All posts by World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central

globalFEST Announces 2019 Award Winners

globalFEST has announced the four 2019 winners. The awards honor four individuals for their exceptional, visionary, and inspiring contributions to the cultural landscape in the American performing arts field.

gF Artist Award  Mighty Sparrow / Slinger Francisco


Mighty Sparrow

83 year-old Slinger Francisco, better known as Mighty Sparrow and affectionately dubbed The Birdie, is the incomparable Calypso King of the World.

With a career that spans over 60 years and counting The Sparrow is one of the most important living exponents of one of Caribbean music’s most important traditions, known for a combination of politics, daily life, humor, innuendo and dance music. Sparrow continues to translate his witty island authenticity to the world, in a one-man demonstration of the role that culture plays in uniting humankind. 

gF Impact Award Leigh Ann Hahn

Leigh Ann Hahn

Leigh Ann Hahn, who started at Grand Performances in 1992, is an endlessly creative and innovative programmer. She is a leading figure in the world music performing arts field who has done a remarkable job producing free programs that pay homage to her beloved Los Angeles and its diverse communities with global breadth, depth and power.

Her programs are uniquely multidisciplinary and frequently shine a musical light on significant historical, political and social events. 

Matthew Covey

Tamizdat, founded in 1998 by Matthew Covey and a group of musicians, has become a critical organization in the performing arts and cultural exchange fields. Tamizdat’s work facilitates cultural exchange by easing the burden of the visa process for artists entering the U.S through their programs TamizdatAVAIL, legal visa assistance, outreach, the Artist Mobility Forum, The White Paper Project and other activities.

Their mission is motivated by the conviction that the international mobility of culture is fundamental to a healthy and progressive global civil society and their work has enabled thousands of artists to perform on stages across the country.

gF Pioneer Award Lee Williams

Lee Williams

Lee Williams has worked professionally as a venue booking agent, promoter, and non-profit arts leader since 1982, playing a defining role not only in the music culture and community identity of Bloomington, Indiana, but also as a champion of world music in North America.

A co-founder of the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival and founder of the non-profit Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, Lee served as Director of Lotus from 1995 to 2013 and as Artistic Director from 2014 through his retirement in 2017. He also co-led the creation of the Midwest Consortium, a professional and block-booking network for world-music presenters that now includes peers from across the US and Canada.

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Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin at the Top of the January 2019 Transglobal World Music Chart


Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültek – Karin

The album Karin (Muziekpublique) by duduk player Vardan Hovanissian (Armenia) and saz virtuoso Emre Gültek (Belgium, with roots in Turkey) is the number one recording in January 2019 on the Transglobal World Music Chart.

“Karin” is the ancient Armenian name for the town of Erzurum, situated in what is now Turkey. It is the birthplace of Vardan Hovanissian’s grandfather, who was one of 200 survivors following the deportation of around 40,000 residents during the Armenian genocide. The recording is a tribute to the cosmopolitan period in Karin, which was a crossroads for the different cultures that existed along the Silk Road.

The top 10:

  1. Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültek – Karin – Muziekpublique
  2. Gaye Su Akyol – İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir – Glitterbeat
  3. Afro Celt Sound System – Flight – ECC
  4. Dhafer Youssef – Sounds of Mirrors – Anteprima
  5. SANS – Kulku – Cloud Valley
  6. Moonlight Benjamin – Siltane – Ma Case
  7. Urna Chahar-Tugchi featuring Kroke – Ser – Urna Chahar-Tugchi / UCT
  8. Ukandanz – Yeketelale – Buda Musique
  9. Vigüela – A Tiempo Real – ARC Music
  10. Bixiga 70 – Quebra-Cabeça – Glitterbeat
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New Single from Te Vaka’s Olivia Foa’i


Olivia Foa’i’ – “My Way

Olivia Foa’i’s 2nd single “My Way” goes back to her Polynesian roots while still maintaining a mainstream feel. A bilingual Tokelauan-English track, “My Way” displays a unique balance between tribal and pop, produced by her brother (master percussionist of Te Vaka and composer of “Te Vaka Beats”) Matatia Foa’i.

