All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and 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.

World Music Charts Europe – July 2003

Berlin, Germany – The top twenty of 187 nominated records for the month of Juily:

1 MARTINA Last month: 69
Africando Senegal/various (Sono)

Sam Mangwana Congo (Sono)

3 3AM: IN BEATS WE TRUST Last month: 1
Sidestepper UK/Colombia (Palm Beats)

4 TUVA ROCK Last month: 30
Yat-Kha Tuva (Pläne)

5 DROP THE DEBT Last month: 3
V.A. various (Say It Loud) 6 RISE UP! Last month: 13
The Klezmatics USA Piranha

7 MAHIMA Last month: 4
Debashish Bhattacharya & Bob Brozman India/USA Riverboat

8 DEB Last month: 20
Souad Massi Algeria Universal

Natacha Atlas UK Mantra

10 GO Last month: 14
Dusminguet Spain Virgin

11 LOVE TRAP Last month: 136
Susheela Raman India/UK Narada World

12 FADO CURVO Last month: 7
Mariza Portugal World Connection

13 CLUB SODADE Last month: – –
Cesaria Evora Cape Verde Lusafrica

Kroke Poland Oriente

15 THE ALBUM Last month: – –
Panjabi MC UK Superstar

16 THE RAIN Last month: 45
Ghazal India/Iran ECM

17 TOTONHO E OS CABRA Last month: – –
Totonho e os Cabra Brazil Trama

18 DEEPER THAN OCEANS Last month: 15
Miyazawa Japan Stern’s

19 FIESTA SONG Last month: 69
Senor Coconut Germany/Chile Multicolor

20 NACAO ZUMBI Last month: 45
Nacao Zumbi Brazil Trama

Reviews, links, audio & shop at


Rap Group Orishas Sings against Domestic Violence

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Cuban rap band Orishas, permanently settled in Europe, is participating now along with Hispanic artists in the recording of an album against domestic violence. Gathered under the slogan “Artists united in defense of mistreated women,” the artists’ new album intends to call society’s attention to the situation. In the recording of the double album, titled Hay que volver a empezar II, artists such as Pedro Guerra (Spain), Lila Downs (Mexico), Ojos de Brujo (Spain) and Luz Casal (Spain) also take part. Thus, the Cuban rappers join the production of this second music project born out of an initiative to raise awareness sponsored by the Women Institute of Spain. As in its first edition, which sold more than 25,000 copies, sales revenues will go to associations that assist victims of violence in the European nation.


The San Francisco World Music Festival 2003

SFWMFSan Francisco, USA – ­ The annual San Francisco World Music Festival  has officially announced the program for the 2003 edition of the festival. Coming to the San Francisco Bay Area from the mountains of Altay, the forests of Kamchatka, and the steppes of Tuva, some of the world’s most indigenous throat singers, folk dancers and musicians, and shaman spiritual elders of Central Asia and Siberia will unveil centuries-old folk rituals this September 12 & 14.  Additionally, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India’s most celebrated santur instrumentalist and vocalist, his gifted son Rahul Sharma and the acclaimed tabla player Ustaad Shafaat Ahmed Khan will perform the timeless music of North India on September 13.

These concerts are a sampling of Door Dog Music Productions 4th annual San Francisco World Music Festival, running September 4-18, 2003 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Dance Center, featuring artists from Afghanistan, Altay, China, Eastern Europe, India, Kamchatka, Lebanon, Russia, and Tuva. ”By bringing
together acclaimed international and local world music artists for 2 weeks of dynamic concerts, master classes, documentary film screenings and youth showcases, our festival facilitates human understanding through artistic vulnerability among the world¹s cultures
,” states Executive Director &
Producer Michael Santoro.

New to this year¹s festival is a specially commissioned orchestral work with libretto by the internationally acclaimed Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife, set to premiere September 11 as an international music experiment and artistic statement for global peace.  This centerpiece will be performed by a select orchestra of locally based world music masters, including KITKA, an all women
Eastern European vocal ensemble, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra as directed by Benjamin Simon, Chinese erhu virtuoso Zhang Xiao Feng, Chinese master percussionist Hai Pu, and a leading female Lebanese vocalist Omayma Al Khalil, and includes visual and lighting design by Matthew Antaky.  Co-produced with the San Francisco International Arts Festival, this opening concert will promote San
Francisco as a world center for arts and culture.

