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World music news from the editors at World Music Central

Debut Album from Heather Macleod, Crossing Tides

Scotland, UK – Scottish singer-songwriter Heather Macleod
launched her debut album, Crossing Tides (LEOD001CD), with a concert at
Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow earlier this year. Produced by Heather
herself, and released on her own Leod Music label, the album includes the double
bass legend Danny Thompson – who also joined Heather for the live show – and
Sugar Blue on harmonica, heading up a hand-picked list of top Scottish based
instrumentalists.As well as her own headline appearances, 2004 saw Heather opening shows for such
leading artists as Cara Dillon, Michael Marra, Eliza Carthy, Tam White, Bert
Jansch and Paddy Casey. Her startlingly individual voice, together with her
songs’ potent poetic language, vivid imagery and filmic atmosphere have drawn
comparisons ranging from Annie Lennox to Goldfrapp.

It’s those original songs that dominate Crossing Tides. Although she sang Gaelic songs as a child, Heather would have hesitated to cite
this rich home heritage as a major influence before Crossing Tides began taking
shape. “I’m usually inspired to write by particular scenarios or incidents in
everyday life, whether they happen to me or other people
,” she says. “But
when I heard the songs as a group, I realised that although there might not be
an overt link with the tradition, the overall feel and flow of the old Gaelic
sea songs is actually a really strong element in the sound, as well as the
blues, jazz and folk influences from the music I’ve been involved in since.
There are many mentions of the sea or the weather, just an underlying sense of
the sea and the tides as a presence around me – even though I’m not living on
the island any more.

The title also intends to reflect the breadth and diversity of the material on
the album – which is another aspect I ended up being quite surprised at

The recording process for Crossing Tides, which took place in the
Scottish Borders and Brighton over a period of 6 months, was both organic and
carefully considered. Once Heather had created a body of songs, the possibility
of working with her long-time hero, Danny Thompson – famed for his seminal work
with Pentangle, Richard Thompson, Nick Drake and John Martyn, among many others
– opened up a host of new possibilities.

A lot of those classic albums that Danny had played on had made a huge
impact on me over the year
s,” Heather explains, “so he’d been in my
musical consciousness for a long time – I found I was hearing his playing when I
was writing a lot of the songs. Then when I was just about to embark on
recording, Martin Carthy – a good friend of Danny’s, who I knew through working
with Eliza’s band – got to hear about this pipe-dream I had of getting Danny to
play on the album. Unbeknownst to me, Martin phoned Danny to sound him out,
Danny said yes – and it was suddenly really happening.

“I knew Danny would be true to the songs,” she continues, “and would also
raise the game for everyone else involved – especially for me! The key thing I
love about his playing is that he’s got a really distinctive and unique ‘voice’
as a direct result of working right across the board, soaking up different
sounds and styles.

I recorded with him and the core of the band first, working mainly in a live
format to capture his response to the songs. By getting that down, I hoped that
the additional musicians would respond in turn to what he’d played, again often
using a ‘first-pass’ approach to retain the spontaneity, but with that initial
backbone through the material to create a sense of cohesion

Apart from Sugar Blue, whom Heather originally met through working with Scottish
bluesman Jim Condie, and who contributes his trademark scorching licks to two
tracks, the rest of the album’s guests have been drawn from her diverse
experiences and acquaintances across the Scottish music scene. They include the
multi-talented acoustic guitarist Steven Polwart; Donald Hay (Mystery Juice,
Unusual Suspects, Nusa, Bachué, Sunhoney) on drums; leading jazzers Paul
Harrison (piano), Stuart Ritchie (drums) and Marcus Britton (cornet/French
horn); Donald MacDougall (Mystery Juice) on electric guitar, and an 4-piece
string ensemble from celebrated alt.classical outfit Mr McFalls Chamber.

