Review of Pan Jazz Concert

Contributed by By Wanda McCrae

Now that I’ve relocated to New York City, I felt it would be a
crime against myself to not attend the Father’s Day Pan Jazz concert at Lincoln
Center’s Alice Tully Hall. One month in advance I bought myself a ticket in the
center of the orchestra section. By the time the show began, my anticipation had
grown almost unbearable; I expected an awesome show, and I was not disappointed.The program started just after 6 p.m. with a well-executed set by ADLIB Youth
Symphony. I had only heard them at Brooklyn Panorama in previous years, so this
was my first chance to hear more of their repertoire. They appeared to take
their performance very seriously–only one or two of them cracked smiles during
their set. I was told they had been working very hard to prepare, and their hard
work obviously paid off, as they did a fine job with every piece. I thought it
was both fitting and brave for them to end their set with “We Kinda Music”,
since Andy Narell, the tune’s composer, was up right behind them. I joined the
rest of the audience in enthusiastically applauding them both before and after
they took their final bows.

Narell‘s energetic set (consisting entirely of his own compositions) began
with a spirited rendition of “Kalinda”, one of my favorite tracks from his “Live
from South Africa” recording. Some of the finer points of his panmanship were
lost in the drums and percussion, but the piano and bass mixes perfectly
balanced his pans. When he introduced “Laventille”, some of the members of the
audience closest to the stage chided him until he good-naturedly went back to
the microphone and added that he had arranged that tune for Women in Steel. The
audience heartily approved of that tune and his others by giving quite an
ovation as he and his ensemble ended their set. He seemed to be just as
disappointed as we were, if not more, when he was told he had to end the set
earlier than he had planned.

Garvin Blake’s set was more laid back, but just as pleasing to the ears. I had
never seen him perform, so it was interesting for me to observe and hear the
differences between him and Andy Narell. The tunes he played were sweet and
enticing, inspiring the audience to sing along with his rendition of Sparrow’s
“Ah Fraid.” His ensemble even incorporated an accordion on his rendition of Duke
Ellington’s “Caravan”, showing, once again, just how well the pan can mix with
any assortment of instruments. He and his ensemble also received a hearty
ovation from what appeared to be a nearly full house.

Preceded by driving rhythm and bass, Liam Teague and Arturo Tappin took the
stage and blew up the place with TNT, the title track from their duo CD. Then
they soothed our senses with the sweetest rendition of “The Hammer” I have ever
heard in my life. Throughout the set, Mr. Teague set my head a-spinning with his
rapid-fire panmanship. At first, all I could do was sit with my mouth open as
his hands flew over his single tenor. I can see why he is called the “Paganini
of Pan!” Once I got over my amazement at how quickly and accurately he could
play, I was able to appreciate the way he and Mr. Tappin blended their
instruments’ voices to produce music which was both sweet and scintillating.
Most of us in the audience jumped to our feet to loudly cheer and applaud them
at the end of their all-too-short set. (Of course now I must buy their CD, so I
can hear more!)

All in all, I was thoroughly pleased with the event. The venue seemed to be
perfectly suited to the show, since it was neither too big nor too small. The
acoustics were very good, particularly for ADLIB’s set; I could hear the basses
in the back as clearly as I could hear the tenors and seconds in the front. The
drums and percussion were a bit overpowering during the rest of the show, but
that is probably more a function of the mix, not the building’s acoustics. There
also seemed to be some confusion about how long each ensemble had for their set,
with most being told onstage that they had to end right away. But the MC kept
things moving along smoothly, even during the slight delay while the drums were
prepared for the final set. Between the great venue, great turnout, and great
performances, taking into account the minor glitches I mentioned, I’d rate the
show an “A-“.

The MC mentioned Sunday’s show was the first of what will be an annual event. I
certainly hope so.

[Photo credits: Photo 1: Ad Lib. Courtesy of When Steel Talks. Photo 2: Andy
Narell. Courtesy of Heads Up Records. Photo 3: Garvin Blake, courtesy of When
Steel Talks].


Plena Libre on Tour Summer 2004

New York,
USA – Puerto Rican band
will spend their summer touring up and down
the eastern half of North America. On their latest effort
Estamos Gozando! (Times Square Records), the group pays
homage to decades of plena composers.

