Independent Native American Music Label Announces All-Native Digital Downloading Distribution

Oyate Music and its parent company, RavenHeart Entertainment Corp.,
have partnered with digital downloading distribution company, Audiolunchbox.com,
to launched an all Native American music website for digital distribution. The Oyate Music catalog of contemporary, traditional, pow-wow and Native flute music, is now available through its own on-line “storefront” of direct CD On-Demand digital distribution of music from the label’s artists.

According to Oyate Music president Tony Palmer, “one of the major difficulties with the digital downloading distribution companies to date has been the delay in getting the artists music available for the downloading distribution. Through our partnership with Morgan Harris and Audiolunchbox.com, we are now able to make this fantastic new technology work for people looking for Native American music who have before been unable to find these artists and their music.”Mr. Palmer stated “this new development will help Native American artists step into the future and offer them a ways and means to be fairly compensated for their art.”

Oyate Music is a distributor of Native music and has been offering this genre of music for the past seven years with their innovative approaches to the music industry.

We believe in treating all of our artists with respect, integrity and honoring them with fair royalties for the gifts that they bring to the world,” according to Mr. Palmer.

The complete Oyate catalog of music and Native American stars can be found at
www.oyatemusic.com.

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Kenya Feel the Spirit?

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to the Music of Kenya
Various Artists

The Rough Guide to the Music of Kenya (World Music Network RGNET 1137 CD, 2004)

The tightly syncopated, guitar-percolating style known as benga is the popular music most closely associated with the East African nation of Kenya, originating in the traditional music of that country’s Luo people before going on to be big nationwide. But since this is one of World Music Network’s far-reaching Rough Guides we’re dealing with, benga is only one side of the story. There’s also the taarab style that stems from Indian Ocean coastal sounds, rumba based on the classic Congolese model and modern fusion influenced by R&B and hip-hop.

The lineup here is geared toward the roots, which is likely to please listeners new to Kenyan music or who don’t yet possess an abundance of it. Benga has something of the same bounce as South African mbaquanga music, and the opening example by one Queen Jane lays a sprightly foundation for further scorchers by Kakai Kilonzo and D.O. Misiani, both of whom also have a hint of rumba in their selections. For full-on rumba it’s the venerable but now dissolved Golden Sounds Band sweetly tearing it up.

The taarab selections, infused with equal parts Swahili ethnicity and Muslim spirituality, are delights of tumbling percussion, accordion, violins and relaxed vocals. The real grabbers, though, are traditional-based tracks not easily classified, including the meaty stomp of Yunasi’s cautionary tale about personal responsibility, a completely engaging song by Suzzana Owiyo that’s wrapped around an odd but irresistible rhythm and the lengthy down-home jam by Kenge Kenge Orutu Systems that closes the album.

In all, a very rich sampling of a country whose music isn’t as widely available as some others on the African continent but has every right to be.

Buy The Rough Guide to the Music of Kenya

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Charles Chase, proprietor of The Folk Music Center Dies at 89

Charles Chase, poet, proprietor of The Folk Music Center, and expert on folk
instruments from around the world, died on May 21 in Claremont, CA. He was 89.

In operation for almost 50 years, the Folk Music Center includes a music store,
repair shop, performance stage and school as well as a museum that contains
several hundred antique instruments, many of them donations from loyal
customers. Chase and his wife, Dorothy, moved to California in 1957. He taught high school
and opened the folk music store in 1958. Dorothy taught guitar, dulcimer and
banjo and Charles repaired instruments. Six years after they opened the
business, Chase quit teaching and made the music center his full-time job. Since
then, three generations of family members have worked there.

Chase led a weekly program for schoolchildren for more than 20 years,
demonstrating how to play the instruments and pointing out on a globe from what
country they came. "My grandfather loved sharing the music," said
singer-songwriter Ben Harper who worked at the center repairing instruments
until his performance career took off. "Without my grandfather, I don’t think
I’d be doing what I do
."

[This obituary is reproduced by courtesy of the

Folk Alliance
].

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Major World Music stars at California Worldfest 2004

California-worldfestGrass Valley, California, USA – California Worldfest will take place July 15-18, 2004, in Grass Valley, California.

