Pedaling tabla beats

Autorickshaw (Tala-Wallah Records)

The word autorickshaw sums up this Toronto quintet’s musical repertoire. When I used the search word
autorickshaw, I found a handful of sites that sold just that, motorized rickshaws. We forgot sometimes that
India despite it’s ancient traditions does also have a contemporary side. On one hand, visitors of the country
can still partake in the old way, by riding in a rickshaw that is pedaled by a human or take a ride in a more
modern vehicle. The Canadian group Autorickshaw, not to be confused with modern Indian transportation
reflects on the musical diversity that a city such as Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver have to offer. And part of
that musical diversity includes musicians trained in both jazz and classical Indian traditions. You would be
surprised how many similarities these two genres share. For instance, jazz and classical Indian music both
rely heavily on improvisation, syncopation and the analytical mind. I first encountered Autorickshaw performing a set with Harry Manx and Tantra at the Vancouver Folk Music
Festival. Vocalist Suba Sankaran had pulled out a steamy jazz standard in which she added a few vocal tricks
of her own. To say that she left me speechless is an understatement. In the past, she worked with her father,
the mrdangam master, Trichy Sankaran and she trained as a classical singer and pianist. She eventually took
up jazz and working with choirs or contributing to a film soundtrack. This eventually led her to work with tabla
player Ed Hanley (an exceptionally talented musician). Also appearing on the recording are Dylan Bell and
Rich Brown on bass as well as, percussionist Debashis Sinha.

The first track, Ganamurthy hails from south India and represents the Carnatic tradition with the exception of
the bass guitar and tabla that embellish the song. Ganamurthy which praises Lord Krishna is a raga originally
composed by the 18th Century saint composer Thyagaraja in Adi tala (8 beat cycle). Kapi-Wallah translates
to either raga or coffee merchant. And the musicians drank lots of coffee when recording this challenging
piece. It is also a Carnatic raga that was commissioned by choreographer Natasha Bakht, thus marks the first
musical collaboration for the ensemble of musicians and the birth of Autorickshaw. Cloudscape/Monsoon
ventures into jazz territory and features Suba on piano and vocals, Ed on percussion, Debashis on drums and
Dylan on bass. Cloudscape/Monsoon shows off Suba’s jazzy vocals and piano chops while recalling the work
of Charlie Parker.

Sammi Ninne, a traditional varnam composed by Karoor Devudu (Sree raga) again features the 8 beat cycle,
but brings in the tabla thus marrying the north and south Indian classical styles. Ikat highlights Ed’s tabla
prowess. And the final track, Sunrise fused Indian and Indonesian music using the 8 beat cycle. The
recording features tabla tarang (a set of three tabla tuned to different pitches), kanjira, bass and vocals.

Autorickshaw brings in all their musical influences from classical Indian, classical and jazz music without
succumbing to creating Asian fusion music or chill out music like their UK contemporaries. The music on this
recording possesses an organic quality that emphasizes the musicians’ talents and passion for different types
of music. This CD marks the debut of a group that has only been around a year or so, but if it is any indication
of future projects, Autorickshaw will be leaving listeners speechless for years to come. Hailing from Ontario,
the home of the late Glenn Gould, Autorickshaw might also be called virtuoso and certainly unique.

www.autorickshaw.ca

Compliments of Cranky Crow World Music.

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28th New York Salsa Festival at Madison Square Garden

Oscar D'Leon
Oscar D’Leon
New York, USA – A large gathering of salsa artists will take place September 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The salsa festival with feature well known artists: Gilberto Santa Rosa & his Orchestra, Oscar D’Leon & his Orchestra, Fania All Stars, Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barreto , Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda, Papo Lucca, Bobby Valentin, Roberto Roena, Larry Harlow, Yomo Toro, Alfredo De La Fe, Jimmy Bosh, Adalberto Santiago, Junior Gonzáles, Ismael Quintana, and young Puerto Rican sonero Ray Viera.

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Puerto Rican Salsa Legend Tite Curet Dies at 77

Tite Curet
Tite Curet
San Juan, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rican composer and journalist Catalino ” Tite” Curet died at age 77 at St. Joseph Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, at 2:00 pm on August 5th. He was one of Puerto Rico’s most famous and prolific composers. Even though he composed all types of music, his salsa songs became hits throughout Latin America. Many of salsa’s most famous artists performed his songs, including Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Willie Colón, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Tony Croatto, La Lupe and Los Condes.

