Geek Rhythms

The premise of this CD is to introduce the Geek world to
non-Geeks and inject the technical matter with some levity that it deserves.
Technology is so much a part of everyday life and man-machine interface is so
ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine that, on the scale of human evolution,
technology has very young roots. Lyrics are written to introduce and explain
technology terms to laymen and the developers hope aspiring technologists and
engineers will enjoy the music and lyrics.

Above all the main idea is to have some fun. The song “Enjoy The Ride” is set
to techno music and written with computer science in mind and speaks of how
transistor works, then goes onto introduce concepts in networking and wireless
areas. The song “Free Energy” is set to hip hop music and lyrics are written
from the perspective of chemical engineers and introduces terms like entropy,
free energy, distillation, control loop etc. Geek Dreams is a favorite for all those aspiring to be engineers and
speaks in rap like language to brain muscles vs body muscles while talking about
scalars, vectors and EMF, Newtons’ third law of motion, very interesting.
Metamorphosis is set to fast paced music and explores the world of mechanical
engineers with concepts like Bernoulli’s energy equation, gear ratio, robots and
propulsion scheme.

Core of the band is GK, who wrote the lyrics, Rikki, who conceived the musical
interpretation of lyrics along with Jasz, composed and arranged the music and
also did the mastering. Jasz is the lead vocalist for all songs and dug into his
singing experience as well as his engineering knowledge to enhance the lyrics.
Annette Philip and Brennon provided support vocals and bass guitar respectively.

You can visit
to preview music samples.


The Gypsy Travels of Thierry Robin

Thierry “Titi” Robin – Alezane
Thierry “Titi” Robin

Alezane (Naïve WN145049, 2004)

For an artist looking back over twenty-five years worth of composing and performance, choosing your favorite pieces for a compilation must be like looking into the faces of your children and picking one over the other. Well, Thierry “Titi” Robin has done just that with Alezane on French label Naïve, and he’s chosen some gems.

The two CD set is overflowing with compositions spanning twelve years of Robin’s recordings, pieced together from Gitans, Kali Gadji, Rakhi, Un Ciel de Cuivre and Le Regard Nu. To classify Robin’s music is to stray too far off the path and the intent of his music. To put it simply, there is no classification of genre that could do his work justice. French and Spanish Gypsy influences are woven around and together with musical traditions of the Middle Eastern and Indian.

Tapestry is such an overused analogy in musical fusion but in Robin’s compositions it’s an apt analogy. It’s as if a shiny piece of sound caught Robin’s ear and he simply picked it up and put it in his repertoire. To incorporate all that’s wild and wonderful in other traditions, you have to come up with a remarkable group of musicians and singers. Robin has done just that with the likes of Gabriel Levasseur, Abdelkrim Sami, Paco el Lobo, Amar Saadna, Joseph Saadna, Farid Saadna, Gulabi Sapera and a whole host of other talented musicians and singers.

The compilation is divided into two CDs, Le Jour and La Nuit. Le Jour is charged with such pieces as La Petite Mer, Rumba Do Vesou II, Swing Wassoulou, Ma Gavali and Chirmi Mala. Rumba Do Vesou II features Abdelkrim Sami “Diabolo” on the darbuka; Titi Robin, Bruno el Gitano and Mambo Saadna on guitars but it is Paco el Lobo’s, Mambo Saadna’s and Bruno el Gitanos’s passion soaked vocals that set the piece on fire.

Swing Wassoulou really does swing in the combination of driving percussion with accordion, brass and Titi Robin on the oud. Gulabi Sapera’s vocals on Chirmi Mala from Rakhi soar against the chunky percussion, Gabriel Levasseur on organ and Robin on guitar.

