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World music news from the editors at World Music Central

Brazilian Daniela Mercury Will Perform at Rock in Rio Lisbon

Daniela Mercury – Carnaval Eletronico

Portugal – Brazilian Superstar Daniela Mercury will be one of the stars featured on the World Stage in Rock in Rio Lisbon on June 5th. Daniela Mercury’s fame has extended beyond Brazil to Europe as well. The singer will perform the same night as Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Sugababes, Nuno Norte and Joao Pedro Pais during the large musical event.

The latest release from Daniela Mercury is titled Carnaval Eletronico, a fusion of Drum’n’bass, House, Techno, Lounge, Dub with typical Brazilian rhythms. One of the singles included is “Amor de Carnaval” (Carnival Love). Daniela started her career at the early age of 15, performing in bars in Salvador, Brazil. In 1988 she was background vocals in Gilberto Gil’s band. In 1992 she performed in front of a crowd of 20 thousand in Sao Paulo, one of the historic moments in her career. The songwriter was appointed by UNESCO as an “Artist in favor of Human Rights”.

The organization Rock in Rio Lisbon presented this week the whole infrastructure built at the Bela Vista Park in Lisbon, Portugal. The space designed for enjoyment and entertainment features more than 200 thousand square meters and will host the biggest musical event in the world, along six days divided in two consecutive weekends, from May 28th to May 30th and from June 4th to 6th.

World Stage confirmed bands:

– Paul McCartney – May 28

– Peter Gabriel, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Jet, Gilberto Gil and Rui Veloso – May 29

– Foo Fighters, Evanescence, Kings of Leon, Charlie Brown Jr e Xutos and Pontapés – May 30

– Metallica, Slipknot, Incubus, Sepultura and Moonspell – June 4

– Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Sugababes, Daniela Mercury, Nuno Norte and João Pedro Pais – June 5

– Sting, Alicia Keys, Alejandro Sanz, Ivete Sangalo and Luis Represas – June 6

The Roots Tent will showcase 20 bands and artists representing world music:

– May 28: Daby Toure (Senegal), Ensemble Kabul (Afghanistan), Rão Kyao (Portugal);

– May 29: At-Tambur (Portugal), Havana Abierta (Cuba), Thierry Robin (France ), Manu Dibango & Ray Lema (Cameroon – Congo);

– May 30: Manecas Costa (Guiné-Bissau), Terrakota (Portugal), The Klezmatics (USA), Angelique Kidjo (Benin);

– June 4: Faltriqueira (Spain), Trio Madeira Brasil (Brazil), Javier Ruibal (Spain), Souad Massi (Argelia);

– June 5: Regis Gizavo (Madagascar), Gaiteiros de Lisboa (Portugal), Joyce & Quarteto (Brazil), Nguyên Lê (Vietnam-France);

– June 6: Tucanas (Portugal), Amparanóia (Spain), Trio Curupira & Hamilton de Holanda (Brazil), Mariza (Portugal).

On the Electronic Tent by Smirnoff Experience, 72,000 watts of energy and 15 of the best DJ”s in the world will scratch and make people party all night long.

– May 28: Projecto D.O.J. (Portugal); Gilles Peterson (Switzerland) and David Mancuso (USA);

– May 29 – “House is a Feeling”: Felipe Venâncio (Brazil), José Luís Magoya (Spain), To Ricciardi (Portugal), Miss Barbara Tucker (USA) and Tedd Patterson
(USA);

– May 30 –“Techno World”: A Paul (Portugal), Angel Molina (Spain), DJ Anderson Noise (Brazil), Jim Masters (UK) and Jeff Mills (USA);

– June 4 – “Electro N’ Bass”: DJ’s Zig Zag Warriors (Portugal), Dj Kitten (Portugal), Adam Freeland (UK) and Dj Patife & Mc Cleveland Watkiss (Brazil/UK);

– June 5 – Carl Cox will play for 3 hours;

– June 6 – “Progressive House”: Felix daCat (Portugal), Desyn Masiello (UK), John Digweed (UK) and Dj Vibe (Portugal)

The Rock in Rio project goes beyond the concept of a music festival. The visitors will not only have the World Stage, the Electronic Tent by Smirnoff Experience and the Roots Tent, but also 14 daily hours of enjoyment, with an area denominated “Radical” , dedicated to sports; debates on the Better World Tent; and other attractions such as a food court and a mini shopping center.