This concert is a metaphor for cultural understanding and communication,” notes Santoro. “All of the different compositional components – Western classical music, Chinese traditional music, Arabic music, Eastern European music, and all of the respective cultures uniting — is not an easy task and through this process, new territories will be explored, providing insight and enrichment.”  says Program Director Kutay Derin Kugay, “The San Francisco World Music Festival is going beyond traditional music with this commissioned composition by Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife.  And with over 200 strings of the Santur masters, father and son Shivkumars, the festival sets a new standard for world music presentation.”

Kicking off the festival this year on September 4th is a North Indian Master Class by the distinguished Vijay Kichlu.  Another highlight is the first annual Youth World Music Showcase on September 6, featuring elementary and high school students of world music masters in the San Francisco Bay Area — from Alice Fong Yu Chinese Orchestra & Percussion and Fremont Deaf Choir to the India Tabla Quartet and Korean Youth Orchestra.  “It¹s important to provide not only role models but opportunities for children in the Bay Area to experience world music,” explains Santoro, “to give them inspiration to pick up an instrument and learn about another culture¹s music.”  On September 18, Chinese Peking Opera artists Chen Tsai-Yen, Sun Ji-Hai, Guan Yi, and Zhang Ying-Chao
will hold a live lecture demonstration of scenes from “Farewell My Concubine

Comments Deborah Clearwaters, Manager of Public Programs at the Asian Art Museum, who has worked with Door Dog Music Productions to present a World Music Concert Series at the museum since March 2003, “The Asian Art Museum is proud to be part of the 2003 World Music Festival.  Many artifacts in our museum bear direct connections to musical traditions.  Presenting living masters of Asian music to San Francisco audiences helps build a better understanding of the diversity and richness of Asian culture.”

In addition to music there will be live radio performances, master classes at San Francisco State
University, San Francisco Dance Center and the Asian Art Museum, and a documentary film screening at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening Room.

Founded in 2000 by Executive Director Michael Santoro and Program Director Kutay Derin Kugay, the San Francisco World Music Festival  uniquely showcases the musical diversity from the Bay Area and around the globe by presenting high quality world music performances by master artists both locally and overseas, and from traditional to contemporary explorations.  

Tickets: Yerba Buena Box Office, Phone: +1 415-978-2787.


The Hidden Gate – Jewish Music Around the World

The Hidden Gate - Jewish Music Around the World
Boston, USA – The Hidden Gate – Jewish Music Around the World on Rounder Records was released this week.

From Biblical beginnings, Jewish culture and music are found in over 100 countries spanning six continents. While sharing a strong common history, each geographical region has developed its own distinct identity.

The Hidden Gate samples this vast musical heritage, featuring Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Judeo-Arabic songs from Israeli legends (Chava Alberstein, Ofra Haza) and captivating Sephardic singers (Savina Yannatou, Yasmin Levy) to the little heard music of African and Asian Jews, and the klezmer innovators of Eastern Europe and the New World (The Klezmatics, The Klezmer Conservatory Band).


La Ruta de los Foramontanos by Balbarda

Balbarda - La Ruta de los Foramontanos
Balbarda – La Ruta de los Foramontanos

La Ruta de los Foramontanos (self produced, 2002)

Madrid has become a hot spot for world music and contemporary folk bands. Balbarda is yet another group to add to the list. The band plays mainly instrumental music. Balbarda is proof of what good things can happen when you combine several musical traditions in the Spanish capital’s melting pot. Most of the fascinating melodies are based on Castillian folk music, with contemporary arragements. But there are also thrilling Celtic influences, flamenco rhythms and jazz elements.Four musicians, including three multi-instrumentalists form the band: Xurxo Ordóñez plays various types of Spanish bagpipes and flutes. Jota Martínez is an outstanding hurdy-gurdy player who also plays sings and plays percussion. Javier Monteagudo plays guitars, ud, and percussion. Ana Alcaide plays fiddle.

Since this is a truly independent release, the best way to find out how to purchase a copy of the album is to contact the bandat their Web site:


Vivid by Najma

Najma - Vivid
Najma – Vivid


Vivid (Mondo Melodia 1868500752, 2003)

It’s been a while since I heard anything by Najma and I have to say that it was worth the wait. Her new album, Vivid, is one of the finest I’ve heard recently in the South Asian hybrid genre. Najma continues in the direction of fusing music from the Indian subcontinent with Western music. In this case, her dreamlike voice is accompanied by Indian percussion and stringed instruments as well as electronica.