Although on the one hand the songs are quite arranged, I think you can
really hear the musicians playing with and off each other in the moment
Heather says. “It is a studio album, but I didn’t want it to sound overworked
and dead, which is often the danger when you’ve got a lot of different layers
going on. The way it’s evolved, though, it feels as if everyone’s all in the
same room together – even though some of the players haven’t actually yet met.

After a final ten days with Al Scott (The Levellers, Derek B, Eliza Carthy) at
Metway Studios in Brighton, he was left to finish mixing and mastering the


The Ninth Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA – The Ninth Arabic Music Retreat is scheduled for August 13-20, 2005 at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

The event will be led by Simon Shaheen and Dr. Ali Jihad Racy. The faculty will include Dr. George Sawa, Bassam Saba, Charbel Rouhana, Rima Khcheich and Michel Merhej.

Students who are interested in attending can visit the official website, where they can find the brochure/registration form in a pdf file. Registrations and initial deposits are due by July 1, 2005.
For more information. go to


Fuji Vibes and Afrobeat: Brothers Keepers Mastermind Bantu Joins Piranha

Berlin, Germany – Fuji Satisfaction – Soundclash In Lagos (Piranha PIR-CD1998) is the latest album Nigerian/German musical collective Brothers Keepers. The band plays “heavy Yoruba drumming, arabesque instrumentation and soaring multipitched vocals blending into a sound that commands attention and
forces to dance along
. Fuji music is the fast paced sound blazing in the streets of the fastest growing metropolis of the world, Lagos.
Brothers Keepers’ mastermind, Ade Bantu, together with Fuji music master Adewale Ayuba and Fela Kuti’s original guitar player Kologbo Oghene -, have teamed up to push the Fuji trend even further and create a whole new blend of styles: Fuji vibes, Afrobeat, Ragga flows and Pidgin Raps.


New Boris Kovac Release: World After History

Boris Kovac – World After History

Berlin, Germany – With his new band La Campanella, Boris Kovac, composer, instrumentalist and multimedia artist from the Vojvodina part of Yugoslavia, presents the first spin-off from his critically acclaimed La Danza Apocalypsa Balcanica project. According to Piranha Records, World After History – A Pannonian-Mediterranean Round-Trip (PIR-CD1997), a natural hybrid of Pannonian and Mediterranean elements, opens up wide spaces of sentiment, indulging in nostalgia, joy, tristesa, romantic enthusiasm and melancholy alike: “I can’t change or stop history – but I can make it pause for a moment, the time it takes to play the record.”


Seven Springs Mountain Resort Announces Summer Concert Series

Champion, Pennsylvania, USA (PRNewswire) – Seven Springs Mountain Resort has a full slate of summer concerts for 2005. The resort has been developing as a concert venue over the past four years, and built Grey Rocks Amphitheatre last year. This season brings improvements to the amphitheatre and a lineup of shows that appeal to a variety of people.

The Rock the Mountain Summer Concert Series is going to be great this year,” comments Melissa Cullin, special events director. “The list of performers fit into so many genres of music. People will have a chance to enjoy classic rock, blues, contemporary rock, bluegrass and more. There really is a show for most musical tastes,” Cullin adds.Grey Rocks Amphitheatre has grown and developed into a premier concert venue. The state-of-the-art stage and canopy offers the perfect facility for the performers, and additional food and beverage facilities, improved pedestrian access-ways and other changes will enhance the guests’ experience. “A beautiful mountain setting and the convenience of the hotel, restaurants and other resort activities in the Main Lodge are what really makes the concert experience at Seven Springs truly unique,” says Ms. Cullin.

Seven Springs will host the following concerts this year. Shows will likely be added to the calendar as summer approaches.

June 18 — Indigo Girls: Tickets on sale May 2, showtime 8 PM, Premium Seats $45, Lawn tickets $20.

July 14 — The Wallflowers: Tickets on sale May 9, showtime 8 PM, Premium Seats $28, Lawn tickets $18.

August 4 — Creedence Clearwater Revisited: Tickets on sale May 16, showtime 8 PM, Premium Seats $28, Lawn tickets $18.

