Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Adel Salameh

Adel Salameh
Adel Salameh

Palestinian ‘ud player and composer, Adel Salameh was born in Nablus, Palestine, in 1966. He started performing as a soloist while still living in the Arab World, but emigrated to Europe in 1990.

He quickly established a reputation as one of the finest performers of the ‘ud. He performed in more than thirty countries including Japan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, and numerous countries in North Africa and Europe.

When performing as a soloist or with musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds, Adel believed that music is an excellent tool to build bridges between various cultures. In an effort to tackle these cultural barriers, he worked with Turkish, Spanish, Indian, French, English, Israeli and jazz musicians.

Adel worked with Womad/Real World for several years and performed at the most prestigious concert halls in Europe.

He collaborated with Algerian singer Naziha Azzouz and recorded several CDs with her.

Adel Salameh died on January 23, 2019.


Master of the Oud (Playasound)

Awda (Enja)

Nuzhu (Arion)

Kanza (Enja)

Rissala (Enja)

Mediterraneo (Riverboat)


Artist Profiles: Addys D’Mercedes

Addys D’Mercedes
Addys D’Mercedes

Cuban singer Addys D’Mercedes grew up in Oriente, the southern, rural part of Cuba. At local parties she heard her father playing sones and guajiras on the guitar, such as El Cuarto De Tula or El Carretero”, which now have become popular worldwide thanks to the success of the Buena Vista Social Club. The radio played songs of the Nueva Trova from Pablo Milanés, Silvio Rodríguez and Sara Gonzáles, Dominican merengues, Mexican rancheras and the latest songs from Madona and Michael Jackson.

As a young girl, Addys sang boleros and Nueva Trova songs at parties. At the age of 16 she became the lead singer of the group Onda Joven, in Moa. One year later she started her professional career as lead singer of several famous Cuban groups Los Neira, Timbre Latino and Spectrum.

In January 1999, Addys started to record with her group ¡Q´ba! in Havana. As a tribute to her Oriente roots, she sung her own new arrangements of the three very famous songs El Carretero, Capullito De Alelí and Como Fue, featuring Coto (Cubanismo) on tres.

In September of 1999 she recorded in Havana a set of nine original compositions with ¡Q´ba! inviting musicians from Afro Cuban All Stars and Jóvenes Clásicos del Son. Unlike what is common in Cuba, the recording had a wide range of Spanish American musical styles, Cuban styles like son, timba, guajira and cha cha cha alternate with salsa, cumbia, bolero and bachata. On the guajira No Me Abandones the 76-year-old singer Raúl Plana (Afro Cuba All Stars, Sonora Matanzera) sings a duo with Addys.

Fascinated by her warm voice, Cándido Fabré recorded with Addys the very popular duo La Fórmula in the summer of 2000.


Mundo Nuevo (Media Luna, 2001)
Nomad (Media Luna, 2003)
Addys (Media Luna, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Adassa

Singer-songwriter Adassa combines dancehall, reggaeton, and r&b, and hip hop captivating the public’s ear with unabashed and up front lyrics as well as fiery club bangers.

Born in Miami, Florida, February 5th, she is daughter to Colombian parents. Raised in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, she represents the new multicultural generation dominating both the English and Spanish language.

As a child, her first taste of the stage was at the age of 4, when she sang with her mother in Church. “ I remember begging my Mom to teach me the hymn, since I was to little to read, and give me a chance to go on stage with her. While on stage I knew at that moment, I wanted to be a singer.” From that moment on she started experimenting with colorful vocal techniques and harmonies studying musical theory and opera, expanding her vocal range.

Propelled by her overwhelming passion for self-expression, from a very young age she received many awards not only as a singer, but as a writer as well. Many of her poems were published as early as the age of 10, moment in time in which she wrote a poem dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. At 14, she published another titled “The Rose” and “Who am I”. To this day Adassa continues writing poetry, although in anonymous fashion, solely for the need to be heard.

