On Track As Always

Super Rail Band De Bamako - Kongo Sigui
Super Rail Band De Bamako

Kongo Sigui (Label Bleu/Indigo 2581, 2003)

Recent times have seen the resurgence of longstanding African bands Bembeya Jazz from Guinea and Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab. Mali’s Super Rail Band (so named because they started as the in-house band at the hotel adjacent to the train station in the Malian capital of Bamako) have been together for 30-plus years and are presently enjoying similar well-deserved renewed interest. From their inception they sought to respectfully modernize the musical traditions of west Africa’s Manding people, benefiting from having their ranks include both Salif Keita and Mory Kante in the lead singer role. Those two are long gone, but another key architect in the Super Rail sound, guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, remains.

Tounkara’s superb electric playing has always managed to replicate the tone and feel of Manding acoustic instruments in a contemporary context, and the band’s embracing of varied Afro-pop elements melded with a blues/rock edge completed the picture.

The last couple of Super Rail Band albums sweetened the basic guitars/bass/drums/percussion/voices lineup with keyboards and horns, but those are done away with on Kongo Sigui. The group also hearkens back to their roots with the use of kora (21-stringed harp/lute) on the album. The result is a recording which, in sound and spirit, conjures up the raw power of their live performances while showing how bountifully their creative juices continue to flow. Throbbing percussion and an assertive groove fuel the leadoff track, “Mogo Gnaye Kodola,” laying the groundwork for slow-burning stunners (such as the title track and “Sory”) as well as tunes that start off soaring and stay there (“Dion Mansa,” “Pirates”).

There’s also some lovely female harmonies complimenting the soulful wail of the lead vocals, doses of
Latin bounce here and there, and Tounkara’s ever-nimble guitar not only frequently stealing the show, but accentuating the skilled greatness of the whole ensemble. As enjoyable as some of the discs in Super Rail Band’s long and distinguished career have been, this trumps many of them and stands as one of
their absolute best.

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European Tour by Brazilian Pandeiro and Percussion Master

Marcos Suzano - Flash
Marcos Suzano – Flash
Brazil – Percussion master Marcos Suzano (Brazil) will initiate his Euro Tour 2003 on October 31st through November 19th.

The Pandeiro wizard will be accompanied by  his quintet to show the best of his 3 albums Sambatown, Flash and his new album, still unnamed.

Marcos Suzano is widely recognized as one of the most creative multi-percussionists in Brazil and as the best “pandeiro” player in the world. He recorded and toured with several top artists in Brazil and abroad like Cesaria Evora, Sting, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Chico Science, Joan Baez, Charles Lloyd.

Tour dates:

31.10 Show New Morning – Paris – F
1.11 Show Nijmegen Music Meeting – NL
2.11 Masterclass Music Meeting – Nijmegen – NL
9.11 Masterclass – Brussels – B
10.11 Show Flagey Studio 4 – Brussels – B
11.11 Masterclass – Orleans – F
12.11 Show Astrolabe – Orleans – F
14,15,16.11 Masterclasses – Toulouse – F
18.11 Masterclass – Music Academy of Copenhagen – DK

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Ali Slimani will be touring Canada

Ali Slimani
Ali Slimani
Canada – Ali Slimani will be touring Canada from the 09 November till 15 November 2003.

The details:  

09 Nov : Theatre Capitol, Moncton. Tel: 00 1 506 856 4379
10 Nov : Theatre Petit Champlain, Quebec. Tel : 00 1 418 692 2631
12 Nov : Club Soda, Montreal. Tel : 00 1 514 286 1010
13 Nov : Richard’s on Richard’s, Vancouver. Tel : 00 1 604 736 9806
15 Nov : Lakeside Terrace, Harbourfront, Toronto. Tel : 00 1 416 973 4000.

The tour is sponsored by Coup de Coeur Francophone.Ali Slimani was born and raised in El Anasser, a quiet and neatly respectable suburb of the Algerian capital Algiers which is home to the huge 20 Août football stadium where the young Slimani used to power the chants on the terraces with his darbuka.

Although his parents wanted him to become a doctor or lawyer, Ali Slimani fell developed a passion for music and the sounds of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Alpha Blondy, Boney M and the Bee Gees. He also inherited a deep love for the heroes of the popular traditional music of Algiers, which is called chaabi (also known as shaabi), men like Dahmane El Harrachi and Mohammed El Hadj El Anka. Then of course there was rai. Like every other Algerian teenager Ali fell under the spell of the plain speaking, tough living heroes of rai music from Oran; Cheb Khaled, Cheb Hamid, Cheikha Remitti and Cheb Abdelhak etc. “The words were so important,” Slimani explains. “With rai you
can sing about what you want, problems, women, love, no job. For my family the words were very bad and out of respect I couldn’t listen to rai music at home at that time. We used to go off with my friends to the beach to listen to it instead
.”

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Fado, Exquisite Passion

Fado Exquisite Passion
Fado Exquisite Passion
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – Fado Exquisite Passion is the tile of a new compilation released by Narada World. The recording features four of the genre’s greatest interpreters — Mariza, rising star Cristina Branco, Mafalda Arnauth, and the late legendary Amália Rodrigues.

Fado (from Latin “fatum” meaning fate) is a vocal tradition with roots planted firmly in the 19th century. It is entwined with Portugal’s rich and culturally diverse history, songs delivered from deep in the heart and soul that tell unforgettable stories of love, loss and regret.

Purchase Fado Exquisite Passion

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Successful WOMEX debut in Sevilla

womex-250Sevilla, Spain – Sunday, October 26’s ceremony to honor the WOMEX Award 2003 recipients Freemuse – The World Forum on Music and Censorship marked the Grand Finale of this year’s WOMEX 2003 at FIBES and El Palenque in the Andalusian capital of Sevilla.
 
From Wednesday Oct 22 to Sunday Oct 26 more than 2000 attendees from over 80 countries – amongst them 250 journalists – met 300 exhibitors at 200 stands in FIBES’ WOMEX pavilion, and discussed in 25 conference sessions. For the second time, WOMEX 2003 included a Film- and TV market focusing on world music content. From Thursday to Saturday, professional visitors as well as the Sevilla public
were digging the music WOMEX is all about and partied to 33 concerts at El Palenque. Complementary to the WORLD Flamenco Fair – taking place simultaneously to WOMEX 2003 at FIBES – this year’s WOMEX showcases had a focus on Spanish and Latin music and featured numerous musical highlights from all over the world alike.

Amongst producers, distributors, publishers, record labels, festivals, booking agencies and cultural exchange organisations, the international WOMEX community included more than 400 professionals from Spain and Latin America. According to the quantity of deals and agreements set, WOMEX again proved to be the central marketplace for the international world music community.
 
Thousands of regional world music fans followed the invitation to visit the public showcases and set a new WOMEX record for public attendance: Together with the official WOMEX delegates they very successfully provided the atmosphere of curiosity and excitement artists as well as producers like to have at their concerts.
 
WOMEX 2003 showcases offered a diversity of styles from Uru Punk to UK Club Funk, Maghreb Blues to the latest Global Dance News with artists from Uzbekistan and Israel, Mali and the Ivory Coast, Romania and Sweden, Gujarat to Andalusia to Brazil and beyond. Along with international stars like Tunisian singer Amina and Brazilian Mangue innovator Otto, Spanish localistas like Amparanoia and Elbicho
made up for highly excited audiences on the 3 stages of former EXPO venue El Palenque.
 
To accept the invitation of FIBES, the Bienal de Flamenco and Turismo Andaluz and to move the international WOMEX caravan to Sevilla’s luxurious Conference and Exhibition Centre FIBES proved another successful WOMEX decision altogether: Exhibitors and individual delegate numbers again increased by more than 10 % in relation to last year’s WOMEX in Germany. Moreover, the trade fair/conference and music locations in FIBES and El Palenque were granted an especially warm
embrace by WOMEX delegates and public alike.
 
After the successful debut at Zeche Zollverein in 2002 WOMEX will return to Essen / Germany for its next edition in 2004.

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Peacekeepers of Our Time

Joanne Shenandoah - Covenant
Joanne Shenandoah

Covenant (Silver Wave Records)

Celebrated Iroquois composer and diva Joanne Shenandoah boldly steps into dance-trance territory on her latest recording, Covenant. Her 6th release on Silver Wave Records (she’s also has albums out on other labels) forges a new path for Ms Shenandoah that still within stone throwing distance of her previous work. Similar to her other recordings, the songs on Covenant speak about peace and Iroquois prophecies as well as, the Native American bond with Mother Nature.

