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.

Putumayo Travels to the French Caribbean

Putumayo Presents... French Caribbean
Putumayo Presents… French Caribbean
New York, USA – Putumayo takes listeners on a musical cruise of the French Caribbean with a selection of zouk, compas, twoubadou, biguine and more. With French Caribbean, released on May 20, 2003, Putumayo revisits the French Creole islands of Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique, which have been experiencing a roots revival in recent years.

The French Caribbean is a place where music is imbedded in the landscape: whether it is compas or zouk blaring out of storefront speakers or the variety of sounds that enliven carnival celebrations and street festivals.

Acoustic traditional styles like Haitian twoubadou and Martiniquean biguine have recently earned a place on trendy dance floors alongside flashier zouk and compas.

Share

Russian Folklore Expedition

Moscow, Russia – The scholars from the Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences) Yelena and Sergey Minyonok have developed the research project www.russianexpedition.net.

One of the aims of this project is to record and to investigate the authentic folklore musical traditions of Southwestern rural Russia.The itineraries will include the picturesque villages, in which the inhabitants
mostly preserve the traditional way of life. The field research is devoted to the complex process of preservation of the rich musical inheritance rooted in pagan times.

Russian folklore music differs by its unique harmonies. Our team members will work with the best folklore singers and choirs enjoying not only their music but also friendly and fruitful interaction.

This project has a large educational and cultural potential. It offers the chance for curious lay people who are interested in folklore music to participate as well as specialists and students of ethnomusicology, anthropology, art, history, sociology and Russian studies.

The Russian Folklore Expedition has a regular free Newsletter, where we publish: the scientific results of our regular expeditions, stories from the field, opinions and impressions of our team members and authentic folklore songs and other texts in English so everyone can experience its unique poetry.

Contact information:
Telephone (095) 952-6583

Fax (095) 200-3216
Postal address: Povarskaya st. 25A, Moscow, 121069, Russia

Share

Maraca, Czech World Music

Maraca - Longe
Maraca – Longe
Prague, Czech Republic – Maraca (not to be confused with the Cuban band with the same name) is a group from the town of Zlín. It navigates the waters of jazz/world music. The group has composed music to go along with poems by the most famous modern Portuguese author, Fernando Pessoa.

On the band’s third album, Longe (Indies Records MAM206, 2003), one can listen to a wide variety of instruments such as the Arabic lute (ud), the Australian didjeridu, guitar, bass, percussion and violin. The members of the band and the guests have created a world of their own where even samples have their place.

Share

Cuban Label EGREM Introduces New Web Site

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – The Cuban Recording Company (EGREM) announced its new Web site address, from which it promotes the work of Cuban musical creators from different trends, besides being a powerful tool for research. The website www.egrem.com.cu shows the company’s catalog, sales statistics, information on the last productions, presentations of new titles and a database allowing people to learn other details. The website will have a daily update, and people will be able to see information on the history of EGREM, and how to contact distributors for information on the services offered by the recording company.

Share

Taj Mahal Signs with Tone Cool, Revisits Hawaiian Music

Taj Mahal - Hanapepe Dream
Taj Mahal – Hanapepe Dream
Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, USA – Based in Hawaii from 1981 until 1996, Taj Mahal returns to the island sounds of Kaua`i for the American release of Hanapepe Dream, his second CD with the Hula Blues. Hanapepe Dream, the Grammy® Award-winning artist’s debut joint venture between Tone-Cool Records and his own Kan-Du Records, will be released on June 10, 2003.

The follow up to 1998’s acclaimed Sacred Island, Hanapepe Dream’s 11 tracks feature Taj’s all-acoustic string band sound along with his signature slack-key blend of the blues and Pacific-Caribbean-island music.

Album highlights include an extended Hula Blues version of “Blackjack Davey,” a song from Taj’s 1974 reggae-infused Mo Roots album, and the signature Taj Mahal sound of “Stagger Lee,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and Mississippi John Hurt’s “My Creole Belle.”