August 11-14 — Grey Rocks Bluegrass Festival featuring Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart: Tickets on sale now, General Admission – single- and multiple- day tickets available – visit for details.

August 20 — Gordon Lightfoot: Tickets on sale May 18, showtime 8 PM, Premium Seats $45, Lawn tickets $20.

August 26 — Melissa Manchester: Tickets on sale June 6, showtime 8 PM, Premium Seats $25, Lawn tickets $15.

September 3 — BB King Blues Festival: Tickets on sale June 13, showtime 7 PM, Premium Seats $55, Lawn tickets $20.

The Rock the Mountain Summer Concert Series is presented by Sprint, Rolling Rock, Subaru and WTAE TV. Tickets may be purchased on-line at or by calling 866-703-R.O.C.K. (7625) Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Seven Springs Mountain Resort is Pennsylvania’s largest ski and year-round resort. Located in Champion, the resort is easily accessible from either exit 91 or 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.


World Music Fundraiser for the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Festival 46664 poster 46664 was Nelson Mandela's prison number
Festival 46664 poster 46664 was Nelson Mandela’s prison number
Madrid, Spain – Last night, the first part of a three-day festival, was held in Madrid (Spain) to raise funds to fight AIDS in Africa. Produced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the event is called festival 46664.

Raíces (Spanish Roots Night), the first part of the festival, was held on April 29. It featured top Flamenco acts such as José Mercé, La Tana, El Cigala, Pepe Habichuela, Pasión Vega, and Niña Pastori. Scheduled for today is Noche Pop (Spanish Pop night), and Sunday May 1st’s concert will be dedicated to soloists, including singer songwriters, pop singers and world music acts such as Galician piper Carlos Núñez and mestizo music sensation Carmen París.


Nitta Oyako, Father & Son Tsugaru Shamisen Duo, Tours the US

New York City , USA – Nitta Oyako will be performing at Joe’s Pub in Public Theater
in New York City on May 3, 2005. The group consists of father, Hiorshi, and
son, Masahiro, two shamisen (a Japanese banjo-like lute) masters. Together and separately, Nitta Oyako continue to be in
great demand, performing extensively throughout Japan and other parts of

Recently signed to Sony Japan, The Nitta Oyako performing team was
formed in 2000 after Masahiro won the grand prize of the National Tsugaru
Shamisen Competition. The repertoire of Nitta Oyako comprises a range from
traditional Japanese folk tunes (Min-yoh), original tunes based on
tradition, and even a few pop music and jazz.Joe’s Pub is located at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th and Astor Place, East Village. Tickets available at The Public Theater box office or through Telecharge: or 212.239.6200.

Joe’s Pub is part of The Joseph Papp Public Theater, located at 425
Lafayette Street between East 4th and Astor Place in New York’s East
Village. There is a parking garage at 403 Lafayette Street, just south of
The Public Theater. Call 212.254.1263 for further information. There is very
limited street parking available after 6 pm.


InFuse, the Best in Canadian Indian-Jazz Fusion

Toronto, Canada – In celebration of South Asian Heritage Month,
Small World presents four exciting
evenings showcasing the best in Canadian Indian-Jazz Fusion and Dub in one of
the city’s finest music venues. The series brings together some of Canada’s most
renowned Indo-jazz players with some of Toronto’s key South Asian hip-hop
performers. It features Juno-nominees [the top Canadian musical award], spoken
word artists, extraordinary virtuosos and soulful singers. A state-of-the-art
look at South Asian fusion in Canada.All shows will begin at 9:00 pm. Concerts will be held at
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West, (west of
Dufferin). Tickets are $15 per show, or $45 for series pass. Dinner Reservations
/ Info: 416-588-0307.