Many well known artists are scheduled to play: including Youssou N’Dour & the Super Etoile, Tommy Emmanuel (Australia), Les Yeux Noirs (France), Alasdair Fraser (Scotland), Mary Youngblood (Native American/USA), Samite (Uganda), Badi Assad (Brazil), Habib Khan (India), Joe Craven (USA), Radim Zenkl (Czech Republic), Wild Magnolias  (USA), Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum (USA), Bluehouse (Australia).

The festival will also include vocal, instrumental, dance and percussion workshops, the renowned children’s program, international artisans and food from around the world. Tickets can be purchased online or at +1 530-891-4098. For information or to purchase tickets via phone, the office is open Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm. RV (recreational vehicles) sites with full hook-ups are available in the camping area ($60 all Festival for full hook-ups and $40 all Festival for water/electricity only) with the purchase of 3-day or 4-day tickets.

Here is the current lineup to date:

Youssou N’Dour & the Super Etoile (sat) ~ Senegal’s world music superstar combines an enchanting blend of traditional percussion and griot singing with Afro-Cuban and indigenous dance flavors.

Lucinda Williams (fri) ~ Multi-Grammy winner is equal parts blues, folk, alt-country and rock driven by deeply poetic lyrics. From Car Wheels on a Gravel Road to World Without Tears she will touch your heart.

Tommy Emmanuel (fri/sat) ~ Australia’s guitar wizard extraordinaire took last year’s WorldFest by storm and was the “most requested to return.”

Stars of the Peking Acrobats (sun) ~ International superstars, these awe inspiring gymnasts, jugglers and acrobats are an extraordinary kaleidoscope of entertainment and wonder…just right for the young at heart.

Les Yeux Noirs (sat) ~ This Paris-based octet offers an irresistible mix of Gypsy, klezmer and swing jazz in a dizzying vortex of European sounds and images.

Mary Youngblood (sun) ~ Equal parts Aleut (Alaska) and Seminole (Florida), Mary’s Best Native American Album Grammy acknowledges her virtuoso flute playing and inspiring vocals. She is joined by guitarist/vocalist, Jerry Daub.

Alasdair Fraser (fri) ~ Irrepressible Scottish fiddle guru returns with more jigs, reels and improvised good times…along with his “everyone’s welcome” Kitchen Party.

Badi Assad (sat/sun) ~ Daughter of the famous Assad Family of Brazil, her impeccable guitar work and vocal gymnastics are described as Bobby McFerrin meets Michael Hedges.

Joe Craven (fri-sun) ~ Master of all, Joe Craven is a whirling dervish of percussion madness, mandolin expressionism and fiddle fever, this time exploring Django Reinhardt with Latin rhythms.

Samite of Uganda (thu/fri) ~ One of Africa’s finest voices, Samite mesmerizes with his original compositions played on kalimba, marimba, litungu and various African flutes.

Tiempo Libre (sun) ~ Seven extraordinary Cuban musicians explore jazz, traditional Cuban and Afro/Cuban sounds with percussion driven horns, keyboards and soaring vocals. Get ready to dance!

Naomi Ruth Eisenberg & Maryann Price (thu/fri) ~ Definitive Lickettes from Dan Hicks fame, their rollicking, good-times tunes and exquisite harmony are propelled by a swinging 6-piece jazz ensemble.

Radim Zenkl (fri/sat) ~ Squarely at the forefront of the modern mandolin movement, this Czech master touches bluegrass, jazz, blues, folk and ragtime.

Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum (thur/fri) ~ Americana’s own vocal diva (twice bluegrass vocalist of the year) joins forces with impeccable mandolin in pure musical nirvana.

Habib Khan & Emam (sun) ~ The “Jimi Hendrix” of the sitar joins a master of the tabla in a virtuoso combination sure to evoke beautiful images of India.

The Bluehouse (sat/sun) ~ Swooping across the Pacific in three part harmony, their quick wit, biting commentary and stellar musicianship make them a WorldFest favorite.

Webster Sisters with Scott Nygaard (Sun) ~ Sweet Sister vocals of Chris and Cassie are backed by achingly beautiful guitar to explore old-time harmony with new twists.

