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.

Preparations Advance for International Benny Moré Festival

beny_more-small(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha ) Santa Isabel de las Lajas, Cienfuegos.- All Las Lajas seems to be working on preparations for the 14th International Benny Moré Music Festival, to take place here September 11 through 14. Every two years, the people from Lajas, Cienfuegos and Cubans in general get ready to celebrate with a big party, the birth anniversary (this year 84th) of the late musician, rumba star and great improviser. More than 30 bands and singers will play in concert during the four days of the festival, and the scheduled performances include Los Van Van, Isaac Delgado, Equis Alfonso, Pupi y los que Son Son, Elíades Ochoa, Augusto Enriquez and his Mambo Band and the Varela Miranda Family. The performance of Omara Portuondo and her group, Elito Revé, Héctor Téllez, Arte Mixto, the Charanga Cienfueguera, Selección Latina, Los Moddys, Nueva Clave, Estilo Propio, Ecos and the Festival Orchestra is expected. The list of foreign acts announced include the Swedish Calixto Oviedo Band, and Calle Real, Puerto Ricans Manolo Rivera, Truco y Zaperoco and the Coabey Dancers, Aja from Barbados, the Japanese band Cachimba, and Claudia Acuña and La Timba Loca (US). The Festival will open on the morning of September 11, with the traditional pilgrimage to Benny’s tomb.

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From the Roots of Moravian Folklore 

Prague, Czech Republic – Czech label, Indies Records, has released a new album that focuses on the Moravian tradition.

Magic Playing…from the Roots of Moravian Folklore (Indies Records MAM 209) features 13 music bands that represent current day artists who draw from the Moravian folk tradition. They compose or perform their own versions of folk tunes, with new arrangement and thus preserve the creative
link between the musical past and future thereby strengthening the original and unique culture of the Czech lands.

Bands and individual artists with a long tradition, Hradišťan, Iva Bittová, Teagrass, Tomáš Kočko, appear on the CD along with young, beginning musicians (Maraca, Docuku, Benedikta) who still discover the beauty of folk songs.The focus of the album is not to survey the entire range of this musical branch so popular nowadays. It simply tries to give the listeners at home and abroad an idea about Moravian world music.

The booklet comes in 4 languages:  English, French, German, and Czech. An MP# is available at:
free MP3 – Muziga.. 

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Rough Guide Boxed Sets

Asian Beat Box
Asian Beat Box
San Francisco, USA – The producers of the Rough Guide series have compiled several of the individual CDs to create thematic boxed sets. Each box contains 4 titles. The first boxed sets are:

American Roots Box.

Included titles: 1) RGNET1028CD The Rough Guide To Cajun & Zydeco, 2) RGNET1059CD The Rough Guide To Bluegrass, 3) RGNET1087CD The Rough Guide To Delta Blues, 4) RGNET1090CD The Rough Guide To Gospel.

Arabic Beat Box. Included titles:

1) RGNET1064CD The Rough Guide To Sufi Music, 2) RGNET1085CD The Rough Guide To Bellydance, 3) RGNET1093CD The Rough Guide To Arabesque, 4) RGNET1100CD The Rough Guide To Rai.

Asian Beat Box. Included titles:

1) RGNET1054CD The Rough Guide To Bhangra, 2) RGNET1074CD The Rough Guide To Bollywood, 3) RGNET1091CD The Rough Guide To The Music Of India, 4) RGNET1096CD The Rough Guide To The Asian Underground.

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Japanese Guitarist Donates 25 Pianos to Cuba

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Antonio Koga, one of the best Japanese guitarists, in a gesture of love, human sensibility and solidarity, donated 25 Yamaha pianos to Cuban cultural education centers. The delivery ceremony was held at the Amadeo Roldan Theater Auditorium, where Koga, a Cuban music lover stated that the idea came from a visit he paid to Cuban Art Schools where he saw how instruments were needed to teach the children.

From that very moment he started collecting instruments with the help of some friends, to fix them and bring them to Cuba.”All I can do will be for children to learn music“, the Japanese guitarist said. All this have been done voluntarily by friends who responded to the call to help Cuba.

We collected and stored them and then the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry helped us to bring everything to the Havana port. We never thought how much could it cost, we simply did it for the love of Cuban children“, said Koga.

The pianos will go to the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) and to elementary and middle level schools, from where excellent musicians have emerged in the last few years. The Yamaha pianos have a presence and sound similar to the grand piano, and are often used in music classes for their excellent quality.

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Japan for Sale

Japan for Sale, Volume 3
Japan for Sale, Volume 3
Various Artists

Japan for Sale, Volume 3 (Sony Music, 2003)

The Japan for Sale series showcases various current music styles produced in Japan. Most of the music on this album is too poppy for me, but there are some interesting discoveries among the bubble gum pop and post punk material.

