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.

Albaluna, Charismatic Progressive World Music from Portugal

Albaluna – Amor, Ira & Desgosto (independent release, 2019)

Albaluna is an outstanding Portuguese band that is hard to describe. Their sound is rooted in a fantastic mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, northern European folk, medieval music and progressive rock. They call it ethnic prog. Whatever, you call it, it is one of the most captivating and original acts I’ve heard out of Europe recently.

Albaluna – Amor, Ira & Desgosto

Amor, Ira & Desgosto (Love, Wrath and Disgust) combines ancestral instruments from around the globe as well as modern instruments, injecting the high energy of progressive rock drums, electric bass and keyboards along with charismatic vocals that cut across time.

The group’s performances range from intimate acoustic concerts to lively electric shows at folk and rock festivals. The band has performed in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, and India.

Prior to Amor, Ira & Desgosto, Albaluna released three albums and two EPs, “D’Antes” (2010), “Marca Antiga” (2012), “Alvorada da Lua” (2014), “Nau dos Corvos” (2016) and “Nau dos Corvos – Lado B” (2017).

The lineup includes Ruben Monteiro on sanfona (hurdy gurdy), kopuz, kisa, divan, harmonium, davul, zurna, keyboards, santur, and vocals; Raquel Monteiro on medieval viola and violin; Dinis Coelho on jembe, darbuka, dahola, bendir, tombak, daf, tabla and riq; Christian Marr’s on voice, bass and bouzouki; Carla Costa on tin whistle, ney and gaita de foles (bagpipe): Tiago Santos on drums; and Luís Runa on keyboards.

Buy Amor, Ira & Desgosto

Share

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

Share

Artist Profiles: Marta Heredia

Marta Heredia

Gypsy singer Marta Heredia Bermúdez, better known as Marta Heredia, was born in Madrid. She grew up in a family of well known flamenco performers. Her father is Josele and her brother is the late Ray Heredia, a celebrated nuevo flamenco pioneer.

She began her artistic career at Manolo Caracol’s famous Los Canasteros flamenco nightclub in Madrid.

Marta and her two sisters formed a group called Vuelo Blanco that released two LPs.

She performed at the Shanghai Expo in 2010 in the Spanish Pavillion for two months.

Marta was the lead singer for guitarist Enrique de Melchor’s shows.

She has worked in numerous countries accompanying great flamenco artists. Her 2020 show, Flamenco Essences is a geographical tour of traditional and current flamenco, focusing on soleá, tangos, bulerías, alegrías, fandangos de Huelva and tientos.

Marta has appeared in numerous albums, including Enrique De Melchor’s La Noche y El Dia ‎(Fonomusic, 1991), Carlos Cano’s De La Luna y El Sol (Movieplay, 1980), Vuelo Blanco’s Era Una Rosa Fragante ‎(Movieplay, 1980), Carlos Cano’s El Gallo De Morón (Movieplay, 1981), the album Ven y Sígueme with Manolo Sanlucar, Rocio Jurado and Juan Peña “El Lebrijano” ‎(RCA Victor, 1982), Vicente Soto Sordera’s El Ritmo de la Sangre ‎(Flamencos Accidentales, 1988), Chiquetete’s Tú y Yo (Zafiro, 1981), Los Del Rio’s Calentito ‎(Ariola, 1995), María Jiménez’s Eres Como Eres (Divucsa, 1995) and Con Dos Camas Vacías Various – …Entre Todas Las Mujeres ‎(BMG Spain, 2003).

Share

Artist Profiles: Lucky Losada

Lucky Losada

Luis Fernández Salazar (better known as Lucky Losada) is the son of flamenco guitarist Tito Losada, the artist who has contributed the most to Lucky’s musical career. Tito gave Lucky guitar lessons starting at the age of 11. However, Lucky chose percussion from a young age, identifying himself very soon with the flamenco cajón.

Lucky has accompanied important flamenco artists such as Antonio Canales, Merche Esmeralda, Duquende, Guadiana, Pepe Luis Carmona and Diego ‘El Cigala’. He has been Tomatito’s percussionist for several years. In addition, he regally participates in his father’s shows.

He produced the albums “Sembrando inquietudes” by Ramón Jiménez and “Misa flamenca” by Tito Losada. respectively.

Lucky also participated in recordings by renowned flamenco artists, including Niña Pastori’s “No hay quinto malo”, Parrita’s “Parrita con el Alma”, Tomatito’s “Aguadulce”, Diego El Cigala’s “Undebel” and “Picasso en mis ojos”, and Guadiana’s “Cuando el río suena.”

Share

Artist Profiles: Antonio Losada

Antonio Losada

Antonio Losada is the youngest son of flamenco guitarist Tito Losada. Since childhood, he collaborated as a dancer in numerous shows (at only 4 years old he recorded a CD with his group Adali).

Years later, Antonio quit singing and chose the flamenco cajón instead. He is a skilled percussionist and regularly performs with his bother Lucky Losada.

He has toured with various artists such as Antonio Canales, Lola Greco and Cecilia Gómez. He also performs frequently with his father.

