All posts by World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central

Boban Markovic & Boris Kovac Become Ambassadors of the New Serbia

Berlin, Germany – This September, Boban Markovic, multiple winner of the “golden trumpet” at legendary Guca Festival of Brass Music, and “The king of Apocalyptic Cabaret,” Boris Kovac, will team up as official goodwill ambassadors of the new Serbia. Next to their road festival in several German cities yet to be announced, the “Days of Culture” under the joint patronage of the presidents of Serbia and Germany will also include various exhibitions (Aachen / Berlin / Dresden / Gütersloh / Wuppertal) as well as a film series (Berlin / Hamburg / Wiesbaden


Stern Grove Festival Announces 68th Season of Free Summer Concerts in the Newly Renovated Sigmund Stern Grove, June – August

San Francisco, California, USA – Stern Grove Festival announced its 68th Season of 10 admission-free concerts, every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. from June 19 through August 21, 2005 at the newly remodeled Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. Designed by renowned landscape architect, Lawrence Halprin, the $15 million renovation project completed this spring improved the facilities and patron
amenities, while preserving the natural beauty of the Grove for generations to come.Stern Grove Festival’s 68th Season is made possible with support from Major Sponsor Wells Fargo, Grants for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hewlett Foundation, and season media sponsors SF Weekly/East Bay Express, KPIX Channel 5, and SFGate

June 19 – Lucinda Williams and John Doe

Stern Grove Festival’s 68th Season kicks off with three-time Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Known for her eclectic blend of rock, country, and blues influences and evocative lyrics, Williams is releasing a live album recorded at the Fillmore in San Francisco and has been hailed as “America’s best songwriter” by Time magazine.

Crossing the boundaries of rock, blues, punk, and country, John Doe is a modern day renaissance man of music. Doe was a former member of the influential punk band X and recently released the critically acclaimed solo album, Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet.

June 19th’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Sigmund Stern Grove to the people of San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association.

Radio sponsor is KALW 91.7 FM.

June 26 – Ojos de Brujo and O-Maya

Stern Grove will come alive with the electrifying sounds of Barcelona sensation Ojos de Brujo. A progressive flamenco group, Ojos de Brujo combines flamenco’s traditional guitar and rhythms with modern urban sounds ranging from hip-hop, to Latin and funk.

Formed in the Bay Area in 1999, O-Maya is a 10-piece collective combining Afro-Latin and hip hop influences while incorporating samba, reggae, and salsa beats.

Radio sponsor is KPFA 94.1 FM.

July 3 – San Francisco Symphony

A Stern Grove tradition and an annual favorite, the San Francisco Symphony performs with conductor Edwin Ou*censored*er. Under the leadership of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, the Grammy-winning San Francisco Symphony has built a reputation as one of the finest and most innovative orchestras in the world.

July 3rd’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman and is made possible with support from the Rhoda H. Goldman Memorial Fund. Concert sponsored by Target. Radio sponsor is Classical 102.1 KDFC. Pre-Concert Talk with Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra at the Trocadero Clubhouse.

July 10 – Khaled “King of Rai”

with Don Was, Elan Attias, Walfredo Reyes, Jr., Cheb i Sabbah, and Special Guests

An international star, known as the “King of Rai,” Khaled combines modern rhythms with the traditional music of Algeria. Khaled will perform with Grammy-winning producer/musician Don Was, reggae singer Elan Attias, percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr., dj Cheb i Sabbah, and other special guests.

The lead singer of the Wailers, reggae sensation Elan Attias recently recorded a song with Gwen Stefani on the 50 First Dates movie soundtrack and is set to release a solo album.

A renowned and versatile percussionist, Walfredo Reyes, Jr. has performed with Santana, The Grateful Dead, Christina Aguilera, and more. A native of Algeria and a fixture on the San Francisco club scene, Cheb i Sabbah is a well-known producer and recording artist.

Presented in association with the Consulate General of France. Radio sponsor is
KPFA 94.1 FM.

July 17 – Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir

tern Grove Festival is proud to present the harmonies of internationally renowned vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Formed in South Africa in 1964, Ladysmith received worldwide recognition when they were featured on Paul Simon’s Graceland album. Since then, Ladysmith has won two Grammy Awards and has performed at the Olympics, the inauguration ceremony for Nelson Mandela, and at several Nobel Prize ceremonies.

Formed in 1993 and based in the East Bay, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir performs a capella renditions of traditional African American spirituals, along with soul, R&B, and gospel music.

Radio sponsor is KALW 91.7 FM.

July 24 – The Funk Brothers and Broun Fellinis

With more #1 hits than the Beatles and Elvis combined, The Funk Brothers bring their classic Motown hits to the Grove. The anonymous studio band providing musical backing on Motown classics like “Heat Wave”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, The Funk Brothers were featured in the documentary, Standing In The Shadows of Motown, and were given Grammy’s highest
honor, the lifetime achievement award in 2004.

Opening the afternoon’s performance will be the innovative and smooth sounds of Bay Area-based jazz and funk trio Broun Fellinis.

Radio sponsor is KBLX 102.9 FM.

July 31 – San Francisco Opera featuring Carol Vaness and friends

Stern Grove Festival is pleased to present the eagerly anticipated return of San Francisco Opera to the Grove. The performance features arias and ensembles from the best of Grand Opera, featuring one of San Francisco’s favorite divas, the internationally renowned Carol Vaness, joined by some of the most talented singers of the San Francisco Opera.

Concert sponsored by the Koret Foundation. This performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1957 to 1969. Radio sponsor is Classical 102.1 KDFC. Pre-Concert Talk in the Trocadero Clubhouse.

August 7 – Waldemar Bastos and Maria de Barros

“The voice of Angola,” Waldemar Bastos has gained worldwide recognition for his soulful singing, evocative lyricism, and blend of Brazilian, Portuguese, and African music. He has collaborated with Peter Byrne and released his first album on the Luaka Bop label.

The god-daughter of the famed “Barefoot Diva” Cesaria Evora, Maria de Barros enchants audiences with her stirring music and sultry voice. A native of Senegal, de Barros draws her inspiration from the island of Cabo Verde and mixes African, Cuban, Spanish, and Portuguese rhythms.

Radio sponsor is KALW 91.7 FM.

August 14 – BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Grove comes alive with the Cajun rhythms of the Grammy-winning group BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. Regarded as the best Cajun band in the country, BeauSoleil upholds the traditions of Cajun music while mixing in zydeco, Tex-Mex, folk, and even Caribbean rhythms.

Adding to this Bourbon Street bash is The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, known for their high-energy performances. Originally started as a traditional brass band, The Dirty Dozen incorporate jazz, bebop, funk, R&B, pop, and rock and have performed with Dave Matthews, Modest Mouse, and others.

August 21 – daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra and Youth Speaks Slam Champs

Stern Grove Festival closes its 68th Season with a bang when the innovative daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra takes the stage. Through brilliant orchestration and meticulous arrangement, the 60-piece daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra bridges the classical and urban music worlds.

Youth Speaks Slam Champs, winners of the national poetry slam competition, will perform original pieces. Youth Speaks is the premier youth poetry, spoken word, and creative writing program in the country.

Radio sponsor is KPFA 94.1 FM.

Outreach and Education Programs

In addition to the 10 mainstage performances, Stern Grove Festival invites the community to enjoy our free education and outreach events. The Festival’s outreach programs are sponsored by The Gap, Providian, the David B. Gold Fund, and the Stanley S. Langendorf Foundation. Each of the following events is admission-free.

Kids’ Days at Stern Grove

The Festival offers a free series of fun and interactive arts education programs for children ages 4-14. These programs are open to the public and admission free. Pre-registration is required. Contact Stern Grove Festival at 415.252.6252 or visit to register online. Presented in association with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

World Beats
When: Tuesday, July 12, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco

Hip Hop Expressions
When: Tuesday, August 16, 11:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.
Where: Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco

Hip Hop Expressions
When: Wednesday, August 17, 11:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.
Where: Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco

Youth Education Programs

The Youth Education Programs are open to the public and admission-free.
Pre-registration is required. Contact Stern Grove Festival at 415.252.6252 or visit to register online.

Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage Choir
When: Wednesday, July 14, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco

Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra
When: Thursday, August 11, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Where: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco

Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra
When: Friday, August 19, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Destiny Arts Center, 3900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra
When: Saturday, August 20, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Where: La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

Musical Conversations

Enjoy free, live performances and engaging discussions with artists at community venues.

When: Saturday, June 25, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street, San

Maria de Barros
When: Saturday, August 6, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Where: Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco

Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra
When: Wednesday, August 10, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Where: SFSU College of Extended Learning, 425 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San
Presented with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Pre-Concert Talks

Join in informative pre-concert talks with featured Festival artists at the Grove’s Trocadero Clubhouse. Pre-concert talks will take place on the following

July 3 Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra
July 17 Ladysmith Black Mambazo
July 31 San Francisco Opera
August 7 Maria de Barros
August 14 The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
August 21 Geoff Gallegos of daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra

Blood Drives

Stern Grove Festival and Blood Centers of the Pacific invite patrons to donate blood at the Trocadero Clubhouse on June 26, July 10, and July 24. Your donation can help save lives.

Admission and Access to Stern Grove Festival

All concerts begin at 2:00 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard (in San Francisco’s Sunset/Parkside district). Sigmund Stern Grove is a beautiful meadow surrounded by towering eucalyptus and redwood trees.

Admission to all Stern Grove Festival events is FREE; no tickets or advance reservations are required. Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early for the best lawn seating and may bring picnics, low beach chairs, and ground covers. Tall chairs, beach umbrellas, and pets are prohibited in Stern Grove during concerts. Patrons may be required to restrict the size of blankets or tarps due
to space limitations. Unoccupied blankets are subject to removal. Designated benches are reserved for seniors over the age of 65 and disabled persons with one guest until 30 minutes prior to concert time. To ensure the safety and comfort of patrons at each performance, the concert meadow will be closed to further admission if capacity is reached. Patrons are not guaranteed seating in the meadow.

Food and drinks are available from the Festival’s commissaries. Free shuttle service within the Grove is provided to seniors and disabled patrons. Limited parking is offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the Vale Avenue entrance to Stern Grove off Sloat Boulevard.

Sigmund Stern Grove is a 33-acre recreation area with meadows, picnic facilities, hiking trails, and a lake. The audience is advised to come prepared for both sun and fog.

For more information visit the Stern Grove Festival website at or call (415) 252-6252.


Legendary Cape Verde Vocalist Cesaria Evora Performs at Harbourfront Centre Pier Party on Thursday June 30, 2005

Toronto, Canada – Harbourfront Centre will present a Pier Party
concert at the CIBC Stage by internationally acclaimed vocalist Cesaria Evora on
Thursday June 30, 2005. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 day of performance.
Advance tickets can be purchased through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office by
calling 416-973-4000 or by ordering on-line at Party concerts take place at Harbourfront Centre’s CIBC Stage at 235
Queen’s Quay West in Toronto, Canada. Doors open at 7 p.m. with opening acts
performing at 8 p.m. Headline acts play from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For public information also call 416-973-4000 or visit

What is a Pier Party? – While the majority of CIBC Stage concerts are free
admission, Pier Party concerts are ticketed events where the area, including the
Pier surrounding the CIBC stage is gated into a fully licensed event space.


Popkomm Launches 2nd Annual “Innovation in Music & Entertainment Awards” (IMEA)

Popkomm_2005Berlin, Germany – Popkomm, one of Europe’s largest music industry trade shows and conventions, announced recently the formal opening of the application process for its Second Annual Innovations in Music & Entertainment Awards (IMEA), to be held in Berlin on September 14, 2005, on the first day of the annual Popkomm show (September 14-16, 2005). The awards recognize both individual and corporate leaders in bringing technology solutions to music artists and consumers. Last year’s winners were PlaylouderMSP, Kodime and Jukecharts. Popkomm-IMEA will accept nominations until July 12, 2005 via"As evidence of the appeal and weight of the IMEA awards after their debut
last year
," said a Popkomm press release. "Popkomm is delighted to
announce that Billboard Information Group and Billboard Magazine have joined
forces with Popkomm as a global media partner, with particular emphasis on the
IMEA project

Billboard London Bureau Chief and Global Editor Emmanuel Legrand will join as a
member of the Popkomm-IMEA jury now in formation; Popkomm-IMEA expects to
empanel the rest of the jury by mid-May. Billboard co-executive editor Tamara
Conniff confirmed, "Billboard is thrilled to partner with Popkomm and IMEA,
reflecting Billboard’s commitment to its international audience
." Adds Katja
Bittner, Director of Popkomm, “An event of this magnitude would be incomplete
without Billboard’s blessings and active participation. Billboard simply is the
industry’s information and communication hub, and we are delighted to be able to
announce this relationship, both for Popkomm in general, as well as for the IMEA
project in particular

The idea behind Popkomm-IMEA is to present the brightest new music and
entertainment business ideas to a jury of distinguished industry experts and an
audience of industry professionals, media representatives, and potential
investors or strategic partners.

