The album Gong Hei Fat Choy (China Music House, 2019) features classic Chinese songs recreated by musicans from various countries. The recordings took place in six countries, Cuba, Poland, France, Israel, USA, and China. The thirty musicians came from 10 countries: including Cuba, Ukraine, Poland, USA, France, Israel, Zambia, China, Brazil and Venezuela.
China Music House, the label that put together the project selected some well known artists from the world music, reggae and electronic music scene such as Cuba’s a cappella maestros Vocal Sampling, Brazil’s Luis de Aquino and Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana. Global music instruments were combined with Chinese pipa, suona and gaohu.
The folk songs featured are “Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon”, ”Bu Bu Gao”, “Xi Yang Yang”, ”Purple Bamboo Melody”, ”Song of The Phoenix”, ”Thunder in the Dry Summer.”
Transnational world music band Bokanté has announced a US tour in Spring 2020. Bokanté’s album What Heat is nominated for Best World Music album. What Heat is a collaboration with Metropole Orkest and British arranger and conductor Jules Buckley.
The word Bokanté means ‘exchange’ in Guadeloupean Creole, the language of singer Malika Tirolien, who grew up in the island. Bokanté includes musicians from 5 countries. The band was formed by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League: “I wanted to put together a band that traces the blues from its roots in Africa and the Arab world throughout the diaspora and into a modern context. A big part of the blues belongs to an acoustic idiom; I wanted this band to pursue how groove-based and soulful it can be.”
February 22 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
February 23 – Philadelphia, PA – City Winery
February 26 – North Bethesda, MD – AMP by Strathmore
February 28 – Frederick, MD – Weinberg Center for the Arts
Good festival bands convert listeners into fans. Some even inspire amateur musicians in the audience to quit their day jobs and go on tour. Probably, Treacherous Orchestra inspires young Scottish men to wear black vests and get tattoos, but also, this brawny superband fathered my World Fusion playlist.
…Not exclusively, of course. Daniel Steinberg (Hillbillies From Mars) turned me on to Treacherous Orchestra, so he can also be blamed for my latest addiction. This was back in the days (close to a year ago) when some grumpy Redditor described world music as ear-candy for restless housewives, and I thought to myself “Great! If other housewives listen to my favorite music, I would love to meet them!” But, of course, I understood the grump’s complaint, and I also realized that he had never listened to my playlist. Then one old school guitarist, who did listen, remarked with disgust, “How can you even call this music? It’s just a bunch of ideas.”
Fortunately, today’s general populace is starting to understand what world fusion is/isn’t (compared with New Age and the older genre called world music). New artists emerging every week are building momentum with their genre-bending twists on traditional ethnic music. Still you’ll notice good old Treacherous Orchestra hovering at the top of my playlist. That’s not only because they were my First Love. It’s because in my humble opinion: 1. Their music is stupendous, and 2. Their track “Numbers” magnificently announces, “Here’s what I believe world fusion is, or maybe ought to be.” Wikipedia seems to concur, because its latest definition embraces everything on my playlist: World Fusion playlist.
Now, if you’re seeking a fancy micro-analysis of Treacherous Orchestra’s melodic hooks and mathematical phrasing, you’ll need to consult a Certified Music Major. I’ve got just enough book knowledge to be dangerous. I can only differentiate 6/8 from 3/4 by humming, and I hate talking out my rear end. So my evaluations are purely based on intuition. The way it happened with Treacherous Orchestra was like this: I had an epiphany. Within seconds of hearing Numbers, I felt whisked out of my chair to a place that wasn’t Scotland (the band’s homeland) or even outer space, but rather, a place surpassing all spoken language.
Some ethnic fusion is really just a mishmash, like potstickers
and tacos in the same buffet with quiche; Likewise, some world music has all
the pizzaz of mild Mexican chili; But not Treacherous Orchestra. Their music
seduced me like spicy watermelon gazpacho (exotic, intense and deeply
satisfying). My cheeks flushed. Give me
another round of whatever that is!
In a frenzy of excitement, I asked Daniel Steinberg for more recommendations, and surfed Spotify, until I found myself creating a playlist like no other. This giant world fusion collection will always be a work-in-progress, continually broadening one cohesive journey, like a series of themed-rooms linked together by curious passages. Curating the playlist feels like creating a global Concept Album.
So, for the likes of you, I’m about to start publishing spotlight
reviews. They will feature some bands already on the playlist, plus many new
discoveries. If you enjoy what you hear, please come again!