The American release of Hanapepe Dream will offer bonus video footage including live performances of “The Calypsonians” and “The New Hula Blues.” Following Dream’s release, the very first Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues U.S. tour will follow with three weeks of shows during summer, kicking off June 20 in Chicago.

Commenting on his custom blend of styles, Taj has said, “My perspective is cultural and world-based. It’s always been a global perspective. Even in the early days when nobody knew me, they’d go, ‘Well, that album is perfect, but what was that calypso song doing on there? What does that got to do with it?’ I think that the way music is played [in America], it’s terribly narrow cast. I relate to these various traditions that I feel are connected through family, extended family, and influenced by influence.”

As part of “The Year of the Blues,” Taj Mahal will be seen in Martin Scorsese’s film From Mali to Mississippi, which will launch the seven-film series entitled The Blues. This project carries the viewer to the root of the blues in African music, and its journey across the Atlantic to the Mississippi Delta. Performers will include African greats Ali Farka Toure and Salif Keita, and American legends Taj Mahal and Othar Turner.

Share

Abdala Productions Celebrates 5th Anniversary

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Producciones Abdala will celebrate on May 25 its five years of work promoting the wide spectrum of Cuban sounds. Producciones Abdala’s Unicornio label director Eduardo Ramos stated that they have distributed over a hundred productions from folklore to son, bolero, jazz, children’s, traditional and chamber music, as well as other contemporary trends. In the recently concluded Cubadisco 2003, they obtained 115 nominations and 33 awards including the Grand Prize for the CD “Canciones del buen amor” (Songs of Good Love) by Jose Maria Vitier. Among its latest CDs are “I wish you have good luck,” by Paulo F.G., “Troubadour” by Amaury Pérez, “Virtuoso Flute” by Niurka Gonzalez, “It Will Always be Love,” by the Evocacion duet and “Si de Tanto Soñarte,” by Lázaro Garcia.

Share

The Black Sufis of Gujarat

The Black Sidis of Gujarat are a tribal Sufi community of East African origin which arrived to India eight centuries ago and made Gujarat their home. They carried with them their exceptionally rich musical tradition and kept it alive and flourishing through the generations, unknown to the rest of the world. Their history is rooted in the slave trade of the 13th century and beyond, when Arab and later European slave traders systematically captured thousands of African men, women and children and took them across the seas for sale to the highest bidders. Many Sidi arrived in India as slaves to the Maharajas and Nawabs of the day, whilst others came as merchants, navigators, sailors and slave kings, settling in Gujarat. Their Nubian features attracted the Arab slave traders because of their huge demand in many Indian households as trusted servants and status symbols. That remains true in the Parsi community and several Sidi royal family lineages also continue to thrive to this day in
India.

A traditional occupation of African-Indian Sufis in Gujarat has been to perform sacred music and dance as wandering faqirs, singing songs to their black Sufi saint, Bava Gor. Sidi men and women perform sacred music and dance during rituals in the shrines to Bava Gor, and have lived on accepting alms for touring these devotional genres from villages to shrines for centuries. The Sidis are the most musically inclined, who recognise music as a tool for becoming closer to God. Many Sidis also perform as muezzins as they feel closely related to Hazrat Bilal, a black African man who was the first person chosen by Prophet Mohammed to recite adhan (call to prayer). Over time, the Sidis’ native African music styles, melodic and rhythmic structures, lyrics and musical instruments mingled with local influences in Gujarat to form this unique and symbolic representation of African-Indian ness.

The Sidi speak word perfect Hindi and Gujarati, but have remained an oppressed class in India. Because they are black, from Africa, and Muslim, this has kept them at a lower socio-economic and educational level, but recently their situation is finally beginning to change for the better.