O-Maya (sat) ~ 10-piece ensemble will rock WorldFest with Afro/Latin Hip Hop that breathes hints of reggae and cumbia into dancing son and hip hop.

Samba Ngo (sun) ~ Sweet Congolese sounds with layers of guitar, percussion, and call & response lyrics…Samba’s motto is “let’s dance today, because tomorrow who knows?”

Wild Magnolias (sun) ~ Part Latin, part African-Caribbean, part Jazz, and part Native American, the Magnolias are 100 percent New Orleans soul and their sound defines Mardi Gras.

Banana Slug String Band (fri/sat) ~ True environmental messengers, the Slugs use music, theater, puppetry and audience participation for a fun-filled learning experience.

Christine Bonner & Friends (thur-fri) ~ Exquisite folk harpist joins with friends to explore the passion of flamenco and the gentleness of a lullaby.

CrazyGrass (thur/fri) ~ Hot licks and a jam band mentality are led by musical pied piper Sid Lewis, playing bluegrass, jazz and rock n’ roll.

* artists subject to change

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Shacking Up

Aphrodesia – Shackrobeat Vol. 1
Aphrodesia

Shackrobeat Vol. 1
(Flatbed Lamborgini Records FLR808, 2003)

Though they’ve been pegged as part of the current Afrobeat revival, San Francisco’s Aphrodesia go beyond that. Yes, their music is full of the same sort of interlocking guitars, uninhibited horns and layered percussion found in the pioneering work of the late legendary Fela Kuti and bands like Antibalas who superbly carry on his legacy. They also have a fancy for highlife, makossa, Caribbean rhythms, celebratory vocals and other touches that enhance the combination of African grooves, James Brown-ish funk, freeform solos and lengthy running times that have largely characterized Afrobeat up to now. So, having taken care of categorization or the lack of it, let me say that this CD is pure dynamite.

From the ear-catching percussion swirl that starts things off to the dub reggae trance that closes the proceedings, it’s a musical trip that pleasingly visits many key spots in Africa and the African diaspora.

Lead singer Lara Maykovich spent a couple years in Ghana and Zimbabwe researching and studying African rhythms, songs and dances, bringing a multilingual deep roots feel to such songs as the opening “Olondo,” “Ting Be” and the stunning “Black Rhino,” on which a lovely Stella Chiweshe-type mbira is urged along by drums and vocals that gradually seem to shed their frailty and become more assured. Truly inspired, as is the whole album.

Every member of the 11-piece band contributes memorable work, be it in the spotlight or in a supporting capacity. In fact, it’s a communal spirit that you feel in this music, a spirit that makes you forget your problems and dance or listen closely to the wisdom a song might offer along with an unfailingly sumptuous groove.

Shackrobeat Vol. 1
seems a good descriptive word for Aphrodesia’s sound- it’s rustic and unpretentious, while possessing a certain sturdy charm. There’s plenty to savor here, but with any luck at all the “Vol.1” in the title is indicative that there’s more down the line. Obtain this disc without hesitation, and keep your eyes and ears open for further sounds from the shack.

Buy Shackrobeat Vol. 1

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Happy Birthday Captain – Neville Jule

Neville Jules

Happy Birthday “Captain” – Neville Jules
May 21, 2003
By Khalick J. Hewitt

The name Neville Jules is synonymous with discipline and innovation. Under the Captaincy of Jules, Trinidad All Stars Steelband was the most disciplined steelband of the era. Neville Jules grew up in Rose Hill and attended Rosary Boys’ Roman Catholic School as a young boy. He is one of the early pioneers in the steelband movement. It was Neville Jules who gave the steelband world the ‘Grundig’ instrument. The name Grundig was the grand radio of all radios in the 1950s in Trinbago. It had a beautiful and distinctive sound. No other radio sounded like it. It was with that in mind that the name ‘Grundig’ was given to the guitar pan instrument.

One Carnival day you could recognize the Trinidad All Stars by the sound of the ‘Grundig’. I came to know Jules while All Stars was situated in the Garrot (Attic), upstairs Maple Leaf Club (no longer around) on Charlotte Street, near Duke Street. Also, at that time Jules worked on the Wharf where my grandfather worked and knew him. One Friday night, my friend Audra Preddie from Nelson Street took to me to the All Stars panyard to learn to play steelpan under Neville Jules.