The Social Project

The main focus of Rock in Rio Lisbon’s social project is centered on programs destined to improve the lives of children and youngsters. The Plan Childreach International with over 60 years of existence in 43 countries around the world, will be the benefited organization. With the objective of sponsoring the education and life quality of less fortunate children and their communities, the organization Rock in Rio already donated 250 thousand euros to this institution
and hopes to reach a million euros from ticketing. The SIC Esperanca also compromises to take part of the ticketing proceeds to different initiatives sponsored by the organizers of Rock in Rio Lisbon for benefit institutions recognized by their projects in favor of Portuguese children and youngsters.

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The Divas of New Fado

Lisbon, Portugal – Portuguese label Difference has released Divas Do Fado Novo, a compilation of female fado singers. It includes famous voices that coexist with others that practically make their debut in this recording: Ana Laíns, Liana and Raquel Peters. Each of the ten singers is represented by two songs. The booklet includes a short biographical summary and a photograph of each artist. Divas Do Fado Novo focuses on the contemporary side of Fado.

José Régio, famous Portuguese poet, once wrote “Fado was born one bad day. (…) as the sad sailor sang.” Those were the 1940s but, as Fado enters the 21st Century, it is not only about sadness, suffering, heartache and homesickness (or saudade, the Portuguese word with no proper translation to any other language). Fado has been absorbing the influences of the world that encircles it. While still paying respect to the tradition of the Portuguese national song, new instruments brought fresh air to its soul. A movement was born, and it became recognized as “Novo Fado.”

Track list:

01. Cristina Branco O Meu Amo”
02. Cristina Branco Assim Que Te Despes
03. Ana Sofia Varela Porque Voltas De Que Lei
04. Ana Sofia Varela Lágrima
05. Mísia Dança De Mágoas
06. Mísia Garras Dos Sentidos
07. Ana Moura Sou Do Fado, Sou Fadista
08. Ana Moura Guarda-me A Vida Na Mão
09. Liana Ternura
10. Liana Partindo-se
11. Ana Maria Sôdade
12. Ana Maria Beijo Da Saudade
13. Margarida Guerreiro Minha Terra É Linda
14. Margarida Guerreiro Irmã Sombra
15. Katia Guerreiro Asas
16. Katia Guerreiro É Noite Na Mouraria
17. Raquel Peters Ó Alma
18. Raquel Peters Lisboa De Encanto
19. Ana Laíns Fado Meu
20. Ana Laíns Gaivota (acapela)

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Sounding Out . . . The San Francisco Bay Area

Written by Jeff Kaliss

Lovely, charming, and irrepressible, San Francisco has long extended an enticing embrace to creative wanderers from other parts of the United States, as well as the wider world. The city helped spawn the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the Hippies of the 1960s and ‘70s, along with the jazz and rock with which these seekers celebrated themselves. Some sought roots in their new soil in the form of American
traditional music, and formed bands and venues to explore those roots; German expatriate Chris Strachwitz took that process further by setting up a label, Arhoolie, to preserve roots music, and a store, Down Home Music, across the Bay Bridge in El Cerrito, to sell his and others’ recordings. The spirit and setting of the late ‘60s also attracted international musicians such as Ali Akbar Khan of India, Hamza El Din of the Sudan, and Seiichi Tanaka of Japan, all of who moved here and began teaching students of all ethnicities. Crossover between world, jazz, and rock sounds was inevitable. Since then, the Beats and Hippies have aged, and there’s been no definable generation to take their place. But many of them have retained their region of residence and their musical preferences. And they’ve been supported in these preferences by an influx of new fans, festivals, venues, record labels, and resident world music artists who keep the sound of the San Francisco Bay Area eclectic and exciting.

LISTINGS

Alternative weeklies
sprouted in the Flower Power days and have bolstered their ad revenue and
respectability since then, but they remain a good source of information on cool
stuff. Check the music listings in the San Francisco Bay Guardian (online as
sfbg.com), San Francisco Weekly, East Bay Express, and the various regional editions of the Metro, including coverage of San Jose, Santa Cruz, and the North Bay. Listings and dollops of world music are heard on KPFA-FM (94.1 MHz), KUSF-FM (90.3MHz),
KALW-FM (91.7MHz), and KPOO-FM (89.5 MHz).

EVENTS
& FESTIVALS

The largest festival of Jewish music in Northern California is
presented in early Spring by the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, with
which you can connect at www.jcceastbay.org
and by phone at +1 510 848-0237. This Jewish Music Festival makes use of a
number of indoor venues around the Bay to showcase Yiddish, Sephardic, klezmer,
and other forms of world and classical music. In April, the Cherry Blossom US
Japan Taiko Festival, for which Seiichi Tanaka serves as Grand Master (see his
school’s site at
www.taikodojo.org
), sets its big drums up in the Kabuki Theater, 1881 Post Street in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood.

