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.

A Thrilling Night of Modern Cajun Music

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – 30 Years Live (Valcour Records, 2019)

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys celebrated its 30th anniversary with an outstanding live performance in Lafayette, Louisiana. 30 Years Live demonstrates why Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys has become one of the finest acts in the Cajun music scene.

On 30 Years Live, the band treats the listener to a set of originals and Cajun classics. What makes Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys such a fascinating and enjoyable live act is its ability to absorb and intertwine various musical influences from the American south: traditional music from southern Louisiana, blues, rootsy country music, rock, and more. Lyrics are in English and Cajun French.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – 30 Years Live

The band is led by Cajun award-winning accordion maestro Steve Riley of Mamou in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. The Mamou Playboys includes fiddler Kevin Wimme, guitarist Sam Broussard, bassist Brazos Huval and drummer Kevin Dugas.

For this celebration, the band was joined by former member David Greely on fiddle and vocals and various guests, including Chris Stafford on organ and piano, Melete Terry on vocals, Alena Savoy on vocals and Paul “Bird” Edwards on rubboard.

Buy 30 Years Live in North America

Buy 30 Years Live! in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Refugees for Refugees

Refugees for Refugees

Refugees for Refugees is a Belgium-based ensemble that includes musicians from Syria, Tibet, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Belgium who are united by their aspiration to intertwine links between their music.  The group has developed an original repertoire that fuses various traditions.

Influences include Afghan, Tibetan, Arabic, Pakistani, and European music. Refugees for Refugees uses a wide range of musical instruments, including nomadic Tibetan chants, the South Asian sarod, Arabic ud and Middle Eastern percussion.

The lineup in 2019 included Asad Qizilbash on sarod (Pakistan), Aren Dolma on vocals (Tibet), Fakher Madallal on vocals, percussion (Syria), Kelsang Hula on dramyen, vocals (Tibet), Mohammad Aman Yusufi on dambura, vocals (Afghanistan), Simon Leleux on percussion (Belgium), Souhad Najem on qanun (Iraq), Tammam Al Ramadan on ney (Syria), Tareq Alsayed Yahya on ud (Syria) and Tristan Driessens on ud (Belgium).

Discography:

Amerli (Muziekpublique, 2016)
Amina (Muziekpublique, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Renowned Italian band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino was created by writer Rina Durante in 1975. It is one of Italy’s most reputable and longest-standing traditional music ensembles.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino comes from Puglia in the Salento, in southern Italy. The lineup consists of a seven member band and a dancer.

The ensemble recreates southern Italy’s Pizzica musical and dance traditions. The tradition pizzica tarantata is said to cure the taranta spider’s bite with its frenzied trance dances.

The group is led by fiddler and frame drummer Mauro Durante. The rest ofthe ensemble includes Emanuele Licci on bouzuki, classical guitar, vocals; Alessia Tondo on vocals; Silvia Perrone on dance; Giulio Bianco on harmonica, zampogna (Italian bagpipes), recorder; Massimiliano Morabito on diatonic accordion; and Giancarlo Paglialunga on tamburello, vocals.

Discography:

Canti di terra d’Otranto e della Grecia Salentina (Fonit Cetra, 1997)
Concerto 1 (1980)
Come farò a diventare un mito (Dunya, 1983)
Concerto 2 (1985)
Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (1988)
Concerto 3 (1991)
Sutt’acqua e sutta ientu navegamu (1994)
Mamminieddhu Zuccaratu (1994)
Ni pizzicau lu core (1997)
Ballati tutti quanti ballati forte (Felmay, 1998)
Canti e pizziche d’amore (Salento Altra Musica, 2000)
carataranta (Salento Altra Musica, 2000)
Pizzica pizzica (Salento Altra Musica, 2001)
Alla Riva Del Mare (Salento Altra Musica, 2002)
Serenata (Salento Altra Musica, 2002)
Focu D’Amore (Ponderosa Music & Art, 2010)
Pizzica Indiabolata (Ponderosa Music & Art, 2012)
Quaranta (Ponderosa Music & Art, 2015)
Canzoniere (Ponderosa Music & Art, 2017)

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Moving Songs of Peace and Justice

Various Artists – World Peac

Various Artists – World Peace (Putumayo, 2019)

Putumayo World Music releases today its compilation World Peace. The set contains stimulating songs by well-known artists in the world music, rock, jazz, blues, pop and other genres who advocate for a better world, respectful of all human kind. Two percent of the earnings from this album will benefit the National Peace Corps Association.

Dan Storper

Dan Storper, founder of Putumayo, selected the songs, inspired by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and other 1960s leaders who believed in peace and justice.

The artists featured include Jackson Browne  (USA), Nina Simone (USA), Keb’ Mo’ (USA), India.Arie (USA), Richard Bona (Cameroon), David Broza (Israel), Wyclef Jean (Haiti), Playing for Change (international collective), Michael Brecker (USA), Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa), Bholoja (Swaziland), Mira Awad (Palestine/Israel).

The extensive CD booklet includes an introduction by Dan Storper and details about each song and artists included in the album.

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Artist Profiles: Hama Sankaré

Hama Sankaré

Alpha Ousmane “Hama” Sankaré (also known as Pedro) is a western African legend. He was a fundamental member of the bands of many great artists of Mali: Ali Farka Toure, Afel Bocoum, le Troupe Regionale de Niafunké, l’Orchestre de Gao, Songhoy Allstars, and Mamadou Kelly’s BanKaiNa.