La Nuit as the name suggests takes a darker, more reflective, tone. Patchiv from Gitans infuses the French Gypsy sound of François Castiello on accordion with Indian-sounding guitar work by Françis-Alfred Moerman and Robin. Haçer Toruk’s enchanting prelude vocals in Petite-Mere Sultane, from Un Ciel de Cuivre open the way for the intricate musical patterns of bendir, accordion, clarinet, ud and bouzouki. Django a Bagdad and Marraine are two more gems on this CD. Kali Gadji is a solo piece featuring Robin on the ud, its spare loveliness is rich beyond words.

Alezane  is a first-class compilation and as an added bonus the artwork on the CD cover is stunning

Buy Thierry Robin’s CDs: GitansKali Gadji, Rakhi, Un Ciel de Cuivre, Le Regard Nu, and Payo Michto


A Chinese Guitar Concerto

Athens, Greece – Internationally renowned guitarist
will premiere the For Eva guitar concerto dedicated to her by the Taiwanese composer, Yiu-kwong Chung.
The concert is organized by Athens Municipality Cultural Organization and it
will take place on Tuesday October 19th, at the Melina Cultural Center, 

The whole event is organized to celebrate the memory of Dimitri Fampas, the great Greek guitarist, composer and professor who passed away eight years ago and features also music by Vivaldi, Dimitri Fampas and Andersen Viana from Brazil,
with the participation of Athens State Orchestra string ensemble, Eva Fampas and Dimitris Kasfikis, guitar and Costis Papazoglou, conductor.Guitarist Eva Fampas, praised by both the press and audiences worldwide for her excellent and very passionate performances, her virtuosity and musicality as well as her dedication to a unique, very original, fresh and
Mediterranean Greek repertoire, enjoys an international career with concert appearances all over the world, recitals, recordings, editions, awards and distinctions, world premieres of new works, TV and Radio presentations. She has toured extensively in Greece, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Thailand, India, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Italy, Bulgaria, Albania, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Spain, etc.

The For Eva concerto by Yiu-kwong Chung, although a contemporary work is rooted in the native Chinese cultures, a synthesis of Easter and Western cultures, built upon Chinese folk music language to expand the technical and musical horizons of modern guitar and to show the beauty of their co-existence in harmony.

For more information read the Guitar Journal at


Quimbombó, soneros de New York


Quimbombó  (Testa Dura Records TDCD 001, 2004) 

Quimbombó is a creative New York-based band (there seems to be a band with
the same name in the West Coast) that plays traditional
Cuban son. The American soneros are led by percussionist Nick Herman, who
studied with Cuban masters. The lead vocalist is Cuban musician David Oquendo,
who also plays guitar. The rest of the musicians are American and Latin American
instrumentalists who are very active in the New York City  jazz and Latin music
scene.  The group shows a deep passion for traditional Cuban son.
This is substantiated by the fact that six of the seven songs are classics from the Cuban
repertoire. The other two are original pieces by band leader Nick Herman. 

Quimbombó (pronounced keem-bohm-BO) is the title of a
classic Cuban són popularized by Conjunto Chappotín in the 1950’s. A word of
Congolese origin, it means “okra” in Spanish.


Putumayo\’s Women of Latin America Tour

Totó La Momposina
Totó La Momposina


Putumayo World Music has put together the concert tour Putumayo Presents Latinas: Women of Latin America. The tour is being produced in conjunction with the release of Women of Latin America. The Putumayo Latinas tour will feature three extraordinary divas representing a cross-section of contemporary and traditional Latin American music: Chile’s Mariana Montalvo, Totó La Momposina (Colombia) and Belo Velloso (Brazil).


Mariana Montalvo
Mariana Montalvo


The Putumayo Presents Latinas: Women of Latin America tour represents the first of what will be an ongoing series of thematic concert tours and events presented by Putumayo World Music featuring some of the best live music from around the world.


