LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Launches ‘Performance Planet’ on March 12

Raices Habaneras
Raices Habaneras

New York City, USA – To celebrate some of the rich cultures that make Queens one of the most diverse regions in the country, the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center is launching a multicultural music series on March 12 with the United States premiere of Palo Flamenco, an internationally acclaimed Spanish flamenco troupe.

Performance Planet,” as the series is being called, consists of five concerts, each of which features a contemporary international artist. “Because LaGuardia has one of the most diverse student populations in the country, and is located in one of the nation’s richest ethnic areas,” said President Gail O. Mellow, “it is only fitting that the college’s performing arts center develop programs that cater to the musical tastes of its students and the communities it serves.”

Jeffrey Rosenstock, the center’s visiting artistic director, agrees. “Our hope is to expand the current programs offered by LaGuardia’s LPAC and to create a series that will resound with both students and the greater New York City community. The college has wonderful resources including two beautiful theaters and we are eager to bring diverse cultural attractions of quality to draw
multicultural audiences to the programs being presented
.”

The scheduled performers are:

March 12

Palo Flamenco (, U. S. premiere), a group that integrates the music of the Spanish Basque countryside with the bold dance beat of Andalusian gypsies. LPAC is co-producing this concert with Queens Theatre in the Park.

March 24

Haale, a New York singer/songwriter of Persian heritage whose folk, alternative rock music is infused with ancient Sufi-inspired lyrics. Click here for more information about this concert.

April 14

Gino Sitson – a New York-based Cameroonian vocalist who combines jazz, gospel, blues, and traditional African rhythms and melodies.

May 7

Raices Habaneras A Cuban music and dance troupe based in La Esquina Habanera (Havana Corner) in Union City, New Jersey that performs rumba music in its purest form.

June 14

Kevin So, a Chinese singer/songwriter whose powerful music is a blend of pop, rhythm and blues, and hip hop.

In selecting the talent for a concert series that the organizers hope will be an annual event, Claudia Norman, the artistic director, said, “our intent is not only to feature artists from different cultural backgrounds who are currently residing in the United States, but also to introduce to our
audience artists who have never performed in the United States. In the years to come, we hope to bring more artists from abroad
.”

The concerts will be held in the college’s Little Theatre at 47th Avenue and Van Dam Street, Long Island City. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are $12; $7 for students and seniors. Those who wish to purchase tickets, may call the box office at (718) 482-5151. For information on the center’s other cultural events, please visit www.lagcc.cuny.edu/lpac.

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Legendary Blind Boys of Alabama Vocalist George Scott Dies at 75

George Scott, a founding member of the Blind Boys of Alabama
gospel group, died in his sleep Wednesday morning, March 9, 2005 at his home in
Durham, North Carolina. He was 75.

Scott was the booming baritone voice of the group, which formed at the Alabama
Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s. Since then, Scott and his
bandmates traveled the world spreading their unique brand of soulful gospel
music.While Scott – an acknowledged master of the jubilee style of gospel singing –
retired from the rigors of touring in 2004, his voice remained strong, as
evidenced by his stirring lead vocals on several key tracks for the Blind Boys’
forthcoming album ‘Atom Bomb’ (Real World Records). His singing on the album is
the last testament in a career that spanned over
six decades.

Born George Lewis Scott in Notasulga, Alabama, on March 18, 1929, George met the
other founding members of the Blind Boys, Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter, at
the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1936. They formed a singing group
in 1939, for which Scott also played guitar, their only instrumental
accompaniment in those early days. The group became a gospel sensation in the
1940s and ’50s, and spent more than 40 years working mostly in the traditional
gospel circuit.

The Blind Boys have attracted a new generation of fans in recent years via their
recordings for Real World Records. During this time, they also collaborated with
a number of disparate artists including Lou Reed, Ibrahim Ferrer, Solomon Burke,
and, most recently, Ben Harper. Just last month they won their fourth
consecutive Grammy award in the Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album category for
the CD they recorded with Harper. Scott sang the lead along with Harper on the
opening track to that album, and later performed the song live with Harper and
the Blind Boys on The Late Show with David Letterman.

It’s fitting that one of the last people George Scott spoke with before his
death was the group’s leader, Clarence Fountain. “I spoke to him last night,” Fountain said Wednesday, “and he was feeling fine. It just goes to show you
never know when you may be talking to someone for the last time, so always be
thankful for the people you have in your life. We’re grateful to the Lord for
letting us have George for as long as we did. He and I grew up together and sang
together from little boys to old men. George was a great singer, he could sing
any part in a song. We loved him and he was one of the ‘Boys.’ He lived a life of service and now he’s gone on to his reward
.” A
spokesman for the Blind Boys said that when Scott retired from touring last year
he urged the band to continue on and there are no changes planned in the band’s
touring schedule.

Scott is survived by his wife Ludie Lewis Mann Scott, his mother Hassie Lou
Scott, and his sister Benzie Jackson. The funeral service will be held at 1 pm on
Tuesday, March 15 at Monumental Faith Church. The family has asked that mourners
either make donations to the American Diabetes Association or send flowers to
Holloway Funeral Home in Durham.

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Bombay Jayashree & Sudha Excel at Sree Sanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha Music and Dance Festival 2005

The music and dance festival of Shanmukhananda Sangeetha sabha continued with
the concerts of Ms. Vidya Srinivasan, a Delhi based artists and Sh. Sanjay
Subramanian from Chennai at the other venue – Delhi Tamil Sangam, New Delhi.

The evening program was by Ms. Vidya Srinivasan. She started off with a kriti of
Saint Thyagara, in Mayamalagaula – Tulasidala followed by Tolijanma in Bilahari,
which was very appropriate for the occasion. . The raga alapana in
Subapanthuvarali and Madhyamavathi and the kirtanas ‘Yennalu Yorake in Chapu
tala and Ramakadha Sudha were rendered with clarity. The songs Tavata Soham of
Tyagaraja, Mayamma Yani ne of Syama Sastry and Karunajalathe in Nadanamakriya
were good selection. The accompanist S/Sh. Annadurai on the violin, Srinivasan
and Ganesh on the mridangam and Kanjira gave able support.The second part of the twilight was starred by Sh. Sanjay Subramaniam with Sh. MA
Sundareshwaran on the violin and Tiruvarur Sh. Vaidyanathan on the mridangam. He
commenced the concert with a varnam Chalamela in Darbar followed by a
composition of Thyagaraja –Emanadichevo in Rupaka tala. The melakarta raga
Naganandini (30mela) with ‘Sattaleni dinamu ‘ was a rare piece and was well
received by the audience. It was nice of the artists to have announced the raga.
Then it was perhaps time for Syama Sastry’s Sankari Shankuru in Saveri– A very
well rendered alapana and kriti with niraval in ‘syama Krishna sodari. After a
crisp kriti in Mukari, Sanjay rendered the popular, pleasing janya raga -Mohanam
with Nannupalimpa. The raga itself to be sung in the late evening, with
well-elaborated alapana and swara prasthara made the evening very enjoyable for
audience present there. The artist has a knack to keep the audience spell bound
by the way he renders the raga alapana, the kriti or the swaras. The weather
though very fine for the audience was not too friendly to the artists’ voice –
but of course it did not spoil the evening. A brief Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Thodi
was very well presented. The concluding session was ragamalika, Chidambaram
pogamal, etc., etc., and was well appreciated by all.

Sh MA Sundareshwaran on the violin gave an excellent support with his bow magic
and Sh. Vaidyanathan gave a comfortable support to the artist with a brief Tani,
which was splendid.

The Music and dance festival continued with another exquisite music recital by
Nadabhushanum Bombay Jayshri Ramnath and Party on the Saturday the 5th
March.’05. She was accompanied on the Violin by Sh. Vittal Ramamurthy, Naiveli
Skanda Subramaniam on the Mridangam and Sh. Tiruvanandapuram Rajagopal on the
Kanjira.

Jayshri started the concert with Ponnayya Pillai’s composition in Mayamalagaulai
– Mayatita swaroopini in Rupaka Talam and then a tyagaraja kriti in Darbar –
Mundu Venuka set to Adi thala. Papanasam Sivan’s kriti in Sahana was rendered
excellently by Jayashri and Ranjani Niranjani in Ranjani was also very good. ‘O
Ranga Sai’ in Kamboji raga was well knit piece and the artist showed her
competence with full maturity and dexterity. The swara kalpana was excellently
presented. Later the RTP in Subhapanthuvarali was remarkable. The remaining part
of the day was allotted for light songs including the vruttam of Tirupanazhwar
pasuram – Kondal Vannanai Kovalanai followed by Tottu Tottu pesugiran kannan She
concluded with a meera Bhajan ‘Hari Tuma Haro’ which reminded us of MS mami.
The accompanist Vittal Ramamurthy gave able support on the Violin and Skanda
Subramanian and Rajgopal presented an excellent support on the mridangam and
ghatam respectively.

The Grand Finale of the Festival was by Padmasri Ms Sudha Raghunathan who was
conferred the title of Nada Kalanidhi by the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha. One
could say that all the rasikas of Sudha were in the auditorium to enjoy her
concert. The two and a half an hour concert was magical spell of delectable
Music. Even Lord Anjaneya – who is supposed to be definitely present in some
corner wherever some good music is on – would have found it difficult to find a
free corner in the Hall due to the overflow of enthusiastic crowd of rasikas and
wished the concert was held in a larger appropriate hall.

She started with an Ata Tala Bhairavi Varnam and Sree Jalandara in Gambiranattai-
a composition of Jayachamaraja Wodayar in Adi Talam. The Shanmukhapriya raga
alapana was good and Sivan’s kriti Parvati Nayakane was very well rendered and
the Niraval ‘Nee Maravade ennarul jagadeesa’ was well presented. The swara
prastharas were note worthy. After sprite kritis in Atana, Suruti and a
purandara dasa kriti it got leisurely with the main piece in Mohanam with
Nannupalimpa of Tyagaraja. One could hear all aspects of the raga, even though
different artists already rendered this raga many times in the festival. Due to
paucity of time she could not do justice to the light songs but somehow managed
two songs- Kurai Ondrum Ellai and Thaye Yashoda. The sabha should plan for a
bigger hall and longer time slots for artists of such order. The accompanists as
usual and to the expectation gave their best and were well appreciated.

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Captivating Fado

New York, USA – Portuguese vocalist
Ana
Moura
, whose spellbinding version of
her land’s captivating fado style has made her a star in Europe, brings her
persuasive magic to North American audiences with the release of her
debut album Guarda-me a vida na mao (Keep my Life in your Hand) released
on World Village/Harmonia Mundi USA.The 25-year old singer has become a leading exponent of this poetic, deeply
expressive idiom which personifies the Portuguese psyche as it explores such
universal themes as lost love, separation, and longing. As Ana explains, “It’s
very special because it’s all about emotions and feelings. It needs no
translation
.”

Improvising is an under-appreciated part of the fado tradition. One
technique, which Ana uses to great effect on the song “Lavava no rio lavava” (I
Went to the River to Wash), is what the Portuguese term vocalizes-the expression
of words and effects through use of vocal trills.

A key track from her album exquisitely sums up the magnetic pull fado
has exerted on Ana. “Sou do fado, sou fadista” (I Belong to Fado, I Am a Fadista)
by her mentor and primary collaborator, guitarist Jorge Femando, eloquently
explains Ana’s total surrender to the style: “I know my soul has surrendered,
taken my voice in hand, twisted in my chest and shown it to the world. And I
have closed my eyes in a wistful longing to sing, to sing. And a voice sings to
me softly, and a voice enchants me softly, I belong to fado, I belong to fado, I
am a fadista
.”

Today, even as the U.S. release of Guarda-me a vida na mao/Keep
My Life in your Hand and a Carnegie Hall solo debut scheduled for March 12
trumpet her international success, Ana Moura still thinks of how and where it
all began, and of the importance of keeping those vital ties alive. “Before,” she muses, “I used to sing in the fado house every day. Today, because of my
concert schedule and travel, it’s impossible. But, when time permits, I like to
return. Sometimes I feel that I must go there. I need that
.”

[Buy

Guarda-Me a Vida Na Mao
].

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The Steelband Movement – A Way Forward Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

(PRWEB) – In global terms, the steelband world has moved and is
moving rapidly ahead. In the land of its birth however, few benefits from this
forward move have accrued to its creators, proponents and progeny. As a
Trinidadian woman actively involved in the steelband world for over twenty-five
years, this fact has been the driving force behind many of the initiatives with
which I have been involved. In this article I will look at two ways in which the
movement may move forward and also benefit its creators and their cultural
descendants.Inventions of worth do not long remain the sole property of the creators.
Intellectual property rights worldwide ensure exclusive rights for a limited
period of time, after which the public at large can utilize the creation to
their benefit. The steelband, even as a part of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural
heritage, never gained that initial protection and the skip to the public domain
has been made. This is an open door that many are now fighting to close. In the
interim, groups formed in Europe and North America have organized festivals,
competitions and workshops centering on the instrument. Entrepreneurs on these
continents have entered the market and made major economic strides in the areas
of promotion and manufacture. These initiatives have impacted the individuals
and groups involved, but only in a few circumstances have the gains trickled
down to the communities that created the art form.

In 1995 I proposed the utilization of Trinidad and Tobago’s steelband
communities as economic structures that would propel the instrument and the
communities forward. Since that time and perhaps before, others have proposed
similar moves with varying success. I know that the steelband communities in
Trinidad and Tobago have within their boundaries, many talented individuals. I
still firmly believe that their strengths can be utilized to promote the
steelband product through manufacture, research and development, marketing,
performance, cultural exchanges and associated administrative and labor tasks
thereby positively impacting their communities, the nation at large and the
global steelband movement.

[Dr. Dawn Batson, associate professor of music, holds degrees from renowned
institutes of higher education. Her Ph.D in music and international affairs from
the University of Miami, an M.M. is but one. She was most recently associate
professor and director of the steel band music program at Florida Memorial
College. Over the years Dr. Batson has fulfilled a number of roles in many
countries – including performer, arranger, conductor, teacher, judge, composer,
musical director, lecturer, grant writer and producer].

[Photo courtesy of when Steel Talks].

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Dub Syndicate\’s Pure Thrillseekers

New York, USA – The latest Dub Syndicate
creation, Pure Thrillseekers, features exhilarating mixes by On-U Sound
collaborator Adrian Sherwood and by Scientist. On Pure ThrillSeekers, Dub
Syndicate outdoes themselves with a higher-than-usual number of vocal
performances by the likes of such reggae super-stars as

Luciano
, Junior Reid Gregory Isaacs and Cornell Campbell, among others. Pure
Thrillseekers, the creation of Roots Radics drummer Style Scott in association
with Adrian Sherwood, presents a diverse array of Dub Syndicate tracks,
including their trademark heavy dubs, re-mixed vocal tracks, dee-jay tracks and
instrumental versions. The opening track, “One In A Billion,” features a transcendent vocal by
Luciano that is made even more affecting by an echo-heavy mix. Gregory Isaacs
delivers a hard-hitting tale of ghetto reality over a kicking rhythm on
“Kingston 14” while Dub Syndicate offers a memorable take on current top-ranking
DJ Capleton’s “Time” with the song “Time Dub.”

Pure ThillSeekers also showcases such new artists as Jah Bless (on the
rock-hard “Guns And Cocaine,” Moses (on “Ready For The World” and Little David
(first presented on Fear Of A Green Planet.) A special highlight is a dub mix of
Gregory Isaacs’ “Private Secretary,” the follow-up hit to his “Night Nurse” classic.

For the past twenty-two years Dub Syndicate has been the world’s greatest dub
band, releasing a string of acclaimed recordings which marry a deep and heavy
reggae roots sensibility with a quirky, progressive creativity that has often
involved collaborations with artists from outside The reggae world such as
Massive Attack’s Shara Nelson. In addition, Dub Syndicate has been able to
recreate their sound live and has mesmerized audiences with a rare and powerful
dub concert experience. As a result, they have garnered a global following made
up of fans who don’t necessarily listen to reggae.

[Buy

Pure Thrillseekers
now].

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Dumbing Down, the Dwindling Funding of the Arts

Recently, I received in the mail a request for a donation to a children’s softball league. The problem with this request is that it came from California and I don’t live anywhere near California. I can only guess that the mistake was a result of some person thinking that NC stood not for North Carolina but Northern California.

Along with the request for cash, the letter also offered a phone number for any items I might want to donate to for their upcoming super-duper auction, with all the proceeds going to fund the softball league. The darker part of my nature desperately wanted to spend the money on a long distance phone call and actually see if I could arrange a pick up for a couple of unused household items for their auction.This do-it-yourself community initiative to save a softball league prompted some serious thought about the dwindling funding for the arts and our national cultural identity and whether that identity is disappearing. Is that all it takes, a nationwide auction of bad gifts and piled up junk in our garages and attics, or better yet a full-scale, star-studded telethon, save music education in our public schools?

