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 is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart. Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, and Music of the World.

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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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The Magnificent Winds of Lithuania

Saulius Petreikis – Jūrėse (independent release, 2018)

Jūrėse presents the work of Lithuanian multi-instrumentalist Saulius Petreikis. The album contains a set of beautiful melodic instrumental works rooted in traditional Lithuanian folk music and classical music as well. Petreikis music is inspired by his hometown, Žemaitija (Samogitia) which is surrounded by a pond.

Saulius Petreikis uses a wide range of wind instruments, including flutes from different parts of the globe. On Jūrėse he is joined by Styginių Sekstetas, a chamber music string sextet that adds an exquisite touch to Pertreikis’ music.

The lineup includes Saulius Petreikis on flutes, trumpet, whistles, bansuri, horns, and wordless vocals; and Donatas Petreikis on guitar.

Styginių Sekstetas: Vytautas Mikeliūnas on violin; Laura Staponkutė on first violin; Jurga Gaubytė on  second violin; Ugnė Petrauskaitė on viola; Onutė Švabauskaitė on cello; and Mariusz Praśniewski on acoustic bass.

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The Best of Kroke Indeed

Kroke – Kroke 25, The Best of

If you haven’t heard about Kroke yet, this is one of the finest instrumental ensembles in the European music scene. The award-winning Polish trio includes virtuoso instrumentalists who deliver an exquisite mix of modern Polish music, klezmer, contemporary jazz and chamber classical music.

The trio is highly popular in Europe, from Poland and Germany to Spain, performing their passionate and evocative music to world music, jazz and classical music fans alike.

Kroke – Kroke 25, The Best of (Universal Music Polska, 2017)

This two-CD compilation includes superb material released from 1996 to 2015, released on various labels: Germany’s Oriente Musik and two Polish major label divisions: Warner Music Poland and Universal Music Polska.

Kroke’s sound revolves around the masterful performances of composer and multi-instrumentalist Tomasz Kukurba, accordion player Jerzy Bawoł and bassist Tomasz Lato. Kukurba’s violin and viola dance around the highly expressive accordion and bass, and sometime soars into fantastic, mesmerizing explorations.

Throughout the years, Kroke’s sound evolved and Tomasz Kukurba added more instruments to the mix. One track includes a captivating electric viola performance.

The lineup includes Tomasz Kukurba on violin, viola, electric viola, flutes, hand and mouth percussion, vocals, whistles, piano; Tomasz Lato on acoustic bass; and Jerzy Bawoł on accordion.

Guests include Dariusz Grela on vocals, Tomasz Grochot on percussion, Anna Maria Jopek on vocals, and Sławek Berny on udu.

The CD booklet includes detailed information about each track in Polish and English.

The Best of Kroke is an outstanding introduction to a formidable trio that has been making deeply satisfying, genre-defying instrumental music for many years.

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More about Kroke.

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Enthralling Tibetan Spiritual Impressions

Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal; and Jesse Paris Smith – Songs from the Bardo

Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal and Jesse Paris Smith – Songs from the Bardo (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2019)

Songs from the Bardo is a spellbinding recording featuring extraordinary musicians from various cultures and musical genres: American experimentalist Laurie Anderson, Tibetan multi-instrumentalist and singer Tenzin Choegyal; and composer, pianist and climate activist Jesse Paris Smith (Patti Smith’s daughter).

The album is a guided voyage through the farseeing text of the Tibetan Book of the Dead with Laurie Anderson on spoken word and violin.  Songs from the Bardo intertwines captivating spoken word sections (accompanied by gongs and drones) and instrumental passages.

Tenzin Choegyal plays lingbu (Tibetan flute), dranyen (Tibetan lute), singing bowls and gong; Jesse Paris Smith plays piano, crystal bowls and gong. Guests include Rubin Kodheli on cello and Shadhad Ismaily on percussion.

The physical edition of the album includes a 32-page booklet with artist biographies, photos and details about the project.

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Artist Profiles: Ulla Pirttijärvi

Ulla Pirttijärvi

Ulla Pirttijärvi is one of the most significant Sámi artists, born in
the village of Angeli, Finland. She began her career in Angelin Tytöt.
Ulla founded the band Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda and performed with Frode Fjellheim, Snorre Bjerck, and Wimme Saari among others.

Ulla and her daughter Hilda Länsman created the group Solju in 2015 and they participated in Finland’s Uuden musiikin kilpailu (Finnish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest) with the song “Hold Your Colours”.

Solju

Ulla Pirttijärvi and Hilda Länsman won The Finnish Music Publishers
Association, genre-free category, Vuoden etnotekijä as songwriters of Solju: Ođđa Áigodat.

Solju also won the Folk Music Creator of the Year award at Finnish Ethnogala 2019 and The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) Canada for the Best International Indigenous Release in 2019: Solju: Odda Áigodat .

Discography:

Hoŋkoŋ dohkká (1996)
Ruošša Eanan (Atrium, 1997)
Máttaráhku Askái – In Our Foremothers’ Arms ‎(Innovator Series, 2002)
Aibbašeabmi ‎(Vuelie, 2008)
Ulda (2012)
Roijk ‎(Tuupa Records Oy, 2016)
Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018)
Áššu (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Harald Skullerud

Harald Skullerud (right) with Ulla Pirttijärv and Olav Torget

Harald Skullerud has worked as a professional musician since 1995,
primarily as drummer and percussionist. He uses drums from various continents that he has collected throughout the years during his international tours.

Harald studied drumming traditions in West Africa and Arab countries. He has performed with Jon Balke, Inga Juuso, Solo Cissokho, Wissam Murad, Mari Boine, Jørun Bøgeberg, Bjørn Klakegg, Anders Røine, Niko Valkeapää, Håkon Høgemo, Nicolay Ivanov, Karl Seglem, Wassim Qassis, Rudl Trio, and Steinar Strøm, Friland among others.

He won the Folkelarmprisen award (Åpen class) 2012 in Norway with Juusk (Inga Juuso & Harald Skullerud).

Olav recorded the album Áššu with Sami singer Ulla Pirttijärvi .

Discography:

Stave Church Songs – Martyred Saints & Sister Bells, with Elisabeth Holmertz, Anders Røine and Elisabeth Vatn ‎(Heilo, 2011)
Rudl, with Håkon Høgemo and Stefan Bergman (ta:lik, 2013)
Áššu (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Olav Torget

Olav Torget

Olav Torget has been an independent musician since the early nineties. He plays electric and acoustic guitars and the West African konting (ngoni).

He learned music at the University of Oslo with guitarists Knut
Værnes, Bjørn Klakegg and Staffan William-Olsson. Olav also studied konting in Senegal and Gambia with Amadou A. Gueye.

He has performed with Kristin Asbjørnsen, Karl Seglem, Geir Lysne,
Solo Cissokho, Diom de Kossa, Anita Skorgan, Sjur Miljeteig, Eli
Storbekken, Steinar Ofsdal, and Ali Farka Toure among others.

Olav recorded the album Áššu with Sami singer Ulla Pirttijärvi .

Discography:

Suburban Jive ‎(Echofisk, 2007)
Áššu (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)

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