Audra took me to the garrot and introduced me to Jules. He said to Jules: “Captain, ah bring my friend to learn to beat pan.” Everyone addressed Jules as Captain. Indeed, he was the Captain in every sense of the word for he ran a tight ship. At that time we used the word ‘beat’ to describe our pan playing. Jules looked at me and smiled. He said: “You want to learn to beat pan. You going to school?” I replied yes and that I attended Rosary school. To which Jules replied: “That is the best school in the world, stand up
behind that tenor pan.” So began my pan career. However, it was short lived because I soon realized that the every night practice took me away from the girls. That was my teenage years and I was in my prime. So I left. But, I never forget the impact Neville Jules made on me.

I never heard Jules raise his voice to any panist. He was soft spoken. He never argued with a panist. He would softly relay his instructions to other panists like Brainsley, Shoreland or Rupert or Broko to tell you what to do. Most important, All Stars never got into gang fights under his leadership even though All Stars was known to have many famous ‘badjohns’ in the band.

All the steelbands respected All Stars’ neutrality. You see, unlike most of the steelbands, All Stars was not a community band. What I mean is that unlike Desperadoes, Renegades, Casablanca, San Juan All Stars or Tokyo which were heavy community steelbands, All Stars served many communities. Players came from George Street, Nelson Street (Upper and Lower) around Piccadilly Street, Jackson Place, Laventille, San Juan, Diego Martin, Belmont and as far as Carenage. A community steelband had its root in the lime on the corner. Usually the ‘limers’ made up most of the core members. And, the lime was usually on the street where the steelband was situated. There was no lime on Charlotte where All Stars was situated. So, most of its panists came from elsewhere.

The 1960s were the glory years of the Jules’ captaincy. It was under Jules that All Stars entered the Panorama with the hit “Patsy”. Previously Jules forbade All Stars to enter the Panorama. He had the foresight to see where Panorama was heading. It was Neville Jules who started the ‘bomb’ tunes to play jouvert morning. A ‘bomb’ is a classical piece that is transcribed to calypso music. But, the status of every steelband was in winning the Panorama competition. Since the Panorama was held annually and the Music Festival was bi-annual, the Panorama won out as the competition that tested the musical mettle of the panist. It was the Panorama that defined the superiority of a steelband. Or so everyone thought. In those days, one of the rituals after carnival was the meeting on every corner from Ash Wednesday till months into the year, to discuss each steelband’s contribution to the Panorama festival. Everyone would analyze and criticize each steelband’s arrangement. One such liming spot was the Piccadilly Street bridge where you could see pockets of limers debating the merits and demerits of the steelbands who played at the Panorama leading to heated arguments about who ‘beat’ good or bad.

Next, Jules started a tradition that continues today. All Stars was the first steelband to serenade the Police Officers by stopping in front of Police Headquarters that was on St. Vincent Street. Jules felt that the officers had protected the masqueraders for the carnival, most not being able to play mas themselves or listen to a steelband and should be given an opportunity to hear steelband music. So, the band started a practice of playing their favorite musical pieces for the police officers to hear. One of my favorite ‘bomb’ tunes is still Anniversary Waltz.

So, on Carnival Tuesday night, maybe an hour before ‘last lap’ at midnight, when all steelbands and masqueraders had to stop playing pan and mas, and carnival ended would end, All Stars would head for St. Vincent Street and stop in front of the police headquarters and play all their carnival tunes but mostly their ‘bombs.’ Mas players would dance with their partners in the band while All Stars played tune after tune and around 11:30 pm the band would start moving toward Queen Street and headed to the garrot where once again they played the’ bomb’ in front of the garrot and ended a joyous festival. But, the discipline continued. Jules had everyone take their pans upstairs to the garrot and packed them away neatly.

Today, Jules is Captain Emeritus of Trinidad All Stars Steelband. Happy Birthday Captain.
Thanks for the Memories.