The salsa legend was born in Guayama on February 12, 1926. His mother was a seamstress. His father was a musician with the Simón Madera orchestra and also a Spanish language teacher. After their separation, Tite moved with his mother to the Barrio Obrero in San Juan.Tite studied music with maestro Jorge Rubian. He graduated from the Universidad de Puerto Rico with a degree in Social Sciences and worked for over 30 years for the US Postal Service. His first break in the record business happened in 1965, in New York, when he composed music for Joe Quijano and his band Cachana. Three years later, Tite composed the song “El Gran Tirano” for famed Cuban bolero singer Roberto Ledesma. Ledesma did not use the song so it was adapted for female vocals and used by Cuban singer Lupe Victoria Yoli, better known as La Lupe. It was renamed “La Tirana.” La Lupe brought international fame to the song and Curet went on to become an internationally respected composer.

In 1970, salsa became the rage in New York and Tite Curet Alonso became the most sought writer in the genre. He became the main composer for salsa powerhouse Fania Records. Tite also became a well-respected journalist and musicologist. He hosted a radio show called Tropicalísimo for many years, produced in San Juan de Puerto Rico by Radio Universidad. The program featured contemporary and traditional rhythms from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean basin.

Some of his biggest hits were “La Tirana,” “Carcajada Final” and “Puro Teatro,” by La Lupe, “Tiemblas” by Tito Rodríguez, “Las Caras Lindas de mi Gente Negra” by Ismael Rivera, “Plantación Adentro” by Rubén Blades and “Cucubano” by Tony Croatto.

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Musicport Festival

TransGlobal Underground
TransGlobal Underground
Whitby, North Yorkshire,England – Trans-Global Underground, Ensemble Kaboul, Martin Simpson & 40 other acts will be performing at Musicport, October 24th-26th, 2003. The festival is held annually in Whitby (North Yorkshire, England).

Musicport is a celebration of music and dance from different cultures around the globe. Now in it’s 4th year it is becoming a major international showcase for the top acts in the field of World Music & dance as well as proving a wonderfully magical & enjoyable event for all the family. Set against the backdrop of Whitby the festival pays homage to the town’s seafaring connections with the wider world.

Acts that have appeared in previous years include Misty in Roots, Osibisa, Labi Siffre, Kanda Bongo Man, Los De Abajo, Vera Bila & Waterson Carthy. Musicport is a not for profit community business with funding from Arts Council Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forward, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, PRS Foundation & Scarborough Borough Council

The Festival mainly happens in one venue – Whitby Pavilion Complex-with a capacity of 1000 in the main hall 500 in the theatre and 300 in the exhibition hall. Catering is provided both in the Pavilion café and by ethnic food vans just outside the main entrance.

The concerts take place Friday 24th – Sunday 26th October. The festival starts at 6.30pm on Friday and goes on until early hours Sat am. It starts again around 10.30am Saturday finishing 2am Sunday morning. Starts again 11am Sunday morning and finally finishes 11pm Sunday. The organizers try not to overlap acts on the two main stages so people don’t have to miss anything on these stages. There will be an added extra this year as the clocks go back on the Sunday morning .

Who?
In total there will be over 40 acts on the main stages including:

Trans-Global Underground as headline act for this year’s festival.

Ustad Mahwash & Ensemble Kaboul (Afghanistan) winners of BBC Radio3 2003 World Music Award Best Asia Act.The band that kept the music of Afghanistan alive
through the dark years.

Kékélé (Congo), Congolese veteran rumba band often described as Buena Vista Social Club of Africa.

The Bisserov Sisters(Bulgaria), celebrating 25 years of thrilling audiences world wide.

Ali Slimani Band (Algeria), Wonderful Rai band fronted by ex Invaders of The Heart lead singer.

Go.Lem System (Argentina/Spain) Manu Chao’s sometimes backing band on exclusive trip from Barcelona to UK for Musicport.
The Dhol Foundation with Johnny Kalsi (Punjab/UK),Afro Celt System drummer & fantastic band who were sensational at Musicport 2001.

Mighty Zulu Nation (South Africa) , Dance and song from great South African troupe.

Shiva Nova (India/UK), jazz meets classical meets ambient.

Charanga Del Norte (Cuba/UK) wonderful salsa band and Musicport veterans.

