Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Omiri

Omiri

Omiri is the project of Portuguese multi-instrumentalist and composer Vasco Ribeiro Casais. Omiri combines Portuguese traditional folk music with electronics and stunning live visuals.

In 2019, Omiri released Alentejo Vol.I: Évora. Invited by the Évora City Council, Omiri collected the traditions, arts, cante (traditional singing from Alentejo), crafts and rituals of the local people with the goal of creating a unique show and an album. The project features the cowbell craftsmen, weavers, sculptors, singers, washerwomen, the Cante Alentejano, typographers, barbers, carpenters, cobblers, the campaniça guitar and everything else that is alive in Évora.

Vasco Ribeiro Casais says about the project: “The collections for this work were carried out between January and June of 2019, a temporary window that made me leave out many traditions that I would like to have included, like the picking of cork, the wine making process from harvesting to bottling, the harvesting of the olive, among many others. The Municipality of Évora has a lot to offer, much more than what I could capture and include in this work, but, as its title says, a first volume is just the beginning of something and who knows what the future will bring?”

Domingos Morais from the Institute for Literature and Tradition Studies at the School of Social and Human Sciences of the New University of Lisbon says: “The reinvention of traditional music is one of the sources that Vasco uses, for his knowledge of the records made by ethnomusicologists and disseminators of the songs of the peoples (all those who sensitize him). He is a poly-instrumentalist by choice, when he looks for each one of the instruments searching for its tone and potential sound as well as their unique performative potentialities.”

Alentejo Vol.I: Évora features guest appearances by Afonso Branco, Cantares de Évora, Vozes do Imaginário, Teresa Branquinho and Gigabombos do Imaginário.

Discography:

Baile Electrónico (2017)
Alentejo Vol.I: Évora (2019)

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Artist Profiles: Pekko Käppi

Pekko Käppi – Photo by Ninni Luhtasaari

Composer, producer, researcher and ethnomusicologist Pekko Käppi was born in 1976. He is a jouhikko player from Tampere and a part-time instructor at the Sibelius Academy.

He has a band called K:H:H:L.

Pekko Käppi’s style combines folk, rock and blues.

Discography:

Kalastajia ja kaivostyöläisiä, EP (Amerikan Peikko Records, Kuusi Pientä Kustantajaa, 2001)
Бубнить Себе под нос, EP (267 lattajjaa, 2003)
Minun päiväkunnissani, EP (Imvated, 2004)
Jos ken pahoin uneksii (Peippo, 2007)
Vuonna ’86 (Singing Knives, 2010)
Rammat Jumalat (Helmi Levyt, 2013)
Sanguis Meus, Mama! (GAEA Records, 2015)
Matilda (Svart Records, 2017)
Väärä Laulu (Svart Records, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Pauanne

Pauanne – Photo by Pekka Sinikoski

Finnish band Pauanne explores the pagan traditions of Finnish folk music. The trio has uncovered and collected long-lost folk music that includes stories of spells and curses, the dreams of a shepherd, 17th century witch hunts and magical iron fences that repel invaders.

The trio includes Kukka Lehto on violin; Tero Pennanen on Hammond organ and other keyboards; and Janne Haavisto on drums.

Band leader Kukka Lehto searched through Helsinki’s music archives and discovered exciting material from the early 20th century. Pauanne’s material includes traditional folk songs and new compositions as well.

Discography:

Pauanne (Nordic Notes, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Taimane

Taimane

Vocalist and ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner was born on February 13, 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Taimane – which means “diamond” in Samoan – began playing the ukulele at age 5. At 13, while playing on the beach with local musicians, she was discovered by Hawaiian music icon Don Ho and invited to be part of his Waikiki variety show. There, she quickly became a weekly regular, attracting audiences with a mix of rock, flamenco, pop, classical and traditional Hawaiian melodies.

Under the guidance of modern ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, Taimane further focused her style and began composing music.

Taimane

In 2019, she won the “2019 Favorite Entertainer of the Year Award” from Nā Hōkū Hanohano.

Discography:

Loco Princess (BMG, 2005)
Life – The Art & Beauty of Being Human (Pony Canyon, 2008)
Ukulele Dance (Mountain Apple Company, 2012)
We Are Made of Stars (Taimane Gardner, 2015)
Elemental (Taimane Gardner, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Tanemotion

Tanemotion

Tanemotion is a Korean genre-crossover band featuring a mix traditional Korean musical instruments and modern instruments. The band’s name “Tanemotion” is a composite, meaning Tan+emotion. “Tan” is a Korean word similar to “play”, especially used in playing traditional strings.

Tanemotion’s sound features jazz, pansori and Korean roots. Since 2010, they have played at rock, jazz and world music festivals.

Tanemotion at the 2019 Jeonju International Sori Festival – Photo by Angel Romero

Lineup: Yonrimog on keyboards; Sojin Kim on vocals and guitar; Seulji Kim on ajeng; So yeop Kim on piri, saenghwang (mouth organ) and taepyeongso (shawm); Hoduhk Suh on drums; and HyunSoo Kim on bass.

Discography:

Tan+Emotion (2014)
휘청 (2016)
Miryade Wave

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Artist Profiles: Asmaa Hamzaoui

Asmaa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou

Asmaa Hamzaoui is the leading female performer of Gnawa music. Together with her band Bnat Timbouktou, she performs Gnawa music that goes back in time when this community was held as slaves and the music revolved around storytelling about their suffering.

Asmaa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou sing in the native Gnawan language. They advocate for equal rights and for the preservation of traditions and spiritual practices in modern-day Morocco and throughout the world.