Gerd Leonhard, originator, Chairman and Executive Producer of Popkomm-IMEA
comments: “The music and entertainment industry is going through a
transformation made possible only by the very technology that a couple of years
ago burnt investors’ fingers – the Internet. We are now, again, seeing many
strong start-ups and mature technology entrepreneurs gearing up in the music,
media and entertainment sectors all over the world, and there are attractive
investment opportunities to be considered. Until last year, these ventures
really had very few dedicated launch pads to call their own – Popkomm-IMEA now
offers that opportunity, and you’ll see tomorrow’s success stories here in

For 2005, IMEA expands into an all-day affair and will present five finalists in
each of three categories: Mobile Music & Entertainment; Digital Music &
Entertainment Innovations and B2B Solutions; and Live Music and Marketing
Innovations. These categories also correspond with the main themes of this
year’s Popkomm Congress. Before the event, the IMEA2005 blog will feature some
of the hottest new companies in this space on a daily basis.

Popkomm-IMEA is a joint project of Popkomm GmbH and Gerd Leonhard, CEO of
ThinkAndLink (TAL), a digital music & media advisory agency, based in Basel
(Switzerland) and San Francisco, USA. Leonhard will again serve as Chairman and
Executive Producer, with TAL-Partner Kelli Richards serving as Co-producer and
U.S. representative, and TAL-Partner Wim Reijnen serving as Asia representative
in Bangkok, Thailand. In addition, Popkomm-IMEA has retained the services of BWR
Public Relations (Los Angeles) and Ogilvy Public Relations (Los Angeles).

About Popkomm

The 17th Popkomm will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from September
14-17; numerous trade visitors from all over the world are expected to attend
this well-established business platform for the music and entertainment sectors.
With its Exhibition, Festival and Congress sections Popkomm provides three
forums for the participants, who represent not only the core sector of the music
business but also come from a number of other associated fields such as
advertising, film, fashion, consumer electronics, mobile entertainment and the
live entertainment sector. The official 2005 partner country is Spain. Popkomm
2005 is organized by Popkomm GmbH, Berlin, a subsidiary of Messe Berlin GmbH.


Rock, Latin, and Electronica, the Experiences of Charanga Cakewalk

Bloomington, Indiana, USA – Coinciding with his Spring 2005 tour, the man behind Charanga Cakewalk, Michael Ramos, talks about his experiences and the new album, Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge (Triloka Records).

As a kid growing up in a Texas small town, I’d hang out with my buddies in
front of school
,” Michael Ramos recalls. “We’d listen to Bad Company and talk
about all the rock groups of the day. And my mom and aunt would drive up with
Mexican music blaring out of the radio. I remember slinking down in the back
seat. My mom would say, ‘You shouldn’t be ashamed.’ But try to tell a
13-year-old kid not to be embarrassed by his family. The fact that this crossed
cultural boundaries made it that much more difficult

But now I really feel bad for people who only experience one type of music,”
says Ramos. “There’s so much out there. And that has always been something I
have thrived on. As a kid, I might have felt a little strange. But now when I
look back, I think, ‘What a great foundation.’ I pulled all those influences
along, from classical piano training and the Latin music my grandparents played,
to the Beatles, Rolling Stone, and Dave Clark Five records my dad would buy. It
all came together as I got older

What was originally a studio project has become a touring act; opening for an extensive Patty Griffin tour. Ramos
has played regularly as part of Griffin’s band (he produced the title track for
Griffin’s Grammy-nominated

1000 Kisses
), so it made sense to have Charanga
Cakewalk open on the tour.

The name Charanga Cakewalk—also a song on the album—came from a sign in a church
parking lot spotted by a friend of Ramos. The CD title, Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge, combines the name of a Mexican-style bingo with the name of Ramos’
recording studio, the Cumbia Lounge. “When I see people who have found true
love, I think finding true love is like winning the lottery
,” Ramos explains.
It happens, but it doesn’t happen to everyone every day.”