No stranger to the stage or studio, Olivia has performed in 40 countries and featured on several tracks over Te Vaka’s 9 albums.

In 2017 she was nominated for “Best Pacific Female Artist” and won “Best Pacific Language Song” (for Tulou Tagaloa from the Moana soundtrack) in the Pacific Music Music Awards. Later in 2017 came the band’s latest hit, “Lakalaka” which was released through Walt Disney Records with a music video directed, choreographed and performed by Olivia.

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The Best World Music Albums of 2018

World Music Central has compiled the list of best world music albums of 2018 selected by our editors and contributors as well as our partners at the Transglobal World Music Chart and our colleagues at the European World Music Chart.

Tom Orr (USA), World Music Central


Moira Smiley – Unzip the Horizon

Moira Smiley – Unzip the Horizon (Moira Smiley Music)
Various Artists – Ska Around the World (Putumayo)
Opium Moon – Opium Moon (Be Why Music)
The Temple Rockers – Festival of Lights (Fresh Roots Records)
Nancy Vieira – Manha Florida (Lusafrica)
Appalatin – Vida (Appalatin)
Ram – August 1791 (Willibelle)
Bombay Rickey – Electric Bhairavi (Cowboys & Indian)
Black Masala – Trains and Moonlight Destinies (Black Masala Music)
Bokante & Metropole Orkest – What Heat (Real World)

Runner Up: Razia – The Road (Razia Said)

The best live event of the year was, without doubt, Moira Smiley’s one-of-a-kind CD release concert, an intimate and truly magical performance in the City of Angels.

Daryana Antipova (Russia), World Music Central and Transglobal World Music Chart


Kalascima – K

1) Kalascima – K (Ponderosa Music & Art)
2) Monsieur Doumani – Angathin (Monsieur Doumani )
3) Solju – Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory)
4) Brigan – Rua San Giacomo (Marocco Music)
5) 47Soul – Balfron Promise (Cooking Vinyl)
6) Eva Salina & Peter Stan – Sudbina: A Portrait of Vida Pavlovic (Vogiton)
7) Yiddish Glory – The Lost Songs of World War II (Six Degrees)
8) Auli & Tautumeitas – Lai Masina Rotajas! (CPL-Music)
9) Gili Yalo – Gili Yalo (Dead Sea)
10) WoWaKin – Kraj za Miastem (WoWaKin)

Dorothy Johnson-Laird (USA), World Music Central


Jupiter & Okwess – Kin Sonic

Jupiter & Okwess – Kin Sonic
Bombino – Deran
Manou Gallou – Afro Groove Queen
Fatoumara Diawara – Fenfo (Something to Say)
Imarhan – Temet
Samite – Resilience
Ebo Taylor – Yen Ara
Orquesta Akokán – Orquesta Akokán
Anandi Bhattacharya – Joys Abound
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Soar

Madanmohan Rao (India), World Music Central and Transglobal World Music Chart


Angelique Kidjo – Remain in Light

Angelique Kidjo – Remain in Light
Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra – Avo Kanto
Baul Meets Saz – Namaz
Cimbalom Brothers – Testvériség / Brotherhood
Hugh Masekela – Masekela 66-76
Indialucia – Acatao
Jivan Gasparyan Duduk Ensemble – Yeraz
Kora Jazz Trio – Part IV
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Black Times
Stella Chiweshe – Kasahwa: Early Singles

Rafael Mieses (Dominican Republic/USA), Músicas del Mundo and and Transglobal World Music Chart

Chabuco – Encuentro

1- Chabuco – “Encuentro” (Sony Music)
2- Gabacho Maroc – Tawassol (10h10 / Cristal)
3- Malagasy Guitar Masters – Volo Hazo ( Buda Musique)
4- Marta Gómez – La Alegría y el Canto (Aluna)
5- El Naán – La Danza de las Semillas ( El Naán)
6- Ammar 808 – Maghreb United (Glitterbeat)
7- Samba Touré – Wande (Glitterbeat)
8- Ruben Blades & Winton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center “Una noche con Ruben Blades” (Blue Engine Records)
9 – Koum Tara – Koum Tara (Odradek)
10- Toko Telo – Diavola (Anio)