Courtesy of Yusuf Mahmoud, Busara Promotions

Share

First Annual Africa Mondo Festival at SOBs, New York

New York, USA – New York City’s premiere world music club, Sounds of Brazil (SOBs),in association with Africamondo, will be presenting the 1st Annual Africa Mondo Festival on Sunday, May 25. There will be
live performances by Dominic Kanza and The African Rhythm Machine, Diblo Dibala, Kaïssa Doumbè and The Drums ofAfrica. Manning the wheels of steel will be Mister P and the event will be hosted by radio personality Kola Nut fromWLIB.

S.O.B.’s has remained in the forefront of musical diplomacy by presenting the most accomplished African musicians from Ali Farka Touré to Zap Mama, to music lovers worldwide. Now, with increased interest in the sounds of Africa, S.O.B.’s has created the Africa Mondo Festival that will once a year present the world’s greatest African musicians.

To initiate the Festival The Drums of Africa will perform a percussive prayer. Immediately following will be a moment of silence in honor of the world’s loss of one the most significant African musicians of the late twentieth century, Baaba Olatunji, to whom this first Festival is being dedicated with a portion of the proceeds going to the Baaba Olatunji Foundation.

Taking the stage first will be the spicy and joyous music of Dominic Kanza and The African Rhythm machine. Into his stew of Congolese soukous, Kanza throws spices from all of his international musical experiences including collaborations with Papa Wemba, José Feliciano, Paul Simon and Harry Belafonte.

Named best female vocalist in the 2001 African Music Awards, Kaïssa Doumbè has been thrilling audiences with her unique blend of R&B, jazz, makossa, African and Brazilian fusion. She sings in her native Cameroonian language and is accompanied by an international group of musicians with songs against war and injustice. Her electrifying performance is a testament to the power of music that
transcends cultural differences.

As if the evening wasn’t already magical, guitar wizard Diblo Dibala takes the stage next. Dibala is a master of the electric guitar, to such an extent that he can add intriguing new elements to a song without sounding cliché. He can take a song that begins as a romantic ballad, and slowly transform and rework it with his guitar playing into a hot dance track. Within each song, Dibala’s solo work
leads the music to higher and higher heights of listening pleasure.

For more information go to S.O.B.’s

Share

Womex 2003 Deadlines at the End of May

Berlin, Germany – The deadline for showcase and conference applications for WOMEX 2003 (Sevilla, Spain) is May 30.

Those interested in taking part in a WOMEX showcase, or submitting a conference proposal, can go to:

All proposal forms can be found at WOMEX.

The Worldwide Music Expo WOMEX is a great networking point exclusively dedicated to world, roots, folk, ethnic, traditional and local music of all kinds.

Address: WOMEX c/o Piranha Kultur, Carmerstr.11, 10623 Berlin, Germany. Phone: +49 (30) 318 614 0, Fax +49 (30) 318 614 10. E-mail: womex@womex.com

Share

Adalberto Alvarez, a Tireless Innovator

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – In the midst of ambitious projects, Adalberto Alvarez Zayas turns 55 year-old. He began his 30 years of artistic life and 25 years of recording with the Son 14 orchestra and Frank Fernandez as producer of “A Bayamo en Coche” (To Bayamo by Carriage), one of the most renovating works of the Cuban musical industry during the last five decades. Putting the finishing touches on his next CD for Bis Music recording company, Adalberto Alvarez noted his efforts to rescue and popularize partner dance. “I have a lot of faith in a program I will launch with television director Victor Torres this summer.”

Adalberto rejoiced being named a Prodigal Son of Camaguey, honoring his 55th birthday and 30-year artistic career. There were over 15,000 people at the gala, including the presence of other musicians from the territory where he began his professional life in 1973.

The Camaguey Hotel dedicated a room to him designed similarly to the atmosphere of his house. Alvarez wanted to be a pilot and ended up studying bassoon at the National Art School. With the Son 14 orchestra in 1978, Adalberto returned to the best contributions of Arsenio Rodriguez to the format known as ensemble and enriched it creatively to preserve the dancing flavor and melodic beauty of the “traditional,” rejuvenated by the contemporaneous sound. His loyalty to this style led to his current nickname el “Caballero del Son” (The Gentleman of Son).

Share