All posts by World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central

Joe’s Pub in New York City Reveals Upcoming World Music Concerts

New York City venue Joe’s Pub will be presenting a diverse set of world music and jazz in the next weeks.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Highlights include: Nnenna Ogwo & Sterling Strings’ annual Juneteenth Celebration (June 19); Jorge Glem & César Orozco’s album release party for their newest album, Stringwise (June 21); Afro-Cuban jazz from Dayramir González (June 22); traditional Italian music from Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (June 23); Eastern European folk with Barbez, as well as a solo piano improvisation from opener Ka Baird (June 23); genre-hopping music from legendary Russian artist Leonid Fedorov (June 29).

July concerts include Canada Day at Joe’s Pub, a 17-year tradition of rocking out the Great Canadian Songbook, emceed by Jeff Breithaupt (July 1); Afro-fusion from Ghanaian drummer Paa Kow (July 2); percussive ensemble Yemen Blues (July 3); Calypso legend Mighty Sparrow (July 6); Elba Ramalho, Latin Grammy-winner and master of Brazilian rhythms (July 10); South Korean jazz veteran Woong San (July 20); and Floxy Bee, the Queen of Nigerian Hikosso music (July 25).

More at publictheater.org.

headline photo: Barbez

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New Orleans Music Legend Dr. John Dies at 77

Dr. John

Influential New Orleans pianist and singer-songwriter Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, died June 6, 2019 of a heart attack.

“Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.—known to most as Dr. John—was a radiant singer, songwriter, and pianist whose career in music made him a New Orleans icon and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “He earned 15 GRAMMY nominations and six GRAMMY Awards throughout his celebrated career, including Best Blues Album for his critically acclaimed 2012 album, Locked Down. His funky approach to blending musical styles and imaginative persona helped diversify the New Orleans Sound, which was on full display during an energetic performance with the Black Keys at the 55th GRAMMY Awards. This is a great loss for our industry and Dr. John will be deeply missed.”

For more information, read Dr. John’s Artist Profile.

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World Music Recreation of John Denver’s American Folk classic ‘Country Road’

Greece-based multi-Instrumentalist, philanthropist and producer Johno is set to release has a new music video, a distinctive and stimulating cover of the song “Country Roads”, originally by John Denver. It appears on his new album The Road Not Taken.

Johno, draws on his many musical inspirations and travels. He takes this version to a new level of song and dance that still incorporates elements of folk and country music from the original, while staying true to a variety of other ethnic styles Johno is known for.

Johno

The new version includes delicate string parts and a constant wall of drums that gives listeners a dancing upbeat rhythm throughout. In doing so, Johno turns the original American ballad into a current one that is more worldly.

The video itself is a collaboration that Johno had with director and animator Kleo Korai.  They set out to make a substantial collage of visuals from the Johno’s travels over the last two years. As Johno explains, “I also always knew that the video for this one needs to reflect the wonderful road I’ve been through in the past years, with my musical backpack, and this John Denver classic in it.” 

Buy the album The Road Not Taken.

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Arabesques Festival Announces 2019 Lineup

French event Arabesques Festival will take place September 10 to 22, 2019.  For this 14th edition, Arabesques will showcase many artists from the Arab world who incorporate their African roots and transform them: Aziz Sahmaoui, Oum, Alchimix, Imed Alibi and Gnawa Diffusion.

New collaborations reflect the creative vitality of the African continent, like the 3MA project bringing together the leading artists of Morocco, Mali and Madagascar: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss el Maloumi and Rajery.

Jordi Savall & Waed Bouhassoun

There will be an opportunity to break boundaries as with the creation of Soundjata (Sundiata Keita), a recovery of the Manding epic by storyteller Jihad Darwiche and Malian kora player Tom Diakite.

Additional shows include: The Whirling Dervishes of Damascus and the Al-Kindi Ensemble; Jordi Savall & Waed Bouhassoun, with the Orpheus XXI project; well-known world music acts: Marcel & Rami Khalife featuring Aymeric Westrich, Takfarinas, DuOud …

The festival will present a circus performance of the Acrobatic Group of Tangier with Halka.

The new Arab scene will be featured: Alchimix, Imed Alibi, Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda, Le Lanceur de dés Walid Ben Selim, and Faraj Suleiman Trio as well as the Count of Bouderbala’s One Man Show.