Tour dates:

Philadelphia, PA
Kimmel Center

Montreal, QC

Montreal Jazz Fest

London, Ontario

SunFest Festival

Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg Folk Festival

Chicago, IL Summer Dance, World Music Festival, Spirit of
Music Gardens, 601 S. Michigan St.

Halifax, NS
Atlantic Jazz Festival,

Toronto, ON

Ritmo Y Color Festival

Holyoke, MA Puerto Rican Festival, McNally Field, behind 216
West St.

Atlantic City, NJ

Stockton Performing Arts Center

Binghampton, NY Southern Tiers Celebrate

Brooklyn, NY

Celebrate Brooklyn

Newark, NJ Branch Brook Park

Boston, MA Puerto Rican Festival, Franklin Park

Boston, MA

Scullers Jazz Club

Bronx, NY Concert at the Park, 52nd St.

New York, NY
Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Bethlehem, PA

Bethlehem Musikfest

Schenectady, NY Agnus, Duck Pond Road


Under the Olive Tree, Sacred Music of the Middle East

The Yuval Ron Ensemble featuring Najwa Gibran - Under the Olive Tree
The Yuval Ron Ensemble featuring Najwa Gibran – Under the Olive Tree
The Yuval Ron Ensemble featuring Najwa Gibran

Under the Olive Tree, Sacred Music of the Middle East (Magda MGD043, 2004)

The music of  Under the Olive Tree on Magda Records crosses national boundaries, fuses Jewish prayers with Sufi songs and weaves Armenian influences together with other Middle Eastern traditions. The Yuval Ron Ensemble, along with the vocals of Najwa Gibran, offers listeners this collection of intricately crafted prayers, love songs and laments, seamlessly threading one tradition into another.

The journey begins with “Tudra,” a Moroccan tale of a Jewish ceremony in a village in the Atlas Mountains. The soothing call of a duduk opens the piece with a tune based on an Armenian folk song. “Illahi” is a mixture of Jewish prayers from Spain, Israel and Bosnia and a Turkish Sufi song.

The lyrics are sung in both Arabic and Hebrew, with the voices of Najwa Gibran and Maya Haddi soaring over the music. There is also “Fogel Nakhal,” an Iraqi love song with Turkish Sufi and Andalusian influences, and “Vartani Mor Vort,” a 5th century lament to the loss of Vartan, a hero to the Armenian people. Rounding out the CD is “Walla Zaman” a love song of the Egyptian Nile Gypsies that is steeped in Bedouin and Egyptian influence.

Aside from Najwa Gibran’s and Maya Haddi’s vocals, there is Norik Manoukian on duduk, zurna, shvi, tav shvi and clarinet; Virginie Alumyan on kanoun and Jamie Papish playing daf, dumbek, daohi, bendir, bell and zills. There is David Martinelli on riqq, bendir, zills and tar; Carolyne Aycaguer-Ron plays keyboard and of course Yuval Ron plays the ud and saz.

Fans of Middle Eastern music will enjoy the music of Under the Olive Tree. As an added, treat listeners should be sure to read the song liner notes for fusion of origins of the songs and the stories behind them.


Travel the World with Putumayo DVD

Travel the World with Putumayo


The first in a series of DVDs, Travel the World with Putumayo features music videos and concert performances by some of the label’s favorite artists filmed on location in India, Brazil, Senegal, Cuba and beyond. Known for creating collections of international artists for the past decade, Putumayo has uncovered videos and live performances which are sure to appeal to audiences of all ages.

With few broadcast outlets, most of these videos have never been viewed outside their country of origin. The video for Ricardo Lemvo’s Afro-Latin hit Mambo Yo Yo was filmed in Havana, Cuba and captures the city’s vibrant energy.

Czech gypsy singer Vera Bílá’s Pas O Panori video transports the viewer to a rustic Eastern European Gypsy village. Senegalese band Tukuleur’s Afrika features majestic shots of the West African landscape and scenes filmed on Goree Island, an infamous transfer point during the slave trade.

Egyptian singer Hisham Abbas’ Nari Nari features colorful Bollywood-style choreography, striking cinematography and was filmed in the shadow of the Taj Mahal in India. Bidinte, from war-torn Guinea-Bissau, offers a moving song about the impact of war on children and families.