Hama’s percussion and vocals can be heard on many of Mali’s essential recordings. He is the master of contemporary calabash percussion as well as a highly influential composer, arranger and instrumentalist.

Discography:

Ballébé ‎(Clermont Music, 2018)
Niafunke (Clermont Music, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Diego Del Morao

Diego Del Morao

Diego Moreno Jiménez, better known as , was born September 20, 1978 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

He grew up as a member of the renowned dynasty of the Morao. Diego is the eldest son of Moraito Chico and he trained at home under the watchful eye of his father, although he also received training at the Carbonero school.

He appeared on stage at 14, accompanying artists at different clubs and festivals. Soon his guitar attracted the attention of flamenco stars such as José Mercé. Enrique Morente, Diego el Cigala, la Niña Pastori, Miguel Poveda, Pansequito, Diego Carrasco, Montse Cortés, Marina Heredia, and others.

Discography:

Del Manzanares Al Guadalquivir, with Israel Paz El Moñi ‎(Alía Discos, 1999)
Orate (Warner Music Spain, 2010)
Vuelve El Flamenco, with Diego El Cigala (Cigala Music, 2014)
Antonio Reyes / Diego Del Morao – Directo En El Círculo Flamenco De Madrid ‎(El Flamenco Vive, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Rosario Lazo Montoya “Reina Gitana”

Rosario Lazo Montoya “Reina Gitana”

Flamenco pianist Rosario Lazo Montoya “Reina Gitana” was born in Jerez de la Frontera on April 29, 1974.

The Reina Gitana (Gypsy Queen) grew up in a gypsy family full of artists. Her father is Antonio “El Pescaero”, owner of a flamenco fan club in Jerez that bears his name. Her maternal grandfather was a great guitarist and so is her uncle. Her aunt Rosario Montoya was a singer that toured the world with her own company. Her grandmother Pilar Montoya was also a great dancer.

Rosario studied at the Royal Conservatory Manuel de Falla in Cádiz, where she obtained the first prize for composition.

She is the first gypsy woman in Spain that received a degree as piano teacher and instrumentalist.

She has performed at major venues throughout Spain and also appeared on various TV and radio networks, such as Televisión Española, Canal Sur, Canal 2 Andalucía and Onda Jerez.

Rosario is passionate about pure, traditional flamenco.

Discography:

Muchelumbre ‎(Satélite K, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Pedro El Granaino

Pedro El Granaino – Photo by Leo Sánchez

Gypsy singer Pedro Heredia Reyes, better known as Pedro El Granaino, was born in Granada, Spain in 1973. Singing was part of his life from the day he was born.

He has worked with great flamenco artists such as Los Farruco, Vicente Amigo, Tomatito and Enrique Morente, among others.

In 2012 he began his solo career. Since then, he has won praise for his singing and his deep knowledge of the flamenco tradition. Pedro El Granaino is considered one of the best singers of the current scene.

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Artist Profiles: Antonio Reyes Montoya

Antonio Reyes Montoya

Antonio Reyes Montoya was born in Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain in 1975. He grew up in a family with deep flamenco roots. His maternal grandfather is Antonio Montoya and his uncle Roque Montoya “Jarrito.” Antonio Reyes is also related to José Cortés Jiménez, “Pansequito”.

He appeared on stage for the first time when he was 7 years old, at the Fiesta de la Parpuja de Chiclana. In 1984, he performed at the bullring in Jerez, on Flamenco Thursdays, organized by the guitarist Manuel Morao. At 10, he won the first prize in Fuengirola, in the youth category.

In 1988, at the age of 13, he was a finalist in the Mairena del Alcor competition and traveled throughout the United States with the Gitanos de Jerez Company directed by Manuel Morao and later in Europe with the Misa Flamenca show.

In 2009 he recorded his first album “Viento del Sur”. In 2014, he won the “Giraldillo al cante” of the Flamenco Biennial of Seville, as the jury appreciated “for incorporating his personality into the legacy of the great masters” and in 2015 he recorded his second album with guitarist Diego del Morao.

Discography:

Viento del Sur (Bujio, 2009)
Antonio Reyes / Diego Del Morao – Directo en el Círculo Flamenco de Madrid ‎(El Flamenco Vive, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Alonso Núñez Heredia ‘El Purili’

Alonso Núñez Heredia – “El Purili”

Alonso Núñez Heredia, better known as ‘El Purili’was born in La Línea de la Concepción, Spain in 2000. He stood out as a child for his talent as a singer and dancer, performing flamenco from an early age. For many fans, he is one of the rising talents of flamenco art.

He grew up in a household where everyone was a flamenco fan and attended three-day long celebrations. His great grandparents were flamenco performers.

El Purili’s greatest influence is Perico El Pañero. A friend told him to check out his music. El Purili got on Youtube and found one of Perico’s performances, singing tonás. Eventually El Purili met Perico at a flamenco peña (flamenco fan club).

Other musical influences include current artists José de la Tomasa, Cancanilla, Tío Manuel Moneo and some of the great voices of the past like Antonio Mairena, Manuel Torre, Juanito Mojama, Niña de los Peines, Curro and Manuel Mairena.

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