Sones Jarochos from Veracruz

La Bamba - Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
Washington, DC, USA – Smithsonian Folkways has released a new album of sones jarochos from the Mexican state of Veracruz, La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz (Smithsonian Folkways 40505, 2003).

Jarocho describes both the people and culture of the southern coastal plain of Veracruz, home for more than two centuries to one of Mexico’s most exciting musical traditions, the son jarocho. Although son jarocho is lesser known abroad than other Mexican styles such as corridos, cumbias and rancheras; songs such as “La Bamba,” “Cascabel,” and “Siquisirí” occupy a major spot in Mexico’s musical folklore.

José Gutiérrez, Felipe Ochoa, and Marcos Ochoa, raised on the tropical ranchos of Veracruz’s interior, are three of the most accomplished ambassadors of the modern-day son jarocho tradition. They play complex, hard-driving rhythms on the Veracruz harp and on the guitars called jarana and requinto, and sing high-pitched vocal melodies brimming with wit and regional pride. They have toured Europe, the United States, Central America, and Mexico, while in Veracruz they continue to enliven weddings, baptisms, public events, and celebrations of all kinds.
Buy La Bamba – Sones Jarochos from Veracruz.


Brazil at Jazz en la Costa, Spain

Jorge Ben Jor
Jorge Ben Jor

Almuñécar, Granada, Spain – This year’s theme of the Jazz en la Costa festival is Brazil. Several top Brazilian guests will be performing there: Jorge Ben Jor, Ivan Lins and Rosa Passos.

The festival takes place in the Mediterranean town of Almuñécar, located in the Granada coast, in southern Spain. The venue is the Parque el Majuelo, next to the ancient Phoenician ruins and right under the Arab castle.

For more information go to: Jazz en la Costa


CD Review: Au-Dela Des Mots by Alan Stivell

Alan Stivell

Au-Dela Des Mots

(Disque Dreyfus FDM 36224-2, 2002)

It is many years since Renaissance of the Celtic Harp brought Stivell’s work to my ears. He made links between Breton and the music of Ireland, Scotland and Wales and stood up for his own language and culture. I liked both of these facets and still do. Now I have his 21st album, all instrumental and featuring a number of different harps among less traditional devices like loops of electronic soundscape.
The opening and closing track, La Harpe, L’Eau, Le Vent gives you some idea of his territory. It is an impressionistic journey full of rippling harp textures recalling wild coastlines and Atlantic breakers crashing over rocks. There are a number of pieces like this, suggestive of landscape and climate.

Another instrument that complements the harps is the Irish, or uilleann pipes.These are featured along with wind and waves on two of the versions of La Celtie et L’Infini. They are used to even greater effect on Goltraidhe or Music In The Scale Of Sorrow, as their lament skirls over Stivell’s richly atmospheric plucking. It is very moving and evocative, as is Et Les Feuilles Repousseront, which is rendered in more prosaic English as Winter’s End. The shimmering chords and chiming strings are suggestive of hope and respite from hard fingers gripping the land. Sorry, it just brings out the poet in me!

Another renowned harpist inspired Demain Matin Chez O’Carolan in which Stivell successfully re-creates both the delicacy and swagger of the great blind Irishman’s tunes. Whistler and piper, Ronan Le Bars, adds further colour to a lovely melody.
Though Stivell’s priority is still Celtic music it is possible to hear diverse influences from the blues, Spain and Africa. These are blended seamlessly showing what he prefers to call natural similarities between the musics.

If at times there are slight leanings to a Celtic Ambient style it is still miles away from the blandness of Celtic Chillout or Celtic Cafe terrain and I’d certainly recommend it.


Au-Dela Des Mots


Tamburaland Festival

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – Tamburaland Festival is a festival of tamburica music featuring 10 top tamburica orchestras from across North America. The event is held at the Millvale Croatian Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 7th, 2003, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Artists featured include The Jerry Grcevich Tamburitza Orchestra, 8601, Kontraband, Momci, Mark Spisic Tamburica Orkestar, Veseli, Trubaduri, Skrseni Glas, Sanjari, and the Saint George Combo.There will also be a special appearance by dance ensemble Kumovi who will perform one number during the official program.

For more information about tambura music, visit

For information about the festival, visit


Sonora Carruseles, US Tour

Sonora Carruseles - Heavy Salsa
Sonora Carruseles – Heavy Salsa
Los Angeles, USA – The popular Colombian salsa group Sonora Carruseles will be touring the United States again in June and July 2003. Tour dates will be posted online at

Carruseles is known for their hit songs “Micaela”, “Lola”, “Arranca En Fa” and their newest hit “De Una Vez Gozando”.

This popular Colombian salsa group came into the tropical scene performing Afro-Caribbean rhythms, including a traditional style known as salsa brava, originated in the 1960s. Formed in 1995 by composer/producer/conguero Diego Galé and Mario Rincón, and backed by the record label Discos Fuentes, the group became a boogaloo and original salsa revival, taking over Latin America, the U.S., and Europe after releasing 1998’s Heavy Salsa and 1999’s Salsa Y Fuego.