The songs still fall into ambient territory, featuring Iroquois chants. However, this time around, Shenandoah with the help her co-producer Jim Wilson, have created a tapestry of slow tribal grooves. The usual ambient keyboard with reverberated percussion makes an appearance along with cello and flute with an added dimension of spoken word prayer performed by Chief Jake Swamp-Tekaronianekon of the Mohawk Nation on the opening track, Giving Thanks.

Circle starts off with a howling wolf that is later embellished with tribal beats and programming. The song reflects on the honorable role women perform in Iroquois society. “When the women dance, they form a circle around the drum; they move with the earth, counter clockwise, their feet caressing the Mother as they shuffle to one of hundreds of verses sung in their honor.” Prepare Yourself focuses on the Iroquois prophecy that destruction will come to the earth if we do not take better care of it and preserve it for future generations.

100 Winters with its haunting flute, percussion and Joanne’s silky vocals honors Chief Shenandoah who died in 1886 at 110 years of age. The song also tells the story of how the Oneidas were disbursed to different regions in the Midwest and the prophecy tells of a time when the Oneidas will reunite. Tell Me Your Dreams offers a trance track that starts out as an instrumental with male ghostly Indian chants in the background and flute, then Joanne augments the song with gorgeous vocals. Her Dance (Kaluhyanu: Wes from the Matriarch CD) received a musical facelift with bass drums and trance-dance treatment. The song honors the life-givers and clanmothers.

Many musical artists have produced tribal groove and trance recordings in the name of peace. Joanne Shenandoah lives a life in which she practices the tenets of peace and compassion. She reveres tribal traditions and this comes through in her recordings. Some listeners might find her too “new age” or lament that she doesn’t sing the tribal chants the way they were intended to be sung. However, the Iroquois songtress has garnered a large following and so she is able to get her message out to tribal and non-tribal individuals. And in the meantime, her music provides a safe haven from the chaotic world and her CD liner notes inform us of how to live in balance with the earth. And hopefully, her tireless efforts will prevent us from destroying the planet.

Visit World Music Central’s Joanne Shenandoah profile, www.silverwave.com,
www.oneidasfordemocracy.org and
www.mohawknation.org.

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Tannahill Weavers show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

submitted by Susan Budig

I feel as though I’ve lived the last forty years of my life
wearing static-playing earphones embedded into my ears. This year of 2003 has
opened up for me musically in ways I’d never imagined. I’ve gotten rid of the
earphones! The
Tannahill Weavers
  who performed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin October 18th
proved to be a most amazing splash of color on my audio palette.

 I’d first heard of the Tannies while searching through
Celtic music at the public library. On a CD, they were one band in a collection
of other Celtic musicians. When I listened, they stood out, holding me in a
trance. I immediately ran to buy their latest CD and then shot a fan-mail e-mail
to Roy Gullane, the lead vocalist. When the opportunity to see them perform
arose, I jumped at the chance. Their show was held at the
Irish Cultural and Heritage Center,
a converted Congregational Church. It seats over 1000 people and while spare in
design, it is vibrant in acoustic sense. Along with 450 others, several of the
men in kilts and full Scottish dress, I sat in the Hallamór waiting with
anticipation. We begin our evening listening to an instrumental, which segued
into a four part harmony, “Braes O’ Mar.”While I suppose the band has heard Roy regale the audience with
these same stories throughout most of the tour, we had not heard them and found
Roy’s thick Scottish brogue a delightful complement to the humorous quips and
intros he provided before most of the numbers. His banter led us laughing into
“Plooboy Laddies,” a sing-a-long. Much of the Tannies music is traditional, the
next song, “Athol Gathering” originated around 1750, but in no way does it sound
dated. Some of the instruments used, such as Collin Melville’s bagpipes and John
Martin’s fiddle are essentially the same as when these tunes were first
performed. Other instruments like Les Wilson’s keyboard and Roy’s acoustic
guitar bring a bit of modern sound to the tunes.