If you are going to visit the playlist now, please don’t hit
Shuffle Play (the arrow), or you will just hear chaos rather than a journey.
Start at the top, but then notice as you go down that there are many good
places to begin your next journey.
Of course you will hear Numbers first. Prepare yourself by
imagining the cream of Scotland: Nearly a dozen sensational folk musicians,
mostly shrink-wrapped in black, with tattoos exposed, hairy from birth, reeking
of pheromones (or maybe Old Spice), blowing, squeezing and beating every manner
of finicky Celtic instrument as casually as jocks dribbling basketballs. These
youngsters make their profession look easy. Yet nobody could mistake Treacherous
Orchestra for a jam band. This big-rig clearly has an expert driver. So marvel
at the band’s exquisite precision. Analyze how its melodic phrasing shifts
mathematically, within a fixed time signature. Press Repeat, and then let
yourself stop thinking…
The SGAE Foundation is set to present a new edition of the Flamencos y mestizos series from April 11 through April 13 at Sala Berlanga in Madrid. The showcase will feature dance, singing and guitar performances by Encarna Anillo, Mónica Iglesias, ‘El Purili’, Águeda Saavedra, Rafael Riqueni and Avda Yermiyahu.
Flamencos y mestizos will start on Thursday, April 11, with the versatility of Madrid dancer Monica Iglesias (winner of the Desplante Award in La Union 2108) and the voice full of nuances of Cádiz-born Encarna Anillo, veteran cantaora (singer) nicknamed ‘La Gades’.
On April 12,
the Sala Berlanga will host the movement art of Malaga dancer Águeda Saavedra,
an artist forged in flamenco tablaos (nightclubs), accompanied by “El
Purili”, a young rising cantaor from Cádiz.
The series will conclude with a multifaceted show on Saturday, April 13: a pairing of Israeli dancer and choreographer Adva Yermiyahu and one of the finest guitarists in Spain, Rafael Riqueni. The show fuses contemporary flamenco, traditional flamenco, performance and visual theater along with the delightful guitar of Sevillian maestro Riqueni.
Flamencos y mestizos is a showcase where all the expressions that move and thrill have a place. Created in 2015, it has become a window for emerging artists who explore the border between deep flamenco and mestizo flamenco through compositions, dance and song. All the expressions that move and thrill have a place in this encounter. This series is directed by producer, composer and singer Paco Ortega.
The group is from Moldavia (north-eastern region of Romania, not from the former Soviet state called Moldova). It consists in 10 to 15 Gypsy musicians playing brass instruments. The band leader and his brothers (playing the bass and drum) played with Bregovich in Italy and the whole band played with Emir Kusturica on stage at Odissey 2001 concert in Bucharest. They also represented Romania at highest level at Aichi Expo 2005 in Nagoya – Japan.
The artists are all related to one another. They do not use musical notes. The art is passed through generations by practice and lot of exercise. The origins of this kind of brass gipsy music are unknown. It is said Turkish and/or Russian military bands influenced them during 18th and 19th century wars between the two empires over Moldavian territory.
The band is known locally as Fanfara de la Chetris (former Fanfara din Cozmesti). They released an album in international distribution at ARC Music Int. Ltd. in 2000. Other two albums distributed only in Romania in 2003 and 2006 , produced by Softplus and Roton.
The music they play is traditional gypsy music, Romanian folklore, some new tracks from Kusturica’s movie “Black cat, white cat” were added after playing with his “No smoking” band on stage.
The band is suitable for stage show, street theatre, marching and playing, luring people from one stage to another etc.
The instruments used are all brass instruments except a middle size goat skin drum: 2 trumpets, 1 flugelhorn, 1 clarinet, 2 baritones, 2 euphoniums, 2 bass
Balla Tounkara is a jeli (also known as griot by westerners) and master kora player from Mali, West Africa. He and his band, Groupe Spirit, have been bringing a spicy, eclectic blend of African, Latin, Funk, Reggae and Blues musical styles to enthusiastic audiences across the United States. The band regularly performs in Boston and New York City.
Balla has played with a host of world renowned musical artists, including: Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, Jimmy Cliff, Baba Maal, Super Rail Band with Djelimady Tounkara, Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Ami Koita, Toumani Diabate, Kine Lam, Adboulaye Diabate, Kandia Kouyate, Habibe Koite, T.J. Wheeler, John Sinclair and others. He regularly speaks out on important, pressing social issues such as AIDS and violence.