I love the Mexican groove form cumbia and based a lot of the songs around the
cumbia groove
,” says Ramos. “So that’s what I named my studio. Not lounge in the
sense of remix CDs or chill out music, but simply a place to hang out. Even on
tour, that’s the name of my dressing room where I have my candles burning and my
mobile studio. Cumbia Lounge is wherever I am making music

Ramos has taken his time with releasing his own record, partly because he has
been so busy touring with Griffin and Mellencamp, but partly because he is a
cautious musician. “I really hate it when I am in the car with someone and a
song comes on the radio and they say ‘That’s the sound from the Yamaha Motif’ or
‘I have that sound in my keyboard too
,’” Ramos says. “I like using real
instruments, to make it as organic as I can. But sometimes you can’t do that, so
I try to alter all the keyboard sounds and make them my own, instead of
recording with whatever they give you. I try to make it where people cannot
recognize where the sounds are coming from. Sometimes you don’t know whether it
is a keyboard, a sample or the real deal

It took Ramos a long time to acknowledge that people—especially the big-name
musicians with whom he worked—saw him as an accordion player. He kept doing it
because the versatility of keyboards and accordion helped him get gigs. “One of
my biggest complaints about the accordion is some people want me to play it all
the time. If you put on blue sunglasses, you say that’s pretty neat, but after
you have had them on for 30 minutes, you forget all about it; your eyes adjust
to it. And it is the same with your ears. You have to use accordion sparingly
for a good effect

The world has had a lot of bad news in the last four years,” says Ramos. “At
one point I felt we were all sort of depressed and bummed out about the state of
things with our planet, so I just wanted to make music that makes people feel
good. I wanted to keep it on an airy, light note. Some songs are serious, some
are born from pain, and they all come from the heart. But I just wanted people
to relate to it on an essential level

[Read the CD review

A Cakewalk on the Latin Side

buy the CD

[All photos courtesy of Triloka Records].


Charanga Cakewalk Electrifies Cumbia on Spring 2005 National Tour

Bloomington, Indiana, USA – Austin’s emerging cumbia-tronic
project , Charanga Cakewalk, is touring the United  States. The man behind
Charanga Cakewalk,  Michael Ramos, has fully embraced the diversity of his
life experience. Ramos’ background in rock, Latin, and electronic music all come
into play on Charanga Cakewalk’s debut solo outing, Lotería de la Cumbia
(Triloka Records). >While most of his musical career has been dedicated to providing keyboard and
accordion expertise to the likes of John Mellencamp, Patty Griffin, Paul Simon,
the Bodeans, and the Rembrandts, Charanga Cakewalk allows Ramos’ unique
cross-cultural experience to shine.

Tour 2005 (opening for Patty Griffin)

05/06/2005 Boston, MA Orpheum

05/07/2005 New York City, NY Webster Hall

05/10/2005 Washington DC Club

05/11/2005 Norfolk, VA The Norva

05/12/2005 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle

05/13/2005 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse

05/14/2005 Nashville, TN Ryman

05/17/2005 Austin, TX Stubbs


African Music Legend Hugh Masekela’s New Album Draws Inspiration from Leading Masters of Kwaito Music

New York City, USA – South African music legend and world music
pioneer Hugh Masekela defies categories once again on his new CD, Revival (HUCD 3093), to be released by Heads Up International on May 24, 2005. Still
riding high on the acclaim surrounding his recent autobiography,
Still Grazing : The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela
(co-written with Michael Cheers), this first new album in three years finds him
in the company of South Africa’s most talented young producers and musicians. On
Revival, the horn player/ vocalist/songwriter draws much of his
inspiration from the arranging styles of Kwaito (pronounced kwite-o) music
exponents, Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, jazz, and rhythm and blues.

Kwaito is going to be around for a long time. It’s going to become
an integral part of South African mainstream music. It’s the core of the feeling
of today’s township youth
,” said Masekela in the album’s press release.Kwaito is music with a message, a style that emerged following the end of
apartheid in the early 1990s as people felt freer to express their true feelings
about the quality of their lives without fear or imprisonment. Kwaito, slang for
“ferocious,” “hot-tempered” or “awesome,” was initially promoted by small,
independent record labels in South Africa. Since that time, Kwaito has become
the voice of urban youth in new South Africa.

