Cuban Rock Musicians Play in Concert for Peace

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Cuban rock bands joined to the world protests against war and
terrorist acts and organized a concert Friday night at Havana´s John Lennon
Park.  Titled Concert for Peace, the show presented the bands Agonizer,
Combat Noise and Chlover, as part of the 27th Culture Week in the Plaza de
la Revolucion municipality, from March 15 through 21. Dedicated to the
memories of the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Madrid and New York´s World Trade Center, and the victims of the US invasion to Afghanistan
and Iraq, the concert represented the Cuban rock scene´s voice to protest
against terrorism.  "The concert is especially dedicated to the victims of
terrorist attacks in Cuba during the 45 years of revolution and for peace in
the world
," stated Lazaro A. Ceballos, leader of the thrash metal band
Agonizer.

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Peter Tosh Commemorated in a Benefit Album Featuring Some of Reggae’s Biggest Artists

Controversial Jamaican reggae artist Peter Tosh is being commemorated in a benefit album featuring some of reggae’s most prominent artists. The CD is being released in both CD and on-line formats. Put My Faith In Jah is a compendium of songs donated by such notable performers as Joe Higgs, Half Pint, Edi Fitzroy, Toots & the Maytals, Lehbanchuleh, Bob Andy, Natty Remo, Mikey General and others. The album also features a rare live track of Tosh performing his trademark anthem “Get Up Stand Up” at the 1982 Jamaica World Music Festival. It is the first of a series of albums to be released by the Tosh Foundation, including the upcoming Peter Tosh Tribute album, which will feature Tosh songs performed by Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, Cypress Hill, and others.

In a unique twist, many of the tracks from the album are being released first for on-line distribution via the new WeedSM format from Shared Media Licensing, Inc. of Seattle (“SML”). Weed files can be freely shared, with both artists and the people responsible for spreading the files getting a share of on-line sales revenue. Subsequently, a limited-edition (1,000-copy) collector’s CD will be available from the Tosh Foundation.

Jeanette Smith, owner of Stone Tiger Entertainment (http://www.stonetiger.net)
and the reggae download web site JahWeed.com,
is collaborating on the project. She says “Peter Tosh was a giant of 20th
Century music. We’re excited to be helping to immortalize his work while aiding
a worthy cause
.”

About Peter Tosh and the Tosh Foundation

Peter Tosh was, with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston, a founding member of
the seminal reggae group The Wailers, and became known as that band’s more
militant spokesman for equality and justice. After leaving the Wailers, Tosh
found success as a solo artist, culminating in his 1987 Grammy-winning album
No Nuclear War
. While planning a tour to back the album, he was killed by
gunmen who invaded his house.

The Tosh Foundation was established by veteran rock promoter Mike Malott and Tosh’s son David; its mission is to preserve the musician’s legacy and continue his social activism. Proceeds from the benefit album will go toward building a museum, medical clinic, and library for the people of Jamaica.

About SML and Weed

SML’s WeedSM service was begun in 2003 to
solve the problem of illegal music file sharing on the Internet. Weed files can
be played three times for free; after that, the recipient is invited to purchase
them. A portion of each purchase is paid to file sharers as an incentive to
respect artists’ rights. Weed obtains content via a network of Independent
Content Providers (ICPs). Daniel House, the ICP in charge of “Weedifying” the
Tosh album, says “My experience working with SML has introduced me to a lot
of great music; this album will be truly exceptional whether you obtain it on CD
or download the files
.”

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Persian poetry & spiritual intoxicants

Safa - Alight
Safa – Alight
Safa

Alight (Songlines)

Safa (Farsi): means inner purity, sincerity and sincere affection. The Vancouver ensemble Safa comprised of Puerto Rican percussionist Sal Ferreras, Quebecois jazz clarinetist Francois Houle and
Iranian vocalist and tar/setar player Amir Koushkani compose music that would bring delight to the master Persian Poet Jelaluddin Rumi’s ears. The bulk of Safa’s recording, Alight focuses on Persian classical music, often recalling the California based Persian musical group, Axiom of Choice.

