Belgium – KGM Crew, a young Hiphop trio from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, are going to be giving Europe a taste of “Bongo Flava” (Tanzanian Hiphop) this April, when they perform in some of the major cities of Northern Europe during their first tour.
Formed in 2000 by Enoch Fredy aka Man Noks, Christopher Mwamnyange aka Man Kill and Said Abdallah aka Sultan, KGM Crew’s lyrics’ dropping and stage presence caught the attention of the jury at the 5th InterRegional Music Crossroads Southern Africa Festival in 2004 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Music Crossroads Southern Africa is a unique youth empowerment through music initiative of JMI (Jeunesses Musicales International) based on a series of workshops, festivals and competitions for budding young African musicians in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. Music Crossroads offers
musical training, development and experience to young musicians combined with the opportunity to develop individual self-esteem, self-expression and social networking.
The three members of the KGM Crew come from a tough neighborhood in Dar es Salaam (Kigogo, Mburahati ) that they refer to as “Uswahilini” or "ghetto". These young Hiphoppers met during a neighborhood street rapping battle in 1998 and have been rapping together ever since.
Influenced by international rap artists such as ‘Lost Boyz’, ‘KRS1’ and ‘Nas Escobar’, the KGM Crew perform a typical Tanzanian rap called ‘Bongo Flava’. Although relatively unknown in the rest of the world, Bongo Flava is the best selling popular music in East Africa today. This US Hiphop influenced style developed in the 80’s-90’s in Dar es Salaam to become a distinctive music genre that incorporates local melodies, beats and topics. Usually sung in Swahili (combined with English), Bongo Flava freely mixes different music styles (rap, R&B, reggae, taraab, salsa…), both contemporary and traditional. The name Bongo Flava comes from the Swahili word for brains or intelligence, “ubongo”, which is also the nickname of Dar es Salaam. Lyrics often aim to educate audiences on
subjects such as AIDS, poverty, social behavior and personal experiences.
Sure, the Klezmatics could’ve made their first live album a familiar affair, chock full of many of their signature tunes combining Jewish tradition with high-flying abandon. Instead they’ve chosen to musically present the middle ground between klezmer and African-American gospel. The result, recorded on a
summer night in the heart of Berlin last year, is a heavenly hoot.
Trading off between songs rooted in Jewish and Christian spirituality and prominently featuring guest singers/players Joshua Nelson and Kathryn Farmer, the mood is one of genuine fervor as well as barrier-breaking fun.
After the opening invocation of “Eyliyohu Hanovi,” the band thunders through a roof-raising “Elijah Rock” (with Nelson on lead vocals) that’s so hot you wonder how they’re going to maintain the momentum from there. But maintain it they do, thanks to solid material (including “Walk in Jerusalem,” the acapella title track and the Klezmatic’s own anthemic “Ale Brider”), smart build-and-release
arrangements and snug musicianship.
The liner notes lucidly explain how the whole idea came about and the music leaves no doubt as to what a good idea it was. A believer or not, these tunes will get to you as well as reinforce the power music has to reduce the perceived differences between religious ideologies to the divisive nonsense they so often are.
This is “world” music in the best sense, unifying styles, beliefs, ethnicities and a history of shared adversity in ways that more people would do well to take heed of. Thou shalt get out and purchase this disc as soon as possible. Amen.
breaking new ground by offering one of the first recordings
by a world music artist to only be released in digital format.
Thomas Mapfumo -an
outspoken Zimbabwean living in exile in the United States of America- has chosen to bypass the middle
men and even the manufacturer going direct from studio to MP3 on his new album, Rise Up. The album will be available exclusively as a digital download
making Mapfumo the first artist to release an entire world music album in
digital format only. I would add a strong musical influence filtered from the court dances of Europe,
via the post-Islamic courts of Spain (this is particularly true of the 3/4, 6/8
forms which don’t seem to me to be characteristic of Middle Eastern rhythms
except in very basic forms….
Furthermore, the April 12 release will be accompanied by a
download package of an entire catalog of his recorded music—over 130 songs—for
The “Mapfumo Files”—as this unboxable set has been dubbed—contain the previously
unreleased Rise Up, and fourteen other Mapfumo albums, including a
never-released-before recording called Afropop Worldwide Presents Thomas Mapfumo
and the Blacks Unlimited, Live in New York. Afropop Worldwide’s Sean Barlow
says: “Our landmark live recording at SOB’s in 1991 catches Thomas and his band
when they first achieved their fully matured sound. With two mbira players right
up front, the repertoire alternates between traditionally based songs and
uptempo dance tunes with the swing of African jazz in Thomas’ unique horn
arrangements. One of Afropop’s most sublime recordings ever.” The recording
features key band members Sebastian Mbata (drums), Charles Makokova (bass) and
Ephraim Karimaura (guitar) who have passed away since the recording was made.
“Here we have possibly the most prolific voice for a generation of social
protest in Zimbabwe,” explains CalabashMusic.com founder Brad Powell. “He has tried the path of working with
record labels and is now seeking a more direct route to fans, cutting out some
of the middle-men in the process. He has spent recent months recovering the
rights to his music and publishing. And now he has found our fair trade model
which earns a higher royalty than any other record deal he has had in his life,
in 40 years of being in music.”
CalabashMusic.com is the premiere world music only digital download website. The
company has established a Fair Trade model in which independent artists get half
of retail sales. Calabash is fast-establishing a reputation for creating
forward-thinking strategic partnerships that bring the music industry into the
Calabash is the provider of content for the digital retail store of national
radio program Afropop Worldwide. Afropop makes its exclusive recordings such as
the live Mapfumo concert and the recent Festival in the Desert — The Tent
Sessions, a intimate set of live “field recordings” available as digital
downloads solely through Calabash. The Tent Sessions were also released as a
video documentary, which was broadcast exclusively by Link TV, the United State’s only
national TV broadcaster of world music videos.
Calabash plays a similar role with Link TV, who also use Calabash’s catalog of
music to power their online retail outlet. This satellite channel broadcasts up
to four hours of world music videos each day. Viewers are directed to Link’s
website where they can purchase MP3s and CDs by the artists performing on their
screens. Calabash also just launched a weekly video premier of new music videos
available as streams on the website, timed to coincide with Link’s broadcast of
a new video.
[Thomas Mapfumo photo courtesy of Calabashmusic.com]
The Warsaw Village Band’s new CD Uprooting (World Village 468036) is the
boldest venture yet. The ensemble invited representatives of traditional Polish
folklore to join them in the recording studio they also forged contacts with two
dub-sound and scratch specialists. In view of this unusual blend of elements and
epochs, the Warsaw Village Band’s motto for Uprooting, comes from Reggae hero
Burning Spear, “Remember the past, but keep it livin’ in the future.” Warsaw Village Band is known for their trance-like rhythms of two drums and the
so-called “white voices” – near-screams, primeval, clear and wild, combined with
the szuka (knee-violin), cello, dulcimer, violin and hurdy-gurdy. The Warsaw
Village Band experiments with its roots, creating an entirely new,
suspense-charged relationship between the traditional and the modern. Their
great love for their national musical heritage and the will to preserve the old
musical traditions are the chief ingredients for their success.
For the Warsaw
Village Band preservation does not mean restoration but – as in the case of “The Pogues” and “Les Negresses Vertes” – reanimation, the conveyance of the songs’
spirit into the present. So Polka gets a shot of Techno. The result is a sound
young people identify with, a sound that has mesmerized audiences all the way
from the United States of America to Japan.
The Independence Suite (Celtic Crossings CC2004, 2004)
Most recent Celtic music compilations focus on the contemporary artists. The
Independence Suite takes a look at the outstanding artists who perform
traditional music from Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton (Canada). The producer,
Cecilia McDonnell investigates the connections between Irish and Scottish music
as well as the music developed by the Celtic Diaspora in North America.The Tunes:
1. Don’t Touch that Green Linnet / Doolish / Gráinne’s Jig (jigs) Tommy Peoples
2. The Maids of Mitchelstown / The Bunch of Keys (reels) Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin & Patrick Ourceau
3. Traditional Cape Breton Jig / Dan Hughie’s / Donald Angus’s (jigs) Dougie
4. Captain John’s / The Queen of May (hornpipes) Geraldine Cotter
5. Caisleán an Óir / The Humours of Scarrif / Over the Moor to Maggie (hornpipe
/ reels) Aidan McMahon & Anthony Quigney
6. The Road to Dunmore (song) Robbie O’Connell with Clancy, O’Connell & Clancy
7. An Trí is a Rian / The Ballymahon Reel / Caher Rua (reels) Randal Bays & Dáithí Sproule
8. The Laddie with the Plaidie / Athole Brose / Captain David Stewart / The Spey
in Spate (strathspeys / reels) Barbara MacDonald Magone & Alasdair Fraser
9. Hè Mo Leannan (Scottish waulking song) Navan
10. The Bush in Bloom / The Munster Reel / Captain Kelly’s Reel (reels)
Geraldine Cotter, Maeve Donnelly, Peadar O’Loughlin, Eamon Cotter
11. Bríd Thomáis Mhurchadha (Irish sean nós song) Áine Meenaghan
12. An Buachaill Caol Dubh (slow air) Mícheál Ó hAlmhain
13. The Boys of Bluehill / The Stack of Barley (hornpipes) Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin
& Pádraig O’Dea
14. Shrip’s Clog / Virtuoso Hornpipe (clog / hornpipe) Maeve Donnelly
15. The Silver Spear / Mullin’s Fancy (reels) Mick O’Brien & Caoimhín Ó
Nashville, Tennessee, USA – The International Songwriting Competition (ISC)
announced the winners for its 2004 annual competition.
