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 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.

Biographical Film on Polo Montáñez Planned

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Pinar del Río, Cuba – “Desde Abajo” (From Below) will be the title of the biographical documentary on the late Cuban country music singer Polo Montáñez and the physical resemblance of the possible star of the film astonishes local residents. Cándido Peñate Peñate, from the western province of Matanzas, a driver in the tourist resort of Varadero, is so far the person proposed because of his extraordinary resemblance to the songwriter who died in a car accident in November 2002. “I met Polo during a concert in my territory, when he saw me. He had me go up on the stage and made some jokes and we ended up as good friends, both sons of farmers, with a great love for the typical Cuban things,” Peñate said. He is an amateur poet but lacks experience as an actor, something that does not limit him because screen writer José Moreno Alfonso wants a very natural product, with a mainly inexperienced cast. Moreno, a TV actor, said this is the best tribute to Polo, someone who had a short but successful professional career and took fame with absolute modesty.


Sur Caribe Attracts Young Cuban Audiences

Sur Caribe - Sur Caribe....Con To
Sur Caribe – Sur Caribe….Con To
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – The Havana Music House (Casa de la Musica) was once again a full house. This time, the attraction was Sur Caribe, which brought a young audience that seemed to have no limits for dancing, and followers of this Cuban musical group which became the top seller of the EGREM recording company in the year 2000. Previously its popularity was limited to the eastern part of the Island.

Sur Caribe is an important part of the rebirth of a phenomenon: to see young people dance Cuban music in couples. Their latest CD titled Sur Caribe….Con To has introduced a variant of Cuban “son” combined with the conga from Santiago de Cuba.

Its director Ricardo Leyva Caballero, also composer and arranger, joined his destiny to this group in 1987. “It has been a long and difficult process, but it’s not our first recording. However, it is the first that has had national promotion. For the rest of the country, it’s been a discovery. The first printing was sold out, and they had to make a re-edition,” said Leyva, who plays the piano and is graduated from the Cuban arts schools, like the rest of the band members, and does not forget who influenced him. “Juan Formell, because of his arrangements, was the one who motivated me most. I also feel motivated by Felix B. Caignet, who I followed as a composer, the magic of troubadour music, and its lyrics; that is why there are no vulgar lyrics in our songs. And I think that’s where everything comes from.”


Tribute to Outstanding Cuban Percussionists

(Prena Latina -Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Students from different music schools paid tribute to Cuban percussionists Tata Güines (Aristides Soto), Jose Luis Quintana (Changuito), Enrique Pla, Justo Pelladito, Enrique Lazaga and composer Harold Gramatges.

The activity was celebrated this week at the Felix Varela Professional Training School in Havana, marking the end of the school year and the delivering of awards for a percussion contest dedicated to the memory of deceased musician Fausto Garcia. Professor Miriam Villa Correa highlighted the history of these outstanding artists who brought prestige to their country by winning Grammy awards and above all for teaching students of this school.

Villa referred to the role of the art schools in Cuba and recalled that current Cuban stars such as Heidi Igualada, orchestra director Yanela Brook, singer Alexis Morejon from Moncada, and Javier Olmos from the Aragon Orchestra, were students of the Felix Varela School. Tata Güines, Enrique Lazaga, Enrique Pla and Changuito won Grammies; in the case of Harold Gramatges, he was given the first Tomas Ruiz de Victoria Award established by the Musical Writers Association (SGAE) which equals a musical Nobel Prize. Fausto Garcia was a musician who worked with Adolfo Guzman, Armando Romeu and the Tropicana Orchestras.


New Book with Paco de Lucía Sheet Music

Libro de Partituras: La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía. Libro 1 (Sheet music Book: The Fabulous Guitar of Paco de Lucía)
Libro de Partituras: La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía. Libro 1 (Sheet music Book: The Fabulous Guitar of Paco de Lucía)
Book and CD publisher Ventilador Music has published this month a book with sheet music by legendary Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. Titled Libro de Partituras: La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía. Libro 1 (Sheet music Book: The Fabulous Guitar of Paco de Lucía), the book includes a prologue by Jorge Berges, who transcribed the compositions, and contains the music included in the album La Fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucia.