Khalick J. Hewitt
President & Founder
International Steelpan & Calypso Society

You can E-mail the writer at beldukes15@aol.com

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The Fez Singers, Morocco’s Finest Traditional A Cappella Performing in Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA – The Fez Singers, Morocco’s premiere Sacred Music ensemble, will make its North American Debut on Wednesday June 9th, 2004, at the Moyer Student Union Ballroom on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada is the presenter of event, featuring Abdel Fattah Bennis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:00 p.m. $25 suggested donation per ticket. Tickets may also be purchased online at http://wamq.com/fez.

The Fez Singers bring generations of experience to the traditional art of Moroccan a cappella vocals. With an intensity and level of technical and artistic intricacy that displays this art at its finest, they have dominated the Fez Sacred Music Festival with their annual performances and are rapidly establishing a powerful reputation in the world music arena. The Fez Singers, debuting in the United States, perform regularly for the King of Morocco and have dominated the Fez Sacred Music festival year after year with their stellar vocal stylings. The most well known of the Fez Singers works is their recent recording of the epic Arabic Poem of the Cloak, the Burda, written by al-Busiri. In this production, the Burda is intertwined with extracts from the Hamziyya, another al-Busiri poem. This recording was the first to blend al-Busiri’s poems with the Andalusian vocal style for a Western audience. An audio sample can be heard atsandala.co.uk.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Las Vegas Al-Maun (Neighborly Needs)
Charitable Organization.

For out of town guests, a block of rooms have been reserved at the MGM Grand
Hotel ~2 miles from UNLV. Use Promo Code: ADB514 (Interfaith Council of Southern
Nevada) when reserving either a Double Queen or King room for only $99/night for
Wednesday June 9, 2004 and/or Thursday June 10, 2004. These rooms are normally
$129/night and are available on a first come, first serve basis. Call MGM
directly at 1-877-880-0880 to reserve a room.

Group ticket rates, sponsorships and vending tables are available. Contact the
organizers for more information: http://wamq.com/fez. Contact: Ahmed M. Monib,
ahmed_monib@hotmail.com. Phone: +1
702-326-4020

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Afro-Pfingsten Festival 2004: “The Soul of Africa”

Winterthur, Switzerland –

The

Afro-Pfingsten Festival
will take place May 27 through May 31. With its
diverse
program, it plans to show visitors a glimpse of the world’s
second-largest continent,
its inhabitants, cultures and traditions. This intensive cultural exchange
grants annual
attractive and sustainable insights into the vibrating, African way of life.
Under the title and in the thread of “The Soul of Africa”, this year’s
Afro-Pfingsten Festival
invites its visitors to an exceptional rendezvous with Africa. Four concert
evenings enable
a glance at the continent’s multifarious music scene.

Urban
Culture
“ – Two shooting stars from the urban milieu will be marking the
impressive
start on Thursday May, 27th: the Jamaican Singjay Anthony B, who is well
able to entrance
his audience with his vibrating dancehall-ragga-dub-reggae-dynamics, and the
Senegalese
rap-trio Daara J, whose exciting lyrics cause a worldwide sensation.”African
Roots
“, – on Friday there will be two, as yet undiscovered highlights
in Switzerland,
on the stage: the Saharawi singer Mariem Hassan with her desert blues, and the guitarist and singer Manecas Costa from Guinea
Bissau, whose
Gumbe songs combine African joie de vivre with Portuguese melancholy. This
evening will
be rounded off by the Afrobeat legend Tony Allen.

New
South Africa: Happy Birthday
”, the entire day on Saturday is dedicated
to South Africa
and the 10th anniversary of its liberation from apartheid. And who would be
better to celebrate
this than the charismatic Lucky Dube. Then the rap attacks from the female trio Godessa from the
Cape Flats and the bubbly Kwaito mix from Mzekezeke, from the Tembisa
Township.

Sound’n’Voices”:
on the one hand, there is the soothing voice of Dobet Gnahoré, from
Ivory Coast, through to the sounds of the Creole-Cuban timbre of the
troubadour Ti-Coca,
from Haiti, and the dubby melodies of catchy Afro-pop tunes from the Kenyan
singer Onejiru.
The festival is rounded off by French master of sound Frédéric Galliano
with the The African Divas: Afro sounds and rhythms are concentrated with
house beats
to create harmonious traditional and modern sounds.

Afro-Pfingsten is much more than just a music festival.
42
workshops
(last day for applications: 19 May) provide the chance to engage in further,
unique
rendezvous with the African muse. 7 African films will be shown in the Loge
cinema
at the start of the festival (between 20 May and 2 June). Most of these
films are
award-winning works. In addition, there will be over 200
market traders will be ensuring
a bustling, colorful market over three days (Thursday to Saturday) in
Winterthur’s old town.

For further information regarding concerts, workshops, films and all you
need to know about the Afro-Pfingsten festival in Winterthur, visit:

www.afropfingsten.ch
.


Starticket online
.Call Center 0900 325 325 (CHF 1.49/Min.).

Outlets in Switzerland
.


Ticketcorner online
.
Call Center 0900 800 800 (CHF 1.16/Min.).

Outlets in Switzerland
.

[Photos: 1 – Ambience at Afro-Pfingsten Festival. 2 – Dobet Gnahore. 3-
Workshops at the festival. All photos courtesy of Afro-Pfingsten festival..

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Silvio Rodriguez Pays Tribute to Frank Fernandez

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana.- With his usual serious face, head bowed and eloquent on his guitar, Silvio Rodriguez, considered the leading representative of Cuban Trova, paid tribute to famous Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez (1944-) with his music. The packed audience at Havana’s 5,000-seat Karl Marx Theater welcomed the author of Ojala and Unicornio with an ovation. It is said that Silvio worships friendship, and he wished a happy birthday to Fernandez, the eminent Cuban maestro, on his 60th birthday and 45th anniversary of his brilliant career. Rodriguez´ set included Playa Giron, a classic for those who saw him play it for the first time, along with Pablo Milanés and Noel Nicola, in the 60s when he finished his Military Service.The singer-songwriter, an important figure of Latin American poetry and music, sang what he felt like, took his time tuning his guitar, and continued until he abandoned the hall, followed by a roaring ovation. Many sighed in relief, because Silvio Rodriguez, an artist who of late has renounced live performances, since he does not “find any special incentive in them,” once again paid tribute to friendship. Santiago Feliu followed Rodriguez reeling off his music of heavy guitars and excellent lyrics, accompanied by two of his “mates” of guitar. Later came tres player Pancho Amat and his Cabildo Son. Amat, along with Papi Oviedo Jr., is one of the top representatives of contemporary Tres, the most emblematic instrument of Son, formerly ennobled by Arsenio Rodriguez, Chito Latamblet and Oviedo Sr. Former member of Manguare, Amat’s rhythm, excellent voice, and great solos made the audience dance. Adalberto Alvarez, worldwide known as the Knight of Son, concluded the tribute to Frank Fernandez with his elegant Cuban music.

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Cuban Musicians Targeting Guinness Record

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Santiago de Cuba – A 14-day marathon performance of the “Son” rhythm entered its third day in Guantanamo, the easternmost Cuban province. In an effort to set a new Guinness record, the first 24 hours without interruption took place at the Heredia Theater in Santiago de Cuba, 884 kilometers east of Havana. The musicians from Santiago then passed on the Son to their counterparts from Guantanamo, gathered at the Hanoi cabaret. Monday evening, the baton is passed to the city of Bayamo, as the non-stop music makes its way to the rest of the major Cuban cities before reaching Havana on May 29. The goal was almost spoiled Sunday by an unexpected storm, the strongest this season. It held up the arrival of the relieving musicians, but was not enough to impede the longest Son from continuing. The attendance of local dancers -ready to set their own record in an unstoppable dance session- and the audience that remained in place for 24 hours, was another noteworthy highlight. The public had free access to the party, which included initiatives such as a meeting of child fans of Son and competitions of Tres (autochthonous instrument linked to the rhythm). Each venue has a jury formed by important figures of the cultural world, in charge of validating whether the Guinness record is actually surpassed, through the delivery of the official documentation to the British Embassy in Havana. The previous record, although not registered by Guinness, was set by Cuban musicians at the Tropical Salon Rosado open-air dance hall in Havana, and lasted 100 hours.

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Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion