Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Grupo Cimarrón


The Grupo Cimarrón ensemble is known for their explosive música llanera (plains music) and fast-paced, triple-meter joropo. They live up to the meaning of their name Cimarrón: “wild bull.”

Since creating Grupo Cimarrón in 1986, leader and harpist Carlos Rojas has looked both backward and forward in time. The música llanera and joropo have roots in 19th-century Colombia, and the style of singing, playing and instruments used have been carefully modeled on tradition. The ensemble has created a new mix by emphasizing rhythm and creativity and insisting that joropo dance be a part of the performance wherever possible. Grupo Cimarrón has performed in China, Europe, and North and South America.

Harp, guitars (bandola and cuatro), maracas, wooden box drum (cajón) and the rhythm of the dancers’ feet are the instruments used by the high-energy Grupo Cimarrón, all of whom carry strong ties to the cattle country of the Colombian plains. Each band member is a virtuoso in his or her own discipline, and the albums provides a medium for both collective and individual expression.

The group’s 2004 Smithsonian Folkways release Sí, Soy Llanero earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional World Album.


Sí, Soy Llanero – Joropo Music From The Orinoco Plains Of Colombia ‎(Smithsonian Folkways, 2004)
Joropo Music From the Plains of Colombia ‎(Smithsonian Folkways, 2011)
Orinoco (Cimarron Music, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Faith Mussa

Faith Mussa

Faith (CheMuphuwa) Mussa was born in August 1985 in Ndirande, Malawi. Faith began playing hand-made gallon guitars when he was just 10 years-old in Blantyre, Malawi. He played in his family’s band called The Mussa Family Band that toured throughout the country playing weddings, parties, churches and anywhere else that would have them.

This early craving to pluck music from apparently nowhere and to do so with impassioned autonomy continued for years and now he has become Malawi’s first and only one-man electronic band – a position that has taken him from his dusty hometown to collaborating with global stars Rudimental & Martinez Brothers on their single ‘Sitigwana’.

Musically, Faith Mussa represents the multidimensional nature of being a one-man band and playing a variety of instruments – including traditional ones such the badza, manjerenjeza and the mbalule. “I am a fusionist,” he says. “I love to fuse modern musical sounds with my Malawian traditional vibes – my music is rich in African traditional and modern sounds.”


Kalilima (Beating Heart, 2019)
Desperate (2013)


Artist Profiles: Olena Podluzhnaya UUTAi

Olena Podluzhnaya, UUTAi

Olena Podluzhnaya, with the stage name UUTAi, is a singer and khomus player from Yakutia, Russia. Ms. Podluzhnaya focuses her musical efforts on meditative healing and is a neo-shamanic practitioner. In addition to the meditative music, she also adds her khomus playing to electronic club music, trance, techno and ambient music.

Ms. Podluzhnaya has crafted YouTube Channel, appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre, Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Italy’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent and Das SuperTalent. Additionally she has appeared at the Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha.


Hear Your Heart


Artist profiles: Daniel Sandén-Warg

Daniel Sandén-Warg

Daniel Sandén-Warg was born in 1977 in Østersund, Sweden. He grew up in Karlstad, where he started playing the guitar at an early age, Jimi Hendrix was his idol. Daniel was early discovered as a great talent, for example by Swedish television. Magnus Stinnerbom in the folk music group Harv was the first to make Daniel interested in folk music.

Leif Stinnerbom, the father of Magnus, introduced Daniel to the music of Torleiv H. and Hallvard T. Bjørgum, and he immediately became enthusiastic about the music from Setesdal (Norway). He first taught himself the tunes from cassette tapes, and then sent recordings of himself to Hallvard T. Bjørgum. Hallvard was so impressed that he immediately invited Daniel to Setesdal.

In 1998, Daniel moved to Setesdal. He has learned much from Hallvard T. Bjørgum, and also learned many tunes from archive recordings. In 2005, he got his craft certificate as silversmith. Today, he works as a silversmith and freelance musician.

Daniel shows a unique musicality and has a special ability to acquire various styles of folk music. More than most others, he has managed to master both the rich details, the special use of the scale and the playing technique, which is so special for much of the local folk music in Setesdal.

Daniel has also learned the Setesdal dialect so well that he speaks like a native.

At the national level, he has now become a class A (top) player in the Hardanger fiddle class. He has received first prize in the B category several times at competitions in Agder and Telemark.

There is hardly anybody else who is not originally from Setesdal who has managed to acquire the local folk music tradition so genuinely and convincingly as Daniel Sandén-Warg.


Rammeslag, ordinary fiddle and jew’s harp from Setesdal (Etnisk Musikklubb EM29, 2007)
Warg Buen, with with Per Anders Buen Garnås (ta:lik, 2008)
Rammeslag II (Etnisk Musikklubb EM49, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Harald Bauweraerts

Harald Bauweraerts with Embrun

Harald Bauweraerts grew up in a musical family and therefore had the opportunity to learn to play the hurdy gurdy at the very young age of 8.

By the age of 16, he performed regularly in pubs, restaurants, and at all sorts of other outdoor events at various locations.

Shortly afterwards, he started working together with the folk music groups Twalseree, AedO, and Lais as a guest musician. In the meantime, he was developing a strong interest in electronic and computer music and an opportunity soon arose to let his Denis siorat-built electro-acoustic hurdy gurdy (draailier) loose in public, albeit sometimes with a distorted sound.

These performances were not limited solely to the groups mentioned above, but from that time onward, he began to enjoy increasing success with other projects too such as Orgamusa, Midwinter concerts, Het Geluidshuis, Magister, Belgian Plastiks, Eurosong 2008 (Geena Lisa), Triple-XL, Beatball, and folk group EmBRUN.


En Route, with Aedo ‎(2004)
Embrun (2006)
Embrun – N° 2 ‎(Appel Rekords, 2009)
Embrun N° 3 Live (2013)


Artist Profiles: Esperanza Fernández

Esperanza Fernández – Photo by Luis Castilla

Esperanza Fernández Vargas was born in Sevilla in 1966. She has gypsy blood in her veins. Her family has long included guitarists, dancers and singers who have imbued her with the great heritage of Andalusian culture. She always wanted to be part of the flamenco world, and began her career at the age 16 as singer soloist with Mario Maya Amargo. She found success in 1994 when she played with Enrique Morente in A Oscuras, a show that was very successful in the 7th Bienal de Arte Flamenco at the Maestranza Theatre in Sevilla .

The following year, Esperanza immersed herself in the works of Manuel de Falla which have become associated with her career over the years. She has recorded all the works of this Spanish composer under the direction of Juan Udaeta (these recordings won the Premio Andalucia Joven de Flamenco awarded by the Culture Council of Andalucia).

In particular she is known for her performances of Manuel de Falla’s principal work, El Amor Brujo, with the Symphony Orchestras of Valencia, Galicia, the City of Granada, the National Orchestra of Brazil and the Spanish National Orchestra (directed by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos). In 2004 she chose to sing El Sombrero de Tres Picos from Manuel de Falla’s repertoire on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dali. Esperanza Fernández has also made recordings; for example in 2001 she released her first solo album (Esperanza Fernández) which remains to this day one of the most successful flamenco albums.

The versatility of her voice along with her delight in discovering other cultures and types of music combine to allow her to go beyond pure flamenco: in 1997 she was chosen to represent Spain at Pop Komm 97 in Cologne. That same year she was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to take part in the Voices for Peace concerts alongside stars from various countries (Noa, Miriam Makeba).

In 2003 Esperanza Fernández took part in several projects that fused flamenco with jazz, in particular with Jean-Marc Padovani. Recently she has premiered her show Almadia (in collaboration with Moroccan musicians) at the Cirque d’Hiver for the Ile de France Festival.

Her third album Mi Voz En Tu Palabra wads direceted by David Peña Dorantes.

In 2009 she received the Al Ándalus and XII Gitano Andaluz awards.


Esperanza Fernández ‎(BMG Ariola España, 2001)
Recuerdos (2007)
Mi Voz En Tu Palabra – Canta A Saramago ‎(DiscMedi Blau, 2013)


Artist Profiles: Pavel Lukoyanov

Pavel Lukoyanov

Pavel Lukoyanov is a professional musician, a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Gnesinykh. He plays the gusli performer, an ancient Russian folk instrument.

Pavel Lukoyanov plays various musical genres, including ancient epics and Russian songs, spiritual poems and hymns, traditional folk tunes, classical music, pop songs with modern arrangements, and jazz.

He is a teaching professor at Sergey Prokofiev’s Moscow Area Music College and also teaches gusli classes and workshops.


Reminiscences, with Winter Sun (2012)


Artist Profiles: Mihály Sipos

Mihály Sipos

Mihály Sipos was born in 1948 in Budapest, Hungary. His ancestors on his father’s side were shepherds. His grandmother knew their old traditional songs and dances. His maternal grandfather was a great singer and lover of classical music. He gave Sipos his first violin at a young age. Sipos’s mother learned piano at the Liszt Music Academy, so he grew up in a musical surrounding.

Sipos became a student at one of the famous music schools established by Zoltán Kodály where he started to play the violin at seven.

He studied the classical violin for 11 years. Sipos became involved with traditional music in 1972. In 1973 he founded the group Muzsikas along with his two friends, Daniel Hamar and Sándor Csoóri. He became the musical director of the band.

Aside from the violin, he plays the citera in Muzsikas. Sipos is the artistic director of most of the concerts and ensemble recordings and is also the coordinator between Muzsikas and the guest classical musicians.


* Living Hungarian Folk Music I. Muzsikás (Hungaroton Gong)
* Kettő Hungarian Folk Music (Munich Records)
* It is not like it used to be (Hungaroton Gong)
* Márta Sebestyén and Muzsikás (Hannibal/Ryko, 1987)
* The Prisoner’s Song (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Blues for Transylvania (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Maramaros, the Lost Jewish Music (Hannibal/Ryko HNCD 1373, 1993)
* Morning Star (Hannibal/Ryko, 1997)
* The Bartók Album (Hannibal/Ryko, 1998)
* Live at the Liszt Academy (Muzsikás)


Artist profiles: Dániel Hamar

Dániel Hamar – Photo by Angel Romero

Dániel Hamar was born in 1951 in Budapest, Hungary. He started to play the piano when he was seven and took up the classical double bass at fifteen.

He became a member of the Symphony Orchestra of St. Stephan Grammar School, and although this orchestra was considered to be amateur, the best Hungarian soloists and conductors performed with them, and many of its young musicians became professionals.

Hamar started to play traditional Hungarian music when he was 22. As was the case with almost all classically-trained musicians, Hamar knew little about traditional Hungarian music until he began to play it.

He visited remote Hungarian villages to learn the old techniques of playing, and established the group Muzsikas with his friends Sándor Csoóri and Mihaly Sipos in 1973.

Hamar plays double-bass and percussion instruments in the band. He is the spokesman for Muzsikas and the official leader of the band.

Dániel Hamar at Kuching Airport after playing at the Rainforest World Music Festival – Photo by Angel Romero

Dániel Hamar graduated as a geophysicist from the Eötvös University in 1974 and earned a Ph.D in 1994. He is a senior research fellow of the Space Research Group of Eötvös University, Budapest. Dániel Hamar is married and has four sons.