All posts by World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central

Flamenco Legend El Lebrijano and Moroccan Violinist Faiçal Release Puertas Abiertas

Madrid, Spain – Flamenco singer Juan Peña El Lebrijano and
Moroccan violinist Faiçal Kourrich presented yesterday their new album at the
Manuel de Falla Hall inside the Madrid palace that serves as main office for the
Sociedad General de Autores (SGAE). Ter two musicians were accompanied by
guitarist Pedro María Peña, El Lebrijano’s nephew, and musical director of
the project. El Lebrijano is known for his frequent collaborations with Arabic and North
African musicians. The new album, Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors), includes
a song by Iraki songwriter Kazem Al Saher.

The album comes with a music video of the song “Granate,” which features
backing vocals by Moroccan singers Redouane Kourrich, Leyla el Oumri and Iman


Sitar Legend Ravi Shankar Celebrates His 85th Birthday with a Tour

Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar

Chico, California, USA – Legendary virtuoso sitarist, composer, teacher and writer, Ravi Shankar is currently touring the United States and Canada. The circuit coincides with his 85th birthday. In June he will tour Europe.

For a full listing of the tour dates, visit Shankar renowned throughout the world for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. He has been a cultural influence in the West for more than three decades, as India’s most recognized and esteemed musical ambassador. Accompanied by his daughter Anoushka Shankar, herself a sitar genius, Shankar’s concerts are a once in a lifetime experience.


Mestizo Sounds, Möondo Releases its New Album, Trampa

Barcelona, Spain – In April of 2005, mestizo band Möondo
released its second recording, Trampa [Trap] (Ventilador Music),
featuring special contributions by singer Sílvia Pérez and percussion
ensemble Tactequeté.

The new album includes 11 original musical tracks and a video track
edited by Jordi Vidal and Fran Janer. Möondo musicians who took part in
the recording are: Dani Ibáñez (sitar, saz, ud, guitar, vocals and
electronic effects), Jordi Parés (keyboards, harmonium, bansuri,
xeremies, didjeridu and vocals), Manel Vega (bass and double bass),
Aniol Casadevall (tabla, congas and other percussion instruments), Angel
Abad (drums), and Jordi Vidal (DJ).A short tour is planned to present the album:

April 27: Sala Apolo -Caníbal Sound System (Barcelona), 24h.

4: Mestival -La Bàscula (Barcelona)

25: Festival Vitoria Territorio Visual (Vitoria)

23: Festival Paupaterres (Tàrrega)


Yabous Productions organizing The Arab Festivals Networking Conference at El Sharjah

East Jerusalem, Palestine – Under the slogan of “Ten
years of Bonding” Yabous Productions is planning to organize in 2005 a
number of events, some of which are the annual events that the Yabous
calendar regularly features (The Jerusalem Festival from 21- 30th of
July, The Film Festival 10-17th of June, The Jerusalem Concert Seasons,
etc.), and others are special events in celebration of ten years of
cultural and artistic communication with the International community and
the Palestinian public in particular.Despite the limited possibilities for interaction with the Arab World
because of the principled position of committed Arab artists against
normalization, the great drive to achieve Arab-Palestinian communication
will try to take new forms.

From 20 – 24 April 2005, the Arab Festivals Networking Conference
organized by Yabous Productions will be held in Sharjah under the
patronage of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi, Member of supreme
Council & Ruler of Sharjah, and official bodies including the
Palestinian Minister of Culture, Yahya Yakhlef, and the Minister of
Media and Culture of the Emirates, Abdullah Bin Zayed.

Many representatives and directors of festivals (The Arabic Music
Convention & Festival – Cairo, Jerusalem Festival, Fez, Salala, Mawazin,
Marrakech, Aghadier, Jerash, Byblos, Medina, Rabat, International
Bahrain Festival, Muscat, The Jordan Song Festival, International
Festival of Carthage, Sharja Biennial, Sour Festival and The
International Timkad Festival), as well as Palestinian and Arab cultural
organizations and production companies are invited to attend the
conference, together with renowned journalists from the Arab and
international media and art critics (Pierre Abi Saab, Magdi Ghoniem,
Antone Baroud, Fadi Matar, Marwan Sawaf, Barwein Habib, and Obedo Basha),
in addition to coordinators of European and international festival
networks and funding organizations concerned with Arab artistic
activities, and some renowned Arab artists living in their countries or
abroad (Marcel Khalife, Naseer Shamma, Tawfik Faroukh, and Fathi Salameh),
and a number of Palestinian artists (Suhail Khoury, Ahmad Khatib, Yousef
Hbeish and Ibrahim Attari).

The main topics of the conference sessions and workshops include
discussing the extent to which Arab festivals have contributed to the
development of original artistic Arab production and their role in
deepening and consolidating a sophisticated artistic culture amongst
Arab audiences and supporting Arab artists and disseminating their
artistic works.