Modeste, an artist from
Madagascar, now based in London
(England), won in the world music category. ISC received over 11,000 entries from
77 countries in its third year. ISC prizes include more than $100,000 (USD) in
cash and merchandise and are shared by 50 winners in 16 categories.
List of winners in the world music and other roots categories:
For the first time ever in any major songwriting competition, a teen is the
winner of the overall Grand Prize. The winner is newcomer 18-yr. old Gin Wigmore
(Auckland, New Zealand) for her song “Hallelujah,” which was entered into the
Teen category. Her prizes include $10,000 US cash and over $30,000 US in
merchandise and services.
Judges for the 2004 competition included many of the music industry’s top
executives and recording artists:
Monte Lipman (President, Universal Records); Sean “P. Diddy” Combs; Aaron Lewis
(Staind); John Ondrasik (Five For Fighting); Bo Diddley; Clint Black; David
Hidalgo (Los Lobos); Branford Marsalis; Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Peter
Furler (Newsboys); Taj Mahal; Sully Erna (Godsmack); Macy Gray; Stacey Earle;
Scott Kirkland (The Crystal Method); Michael Gudinski (Chairman, Mushroom Group
of Companies); Alan Meltzer (CEO, Wind-Up Records); Tara Griggs-Magee (Executive
VP Gospel/Urban Music, Sony Records); Michael McDonald (President, ATO Records);
Tracy Gershon (Sr. Dir A&R/Artist Dev, Sony Records Nashville); Chris Parr (VP
of Music Programming & Talent Relations, CMT); Peter Asher (Co-President,
Sanctuary Artist Management); Kim Stephens (VP A&R, Lava Records); Barbara Sedun
(VP Creative, EMI Music Publishing Canada) and Leib Ostrow (CEO, Music For
ISC is sponsored by: Xytar Digital Systems, Epiphone Guitars, Berklee
College of Music, Fishman Transducers, Disc Makers, Alphabet Arm Design, L.R.
Baggs, Sam Ash Music Stores, Planetary Group, Mixdown Media Network, Hear
Technologies, Sibelius, Cakewalk, Performer.com, FYE, Onlinegigs.com, and
Boogalu has just released a new DVD called Rumbambeo. It is an fro-Cuban music and dance performance of a unique gathering of
some of the most outstanding musicians, singers, and dancers in Cuba today. The
project was inspired by Santiago “Chaguito” Garzón Rill, the former musical director of Rumberos de Cuba. For this project Chaguito invited a group of exceptional artist friends and rumba figures, to
perform what they passionately live for. This DVD features 11 segments, and was especially produced to display Cuban
drumming and rumba dance, at its best.
Part 1 Cajón de Muertos,
Espiritismo Sacred Music
Plegaria – Makuta – Palo
Part 2 Wemillere, Fiesta de Los Orishas
Batá – Iyesa
Part 3 Rumba
Yambú – Guarapachangüí – Guaguancó I –
Columbia – Guaguancó II – Batá-Rumba
This CD will appeal to listeners who enjoy modern roots and ragga and also
those who like something unusual. Zuluman’s voice is very distinctive and
wide-ranging, expressing all kinds of feelings. The tracks have a variety of
interesting moods and tempi, ranging from brisk, hardcore pieces to relaxed and
atmospheric ones. Some of the music has an intimate, chamber music feel to it. The music is
always accessible and tuneful and at the same time manages to be unusual and
surprising. No Bad Card has all the ingredients of the best dancehall reggae
Outstanding, amazing! Great bass lines, catchy riffs, thought provoking lyrics
with hints of old school toasting.
I think this excellent. I really love it especially the joker song(http://www.newbeats.de). Kate Baker
Adventure Music announced recently the launch of a new imprint emphasizing the full spectrum of acoustic music. the first project from Adventure Music America will be Psychograss’ Now Hear This.
Adventure Music, the three year old independent record label that is home to a host of acclaimed Brazilian and South American artists, with fourteen releases to date from such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ricardo Silveira, Moacir Santos, Tom Lellis, Nelson Angelo, Claudia Villela, Ricardo Peixoto, Gui Mallon, Weber Iago and Maria Marquez, as well as the upcoming release of the 2004 Latin Grammy
Award winning recording of Symphonic Jobim, has announced the launch of Adventure Music America, a new imprint that will focus on a wide expanse of acoustic music, from Americana to folk to bluegrass to jazz. Adventure Music America will be helmed by the same three principals who head Adventure Music: Richard Zirinsky, Robert Corroon and Mike Marshall, the superb mandolin and string player whose musical career has spanned over two decades.