In 2002 the band was nominated as Outstanding World Music Act at the Boston Music Awares, and had the track Le Monde est Fou from their CD Be Right included on Putumayo World Music’s compilation From Congo to Cuba.
Lloyd Parks is a reggae vocalist and bass player. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica on May 26, 1948. In the late 1960s, he performed with the Invincibles band (whose members also included Ansell Collins, Sly Dunbar and Ranchie McLean) before teaming up with Wentworth Vernal in The Termites. In 1967, they recorded their first single “Have Mercy Mr. Percy” and then an album “Do the Rocksteady” for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label.
After recording “RubUp Push Up” for the Dampa label, Parks and Vernal split up. Parks then briefly joined The Techniques as a replacement for Pat Kelly, recording tracks such as “Say You Love Me”, before embarking on a solo career and later starting his own label, Parks. His second single was the classic “Slaving”, a moving song about the struggles of a working man.
As a solo artist, he recorded a number of songs for Prince Tony Robinson, including “Trenchtown Girl” and “You Don’t Care”. Some of his best-known solo hits include “Officially”, “Mafia” (both 1974), “Girl In The Morning” and “Baby Hang Up The Phone” (both 1975). Parks was a studio bass player, backing many of the greatest reggae artists, including Justin Hinds on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label. He was a member of Skin Flesh and Bones along with Ansell Collins on keyboards, Tarzan on keyboards, and Ranchie MacLean on guitar. This group backed Al Brown on his hit “Here I am Baby”, and many other artists. When Skin Flesh and Bones started playing for the Channel One Studios, Parks renamed the band The Revolutionaries.
Parks was also a member of Joe Gibbs’ house band, The Professionals, performing hits such as Althea & Donna’s “Up Town Top Ranking”, and in the 1970s he backed artists including Dennis Brown, the Abyssinians, the Itals, The Gladiators, Culture and Prince Far I. In 1974, he founded the “We the People” Band.
Reggae Down Under captured Lloyd parks performing his greatest two hits – “Mafia” and “Officially” – Up close and personal during his tour of Australia with Dub Syndicate.
Officially (Attack, 1974)
Girl In The Morning (Trojan, 1975)
Loving You (Trojan, 1976) Meet the people (Parks, 1978)
Jeans, Jeans (Tad’s, 1985)
What More Can I Do (1983) Time A Go Dread (Pressure Sounds)
Andy Irvine is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He was a member of two other groundbreaking groups, Sweeney’s Men and Planxty, and has worked closely with Paul Brady.
In his two years with Sweeney’s Men, the group ignited an interest in traditional Irish music that survives to this day. Their successful singles, “Old Maid in the Garret” and “The Waxie’s Dargle” landed at the very top of the Irish Hit Parade.
Andy left the band in 1968, and made his first trip abroad, hitchhiking in Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, earning his living as a street musician and absorbing the musical traditions of the Balkans. Returning to Ireland, Irvine united with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn to form Planxty, fanning the flames of Irish Traditional Music well into the next generation.
Planxty took a break in 1976 and Irvine worked and recorded with Paul Brady, making the classic album Andy Irvine & Paul Brady. After a brief time with De Dannan, he rejoined the reunited Planxty from 1979 until its breakup in 1983. Andy’s his first solo album, Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams, followed, as well as Parallel Lines, a duo album with the great Scottish troubadour, Dick Gaughan.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Andy formed Mosaic, a pan-European band that included Donal Lunny and Hungarian singer Marta Sebestyen. After one blissful summer traveling through Europe with this band, Andy returned to solo and duo work. This work soon grew into Patrick Street, featuring Kevin Burke (Bothy Band), Jackie Daly (De Dannan) and guitar maestro Arty McGlynn.
Patrick Street, originally billed as Legends of Irish Music, recorded three albums from 1987 to 1990. Andy then recorded his second solo album, Rude Awakening, and created the hugely influential Eastwind, an album of Balkan music, produced by Bill Whelan and featuring Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes. Patrick Street regrouped in 1993 with Kevin, Jackie, Andy, and Ged Foley. Patrick Street released eight recordings on the Green Linnet label.
