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 and 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.

Carriacou Third Maroon Music Festival

Carriacou, Grenada, West Indies – Carriacou’s Third Maroon Music Festival kicks off Friday 25th April until Sunday 27th. Carriacou’s number one festival, which is growing ever larger every year, is an annual exhibition of unique Maroon heritage, culture and foods, scintillating displays of Big Drum Nation Dance, String Band Music and Quadrille Dancing. The Maroon Festival will showcase cultural presentations and groups from Carriacou, Petite Martinique and Grenada dominating Friday night’s program. The events will begin with an official opening by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and include speeches from noted Caribbean folklorists.

The weekend will include the very finest of local, regional and international talent. These will fall into the following: Maroon Day, Carriacou Cultural Heritage, Regional, Roots, Culture and Art. Already confirmed are: Grenada National Folk Group, Tobago Cultural Group, Union Island Dancers and Ballet Kouyamba from Senegal, Africa. Square One and Allison Hinds will close Saturday night performing until daybreak.

Maroons are age-old ceremonies in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. It brings villagers together to express various aspects of their culture, which is based in the agricultural activities of the islanders. The day ends with the traditional Big Drum Nation Dance.

The ‘Drum’ is the lifeblood of the Maroon celebration as is true of many African rites. The dancers are colorfully dressed and sing songs in patois. The lyrics recall their history, trials, suffering, preoccupations, glorious moments as well as aspirations.


Magic of the Persian Mystics

Zohreh Jooya and Madjid Derakhshani - Music of the Persian Mystics
Zohreh Jooya and Madjid Derakhshani – Music of the Persian Mystics
London, England – Music of the Persian Mystics (ARC Music) is the title of the new album by Zohreh Jooya and Madjid Derakhshani.

This album, composed by Madjid Derakhshani and sung by Zohreh Jooya, is based on poems of the Persian mystics Mevlana Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi. It is a blend of classical Persian music with the sounds of today; an unconventional combination of Oriental and European instruments.

Zohreh Jooya, raised in the holy city of Mashad in Iran, received a classical music education at the Academy of Music, Vienna and then earned a masters degree in opera at the “Conservatoire of the City of Vienna”. She currently pursues a singing career in both Oriental and European cultures with opera performances throughout Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.

Madjid Derakhshani is considered one of the best tar players in Iran with the respectful title “Ostad”, meaning a master who can give the best performance on a classical instrument. His teacher on setar and tar was the legendary Mohamad Reza Lotfi. He has also recorded with the most famous Iranian singer Mohammadreza Shajarian.

In addition to the poems by Hafiz, Saadi and Mowlana Rumi there is also one from Shafii Katkany – added as an example of modern Iranian poetry to set a counterpoint of modern reality to the old mystics.


Inti illimani Presents New Studio CD

Inti-Illimani - Lugares Comunes
Inti-Illimani – Lugares Comunes
Danbury, USA – The first studio album by Inti-Illimani in over five years with be out Coming out April 22. With Lugares Comunes, on Xenophile Records, the legendary Chilean ensemble celebrates its 35th year. The last year has seen the addition of three young new members, bringing renewed vigor and creativity to the band which is still going strong.

Inti-Illimani has been touring the United States in April and will be in Canada in May:

May 2 in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada at the Centennial Theatre

May 3 & 4 in Montreal, at the Salle Pierre Mercure


The Emperor’s New Pipa

Pipa: From a Distance
Pipa: From a Distance
Franklin, USA – Naxos World released this week Pipa: From a Distance, presenting the wide musical range of the Chinese stringed instrument. The CD features traditional pieces as well as new melodies by pipa virtuoso Wu Man, well-known for her previous work with world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project.

On this new release, Wu Man gives listeners an extensive introduction to the pipa and its versatility. Wu Man has earned respect and acclaim for her performances and recordings since the early 1990s. She has worked with many well-known artists in several genres, including composers Philip Glass, Bright Sheng, and Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), along with avant-garde musician and producer Brian Eno. She credits these collaborations as having given her the versatility needed to record this new improvisational album, about which she explains, “I wanted to see how far the pipa could go, and how diverse my musical style could be. That is why I made this album.”


Sara González with Intimate Songs CD

(Prensa Latina) Havana, Cuba – Cuban singer and composer Sara González is working on a new CD and plans to start recording in May and includes a selection of the best moments of outstanding authors and singers of the 20th Century in Cuba. Entitled Canciones Intimas, the album will offer songs by Maria Teresa Vera, Ernestina Lecuona, Isolina Carrillo, Rita del Prado, Miriam Ramos, Teresita Fernandez and Liuba Maria Hevia and others. The album will be produced by the Bis Music label. Gonzalez told Cumbancha she is very excited about the project, and working intensely on the preliminary phase. Among her immediate plans is a tour in the Dominican Republic, on the occasion of the International Book Fair dedicated to Cuba in May.