Belo Velloso
Belo Velloso


Tour schedule:

Oct 8 Wilmington, DE
@ Grand Opera House
Oct 29 Atlanta, GA
@ Rialto Center for
Performing Arts
Oct 9 Schenectady, NY
@ Proctor’s Theatre
Oct 30 Knoxville, TN
@ University Center
Oct 10 Westhampton Beach, NY
@ Westhampton Beach
Performing Arts Center
Nov 4 Albuquerque, NM
@ Popejoy Hall
Oct 12 New York City, NY
@ Symphony Space
Nov 6 Irvine, CA
@ Irvine Barclay Theatre
Oct 13 Englewood, NJ
@ Bergen Performing Arts
Nov 7 La Jolla, CA
@ Mandeville Center
Oct 15 Greenvale, NY
@ Hillwood Recital Hall
Nov 10 Santa Barbara, CA
@ Campbell Hall
Oct 16 Camden, NJ
@ Gordon Theater, Rutgers
Nov 13 Tucson, AZ
@ Centennial Hall
Oct 17 Bayside, NY
@ Queensborough Community
College Theatre
Nov 16 Saratoga, CA
@ The Claire Loftus
Carriage House Theatre
Oct 19 Providence, RI
@ The Auditorium in
Roberts Hall
Nov 17 Davis, CA
@ Jackson Hall
Oct 22 Washington, DC
@ Lisner Auditorium
Nov 18 Arcata, CA
@ Van Duzer Theatre
Oct 24 Hampton, VA
@ The American Theatre
Nov 19 San Rafael, CA
@ Marin Center
Oct 25 Hampton, VA
@ The American Theatre
Nov 21 Eugene, OR
@ Silva Concert Hall
Oct 26 Chapel Hill, NC
@ Great Hall
Nov 22 Tacoma, WA
@ Rialto Theater
Oct 27 Wilmington, NC
@ Thalian Hall
Nov 23 Seattle, WA
@ Moore Theatre
Oct 28 Brevard, NC
@ Porter Center of
Performing Arts

Wondrous Women of the Western World

Eva Ayllon – Eva! Leyenda Peruana
Eva Ayllon – Eva! Leyenda Peruana (Times Square Records TSQCD 9040, 2004)

Emeline Michel – Rasin Kreyol (Times Square Records TSQCD 9041, 2004)

Lhasa – The Living Road (Nettwerk ASIN BOOO2JE90Q, 2004)

So what links these three releases? Well, they’re all by women from the Americas who possess remarkable voices and use them to make music that adheres to tradition on some level. At the same time, each seems to be reaching for a further, elusive level of emotive beauty via elements that take artistic vision and raise it to so much more than mere music for mass consumption.

Eva Ayllón hails from Peru and gives her music an edge that burns with the passion of that nation’s indigenous and African identities as well as the festive feel brought by the Spanish. Africans began arriving in 16th century Peru as slaves; today their rhythmic legacy is most identifiably felt in the beat of the cajon, a wooden box drum that’s key to the foundations of Afro-Peruvian music.

Like her compatriots Peru Negro and Susana Baca, Ayllon makes the cajon the central heartbeat of her sound. Further embellished by congas and small percussion, the stammering African-derived beats are prominent throughout the disc.

The addition of piano (not usually a staple instrument in this genre) brings a Latin jazz feel without putting too much sweetener on the traditional festejo, lando and vals styles that are becoming more familiar as Afro-Peruvian music makes its way into the world. Ayllon’s singing has a majestic grace and controlled urgency that has served her well through 30 years of recording and performing, and she also sounds great branching out into salsa, bolero and Cuban territory.

Eva! Leyenda Peruana also benefits from fine acoustic guitar, bass, flute and violin work as well as input from guests like Alex Acuna, Tiki Pasillas and Peru Negro’s Rony Campos. A lovely piece of work all around.

Emeline Michel – Rasin Kreyol
Haiti continues to be one of the most trouble-plagued countries on the planet, and some of the most defiantly beautiful music known to man continues to come from there. Emeline Michel is currently hailed as the Queen of Haitian Song, and the radiantly good Rasin Kreyol makes a strong case for her being worthy of the title. She opts for an acoustic-leaning sound for most of the disc, built around clusters of Haitian drumming and easygoing but locked in guitar, bass and keyboards occasionally graced by horns.