Outdoor events must deal with San Francisco’s unique climate.
Audiences in early May, aboard the venerable sailing ships docked at the
Hyde Street Pier for the Sea Music Festival, (+1 415 561-7100), may find themselves warmer than attendees at the summertime
Stern Grove Festival (19th Avenue & Sloat Boulevard, +1 415 252 6252), who must fortify themselves against possible seasonal fog with sweaters and blankets as well as picnic baskets. And the riotous annual Carnaval {sic} Parade through San Francisco’s Mission District had to be shifted from the days before Lent, when much of the tropical Christian-influenced world celebrates, to the warmer Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, for the comfort of participants scantily clad in the tropical fashions of South America and the Caribbean. For more about Carnaval, which this year reached its 25th anniversary go to www.carnavalsf.com, Even more eclectic is the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, which occupies the historic Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon Street, for three
weekends in June. Locally-based world music ensembles accompany the dancers, and
the array of sounds is as dazzling as the costumes. Several of the dance
programs are presented in partnership with Door Dog Music, which has also put
together the San Francisco World Music Festival at a variety of venues, with a special interest in Middle Eastern musics. In 2003, the Festival is set for the month of September in Yerba Buena Gardens, with entrances near Mission and Third Streets in downtown San Francisco.

VENUES
& PRESENTERS

A pair of places in Berkeley, in the East Bay, stand as survivors of
the halcyon ‘60s and ‘70s. The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse (1111 Addison
Street, +1 510 548-1761, www.thefreight.org
) hosts traditional and new-crafted American folk music with a bit of ethnic
stuff from elsewhere. The latter is better represented at Ashkenaz (1317 San
Pablo Avenue, +1 510 525-5054, www.ashkenaz.com
), where you can not only hear live African, American roots, Balkan, Caribbean,
Celtic, Cajun/Zydeco, and Middle Eastern bands but also learn how to dance to
them before the sets begin. La Pena Cultural Center, also in Berkeley (3105
Shattuck Avenue, (+1 510 849 2568, www.lapena.org
), favors Caribbean, Latin American, and politically progressive acts.

The University of California’s Berkeley campus is the location of
the headquarters and halls where Cal Performances (+1 510 642-9988,
www.calperfs.berkeley.edu
) includes such world artists as Ravi Shankar, Cesaria Evora, Paco de Lucia, and
Baaba Maal in its 2003/2004 season. A more specialized learning institution, the
Ali Akbar College of Music ( www.aacm.org )
, is located north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael, not far from the San
Anselmo offices of Moment Records (
www.momentrecords.com
), founded by the College’s former head of percussion, Zakir Hussain. Both Hussain and College founder and sarodist Ali Akbar Khan were early pioneers in the sort of fusion of world music with jazz and rock which is still active in the Bay Area, but the College also produces concerts of North Indian classical music at various local venues.

For fans who don’t mind staying up late in a party setting, there are several smaller San Francisco clubs, including the Elbo Room (salsa, samba, reggae, newgrass, and world groove, 647 Valencia Street, +1 415 552-7788, www.elbo.com ). Earlier in the evening, and at Sunday brunches, you can drink and dine on South American specialities at Peña PachaMama (1630 Powell Street, near the historic North Beach center of the Beat culture, +1 415 646-0018. Sukay, the Andean recording artists who established this combined eatery and performance space, perform during and after meals, as do other Andean and world musicians.

RETAILERS

The unassuming building at 10341 San Pablo Avenue, in El Cerrito,
north of Berkeley, is something of a world music factory. Upstairs are the
offices of Flower Films, from which Les Blank has produced a bouquet of
documentaries showcasing Cajun, Zydeco, Tex-Mex, and blues artists and their
lifestyles. Out back is Chris Strachwitz’s Arhoolie, which continues to issue
valuable recordings of these and other genres. And for fans eager to peruse and
purchase Strachwitz’s and Blank’s output and other albums, books, and
hard-to-find magazines, there’s Down Home Music (+1 510 525-2129,

www.downhomemusic.com

), the retail spin-off store front opened by Strachwitz in 1976. Savvy staff
will guide you though new and used cd’s and vinyl, and give you time in the
listening booths.