Sunday May 1st, Tasa

Tasa, led by tabla player and composer Ravi Naimpally, combines the talents of
some of Toronto’s finest world music performers to merge traditions and blur
musical boundaries. Tasa features singer Tanbeer Alam, inventive guitarist John
Gzowski, bansuri and saxophone player Ernie Tollar, the eclectic drumming of
Alan Hetherington, and bassist Chris Gartner. The music of Tasa ranges from the
upbeat and funky to the sublime. Based on the ancient Raga and Tala system from
India, it diverges into several other genres of world music including Brazilian,
Arabic, and jazz.

This special concert celebrates the release of Urban Turban, Tasa’s new
CD, showcasing some new sounds and including special guests Kevin Breit on
guitar, Qawwali singer Shahid Ali Khan and frequent collaborator Dhruba Ghosh on
sarangi. With a range of influences, including the Bollywood sound of composer
A.R. Raman, the new record is poised to carry on the momentum Tasa established
with last year’s successful European tour.

Thursday May 12th, LAL, Jugular and guests

LAL is a partnership between singer/songwriter Rosina Kazi and producer Nicholas
Murray. Over the past 4 years LAL has been breaking new ground with their unique
style of western electronic music interwoven with pieces of world music. The
lyrics are in English and Bengali and the voice speaks to the sensuality and
seduction that only music can do to the soul.

Toronto’s Nikhil ‘Jugular’ Tumne unites the pulse of a beatboxer with the
musical patterns of any song he can dissect – from jazz to jungle, from
Bollywood to classical South Asian music. His music is an expression of the
cultural diversity he experienced growing up in a multi-cultural society.

Being South Asian, but growing up in Canada played a great role in these
artists’ personal and musical development. “Being South Asian and living here
has given me my spiritual learnings
,” says Tumne. “It’s all about the
personal experience. It’s not about whether you are South Asian or whether you
are Canadian – it’s about how you are a South Asian-Canadia

Thursday May 19th, Autorickshaw with George Koller & Lotus

Autorickshaw is a world music ensemble that embodies the essence of new forms of
expression that are emerging on the Canadian music landscape. Their integration
of South Asian tradition with jazz and other popular music forms represents an
innovative and refreshing new standard. Autorickshaw thrives on the diverse
musical backgrounds of its members – vocalist and pianist Suba Sankaran, tabla
player Ed Hanley, bassist Rich Brown, and percussionist Debashis Sinha. The
ensemble’s repertoire includes funky, contemporary arrangements of south Indian
classical compositions, Bollywood tinged jazz standards, and fiery Indo-jazz
originals. Nominated for a world music Juno for their recent CD Four Higher,
the band are poised for a major tour of Canadian jazz festivals this summer.

George Koller & Hajile Kalaike (aka Lotus) combine one of Canada’s most
respected jazz performers with a South Asian spoken word artist. Bassist George
Koller has plaed with a veritable ‘who’s who’ of international jazz stars. He
has also dedicated much of his performing career to exploring Indian music and
has become an adept performer on dilruba, the bowed string instrument known for
its beautiful, haunting sound. Poet Lotus’ spoken word art is a perfect foil for
the the evening’s sounds.

Thursday May 26th, Galitcha with Tantra

Tantra is an exciting new musical trio inspired by Indian classical music and
jazz. From melodious ballads to fast compositions of remarkable virtuosity and
rhythmic exchanges, the musicians explore and improvise within an intriguing and
continuously changing canvas. Drawing from Hindustani and Karnatic traditions
textured with jazz, the guitar and sarod compliment and interact with each other
melodically and harmonically while the tabla provides the dynamic rhythmic
backbone. The result is a compelling experience of east meets west.

Based in Montreal and Toronto, Tantra is Aditya Verma on sarod, Vineet Vyas on
tabla and Joy Anandasivam on guitars. Each artist has been recognized nationally
and internationally through performances worldwide. Their debut performance at
the 2002 Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax was broadcast nationwide on CBC

Ottawa’s Galitcha has just returned from a ‘once in a lifetime
experience’ – playing at the annual Festival au Désert, outside of Timbuktu,
Mali. They were invited there by festival organizers, who were captivated by a
sound featuring a strong North Indian footprint overlaid with influences from
western folk and jazz and instrumentation from around the world.