Najma’s vocal stylings are surrounded by ambient electronic sounds and trip-hop electronic beats. It’s a truly captivating hypnotic album where acoustic music and electronics are brilliantly combined. Najma has crossed boundaries and worked with artists that others only dream of. She has performed with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and has recorded for their MTV Unplugged and No Quarter albums. She also contributed to Jah Wobble’s “Take Me To God” album (from which the song ‘Raga’ was featured in Robert Altman’s film “Pret a Porter”), and has collaborated with Andy Summers (The Police), Carol Grimes and Martin Allcock (Fairport Convention).

Najma is also in heavy demand as an actress and composer. In 2002, she wrote, composed and recorded 13 songs for a new full-length feature film entitled Bollywood Queen.


The Parap of Sarawak

Parap is a folklore song sung mainly among the Kayan-Kenyah tribes of Sarawak (Malaysia). It is a song relating expressions of love, happiness, loneliness and anger. It also praises the beauty of nature and all living things.

In olden days, parap is normally sung as a means to praise, to apologize or as encouragement to a person in which the parap is dedicated to. That is why parap has a significant role in the Kayan Kenyah culture. However, nowadays it is mainly sung for merry-making and festivities, especially in weddings, where it is a means to advise the newlywed couple of life ahead. And, to add colors to the festivity mood, rice wine is served at the ending of the rituals.There are no instruments used in this social means of merry making. It is in the form of pantun or poems, which are mostly improvised and intended as a means of a message or a narration. The lead singer in a parap could be either man or woman whereas the backup singers could be a mixture of both.

The duration of a parap can vary from few minutes to few hours depending on the lead singer. In order for the parap to be more ‘colourful’ and prolong, the backup singers will have to cheer up the lead singer in between.

The beginning and the ending of a parap are always done with a ‘lalu’, which could give a ‘key’ or a ‘code’ for the lead singer.

The Kayan and the Kenyah live in the upper rivers of Sarawak. A group of them from Belaga, Belaga Asap Group, are among those in Sarawak who are still culturally strong in practicing the parap which is as traditional and authentic as it was during the time of their ancestors.


Book on History of Rock Music in Cuba Soon at Local Book Stores

John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friends
John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friends
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – The book John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friends, by Cuban writer and music investigator Ernesto Juan Castellanos, deals with the history of rock on the Island. According to Radio Rebelde, the volume collects interviews with personalities of Cuban culture, among them singer and songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, writer Miguel Barnet, musicians Juan Formell and Leo Brouwer, as well as the Vicar General of Havana, Monsignor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

Castellanos, who studies the work of the famous quartet of Liverpool, has three other books: Los Beatles en Cuba (1998) [The Beatles in Cuba], El sargento Pimienta vino a Cuba en un submarino amarillo (2000) [Sergeant Pepper came to Cuba in his Yellow Submarine] and La guerra se acaba si tú quieres (2001) [The War Ends if You Wish].


Salsa Around the World

Various Artists - Salsa Around the World
Various Artists – Salsa Around the World
New York, USA- The latest Putumayo compilation is Salsa Around the World. It is a unique collection of salsa tracks from unexpected places. The intoxicating rhythms and joyful melodies of Spanish American salsa have traveled the globe, earning new followers and influencing artists from Haiti to Helsinki. Over the years, Latin music has become part of the fabric of mainstream music, its influences turning up in jazz, rock and pop. As this collection demonstrates, it has infiltrated the world’s music as well. On Salsa Around the World one can hear salsa-influenced music sung in Greek, Arabic, Hindi, Papiamento, Wolof, Douala, and Haitian Creole. Typical Cuban instruments such as congas, bongos and timbales are played alongside pennywhistles and panpipes.


4th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval

Baltimore, Maryland, USA – The 4th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval will be held October 26-30, 2003, in Baltimore, Maryland (USA).

Registration for ISMIR 2003 is now available online through the ISMIR 2003 web site (see above). Other conference information is also available from this site, which will be updated periodically.
(Accomodation information to be available shortly from the same site.) The majority of sessions will take place in Baltimore, with someevents held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Register
early and take advantage of the discounted early registration fees.

The annual ISMIR Conference is the first established international forum for those involved in work on accessing digital musical materials. It reflects the tremendous growth of music-related data
available either locally or remotely through networks and the consequent need to search this content and retrieve music and musical information efficiently and effectively.