Right near the heart of the hamlet of Mill Valley in the North Bay,
Village Music (9 East Blithedale Avenue, +1 415 388-7400) offers customers a
similarly knowledgeable approach to reggae, Cuban, and Hawaiian music and
collector-quality European lp’s, as well as the rhythm-and-blues for which the
store is best known. Look for seasonal discounts and displays of music
memorabilia.

Much Middle Eastern music on cd and cassette is sold alongside
exotic videos, publications, spices, and foodstuffs at Semiramis (2990 Mission
Street, +1 415 824-6555) in San Francisco’s Mission District. San Francisco
stores with a wider selection of world music range from the neighborhoody
Streetlight (3979 24th Street, +1 415 282-3550,

www.streetlightrecords.com

) in Noe Valley and the Record Finder (258 Noe Street, +1 415 431-4443,
www.recordfinder-sf.com
) in the Castro to the spacious Amoeba Records (1855 Haight Street, +1 415
831-1200,
www.amoebarecords.com

) in the Haight-Ashbury, where wizened and would-be Hippies are still in
evidence. All these shops sell used as well as new recordings, as does the
well-stocked Rasputin (2401 Telegraph Avenue, +1 510 848-9004,

www.rasputinmusic.com

) in Berkeley.

For a deeper and geographically broader look at the fertile world
music scene in Northern California, e-mail the writer, Jeff Kaliss, at

jefkal@jeffkaliss.com
.

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World Music Grammy Nominees Announced

The World Music Grammy nominees for have been announced. The award ceremony is 8 February. For more information, see the Grammy Web site.

Best Traditional World Music Album:

  • Kassi Kasse – Kasse Mady Diabate
  • Jibaro Hasta El Hueso: Mountain Music Of Puerto Rico
    – Ecos De Borinquen
  • The Rain – Ghazal
  • Capoeira Angola 2 – Brincando Na Roda – Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho
  • Without You – Masters of Persian Music
  • Sacred Tibetan Chant – The Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery

Best Contemporary World Music Album:

  • Voz D’ Amor – Cesaria Evora
  • The Intercontinentals – Bill Frisell
  • Nothing’s In Vain – Youssou N’Dour
  • Specialist In All Styles – Orchestra Baobab
  • Live In Bahia – Caetano Veloso

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Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph Continue their 15-Year Collaboration with release of "In the Garden"

Yusef Lateef and Adam Rudolph - In the Garden
Yusef Lateef and Adam Rudolph – In the Garden
New Jersey, USA – Artistic director Adam Rudolph reunites with his longtime collaborator and mentor Yusef Lateef in the live 2-cd concert recording In the Garden, performed by the Go: Organic Orchestra, jointly released on the artists’ own Meta and Yal labels (distribution by City Hall & North Country). Since 1988, hand percussion innovator Adam Rudolph and the legendary multi reed master Dr. Yusef Lateef (ex-Dizzy Gillespie/ Charles Mingus/ Cannonball Adderly) have developed a process of composing collaboratively, and have recorded 12 albums together.

Their long history of exploring and creating innovative means of composing together fully ripens in In the Garden, the third concert recording of Adam Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra.In the Garden was recorded live in concert on March 1 & 2 of 2003 at the Electric Lodge in Venice, California. Rudolph improvisationally conducts the 22-member Go: Organic Orchestra, utilizing themes and cues which he and Lateef composed. This large woodwind and percussion ensemble includes elder master artists Bennie Maupin, Alex Cline, Munyungo Jackson and Ralph Jones, as well as musicians from classical, improvising and world music backgrounds. Percussion and woodwind instruments from around the world are orchestrated with Western clarinets, flutes and saxophones. In the Garden was created using unique compositional approaches including Rudolph’s concept of “Cyclic Verticalism,” and Lateef’s concepts of “Clustonics” and triple diminished and hexatonic scales. The pieces were composed with traditional Western notation as well as graphic scores and grids, and conducted with a series of hand signals developed by Rudolph.

“Nanna” is an improvised duet with Rudolph on handrumset and Lateef on tenor sax. “Morphic Resonance” features a viola/ flute/ percussion quartet composed by Lateef, alongside a flute quintet and a viola solo composed by Rudolph, which contextualize improvisational solos by Yusef Lateef on flute and Bennie Maupin on bass clarinet. The theme to “Lobelia, Euphorbia, Rock” was composed by Rudolph; it has a melody for three clarinets and a flute composed by Lateef; and it features solos by Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), David Philipson (North Indian bansuri flute) and Pablo Calogero (bass flute). The eleven minute “Amanita,” composed and performed by Rudolph in a 63 beat rhythm cycle, features solos by Lateef on flutes & tenor sax.