Sara González has shared the stage with Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Augusto Blanca, Joan Manuel Serrat, Chico Buarque, Mercedes Sosa, Soledad Bravo, Daniel Viglietti, Pete Seeger, Roy Brown, Pedro Guerra, Beth Carvalho, Liuba María Hevia, Anabell Lopez, Marta Campos and Heidi Igualada. She was a founder of the Nueva Trova Movement and one of its main exponents.

She also was a member of the Grupo de Experimentacion Sonora (GES) del ICAIC, led by Leo Brouwer, where she studied Composition, Harmony and Orchestration. She has produced music for films, television and radio, besides taking part in several collective albums with other figures of the Nueva Trova Movement and the GES.

Her discography includes titles such as: Versos sencillos de Jose Marti (1975); Cuatro Cosas (1982); Con un Poco de Amor (1987); Con Apuros y Paciencia (1991); Si Yo Fuera Mayo (1996) and Mirame (1999).


Habano Cigar in Honor of Compay Segundo

(Prensa Latina) Havana, Cuba – Montecristo Compay 95 is the brand name of the new cigars in honor of Cuban musician Compay Segundo. The cigars have a label with the smiling face of the 95-year-old “King of Chan Chan”, who is still active in the music scene and has become one of the most famous Cuban musicians internationally. Compay Segundo, once member of “Matamoros” and the duet Los Compadres, was a cigar-maker by trade, self-taught musician and he is considered a living myth of Cuban traditional music.


The Rough Guide to Ska

 The Rough Guide to Ska
The Rough Guide to Ska
San Francisco, USA – A source and inspiration for the future reggae explosion, ska developed in Jamaica in the early 1960s, helped by one of the pioneering producers of the time, Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin. The Rough Guide to Ska collects twenty cuts from those early days, a dozen of which are reissued for the first time in over thirty-five years.

Included are some of the great names associated with Jamaican music, such as the Skatalites and the Maytals.


Mestre Ambrosio’s European Tour

Mestre Ambrosio
Mestre Ambrosio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Mestre Ambrosio, founders of Pernambuco’s new music groove will begin a spring European tour in April.

Mestre Ambrósio masters a breathtaking show mixing the finest musical performance with irresistible rhythms and outstanding dance steps.Mestre Ambrósio’s six members graduated in modern and classical music. They are: Siba (fiddle, guitar and voice), Helder Vasconcelos (fole, percussion and voice) Mazinho Lima (bass, triangle and voice) Sergio Cassiano (percussion and voice) Mauricio Alves and Eder Rocha (percussion).

Tour dates:

19.04 The Moods-Zurich (CH)
21.04 Alien Bar – Orleans (F)
23.04 Botanique-Brussels (B)
24.04 Melkweg-Amsterdam (NL)
26,27.04 Bordeaux (F) show + Masterclasses Maracatu & Cavalo Marinho
29.04 “Roda de Coco”; Favela Chic (Paris-F)
30.04 New Morning; Paris (F)
01.05 Orleans (F) Masterclasses Maracatu & Cavalo Marinho
02.05 Astrolabe; Toulouse (F)
04.05 Serpa (P)


Instrumental Tangos Reissued and Remastered

Que Bonboncito
Que Bonboncito
Hamburg, Germany – Que Bonboncito is a recording of beautifully-restored tracks from 1929 to 1932. The album, released by Germany’s Danza y Movimento label, is a valuable asset to those who love the tango.

By the mid-1920s Buenos Aires was divided into two camps concerning the tango – traditionalists and the evolutionists.

Julio De Caro and Pedro Maffia defined the evolutionary style. In fact, the great classical composer Manual de Falla wrote at the time, “From what I have heard in Argentina, De Caro’s music is the most precious and points the way ahead.” These men enriched the tango, as it then existed, with exaggerated melodic phrasing, romantic treatment of the violins and the orchestrally-arranged individual parts.

De Caro’s group was formed in 1924 and lasting, through personnel changes, all the way up to 1952. Pedro Maffia was the bandoneon player in De Caro’s group until 1927 then founded his own orchestra around 1929. Today, the Orquesta Tipica Brunswick is relatively unknown. Like many other labels (RCA Victor, for example) Brunswick employed an in-house tango band. But Brunswick was done by 1932, so these recordings are rare indeed.


Barahúnda – Al Sol de la Hierba


Al Sol de la Hierba (Nufolk, 2002)

Barahúnda is part of a growing number of Madrid contemporary folk bands. The group draws most of its inspiration from various Spanish folk music traditions and the Sephardic diaspora. Barahúnda was initially led by singer Helena de Alfonso and stringed-instrument specialist Miguel Casado (he left the group after the recording). The all acoustic band features Helena de Alfonso’s outstanding Medieval, Sephardic and Spanish folk vocal stylings combined with various Spanish and Middle Eastern string instruments, along with superb zanfona (Spanish hurdy gurdy) work, all accompanied by Spanish, Middle Eastern and Indian percussion. The pieces included in this recording include original compositions as well as Medieval Galician-Portuguese cantigas, Arab Andalusian music, jotas from Zamora and Burgos, a Breton tune, and Sephardic lullabies and love songs.