The first great discovery is Goku, who combines jazz riffs with great electronic grooves and rapping. DJ Krush mixes electronic beats and scratching with sampled voices.

Loop Junktion creates a great concoction of funky jazz grooves with hip hop. And Kyoto Jazz Massive has developed a hybrid sound that combines exciting electronic beats with funk jazz.

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Putumayo’s American Blues

Putumayo presents... American Blues
Putumayo presents… American Blues
New York, USA – Putumayo continues its series dedicated to blues music with American Blues. The United States Congress has designated 2003 as the Year of the Blues and both PBS (Public Broadcasting System) and NPR (National Public Radio) are producing series that will bring a much greater profile to the blues this fall.

With American Blues, which will be released on August 26, 2003, Putumayo continues its series of blues and blues-influenced albums that began in 1999 with Mali to Memphis: An African-American Odyssey.

American Blues is a collection of some of our favorite blues tracks by legends and rising stars that are helping to keep the blues alive and thriving.

The artists on this compilation have remained true to the roots of the blues, be those the acoustic guitar sounds of the Mississippi Delta, the urban electric drive of Chicago, or the swamp boogie of Louisiana. While they may have developed their own unique voices and approaches, they have made it their mission to respect the fundamental sound, structure and soul of the blues.

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Box of the Blues

Box of the Blues
Box of the Blues
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA – Box of the Blues brings together 60 of the best songs in the Rounder Records blues catalog, offering a highly entertaining and varied listening experience that spans 50 years of blues history.

From Mississippi Delta originators, to well-known blues entertainers, to young blues innovators, to
many of the great names in soul music, here are performances both classic and obscure, all selected to represent the best that blues has to offer. Includes eight tracks never before released on CD. Compiled by Scott Billington.

1 61 Highway ( Mississippi Fred McDowell ) 03:10
2 See See Rider ( Babe Stovall, Herb Quinn ) 02:53
3 I Could Hear My Name Ringin’ ( Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim ) 03:32
4 Cheating and Lying Blues ( Robert Nighthawk ) 04:58
5 Lonesome Whistle ( Robert Jr. Lockwood & Johnny Shines ) 03:40
6 Broken Hearted Blues ( Etta Baker ) 04:50
7 I’m Gonna Make You Happy ( Buster Brown ) 03:33
8 Dooleyville Blues ( Boogie Bill Webb ) 02:06
9 One Kind Favor ( John Cephas & Phil Wiggins ) 02:53
10 Blues For Martin Luther King ( Otis Spann ) 03:40
11 Wind Howlin’ Blues ( David “Honeyboy” Edwards ) 03:15
12 Dying Crapshooter’s Blues ( Blind Willie McTell ) 03:07
13 Screamin’ And Cryin’ ( Big Joe Williams ) 03:15
14 Candy Man Blues ( Mississippi John Hurt ) 02:55
15 The Red Cross Store ( Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee ) 03:24

1 One More Mile ( Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown ) 04:14
2 My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble ( Carey Bell ) 04:49
3 Give Me Flowers While I’m Livin’ ( Champion Jack Dupree ) 05:52
4 Cool Blues Walk ( Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater ) 05:36
5 Port Arthur Blues ( Phillip Walker ) 04:34
6 Nobody But You ( Johnny Copeland ) 03:47
7 Jukin’ ( Willie Cobbs ) 06:22
8 Johnny’s Jump ( Johnny Young ) 02:19
9 Goin’ Out West (Part 1 and Part 2) ( Larry Davis ) 05:56
10 Walking By Myself ( Jimmy Rogers ) 03:05
11 Blues And My Guitar ( Lowell Fulson ) 04:49
12 Eighteen Year Old Girl ( J.B. Hutto & the New Hawks ) 04:17
13 I’m From Mississippi ( Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson ) 04:52
14 This is the Blues ( Lonesome Sundown & Phillip Walker ) 02:39
15 The Man from Mars ( Smokey Wilson ) 05:42