Everyone has heard the stories, those quickie reports on the local news, announcing the demise of yet another music or art program in our public schools. These reports have become so common and numerous, it fails to inspire the necessary outrage these reports deserve and instead prompts only a momentary stab of guilt and remorse for the loss of what was for some of us the best part of the day in our early education. So how bad can it be? Has the homecoming halftime show at the local high school been replaced by a Brittany Spears video or has our national anthem been out sourced to a Bhangra group from Bangalore via satellite?

Let me throw down some numbers. According to the National Education Association (NEA) website, the Durham School System in my home state did away with 112 mostly teaching or teaching assistant positions. California eliminated 3,000 experienced teachers and another 9,000 in support staff. You can guess that none of these positions came from the math or science departments, and considering the rah-rah mentality of the US, probably only a few came from the high profile sports like football or basketball. Now in Yonkers, New York the education system, in hot pursuit of better test scores, was more egalitarian in cutting 233 teaching positions in athletics, as well as the arts and music departments – that’s 233 teachers from one city. I’ve given just three examples of the changing face of arts education for one county, one state and one city, and that’s 12,345 teaching and support staff positions. To come up with a complete tally of the damage done to music education, and arts in general, across the country must be so staggering as to be considered downright obscene.

It doesn’t stop there. In Milwaukee, the Westside Academy might actually be forced to return the $25,000 grant from VH1’s Save the Music program because there’s no full-time music teacher for the piano lab. In the Ipswich Public Schools, plans have been made to cut the school’s fine arts department by eliminating the director of the program, the accompanist for the choral program, funding for all musical instruments and the instrumental program for all elementary public schools.

One Ipswich high school senior, Reeve Pierson, calculated the participation in his school and found that out of 629 students 445 participated in the music and art programs. Some communities are indeed fighting back with the auction idea and bake sales to save art, music and other programs in their schools, but exactly how many blueberry muffin sales does it take purchase a saxophone, I wonder.

Being on the slick side of this slippery slope doesn’t mean that Americans are ignorant of the benefits of music education. In a nationwide Gallup poll in 2003, 95% of Americans questioned felt that music education was essential to education and 80% responded that music education made a child smarter. Here’s some real proof:

“Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation”. — College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001

“Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs).” — Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houston Chronicle, January 1998

“A study of 237 second grade children used piano keyboard training and newly designed math software to demonstrate improvement in math skills. The group scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children that used only the math software.“
Graziano, Amy, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw, “Enhanced learning of proportional math through music training and spatial-temporal training.”Neurological Research 21 (March 1999).

“According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as “disruptive” (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as “disruptive.” — Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992

“A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science.” — Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,” Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997

Rather than debate the merits of tossing a ball against the skills learned through musical training, let’s agree that this discussion is dire. It comes down to making difficult choices. If “No Child Left Behind” or our ad nauseum, for-the-children mantra means anything and our local schools and communities are in trouble, relief to be found in state government at this point might be pointless. Consider the following:

  • *Thirty-six out of 57 states and territories in the US plan to slash funding for culture. Estimates suggest that funds will be reduced from $355 million to $274 million in the 2004 fiscal year according to Americans for the Arts.*
  • Florida governor, Jeb Bush, reduced his state’s arts funding from $28 million to $5.9 million.
  • Colorado’s arts budget shriveled to a mere $200,000.

The list goes on and on, state by state. Now federal funding for the arts did fair better, but not by much. In a recent Washington Post article detailing Bush’s latest budget proposal, the National Endowment for the Arts funding would remain unchanged, although the Challenge America program would lose 30% of its funding.

It’s not too difficult to imagine the path art and music programs will have to take in order to retain what little funding they have, where innovation and creativity will give way to the safe and boring. It’s also not difficult to imagine a time when public funding of the arts will disappear altogether. Our future cultural identity might just be reduced to computer-generated jingles for commercials and Saturday morning cartoons.

Let’s put aside the research and the numbers for a moment and consider the best reason for arts and music education in our public schools – the pure joy of it. There’s something utterly captivating in listening to the musical rendition of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” by a bunch of first-graders on kazoos and percussion instruments. What kind of society will we be without the squawky notes of “Greensleeves” emanating from an open window as a fourth-grader practices on a black, plastic recorder? What kind of cultural identity do we preserve and pass on without a music education? What happens to us if we become a country without a culture, without a voice, without a song?

I guess Air Force One should invest in a good sound system and a CD of Sousa marches, because a future president might be stepping of the plane into the adulation of crowds, not to the strains of “Hail to the Chief” played by a school orchestra but to a bunch of kids holding up multiplication table flashcards.