Arthur Shuey (USA), World Music Central


Koum Tara

Koum Tara by Karim Maurice & Sid-Ahmed Belksier
El Berencesa by Hossam Ramzy
Daa Dee by Minyeshu
Battle of Kings by Saor Patrol
Soar by Catrin Finch/Seckou Keita
A Cry For Revolution by Los Rupay
Yiddish Glory – Various Artists
Melodic Circles by Rostami

Angel Romero Ruiz (USA), World Music Central, Músicas del Mundo and Transglobal World Music Chart

Opium Moon – Opium Moon

Opium Moon – Opium Moon – Be Why Music
The Gloaming – Live at the NCH – Real World Records
The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices – Boocheemish – Prophecy
Bokanté + Metropole Orkest – What Heat – Real World Records
Shooglenifty and Dhun Dhora – Written in Water – Shoogle Records
Shadi Fathi, Bijan Chemirani – Delâshena – Buda Musique
Dayramir Gonzalez – The Grand Concourse – Machat Records
Kittel & Co. – Whorls – Compass Records
El Naan – La Danza de las Semillas – El Naan
SANS – Kulku – Cloud Valley

Runner ups:

Plena Libre – Amores en el camino – Plena Libre
Afro Celt Sound System – Flight – ECC Records

Transglobal World Music Chart, Best Albums of 2018

Monsieur Doumani – Angathin

Best Album of 2018
Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani

Best of North Africa & Middle East 2018
Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani

Best Transregional Album 2018
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Soar – Bendigedig

Best of Subsaharan Africa 2018
Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo – Montuno / Shanachie / Wagram

Best of Europe 2018
El Naán – La Danza de las Semillas – El Naán

Best of Asia (Central & East) & Pacific 2018
Anandi Bhattacharya – Joys Abound – Riverboat / World Music Network

Best of North & Central America 2018
Grupo Mono Blanco – ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos de Veracruz – Smithsonian Folkways

Best of South America 2018
Son Palenque – Kutu Prieta pa Saranguiá – Palenque

Best Compilation 2018
V.A. – Chikhates & Chioukhs de l’Aïta: Anthologie – Atlas Azawan

World Music Charts Europe – The top 10 in 2018

Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo

1 – Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo – 3eme Bureau / Wagram
2 – 3MA / Rajery, Driss El Maloumi, Ballake Sissoko – Anarouz – Mad Minute Music
3 – Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Soar – Bendigedig
4 – Marta Gomez – La Alegria y El Canto – Aluna
5 – Dirtmusic – Bu Bir Ruya – Glitterbeat
6 – Samba Toure – Wande – Glitterbeat
7 – Djeneba & Fousco – Kayeba Khasso – Lusafrica
8 – Dur-Dur Band – Dur Dur of Somalia Vol 1 & 2 – Analog Africa
9 – Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani
10 – Calypso Rose – So Calypso! – Because Music

Selected Videos

headline photo: Fatoumata Diawara at Shakori Hills – Photo by Angel Romero

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Brittany’s Astrakan Project Releases Inês

Astrakan Project – Inês

Astrakan Project has a new album titled Inês. Astrakan Project’s music was born somewhere between Brittany (West of France) and Istanbul. From their Celtic homeland, Yann Gourvil (strings, programming and loops) and Simone Alves (vocals) incorporate ancient songs and legends that they bring to life on stage, focusing mostly on mythological and tragic thoughtful themes.

The duo has been performing throughout Europe and beyond, including many tours in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and major festivals like FMM (Sines, Portugal), Makrocosm (Athens, Greece), Folk East (UK), Fling (UK) as well as tours in Kiev (Ukraine) in June 2015 & August 2016.

Astrakan Project has an earlier album titled Astrakan Project B.