The tangy sound of the tar (lute) marries an emotive, throaty clarinet that is accompanied by a
vibrant palette of rhythmic textures and topped off with Koushkani’s stunning vocals. Safa with its varying musical influences, passion for Persian music and improvisational jazz creates a multicultural and spiritual space where anything can happen and usually does. Listeners will immerse themselves in Persian poetry that speaks of various kinds of intoxication as well as, dissonant elements found in experimental music. The whimsical Turkish Nihawend Lunga, masterful traditional Persian Chahar Mezrab and the Judeo-Arabic Ninavae promise to intoxicate listeners’ ears.

The music on Alight breaks through cultural and language barriers, despite the multicultural musicians’ origins. According to the CD liner notes, speaks about the origins of Safa. “After several years of study and work in Persian music, fate took me far away from my homeland and roots of my music. I found myself in a country where various cultures and traditions come together and I was given the opportunity to perhaps communicate with others through the language of music.”
Fate also played a part when Ferreras, Houle and Koushkani met and blended elements of improvisational jazz, Latin and Persian musical traditions. And all three musicians have released several recordings, performing with other musical artists.

This trio of master musicians honor the Persian tradition, but you can also find tracks on the CD that feature a duo with clarinet and a variety of percussive instruments (Peruvian cajon, udu, bata drums, and Philippine kulintang). The compositions, Aurora and Shadi fall on the dissonant side of the tracks and aren’t too pleasing to the ears. Epilogue showcases Ferreras percussion performing along side Koushkani’s tar and this track feels less experimental than Aurora and Shadi. However, I favor the Persian compositions, especially the opener, Chahar Mezrab and also, Sufinameh, Saghinameh, Drunk and Whisper of Love.

In honor of the Iranian new year. Compliments ofCranky Crow World Music.

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Folk Singer Rick Fielding Dies of Cancer

[image1_left]Rick Fielding passed away Saturday evening March 20 after a lengthy and
courageous battle with cancer.

Originally a native of Montréal, Quebec, Rick was smitten by the music of
Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie as a teenager. After leaving school, he moved to
Toronto and began his career as a professional musician. For over thirty years
he toured extensively throughout Canada, Great Britain, and the United States,
and recorded albums for Folk Legacy and Borealis. He happily managed to finish
his latest album Acoustic Workshop while struggling with his illness.Apart from touring and playing his own music Rick taught acoustic techniques on
guitar, banjo, mandolin, and dulcimer, ran workshops on songwriting and
professional development for musicians, did custom leather work, and hosted the
radio show Acoustic Workshop on CIUT-FM 89.5.

Above all Rick was a giving person as a performer, teacher, and friend. He will
be missed deeply by all who knew him. A celebration of Rick’s life and music
will take place Saturday June 5 at the Tranzac Club in Toronto, ON. For details,
visit http://www.borealisrecords.com/news_fielding1.html .

[Obituary courtesy of the

Folk Alliance
. Photo courtesy of Borealis Records].

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Rudy King, the man who brought the Steelpan to the US, passes away

New York, USA – The New York Pan Community and the rest of the Global Pan world mourn the loss of one of its best, Rudy King, who passed away on the night of Thursday 18 March 2004 in Brooklyn, New York. Rudy was the man who single-handedly brought the steelpan to the United States.

When Steel Talks celebrates the life of Rudy with some memorable moments in the following story and pictorial exclusives to When Steel Talks:


http://www.basementrecordings.com/news/cparticles/rdykg.htm
.Read more about Rudy King in the following article:


http://www.worldmusiccentral.org/article.php?story=20040320173249837
.

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New Jazz Club in Havana

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – World renowned Cuban pianist
Chucho Valdés
, several times Grammy award winner, opened the Irakere Jazz Club in Havana in an effort to lure local and international musicians to jam in the Cuban capital. Valdés, one of the musicians who best represents Cuban jazz, helped kick off the club´s opening over the weekend.
The club “is a longtime dream come true and will be a source of inspiration for young musicians, Cuban music and Latin jazz, in general,” Valdés told Prensa Latina. The nightclub is located in Havana´s former Rio Club, a hotspot for Cuban jazzmen over the past 20 years, and will hold early and late evening performances. Valdés, director of the jazz group Irakere for 30 years and winner of four Grammy awards, said the club would be one of the main venues for Havana´s Jazz Plaza International Festival, which he organizes. Starting this year, the event will be held annually “so as to not fall out of step with musicians around the world and to maintain an enriching exchange with them,” the musician said.

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Miquel Gil’s Valencian Roots

Miquel Gil
Miquel Gil
Madrid, Spain – Alike the oranges he cultivates according to ecological principles Miquel Gil’s voice grows directly from the Valencian earth. With his previous album Orgànic (Sonifolk, 2002) Miquel had opened a new chapter in his career as a musician and earned several awards, i.e. the “Best album of the Year in Catalonia” (Enderrock awards).

On Katà he discovers the geological layers of Levante (Eastern Spain), Andalusia, Mallorca and Catalonia, traveling over these regions and the Spanish Mediterranean seaside. On his trips to Northern Africa, Greece and Turkey he demonstrates the close relationship  between Spain and these
cultures:
styles like granainas and fandangos, gnawa, jotas, rembetika, picados mallorquines, boleros, dances from the mountainside, and odd rhythms from Turkey are put together in a small room and a big album came out of it. Miquel does not care about political conventions and makes all these cultures live together in a natural familiarity. The extensive work of collecting traditional motifs and reinventing them has made out of the Cantautor Miquel Gil (singer/songwriter) in Orgànic the Cantaor (flamenco singer) in Katá.

The wide musical range that covers Katà is also reflected in the musicians who joined the recording sessions: Raúl Rodriguez (guitar) from Seville who is responsible for the flamenco sounds; Eduard Navarro, well known from his band L’Ham de Foc, who has created his very own sound due to his great performance on the dulzaina and other wind instruments; Diego López, also known from L’Ham de Foc, who gives to each and every of the 11 songs his particular flavour through his precise and subtle playing, and finally Xavi Lozano (Eliseo Parra, Lídia Pujol), who creates a special magic on his
exotic wind instruments. Special guests like Carles Belda (Pomada) and Pep Toni Rubio (Música Nostra) point out the great reputation that Miquel has reached in the Spanish music scene.

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Quantity and Quality

Wasis Diop – Everything Is Never Quite Enough
Wasis Diop

Everything Is Never Quite Enough (Mercury France/Universal 077 396-2, 2003, distributed by Triloka Records)

The 1990s albums of Senegal’s Wasis Diop–HyenesNo Sant and Toxu–were the works of a fusion-minded visionary who combined West African foundational elements with shades of Latin, Arabic, jazz, blues and whatever else caught his fancy.

Living in Paris for many years enabled Diop to find multiple niches in that city’s cosmopolitan music scene, and he began to pave the way from versatile sideman (primarily on guitar) to versatile solo artist.

Concurrent collaborations included his hooking up with mad genius Lee Perry in Jamaica, saxophonist Tasauki Shimizu in Japan, North African vocalist Amina and his own filmmaker brother Djibril. Perhaps because Diop’s music is not as characteristically hard-hitting as many popular African styles and/or the fact that his albums were by and large not hyped or touted commercially, his career has been comparatively low-key even in world music terms.

Everything Is Never Quite Enoughcollects songs from all of Diop’s previous discs and is equally impressive as an introduction to his talents or a reminder of how good he can be (depending on if you got around to hearing those previous discs or not).

Diop sings in low tones, sometimes descending into a half-spoken whisper that not only creates a sense of intimacy but also ensures that enough of the listeners’ focus will be on how inventive and varied his song arrangements are. This includes the use of chugging acoustic atmospherics (“African Dream,” “Dune”), moody electronic textures (“Ramatu”), subtle m’balax rhythms (“Soweto Daal”), English-language vocal narratives (“No Sant,” the title track) and even the full re-Africanizing of a familiar song that had African roots to begin with (“DeFaal Lu Wor,” a version of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”). The songs are very much like musical mosaics- carefully pieced together, painstaking in their quest for beauty. That quest has thus far been a successful one for Wasis Diop, since this is very beautiful music indeed.

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US Denied Visa to Cuban Singer-songwriter Carlos Varela

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela was not able to perform at the Gusman Center, Miami City, because the US government denied him the visa to enter the country. The prohibition to the artist aborted a series of shows in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Juan, Puerto Rico. “It is a pity that my fans in Miami as the audience in other US cities were deprived of their right to listen my work due to the decision of a couple of dinosaurs from the Department of State,” the artist said in statements for international press. The US organizers said they were “deeply saddened and outraged” and commented their government did not give then a reason for the decision of denying Varela and his musicians the visa. Becoming a usual practice, the US authorities are recently banning all Cuban musicians to enter the US territory.

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Drums of the North

GaPa - Imaginaria
GaPa – Imaginaria
GaPa

Imaginaria (independent release, 2004)

The Canadian duo GaPa, Patrick Graham and Ganesh Anandan have been exploring various percussion techniques, specializing in improvisation and finger drumming since 1998. They have explored beats and rhythms from Central Asia, Japan, Ireland, and the Mediterranean region and have been heavily influenced by the Carnatic tradition of south India. GaPa has collaborated with numerous musicians, ranging from choreographers to alternative-electronica projects.

Ganesh who was born in Bangalore city, south India who studied with teachers in India and Canada has worked with numerous artists including filmmaker Robert Lepage, guitarist Bob Brozman, T.N. Shashikumar and others. Canadian born Patrick also studied with several teachers, several disciplines and at several locations. He has performed, toured and recorded with an array of international artists, while garnering impressive credentials along the way.GaPa’s Imaginaria is ppropriately titled since the tracks on this recording take an imaginative excursion into a realm of exotic and domestic (home-made) percussion.

The two percussionists recall children that have been set loose in a candy store as they improvise on their instruments thus creating enticing poly rhythms. They request that listeners turn up the volume, quickening pulses and holding bodies hostage. The percussion that is featured here includes, cow bells, cymbals, floor toms, Javanese gongs, Chinese gongs, flower pots, porcelain bowls, Chinese temple blocks, bodhran, a shruti metallophone and other rhythmic toys.

The duo along with guests musicians vocalist/Japanese hand drummer Takinojo Mochizuki, Japanese flautist Kohei Nishikawa (Five Sounds), Toronto-based violinist Oliver Schroer (Alap & Yellow Mala) and guitarist Rainer Wiens (Underwater) explore at times, unworldly sounds and rhythmic textures.Funky M creates grooves sans electronic drums and could be called vocal less hip hop that gives, fingers, palms and arms an intense workout. Five Sounds conjures up images of taking a walk through a
Japanese garden during a raging storm or scenes from Akira Kurosawa’s Rashonon, black & white, slightly grainy portraying various themes. Marionette features Ganesh playing a set of tuned Javanese gongs and Patrick delivering beats on a multi-percussion set containing shimejishi, daiko, Chinese blocks, a floor tom, Chinese cymbal and bamboo wind chimes. I am told this piece was improvised and recorded in one take. On an another imaginative piece, Enfance, Ganesh plays a set of tuned earth ware flower pots and Patrick plays a set of Chinese porcelain bowls tuned with water. He uses the same bowls tuned differently on the dissonant, Underwater which also features co-composer Rainer
on “prepared guitar” (he placed pieces of wood and metal on the strings of his electric guitar), recalling the work of the experimental American composer John Cage.The tuning used on Enfance and Underwater is based on Ganesh’s research on the south Indian shruti system. In regard to the song Enfance, Patrick confessed “it took much effort to get the 2 sets of instruments in tune with one another. Actually the ‘out-of-tune’ character of the home-made instruments is what makes them so
appealing.” Percussionists, dancers as well as, experimental/improvisational musicians will also find
Imaginaria appealing.

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