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Zulal Nominated for “Best Folk/World Album\" in 2005 International CARAs

New York, USA – Zulal, the Armenian A Cappella Folk Trio based
in New York and Boston, has been nominated for the “Best Folk/World Album” in
the 2005 International Annual Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, an
influential annual competition that helps shape the a cappella music genre.
Other nominees include, Banana Boat, an all male group from Poland; Br6, a
six-member Brazilian ensemble; and Julian Spizz, a solo- performer. Competition
outcomes can be tracked online at www.casa.org.Zulal recently capped their CD tour with a well-attended New York performance at
the world music venue, Club Satalla on January 26th. The hometown show was a
much-anticipated event for both the trio and their local supporters. Audience
members and the Zulal trio alike enjoyed the evening. Come the fall of 2005,
Zulal is planning on sharing more of its music within New York City’s world
music scene.

February 2005 proved to be an active month for the trio, with performances in
both Canada and California. First in line was a full-length performance in
Montreal, Canada on Sunday, February 20th at 7:00pm hosted by the Friends of
Armenian Culture 2005 Concert Series. Next, Zulal headed back out to Los Angeles
for a benefit concert titled Hye Shakar, an annual event that helps fund the
Juvenile Diabetes Program of Armenia. Zulal performed alongside famed drummer
Jacob Armen.

With the CARA nomination and a bustling travel schedule, Zulal is rounding off
the winter season with a good deal of velocity. The trio has dedicated the
spring and summer months to writing and rehearsing new arrangements, so for
those of you who have an opportunity to see the trio before May rolls along, it
is an experience not to me missed.

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Capercaillie Presents Grace and Pride: Anthology 2004-1984

New York, USA – Grace & Pride (Survival Records/Valley entertainment,
2005) celebrates the 20th anniversary of Britain’s leading Celtic band,
Capercaillie (pronounced cap-er-cay-lee). The double CD anthology contains 38
tracks taken from each of the band’s 15 albums, including previously unreleased,
ultra-rare and long deleted tracks. Throughout their career Capercaillie have drawn on two great strengths to
inspire them. The first of these is the astonishing musical dexterity of the
various fiddle, whistle, flute and pipe players who have performed with them
over the years, led by the accordion and keyboards of band founder Donald Shaw.

The other foundation of the band has been the peerless voice of co-founder
Karen Matheson, described by Sean Connery as having “a throat that is surely
touched by God
“. Universally recognized as one of the finest Gaelic singers
alive today, Karen’s exquisite voice has been at the centre of the band’s music,
whether breathing new life into 400-year old Gaelic songs or bringing her
luscious vocals to the band’s contemporary compositions.

There have been many milestones for a band who have sold over a million
albums world wide. These include three silver and one gold album in the UK, the
first Gaelic Top 40 single, writing the music for, and appearing in the
Hollywood movie Rob Roy, and performing in over thirty countries including Iraq,
Macedonia and the Sudan.

Capercaillie have been credited with being the major force in bringing Celtic
music to the world stage, and their unique fusion of Gaelic culture and
contemporary sound has always stretched boundaries in their quest to keep the
music evolving. On Grace and Pride the track listing follows the band
back in time from last year’s

Choice Language
to their debut release in
1984 Cascade, taking in every album they have released along the way.
Grace and Pride: Anthology 2004-1984
is a fascinating journey through the
creative evolution of one of Scotland’s and roots music’s most enduring and
successful bands.

[Buy

Grace & Pride: Anthology 2004 – 1984
].

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Vidya Srinivasan and Sanjay Subramanian at Sree Sanmukhananda Sangeetha sabha Festival, Delhi

The music and dance festival of Shanmukhananda Sangeetha sabha continued with
the concerts of Ms. Vidya Srinivasan, a Delhi based artists and Sh. Sanjay
Subramanian from Chennai at the other venue – Delhi Tamil Sangam, New Delhi.

The evening program was by Ms. Vidya Srinivasan. She started off with a kriti of
Saint Thyagara, in Mayamalagaula – Tulasidala followed by Tolijanma in Bilahari
which was very appropriate for the occasion. . The raga alapana in
Subapanthuvarali and Madhyamavathi and the kirtanas ‘Yennalu Yorake in Chapu
tala and Ramakadha Sudha were rendered with clarity. The songs Tavata Soham of
Tyagaraja, Mayamma Yani ne of Syama Sastry and Karunajalathe in Nadanamakriya
were good selection.The accompanist S/Sh. Annadurai on the violin, Srinivasan and Ganesh on the
mridangam and Kanjira gave able support.