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Havana World Music 2019 Announces first Set of Artists

Havana World Music Festival, the most important open-air music festival in Cuba, has announced dates and first set of confirmed artists for its 2019 edition. The event will take place March 21-23, 2019 at the Metropolitan Park (Parque Almendares) in the heart of Havana.

A previous edition of Havana World Music Festival

Curated by Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso, with the support of Cuban cultural institutions, Havana World Music (HWM) festival began back in 2014. Since then, it has established itself as a musical and cultural reference on the island, persistently true to roots music, energetic performances, authenticity and new Cuban music, in one of the world’s most significant cradles of music.

Eme Alfonso

In this new edition, we will continue to work and focus on what we believe is our trademark. There may be other music festivals, but only at Havana World Music one can enjoy such a diversity of styles, languages, cultures… and meet the creative impulse of the new Cuban generation “, said Eme Alfonso. “This is why we really believe this is a unique festival”, she added.

First confirmed artists:

HWM has announced some of the Cuban artists that will be performing next March. Other national and international artists (from Canada, India and Brazil) will be added to the line-up soon.

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

As part of the most folkloric part of the program, HWM will be hosting the performance of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Founded in 1952, this is one the most legendary groups of Cuban rumba, one of the national rhythms born from Afro-Cuban roots.

Moreover, the festival will present the folkloric group Nengón Kiribá from Baracoa (Guantánamo), at the very Eastern part of the Island. The ensemble is one of the few that maintains the rhythm and dance of the predecessors of the Cuban son alive, worldwide known thanks to projects such as Buena Vista Social Club.

Nengón Kiribá

Meet the new generation of Cuban artists

As an example of how Cuban young artists draw on this cultural heritage and mix it with other more contemporary forms of music, artists such as Cimafunk, the musical phenomenon of the year in Cuba; R.O.I, giving a Cuban twist to R&B; and Eme Alfonso, heir of a long tradition of Afro-Cuban fusion, will all be performing at HWM next March.

Cimafunk

The promotion of new Cuban talent is at the heart of the festival. Cimafunk won last year’s HWM Contest for young Cuban musicians (Concurso HWM-Primera Base). R.O.I also made his point under last year’s contest, and the festival took note.

Next year’s winners will as customary take the next step in their careers on the stage of HWM.

Tickets available now

The Cultural Tourism Agency Paradiso is the official retailer for HWM festival. Tickets are also available through the HWM website www.havanaworldmusic.com or directly through the platform: https://www.notikumi.com/2019/3/21/havana-world-music-2019.

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Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba to Release Miri in January 2019

Malian ngoni star Bassekou Kouyate and his band Ngoni ba have a new album titled Miri, scheduled for release on January 25, 2019 on outhere records.

Miri is an album about affection, friendship, family and authentic values in times of crisis. Miri means dream or contemplation in bamana.


Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba – Miri

On Miri, Bassekou returns to his hometown, Garana, a small village at the banks of the Niger River. The instrumental song Miri captures that feeling.

Bassekou sits at the banks of the Niger far away from the noise, traffic jams and political mayhem of Bamako and thinks about life.

The international cast of guests includes Habib Koite, Afel Bocoum, Michael League, Dom Flemons, Abdoulaye Diabate, and Madera Limpia.

Bassekou Kouyate’s discography includes Segu Blue (Out Here Records, 2007), I Speak Fula (Out Here Records, 2009), Afrocubism (World Circuit Records, 2010), Jama Ko (Out Here Records, 2013) and Ba Power‘ (Glitterbeat Records, 2015)

More about Bassekoy Kouyate

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The SGAE Foundation to Present ‘Flamencos y mestizos’ from December 13 to 16 in Madrid

Cynthia Cano

The SGAE Foundation will present one more edition of the Flamenco and mestizo series this year. The performances begin today, December 13 and will run until December 16, 2018. The artists include Diego Amador, Lela Soto, Cynthia Cano, Israel Fernández, Claudia ‘La Debla’, and Chico Pérez in collaboration with Amparo Navarro.

Lela Soto

Flamencos y mestizos will start on Thursday, December 13 with showcases by two of the youngest artists. First, one of the most promising vocalists of the current flamenco scene, Lela Soto, heiress of the legacy of La Casa de Los Sordera (the Sordera Family). After that, bailaora (dancer) Cynthia Cano, will stage her show, full of inspiration, grace and flamenco temperament.

Israel Fernández

On December 14, the Sala Berlanga will host the pure cante (singing style) of Israel Fernández. It is 21st century flamenco with a lot of rhythm, harmony and spirit.

Claudia ‘La Debla’

The double set will close with the very young Claudia ‘La Debla’ who has managed to win the hearts of flamenco lovers with her dance.

Diego Amador

Diego Amador, known as the Gypsy Ray Charles (El Rey Charles Gitano) because of the free and energetic spirit with which he plays the piano,will present a single show on Saturday, December 15.

Chico Pérez

 The series will close on Sunday, December 16th, with Chico Pérez, an emerging pianist from Jaén, who will perform accompanied by Amparo Navarro’s dance.

Flamencos y mestizos is a showcase created to present a window to emerging artists who explore the borders between deep flamenco and mestizo (hybrid) flamenco through compositions, dance and song. This is the second installment of this series in 2018 (it has been running since 2015), directed by the producer, composer and singer Paco Ortega.

Shows start at 21:00 (9:00 p.m.) at Sala Berlanga, Calle Andrés Mellado 53, Madrid. Price: 5.50 euros. Advance sale at the box office and at ticketea.com.

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New York’s 5th Annual A World in Trance Festival Program Announced

A World in Trance 2019 artists

World music presenter Robert Browning Associates has announced the artists that will be featured at the 5th Annual A World in Trance Festival in 2019.  A World in Trance is a 4-part festival featuring spellbinding music of West Africa, Morocco, India and Pakistan. The concerts will take place at Roulette in New York City.

This year’s festival features virtuoso guitarist Derek Gripper, who performs the hypnotic sounds of the West African kora (21-string harp-lute) on solo guitar (March23); along with the stimulating sounds of Bachir Attar and Mustapha Attar of the Master Musicians of Jajouka in a thrilling meeting with American musicians Ned Rothenberg, Arrington de Dionysio and Ben Bennett (March 30).

Also included, the classical music of India with Jayanthi Kumaresh, one of the world’s leading veena (lute) players, accompanied by percussionists K UJayachandra Rao and Pramath Kira (April 12); and ecstatic performances of Sufi qawwali with Pakistan’s Hamza Akram Qawwal & Brothers (April 13).

5th Annual A World in Trance

Saturday March 23, 2019 at 8:00pm
Derek Gripper
Hypnotic Strings of Africa

Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 8:00pm
Bachir Attar and Mustapha Attar (of the Master Musicians of Jajouka) with Ned Rothenberg, Arrington de Dionysio & Ben Bennett
Jajouka Meets New York

Friday April 12, 2019 at 8:00pm
Jayanthi Kumaresh
Invoking the Goddess Saraswati

Saturday April 13, 2019 at 8:00pm
Hamza Akram Qawwal & Brothers
Sufi Chants of Pakistan

Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn

Box office: 917-267-0363   roulette.org

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Malian Band Songhoy Blues Announces January 2019 UK Tour


Acclaimed Malian band Songhoy Blues, has announced a short run of U.K. dates in January 2019.

 Currently in the process of writing and recording their new album, their upcoming live dates follow their much talked about U.K. shows in2017 including a formidable set on the Park Stage at Glastonbury, a sold out headline show as part of the Summer Series at Somerset House in London, a tremendous success at the Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia and a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

 The group has released two albums: Music in Exile (2015) and Résistance (2017).

The full list of shows is as follows:

22 January, 2019– Kendal – The Brewery

23 January, 2019– Manchester – Band on The Wall

24 January, 2019– Glasgow – Celtic Connections

25 January, 2019– Leeds – Opera North

27 January, 2019– London – Earth

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