At the age of 15 was the first time she stepped into a recording studio alongside her mother, to record a Christian Album. Although, it wasn’t until she was 17 that she got her big break and was able to prove what she was capable of. Her brother and musical promoter Chuly, invited her to form part of a group named Xtasy, opportunity which drove her to move to Houston, Texas. The immediate musical bond she made with heavy hitter Don Candiani, producer and songwriter for the group, was evident. It was at this precise moment in which she flourished as a songwriter and subsequently landed her first record deal alongside the group, with Caiman Records. “Even though I had already recorded a Christian album, it was with Xtasy that I had a chance to work with a notorious producer and write my own songs.” she remembers.

Once the album was finished, she made the life changing decision to leave the group and take the long road to success as a solo artist. “I left the group before the album dropped. They removed my image, but kept my vocals on the production.” She comments with no regret. Determined to quench her thirst for the stage and self-expression, she packed her bangs and moved to Monterrey, Mexico. This is where she learned the magic of being a true performer. “I had to memorize forty to fifty songs per week along with different choreographies and a live band. I learned that this career is not based on just being an artist, it’s about entertaining the public.” She toured through the borders of the U.S. and Mexico from Monterrey, Tampico, Saltillo, to Laredo, Reynosa and McAllen, Texas just to name a few cities. “It was here where I grew musically and as a performer.” she comments.

With tenacity and developed musical talent, she decided to move back to the U.S. determined to establish herself as a solo artist. It is while living in McAllen, Texas that she became part of the underground Hip- Hop movement releasing her first album Down South, a backpack out-of-the trunk distributed album. With no limitations and all sincerity, Adassa let it all out in this album with sexy, aggressive rhymes and themes from happiness, deep emotion, to domestic violence and everything in between. “Down South was a real emotional album for me that?s why I can’t leave it behind. It was the first time I expressed myself without holding back. I think it’s important to show your colors, as dark or as bright as they may be. Music should be a form of release, a musical diary in which you can unleash yourself with no remorse.”

She succeeded in creating a buzz, yet she hungered for more which lead her back to Houston, Texas, where she recorded her second underground self-titled album distributed through Hoodlum Records, an independent label. It showcased her aggressive, yet sexy and playful side and was well received in the clubs and even leaked into local radio stations. Riding on the growing buzz and underground success of these albums, she moved to Miami where she released On the Floor and gained national distribution.

With her musical career on the rise, Adassa had the opportunity to tour with artists such as Daddy Yankee, Lil’ Flip, Pitbull, Ivy Queen, Don Omar, Lil’ John, Vico C., Baby Rasta y Gringo, Sasha, Baby Bash and Juvenile among others. She also made high-profile cameo appearances with Ciara and Missy Elliott on “1,2 Step” Don Candiani Reggaeton Remix, with Pitbull on the title track record off of her album Kamasutra, and alongside Tego Calderon and Roselyn Sanchez to name a few.

Her hotly anticipated new CD Kamasutra, released through Universal Latino, is proof that perseverance and talent are rewarded. This opinionated, seductive, yet lyrically flirtatious album includes 15 completely bilingual sharp tracks produced by heavy hitter Don Candiani, in which Adassa proves her versatility not only lyrically, but vocally as well. Every song has its own identity from “Kamasutra” which is an Indian laced sensual Hip Hop track, to “Bang, Bang” a high voltage Reggaeton which has already become a record pool chart topper along with “De Tra” another high-energy cut.

This album is a reflection of the musical influences she had growing up. She was exposed to a musical array of artists from the Dance Hall and Reggaeton of Bennie Man, Patra, Shabba Ranks, Elephant Man, Lady Saw, Shaggy, El General and Vico C., to the Hip Hop and R&B from artists such as Missy Elliott, Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, TuPac, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Boys 2 Men. “I think this album represents who I am – my passion, my sensuality, my maturity, my playfulness, and my sexual aggression. There are songs I feel more in English others in Spanish, there are even some cuts in Spanglish.”