The book is 34 pages long and was revised personally by Paco de Lucía.

Tracks: Barrio la Viña, De Madrugá, Farruca de Lucía, Ímpetu, Jerezana, Llanto a Cádiz , Punta del Faro, Punta Umbría.


Festival Ethnoambient Salona 2003, Croatia

Croatia – The annual Festival Ethnoambient Salona 2003 will take place in Salona (Croatia), August 1-3, 2003.

The following artists are scheduled this year: Lo Cor de la Plana (France), Zoe (Italy), Lot Lorien (Bulgaria), Companyia Electrica Dharma (Catalonia – Spain), Mojmir Novakovic i Kries (Croatia) and Klapa Solin, which specializes in Mediterranean “klapa” singing.Since 1998 this festival welcomed artists from Israel, Italy, Mongolia, Canada (Aboriginal Canadians), England, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Catalonia, (Spain) Ireland, Pakistan, Hungary, Australia (Australian Aboriginals), Iran, and Croatia.

This open air festival is held at the magical ancient Roman archaeological site of Salona which is situated in Solin, near Split at the Adriatic Coast.

The main idea of festival Ethnoambient, the oldest world music festival in the area, is to promote different cultures, tolerance and understanding for cultural diversity, tradition, nature.

Music is the main focus, but visitors also get a chance to explore the fair of organic/eco farming, traditional crafts and souvenirs and also to enjoy the natural beauty of the area – the rivers, the mountains, the Adriatic sea and beautiful Mediterranean atmosphere.

More info: Web site:


Friday, 01.08.2003.
17:00 Gospin otok, Solin

Review of Dalmatian folklore
Fair of organic farming
Fair of traditional crafts

20:30 Gradina, Solin

Klapa Solin, Croatia
Lo Cor de la Plana, France
Zoe, Italy

Saturday, 02.08.2003.
17:00 Gospin otok, Solin
Fair of organic farming
Fair of traditional crafts


20:30 Gradina, Solin

Lot Lorien, Bulgaria
Companyia Electrica Dharma, Catalonia-Spain
Mojmir Novaković i Kries, Croatia
Drumming session – party

Sunday, 03.08.2003

08:00-13:00 Gospin otok, Solin
Fair of organic farming
Fair of traditional crafts


Harbourfront Centre and CBC Radio/Radio-Canada Collaborate on Concerts Throughout the Summer

Njacko Backo
Njacko Backo
Toronto, Canada – Harbourfront Centre and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio/Radio-Canada begin an extensive summer collaboration involving Canadian and international music artists. This partnership will highlight to audiences in Toronto and nationally the unique free admission concert events being offered during Harbourfront Centre Summer Festivals.

Concert events and broadcasts include the first CBC Radio One Roots Worldwide festival (June 14), the Franco-Fête 2003 Saint Jean-Baptiste Day concert (June 24), national broadcasts on both the English and French Radio networks during the Francophonix festival (July 25-27) and a weekly CBC Radio One 99.1 Toronto Here & Now live band performance preview for Harbourfront Centre Summer Festivals beginning June 20, 2003. Full concert schedule below.

On Saturday June 14, CBC Radio One presents the premiere Roots Worldwide festival. Featuring a diverse range of internationally acclaimed World music talent from Toronto and Ottawa, portions of the concerts will be aired nationally on CBC Radio One’s Here & Now on Canada Day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST. CBC Radio One hosts Jowi Taylor (Global Village), Bill Stunt (Bandwidth) and Avril Benoit (Here & Now) will host the concerts. The concerts will also be heard on upcoming broadcasts of CBC Radio One’s Bandwidth, Global Village and Definitely Not The Opera.