Travel the World with Putumayo also features videos from Brazilian artists Chico César and Rita Ribeiro, Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, Senegal’s Touré Kunda, Nigerian band Kotoja, Canadian Celtic singer Mary Jane Lamond and the French-Argentinian electronic tango ensemble Gotan Project. Ten of the twelve featured videos are of songs found on Putumayo albums.

As an added bonus, Travel the World with Putumayo includes Oliver Mtukudzi’s Hear Me Lord filmed live at a nightclub in Zimbabwe, and a powerful concert performance of Habib Koité’s Wassiyé filmed in Huy, Belgium.

Each music video and live performance is viewable with complete subtitles in English, Spanish, French or German, enabling viewers to better understand the songs and their meanings. Also included are insightful biographies of each artist and a short documentary about Putumayo World Music’s history.

Buy Travel the World with Putumayo.


Hawaiian Steel Guitar Legend, Tau Savea Moe, Dies at 95

Tau Savea Moe, who learned steel guitar from the instrument’s inventor and
brought Hawaiian music to dozens of countries starting in the 1920s, died
Thursday, June 24, in La’ie, Hawaii. He was 95.

Born in American Samoa in 1909 and raised in La’ie, Moe learned steel guitar in
the instrument’s infancy and played with Hawaiian legends like M.K. Moke, John
Almeida, and David Kaili, but was absent from Hawai’i’s music scene for most of
his life and was only rediscovered here during his old age. Tau with his wife, Rose and, later, their children, traveled the world from 1928
to 1970. They entertained throughout Europe and Asia, meeting heads of state and
working with legendary musicians including Josephine Baker, Tommy Dorsey and
Louis Armstrong.

Moe also helped at least 150 of his Jewish musician friends escape Germany and
Austria just before the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign by having them
impersonate groupies, relatives and stagehands. Once, he even sneaked a few
Jewish buddies over the border by hiding them in his car’s trunk among the folds
of his colorful stage costumes. "I wasn’t scared with anything," he said in a
recent interview, "Hitler didn’t know."

In February 2004, Debashish Bhattacharya, one of India’s top steel guitarists,
made a special point to meet Moe when in Hawaii for a performance. Moe had
taught Bhattacharya’s grandfather to play the steel guitar in 1932. Bhattacharya
was awed that he had been able to meet the person who had brought the steel
guitar to India.

[This obituary is reproduced by courtesy of the

Folk Alliance


Ugandan Musician Samite Releases Tunula Eno

Samite - Tunula Eno
Samite – Tunula Eno

New York, USA – Samite ‘s latest album, Tunula Eno is out on Triloka/Artemis Records. Ten of the 14 songs on Tunula Eno were written by Samite, the remaining tracks are traditional pieces. Along with Samite’s multi-instrumental contributions (flute, kalimba, marimba, vocals and chants) are Tony Cedras, (keyboard, guitar, backing vocals), David Cullen (guitar and bass), Jeff Haynes (drums and percussion), Dominique Kanza (guitar), Bakithi Kumualo (bass). Mar Gueye (drums), Emma (guitar), Marsha Perry (background vocals and mouth percussion) round out the band on the Tunula Eno sessions.Written and recorded during the last year of his beloved wife Joan’s life, the album is a celebration of that which makes us human: love, loss, endurance, hope. “I am convinced“, says Samite, “that we are all moved by the same desires, needs and emotions, regardless of the language in which those feelings are expressed.”

Portion of the net proceeds from the sale of Tunula Eno will go to Musicians for World Harmony.

Buy Tunula Eno


Essential Latin Flavas Dos

Essential Latin Flavas
Essential Latin Flavas
London, England – Djs Martin Morales & Dj Floro have assembled Essential Latin Flavas, a compilation of contemporary artists heavily influenced by Afro-Cuban, Colombian, Brazilian and Caribbean music – whether they be music makers from a folkloric or electronic music background.