On the Floor (2004)
Kamasutra (2005)
Adassa (2007)


Artist Profiles: Adam Solomon

Adam Solomon
Adam Solomon

Adam Solomon is a 2005 Juno Award winner in the World Music Album category. Adam was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and began performing at an early age, playing kivoti (flute) and Kayaamba (shaker) at village celebrations and festivals. He established his career playing lead guitar and singing on recordings and videos with Kenya’s most popular bands and musicians, such as Joseph Kamaru, Professor M.B Naaman and the Nine Stars Orchestra, Super Wanyika Stars of Issa Juma, Lessa Lessan vocalist of Dr.Nico, Super Mazembe ya Mushosho, Kanda Bongo Man and Mombasa Roots band.

Adam formed his band Tikisa in 1995. Retaining his roots in traditional music, Adam’s compositions are comprised of a wide variety of African rhythms, from traditional chela, highlife, soukous, reggae, and samba to bossa nova and traditional 6/8 beat chakacha. Adam sings in six languages: Swahili, English, Lingala, Duruma, Giriama, and Arabic. “The Professor,” as he is known in musical circles, is highly respected as a lead guitarist and vocalist. In addition, he is experienced as a bass and rhythm guitar player and keyboard player. Adam Solomon & Tikisa have performed across Canada and the US in clubs and major festivals.

Adam Solomon was a co-founder of Canada’s great pan-African band, The AfroNubians, with whom he toured western Canada in 1993 collaborated on two CD releases: Tour to Africa and The Great Africans. His touring credits also include workshops with African super stars Papa Wemba from Congo and Ismael Lo from Senegal.

Adam Solomon moved to Canada and was a co-founder of Canada’s great pan-African band, The AfroNubians, with whom he toured western Canada in 1993 collaborated on two CD releases: Tour to Africa and The Great Africans. His touring credits also include workshops with African super stars Papa Wemba from Congo and Ismael Lo from Senegal.

Adam Solomon has released several albums. Safari Afro-Pop music won Best Release at Toronto African Music Awards and Best New Performers of the Year.

In 2004, Adam collaborated with other well-known African musicians on a CBC-sponsored project called the African Guitar Summit, which eventually garnered the 2005 World Music Album Juno Award, Canada’s top music award.

As well as his career as a band leader, Adam also established a reputation in music education and as a valuable contributor to programs in African Heritage education.


Tour To Africa, with the Afronubians (1994)
The Great Africans, with the Afronubians (1995)
Safari (1996)
Rocket Express II: African Renaissance Blues(2003)
African Guitar Summit (2004)
Afronubians Live (2005).
Mti wa Maisha (Tree of Life) (2006)
Roots Rhythms (Magoma Asili) 2007
African Guitar Summit II (2007)
Time Goes Things Change (2014)
Closer to Me (2015)
Nahala (Adam Solomon, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Adam Rudolph

Adam Rudolph
Adam Rudolph

Adam Rudolph, a native of Chicago, is known as one of the early innovators in what is now called world music. In 1977 he co-founded The Mandingo Griot Society with Gambian musician Foday Musa Suso, one of the first bands to combine African and American music. In 1988, he recorded the first fusion of American and Gnawa music with Moroccan sintir player and vocalist Hassan Hakmoun and jazz trumpet great Don Cherry. In the same year. Rudolph began his association with the legendary Yusef Lateef, which continued until Lateef’s passing in 2013 to this day.

In April of 2002, when Omar Sosa and his Septet arrived in Los Angeles for a run at the Jazz Bakery, it was possible for Rudolph and Sosa, two kindred spirits, to meet and make music together. The result was Pictures of Soul, a journey into the transcendent realms of the creative music process.

Pictures of Soul is an improvised music collaboration between Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Rudolph, based in Los Angeles These two creative musicians had enjoyed each other’s work at a distance for several years. Both share an appreciation of ritual trance music.

Sosa and Rudolph both experience their art as an interactive spiritual voyage. Their approach in the studio called simply for an openness to explore musical landscapes together – without charts, without rehearsal. In Pictures of Soul Sosa plays mostly acoustic piano, both on the keys and inside the instrument. Rudolph is featured on an array of hand drums, including jembe, tarija, dumbek and tabla.