Featured performers include award winning Toronto Trinidadian soca/calypso artist David Rudder; Ottawa-based Rwandan Roots performer Mighty Popo; acclaimed Toronto Cuban salsa act Alberto Alberto y Quimica Perfecta as well as Toronto’s The Sounds of Wave, who perform Brazilian samba and bossa nova. Other Roots Worldwide acts (not recorded for broadcast) include Toronto’s Nubah – which features Radio Nomad band leader Waleed Abdulhamid providing funky Sudanese rhythms in a nine person Hip-hop fusion project and the quintet version of the David Buchbinder Ensemble (on Sunday June 15). David Buchbinder, first as a member of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and in his current group, fuse Jazz with flourishes of klezmer, classical and John Zorn.

On Tuesday June 24, Harbourfront Centre becomes the centre of Toronto’s Saint Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations with the welcome return of Franco-Fête. This free concert (from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.) features one of Quebec’s top music talents as well as Francophone artists from Ottawa and
Toronto. Franco-Fête 2003 is produced by a number of leading French arts organizations as well as Société Radio-Canada.

Featured music performances include the first Toronto appearance from Quebec music icon Daniel Bélanger. This year’s Juno Award winner for Best Francophone Album (for Rêver Mieux) has sold more than 500,000 albums since 1989. His folk-inflected Pop/Rock releases are sophisticated and mature, both rhythmically and lyrically, while his latest album is a more introspective offering embracing electronica and the warm sounds of 60’s style love songs.

Franco-Fête 2003 also features Franco-Ontarian singer-songwriter Véronic DiCaire, whose Pop songs combine country and Rock sensibilities. Her first self titled album won numerous awards while her international profile has increased with the announcement of her winning the lead role of Roxie Hart in the French version of the musical Chicago. Toronto artist Njacko Backo rounds out the Franco-Fête 2003 festivities with a West African flavor. This Cameroon born percussionist and storyteller has performed throughout North America, Europe and Africa as a solo act and with his group Kalimba.

Highlights from Harbourfront Centre’s Francophonix festival (July 25-27) will be heard nationally from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST during a live bilingual broadcast on both CBC Radio One and Radio-Canada‘s La Chain Culturelle networks. Jowi Taylor of Global Village (CBC Radio One) and Andre Rheaume (Radio-Canada’s La Chaine Culturelle) will
co-host. There will also be an interactive web component on The first Francophonix festival explores French influences in North American, Arabic, African and Caribbean cultures.

Francophonix presents first Toronto appearances by genre-bending Algerian singer-songwriter and guitarist Souad Massi as well as by Congolese vocalist/guitarist So Kalmery and American performers Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys.

Canadian acts include Montreal outfit Dobacaracol and Slim & Donne (featuring Madagascar Slim). More Francophonix festival events and concerts to be announced in June.

Beginning Friday June 20, CBC Radio One‘s Here & Now program will have free weekly live performances and interviews as a preview to the weekend’s Harbourfront Centre Summer Festival. All performances run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Lakeside Eats. Confirmed performers include Toronto acts Wade O. Brown, The Brothers Cosmoline, Jack de
, Swamperella, Moses Revolution, Lal and Montreal’s Dobacaracol in addition to Edmonton group Bomba.

For information on all of the Harbourfront Centre Summer Festivals the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit online at Harbourfront Centre Summer Festivals take place at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All events are free admission. Full concert schedule below.