Unprecedented and uncategorizable, the music on In the Garden draws from sophisticated 20th century European compositional techniques, as well as African and Asian scales and instruments. These enchanting sonic environments are rooted in the creative American improvisational tradition, which Dr. Lateef has termed “autophysiopsychic,” meaning music which derives from the physical, spiritual and mental self. This ambitious and powerful project achieves an extraordinary freedom and unity, brought about through discipline and diversity.

Collaborations of Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph have fascinated and delighted audiences throughout North America and Europe with performances at the Northsea, San Francisco and Montreal Jazz Festivals. “Double Concerto” premiered at Symphony Space in New York City in 1988 with the Eternal Wind ensemble. “Double Concerto #2,” for 20 musicians, was performed at the California Institute of the Arts in 1989. “The World at Peace,” for 12 musicians, was commissioned in 1995 with a grant from the Meet the Composer/ Rockefeller Foundation/ AT&T Program in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts. “Beyond the Sky,” for 8 musicians, premiered in 2000 at Lincoln Center in New York in honor of Dr. Lateef’s 60 years of performing.

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The Gerard Edery Sephardic Song Book

The Gerard Edery Sephardic Song Book
New York, USA – The Gerard Edery Sephardic Song Book is now available. The highly anticipated song book by Sephardic singer/composer/guitarist, Gerard Edery, contains 40 musical gems from the Sephardic oral tradition. It includes ballads, songs of courtship, love and marriage, as well as liturgical pieces honoring Elijah the Prophet, Abraham and Moses, among others.

The song book also includes a 17 track accompanying CD, Ladino pronunciation guide, lyrics and translations, and a forward by renowned author/storyteller, Peninnah Schram. The songs are arranged in an easily readable format that highlights melody and guitar chords with suggested accompaniments. The collection includes both familiar and lesser known pieces such as Montañas Altas, Shalom Alechem Señores, La Roza Linda, Cuando El Rey Nimrod, La Comida La Mañana, Eli Eliyahu, Tus Cavellos Seda Son, Dúrmite Mi Alma and many more.

To order, go to: The Gerard Edery Sephardic Songbook: for Voice and Guitar

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Exploring Flamenco’s Arab Roots

By Greg Noakes

Flamenco music was born, and still lives, among the scenic green hills of Andalusia in southern Spain.

In recent years, however, some performers have moved beyond both the geographical and the stylistic boundaries of traditional flamenco to incorporate
a variety of new styles into their work. Paco de Lucía and Madrid’s Ketama have garnered critical praise – and the wrath of purists – with their jazz-influenced
recordings, while the Gipsy Kings have wedded pop to flamenco to win fans worldwide. Other performers have turned inward, searching for the obscure origins of flamenco, in hope of inspiration. What they have found are pervasive Arab influences, touching everything from the style of performance to the very
rhythms and scales of the songs themselves. And what they have produced as a result is a fusion of Spanish and Arab traditions that is both interesting and
inspirational.

The Arab roots of flamenco run deep. Though some scholars believe the word flamenco means “Flemish,” others think it is a corruption of the colloquial
Arabic felag mangu, meaning “fugitive peasant” and derived from a root meaning “to flee.” The term came into use in the 14th century, and was first applied to
the Andalusian Gypsies themselves, who were called either gitanos or flamencos.

Flamenco music dates back to the Middle Ages, a time of turmoil in the Iberian peninsula. The once-mighty Muslim kingdoms of al-Andalus were in a state
of slow but steady decline, while the Catholic powers of central and northern Spain steadily pushed south. The borderlands between the Muslim and Christian
realms were the scene of vibrant cultural exchange and artistic cross-pollination. Flamenco was born in these marches where Arabs, Jews, Christians and gitanos mixed freely.

The cante flamenco, or “flamenco song,” is characterized by lyric vocals, improvised dance and strongly rhythmic accompaniment. Although lighter forms
later developed, classic cantes jondos (“profound songs”) explore themes of sadness, pain and death. The cantes originally featured purely rhythmic
instruments or were sung a cappella, but the guitar came to be the principal flamenco instrument during the 19th century, when gitanos began to sing and
dance professionally in cafés and bodegas.

It was during this period that the term flamenco came to be applied to the gitanos’ music, and the rules and forms of the classical flamenco were established. Some 60 standard cantes from this period survive today, encompassing a variety of moods and themes.