More at www.festivalarabesques.fr

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Timbales Maestro Ramon Banda Dies

Ramon Banda

American drummer and Latin Jazz timbalero Ramon Banda died May 30, 2019.

Ramon Banda was born and grew up in Norwalk, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. He was a well-known timbales master and jazz drummer.  He and his brother, bassist Tony Banda, started out playing as teens with conga maestro Poncho Sanchez. 

Ramon performed, recorded and toured with Poncho Sanchez for many years.  He later joined Jose Rizo’s Band Mongorama, a tribute to Mongo Santamaria. He also performed with Joey DeFranceso and Bill Cunliffe. Ramon participated in over 250 recordings, including several Grammy winning albums.

Ramon Banda

Ramon was also a chekere maker.

“Ramon Banda was a legendary timbalero,” says percussionist and band leader Les Moncada. “I was performing with my Latin Jazz Orchestra and as guests, Ramon on my right, Poncho on timbales in front of us and myself, Les Moncada on timbales. All of us performing and soloing Tito Puente‘s composition ‘Ran Kan Kan’. I can only say competition-wise, Ramon went on timbales from 0 to 100 mph in a second, I was more than amazed.” 

Les continues: “He visited me at my home, with the guys, Tony, Poncho, Sal, Papo Rodriguez. My orchestra opened for Poncho on several occasions and Ramon, Poncho, Tony and Sal Carrachiolo, we would perform together.

Ramon and the guys would come as guests with my orchestra.  I did a clinic with Ramon, Poncho and Tony in San Diego, California many moons ago.  He and Poncho and the guys, including David Romero, would frequent my late conguero friend Raul Garcia’s house and stay up all night talking about Latin music

My son Marco and I would speak to Ramon about gourds and chekeres and I believe Ramon has some chekeres submitted to the Smithsonian Institute

He used to tune my timbales for me, when he was around and we would talk about how we both idolized timbalero Manny Oquendo

Ramon told me that the first time he met Manny Oquendo, he kissed his hands out of respect for Manny Oquendo and his timbales playing style

Ramon Banda will be missed dearly, a maestro for timbales students worldwide for generations to come. He was a young guy in Norwalk, California that had the drive to play drum set and timbales, went on to assist in winning Grammys and performed and recorded with the late Cal Tjader.” 

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Manu Chao and Calypso Rose Release Version of “Clandestino” Available for Free

Manu Chao and Calypso Rose have released an updated version of “Clandestino”, Chao’s cult song from 1998. “Clandestino” talks about illegal immigrants, dots at sea, ghosts in the city, lost and without papers. Calypso Rose now sings about the shipwrecked on the way to “the land in front don’t want me, the land behind me burns”. Calypso Rose says: “Everything I see on TV makes me want to cry. These things should not happen in the 21st century.

 An animated music video made by Wise Bird studio accompanies this new single. The vibrant video shows the need to “value everything that ‘the clandestine’ can contribute. It is not a simple shadow that society does not want to see.”

Manu Chao met Calypso Rose at the Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago in 2015. “He came to my hotel in sneakers, shorts and with a small old guitar,” says Rose. Manu captivated her and they spent hours playing and singing. “If Manu did not have a partner, I would be happy to be Mrs. Chao.”

Manu Chao and Calypso Rose

Both artists understood each other so well from the first moment that they decided to work together on “Far From Home“, Calypso Rose’s album released in 2016 on Because Music. This irresistible mix of traditional and modern calypso, soca, reggae tints and the characteristic guitar of Manu Chao, is the biggest international sales success in Rose’s 60-year career. Her subsequent album “So Calypso” (2018), also released by Because Music, has served to consolidate Calypso Rose’s international audience. As proof of this, at 78, Calypso Rose became the most elderly artist to perform at the latest edition of the Coachella festival.

The new version of “Clandestino” is available for free at Mau Chao’s website.

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Morocco’s Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival Reveals 2019 Lineup

Acclaimed Moroccan event Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival 2019 will take place June 20-23. The festival is held in Essawira, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast.

The festival will feature Gnawa music masters (maâlems) along with Cuban music, Tuareg grooves, Tamil sounds, jazz, flamenco, and reggae.

The lineup includes Osain del Monte (Cuba), Tuareg act Tinariwen (Mali), flamenco artists Maria del Mar Moreno and Jorge Pardo (Spain), Amazigh group Imdiazen, Congolese musician Baloji, and Tamil-British singer Susheela Raman.

The event also includes rising talent such as young maâlem Houssam Gania, Moh! Kouyaté, and Betweenatna.

More at www.festival-gnaoua.net

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Szászcsávás Band Releases Music from Transylvania

Szászcsávás Band – 6

Hungarian label Fonó has released the final album of the music from Szászcsávás/Ceuaș (Romania). The album titled 6 contains recordings performed by Gypsy ensemble Szászcsávás Band between 1996 and 2007 made by Szánthó Zoltán and Bartha Ágoston in the town’s preschool.

Szászcsávás is a small village in Transylvania’s Maros/Mureș County (located in Romania) inhabited by Hungarians and Gypsies. It holds a special place in Hungarian music history. Although monophonic singing is characteristic of Hungarian folk music, this is perhaps the only settlement where polyphonic singing is part of the tradition.

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Celebrated Dominican Pianist Michel Camilo Releases Essence

Pianist, composer and bandleader Michel Camilo revisits some of his essential music on Essence, featuring new arrangements. Camilo is an award-winning pianist who has a passion for jazz, Latin American music and flamenco.

Essence, scheduled for release June 7, 2019 features an impressive lineup of musicians, including many longtime collaborators.

I tried to choose music from every stage of development as a creative artist and as a composer,” Camilo says about Esence. “I picked songs that represent shifts in my career and my point of view; that showcase how I developed my sound. I’ve always thought of the trio as a mini-orchestra, so the big band is a way to celebrate my career and my journey with a group of friends creating together in the studio.”

Buy Essence

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Top Global Music Talent at Sarawak’s Rainforest World Music Festival 2019

The acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) will be back July 12-14, 2019 for its 22nd consecutive year. Announced as bigger than ever, organizers expect over 20,000 music fans from the region and beyond as well as visiting tourists.  The event will take place at the scenic Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo), which is approximately 50 minutes away from the Kuching International Airport.

Irish band Kila, one of the acts scheduled to perform at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019

The impressive program this year includes well-known traditional and contemporary world music acts along with talented regional and local artists. The list includes Ana Alcaide (Spain), At Adau (Sarawak), Ballet Folclorico de Chile Bafochi (Rapa Nui /Easter Island, Chile), Darmas (Malaysia), Druk Folk Musician (Bhutan), Duplessy & The Violins of the World ft. Guo Gan (France, China, Sweden, Mongolia), Ha Noi Duo (Vietnam), Kemada (Sarawak), Kila (Ireland), Kila & Oki (Ireland, Japan), La Chiva Gantiva (Colombia), Macka B (United Kingdom / Jamaica), Mauravann (Mauritius), Mehdi Nassouli (Morocco), Oki (Japan), Olga Cerpa y Mestisay (Canary Islands, Spain), Otava Yo  (Russia), Rajery (Madagascar), San Salvador (France), Sangtam Naga (Nagaland), Sedaa (Iran/Mongolia), Spirit Of The Hornbills (Kalimantan), Staak Bisomu (Sarawak), Suk Binie’ (Sarawak), Suku Menoa (Sarawak), Tabanka (Cape Verde), Talisk (Scotland), Trad Attack (Estonia), and Wai (New Zealand).

Sape (Borneo lute) workshop at The Rainforest World Music Festival 2018 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

In additional to the concerts, the family-friendly RWMF 2019 includes day time percussion tutorials and music workshops that begin as early as 11:00 am plus arts and crafts workshops, a wide-variety of food options, an interactive gathering of the tribes showcasing the region’s indigenous cultures and much more.

Percussion workshop at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

The Rainforest World Music Festival also promotes various environmentally-friendly and sustainable programs, emphasizing preservation. Through its Green initiatives, a no-plastic ruling, will be the festival’s fundamental awareness while banning entry of all plastic water bottles throughout the festival.  

Jamming at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

Sarawak will host other musical events in the next weeks, including the Rainforest Fringe, July 5 – 12, just one week before the RWMF 2019 and then followed with The Borneo Jazz Festival July 19 – 21, 2019.  

All these captivating music events are organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and endorsed by Tourism Malaysia.

Sarawak Cultural Village

For more information on the RWMF 2019 and pre-sale tickets, go to rwmf.net.

headline photo:  Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli

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