1 Change in My Pocket ( Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets featuring Sam Myers )
02:52
2 Blue House ( Marcia Ball ) 03:24
3 Meanest Woman ( Geoff Muldaur ) 03:47
4 Make Some Changes ( Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones ) 03:46
5 Down South Blues ( Tarbox Ramblers ) 04:03
6 How Long ( Chris Duarte Group ) 05:19
7 I’m the Toughest Girl Alive ( Candye Kane ) 03:07
8 Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning ( Corey Harris ) 02:52
9 Frankie And Albert ( Rory Block ) 02:25
10 What That Means to Me ( Duke Robillard & the Pleasure Kings ) 02:48
11 Let Me Live ( Roomful Of Blues ) 03:50
12 Lovin’ Someone Else ( Little Jimmy King & the Memphis Soul Survivors ) 05:53
13 John Hardy ( George Thorogood ) 03:18
14 One Night Affair ( Smokin’ Joe Kubek featuring Bnois King ) 05:37
15 Shifting Sand ( Michelle Willson ) 04:42
1 Good Day For The Blues ( Ruth Brown ) 04:36
2 Outskirts of Town ( Wilson Pickett ) 03:24
3 Live And Let Live ( Bobby King & Terry Evans ) 04:41
4 Roadblock ( Johnny Adams ) 04:51
5 I Can Take You To Heaven Tonight ( Otis Clay ) 04:32
6 Got To Get Myself Some Money ( Solomon Burke ) 04:58
7 Nowhere To Hide ( Paul Kelly ) 03:28
8 What Can I Do (Somebody Tell Me) ( Little Buster & the Soul Brothers ) 03:56
9 Two Wrongs ( Theryl “Houseman” de’Clouet ) 03:51
10 I Stepped In Quicksand ( Charles Brown ) 05:26
11 Ain’t No Business Like Your Business ( Ann Peebles ) 04:00
12 Promised Land ( Holmes Brothers ) 03:33
13 You Don’t Know Nothin’ About Love ( Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson ) 04:44
14 Bring It Home Daddy ( Ted Hawkins ) 03:08
15 Out Of The Dark ( Walter “Wolfman” Washington ) 05:55

Box of the Blues

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Ragamorphism DVD

Prasanna - Ragamorphism
Prasanna – Ragamorphism
India – Virtuoso musician Prasanna, the leading exponent of electric guitar in Indian classical music, has released an educational DVD titled Ragamorphism.

This is the first ever educational DVD that really goes into the depths of application of Indian Classical Carnatic music to contemporary Jazz, Rock, Blues improvisation and beyond.

In spite of the complex nature of the material presented here, Prasanna employs a relaxed conversational approach throughout the film, Prasanna unlocks the potent wealth of his microtonal Carnatic vocabulary, that makes it possible for him to improvise in a way no other guitarist has ever done before.Ragamorphism explores numerous ragas and their applications in soloing over chord changes, the blues, chord voicings derived from Ragas, microtonal slurring and sliding guitar techniques, mathematical treatment of rhythms etc., are just some of the material covered in this power packed 90 minute ride, which includes extensive close-up shots of his guitar playing, all supplemented with professionally laid out music notation.

Buy Ragamorphism

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Radio Tarifa’s Fever

Radio Tarifa - Fiebre
Radio Tarifa – Fiebre
London, England – Spanish world music outfit Radio Tarifa celebrates its 10th anniversary with the release of  Fiebre(Fever), a live album recorded during a concert at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto, Canada on September 28th 2002.

Fiebre captures the dynamism of the live show and takes the listeners on a musical journey spanning the last ten years of Radio Tarifa. It features ten new interpretations of songs from their last three albums, plus two new songs specifically written for this album.

Radio Tarifa have been playing selected European dates along with the release of Fiebre. These shows give audiences the opportunity to fully experience the electrifying live performances that have been captured on CD. A more extensive UK tour will take place in November and more European dates are being planned for 2004.

Radio Tarifa is the brainchild of Faín Dueñas, a former electric guitarist who realized that playing Anglo-Saxon rock wasn’t leading him anywhere. Instead, he sought new paths and learned about other kinds of music from foreign and southern Spanish musicians. Currently, he has become an specialist in African and Arabic percussion, as well as in string instruments from the lute family such as the Turkish cümbüs, the guimbri, sentir, ud and Flamenco guitar.

The rest of the core group is formed by Flamenco cantaor Benjamín Escoriza, from Granada, and reed/flute player Vincent Molino, from France. The group’s albums feature numerous guests and the live band includes some of Spain’s finest world music players.

Veteran Spanish multi-instrumentalist and producer Juan Alberto Arteche produced the group’s first album, Rumba Argelina, for his eclectic Música Sín Fín label. Arteche later sold the rights to BMG Spain who in turn licensed it to World Circuit in Great Britain.

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US Processing Visas for Cuban Latin Grammy Nominees

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – The US government is processing the visa application for various Cuban musicians nominated for Latin Grammy 2003 awards, to be delivered in Miami this coming September 3. “The US Interests Section in Havana (USIS) accepted to process the documents of the Cuban musicians,” a Cuban Music Institute source told the cultural magazine “La Jiribilla.” “The prestige and seriousness of our artists made it possible that the documents be accepted by the USIS,” said the same source said. The Cuban magazine denied that the Cuban authorities delayed the visa applications and criticized such recent statements by the White House special envoy for the Western Hemisphere Otto Reich.The possible presence of Cuban artists at the Latin Grammy gala has provoked a tense controversy between the exile groups and Cuban artists based in Miami. Cuban Culture Vice-Minister and Cuban Music Institute President Abel Acosta, defended the right of the Cuban artists to attend the Latin Grammy ceremony.” The presence of our artists is a right gained by their talent and work,” he stated.

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