Two of the most talented young master-producers from the Kwaito world, Zwai
Bala of TKZee fame and Godfrey “Guffy” Pilane, had made a fan out of me with the
cross-section of wonderful productions they had success with over the last
decade because they were prolific, versatile and extremely gifted
,” Masekela
says in his liner notes, “I sincerely felt that a collaboration with them
would bridge the ridiculous category gap that separated us and result in a truly
and proudly South African product

On Revival, the South African music giant fires up his flugelhorn and
cornet with six originals: “Woman of the Sun,” “Spring,” “Smoke,” “Sleep,”
“Working Underground” and “Open the Door.” Most of Revival’s twelve tracks focus
as much on Masekela’s voice as his widely praised horn-playing.

The soothing opener, “After Tears,” features his trademark catchy rhythms and
jazzy horn lines, as well as the guitar work of Jimmy Dludlu, whom Masekela
considers to be one of the greatest living guitarists. Merging jazz, funk and
pop, Masekela and his group lock into a supple groove on Hotep Idris Galeta’s
“District Six.” Other highlights include Zwai Bala’s “Fresh Air” and an
instrumental version of the Isley Brothers’ “For the Love of You.”

Born near Johannesburg in 1939, Hugh Masekela made a remarkable journey from
apartheid South Africa to the music scene in New York City, where he struck gold
with his instrumental pop hit, “Grazing in the Grass.” However, Masekela was
also one of the leading crusaders against apartheid. His collaborations with

Miriam Makeba
and his groundbreaking early albums help bring traditional
South African music to the mainstream jazz audience.

Masekela studied at the Guidhall School of Music, then the Manhattan School of
Music. During the early 1960s, his career began to explode. He recorded for
Chissa, MGM, Mercury, Universal, Motown, A&M, Warner Brothers, Jive Records and
Sony Music, developing his powerful blend of jazz, funk and afro-beat. He has
released over forty albums and has performed with artists as diverse as Dizzy
Gillepsie, The Crusaders, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Sarah Vaughan, Ella
Fitzgerald, Santana, Paul Simon, Stan Getz and Herb Alpert. Masekela conceived
and composed the music for the Broadway smash musical Sarafina with
actor/director/songwriter/playwright Mbongeni Ngema.

After all his commercial success, Masekela eventually returned to his
transformed homeland, where he continues to be an important force in the world
of music.

Over the years, Masekela’s horn has been a call to freedom and a celebration of
the resilience of his people. Rejoicing at the demise of apartheid, Revival is the latest release in the 2005 Heads Up Africa series, a critically acclaimed
collection that spotlights some of Southern Africa’s finest vocalists and

Upcoming tour dates:

6/12 Wilmington, DE, Wilmington Jazz Festival
6/18 Toledo, OH, Toledo Jazz Festival
6/23 Brooklyn, NY, Celebrate Brooklyn Festival
6/24-26 Boston, MA, Sculler’s
7/7-10 Oakland, CA, Yoshi’s
7/24 Los Angeles, CA, The Hollywood Bowl
8/11 Seattle, WA, The Triple Door
8/17 San Diego, CA, Long Beach Jazz Festival


MerleFest 2005 Draws Record Participation of 82,666

Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA – An extraordinary line-up
greeted record crowds to MerleFest 2005, the 18th annual festival in celebration
of the music of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson. Wilkes
Community College presented the event on April 28 – May 1 on its campus in
Wilkesboro, NC. MerleFest again drew an enormous audience with a preliminary
estimated total participation including volunteers and school children of
82,666. This surpasses last year’s 81,592. Paid attendance increased by 0.8%
over 2004 to 39,595 including a gain of more than 2500 in Sunday tickets. Wilkes
Community College will present MerleFest 2006 on April 27 30, 2006.A preliminary estimate calculates that the regional economic effect of MerleFest
2005 will reach $14,554,991. MerleFest 2004 had an estimated impact of
$13,749,915, two years after 2002’s record $15,045,673. Proceeds from MerleFest
have permitted Wilkes Community College to make numerous capital improvements,
including the Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Garden for the Senses, the Doc & Merle
Watson Theatre, fiber-optic wiring for the campus, and the endowment of
scholarships for its students. MerleFest has pledged $920,000 to the Next Step
Campaign, the first phase of which includes the Science & Technology Building
for which ground was broken on March 22, 2005.