A wide spectrum of music is represented in this recording. From the very best electronic mixes
to the most addictive traditional rhythms, from the punchiest rap tracks to the funkiest batucadas, this collection proves that Latin music is not just made up of timbales solos and salsa ‘fire’ but of much more. Like the emotive Te Quiero Pero Por Otro Lado’ by Barcelona based act Savath & Savalas; the quirky Afro-Cuban influenced ‘Jeliybean Bonanza’ by the Belgian band Internationals; the unique Afro-Peruvian electronic fusion on Novalima’s ‘Ritmos Negros’ and the future Cumbia Reggae hit by Colombia’s Pernett. According to the producers, “These tracks are the songs that people at Latin clubs love simply by hearing them over the loudspeakers. These are the tracks they feel, absorb and go crazy for. Many of them have never been released, nor are they by internationally renowned artists…. yet. But they hold the keys to all your future Latin listening sessions”.

London-based Martin Morales met Spain’s Dj Floro on a trip to Madrid a few years ago. Their joint passion for Latin and alternative music has made them intercontinental partners in the quest for the hottest Latin flavors. When they are not playing at clubs around the globe, Morales can be heard djing at his monthly Futuro Flamenco Club night at the Netting Hill Arts Club in London and Floro can be heard at several venues around Madrid.


Jorge Ben Jor Live in San Diego

San Diego, California, USA – Saturday, June 26, 2004, Brazilian Promotions in
association with the World Beat Center present the legendary
Ben Jor
at the
Reincarnation Gallery, located at 333 10th Avenue, Downtown San Diego. Doors
open at 8:00 p.m. and the price is $30 for General Admission and $75 for
Reserved VIP seating. All Ages: Info: 619.224.4684.

Jorge Ben Jor is the composer of such Brazilian anthems as “Mas, Que Nada,””Chove Chuva,””Que Pena,” and “Pais Tropical.” This master of samba-funk consistently has had best selling albums with over 20 CDs recorded on Polygram,
Warner, and Sony.Born in Madureira and raised in Catumbi, Rio de Janeiro’s suburbs, Jorge
enjoyed singing with the church choir and going out with carnival bands from an
early age. In his teens, he was a given a guitar and started playing Bossa Nova
and Rock ’n Roll with it. While in the US, his compositions "Zazoeira", "Mas Que
Nada" and "Nena Naná" hit the charts and were re-interpreted by musicians such
as Sergio Mendes, Herb Alpert, José Feliciano and Trini Lopez.


Synergy, a double CD by Shahid Parvez and Kumar Bose

UK – Sense World Music has released Synergy, a double CD by Shahid Parvez and Kumar Bose. In this performance Shahid Parvez has chosen to play the evening melody, Raga Jog, popular with musicians only in the last fifty years, relatively recent by Indian music standards. The first CD features the traditional introductory ‘alap’, a slow meditative elaboration of the main notes and phrases of the particular raga. Through the alap, the devotional mood of the raga is established, played in a free style without rhythmic accompaniment. Gradually, a pulse is introduced; between the short phrases you can hear the strumming of the drone (chikari) strings, which also serve to keep the soloist rooted to a tonal base note. At the conclusion of the alap, a composition is introduced. It is set to a rarely performed rhythmic cycle of eleven beats named Rudratal, which offers a musical challenge to both soloist and accompanist. Conceptually, the musicians may divide the cycle (e.g. 4.4.3); in this composition the leading melodic phrase (mukra) begins on the ninth beat. Throughout the recital the two players skillfully exchange musical ideas.

Raga Jog continues on CD 2 with three further compositions, two in the sixteen beats cycle of teental (tracks 1&3) and one in the twelve beats ektaal (track 2). The improvisations become faster and more intense, seemingly exploring every aspect of the melodic and rhythmic framework.

Buy Synergy.

Raga Pilu is regarded as a light classical music raga associated with the romantic song style of thumri. It uses all the twelve notes of the octave and offers its own challenges to the soloist. After concluding the alap (track 4), two compositions (5,6) are presented in a style that gives an opportunity to experience further glimpses of Shahid Parvez’s ability.



Pyrovates means firewalkers in Greek and is the title of a new world music CD. In Pyrovates Michalis Michaleris combines contemporary and traditional Greek music with modern music technology, introducing a balanced blend of sound.
Several traditional instruments are featured in Pyrovates (ud, saz, mandolin, jumbus, baglama, ruan, Greek flute, dauli, toubeleki, bendir, zilies) together with guitars, synths, loops and electronic percussion.


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