Regional Youth to Dance with Cuban Musicians

Adalberto y Su Son - Para Bailar Casino
Adalberto y Su Son – Para Bailar Casino
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha)Singer and orchestra director Adalberto Alvarez announced that he is working on a cultural recreation project to be launched soon while preparing a dance music CD whose title will be used in a television program.

In “Para Bailar Casino” (To Dance Casino), a song which will be the theme of a live summer TV program with performances by orchestras and Casino dances; I even include the voices of the dressing room director, he stated. TV director Victor Torres and I conceived the program.

The new CD marks another moment of renovation in Adalberto y su Son orchestra with the incorporation of young musicians and new singers. Adalberto, the Gentleman of Son, is heading the Organizing Committee of the 1st International Gathering of Casino Dancers to be held at the 14th Festival to be held in Matanzas and at the Varadero tourist resort, from August 8 to 11, with participation of dancers from all continents.

The Music Institute, Havanatur and CIMEX Corporation are sponsoring the event that arrives in time to impede that this choreographic dance style created spontaneously in the late 1940s is materialized in other countries prior to Cuba.


Pestalozzi International Festival of World Music

Sedlescombe, UK – Following the success of the Pestalozzi International Festival of World Music, Crafts and Storytelling 2002, the Pestalozzi Village in Sedlescombe, East Sussex, will be hosting a second major world music festival to be held on the 14th and 15th June 2003.

This year’s festival theme will be ‘Global Fusion’ and aims to promote the similarities between cultures by hosting artists who demonstrate shared influences through their music, crafts, storytelling and puppetry.

A new development this year includes hands-on workshops for audiences to experience activities and provide an interactive way to learn about issues related to Global Fusion.

All this together with food, bars, stalls, camping facilities means this year’s festival will be better than ever.

For more information on the Festival contact: 01424 870444 or visit


New Grammy® World Music Category

Santa Mónica, USA – The Recording Academy® announced today that there will be a new World Music Grammy® category. World music is now represented by two categories in its own field: Best Traditional World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album.

The Traditional World Music category will include recordings of international non-Western classical music and international non-American and non-British traditional folk music, as well as international cross-cultural music based on the above criteria. The Contemporary World Music category will include recordings of world/beat, world/jazz (with a higher percentage of world than jazz), world/pop and cross-cultural music with contemporary production techniques.This important change is the result of an intense lobbying campaign led by the American world music community, including World Music Central and the World Music Coalition, a new organization that seeks the advancement of world music in North America.


New Gypsy Music Releases- Different Approaches, Both Hit the Mark

Besh o Drom – Can’t Make Me!
Besh o Drom – Can’t Make Me! (Asphalt Tango Records CD-ATR 0203, 2003)

Jony Iliev and Band – Ma Maren Ma (Asphalt Tango Records CD-ATR 0102, 2003)

As Rom (Gypsy) music gets bigger and bigger globally, the parameters that define it have begun to blur. These two very fine recordings are satisfyingly well within the realm of what one would expect Gypsy music to sound like, but both succeed on their own terms.

Besh o Drom (their name means “go your own way”) include source material from all over the Balkans and Eastern Europe in their music, and they toss off a couple of traditional-sounding pieces before bringing in rock, jazz, cabaret, hip-hop and electronica accents to jack up the fun meter a few notches.

“Cigansko Oro” bops as hard as any Gypsy brass music and bounces around a few well-placed turntable scratches before dropping into an almost mambo feel with some oddly processed vocals. That’s followed by the rich, rhythmically sensual “Afgan,” and such is the eclectic nature of Besh o Drom. They’re obviously skilled musicians who take chances and liberties and make them pay off, moving from the familiar to the unexpected fluidly and expertly. Compare, for example, the entirely nutty “Pergeto (scat song)” with the salty strut of “Kanna Solo” (which includes some of the most killer udu drumming you’ll ever hear) and you realize how many and varied are the strengths of this album and this band.

Jony Iliev and Band – Ma Maren Ma
The approach taken by Jony Iliev and Band is more straightforward, but their sound, honed in the Gypsy quarter of Sofia, Bulgaria is very rich nonetheless. Iliev’s vocal style is confident and brimming with emotion despite its unpolished gruffness, perfect for the range of melancholy to celebratory heard in the songs. Some Middle Eastern and flamenco strains are evident in the Balkan grooves laid down by the band (aptly described as “diabolically swinging” on the back cover), who stretch out on a few instrumentals that provide cool contrast to Iliev’s vocal workouts.

Ma Maren Ma is a deep, subtly effective album of modern Gypsy music, highly recommended for fans of the genre and the curious.

Buy the albums:
Besh o Drom – Can’t Make Me!

Jony Iliev and Band – Ma Maren Ma


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