Lion Train (Jamaica/UK), music in the spirit of Bob Marley and great live show.
Ben Melo Band (Senegal),On their first trip to Uk. The band who often support
Youssou N’Dour in Senegal

Téa & Mirella (Bosnia),wild & haunting gypsy music

Julie Murphy Dylan Fowler & Danny Thompson (Wales),One of the finest singers in UK joined by great guitarist & legendary double bass player.

Martin Simpson & Spencer Bohren (USA/UK), Martin winner of Radio 2 awards 2002 for best album & best instrumentalist with Spencer great gospel singer /
guitarist from New Orleans.
Talisman (Russia), First UK appearance for incredible gypsy trio.

Modeste Hugues (Madagascar) highly rated singer songwriter.
Davide Sanna (Sardinia). “The Mediterranean Bob Dylan”.

Robert Maseko & Congobeat- Musicport favourite with new line-up and great new
songs.

Eduardo Niebla (Spain) stunning flamenco guitarist.

Rajan Spolia (India) India guitar and tabla

Bombay Baja – Bollywood brass ensemble

Nick Burman – one of the great didg players

The Old Rope String Band- Musical &Magical mayhem

Tuup the world renowned storyteller will perform the official opening.

Late night DJ sets and venue decor from locally based artists Cloudbase

There will be an adult workshop programme running throughout the weekend and
numerous stalls selling musical instruments, crafts etc as well as information
stalls on issues of global interest.
An adult weekend ticket (which is non-transferable) entitles you to free access
to all events within the festival.

Full weekend tickets are £45 until 30th July when they go up to £59
(£47)
unwaged) Tickets for children over 10 are half the adult price. Children under
10 are free
Family tickets, day tickets and sessional tickets are also available (Contact festival office for detail)
Although under 10s have free entry to the main Festival there is a
separate sessional charge for the children’s festival events (around £2 for 3
hour session). There will be a range of artists working specifically on the
children’s festival stage performing and running workshops. The children’s
stage will be organised and supervised by InterActive a local charity who run
holiday playschemes in the Whitby area .

There is a free access venue at the Resolution Hotel, Skinner Street with a separate program of mainly acoustic artists and featuring some main
stage artists as well.

Contact numbers Jim McLaughlin @ Musicport Office 44(0)1947 603475
Fax 01947 603509

info@whitbymusicport.com

[Photo caption: TransGlobal Underground]

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Two by Shweta Jhaveri

Shweta Jhaveri  - Anahita
Shweta Jhaveri – Anahita
Shweta Jhaveri

Anahita (Intuition, 1998)

Avishkar (21st Century Cosmos, 2003)

I enjoy serendipity so I play a game with myself that involves sifting through the world music CDs at the library and choosing artists unknown to me. Two years ago while I was seeking musical treasures, I discovered a stunning recording by North Indian vocalist Shweta Jhaveri. At the time, I knew little about world music and nothing about Indian music, yet even as a novice, I allowed myself to be swept away by Ms Jhaveri’s mesmerizing vocal talent. Even an absolute beginner realizes the years of mastery required obtaining vocal mastery and as I recently learned, Shweta began training at the sweet age of six.

As time went on, Jhaveri studied North Indian classical vocals with the master Pandit Jasraj. By the time she turned 19 (she’s now in her 30’s), Jhaveri became the first female vocalist from Gujarat, India to perform North Indian classical music in India and abroad. Besides her performances in India, she has performed in the US, Canada, Bangladesh and was the first Indian vocalist to perform in Argentina. Her first recording, Anahita (1998) which was recorded in San Francisco and produced by Lee Townsend has been considered a pioneer of world music by some critics. Anahita which featured Jenny Scheinman on violin, Will Bernard on guitar/dobro, Bill Douglass on bass and Jim Kassis on drums/percussion seamlessly blend Eastern modes and scales with Western instrumentation. Instead of hearing the drones of sitars or the power beats of tablas, the musical atmosphere is enhanced with rolling thunder drums and a wah wah guitar.

This approach might come across as a bit shocking to connoisseurs of Indian classical music, but would be at home with fans of Susheela Raman. However, do not mistake Anahita for a world pop crossover recording since, “the music presented here is composed in traditional North Indian rags, in the form of Drut Khayals,” according to Jhaveri in her liner notes. She also adds that this is the most innovative of the North Indian classical vocal forms and its rhythm is based on Teental or 16 beats. Her six rags that appear on Anahita are not conventional khayals, but she composed the lyrics in traditional North Indian rag to give the impression of North Indian Drut Khayals.