MerleFest 2005 offered food, crafts, family and children’s’
activities, and performances by nearly 100 Americana music acts, including Doc
Watson and Merle’s son Richard, Balfa Toujours; BR549, Sam Bush; The Chieftains;
John Cowan Band; Rodney Crowell; Donna the Buffalo; the Duhks, Béla 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.

Steve Fishell, Caroline Herring, Hayes Carll, and Darrell Scott judged the
finals of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, which attracted a record 1154
entries, 250 more than 2004. First round judging from submitted recordings
produced twelve finalists who competed with the following results. General
Category: 1st: “Living in the Good Ol’ Days” by Zane Williams, Nashville, TN;
2nd: “Lay On The Tracks” by Stephen Simmons, Nashville, TN; 3rd: “Please Love My
Baby” by Connie Leigh, Newport, AR; Bluegrass Category: 1st: “T.V.A.” by Sam
Quinn, Johnson City, TN; 2nd: “Behind Those Big Closed Doors” by Connie Leigh,
Newport, AR; 3rd: “Old #9” by Randy Barrett, Falls Church, VA; Country Category:
1st: “Hurry Home” by Zane Williams, Nashville, TN; 2nd: “Traded My Diamond” by
Korby Lenker, Bellingham, WA; 3rd: “O.K.C.” by Paul Kelly with Salvatore Guido,
Jr., Santa Fe, NM; Gospel Category: 1st: “That First Stone” by Mike Finders,
Iowa City, IA; 2nd: “Lessons of the Book” by Lorraine Jordan, Garner, NC; 3rd:
“Start with Amazing Grace” by Zane Williams, Nashville, TN.

First place in the Doc Watson Guitar Championship went to Chris Hale of
Blacksburg, VA, with Brandon Davis from Independence, VA yet again taking second
and 2004 Mandolin champ Scott Pearson of Warren, PA finishing third. Bruce
Stockwell, Putney, VT, captured the Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship.
Donnie Little of Claremont, NC took second, as he did in 2004, with Mount Holly,
NC’s Alana Nicole Flowers third. 2004 runner-up Spencer Strickland of Lambsburg,
VA won the MerleFest Mandolin Contest, followed by Dominick Leslie, Evergreen,
CO, and Rebecca Lovell of Calhoun, GA.

MerleFest 2005 benefited from partnerships with 97 sponsors, including major
sponsors: Al Moss Promotions, American Express,, Burger
King, C&J LP Gas Company/G&B Energy, Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe/TKL, Charter
Communications, Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock, Collings Guitars, Curtis Media,
Deering Banjo Company, Fender USA; GHS Strings; Gibson Musical Instruments,
Hardees/Dermox, Homespun Tapes Ltd., iBluegrass & The Acoustic Network, JBL, J
D’Addario & Co, John Pearse Strings, Kaffe Magnum Opus; Lowe’s Home Improvement
Warehouses, Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC, Sprint, Stelling Banjo Works, Sugar
Hill Records, Taylor Guitars, Tyson Foods, Inc., Western Beat Entertainment,
WFMX-FM 105.7, Winston-Salem Journal, WNCW Public Radio, and WUNC 91.5 FM. Total
Sponsorship support reached a record $430,897, including $181,190 in cash.

More than a week before its April 28 start, MerleFest 2005 had received
74,459,275 impressions in more than 1350 published articles in publications from
more than 35 states and three foreign countries. The previous MerleFest record
was 34,753,953. Public television system UNC-TV rewarded pledges with 360
MerleFest 2005 tickets. Ninety-seven radio stations in 16 states and Canada
participated in MerleFest 2005 promotions, giving away $86,290 worth of tickets
to their listeners. Including media sponsorships with that total, MerleFest 2005
bartered for $184,550 worth of radio airtime, magazine, website, newspaper, and
cable TV advertising. XM Satellite Radio and Wilkes Community College station
WSIF again broadcast live from MerleFest.