Rudolph leads his own ensemble, Go: Organic Orchestra, an orchestral concept of world/improvisational music.


Gift of Gnawa (Flying Fish, 1991)
Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures (Flying Fish, 1992)
Skyway (Soul Note, 1994)
12 Arrows (Meta, 1999)
Contemplations (Meta, 1999)
Web of Light (Meta, 2003)
Dream Garden (Justin Time Records, 2008)
Turning Towards the Light (Cuneiform, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Adalberto Santiago

Born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, Adalberto Santiago was influenced and inspired by the vocal styles of Beny Moré, Chapottin, Pancho Alonso and Miguelito Cuni. These free-style singers helped him form a method of singing that has turned him into one of the most popular vocalists of Latin music.

He became the lead vocalist for Ray Barretto’s Orchestra in 1966 and captivated audiences with a string of hits.


Artist Profiles: Adalberto Alvarez

Adalberto Alvarez
Adalberto Alvarez
For the past decades, Havana-born Adalberto Alvarez has been passionately involved in the making and advancement of son, the most popular and powerful musical form of his native Cuba. In his particular expression, he incorporates the best of the traditional elements and the abounding modernistic influences in a highly volatile mix that appeals equally to the older and the younger generations alike. Adalberto successfully excites the listener while irresistibly engaging the dancer. He masterfully achieves a perfect balance between musician and dancer, never failing to maintain the untainted musical essence of his people.

Influenced initially by Arsenio Rodriguez and the great Cuban troubadours, Manuel Corona, Sindo Garay, and Miguel Matamoros, Alvarez’s music has continued to evolve, becoming an undeniably powerful force in the contemporary Cuban soundscape. Adalberto Alvarez is currently the most covered Cuban artist. His compositions have reached all corners of the world and have been recorded by the likes of Gran Combo, Sonora Poncena, Roberto Roena, Willy Rosario, Cano Estremera, Andy Montanez and Gilberto Santa Rosa in Puerto Rico; Oscar De Leon in Venezuela; Juan Luis Guerra in the Dominican Republic, and many others in the USA and Europe. A conservative estimate is that there are well over 200 different versions of his songs in the Latin world.

Alvarez’s talent flourished in an actively musical environment. His father was the director of Avance Juvenil, the local group that would serve in 1973 as the launching pad for Adalberto’s career as a professional bandleader. His mother was a singer and pianist, who taught him the intricacies of harmony singing at an early age. He graduated from the acclaimed Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA), where he directed its Orquesta tipica -a charanga style band that served as an experimental workshop for many of his ideas for nearly eight years. While at ENA, he began writing and arranging for established groups, such as the celebrated Conjunto Rumbavana that made El Son de Adalberto a hit and popularized several other of his compositions.

In 1978, Alvarez relocated to Santiago de Cuba, where his legendary group Son 14 was founded. Their premier recording A Bayamo en Coche yielded the earliest in a sustained string of nationwide hits. The first of his many tours outside Cuba was to Barquisimeto, Venezuela in 1980, where Son 14 won the Crepusculo Dorado award. In early 1984, Alvarez formed the quintessential Cuban dance group, Adalberto y su Son, that has received international acclaim and gathered loyal followers worldwide.

In recognition of his extraordinarily unique talent, Alvarez has been presented with numerous awards around the globe. Even as far as Japan, his Sueño con una Gitana was selected the #1 Latin American album by one of Tokyo’s leading music publication.

In the midst of ambitious projects, Adalberto Alvarez Zayas turned 55 year-old in 2003. Adalberto rejoiced being named a Prodigal Son of Camaguey, honoring his 55th birthday and 30-year artistic career. There were over 15,000 people at the gala, including the presence of other musicians from the territory where he began his professional life in 1973. The Camaguey Hotel dedicated a room to him designed similarly to the atmosphere of his house. Alvarez wanted to be a pilot and ended up studying bassoon at the National Art School. His loyalty to son led to his current nickname “El Caballero del Son” (The Gentleman of Son).