The label will launch with the May 10 release of Now Hear This the first recording in seven years from Marshall’s acoustic supergroup, Psychograss, which also features fiddler Darol Anger, Todd Phillips (bass), Tony Trischka (banjo), and David Grier (guitar.)
“We decided to establish Adventure Music America for several reasons,” explained Zirinsky. “We wanted to expose audiences to the great music that has come our way, but we didn’t want to confuse the Brazilian music audience, who has showered the Adventure Music roster with incredible commercial and critical acclaim, including our first Grammy nomination for Ricardo Silveira’s Noite Clara this past year. Bob Corroon is himself a mandolin player and acoustic music fanatic, and of course, Mike has been so deeply rooted in the American string music movement for so long, that we have access to not only the key figures in acoustic music like Mike and Darol Anger, but to some amazing new young talent.”
Mike Marshall adds, “I have many friends who come from the American roots styles of music who have music they’d like to record, but no particular home for it at this time. The music industry as we have known it is undergoing an amazing restructuring, which has created an opportunity for Adventure Music America to assist in the birth of some really incredible projects.”
Next among those projects will be an ambitious collaboration between Marshall and Darol Anger, which features the Duo multi-tracking dozens of instruments performing, in Marshall’s words, “a kind of folk-orchestral project.” The release of Duo will coincide with Marshall and Anger’s participation in the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tour. “In some ways, our new CD will reference a recording we did 20 years ago entitled Chiaroscuro. But the new project is made current by the many things we’ve learned about composition and recording technology, and enhanced by the cornucopia of styles of music from around the globe that we’ve been studying since then,” says Marshall.
Over the course of a career that spans over two decades, Mike Marshall – one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile musicians – has proved capable of switching effortlessly between jazz, bluegrass, classical, and Latin genres. From his career beginnings in the late 70’s and into the early 80’s as a member of the David Grisman Quintet, Mike has gone on to perform and record with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor, five-string banjo phenom Bela Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell. As a founding member (with Darol Anger) of the
band Montreaux, as well as of the classical ensemble The Modern Mandolin Quartet, Mike was one of the signature artists on Windham Hill Records.
His ongoing passion for Brazilian music resulted in two releases, Serenata (2003) and Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso (2004 – a tribute to his love for the choro style in particular) on Adventure Music, which he co-founded in 2003.
He has also continued to push the boundaries of acoustic instrumental music with collaborative releases on the Sony Classical label, including “A Short Trip Home” and “Uncommon Ritual,” the latter of which spent over three months on Billboard’s classical music chart. Another collaborative effort, with fellow
mandolinist, Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile, was 2003’s Into the Cauldron on Sugar Hill Records.
“Adventure Music America is a natural progression for us, an extension of what we’ve been doing with our Brazilian and South American work,” concludes Marshall. “From samba and choro, to folk and bluegrass, a singular sound is emerging that connects the music of string band musicians from around the Americas. We’re harnessing the beauty of that sound and giving it to the world.”
Adventure Music America will operate out of the Adventure Music offices in New York City and Oakland, California, and will be exclusively distributed in the U.S. by the Burnside Distribution Corporation.
It’s not a particularly defiant look sported by the half-seen face of Pedro Luis Ferrer on the cover of this disc. He’s a guy who wants to do Cuban music his way, however, and if that means blending elements of styles like changüí, son and trova that others prefer to keep separate, so be it. If it means featuring the accomplished vocals of his daughter Lena to the extent that her name should be above the title as well, fine. If it means a song poking fun at vegetarians who abstain from meat most Cubans can’t get because of shortages, bring it on.
Rústico is a raw and refreshing work that never loses the familiar kick of Cuban roots music yet doesn’t rely on quaintness or nostalgia, unlike many releases finding their way out of Cuba recently. The main melodic instrument at work here is the guitar-like tres, its bright strumming complimented by percussion that often takes on a distinctly African edge.
Vocally, the gently impassioned leads and full-blooded choruses draw you into the songs in a manner warm and welcoming. The songs themselves are poetic meditations on love, music, the frustrations of life in contemporary Cuba and hopeful musings in spite of such frustrations.
Easy as it is to get burned out on Cuban music these days, this disc is really one you ought to gravitate toward. With low-key excellence it conveys the feel of a country that carries the stigma of downtrodden repression even while bursting with musical and cultural richness.