In the fall of 2019, Asmaa released her first album Oulad Lghaba, focused on Gnawa spirituality.

The lineup in 2019 included Asmaa Hamzaoui on guembri and vocals; Aicha Hamzaoui on karkabas and vocals; Soukaina Elmeliji on karkabas and vocals; and Lamgammah Hind on karkabas and vocals.

Discography:

Oulad Lghaba (Ajabu! Records, 2019)

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Artist profiles: Katarína Máliková

Katarína Máliková

Composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer Katarína Máliková was born in 1990 in Polomka, Slovakia. Her music combines traditional Slovak folk songs, art-pop, classical and world music.

She grew up in Polomka in the Horehronie region, among mountains and traditional songs. The mystical character of her home region left a strong impression in her music.

In my childhood I was touched by folklore and 90s’ pop culture, which hardly found its way to Horehronie,”says Katarína Máliková. “Later, the dreams about the big city came, together with jazz – that was my remedy during my teenage years. My studies of classical music were also a big influence on me. Returning to my birth place Horehronie with the music of Telgárt, Šumiac, or Pusté pole will always be spots that I pass with feeling of something forgotten, mysterious and haunting.”

Katarína Máliková and her band

In 2017 Katarína Máliková and her band performed at major world music festivals and venues in Slovakia and abroad, such as Pohoda Festival (Slovakia), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), EtnoKraków/Crossroads Festival in Krakow (Poland), World Music Festival Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest Ritmo (Hungary).

The lineup in 2017 included Andrej Turčin on first violin;  Janko Tomek on acoustic and electric bass;    Katarína Máliková on lead vocals, piano, keyboards, tambourine, and wind instruments; Katarína Turčinová  on flute and fujara; Klaudia Kosmeľová on piano; Ondrej Druga on accordion and vocals;     Tomáš Hríbik on drums and percussions; and Žaneta Mariňáková  on second violin and tambourine.

Katarína Máliková’s music combines Slovak folk, global sounds, electronic and classical music.

Her atmospheric debut album, titled Pustvopol (barren field) included new arrangements of folk songs from Zvolen and quickly attracted the attention of the media and the public, and soon became one of the top albums in Slovakia.

Discography:

Pustvopol (Slnko , 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Trombitáši Štefánikovci

Trombitáši Štefánikovci

The Trombitáši Štefánikovci (Stefaniks Trombita Players) ensemble was founded in 2008 by brothers Ján and Pavol Štefanik, Pavol Novosád, Ivan Bobot, Peter Peťovský, Daniel Káčer and the youngest from the Štefánik family, Juraj. The group performs the shepherds’ folk traditions of the Moravian-Slovak border, primarily from the Puchov region on Slovakia.

The ensemble uses various Slovak wind instruments such as shepherds’ horns, trombitas, fujaras and various whistles. Many of these instruments are made by the Trombitáši Štefánikovci musicians. Some of the musical instruments manufactured by the ensemble’s members are housed in many museums and used by musicians throughout the world.

Ján Štefánik, Pavol Novosád and Ivan Bobot are the winners of prestigious awards, including Instrumentum Excellence and Zlatá Fujara (Golden fujara), received for the folk musical instruments they manufactured.

Pavol Štefánik is a laureate and award winner as performer of trombitas and shepherds’ horns. The musicians performed on many occassions in Slovakia and beyond.

The album Gruňom hore – Up the Hillside (2017) was the debut of this Trombita ensemble.

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Artist Profiles: Preßburger Klezmer Band

Preßburger Klezmer Band

Bratislava-based Preßburger Klezmer Band was formed in 1995. Founding members included saxophonist Daniel Sloboda; viola player Tomáš Kaiser; clarinetist and saxophonist Erik Rothenstein; and violinist Daniel Alexander. The lineup has changed throughout the years.

Although the group is inspired by klezmer music, Preßburger Klezmer Band also incorporates Slovak, Gypsy, jazz, rock, reggae and Latin music.

The Baladen (Ballads) album contains nearly forgotten songs about love, life and God from the Slovak Jewish Heritage. Vocals are in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino & Bosnian.

Discography:

Lajv ‎(Akcent, 2002)
Mit Libe… / S Laskow ‎(Hev-Het, 2006)
Ot Azoy! ‎(Millenium Records, 2009)
Preßburger Special ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2010)
Tants mit mir ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2012)
Tsvantsik Yorn (Slovak Klezmer Association, 2015)
Baladen (Real Music House & Slovak Klezmer Association, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Banda

Banda

Banda was founded in 2003 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The ensemble includes musicians with extensive experience in folk music performance as well as other genres. Banda is predominantly inspired by Slovak traditional music, incorporating innovative arrangements.

In addition to Slovak roots music, Banda incorporates blues, jazz, pop, earky music and the traditional music of other cultures as well, such as Moravian, Ruthenian, Polish, Romanian, Balkan, Celtic, and Spanish musical influences.

Banda showcased at the World Music Expo WOMEX in 2017.

The ensemble contributed music for the film Tanec medzi črepinami (Glass Splinters Dance) directed by Marek Ťapák (2012) and also a title song of the TV series called 1890 (2017).

Band members include Samo Smetana on lead vocals, violin, mandolin, bouzouki; Ivan Hanula on vocals, viol, mandolin, bouzouki; Alžbeta Lukáčová on cimbalom, vocals, accordion, percussion; Peter Obuch on double bass, vocals; Ajdži Szabo on percussion; and Eva Brunovská on vocals, keyboards.

Discography:

Jedna (2010)

HraBanda (Pavian Records, 2014)

Ľudová hudba Banda: Na Mijave na rínečku (2015)

Telegrafy (Pavian Records, 2018)

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