The role of Arab festivals, cultural organizations, and funding
agencies in supporting Arab artists and promoting their work is another
topic to be highlighted in the conference, in addition to discussing the
level of coordination between Arab music festivals. Another main issue
is the contribution of the printed and audiovisual media in promoting
refined Arab music festivals and introducing them to Arab audiences, in
addition to looking at the possibility of expanding their scope of
concern in sophisticated festivals and the follow-up on the part of the
critical media, with special focus on the role that satellite TV
stations can play.

It is hoped that at the closing of the conference an ad hoc committee
will be selected to follow up on the formation of the forum for six
months, after which the first board for the forum will be elected.


Madrid Joins the WOMAD Franchise with WOMADRID

Madrid, Spain – The Spanish capital has added its name to the
growing list of WOMAD festivals held in Spain (WOMAD Canarias and WOMAD Cáceres). In a press conference, the

councilwoman for the Arts, Alicia Moreno; WOMAD’s artistic director,
Thomas Brooman; and the director for WOMAD in Spain and Portugal, Dania
Dévora, introduced the programming of the first edition of WOMADRID, which will
be held in May as part of the cultural programming of the San Isidro festivities
(San Isidro is Madrid’s patron saint).The festival will be held at La Casa de Campo park, May 20-22. WOMADRID
will have four simultaneous stages, as well as workshops, crafts and a space for
the NGOs that work in Spain. Alicia Moreno explained, “it will allow thousands
of citizens to enjoy a philosophy of respect to cultural diversity and the
harmonic coexistence between people from diverse places”.

WOMADRID will feature 19 artists from all corners of the world, such as Akim El
Sikameya (Algeria),
La Momposina
(Colombia), Asere (Cuba), Amjad Ali Khan (India), Wicked Aura
Batucada (Singapore), Enzo Avitabile & Bottardi (Italy),
(New Zealand/Pacific), Yasmin Levy (Israel), as well as Spanish groups
adio Tarifa
and Son de la Frontera.

WOMADRID will cost 10 euros per day or a three day pass for 18 euros. The
earnings from ticket sales will be used to fund an environmental project
developed by the city’s Environmental Department.

The multicultural Spanish metropoli also has a bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

[Photo: Femi Kuti].


Renowned Cuban Trombonist Juan Pablo Torres Dies in Miami

Cuban trombonist, composer and arranger Juan Pablo Torres died on Sunday
April 17. He was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor and had spent several days in
a coma. He was 58 years,

Torres was considered one of the most important Latin music trombonists of the second half of
the 20th century. He was known for his work in jazz and traditional Cuban music.
He worked with the biggest names in Latin music: Paquito D´Rivera, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri,
Arturo Sandoval and Bebo Valdés.

Juan Pablo Torres was born in Puerto Padre, Cuba, in 1946. He spent most of his
life in the island. In 1992 he defected while in Spain. He settled in Miami (Florida, USA). He recorded solo albums such as Trombone Man (1995), and Cuban Masters, Los Originales.

His last project took place in Spain. He arranged the song ‘Clara’, featured in
the movie Para que no me olvides.


Nigeria’s King Sunny Ade to headline New York’s Great African Ball

King Sunny Ade

New York City, USA – Graviton African Arts Network and African Hypertext, by special arrangement with Yoruba juju icon King Sunny Ade & His African Beats – one of Africa’s most storied dance bands – have announced the return of New York’s Great African Ball on Friday, April 29 at Roseland Ballroom. Doors will open at 9 p.m., with the performance to run – in the style to which patrons of this unique New York event have become accustomed in the six previous editions of the Ball – from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.The Great African Ball is a sister event – and a capstone – to the renowned New York African Film Festival, whose screenings will run from April 20 through April 28 this year, and whose year-round mission is to share the vision of African media-makers with audiences in the United States and throughout the world. For schedules and information, call 212-352-1720 or visit or (The Film Society of Lincoln Center).

On the foundation of his personal sound and charismatic aura, King Sunny Ade remains a towering figure in his country and in the Nigerian diaspora. After decades of steady success in Africa, Europe and the Far East, his rootedness in the storytelling, moralizing and praise-singing of juju remains the bedrock of his artistic personality, and his long-awaited return to New York for his first appearance at The Great African Ball promises to be special. (King Sunny Ade’s
last New York performance had been scheduled for September 12, 2001, at S.O.B.’s nightclub in SoHo, a short walk from the World Trade Center towers, but obviously that appearance could not have taken place. So Ade has not played in New York since 1999.)