Michel’s sandy purr of a voice gets the point across without having to go full throttle on volume or inflection, beautifying songs that celebrate Haiti’s African connections, lament the ongoing plight of its people and cling to hopes for a better future. Haitian styles like compas and rara play off tempos sometimes suggestive of Afropop and reggae, complimenting the mutual sweetness of voice and groove from the outset to the gloriously rootsy concluding track "Mon Reve."

Lhasa – The Living Road
She was born near the Catskill mountains, but Lhasa de Sela (who only goes by her first name nowadays) spent much of her childhood traveling the United States and Mexico in a converted school bus with her parents and three sisters. A big part of the family’s nomadic existence was the music they all listened to, including American and Mexican roots music and sounds from across Latin America, the Arab world, Eastern Europe and Asia.

All these and more figure into the tunes comprising Lhasa’s second release, The Living Road. Recorded in Montreal and sung in Spanish, English and French, the disc is a completely spellbinding blend of surreal, melancholy, sensual and intensely inventive music.< You might hear strains of Tom Waits, Lila Downs or Jacques Brel in Lhasa’s work, but her voice, which suggests a deep inner strength beneath the frailties you hear on the surface, is uniquely her own. The songs achieve an unusual degree of intimacy through their lack of convention- oddly wonderful horn, string and percussion textures are plentiful, with sparse electronic soundscapes providing a backdrop in which the vocals explore the space with caution but distinctive warmth.

The seven years that elapsed between Lhasa’s 1997 debut La Llorona and The Living Road (she spent some of the interim as part of a traveling circus with her sisters in France) were worth the wait. With this album, she has created a uniquely stunning work that no words of mine can aptly describe. You simply must hear it for yourself.


Last Monterey World Music Festival

One year ago, Stellamara and Axiom of Choice closed the 7th
Monterey World Music Festival with a program entitled “The Mystic Dance.” Both
bands had appeared at previous Festivals – in 1998 and 1997 respectively. In the
interim, they had magnified and polished their considerable artistries. They
made a fitting encore and, unknown to artists and audience, an apt farewell to a
Festival doomed to be the last. Not long afterwards the Festival was terminated.
Soon, I departed from a job I had held for fourteen years.As paranoia around the California budget crisis combined with post 9/11
xenophobia, the message and meaning of the Monterey World Music Festival, was
suppressed. Nevertheless, during the seven annual festivals, nearly 100 artists
and groups performed for diverse audiences whose souls were perhaps more attuned
to global expressions.

From the beginning, the Festival’s message was unabashedly universal: cultural
awareness and understanding through the experience of music. With exceptional
artistry defining the Festival’s offerings, performers and audiences achieved
near ecstatic states.

The 2001 Festival fell on the weekend after 9/11. Although many
bands cancelled, there were heroic appearances by Madagascar’s Tarika and the
Mongolian singer Urna, both made arduous journeys to reach Monterey. Celebrated
last minute stand-ins Hamza El Din, G.S. Sachdev, Irina Mikhailova and Kitka
gave heartfelt performances in the chill. As the patriotic air filled with
American flags, the World Music Festival stage, veiled in prayer flags, seemed
like an altar in another world.

After 9/11, the Festival’s imperative became a search for “Global Consonances
and “Hope for the World,” themes of the last two Festivals. Four Festival
websites (2000-2003) can be viewed and are archived at

Presently, I am living in Austin, Texas, my wife’s hometown. A poet and writer
as well as a presenter and arts administrator, I am working on a book about
festivals, among other projects. Moreover, I am seeking new opportunities,
especially involving world music, anywhere.

David Cloutier
Founder and Director, Monterey World Music Festival (1997-2003)

[Photos: 1 – Axiom of Choice, 2 – Tarika].