Over time, however, a split developed between “classical” flamenco and the folk gitano style. Master musicians like Sabicas and Carlos Montoya raised
classical flamenco to a true art from with their expressive virtuosity, but less gifted singers and guitarists often sacrificed emotion for technical precision.
Carefully choreographed flamenco “spectacles” also narrowed the opportunity for improvised musical solos and dancing, leading some aficionados to charge that
flamenco, as an art form, was stagnant.

In reaction, many turned to the gitano tradition. Looser, less polished and more open to change than their classical flamenco counterparts, gitano artists
expressed the passion that is central to flamenco. Their style included fiery guitar improvisation, jaleo – complex rhythms hand-clapping, guitar-slapping,
finger-snapping and vocal outbursts – and the tradition of duende, the deep emotional participation of the performer.

As flamenco artists and critics began to explore the elements of gitano performance, they rediscovered the rich Arab influence in flamenco. The artform’s basic building blocs – sung poetry and music – were borrowed from the Arabs and Berbers who ruled al-Andalus from 711 to 4192, when the Moors were
expelled from Spain. T.B. Irving notes in his book The World of Islam, “Gypsy music and cante jondo go back to the zajal [sung Arabic lyric poetry] and
the five-tone scale.” The percussive elements of jaleo are still found in the folk music of North Africa and its reliance on drums, tambourines and
hand-clapping. The vocal conventions of flamenco can also be traced back to Arab precursors. For example, the vocalizations “Ay-ay-ay!” and “Ay-li-li!” are found
throughout gitano performance, usually in introductory or transitional passages, and come from the traditional refrains of blind Arab mendicants, “Ya ‘ain!” (O
eye!) and “Ya lail!” (“O night!”) respectively.

Indeed, cultural historian Lois Lamya’ al-Faruqi found few elements of flamenco untouched by Arab music. “The ornamental melodic style, the improvisatory rhythmic freedom, the sometimes ‘strange’ (to Western ears) intervals, the segmental structure, and the repeated excursions from and returns to a tonal center are some of the features that indicate Arab influence on cante flamenco,” according to al-Faruqi.

Exploration of flamenco’s Arab ancestry was reinforced by the rise over the last six decades of andalucismo, or Andalusian cultural nationalism. The 1930’s
saw the beginning of a re-evaluation of al-Andalus and the place of Arabs and Muslims in Spanish history and culture, as well as of Spanish ties to the Maghrib. “Previously, southern Spain had turned its back on North Africa,” according to Khalid Duran of the Free University of Berlin. “Those few [Spaniards] who had an idea of the greatness of Islamic Spain liked to believe that it was due to some very special kind of noble Arab from somewhere in the East, perhaps Damascus. Moroccans [they believed ] were nothing but uncouth tribals revolting against Spanish civilization.” Andalucismo grew steadily during the long dictatorship of Francisco Franco and truly blossomed after his death in 1975. Since that time, Spaniards have come to a new appreciation of al-Andalus and of Arab and Islamic culture.

The search for the sources of flamenco, and the rise of Andalucismo, bore fruit in the 1980’s and 1990’s with a series of stunning musical collaborations
between Spanish and Moroccan artists. Most of the Spanish participants are individual performers, including some of the most prominent singers and
guitarists working in the gitano style.

The Moroccans are mostly musical groups, principally the orquestas andalusi of northern Morocco. Like flamenco, Andalusi music had both classical and folk
traditions. Classical Andalusi music, whose forms were set down in 11th-century Cordoba, came to North Africa with the exiles of al-Andalus, and is
characterized by the nawba, a suite of music in a single melodic mode which grows progressively faster and includes sung poems. While Andalusi orchestras
are grounded in the classical nawbat, they also have been influenced heavily by Arab and Berber folk music, and often move easily between these “great” and
“little” musical traditions.

Musicians from both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar find in these joint performances a way to discover their musical roots, remember their cultures’ past triumphs and tragedies and explore their common heritage. The resulting Hispano-Arab music is extraordinary. Sinewy flamenco guitars lines weave between
the plaintive tones of the kamanjeh, a kind of Moroccan violin, underpinned by the frenetic clatter of castanets and a bedrock of darabukkahas, or Arab hand
drums. Lyrics are sung in both Spanish and Arabic, occasionally overlaid in a melding of languages and styles. For their selections, the artists have drawn on
both the flamenco and Andalusi repertoires, and play cantes flamencos and traditional Maghribi folk songs with equal dexterity. Attempts at musical
“fusion” often result in mere cacophony, but the roots common to flamenco and Andalusi music – and the abilities of the musicians involved – have allowed
these Hispano-Arab crossover efforts to attain majestic heights.