For CBC Radio information, check and for Radio-Canada check

Concert Announcements:

CBC Radio One Roots Worldwide: June 14 and June 15
June 14 – David Rudder (2 p.m.), Mighty Popo (3:30 p.m.) – CIBC
June 14 – The Sounds of Wave (8 p.m.), Alberto Alberto y Quimica
(9:30 p.m.) – CIBC Stage
June 14 – Nubah (11 p.m.) – Brigantine Room
June 15 – David Buchbinder Ensemble (2 p.m.) – Ann Tindal Stage

Franco-Fête: June 24
Daniel Bélanger, Véronic DiCaire, Njacko Backo (7:30 p.m.
to 11 p.m.) – CIBC Stage

Francophonix: July 25 through July 27
July 25 – Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys (8 p.m.), Slim & Donne
(9 p.m.) – CIBC Stage
July 25 – So Kalmery (9:30 p.m.) -CIBC Stage
July 25 – Late Night NOW presents Dobacaracol (11 p.m.) – Brigantine Room

July 26 – Mamadou Diabate (2 p.m.) – CIBC Stage
July 26 – Blou (3:30 p.m.), Tao Ravao & Tany manga (8 p.m.) – CIBC
July 26 – Souad Massi (9:30 p.m.) – CIBC Stage
July 27 – Allakomi (2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) – CIBC Stage

CBC Radio One’s Here & Now at Lakeside Eats:
Live performances Friday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
June 20 – Wade O. Brown – Sol Soulstice
June 27 – The Brothers Cosmoline – Anthems & Icons
July 4 – Jack de Keyzer – Labatt Blues Festival
July 11 – Swamperella – World’s Fare: The Americas Now
July 18 – Bomba – World’s Fare: The Americas Now
July 25 – Dobacaracol – Francophonix
August 1 – Moses Revolution – Guinness Island Soul
August 8 – Lal – Masala! Mehndi! Masti!


New World Music Venue in New York

New York, USA – Cafe Charbon is New York City’s latest world music venue. Located at 168 Orchard Street, corner of Stanton, Cafe Charbon will have live music five nights a week very soon. The programming this month includes Brazilian music, Deep House Tribal, live trance grooves, Afropop, Gypsy jazz, and much more.

June Program:

Brazilian Tuesdays – June 10th and 17th – Just back from Rio De Janeiro, The Barbara Mendes Band Wednesday June 11th – Deep House, Tribal with DJ Aasia

Thursday June 12th – Live Trance-Groove Beats with DD and Sabena

Every Friday and Saturday – the house DJ spins the best of 70’s and 80’s

Sunday June 15th – Live Jazz – Group to be announced

Monday June 16th – Live Afro-Pop with Kaissa

Tuesday June 17th – Barbara Mendes Band

Wednesday June 18th – French Gypsy-mix “Django” with Stephane

Musiuc starts at 10pm. No cover charge, 2 drink minimum. Reservations: 212-420-7520.


Masters of Turkish Music

Haydar Haydar: Masters of Turkish Music, Volume 3
Haydar Haydar: Masters of Turkish Music, Volume 3
Boston, USA – Rounder Records released today a collection of Turkish music. Haydar Haydar: Masters of Turkish Music, Volume 3 (Rounder 1140-2) features artists like Tanburi Cemil Bey, Refik Bey and Münir Nurettin Selçuk inspire the same passions in Turkey that King Oliver, Dock Boggs and Charley Patton
do in the United States.

These vintage recordings of Turkish music by a number of great Turkish musicians span the first fifty years of the 20th century, from 1906 to 1953. Since the early recorded repertoire includes Ottoman court, folk, and popular music, Rounder presents all three on this CD.

Produced by Münir Nurettin Beken, Dick Spottswood, and Karl Signell.


Nightclub in the Jungle

London, England – Martin Cradick of Baka Beyond is back from Africa where he and the Baka built a Music House which will function as a night club where the Baka can generate some revenue for their music.

On Martin Cradick’s trip to the Baka at the end of 2002 a mongolu music house was built, but he promised to return to help them build a larger music house in the village near the road. In February 2003 Martin arrived at Lupe with expert timber-framer Andi Main. They both showed up at the same time as the elephants arrived in the area. The Baka had to decide whether to follow the elephants that they had been waiting for, or to follow Martin and Andi to start work on the music house. They decided to go for the house.This is an account from the band’s diary:

The chief of Banana (the name of the village on the roadside that the Baka of this area are affiliated with) had allocated an area of land that could be used to build the music house. It had previously been used by some of the Baka as a plantation, but was now very overgrown. Looking at it we wondered if we were completely crazy to expect to be able to build the music house in four weeks.