Rhythm Orgy

Tino di Geraldo – Tino
Tino di Geraldo

Tino (EMI Spain)

Tino di Geraldo is one of the most talented musicians you’ve never heard of, though he is one of the hardest working musicians in Spain today. He has appeared on well over 100 albums of Spain’s top selling acts and a select group of its more avant-garde performers. He has produced dozens of albums for other artists, played live with the best Spain has to offer and released three solo albums. His work crosses all genres: from rock to pop, flamenco to jazz, world to experimental. So why have you never heard of Tino di Geraldo? Because he is a percussionist. Almost single-handedly, Tino revolutionized the use of percussion in flamenco.

Across all musical genres he has introduced new instruments and pioneered innovative ways of playing percussion. The fruit of this vast experience, coupled with his omnivorous appetite for new ways of understanding rhythm, is beautifully explored on his latest solo album, Tino.

For this album, di Geraldo assembles a stylistic palette that draws on a staggering number of musical styles—flamenco, rock, funk, rap, hip hop, jazz, traditional Celtic, Latin jazz, Middle Eastern, North African, West African—and filters it all through his subtle, complex, and unique understanding of rhythm.

In addition to drum kit and a whole host of percussion instruments, Tino also plays electric bass, guitars (acoustic and electric) and keyboards on this album. He samples Turkish folk music, joins forces with Gnawa musicians, the Spanish rapper Willy López, jazz musicians Jorge Pardo and Carles Benavent (who, together with Tino, form a flamenco-jazz fusion trio) and Perico Sambeat, the flamenco funk meister Diego Carrasco, Asturian musicians, African vocalists, and a long etc.

James Brown is as relevant to this album as Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Led Zeppelin or Enrique Morente. Like some musical blender, the constituent parts are thrown together, broken down and recombined by the guiding genius at work. Tino di Geraldo has an understanding of rhythm as a universal principal that goes far beyond that of most other musicians. There is melody and singing on this album to be sure, but like the rap that is utilized so effectively, it is used primarily as another element to express rhythm. The rhythms, whether simple or complex, are intoxicating, provocative, and sometimes astounding in their artistry.

The whole album, from start to finish, is a shimmering, coherent whole. Displaying a well-developed artistic intelligence, this CD invites the listener on a passionate exploration of the various faces of rhythm. Acid jazz, funk, rock and progressive jazz mix comfortably with rap and African vocals in a single number; and underlying it all is Tino’s profound understanding of rhythm.

To enumerate the sources so skillfully deployed in this work tells only a small part of the story. This is truly an album that is very much more than the sum of its considerable parts. The guiding hand and heart of Tino di Geraldo have created one of the most exciting world fusion albums to come down the pike in many a year.

Tino is an exhilarating work by one of the planet’s great musical talents. If rhythm moves you, you owe it to yourself to discover Tino di Geraldo.


2004 International Songwriting Competition Deadline Approaching In One Week

The October 15 deadline for the third annual
International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is only two weeks away. If you are an
artist, songwriter or band member looking to gain exposure in the music
industry, ISC is the perfect opportunity for you. 

ISC’s 2004 panel of judges include top celebrities and
record label executives: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 Little People).

More than $100,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to
50 winners, including $10,000 in cash and $30,000 in
merchandise/services to the 2004 Overall Grand Prize winner. Visit
for an entry form, or to upload  your songs. ISC accepts entries via mail and online. All
entries submitted by mail have to be postmarked on or before October 15,
2004. Online entries have to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST, October 15,

Entries are accepted in the following categories: AAA/Roots/Americana, Dance/Electronica, Jazz,
R&B/Hip-Hop, Blues,  Folk/Singer-Songwriter, Lyrics Only, Rock, Children’s
Music, Gospel/Christian, Performance, Teen, Country,
Instrumental, Pop/Top 40, and World Music.


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