The first Great African Ball, conceived by Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour, was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom on April 17, 1999 to a packed house of 3,500 patrons drawn from the ranks of New York City’s ever-growing African immigrant communities, “world music” fans and A-list showbiz personalities. (Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance in the crowd and insisted on joining N’Dour onstage. He was but one of many dignitaries in the audience.) The event was a six-hour celebration and a first. Not merely a “concert”, this was a full Senegalese “ball” – or “soirée dansante” – aimed to reflect the kind of unhinged performances N’Dour and his band give in their own club in Dakar, the Senegalese capital. (Needless to say, the performances that King Sunny Ade gives in Nigeria reflect a kindred spirit of enjoyment and wholesome abandon.) In the ensuing five years (four times at Hammerstein and once at Roseland), The Great African Ball has fulfilled the promise N’Dour made to his New York fans to make The Great African Ball an annual event.

With Youssou N’Dour passing the baton this year to his peer and good friend King Sunny Ade, once again an unmistakable “African feeling” promises to envelope the house for another marathon night of some serious social dancing.

King Sunny Ade will share the stage of this year’s Ball with his Igbo countryman, highlife luminary Prince Obi Osadebe, in a truly historic meeting of Yoruba and Igbo musical legends never before seen – not only in America but even in Nigeria.

The women, men, fashions, food, fragrances and verve of Lagos – and of Africa – will all be on offer, mingling with New York’s own homegrown African vibes in a genuinely special “Naija-style” evening, with the crowd as Ade’s co-star.

Tickets for The Great African Ball ($40 in advance, $50 on the day of the show) are available at all TicketMaster outlets (, at the Irving Plaza box office (17 Irving Place – 212-777-6800), and from selected merchants
in New York City’s several main African immigrant neighborhoods.

Roseland Ballroom is located at 239 West 52nd St., (West of Broadway, between Broadway & 8th Ave.) .


Sarajevo Blues

New York City, USA – Tzadik announced recently the release of Sarajevo Blues (Tzadik), from “vocal rebels
Jewlia Eisenberg and Charming Hostess
. It draws on Bosnian poetry to tell a story
of love and resistance, the nature of evil, and laughter by any means necessary.
A tour de force of vocal brains and brawn, Sarajevo Blues updates the sexy,
soulful sounds of 60s girl groups with the adventurous energy of the avant-garde
and the rhythmic propulsion of hip-hop beatbox. Self-described as a
“Nerdy-Sexy-Commie-Girlie band,” Bosnian National Radio has taken to calling
Charming Hostess, “The Sarajevo Supremes.”Composer/singer Eisenberg explains: “Charming Hostess pushes vocal boundaries
to tell complex stories in a visceral way. We use every aspect of the human body
to get sound: Voices and vocal percussion, hand claps and heart beats,
sex-breath and silence. I love writing for voices, because they provide the
entire palette of the human experience

Working with text by Bosnian poet Sem Mehmedinovic, Sarajevo Blues explores day
to day life under siege, slipping between humor and horror. Some songs speak
explicitly of war, and others of the joys of long underwear, café culture, and
underground sexuality. Along the way, Blues touches on nationalism, genocide,
freedom, and the life of an artist in times of constraint.

When you describe Sarajevo Blues it sounds heavy, but the poems contain the
ups and downs of everyday life—sometimes, ironically, within the same moment.
There’s emotional intensity hand-in-hand with dark humor, erotic action playing
off politics, fear mixed with glee. It’s an exciting challenge to express a
skein of feelings
,” Eisenberg notes.

The song “Death is a Job” rises to that challenge, juxtaposing doo-wop
jauntiness and choreography with what it feels like to confront a war
photographer waiting for a worthwhile shot. “War” is actually a love song, about
a birthday celebration with a single coffee bean, surrounded by flies in a
bombed-out apartment. “Grbavica” sings of the shelling of Sarajevo from the
graveyards above the city, from the perspective of a child picking violets from
the same cemetery.

As for why she chose to set the journalistic poetry of Sarajevo Blues, Eisenberg
says: “I wanted to explore three questions: Is an understanding of historical
parallels useful for changing the present and future? Is it possible, or even
desirable, to create emotional connections to brutal events that most Americans
will never experience? Can creating connections make change?

San Francisco’s art-diva sweethearts, the ladies of Charming Hostess sing with a
pan-Diaspora sensibility, inspired by doo-wop, Pygmy counterpoint, Torah
chanting, Balkan harmony and Sufi melody. Concerts sometimes feel like intimate
revivals–people laugh, cry and witness, even faint. Perhaps it is the music’s
empathy that explains the diverse crowds, peppered with refugees from around the
world. They come for the snappy, soulful sound that celebrates survival and joy
in dark times.