After the first day’s work we realised how quickly the Baka could work. Very soon a large area of what had appeared to be inpenetrable undergrowth had been cleared. After the second day they started building a new village on site.

By the end of the first weeks work (actually only 4 mornings work – we started on a Wednesday and by midday it was getting too hot to work) the site of the building had been cleared and leveled and the foundations laid.

We obtained permission to cut down a single Sapeli tree that would provide sufficient wood for the structure of the building. This was then expertly cut up into beams and planks by Theo, who lived in Kika, a logging town about 80km away.

Andi taught both Baka and Bantu how to make tenon and mortice joints which they did using tools donated by the charity “Tools for Self Reliance”. By the end of the second week the first pillars were erected.

By the end of the third week the basic structure of the house was finished, all that was needed was a roof. The entire structure had been built from just the one tree! It was decided to cover it with corrugated aluminium with the traditional rafia palm material underneath that. This would give it the lasting quality of the metal roof with the coolness and ambiance of the traditional roof. In order to attach a metal roof we needed some more lengths of wood which we bought in nearby Moloundu, rather than cutting another tree.

Almost as soon as the roof was on it was tested by the very heavy rain that is normal in this region. As soon as there was a semblance of a building the space was tested by a succession of parties and performances. Even with no electricity it proved to be an inspiring space for music, dance and generally a good time.

To improve the sound as well as the ambience of the space traditional rafia roofing was placed inside the roof. We used planks made from the higher branches of the tree behind the stage. The mats behind are made from the stems of the ngongo plants, the leaves of which are used to roof the traditional mongolu houses that the women build. This photo was taken to send to “Strings and Things” who kindly donated a load of guitar strings for us to take to the Baka guitarists.

The basic construction of the house is now finished but there is more work to be done inside. The design is such that performances can take place on a stage with a dance floor in front of that and a raised platform at the back creating an amphitheatre feeling. Equally the performance can take place in the middle with seating all round. This would be more suitable for traditional dance performances. We are planning to return at the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004 to complete the internal furniture and have an opening to which local and national dignitaries will be invited.

The music house has already been used to entertain local people and as a meeting house for the newly formed Baka association, “Gbine”. It provides a link for the Baka between their forest lifestyle, which is still strong, and there life interacting with the townsfolk of Moloundu and surrounding regions where development is creating more links to the modern world. Their music and dance is developed in the forest and the music house provides a place for them to present this to the outside world and to increase their standing in the eyes of the village and town population who often dismiss them because of their “primitive” lifestyle.


Sones Jarochos from Veracruz

La Bamba - Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz

Washington, DC, USA – Smithsonian Folkways has released a new album of sones jarochos from the Mexican state of Veracruz, La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz (Smithsonian Folkways 40505, 2003).

Jarocho describes both the people and culture of the southern coastal plain of Veracruz, home for more than two centuries to one of Mexico’s most exciting musical traditions, the son jarocho. Although son jarocho is lesser known abroad than other Mexican styles such as corridos, cumbias and rancheras; songs such as “La Bamba,” “Cascabel,” and “Siquisirí” occupy a major spot in Mexico’s musical folklore.

José Gutiérrez, Felipe Ochoa, and Marcos Ochoa, raised on the tropical ranchos of Veracruz’s interior, are three of the most accomplished ambassadors of the modern-day son jarocho tradition. They play complex, hard-driving rhythms on the Veracruz harp and on the guitars called jarana and requinto, and sing high-pitched vocal melodies brimming with wit and regional pride. They have toured Europe, the United States, Central America, and Mexico, while in Veracruz they continue to enliven weddings, baptisms, public events, and celebrations of all kinds.

Buy La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz.