican family. Sanabria skillfully has inserted Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican and even Brazilian rhythmic elements like cha cha cha, mambo, bomba and more into the original score by Leonard Bernstein. What was originally a classic Broadway score, now features irresistible Latin jazz beats and full big band richness.

The musicians that appear in the album include Bobby Sanabria on musical director, drum set with cowbells, police whistle, samba whistle and lead vocals; Kevin Bryan, Shareef Clayton, Max Darché and Andrew Neesley on trumpet; David De Jesús on lead alto and soprano saxophones and flute; Andrew Gould on alto saxophone and flute; Peter Brainin on tenor saxophone and flute; Yaacov Mayman on tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet; Danny Rivera on baritone saxophone; David Miller, Tim Sessions, Armando Vergara on trombone; Chris Washburne on bass trombone; Gabrielle Garo on flute and piccolo; Ben Sutin on electric violin; Darwin Noguera on piano; Leo Traversa on electric bass; Oreste Abrantes on congas, itotele batá drum and second voice; Matthew González on bongo, cencerro, primo bomba drum, Iyá batá, requinto pandereta, ganza and Dominican güira; Takeo Heisho on claves, Cuban güiro macho, cencerro, Puerto Rican guicharo, okonkolo batá drum, Cuban and Venezuelan maracas, chékere, tambourine, cuica, pandeiro, triangle, gong and police siren.

The double album West Side Story Reimagined is a masterful Latin jazz work by Bobby Sanabria, one of the great Latin music drummers of our time, and the exceptionally good Multiverse Big Band.

Buy West Side Story Reimagined from amazon.com

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The Captivating Folk Music of the Tagus River Basin

Aljibe – Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo (Aljibe, 2018)

Innovative Spanish folk music band Aljibe has released a new album titled Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo. The CD comes along with a beautifully-packaged 144-page hard cover book. The set focuses on the traditional folk music of the Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) River basin. The Tagus is the lengthiest river in the Iberian Peninsula.

On Agua, Aljibe delivers lively traditional songs that are recreated using a mix of local and regional instruments together with instruments incorporated from other traditions. The arrangements are respectful to tradition and updated foro modern times.

The album begins with a spoken word introduction by Richard del Olmo based on a text by Góngora, one of Spain’s most famous writers from the late 1500s and early 1600s. The song selection includes: “Mazurca de Albarracin”, a September mazurka “tight dance” from the town of Albarracin in Teruel province; “La peregrina, a pilgrim song from Villaconejos de Trabaque in Cuenca“; and “Mar de Espigas” a harvest song from La Frontera in Cuenca.

Other songs include “Jotas de Guadalajara” from Guadalajara province, the jota is a very popular dance widely extended throughout Spain; “Rogativas de Valdelaguna,” a water prayer from the town of Valdelaguna in the Madrid region; “Gancheros,” a song about the men who transported logs from the Cuenca mountains on the Tagus river to the mills in Aranjuez (Madrid region); “Me ice la gente,” a Sephardic song from Toledo (Spain) and Rhodes (Greece); and “Tickchbila,” a wine test song to demonstrate conversion to Christianity from Toledo and Morocco.

The rest of the album includes “Llámale majo al toro,” a bullfighting and bull run song that combines versions from Lagartera in Toledo province and Candedela and Pedro Bernardo in Avila province; “Quita y pon” from Montehermoso and Plasencia in Cáceres; “Qué linda falúa,” a Portuguese children’s song about the boat men that connected both sides of the Tagus river mouth; and “Barco Negro,” a Brazilian song that became popular in Portugal.

 

 

The album ends with spoken word by Mércedes Cepeda who recites a poem by famed writer Garcilaso de la Vega, from the 1500s.

The lineup on the album includes Teresa García Sierra on vocals and violin; Manuel Marcos Bardera on vocals and keyboards; Luis Ramón Martín-Fuentes Palacios on guitar and Spanish lute; Domingo Martínez Martínez on guitars and bouzouki; Luis Miguel Novas Morera on flute and clarinet; Pablo Rodríguez-Tembleco Guilabert on drums; Juan Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes on vocals and accordion; and José Manuel Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes.

The book includes descriptions of the songs, photos of the artists and insightful essays and rare, vintage photos describing the history and wildlife of the region.

Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo is masterful set that brings together the most beautiful melodies from the Tagus basin along with literature and photography.

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Artist Profiles: Deborshee Bhattacharjee

Deborshee Bhattacharjee

Deborshee Bhattacharjee is a very promising musician of this age. Born into a musical family, Deborshee was introduced to music by his mother, Smt. Reena Bhattacharjee.

Since the age of ten, he has been undergoing training from the maestro Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty He has been awarded the West Bengal State Music Academy award in both the junior and senior groups respectively at the age of ten and eighteen. He has also won the Ravi Kichlu Award and is the recipient of the prestigious National Scholarship.

With a gifted voice for “khayals”, Deborshee has nurtured his talents through his regular “reyaz”. Presently he is a teacher at his guru’s institution, the esteemed “Shrutinandan”.

He has performed in almost all stages of Kolkata and often accompanies his guru on stage. An introduction to this wonderful vocalist shall be incomplete without mentioning that an All India Radio artist and performs often in radio and television.

He has also formed a classical fusion band called Dhun. His performances have been highly praised and applauded by musicians of international repute like Bidushi Girija Devi, Pt Bhajan Sopori, Pt Arun Bhaduri, Laxman Rao Pandit & many more.

Deborshee has been learning in Shrutinandan for the past 12 years now and presently is a teacher there. Deborshee has sung in the album, Geetinandan-2, which has been released by this institution. This collection offers quality music produced by the budding artists of Shrutinandan, under the sublime guidance of their guru, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty.

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Artist Profiles: Debasish Chaudhuri

Debasish Chaudhuri

Debasish Chaudhuri is a promising and acclaimed tabla player from Kolkata, India currently based in Los Angeles, USA. He began learning tabla (Indian hand percussion) from the age of five from late Pandit Nanku Maharaj of Benaras and subsequently from late Pandit Kanai Dutta of the Farukkabad gharana.

For more than thirty years, Debasish has been under the noble guidance of his guru and uncle the world renowned tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri of the Lucknow Gharana (school). Debasish Chaudhuri is a graded All India Radio artist and has a diploma in Tabla – “Sangeet Pravakar”

Debasish has performed in many concerts in India and in the United States, including tabla solos, percussion ensembles and accompanied countless instrumentalists and vocalists, including Dr. Omnakutty (vocal), Ajoy Pohankar (vocal), K. Sekhar (tavil), Ustad Aashish Khan (sarod), Alam Khan (sarod), Ganesh Kumar (ganjira), the late Pandit V.G. Jog (violin), Kartick Seshadri (sitar), Pandit Jasraj (vocal), Paul Livingstone (sitar) David Trasoff (sarod), David Philipson (Indian Flute) Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla) to name a few.

Since 2004, Debasish has been teaching tabla in greater Los Angeles area and performing throughout the United States with various artists, including visiting renowned artists from India. Previously he served as a tabla faculty for Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation LA Chapter. He is also a visiting tabla faculty at Phoenix Gharana School of Indian Arts Phoenix, Arizona.
Currently, he is an active director and joint secretary of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization called “Rupak School of World Music”.

Rupak holds, workshops, concerts, and hosts regular classes for teaching Indian Classical Music in Los Angeles (California) and in Phoenix (Arizona).

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Artist Profiles: Bhoomi

Bhoomi

Bhoomi (translation: earth), a musical band from Kolkata (Calcutta), is a group of five music lovers. The band was formed in 1997, with the aim of reviving the folk music of Bengal and making it popular among all sections of the society by providing it an urban touch.

It is the only band which defines its music as decidedly “urban folk”. The band uses a consistent fusion of modern, urban lyrics with Bangla rural folk tunes like Baul and Bhatiyali (traditionally sung by the boatmen on the rivers Ganga and Padma). Bhoomi has successfully taken urban music beyond the college campuses and youth circuits into the lives of listeners of all ages. Their music is inspired by everyday city life, which they experience and which is experienced by so many people everywhere.

Bhoomi was the first Indian band to be invited by the United Nations to perform on July 12, 2006 at the Dag Hammerscholjd Auditorium in New York. They joined the ranks of legends Lata Mangeshkar and Pandit Ravi Shankar, becoming only the third Indian act to be invited to play at the United Nations. Bhoomi wasfeatured in the series Global Hit by the BBC and Public Radio International.

Discography:

Jatra Shuru (2000)
Gaan Doriyae (2010)

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Artist Profiles: Deepak Mehta

Deepak Mehta

Tabla Exponent A tabla virtuoso from Delhi Gharana, Yuva Ratna Deepak Mehta (born May 28, 1982) did not grow up in a family of musicians.

Initially self-trained, he was spotted by his class teacher at the age of six. At that time, he began playing his first percussion instrument, the bongo, followed by congas Since then, he played in All India Radio, Doordarshan and accompanied with the music groups of Bhappi Lahari, Narinder Chanchal, Prem Bhatia & Party and many more. He started earning fame and got coverage in print and electronic media. His story was covered and telecast at that time by the famous TV serial ?Surabhi? in 1994.

Deepak Mehta finally shifted to the more demanding discipline of Hindustani Classical music, choosing to learn tabla on the landmark advice of sarod legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

Deepak became the disciple of world renowned gurus, the late Ustad Chhamma Khan of Delhi Gharana, followed by his son Padamshree, and the late Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan. With such training, Mehta became a powerhouse performer of tabla. His electrifying performances captivate audiences, whether in the United State of America, other countries or motherland India.

It was no surprise that, at the age of 14, thanks to his sheer virtuosity and timeless supply of rhythmic melody and creativity on tabla, he was awarded the highest prize meant for teenagers, the National ?Bal Shree? Award 1996, presented by the President of India, the late Dr. Shank Dayal Sharma.

After the award, Deepak was featured or interviewed by numerous Indian media outlets, including Star Plus, Zee-News, Jain-TV,U-TV,E-TV, Total-TV, DD1,DD-Metro, Siti Cable, AIR, as well as several newspapers & magazines. The recording of his autobiography at this young age by Sweta Production is itself witnesses and proof of recognition of his art and talent.

Deepak Mehta has performed extensively in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Russia and Kirghistan and has been honored with many coveted awards, samaans and appreciations.

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Artist Profiles: Dhruba Ghosh

Dhruba Ghosh

Dhruba Ghosh was partly responsible for the renaissance of the sarangi in India. He was renowned for bringing out the sinuous and haunting melodic nature of the instrument and developed new techniques to extend the sarangi’s range of sounds.

Dhruba toured the world extensively and worked with musicians from a variety of genres including western classical, jazz and fusion, including Trilok Gurtu and Toronto’s Tasa.

He participated in the album Miho: Journey to the Mountains with Paul Winter Consort. The recording won the Grammy in the Best New Age Album category.

Pandit Dhruba Ghosh died July 10, 2017 in Mumbai, India.

Discography:

Bowing Sounds Frown Dawn To Moonlight ‎(Fonti Musicali, 1994)
Raga Yaman / Hemant ‎(India Archive Music, 1995)
Raga Kaushi Kanada / Kajri ‎(India Archive Music, 2000)
Raga Komal Rishab Asavari / Jogiya ‎(India Archive Music, 2007)
Miho: Journey to the Mountains (Living Music, 2010)

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Artist Profiles: Deepak Ram

Deepak Ram

Deepak Ram is a highly gifted musician with a firm foundation in the traditions of North Indian classical music, as well as an inspired versatility ? straddling and ultimately doing away with the boundary that once divided East from West ? that makes each of his projects uniquely his own.

At a young age, Deepak Ram’s reputation grew rapidly. Among his many laurels is the award for Best Instrumental Album, South African Music Awards 2000. Ram has collaborated with renowned musicians in a variety of genres from jazz pianist Darius Brubeck to Tunisian ud player Dhafer Yousseff. He has performed throughout the world, including South Africa?s Millennium Concert on Robben Island before such illustrious audience members as presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. In addition to masterful composition, arranging and performance, Ram is also an accomplished teacher, most recently holding a post with the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Ram plays the bansuri, a bamboo flute whose origins date several thousands years back into India?s rich past, being the chosen instrument of Lord Krishna, its sweet, melancholy, yet joyful sound a manifestation of the divine.

Ram is accompanied on this recording by Swapan Chaudhuri on the tabla. Chaudhuri has shone in performances throughout the world, from Sand Francisco to Kuala Lumpur, both as accompanist as well as solo artist. Chaudhuri share Ram’s rich classical background as well as his poetic grace and inspired elegance.

Ram is featured on the soundtrack to the Sci-Fi movie, The Matrix Reloaded. Listen for Deepak?s soaring bansuri parts on Navras, a 9-minute work composed by British-based Juno Reactor in collaboration with Matrix score composer Don Davis.

Discography:

Song Of Nature – Orange Horizons – A Musical Rendition Of Nature (Magnasound, 1993)
Song Of Nature – Rhythm Of The Rain – A Musical Rendition Of Nature (Magnasound, 1993)
Gathering Forces II, with Darius Brubeck (B&W Music, 1994)
Ragas: Bhupali And Kirwani, with Shibshankar Ray (Bhakti Records, 1995)
Flute For Thought (M.E.L.T. 2000, 1998)
Searching For Satyam (M.E.L.T. 2000, 2000)
Beauty In Diversity (Golden Horn, 2002)
Prasad (Blessing), with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri (Golden Horn, 2002)
Samvad (Conversation), with Ustad Tari Khan (Worldwide Records, 2007)
Steps (Golden Horn, 2008)

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Invigorating Cross-Genre Expressions by Kiran Ahluwalia

Kiran Ahluwalia – 7 billion (Kiran Music, 2018)

Composer and vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia is an explorer and innovator in the field of modern Indian music. On her 6-track album 7 Billion she incorporates the energy of electric guitar, organ and bass, along with drum set, tabla and global percussion.

7 billion is progressive world fusion, where fascinating South Asian traditions and Indian-language vocals are combined with irresistible funk, powerful rock, and tasty Saharan desert blues.

The band on 7 Billion includes her producer husband Rez Abbasi on guitar; Louis Simao on organ, accordion and synthesizer; Rich Brown on electric bass; Davide Direnzo on drums; Nitin Mitta on tabla; and Mark Duggan on jembe and hand percussion.

 

 

7 billion is a beautifully-crafted album where various global music traditions are connected impeccably.

Buy 7 billion

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Captivating Sounds from the Greek Melting Pot

Loxandra Ensemble – In Transition (Dalit-Music, 2018)

Loxandra Ensemble, one of the finest world music acts from the eastern Mediterranean, has released a flavorful album titled In Transition. The Greek band delivers a superb mix of traditional Greek music, Turkish influences, Gypsy swing, Sephardic, salsa, Middle Eastern and Balkan sounds.

The band features an outstanding, delightful vocalist Ria Ellinidou and world class musicians who use a wide range of musical instruments from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and beyond.

Loxandra Ensemble includes new members. The album lineup includes Nikos Angousis on clarinet and vocals; Foibos Apostolidis on riqq, cajon, darbuka and davul; Makis Baklatzis on violin, lead and backing vocals; Ria Ellinidou on lead vocals; Thanasis Koulentianos on kanun and backing vocals; Loukas Metaxas on acoustic and electric bass and backing vocals; Dimitris Panagoulias on darbuka and riqq; and Kyriakos Tapakis on oud.

 

 

In Transition is a beautifully-crafted album that illustrates the fascinating multiple musical influences that meet and combine in the eastern Mediterranean.

Buy the digital download or the CD from www.dalit-music.com

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