El Regreso de Maria
Omara canta el Son
Sueño con una Gitana
Celina, Frank y Adalberto
Fin de semana
Dominando la partida de Ballymena
El Chévere y el Caballero (Artcolor)
Son en dos tiempos (Artcolor)
Dale como é (Artcolor)
A bailar el toca toca (PM Records, 1996)
Locos por el Son (PM Records)
Adalberto Alvarez y su Son en vivo (PM Records)
Grandes éxitos (PM Records)
Los Super éxitos de Adalberto (Caribe Productions SON 14)
Adalberto y su Son, Noche sensacional (Caribe Productions)
A Bailar el Toca Toca (Caribe Productions)
Jugando con Candela Caliente, Caliente (Bis Music)
Magistral, with Michel Camilo (Milan Latino)
El Son de Adalberto Suena Cubano (Bis Music, 2002)
Para Bailar Casino (Bis Music, 2003)
Mi Linda Habanera (Bis Music, 2005)
Gozando en La Habana (Bis Music, 2008)
El Son De Altura (Bis Music, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Actores Alidos

Actores Alidos
Actores Alidos

Actores Alidos is a Sardinian group that specializes in female polyphony. The group performs songs of love, sacred songs, lullabies, popular dances, funeral laments and serenades.

The polyphonic quintet features the female voices of Alessandra Leo, Roberto Locci, Valeria Parisi, Manuela Sanna, led by the deep voice of Valeria Pilia.

Accompanying the quintet is Sardinian music maestro, Orlando Mascia, an expert of traditional Sardinian music and a virtuoso of traditional musical instruments such as the launeddas (flute with 3 reeds), the sulitu (traditional flute), the trunfa (jew’s harp) and the organetto (accordion) which he uses to dialog with the voices of the group.


Valeria Pilia – boghe sola
Alessandra Leo – boghe de punta
Manuela Sanna – boghe de punta
Roberta Locci – boghe mediana
Valeria Parisi – boghe de suta
with Orlando Mascia – launeddas, sonetu, trunfia, triangle, sulitu, tumbarinu


Galanìas (Finisterre)

Canti delle donne sarde (Finisterre)

[Biography adapted by World Music Central from an original by Giovanna Marini. Courtesy of Felmay].


Artist Profiles: Acquaragia Drom

Acquaragia Drom
Acquaragia Drom

Acquaragia Drom is an Italian band with a little Gypsy blood and lots of experience performing at traditional weddings and feasts all around in Italy. Its original music and dance project is an amazing amalgam of Italian and Mediterranean Gypsy style swirling, including Rom saltarellos, tarantellas, pizzicas and tammurriatas (folk dances) from the Sinti tribes. Acquaragia Drom plays using an "ironic and corrosive" way to present this repertoire in order to make the audience laugh and dance with them.

Erasmo Treglia: violin, jew’s harp, ciaramella (traditional oboe)

Elia Ciricillo: voice, guitar, tambourine, dance

Rita Tumminia: accordion, dance

Paolo Rocca: clarinets


Zingari (Felmay)

Rom Kaffe (Dunya, 2008)

Mister Romano (Dunya, 2004)


Artist Profiles: Achilla Orru Apaa-Idomo

Achilla Orru Apaa-Idomo was considered by some the master of the lokembe (also spelled lukembe), known as kalimba or thumb piano in the West). The lokembe is an instrument from Achilla Orru Apaa-Idomo’s homeland, Uganda.

King Achilla’s music combined elements of South Africa’s township jive, Congolese soukous, West African pop, and the distinctive sound of Uganda. Achilla was based in Canada and usually accompanied by some of the best musicians in Toronto, who over the years were members of Baana Afrique.

Achilla remained true to his roots, perfecting the fine art of tuning and playing the lokembe to sound like a string instrument. His plucking of the lokembe was unique and sets him apart from other musicians that play the instrument, hence, earning him the title, King Achilla Orru Apaa-Idomo.

Achilla Orru Apaa-Idomo passed away on February 4, 2013 at the age of 53.