The story of the Sarajevo Supremes begins in Brooklyn. Eisenberg grew up in a
Black and Jewish commune in East New York, where her large set of parents were
labor and community organizers. Her upbringing continues to inform her work
today, as she comments: “My folks exposed me to what they called ‘people’s
music’ from around the world, especially from African and Jewish sources. It was
a musical culture– I was expected to lead songs on picket lines,
demonstrations, and meetings, to teach and preach. A lot of my preoccupation
with Diaspora consciousness and multiple voices in dialogue comes from my
oddball childhood. If you don’t mind hard-core Marxist indoctrination, it’s a
really nice way to grow up

Though leaving New York for San Francisco in a break from her own communist
regime, Eisenberg maintained her interest in “people’s music” by heading to
Eastern Europe to document women’s folk music in Bulgaria and Romania. “That’s
when I realized I didn’t want to be an ethnomusicologist; I wanted to be a rock
,” she says. Upon her return to the States, Eisenberg founded Charming
Hostess, she says, “to make lovely noise, play with text, articulate ideas,
and explore the emotional, erotic, and spiritual terrains that the voice can

Sarajevo Blues is Eisenberg and Charming Hostess’s second album on Tzadik.
Her critically acclaimed first album, Trilectic, explored the
political/erotic world of philosopher Walter Benjamin with wit and sensuality.
Charming Hostess has performed live with such luminaries as David Krakauer and
Fred Frith and has graced the stage internationally from Lillith Fair to


Sarajevo Blues


R.Carlos Nakai and Jack Miller to Be Inducted to Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame

Phoenix, Arizona, USA – In a press release, Canyon Records
announced that Native American flutist,
Carlos Nakai
and Grammy winning recording engineer Jack Miller, both
associated with Canyon Records for over two decades, will be inducted into the
Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 17th in Phoenix,

Nakai, of Navajo-Ute heritage, is considered the leading performer of the
traditional Native American flute and has been credited with leading its
renaissance. Nakai has released over thirty albums with Canyon Records since his
first Canyon release in 1983 with his output spanning genres from traditional
music to jazz, classical, new age and world.Two of his albums,

Earth Spirit

Canyon Trilogy: Native American Flute Music
, have earned Gold
Records (sales in excess of 500,000 units) and six have received Grammy
nominations. He is a past recipient of the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award and
numerous Native American Music Awards.

Miller, whose Jack Miller Productions has been a subsidiary of Canyon Records
since 2001, has been recording Native American music for over a quarter century
including many albums with Nakai. Miller earned a Grammy Award in 2002 for his
work on Bless the People by

Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike

Miller, considered by many the dean of recording engineers in the Southwest, was
nineteen when his family moved to Phoenix in 1953. He began in the music
business by establishing a music section in the variety store his family owned.
He later worked for Dawson Music, a combination music store, record label and
recording studio, until landing a job at Ramsey’s Recording studio (later Audio

In 1958 Miller made a name for himself by recording the sound known as the “twang
heard around the world
” for the single “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy. This
record went on to sell over a million copies and drew attention from major music
figures like Henry Mancini. Miller moved to Los Angeles where he recorded
Mancini, The Rolling Stones, The Limelights, The Monkees, Waylon Jennings, Wayne
Newton, and Sammy Davis, Jr. to name a few. Miller has recorded over 4,000
albums in his more than fifty-year career.

The Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame recognizes artists who grew up in
or started their careers in Arizona. Previous inductees include Wayne Newton,
Stevie Nicks, and Alice Cooper. Other inductees this year include Glen Campbell,
Waylon Jennings, Lew King, and Marty Robbins. Musical performances scheduled for
the event include R. Carlos Nakai, Glen Campbell, Jessi Colter, and The

Canyon Records, founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1951, produces and distributes
contemporary and traditional Native American music. For more information on the
label, its artists and for sound clips, visit or call (800)

For ticket information contact The Dodge
at 602-379-2888 or
at 480-784-4444.

[R. Carlos Nakai photo courtesy of Hershel Freeman agency].


Battle of the Salsa bands Round II: Bio Ritmo vs. Willie Gomez

Chicago, USA – The winner of February 26th Battle of the
Salsa Band between Hector Sliveira and Willie Gomez will face off
against Bio Ritmo on Saturday, April 16 10:30pm, at Hot house in chicago.
Tickets are: $15.

For the past twelve years, Bio Ritmo has treated audiences across
America to its own unique and inspiring vision of what a salsa band can
be. Beginning with its birth in 1991 as a rhythm driven drummer’s
ensemble, Bio Ritmo has sought to connect with its fans every second it
spends on stage and with every song it commits to record. With each of
its first three recordings Bio Ritmo introduced fans to entirely
different facets of its sound.Embracing the stripped-down and straight-up street-wise salsa sound so
rare in today’s contemporary Latin music scene, Bio Ritmo’s "old schools
with a twist" approach is converting skeptics and delighting dancers
across the globe.