Way Out Yonder came out in 2001. Early in 2002, Andy drafted some long-time musical friends and formed his dream band for a one-off tour of Australia. Calling themselves Mozaik, reminiscent of the earlier cross-genre group, Andy was joined by Donal Lunny, Dutch guitarist Rens van der Zalm, Hungarian bagpiper Nikola Parov and American fiddler Bruce Molsky.
October 2002 saw the release of Patrick Street’s Street Life.
In 2012, Sweeney’s Men, Mozaik, and Paul Brady got together to celebrate Andy Irvine’s 70th Birthday with a Concert at Vicar St, released in 2014 on CD and DVD as 70th Birthday Concert @ Vicar Street 2012.
Andy Irvine’s discography is quite extensive.He has recordings with Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street, Mozaik, Christy Moore, Paul Brady, Maddy Prior & June Tabor, Mick Hanly, Dick Gaughan, Peter Ratzenbeck, Davy Spillane, Marianne Green, Rens van der Zalm, Luke Plumb, Usher’s Island.
Conceived in France 1995 by Hameed Khan, a tabla player, Musafir was composed of groups of musicians who in Rajasthan would not play together, but here created an exciting fusion. Hameed Khan’s background in jazz, Arabic music, North Indian Classical music, Breton music, and various crossover styles produced an eclectic aesthetic.
Hameed’s inspiration was to showcase Rajasthan in a “folkloric cabaret.” Musafir’s original compositions combined Rajasthani rural folk music with influences from Qawwali (Muslim devotional music), Indian film music, Arabic popular music, and Hindustani (North Indian Classical) music.
Musafir (“Traveler” in Farsi), from Rajasthan in northwest India, dazzled European audiences with its energetic hybrid versions of Indian folk and popular music, acrobatics, and feats of physical endurance. Musafir performed to enthusiastic crowds at hundreds of concerts and festivals all over Europe, such as WOMAD, Roskilde, Paleo, Sfinks, and Ritmos.
Musafir was featured on the CD “Gypsies of Rajasthan” (Blue Flame) and some members appeared in the film Latcho Drom, a staged documentary of Rom music. In “The Gypsy Caravan” a musical component of Musafir portrayed the symbolic and historical connection of the Roma (Gypsies) to northwest India.
The artists in Musafir were not the actual ancestors of contemporary European Roma but rather suggest some of the occupational and artistic niches that Roma might have occupied in Rajasthan. The term Gypsy was applied by the British to numerous nomadic groups in India who have no proven relationship to European Roma.
The band was composed of professional musicians who inhabit the Thar desert in northwest Rajasthan. They were members of the Langa, Manghaniyar, and Sapera groups.
The membership of the group was variable. In 2000 the band was formed by Bachu Khan Langa, Shayar Khan Langa, Barkat Khan Langa, Sayeri Sapera, and Sakur Manghaniyar.
In 2000 most of the key members of the group split to form another band called Maharaja.
Dr. Krishna Raghavendra is an international performing artist in the fields of traditional and contemporary music. He is also a composer, and a producer. Dr. Raghavendra also offers workshops at educational institutions and releases original recordings.
He is the founder of “Raga and Rhythm Ensemble”(RARE), primarily to promote and integrate Indian music with western and non-western forms of music. He is a master of Veena, a traditional plucked stringed instrument from South India. His veena is custom built as a detachable instrument out of red cedar wood by the late Narasinga Rao of Bangalore, India and modified by Mr. Steve Morrill, Boston who built the finger board, modified the bridge and worked on sound amplification. Dr. Raghavendra has developed a unique technique of playing veena which involves a combination of soft nuances, swift fingering and imaginative use of melodic and drone strings to produce harmonizing and vamping sounds as if coming from different instruments.
Dr. Raghavendra is a senior member of the Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) and the founding member of the USA-based Ragha School of Music.
In addition to his work in Indian classical music, he has worked with several fusion groups. Raghavendra has performed and recorded internationally, and plays a new version of the vina which is portable but retains an excellent tonal quality.
Rare Pulse (2001)
The Great Train Journey (2002)
Tryst with Destiny (2003)
Shades Of Love (2004)
Shiva Ganga (2006)
Sri Raghavendra Vishesha Kriti Mala (2006)
Sampradaya: Veena Tradition (2006)
Nee Da Ma Da (2007)
Utsava (Raghas Music, 2010)
Sindhu Bhairavi (Raghas Music, 2011)
Beyond Behag (Raghas Music, 2013)
Orchestral Aves (Raghas Music, 2015)
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion