Marseilles, France – Hundreds of world music professionals will meet this week at Strictly Mundial, the second largest world music conference. From February 26th through March 1st there were will be dozens of showcases, a trade show, conferences and other events. If you plan to attend, visit World Music Central’s world music guide to Marseilles: World Music in Marseilles.
San Francisco, USA – The Rough Guide to the Music of the Balkans spans the complete range of Balkan folk. This new addition to the Rough Guide CD collection rounds up some of the best sounds from Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Balkan countries constitute a region of striking contradictions. While political borders have been changing regularly in recent years, Balkan music endures, even thrives, defying political, religious, linguistic and ethnic confines. The region is bound together with some of the most dynamic folk music in the world – as the Turkish brass sound and a series of Muslim influences have swept northward and westward, Western vocal harmonies, waltzes, polkas, bagpipe and accordion have flowed in the opposite direction.
Los Angeles, USA – Iraqi singer Kazem Al Sahir will be touring the United States accompanied by a stunning 15-piece Middle Eastern orchestra. The tour commences February 28th, 2003.
A cultural icon throughout the Arabic-speaking world, Iraq’s most popular living singer, Kazem Al-Sahir, embarks on an historic performance tour this winter. As the United States hovers on the brink of war with his country, Al-Sahir will visit major American cities in order to present a positive view of life and culture in his troubled region of the world, a view imbued with elegance, sophistication, celebration, and hope. Al-Sahir’s gesture transcends politics, but it is not naive. He believes that there is no more important thing he can do at this perilous moment than extend a genuine hand of friendship from one Iraqi to all Americans.
Kazem Al-Sahir says, “For me, composing music and performing for old and new audiences has always been and still is the most enriching experience of my life. I hope my music, and these performances with this notable group of some of the most talent Arab American musicians from all around the United States communicates a little bit of understanding and friendship with their fellow neighbors in these very difficult times.”
Thessaloniki, Greece – On Saturday February the 15th 2003 the Eastern Music Ensemble of the National Lebanese Conservatory and the Takht Ensemble of the Institute of Arab Music of Cairo will perform in a unique concert at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, presenting an imaginary journey to two important musical destinations: Egypt and Lebanon, the countries that gave birth to the two greatest voices of the Arab world, Um Kalthum and Fairuz. The concert, which is a coproduction of the Cultural Organization “En Chordais” and “Thessalonikis’ Concert Hall, focuses on works of the classical Arabic musical traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries, whilst also bringing to the surface the affinities that exist with Byzantine ecclesiastical music.
The members of both ensembles are virtuoso musicians and singers and important representatives of the Arabic school, performing mainly on the ud, the qanun, the violin, the darbuka and the ney. Ghada Shbeir (voice), Imane Homsy (qanun), Simir Siblini (nay) have already performed at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall in October 2002 with En Chordais, and Charbel Rouhana (ud) performed at the International Oud Meeting in November 2002, also in Thessaloniki.
The concert is a part of the MediMuses project that is being realized by En Chordais with financing of the Euromed Heritage II program of the European Union. It has also received the financial support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.
Kentfield, USA – World Music Network has released The Rough Guide To Highlife (World Music Network RGNET1102CD). Highlife music conjures up images of African nightclubs, shiny dance floors, champagne, fine clothes and the spirit of hope and expectation that marked the end of the colonial era.
The heyday of highlife was in the 1960s and 1970s, and the name describes and defines the popular guitar-led dance music of West Africa, primarily from Ghana and Nigeria. The Rough Guide To Highlife surveys this vibrant scene, featuring classic tracks of the era and the biggest artists within the genre.
London, England – ARC Music has put together a compilation of international love songs for Valentine’s Day. Love Songs Of The World (ARC EUCD1699) features Márta Sebestyén (Hungary), Valentina Ponomareva (Russia), Dolores Keane (Ireland), Esma Redzepova (Macedonia), Galina Durmushliyska (Bulgaria), etc.
Feelings of love and longing expressed in many different languages and in different rhythms accompanied with varied authentic and modern instruments. This collection includes songs from Bulgaria, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, Scotland, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt and Israel.
San Francisco, USA – “Tremendo Vacilon” is the title of a new film dedicated to the eclectic panorama of music and dance in Cuba today. The film, produced by Boogalu Productions, consists of 18 intimate performance events, some formal and others spontaneous, that display the range of Cuban genres including: Son – Changüí – Orisha music and dance – Rumba – Caberet – Jazz Cubano – Casino – Carnaval Comparsa – and many more
On the www.boogalu.com/generic103.html website are pictures, video clips, mp3 audio, and commentary on the film.
Asmar (MagdaMGD039, 2002)
Yair Dalal is one of the top instrumentalists in Israel. He is a master of the ud and violin. On Asmar he performs his own modern compositions, as well as pieces by other composers and one Iraqi folk song. Dalal’s music is inspired by Iraqi and Persian classical and folk music. He is accompanied by an all-acoustic ensemble of singers and musicians that play Arabic and Indian percussion, ud, viola and accordion.
Buy the recording:
(Prensa Latina) Havana, Cuba- Today there are more than a thousand rap groups in Cuba, 200 out of which are in the capital. Hermanos Saiz Association National President, Alpidio Alonso Diaz, commented that the music genre, which started 10 years ago in the world’s great cities, has rapidly established itself in Cuba and continues to draw new followers, mainly among the youth. Diaz noted that an International Rap Festival takes place each year and in the last edition 64 bands from different provinces and a dozen foreign groups participated. He added that a rap promotion agency was created and a rap recording label is being planned, along with a magazine called “Movement.” Another project will be the promotion of festivals in the western and eastern regions of Cuba.