While much of this cross-cultural exploration has been done in informal sessions or live performances, several flamenco-Andalusi recordings have been
produced. Among the best are the collaborations of José Heredia Maya and Enrique Morente with the Orquesta Andalusi de Tetuan and Juan Peña El Lebrijano’s
powerful work with the Orquesta Andalusi de Tanger. All three recording exhibit the beauty and passion that can flower when top artists meet to exchange musical ideas and inspiration.

While much ground remains to be covered within the Arabo-flamenco tradition, some folk musicians are striking out on a different tack. The Valencian folk
group Al Tall has teamed up with the ensemble Muluk El-Hwa from Marrakech to explore the music of al-Andalus itself. The two groups have set Arabic and
Catalonian poetry from the 11th to 13th centuries to the rhythms, melodies and instruments of the western Mediterranean to produce appealing and inventive
music.

Hispano-Arab musical collaborations are both an attempt to revivify existing art forms and a reassertion of Andalusian-Arab Mediterranean traditions. Vincent
Torrent of Al Tall declares, “There is a special kind of Mediterranean sensibility and aesthetics. We believe…that a place must be found for this mode
of expression, particularly since we’re subjected to a veritable invasion by other aesthetics and sensibilities.”

Though flamenco performers and Andalusi musicians began their collaboration as a way to explore their own artistic pasts, they also have charted a path to
an exciting musical future. Along the way they have produced some outstanding music, broken down long-standing cultural and historical barriers and
demonstrated – in an era where some see only a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West – that there is room for cooperation and creativity.

[From Saudi Aramco magazine, November/December 1994 issue. Reproduced courtesy of Saudi Aramco Magazine.

Read more about flamenco:

What is Flamenco?
,

An Introduction to Flamenco Cante
]

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The Environmental Justice Foundation Presents African Summer in London

London, England – The Environmental
Justice Foundation
has organized a world music event in aid of EJF’s human
rights and environmental projects in developing countries.  African Summer takes
place on 7 November 2003 at The Garage on Highbury Corner, London, and features
two acclaimed acts, Modeste and Zuba.  

Modeste Hugues was born in Madagascar. His music and Malagasy
songs have generated a devoted following in London.  Modeste played acclaimed
sets at the Womad festival in 2002 and 2003. More info at
www.modeste.co.uk.

Zuba has been described as “One of Britain’s Best World Music Acts.”  The band’s members hail from Liberia, Uganda, Scotland, France and Spain. They recently supported Manu Chao at the Edinburgh Festival and have played with Papa Wemba, Femi Kuti and the Afro Celts. More info at www.zuba.co.uk. Also appearing will be Algerian DJ KADER http://www.saadoun.com.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a registered charity dedicated to empowering people in the world’s poorest countries to protect their environment and defend human rights. EJF provides training and equipment enabling partner
organizations to document and expose environmental and human rights abuses, promoting peaceful solutions, sustainable alternatives and leaving a lasting legacy.

Tickets are £10 and are on sale now from the credit card hotline 08701 500 044
(24hour), from 0870 906 3777 or online with
Ticketmaster (with booking fee).

There is no booking fee if bought in cash at Astoria box office (157 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EL 020 7434 9592). The venue has a 550 capacity.

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CD Haila Live Storms US Market

Haila Maria Mompie  - Haila Live
Haila Maria Mompie – Haila Live
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – The charisma and strength of Cuban singer Haila Maria Mompie made a sudden entry in the US market with the recording Haila Live. The US digital publication Salsa Power revealed that the Caribbean artist has imposed her style, backed by Canadian record companies that promote her.

Mompie is considered to be among the female singers with one of the most powerful ranges within Cuban music and her CD attests to it. In Haila Live she joins Cuban stars Issac Delgado, with whom she sings the bolero “Pensamiento,” and Chucho Valdes, and Mayito Rivera, singer of Los Van Van. Also participating are the David Calzado Orchestra, and Charanga Habanera, with whom she is promoting her latest productions in Japan. Dancers are able to feel “the energy and electricity” conveyed in the songs Haila and her musicians play. Haila Live includes songs like “Hoy me inclino,” “La rosa,” “Bemba colora,” “La sopa en botella,” “Sobre una tumba, rumba,” and the classics “Drume negrita” and “Que te pedi,” among others.

Buy Haila Live

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Playing in Interesting Times

Written by Susan T. Rivers

Ali Jihad Racy was five years old, at his mother’s knee, when he fell in love with music. “She played the violin. She used to help me put my fingers on the right spots.” A smile rounds his square face. It was from those gentle first lessons that Racy set off on his continuing exploration of traditional Arab music.

Now, the 51-year-old University of California ethnomusicologist is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on Arab music, credited with the preservation of centuries-old regional traditions. More than
that, he is a composer and musician in his own right. His performances on the ‘ud, buzuq and nay throughout the United States and the Arab world have introduced traditional Arab music both to western audiences and to a new generation of ArabsThe list of Racy’s achievements suggests a high-energy
personality: advanced degrees in musicology from the University of Illinois; hundreds of performances, including at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; compositions for films and television, including the 10-part British series The Arabs; and countless articles on Arab music.

Yet just hours before a recent performance in New York, Racy, gray-haired and stocky, is serene. Wearing a muted sport coat, tie and a crisp ivory shirt, he looks as if he belongs on campus in Los Angeles, rather than on stage.

He talks about his childhood in south Lebanon, where his mother and two uncles were violinists. “In my village there were many musicians. And my father, Salam al-Rasi, was a storyteller, and he had enormous influence on me,” he recalls. His father was also a folklorist, author of 10 books on folk literature, much of it collected locally. With his two brothers, Racy performed on Lebanese television and radio for several years.

War dispersed his family to England, the Arabian Peninsula, and the United States. “When I play in the Middle East now, a lot of older musicians who come to listen see that I am preserving traditional music that they feel is endangered in their own countries.” Racy’s voice is matter-of-fact. “But I also see a lot of the musical tradition still thriving, and younger generations of Arabs, all over the world, do appreciate their musical heritage.”

Racy matured as a musician in Beirut, where one of the most valuable lessons he learned, he says, was how, during a concert, improvisation flows from the relationships among the performers. Just as important, he adds, is the rapport between musicians and audience. In Arab concerts, he explains,
listeners participate with delighted cries and exclamatory gestures, creating a sort of dialogue, ore even communion. “In our tradition, these music connoisseurs were called sammi’ah. Without such individuals to respond, an Arab-music concert loses its soul,” Racy says.

His doctoral dissertation looked at the impact of the recording industry on the musical life of turn-of-the-century Cairo, a time when the recording of Arab music began to alter what had been largely an unwritten tradition. “A lot of musical traditions stay alive without musical notation –
some, in fact, despite notation
,” Racy smiles. “Ironically, traditions that have notation seem to have changed more than those that are oral.”

As a few years ago Racy and his wife, Barbara, a dance ethnologist, clinical psychologist and photographer, recorded music and folkloric traditions in Qatar and United Arab Emirates, at the invitation of the Arab Gulf States Folklore Center in Doha. His work included research into the
traditional healing ritual that uses music and dance.

That led Racy to his current examination of the ways music is used to create and sustain altered states of consciousness, or ecstasy. For the last few years, he has been at work on a book about the art of tarab, which deals with the emotional effect of music.

Racy’s subdued manner becomes animated when he turns to his instruments. He cradles them like children. Rising from his seat, he lifts his honey-colored buzuq off the bed and clasps it to his heart. His strong fingers hover over the instrument’s taut steel stings and, as he strums, the rich sound fills the room. Resonant chords hang for a timeless moment before they fade.

I perform tow particular music traditions,” Racy says. “One is the rural folk music I learned as a child – poetry singing and the folk instruments played at weddings. And the other is the urban music one finds in the eastern Arab world.” < In composition and performance, Racy also enjoys fusing the traditional Arab sound with other musical traditions through concerts and recordings with groups from diverse traditions. Recently, the distinguished Kronos Quartet, a Grammy-winning experimental ensemble, premiered Racy’s Zaman Suit, which he wrote specifically for Kronos based on the ageless traditions he knows so well.

It’s amazing how these world blends are bringing vitality to the music scene,” Racy says. “I have never recorded with such a variety of musicians – jazz artists, rock groups! – as I have in the last few years.”

All this cross-pollination indicated to Racy a broadening of American musical taste. “We’re living in a very interesting and lively time for all music,” he says.

Hours later, night has fallen and a run-down church off Washington Square is filling with aficionados who have come to hear Racy perform with Simon Shaeen and Mansour Ajami, both also noted Arab musicians. Talking the stage, Racy shed his sedate professorial air like an old skin; he even appears taller, more imposing, as if he has expanded physically. No longer shy and mild-mannered, Racy the performer radiates, captivating his audience and sweeping it with him on his musical journey. It is a journey he began a long time before this night, and which he will continue long after we have all gone home.

From Saudi Aramco magazine, September/October 1995. Reproduced courtesy of Saudi Aramco magazine.

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