I note that the band sounds a bit tired up to this point, but in
the next song, another instrumental, they seem to hit their groove. John starts
with a solo on his viola with Les softly backing up on keyboard. Then Phil jumps
in with a tripping air on his flute. And the show really heats up with all the
musicians playing and Phil ending the number demonstrating his deep skill on the
bodhrán. Roy later tells me that they had been having trouble with the
soundboard and it wasn’t cleared up until the fifth song. That would explain why
I felt their fifth song was the first that felt truly inspired. “Jamie Raeburn’s
Farewell” is one that stays with me. The song has many moments of warm, buzzing
harmonies. Les arranges the vocals and he outdoes himself with the next song,
“Carls O’ Dysart.” Very clever and surprising.

 Their latest CD, Arnish Light, released
mid-September of this year includes “Cam’ Ye By Athol.” The vocals are very
polished as one might expect after dozens of years of singing together. John’s
adroit fiddle playing on this number with his supporting sound is quite
pleasing. Generally, though, it’s hard to hear the fiddle, which is a shame.
John has amazing fingers and an intuitive touch. I really enjoyed his few solos.
During their next medley, “Turf Rog Selection,” I notice Collin running around,
strapping on a belt with bellows attached to his waist, then removing it and
picking up whistles and then pipes, all the while sitting down and standing up,
making me wonder how he keeps track of his next step. He confides to me later,
that there have been times when the other band members are looking at him and he
realizes that he’s late with his next instrument and caught wondering what it is
that he’s suppose to be playing. Collin is a big guy. Those whistles are tiny. I
mentally compare him to some bulky football player sitting in a rocking chair,
knitting an afghan. It’s got a bit of visual humor, but Collin is quite serious
about his playing, not to mention fantastic!

We break for intermission and Roy hustles over to the soundboard
for more adjustments. When the show resumes, I find the music so much enlivened,
I can hardly take notes. Roy says to me after the show that there continued to
be a bit of trouble with the sound, but it was fixed during the break. The
result of that fine-tuning is a show so energetic that most of us can’t sit
still. The kilt wearing men, in fact, go to the front side of the stage and
dance their Scottish jigs. Maybe some of these dancers are emboldened by the
alcohol served in the adjacent bar?

“Arnish Light Selection,” “The Ewie With The Crooked Horn,” and
“Helen of Kirkconnel Lee” are played, with Les telling us the details of poor
Helen and singing the lead for that song. The harmonies are superb and Les’
singing is soulful and heart-rending. Phil ends this tune with a rousing run on
the bodhrán. After lilting instrumentals, we hear a battle song, “Tranent Muir.”
This inspiring piece moves the listener, transporting her to a far away hill,
watching the fighting with fear and awe.

Next, “Farewell To Fiunary” is performed. I later confess to Roy
that it was this exact song, heard on The Best of the Tannahill Weavers
1979-1989, that sent me into a swoon over Roy’s engaging Scottish voice. I’m
listening to it now, as I write this, smiling a goofy grin. The band plays
“Black Bird Set” with so much enthusiasm and energy that I am breathless at its
conclusion. The vocals are stunning. We then are treated to John and Phil
playing a duet that leaves me with an aching face from an overabundance of
smiling. When the band leaves the stage, our hands pound together until the
Tannies bounce back and enchant us with “The Gypsy Laddie” and the ever-animated
“Johnny Cope.” It is an evening infused with vigor and freshness.

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A Musical Kaleidoscope from Hungary

Kiss Erzsi Music - Deladela
Kiss Erzsi Music – Deladela
Kiss Erzsi Music

Deladela (Bahia Music)

Kiss Erzsi Music makes fresh sounds in an irresistable kaleidoscope of musical
styles, topped sparkling vocals. Led by actor/singer Erzsi Kiss, the Hungarian
group has a remarkable knack for engaging rhythms, from the Middle-Eastern
flavor of the title track, to the hard-driving indie-rock sound of “Arö” to the
funky syncopated vocals of “Án Ájrere.”