Second part of the twilight was starred by Sh. Sanjay Subramaniam with Sh. MA
Sundareshwaran on the violin and Tiruvarur Sh. Vaidyanathan on the mridangam. He
commenced the concert with a varnam Chalamela in Darbar followed by a
composition of Thyagaraja –Emanadichevo in Rupaka tala. The melakarta raga
Naganandini (30mela) with ‘Sattaleni dinamu ‘ was a rare piece and was well
received by the audience. It was nice of the artists to have announced the raga.
Then it was perhaps time for Syama Sastry’s Sankari Shankuru in Saveri– A very
well rendered alapana and kriti with niraval in ‘syama Krishna sodari. After a
crisp kriti in Mukari, Sanjay rendered the popular, pleasing janya raga -Mohanam
with Nannupalimpa. The raga itself to be sung in the late evening, with
well-elaborated alapana and swara prasthara made the evening very enjoyable for
audience present there. The artist has a knack to keep the audience spell bound
by the way he renders the raga alapana, the kriti or the swaras. The weather
though very fine for the audience was not too friendly to the artists’ voice –
but of course it did not spoil the evening. A brief Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Thodi
was very well presented. The concluding session was ragamalika, Chidambaram
pogamal etc.etc and was well appreciated by all.

Sh MA Sundareshwaran on the violin gave an excellent support with his bow magic
and Sh. Vaidyanathan gave a comfortable support to the artist with a brief Tani,
which was splendid.

The Music and dance festival continued with another excusite music recital by
Nadabhushanum Bombay Jayshri Ramnath and Party on the Saturday the 5th
March.’05. She was accompanied on the Violin by Sh. Vittal Ramamurthy, Naiveli
Skanda Subramaniam on the Mridangam and Sh. Tiruvanandapuram Rajagopal on the
Kanjira.

Jayshri started the concert with Ponnayya Pillai’s composition in Mayamalagaulai
– Mayatita swaroopini in Rupaka Talam and then a tyagaraja kriti in Darbar –
Mundu Venuka set to Adi thala. Papanasam Sivan’s kriti in Sahana was excellently
rendered by Jayashri and Ranjani Niranjani in Ranjani was also very good. ‘O
Ranga Sai’ in Kamboji raga was well knit piece and the artist showed her
competence with full maturity and dexterity. The swara kalpana was excellently
presented. Later the RTP in Subhapanthuvarali was remarkable. The remaining part
of the day was allotted for light songs including the vruttam of Tirupanazhwar
pasuram – Kondal Vannanai Kovalanai followed by Tottu Tottu pesugiran kannan She
concluded with a meera Bhajan ‘Hari Tuma Haro’ which reminded us of MS mami.
The accompanist Vittal Ramamurthy gave able support on the Violin and Skanda
Subramanian and Rajgopal presented an excellent support on the Mridangam and
Ghatam respectively.

The Grand Finale of the Festival was by Padmasri Ms Sudha Raghunathan who was
conferred the title of Nada Kalanidhi by the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha. One
could say that all the rasikas of Sudha were in the auditorium to enjoy her
concert. The two and a half an hour concert was magical spell of delectable
Music. Even Lord Anjaneya – who is supposed to be present in some corner
wherever some good music is on – would have found it difficult to find a free
corner in the Hall due to the overflow of enthusiastic crowd of rasikas.

She started with an Ata Tala Bhairavi Varnam and Sree Jalandara in Gambiranattai-
a composition of Jayachamaraja Wodayar in Adi Talam. The Shanmukhapriya raga
alapana was good and Sivan’s kriti Parvati Nayakane was very well rendered and
the Niraval ‘Nee Maravade ennarul jagadeesa’ was well presented. The swara
prastharas were note worthly. After sprite kritis in Atana, Suruti and a
purandara dasa kriti it was the main piece in Mohanam with Nannupalimpa of
Tyagaraja. One could hear all aspects of the raga, even though different artists
already rendered this raga many times in the festival. Due to paucity of time
she could not do justice to the light songs but somehow managed two songs- Kurai
Ondrum Ellai and Thaye Yashoda. The sabha should plan for a bigger hall and
longer hours for artists of such order. The accompanists as usual and to the
expectation gave their best and were well appreciated.

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