Since 1996 Kuljit Sodhi, Galitcha’s charismatic lead singer, composer and
percussionist has been building an ensemble which takes audiences on a rewarding
musical journey. The band features vocalists Kuljit Sodhi also on dolki and
Chris MacLean also on guitar, harmonium, dulcimer and gopichand; Linsey Wellman
on saxophone, flute and oboe; Shawn Mativetsky on tabla, dhol and percussion;
and Jeremy Moyer on Chinese fiddles. Together they create a culturally diverse,
uniquely Canadian sound.

[Photos: 1 – Tasa, courtesy of Marilyn Gilbert Artist Management, 2 –


MerleFest 2005 Starts Thursday, April 28

Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA – Wilkes Community College will
present MerleFest 2005, the 18th annual festival in celebration of the music
of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson, on its campus in
Wilkesboro, NC on April 28 – May 1, 2005. In addition to those on the Fresh
Faces collection, just a few of the artists joining Doc Watson and Merle’s
son Richard Watson for MerleFest 2005 will include Balfa Toujours; BR549,
Sam Bush; The Chieftains; John Cowan Band; Rodney Crowell; Donna the
Buffalo; the Duhks, Bela Fleck Acoustic Trio featuring Casey Driessen &
Bryan Sutton; Corey Harris; King Wilkie, Alison Krauss & Union Station
featuring Jerry Douglas, Robert Lockwood, Jr.; Loretta Lynn; Del McCoury
Band; Buddy Miller; Allison Moorer, Railroad Earth; Tony Rice; Earl Scruggs;
and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. A reunion of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass
Boys will feature Scruggs, Richard Greene, Bobby Hicks, host Peter Rowan,
and others. The festival will also present two sets of The Chieftains with
guests from the Down the Old Plank Road sessions including Scruggs, Douglas,
Fleck, McCoury, and more.General admission tickets will be available at the gate, starting at 2:30 PM
on Thursday and 8:00 AM Friday through Sunday. Tickets for all four days are
$130, while Friday through Sunday wristbands cost $115. Individual day rates
are $35 for Thursday, $45 Friday, $50 Saturday, and $40 on Sunday. Overall
festival participation, including artists, volunteers, children admitted
free, and outreach, totaled 81,592 for MerleFest 2004. Using guidelines
recommended by the College of Business at Appalachian State University,
MerleFest 2004 had an estimated total regional impact of $13,749,915.

MerleFest will once again share its performers with some 12,000 members of
the local community through the Outreach program. Sponsored by Sprint,
Outreach will facilitate 30 performances by MerleFest artists on April 28-29
at all Wilkes County Schools. Some of the artists participating include Doc
& Richard Watson, Tim O’Brien, Donna the Buffalo, Railroad Earth, John Cowan
Band, Balfa Toujours, the Waybacks, and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble.
More than 3000 Wilkes County school students will also attend MerleFest as
part of organized school groups admitted without charge each year on Friday.

[Photo: Bela Fleck].


Smithsonian Global Sound Is Launched

Washington, District of Columbia, USA – The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has announced the launch of its highly anticipated web site, Smithsonian Global Sound.

The Web site offers digital downloads of music and sound from around the world. The site has a wealth of educational content and downloads are accompanied by extensive liner notes. “Our goal is to encourage local musicians and traditions around
the planet through international recognition, the payment of royalties, and support for regional archives
The first track sold was “Tarab” by Famau, Harambee Music Club from the album Music of the Waswahili of Lamu, Kenya, Vol. 3: Secular Music–an eight
and a half minute track of drum, harmonium, and bongo. “Some lucky person is walking around right now jamming to that track on their iPod while reading
the liner notes and benefiting the musicians of Lamu

Subscriptions are available for educational institutions.