Invocation starts out with the drone of a tamboura and then Shweta’s unwavering voices enter and are then followed by the unconventional drum beats and bass notes as well as, Jenny’s wailing violin (actually performed in the Indian tradition). Wah wah guitar adds a distinct flavor to the seductive, yet sacred mix. To a Beloved again marries Jenny’s Indian style violin with fluttering and soaring vocals. The rag reflects on longing for a loved one. Amidst A Mist begins in the same fashion as Invocation with the tambour drone pairing with mesmerizing vocals that could lull anyone into a meditative state. Drums come in slowly and soak into the dissonant atmosphere created by the other instruments. And Jhaveri’s vocals evoke powerful emotions that grow more passionate throughout the rag.

No More, a song composed in the serene mood of Rag Bhairav (CD notes) features lilting violin alternating with dissonant drone. The lilting and even playful violin continues into the next track, To the Spring, (composed in the style vibrant mood of Rag Shuddhakalyan) and which resembles a Bollywood classic. The final track, A Nosy Dawn is based on a poem that reflects on the (Gopies) or lovers of Krishna and of a nighttime of lovemaking. Krishna’s main consort, Radha curses dawn as it arrives and spoils the moment. (A Nosy Dawn was composed in the haunting morning Rag, Lalit).

Shweta Jhaveri - Avishkar
Shweta Jhaveri – Avishkar
Shweta’s self-produced follow-up CD, Avishkar forges a different musical path. This time around, Shweta is backed by traditional Indian instruments including, Ramesh Bapodara on tabla, Jayant Bhalodkar on harmonium, and Parul Kapadia on tanpura. The songs are composed and performed again in the khayal or North Indian Classical form and sung in Hindi. Shweta composed the six compositions that appear on the recording that features two kinds of khayals, Bada khayal (elaborate version) and the Drut khayal (brief and fast version).

Dream, Saanvaro and Abhogi reflect on Krishna’s many facets. 14 Beats possesses a vibrant mood and is set to Ada Chautaal or 14 beats as the title implies. The raga Call of Spring and Night Fever are both set to 16 beat cycles. Although the vocalist is obviously the same on both recordings, the two albums will interests a different set of listeners. Anahita will excite a westerner with a growing interest in classical Indian music, while Avishkar will most likely attract dedicated classical Indian students and sophisticated listeners. Both recordings however, point to Shweta’s dedication to composing and singing khayals. It is unfortunate however, that her vocal talents aren’t matched with other top classical Indian musicians and put out in a more accessible format. Shweta possesses a stunning vocal talent and when put in the right setting could excite an appreciative audience of Indians and world music fans alike. For more information visit www.shwetajhaveri.com

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A Cure for them Blues

Martina Sorbara - The Cure for Bad Deeds
Martina Sorbara – The Cure for Bad Deeds
Martina Sorbara

The Cure for Bad Deeds (Nettwerk America, 2003)

Before I begin the review of Martina Sorbara’s debut CD, I would like to mention that I haven’t lost my mind or purpose promoting world music. And I am not going to start reviewing pop music for this site. The review of Martina’s CD, The Cure for Bad Deeds is the only exception to the rule. Why? Well, we all have our guilty pleasures and this 23 year old ballsy Canadian singer-songwriter crafts songs that get under your skin and move things around.

Her gutsy tunes possess candor, street wisdom and soulfulness often found in veteran performers who have been around the block a few too many times and this is just a debut release. We haven’t heard anything yet. If Martina refuses to cave into music industry demands, she’ll soon be joining ranks with Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell and any blues diva, you fill in the blank.

So who is Martina Sorbara, other than the resourceful girl who grew up in rural Ontario and attended the alternative Waldorf School, who learned how to build guitars and design clothing? Who is this young woman who has been around the block a few too many times, sexually speaking and lived to tell her tales? She’s brazen and she can knock you dead with her well aimed words.

She is the fresh face girl next door with a few dirty secrets. In many ways, she has joined forces with the Ani Difranco’s of the world and she’s gonna tell you how it is, not how you wish life to be. You can read her lyrics and listen to her womanly gasps, sighs; croons that appear on her CD and you’ll still be left with an insolvable mystery.

Most of Martina’s songs that appear on the cure for bad deeds revolve around sorrowful events that reflect on errors of judgment. Sometimes these reflections prove painful to listen to since the lyricist comes off as a coyote that keeps setting its tail on fire. She longs for adventure losing her love interest (Undone), she blows up at the one she is suppose to love (Call Wolf) or she ends up on the wrong side of a sleazy proposition (Better Man).

The songs might be called folky laments backed by piano or acoustic guitar. The laments provide well crafted chord progressions and vulnerability, but I prefer the bawdy blues numbers in which Martina belts our her lyrics. You can see older women sitting in the room with her, yelling out, “yeah, ain’t that right, sister. You tell ’em. Hmmhmm.” With the bawdy tune, Eggs over Easy, Martina heats up the kitchen and she’s not frying those titular eggs. Sadly, there aren’t enough of those blues tunes to go around on this CD. Which is a shame since blues is what Martina does best. This Ship features a Latin jazz piano solo that comes out of nowhere and again, I can’t help but wish for more of this musical treatment on the CD.

With so many female singer-songwriters clogging up the radio airwaves these days, one needs to find her niche and carry out her uniqueness. If Martina stays authentic while delving deeper into blues and jazz, she will be a talent to be reckoned. In the meantime, let her music act as a guilty pleasure or a cure for your bad deeds.

(compliments of Cranky Crow World Music).

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WOMEX 2003 Showcase Selection Announced

Berlin, Germany – The list of world music artists selected to participate at the WOMEX 20034 showcase has been announced. The selection is made by a jury that varies every year. Performing at a WOMEX showcase is very important for musicians because the event is attended by most of programmers of the top folk and world music festivals in Europe and North America.

Complete list of performers:

* Amal Murkus (Palestine/Israel)
* Ana Sofia Varela (Portugal)
* Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra (USA)
* Bazar Blå (Sweden)
* Bebo Valdés & Diego “El Cigala” (Cuba/Spain)
* Clotaire K (Lebanon/France)
* DJ Dolores (Brazil)
* DJ Martin Morales (UK)
* El Bicho (Spain)
* Faiz Ali Faiz (Pakistan)
* Future World Funk (UK)
* Gilad Atzmon & Orient House Ensemble (Israel/Romania/UK)
* Guaco (Venezuela)
* Huracán de Fuego (Venezuela)
* Jaojoby (Madagascar)
* Javier Ruibal (Andalucia/Spain)
* Jony Iliev & Band (Bulgaria)
* La Vela Puerca (Uruguay)
* L’Ham de Foc (Spain)
* Lo’Jo (France)
* Majid Bekkas (Morocco)
* Malouma (Mauritania)
* Manecas Costa (Guinea-Bissau/Portugal)
* Manou Gallo & Le Djiboi (Ivory Coast/Belgium)
* Marcel Khalife (Lebanon/France)
* Mawaca (Brazil)
* Musafir (Rajasthan/India)
* Nação Zumbi (Brazil)
* Otto (Brazil)
* Sevara Nazarkhan (Uzbekistan)
* Sidi Goma (Gujarat/India)
* Teofilo Chantre (Cape Verde/France)
* Tiharea (Madagascar/Belgium)
* Tinariwen (Mali)
* Weird MC (Nigeria/UK)
* Yusa (Cuba)

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Chill out

Compilasian, The World of Indipop
Compilasian, The World of Indipop

Compilasian, The World of Indipop (Narada World, 2003)

The release of Narada World’s Compilasian (The World of Indipop) comes as more of a sign of changes to come in the record industry than as the cutting edge music it boast.

For those readers not aware of the Indipop label, it is a cottage industry label created by producer Steve Coe who is also Sheila Chandra’s husband. Narada World recently licensed Indipop catalogue, including Sheila Chandra’s Indipop releases. And with the release of Compilasian, itself a compilation of unreleased tracks of the groups Monsoon, Sheila Chandra, The Ganges Orchestra, Jhalib and East West, comes with a piracy protection device, called Copy Control.

Only time will tell if this device actually puts more money in the hands of recording artists or acts as a trigger for more paranoia in the world.

The Copy Control actually comes with its own player and a symbol reflective of the big brother that is watching you. This could cause discomfort in even the most innocent record buyer, especially coming at a time when people believe that the government too is watching their every move. And by the way, as a journalist, I am here to get the word out on musicians and I do not condone piracy. However, I will also say that there is too much fear in the world and I am disappointed that so many establishments succumb to fear instead of spreading love on the planet. Trust is a derivative of love.

Protection and security are derivatives of fear (a gentle reminder).Now that I have released my reservations for this technology, I will get on with the review of this compilation.

According to the CD liner notes, Steve Coe, small, but influential label has enjoyed three decades of fun and independence while introducing the world to its most popular vocalist, Sheila Chandra. Indipop receives credit for being the forerunner of the Asian fusion music fostered in the UK.

Steve and the musicians who recorded on his projects modernized Indian music so that Western ears could relate to it and Western feet could dance to it. However, having grown up in an extremely mainstream community where I heard and appreciated Ravi Shankar’s ragas it’s difficult for me to understand why anyone would need to modernize Indian music.

Fortunately, the musicians on the recording also chose to explore new musical territory that married studio wizardry with the essence of Indian music. And these musicians have a lot of fun blazing musical trails and taking advantage of the liberation provided to them when working with a small and experimental label. And in fact, Chandra’s innovative songwriting and lush vocals matured out of these experiments.

The tracks feel more like a musical laboratory than actual songs. Phrases are often repeated similar to mantras, on the track, Strange Minaret, Sheila sings backwards recalling the Beatles White album. Outtakes for Crescent Silver Scythe and Ever So Lonely have been rehashed and a few other surprises crop up on the compilation. 11 (a number with spiritual inclinations that comes up a lot in my life), provides nature sounds, a moody organ and Sheila’s lovely vocals.

In the end, Compilasian will take its listeners on an unusual inner journey, complete with a soundtrack that promises to expand frontiers.

Buy Compilasian, The World of Indipop

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The Scottish Harp

Wendy Stewart

Standing Wave (Greentrax CD TRAX242)

This is quite a sombre selection of Scottish harp music with the occasional equally sombre vocal track. The opening tune, Flowres O The Forrest, sets the mood, spare and melancholy, which the traditional, All Things Are Quite Silent, continues. A tale 0f press-ganging and break up of domestic life it has a memorable melody delivered with clarity by Stewart.

If the lamentation of the opening track needed further depths of melancholy then there is a track about the terrible foot and mouth crisis which devastated lands and lives in the UK recently. Rather than use words to convey some of the suffering Stewart lets Fires At Midnight tell its tale through musical imagery.This is perhaps even more effective.The leaving of a homeland has long been part of any nation’s lyrical tradition and her rendition of a clearance song, Now Draw Up Close And Hear My Song, draws on Gaelic words which in translation describe some of the feeling of loss:

From croft and glen down to the sea, those that I love are going.

The homes they leave are cold and cleared and under sheep run lying.

Notwithstanding the mournful nature of many tracks her various harps are also put to good use on traditional tunes and dances where there is both restraint and robustness in her playing. Try Down The Hill/Annan Polka or the final track which employs the delicate bohemian harp to good effect. She also uses the gut harp which has a slightly more powerful tone on her own composition, Jean Stewart Of Moniaive.

Overall, it is an attractive set of songs and tunes, encouraging reflective listening, which ought still to appeal to a wide audience.

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Between Rumba and Flamenco with los Muñequitos and Camerata

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cubana – A review of the complete list of albums nominated for the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards shows the presence of other excellent Cuban: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, with Rumba de Corazón,” in the category of Best Folk Album, and the Camerata Romeu, for its incursion along with Spanish guitarist Victor Monge, Serranito, in Sueños de ida y vuelta.” Los Muñequitos’s merit is double, if we take into account that the record is part of the Bis Music catalogue, a recording division of the Cuban company ARTEX, competing at a disadvantage for being based in Cuba and suffering from the limitations of an economic war. In Rumba de Corazon, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas display the experience accumulated in the preservation of rumba’s complex vitality. The folklore category does not exactly fit such a convincing exhibition of singing and percussion. Cary Diez, a Cuban musicologist that has closely followed the group’s career, stated how “dockworkers, ordinary people, have always been the members of the group, leaving a print on each song, on each conga skin, each gesture and also, fortunately, in a rich record testimony.” The album by Serranito and the Camerata Romeu, produced by Iberautor (SGAE), has received favorable reviews by different specialists. The work now competing for Best Flamenco Album was presented in Havana during the last Cubadisco Festival. Flamenco reached its highest point in the 20th century with Paco de Lucia’s piece “Entre dos aguas,” which owes a great deal to jazz. In the album joining Serranito to the Camerata, under the direction of Zenaida Romeu, this spiral is pushed to progress towards the dialogue between classical flamenco guitar, traditional flamenco singing and the strings coming from the Cuban “cult” tradition, in line from Cervantes and White to our days.

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