All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

Artist Profiles: Brooklyn Raga Massive

Brooklyn Raga Massive

The joyful Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM) is a non-profit artist collective committed to creating cross-cultural perception through Indian classical and Raga inspired music. It includes innovative musicians rooted in both traditional Indian and South Asian classical music, as well as cross-cultural Raga inspired music.

The culturally all-encompassing nature of BRM has developed a strong community and has become an incubator of new music collaborations in Brooklyn, New York City.

BRM presents over around 70 performances annually with an continuing weekly concert and raga jam session series and specialty concerts, and co- stages an annual 24 Ragas Live festival.  

In 2019, Brooklyn Raga Massive participated in the double album
Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas, a collaboration with Go: Organic Orchestra.

Discography:

Brooklyn Raga Massive Compilation Volume 1 (2015)
Coltrane Raga Tribute (2017)
Terry Riley In C (Northern Spy Records, 2017)
Women’s Raga Massive Compilation v.1 (2018)
Coltrane Raga Tribute EP -Live Mondriaan Jazz festival (2018)
Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records, 2019)

To learn more about the artists in the collective, visit www.brooklynragamassive.org

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Artist Profiles: Go: Organic Orchestra

Go: Organic Orchestra

Go: Organic Orchestra is a 21st century concept of a “future orchestra”. Artistic director Adam Rudolph‘s archetypal method to composing and improvisational conducting incorporates musical forms from across the world.

Using a non-linear score with his distinctive approach to rhythm as the nucleus, Rudolph improvisationally leads the musicians in concert. This creates unplanned orchestrations that serve as both context and inspiration for the musicians’ improvisational dialog.

For over two decades, Rudolph has taught and conducted hundreds of musicians in the Go: Organic Orchestra concept throughout North America and Europe.

Rudolph has performed with Go: Organic Orchestra ensembles in New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Naples, Palermo and Istanbul.

Go: Organic Orchestra with Brooklyn Raga Massive at the Rubin Museum of Art – Photo by Adrien H. Tillman

In 2019, Go: Organic Orchestra released an outstanding double album titled Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas in collaboration with Brooklyn Raga Massive and Gnawa musician Hassan Hakmoun.

Discography:

Go: Organic Orchestra 1 ‎(Meta Records, 2002)
Web Of Light ‎(Meta Records, 2002)
In The Garden ‎(Meta Records, 2003)
Thought Forms ‎(Meta Records, 2008)
Can You Imagine… The Sound Of A Dream ‎(Meta Records, 2011)
Sonic Mandala (Meta Records, 2013)
Turning Towards The Light ‎(Cuneiform Records, 2015)
Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records, 2019)


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Transglobal Underground Announces New Album to Be Released in 2020

Transglobal Underground in 2019

World fusion and global electronica innovators Transglobal Underground have announced the release of a new album provisionally titled ‘Walls Have Ears.’ The recording is set for release in May 2020. It was recorded in London and Paris and will feature appearances from Natacha Atlas and Dub Colossus.

Transglobal Underground previous album was 2013’s
Kabatronics.

Next concerts:

Friday November 29th: Hebden Bridge Trades
Saturday November 30th: Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda, Gwynedd

More about Transglobal Underground

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Deeply Expressive Sarod

Amjad Ali Khan – Mohsha (Real World Records, 2005/2019 reissue)

Amjad Ali Khan’s highly acclaimed Mohsha album was originally released on April 25, 2005. It is available once more as a reissue in 2019. Amjad Ali Khan is one of the leading performers of the Indian sarod, a mesmerizing six-string lute with four melodic strings and two drones.

All tracks on Mohsha are originals composed by Amjad Ali Khan, based on various ragas. It is beautiful, highly skilled music rooted in Indian classical music. Complex and accessible at the same time.

Amjad Ali Khan with his songs, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash

Most of the tracks feature Amjad Ali Khan on sarod and vocals on the title track. His sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who are both sarod players as well, appear on one track each. Rashid Mustafa provided the tabla percussion.

Mohsha presents a set of a masterful sarod performances by three members of the distinguished Bangash lineage.

Buy the 2019 reissue (UK) or the 2005 edition (USA).

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Artist Profiles: Les Grands Hurleurs

Les Grands Hurleurs

Les Grands Hurleurs play music that is profoundly rooted in tradition and diverse influences as well.

Since its beginning in 2009, Les Grands Hurleurs have merited a genuine reputation, gathering a lot of experience in countless Quebec venues, international stages (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA) and on major events such as 2017 Canada Day in Victoria and 2017 Canada Summer Games Winnipeg.

Since 2017 they’ve been in the official showcase selections at Bourse Rideau 2017 (Quebec), FICG 2017 (Granby, Quebec), Contact East 2017 (Cape Breton) and Folk Alliance International 2018 (Kansas City, USA).

Les Grands Hurleurs have achieved the rare accomplishment of getting a Felix Award (Francophone Canada’s Juno award equivalent) for three albums.

On their 2018 album, Chouïa, traditional music intertwines with classical, Manouche, electronica, and folk music.

Band members in 2018 included Nicolas Pellerin on vocals, fiddle, foot-tapping; Stéphane Tellier on vocals, guitar, mandolin; and
Simon Lepage on electric and acoustic bass.

Discography:

Nicolas Pellerin et Les Grands Hurleurs (Disques Tempête, 2009)
Petit grain d’or (Disques Tempête, 2011)
3/4 Fort (Coyote Records, 2015)
Chouïa (Coyote Records, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Vasilis Kostas

Vasilis Kostas (right) with Petroloukas Halkias – Photo by Giorgos Vitsaropoulos

Vasilis Kostas is a much-admired lauto (Greek lute) player from Epirus, Greece. He is part of the ‘Global Messengers’, the ensemble of Grammy Award-winning pianist and UNESCO Artist for Peace Danilo Perez. Kostas has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Panama Jazz Festival, and world music conference WOMEX in Poland.

His style on the lauto is based on studying Petroloukas Halkias’s clarinet lines and philosophy on his instrument as well as finding ways to merge jazz improvisation tools with the elements of his musical roots.

Vasilis obtained his degree in Philosophy and Pedagogy at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece and a diploma at the Berklee College of Music.

Later, he graduated from the Masters program of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston where he studied on a full scholarship.

Vasilis Kostas resides and works in Boston, and travels internationally and throughout the United Stated to present Greek music.

Discography:

The Soul of Epirus, with Vasilis Kostas (Technotropon, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Petroloukas Halkias

Petroloukas Halkias (left) with Vasilis Kostas – Photo by George Spanos

Petroloukas Halkias is a living legend of the clarinet and one of the most important representatives of Greek traditional music at the present time. He was born in the village Delvinaki in Pogoni, Epirus where he began learning music from a young age next to the maestros of the Epirotic clarinet; Phillipas Rountas and Kitsos Harisiadis.

His father, Periklis, went to the United States of America before World War II and gained great popularity as a clarinetist. In 1960, Petroloukas Halkias emigrated to the United States where he lived for 20 years, disseminatign the musical heritage of Epirus and performing with numerous different groups.

One of the highpoints of his stay in the United States was the invitation to perform a concert at the White House.

He returned to Greece in the 1980s when he started recording albums that achieved great success in Greece and abroad.

Petroloukas Halkias remains a basis of inspiration for the young generation of musicians.

Discography:

The Soul of Epirus, with Vasilis Kostas (Technotropon, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Dead Combo

Dead Combo

Dead Combo was formed in 2003 by an invitation of Henrique Amaro from Antena 3 Radio, to record the track Paredes Ambience included in the tribute CD to the genius of the Portuguese guitar, Carlos Paredes. The album was titled Movimentos Perpetuos – Musica para Carlos Paredes. Dead Combo incarnate two characters that could have come from a comic book: a caretaker and a gangster.

Pedro V. Goncalves comes from the world of jazz, while Tó Trips
has a rock background. As they grew closer and older, the two musicians exchanged CDs, movies and comics. Influences range from Cesaria Evora and Slayer to Brad Melhdau and Debussy. Other influences include Quentin Tarantino, Abel Ferrara, John Carpenter and Jim Jarmusch’s movies and their soundtracks.

In Vol.2: Quando a Alma não é Pequena, Dead Combo provide tango, flamenco, the American Far West as seen by Ennio Morricone, the real Cuba and the one Marc Ribot sighted, Jewish klezmer and Sicilian drama.

Discography:

Vol. I (Transformadores, 2004)
Vol. II – Quando a Alma não é Pequena (Dead & Company, 2006)
Guitars From Nothing (Rastilho Records, 2007)
Lusitânia Playboys (Dead & Company, 2008)
Live Hot Clube (Dead & Company, 2009)
Lisboa Mulata (Dead & Company, 2011)
A Bunch of Meninos (Universal, 2014)
Live at Teatro São Luiz (Dead & Company, 2014)
Odeon Hotel (Sony, 2018)



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Artist Profiles: Hector “Tito” Matos

Hector “Tito” Matos

Hector “Tito” Matos is a Puerto Rican percussionist who specializes in the traditional Puerto Rican rhythms, bomba and plena. His extensive work have taken him to stages and festivals all over the world playing with bands such as Pleneros de la 21 and Pleneros de la 23 Abajo.

He is considered to be one of the best requinto players of his generation. The requinto is the pandereta (tambourine, originally from Spain) that constantly improvises in plena. He has appeared in recordings by some of the most recognized Latin jazz musicians such as Eddie Palmieri’s Rumbero del Piano and David Sanchez’ Obsesion.

In 1997, while living in New York City, he founded Viento de Agua and recorded De Puerto Rico al Mundo, their first album as a band. The group modernized the traditional rhythms by including piano, bass, a brass section and, for the first time ever, a drum set. They released a second album with a more traditional approach, under the Smithsonian Folkways record label. Materia Prima is a back to the roots album featuring the genres, bomba and plena, with their original sound using only the traditional instruments.

Discography:

De Puerto Rico al Mundo (Qbadisc, 1998)
Materia Prima (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2004)
Fruta Madura (2009)
Opus IV (2013)
Sonidos Primarios (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Ali Akbar Khan

Ali Akbar Khan

Maestro Ali Akbar Khan was a master of the sarod and founder and teacher at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.

Born in 1922 in East Bengal (now Bangladesh), his family traced their gharana (ancestral tradition) to Mian Tansen, the 16th century musical marvel and court musician to Emperor Akbar. Ali Akbar Khan’s father, the late Padma Vibhusan Acharya Dr. Allauddin Khan, was acknowledged as a leading figure in North Indian music in the 20th century.

Ali Akbar Khan, also known as Khansahib, began his studies in music at the age of three. He studied vocal music from his father and drums from his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. His father also trained him on several other instruments, but decided finally that had to concentrate on the sarod and on vocal.

For over twenty years, he trained and practiced 18 hours a day. After that, his father continued to teach Khansahib until he was over 100 years old, and left behind such a wealth of material that Khansahib feels he is still learning new things from it. Since his father’s death in 1972, Khansahib has continued his father’s tradition, that of the Sri Baba Allauddin Seni Gharana of Maihar and Rampur, India.

Ali Akbar Khan gave his first public performance in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) at age thirteen. In his early twenties, he made his first recording in Lucknow for the HMV label, and the following year, he became the court musician to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. He worked there for seven years until the Maharaja’s death. The state of Jodhpur bestowed upon him his first title, that of Ustad, or Master Musician. Many years later, he received the title of Hathi Saropao and Dowari Tajeem at the Jodhpur Palace’s Golden Jubilee Celebraton in 1993.

At the request of Yehudi Menuhin, Ali Akbar Khan first visited the United States in 1955. He made the first Western LP recording of Indian classical music, and the first television performance of Indian music, on Allistair Cooke’s Omnibus, sowing the seed for the wave of popularity of Indian music in the 1960’s.

Khansahib founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta, India, in 1956. Later, recognizing the extraordinary interest and abilities of his Western students, he began teaching in the United States in 1965. In 1967, he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music, which moved to Marin County, California, the following year.

Khansahib also opened a branch of his college in Basel, Switzerland, run by his disciple Ken Zuckerman, where he taught yearly during his world tours. Ali Akbar Khan toured extensively in Asia, Europe, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Khansahib composed and recorded music for films throughout his career. He composed extensively in India beginning with “Aandhiyan” by Chetan Anand (1953) and went on to create music for “House Holder” by Ivory/Merchant (their first film), “Khudita Pashan” (or “Hungry Stone”) for which he won the “Best Musician of the Year” award, “Devi” by Satyajit Ray, and, in America, “Little Buddha” by Bernardo Bertolucci.

1997 was a landmark year for Ali Akbar Khan. In February, he was the second recipient to receive the Asian Paints Shiromani Award – Hall of Fame, following filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He celebrated his 75th birthday in April and AACM’s 30th anniversary in June. In August, the Indian Embassy requested Khansahib to perform at the United Nations in New York and at Kennedy Center in Washington DCboth performances were in celebration of the 50th year of India’s Independence. In September, Ali Akbar Khan was chosen to receive the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was presented by Mrs. Hillary Clinton at a ceremony in the White House.

In 1998, Maestro Khan was honored with the National Heritage Fellowship, presented to him at the White House.

He had eight sons and four daughters from three marriages. Six of his children and one grandson became musicians: Aashish Khan Debsharma (sarod), Dhyanesh Khan (1941–1990; sarod), Ameena Perrera (sitar), Pranesh Khan (tabla), Rajesh Khan (sarod), Alam Khan (sarod), Manik Khan (sarod); and his grandson, Shiraz Ali Khan (sarod).

Ali Akbar Khan died on June 18, 2009.

Partial discography:

Ali Akbar Khan releases numerous recordings. The list below includes a small selection of recordings currently available.

Traditional Music of India (Prestige)
Legacy: 16th-18th Century Music from India, with Asha Bosle (Ammp Records)
Emperor of Melody
Ragas (Fantasy Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 1 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 2 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 3 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 4 (Ammp Records)
Alap – a Sarod Solo (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 5: Rag Darbari Kanada (Ammp Records)
Rough Guide To Ali Akbar Khan (World Music Network)
Morning Visions (Ammp Records)
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan – Sarod (Saregama)
Garden of Dreams (Triloka)

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