MerleFest’s website,,
received a complete overhaul for MerleFest 2005. Between November 9, 2004 and
April 25, 2005, the MerleFest site received 10,486,436 hits from 303,200
visitors, an average of 1804 visitors per day. In early April we posted the .pdf
files of the MerleFest Program and Pocket Schedule to the web. During less than
three weeks, visitors downloaded 22,877 copies of the Program and 15,047 copies
of the Pocket Schedule. While more than 95% of the visitors came from American
addresses, the MerleFest site drew visitors from 96 countries, including almost
4100 from the United Kingdom, 746 from Australia, and 644 from China.

The smooth operations of MerleFest 2005, the 18th annual festival in celebration
of the music of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson at Wilkes
Community College, resulted from a coordinated team approach to managing the
event, according to WCC Dean of Development B. Townes, who serves as Interim
Festival Director. “I want to take this opportunity publicly to congratulate
and thank the Development staff and other key Wilkes Community College employees
who served as the lead for demonstrating exceptional team work in producing
MerleFest 2005. By using teams that parallel each component of MerleFest, we
have achieved greatly enhanced communications and collective problem solving.
Additionally, we are fortunate to have the support of thousands of volunteers,
clubs, and organization who work tirelessly before, during, and after the event

[Photo 1: Doc Watson, Photo 2: Railroad Earth].


Enter the 2005 International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Nashville, Tennessee, USA – Now in its fourth year, ISC is an
annual songwriting competition that provides songwriters and musicians the
opportunity to gain exposure in the international arena. The awards include $100,000 in cash and prizes. ISC offers its entrants
the unprecedented opportunity to have their music heard by some of the most
prominent members of the music industry. ISC’s judging panel includes
high-profile industry professionals and celebrities encompassing a diverse
spectrum of musical genres.

The ISC includes a world music category.

, an artist from Madagascar, now based in London (England), won in
the world music category in 2005. 2005 Competition Update:

ISC’s is now accepting online entries! Powered by Sonicbids, ISC’s online
submission process is easy and convenient, and saves you time and money on
postage. All online entrants will receive a complimentary Sonicbids 6-month
membership. Enter Online Now

Participants may also send their entries by mail if preferred. Visit
for an entry form.

2005 ISC Judges include:

Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); LeAnn Rimes; Macy Gray; Tara Griggs-Magee
(Executive VP Gospel/Urban Music, Sony Records); Michael McDonald (President,
ATO Records); Chris Parr (VP of Music Programming & Talent Relations, CMT);
Barbara Sedun (VP Creative, EMI Music Publishing Canada); and many more to be

In addition to a total prize package of $100,000 in cash and merchandise, ISC
winners also benefit from a multi-lateral promotion campaign designed to
heighten awareness and increase exposure for their songwriting, and most
importantly, to help them further their careers.

Deadline for submission is October 14, 2005. Visit for more information.

2005 Sponsors: Alphabet Arm Design, FYE, Music Registry, Mediaguide, Sam Ash
Music Stores, Sibelius, and Sonicbids.


Worldstock 2005 – "A World of Music in Los Angeles\"


Los Angeles, California, USA – Worldstock 2005 is an all-day celebration of music, art, and culture produced by the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Ethnomusicology Undergraduate Student Organization (EUSO). The event includes swimming pools, delicious food, and nine bands playing music from all over the world, including California’s own reggae sensation Groundation. The festival is free. Featuring music from:
Africa – Star Afrisound
Asia – UCLA Korean Drum Ensemble
Europe – UCLA Bulgarian Women’s Choir & Balkan Jazz Ensemble
North America – UCLA Latin Jazz Ensemble, Boku, & Groundation
South America – BatUCLAda & Capoeira Batuque

Location: UCLA Sunset Canyon Recreation Center
Time: Saturday May 7, 2005 from 12 noon to 7pm

Bring swimsuits and towels for the pool, blankets for the lawn
Families encouraged
Picnic lunches are OK. Food will be available for purchase, too.

No alcoholic beverages, glass bottles, umbrellas, lawn chairs, sharp knives or
grills allowed.
Sunset Recreation Center is a non-smoking venue.

On-Campus Parking is available for $7. UCLA map and directions:

Funded by ASUCLA Student Interaction and USA Programming Fund, Campus Program
Committee of the Program Activities Board, Office of Residential Life, and the
UCLArts School of Arts & Architecture.

[Groundation photo courtesy of  Groundation].