Share

Enchanting Argentine-Norwegian Tango

El Muro Tango & Juan Villareal – Nostálgico

El Muro Tango & Juan Villareal – Nostálgico (Galileo Music Communication, 2018)

El Muro Tango is a contemporary tango ensemble featuring Argentine and Norwegian musicians. It was founded by Argentine pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca and Norwegian violinist Karl Espegard.

The group plays delightful tango with a sense of longing, combing traditional tango, classical and jazz influences plus one Afro-rooted candombe piece. Nostálgico includes instrumental pieces that showcase the virtuosity of the instrumentalists and vocal performances by the ensemble’s singer Juan Villareal, who adds passion and a feeling of nostalgia and longing.   

Juan Pablo is the nephew of celebrated tango singer Alberto Castillo. He moved to Europe in 2016. Karl Espegard moved to Argentina in 2014 to focus entirely on tango. Karl later returned to Europe, met Juan Pablo and they formed a group.

Juan Villareal was the lead singer of the prominent Buenos Aires tango orchestra El Arranque.

Personnel: Juan Pablo de Lucca on piano; Karl Espegard on violin; Åsbjørg Ryeng on bandoneón; Sebastián Noya on acoustic bass.; Juan Villareal on vocals and guitar; Pablo Martínez on piano drum; Fer Aguirre on repique drum; and Martín Rizo on chico drum.

Buy Nostálgico

Share

The Spectacular Mongolian Roots Rock of The Hu

The Hu – The Gereg

The Hu – The Gereg (Eleven Seven Music, 2019)

The Hu is a sensational Mongolian band that combines Mongolian traditional music with rock, a style they describe a hunnu rock. On their album “The Gereg,” the group uses a wide range of vocals techniques ranging from various types of throat singing and shamanic chants to rock style vocals and harmonies.

The instrumentation includes striking modern versions of traditional instruments such as the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tsuur (end blown shepherd’s flute), tovshuur (lute), and jaw harp together with rock drums and distorted guitars.

When we do this, we try to spiritually express this beautiful thing about Mongolian music. We think we will talk to everyone’s soul though our music,” said Temka, band member.

Personnel: T.S. Galbadrakh (aka Gala) on lead throat singing and morin khuur; B. Enkhsaikhan (aka Enkush) on lead morin khuur and throat singing; G. Nyamjantsan (aka Jaya) on jaw harp, tsuur, flute, and throat singing; and N. Temuulen (aka Temka) on tovshuur.

More about The Hu

Share

Artist Profiles: The Hu

The Hu in 2019 – Photo by E. Altankhuyag

Mongolian band The Hu was created in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by their producer Dashka, along with band members TS Galbadrakh (Gala); B. Enkhsaikhan ( Enkush); G. Nyamjantsan (Jaya); and N. Temuulen (Temka).

Collectively, they create rock music with traditional mongolian instrumentation such as the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tovshuur (Mongolian lute), tumur khuur (jaw harp), and deep throat singing along with altered guitars and heavy drums.

The Hu became an online phenomenon when they released music videos for “Wolf Totem” and “Yuve Yuve Yu” in December 2018, adding millions of views. They re-released the singles on March 29, 2019, generating incredible global attraction.

In April, the band was named Official Mongolian Ambassador to the World by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mongolia, while he congratulated them on their success.

The Hu’s inaugural performance was in June 2019 in their hometown, followed by their first headlining European and North American tours in 2019. On stage the four member band expands to an eight-piece group to create an all-encompassing wall of sound.

Discography:

The Gereg (Eleven Seven Music, 2019)

Share

Djénéba & Fousco, Rising Griot Talent from Mali

Djénéba & Fousco ‎– Kayeba Khasso

Djénéba & Fousco ‎– Kayeba Khasso (Lusafrica, 2018)

Djénéba & Fousco is an award-winning griot duo from the Kayes region of Mali. Both artists won the top talent contest in Mali and later married each other. Kayeba Khasso is their first album on the France-based Lusafrica label.

Djénéba is a talented vocalist and Fousco has become one of the finest singer-songwriters in Mali and an outstanding guitarist as well. On Kayeba Khasso they deliver a masterfully-produced recording that combines traditional Malian roots, reggae, rock and chamber music influences, combining delightful laid back songs and lively, captivating rhythmic pieces.

The vocal interplay is one of the highlights of the album along with the acoustic and electric guitar and cello work.

The lineup includes Djénéba Kouyate on vocals; Fousseyni (Fousco) Sissoko on vocals, and guitar;  Valentin Ceccaldi on cello; Yacouba Kone on guitar; Marcel Balbone on drums; Alex Nkuin on drums; Charlotte Tiendrebeago on backing vocals; Adrien Arnaud on accordion; Fred Soul on percussion; and Ballaké Sissoko on kora.

Buy Kayeba Khasso

Share

The Impressionist side of Django Reinhardt

Stephane Wrembel – Django L’Impressionniste

French guitar maestro and composer Stephane Wrembel presents another side of Django Reinhardt on the album Django L’Impressionniste (Water Is Life Records, 2019).

Wrembel goes beyond the familiar Gypsy Jazz and focuses on Reinhardt’s lesser known works, recorded between 1937 and 1950.

Django L’Impressionniste is a fascinating overview of the impressionist classical side of Reinhardt, who admired Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

Buy Django L’Impressionnist

Share