Deladela is full of delightful surprises and genre-defying sounds. “Uuu,” for
example, begins with base and spare drums under a hypnotic vocal line that bears
the potential of jazz, or maybe punk.. Then the full instrumentation kicks in
with vocal harmonies, then some wild jazz drumming and a rap (or is it scatting?)
– and you’re left thinking: “How wonderful! What the heck is it?” The puzzled
wonderment continues into the next track, “Okatummate” an a capella delight of
multilayered female voices. And a complete change of pace comes with “Francia,”
a soft chanson with smooth French vocals, guitar and bass.”The unifying force in our music,” Erzsi Kiss said in a recent interview, “is language – a language which actually has no real meaning. It’s difficult to explain what this is – I’d call it a sort of musical language, because it’s born out of the laws that govern music, which can’t be ignored.”

Deladela concludes with one last flavor in the song “Reggae,” featuring a Jamaican beat but the same powerful, reedy, vocal harmonies. Kiss Erzsi Music will appeal to listeners across musical boundaries – any open-minded, adventurous music lover will return to this magical CD again and again. If, indeed, it ever leaves your CD player at all.

Kiss Erzsi Music is Erzsi Kiss (vocals), Gabi Kenderesi (vocals), Anna Szandtner
(vocals), Csaba Hajnóczy (guitar), Arpád Vajdovich (guitar, bass guitar) and
Hunor G. Szabó (drums). Five full songs are available for download at http://www.wizart.hu, including two songs from the 12-track CD and three live tracks: “Uuu,” “Tundirin,” and “Wattama Du.”

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Kin Za Za\’s

Montreal, Canada — The River by ambient-world, pop duo
Kin Za Za was selected as one of 50 music videos for the 2nd Annual Indie Music
Video Festival (www.imvf.com). The duo beat
out artists, musicians and videographers from Canada, the U.S., U.K., Australia,
Norway, and Germany to be included in the two-day festival touring through
Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Seattle, Washington DC, Hamilton (ON) and Los
Angeles.

Kin Za Za were selected for the visual impact of the video
and on the strength of the song, The River
,” said Festival Directors Nicole
Steen.

‘”Our activities as musicians, coupled with our life-long interest in
filmmaking, placed us in touch with our personal merger of image, tone and
rhythm
,” explained duo member and Director Dimitri Soukonnov. “We wanted
to create a lyrical, romantic and melancholic flow of life imagery as perceived
by a dreaming person
.”
The River“is based on a personal sonic visualization of the Tibetan
Book Of The Dead
,” influenced in part by conversations by Dimitri with
actual monks in the southeast region of Siberia who practiced a form of shamanic
Buddhism.

The next stop on the festival’s, presented by Justice Through
Music is on Saturday November 15 at the American Film Institute Silver Theater
on Silver Spring, Maryland.

More on Kin Za Za
* Genre: Classic + Celtic + Electro + … and maybe a slight touch of Trip-Hop

* Website:
http://www.kinzaza.com

* Label: Three-Point-Two Records
*

Buy “Number One in Shambala”

* Contact Dimitri Soukonnov:
mailto:dimitri@kinzaza.com

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85-year-old Bebo Valdés Prepares Four New Albums

Bebo Valdés
Bebo Valdés
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) – Córdoba, Spain – Pianist Bebo Valdés, 85, one of the legends of Cuban music rescued by recording companies, is preparing four new albums. The first CD will be released soon and features the Uruguayan violinist Federico Britos. “I will never be able to retire, I think I’ll die playing the piano,” the Cuban musician said in an interview.

Considered one of the forerunners of Latin jazz, he performed this week at the Gran Teatro of Córdoba, in southern Spain, along with Diego “El Cigala.”Valdés’ piano accompanied the flamenco voice of “El Cigala” in Cuban boleros such as “Veinte años”, “Vete de mí”, a song that another Cuban pianist, Bola de Nieve, made popular in the 1950’s included in the album Lágrimas Negras, recently produced by Spanish moviemaker Fernando Trueba. However, Trueba had already “rescued” Bebo on his film Calle 54 in 2001, after 30 years out of recording studios. Since then, rumors started that the pianist joined a long list of Cuban musicians who return to stage and became famous when they were older than 80, as it happened to Compay Segundo, who rolled cigars for decades at the prestigious Havana cigar factory H. Upmann, until Ry Cooder called him to take part in Buena Vista Social Club.

The list also includes Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, the Vieja Trova Santiaguera, Israel “Cachao” López and now Bebo Valdés, “a peasant,” as he defined himself, who directed the famous
Tropicana cabaret during the 1940’s.

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