Shafqat Ali Khan – Sublime Sufi

Shafqat Ali Khan - Sublime Sufi
Shafqat Ali Khan – Sublime Sufi
Shafqat Ali Khan

Sublime Sufi (ARC Music EUCD 1798, 2003)

This is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2003. Pakistani Qawwali singer Shafqat Ali Khan has recorded an excellent album where ancient Sufi tradition meets modern Western rock and jazz instrumentation, creating a superb hybrid sound. The album features the dramatic vocals of Ali Khan singing Sufi poems, ghazals and ragas. The line-up includes mandolin, electric guitar, tabla, dumbek electronic percussion grooves; the fiery, but also subtle, tenor sax of George Brooks; and the arrangements and keyboard work of Oakland (California) producer Douglas McKeehan.

Doug McKeehan and Shafqat have known one another almost seven years, meeting in 1994, during a visit to the U.S. by Shafqat’s father, the renowned Pakistani vocalist Salamat Ali Khan. McKeehan, a keyboardist who has performed with the world fusion group Ancient Future, has long harbored a love of Indian and Pakistani music and culture.

Shafqat Ali Khan was born June 17, 1972 in Lahore, Pakistan. He began his professional career at the prodigious age of seven, performing two very difficult ragas at the Punjab Music Festival in 1980; his professional training had already begun when he was four years old. “People were amazed. I sang for twenty minutes.” Afterwards, he was approached by Radio Pakistan, which led to a series of on-air recitals which spread the fame of this preternaturally endowed talent. By the age of eight, Shafqat had already proved his mettle, earning widespread regard as a classical artist of merit. Further classical performances on area television stations enhanced his public profile.

Highly recommended.


Searching for my Voice, Jewish World Music

Toronto, Canada – Allan Soberman is a cantor’s son and a musician who has just released a new Jewish World Music CD, combining prayers in their traditional melodies with unique contemporary arrangements, lush modern vocal harmonies and driving world beat rhythms. More information about the project and samples of the music are available at:


Brazilian Legend Gilberto Gil to Be Honored

Gilberto Gil
Gilberto Gil
Miami, USA – Internationally renowned recording artist Gilberto Gil will be honored as the 2003 Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS) Person Of The Year, it was announced by the Latin Recording Academy®. The honor recognizes Gil’s professional, cultural and social accomplishments. A portion of the proceeds from the LARAS Person Of The Year tribute dinner will benefit the Latin Recording Academy’s outreach programs.

As a truly international organization, the Latin Recording Academy looks to honor individuals who have made a global impact on music and culture,” said Gabriel Abaroa, President of the Latin Recording Academy. “No one embodies this like Gil, and it is the Latin Recording Academy’s great pleasure to honor this pioneer of limitless passion who has time and time again united cultures through his music.”

Born Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira in Salvador, Brazil in 1942, GRAMMY® Award and two-time Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist Gilberto Gil is one of the most renowned international singer/songwriters, composers and guitar players of his time.

A leader of the Tropicália movement in Brazil in the ’60s and ’70s — along with artists including Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa — Gil fused traditional Brazilian genres such as samba and bossa nova with rock and folk music, and is recognized today as a pioneer in world music. Tropicália solidified Gil’s importance to the culture of his country when the radically innovative music movement, which had political and social undercurrents, proved too revolutionary and was perceived a threat by the country’s military dictatorship. He and Veloso were placed in solitary confinement and eventually fled to England. After three years in England, Gil returned to Brazil in 1972.

As an artist, Gil has spanned many genres, earning both the respect of his peers and a widely diverse fan base in many different musical circles, including jazz and reggae in addition to Brazilian folk and popular music. In a career that has spanned four decades, he has released 64 albums, has 12 gold records and five platinum singles, and has recorded or performed with many legendary artists including João Gilberto, Sting, Pink Floyd, Yes, the Wailers, Stevie Wonder, and Jimmy Cliff.

Over the years, Gil has become active in many environmental and social projects. In the late ’70s, he became a prominent spokesman for the black consciousness movement then taking place in Brazil. In the early ’90s, Gil continued his involvement in social and political causes in his native country, finding widespread support for his political stances, and was elected to office in his hometown of Salvador. The French Minister of Culture honored Gil with the Knighthood of the Order of the Arts and Literature for his work. In December 2002, Gil was named Brazil’s Minister of Culture by then President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Every year he tours Europe, North America, Latin America and Japan with his contagious international brand of pop music.

He will receive the Person Of The Year honor on Sept. 2 at a star-studded tribute dinner, concert and online auction — featuring collectibles such as music memorabilia, artwork and other luxury items — in Miami at a venue to be announced. The LARAS Person Of The Year tribute dinner is one of the most prestigious events of Latin GRAMMY Week and will precede the 4th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, which will be held at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sept. 3 and be broadcast domestically by the CBS Television Network from 9-11 p.m. (ET/PT). CBS also will distribute the show internationally through CBS Broadcast International, providing the show to more than 100 countries. Nominees will be announced this summer.

Gilberto Gil is the fourth Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year honoree. Previous honorees are Vicente Fernández, Julio Iglesias and Emilio Estefan.

For information on purchasing tickets, tables or recognition in the souvenir program for the LARAS Person Of The Year tribute to Gilberto Gil, please contact Dana Tomarken at the Recording Academy, 310.392.3777.

The Latin Recording Academy is a membership-based organization comprised of approximately 4,500 recording artists, musicians, producers and other creative and technical recording professionals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural conditions for Latin music and its makers. In addition to producing the Latin GRAMMY Awards to honor excellence in recorded music, the Latin Recording Academy and its associated foundations offer educational and membership outreach programs in Latin countries.

The Latin Recording Academy has built its template of member services and advocacy around the similar programs instituted by the Recording Academy, a non-profit organization comprised of 18,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals. Best known for the GRAMMY® Awards, the Recording Academy also is responsible for numerous groundbreaking outreach programs involving education, human services and cultural enrichment. For more information about the Latin Recording Academy, or to view this release in English, Spanish or Portuguese, please visit the Academy’s Web site at Latin Academy. For information about the GRAMMY Awards process, please visit GRAMMY Process.


Matahambre Son, Short Stories About Cuba CD Review

Matahambre Son, Short Stories About Cuba
Matahambre Son, Short Stories About Cuba (Danza y Movimento, 2002)

I want to tell you a story about a small village, a village in the Santiago de Cuba region of Cuba. Long ago, according to legend, soldiers came to this village looking for food. As luck would have it, beautiful mango trees lined the main street of this village. The soldiers plucked the ripe fruit and filled their bellies. It is said that from then on the village became known as Matahambre – the place where hunger ends.

Life went on in the little village. Most of the people worked growing fruit or coffee. They worked in the fields and celebrated with fiestas and dances. Following them everywhere were the sounds of the musical tradition known as Son. Because the village was poor and had no cultural centers, the people made up their own songs and their own rhythms.

Now in this village lived a radio and television engineer named Angel Faez, who could write and arrange music and play the guitar. Then, there was Alexis Vásquez who could play the double bass and Oscar Vásquez who could play the tres. There was also a welder named Raudel Garzón, who played bongos and a carpenter named Pedro Correoso, who was a fine percussionist. Lastly, there was a topographer named Gilberto Carbonell, who just so happened could sing quite nicely and compose songs. These fellows got together and started to play, often making up their own songs about people in the tiny village. They sang songs about people they knew and village life around them. These fellows became Matahambre Son.

The story might have ended there in the little village without you or I even knowing about this remarkable group, but there’s always a fairy godmother in these stories. Actually, it was a fairy godfather of sorts. José Ochoa, famed member of the Buena Vista Social Club, turned up one day in Matahambre heard music coming from the front porch of the house. José Ochoa knew a good thing when he heard it and convinced the German label Danza y Movimiento to go to Cuba to record this wonderful group.

Matahambre Son is a collection of songs written by the group’s members and produced by Mattias Möbius and José Ochoa Bustamante. The songs are delightful and vibrant.

Tracks like “Los Pollitos,” “Pensando” and “La Mulata y su movimiento” are sure to charm even the fearful out onto the dance floor. As a bonus the CD comes in a booklet with the story of Matahambre Son with stunning photographs of the musicians and the people of Matahambre by Susanna Rescio. Matahambre Son is proof that sometimes big things happen in small towns. And that makes a good story.


Airto Moreira Signs with Narada

Airto Moreira
Airto Moreira
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – Legendary Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira signed with Narada Records recently. Airto Moreira started recording his new CD in March 2003 and it will be a percussion oriented album. He is recording in Brazil and in the US.

Airto’s celebrated drumming, vocals, and unique percussion style have attracted listeners interested in world music, jazz, and the new dance music movement.


The Rough Guide To Latin Jazz

The Rough Guide to Latin Jazz
The Rough Guide to Latin Jazz
San Francisco – The Rough Guides series explores the world of Latin jazz with this recording, which comes out today in the USA.

Latin jazz has its most direct and influential link to the music of the United States but its origins are largely Cuban, drawing upon African and European roots. It has become a central force, moving jazz in a world direction.

Sampling the legends, innovators and new breed of Latin jazz musicians that provide the perfect combination of Afro-Cuban beats and jazz sounds, The Rough Guide to Latin Jazz is an introduction to an ever-emerging genre.


Changüi to Invade the Cuban East

(Prensa Latina- Cumbancha) Guantánamo, Cuba – Chords from the “tres” guitar, marimba and maracas sound almost every day in different corners of Guantánamo city, venue for the First National Festival of Changüi to be held December 20 to 24, 2003. Helped by the “güiro,” the instruments identify this style of “Son,” created in the 19 century in the Eastern Cuban mountains; Changüi will be paid a deserved homage this year, along with its architect par excellence, late orchestra director Elio Revé Matos.

For two centuries, this rhythm has been the favorite dance music of farmers in the region that includes what are today the municipalities of Guantanamo, Baracoa, Yateras, El Salvador and Manuel Tames. The gatherings among musicians, dancers and experts will be a prelude to the theory workshop to be held during the Festival, dealing with different topics related to Changüi, the semantic and morphological aspects of the term, and the Loma del Chivo folklore.

Reve Matos (1930-1997) lived his childhood and most of his adolescence in a downtown neighborhood of Guantanamo, Cuba’s fifth biggest city. In his memory a monument will be raised during the celebrations. The versatile musician was the creator of the El Charangon orchestra, and he is considered the first to add kettledrums and unthinkable electronic elements to Changüí.


Automaton by Murat Ses

Murat Ses

Automaton (Clou Records, Clou-001, KALAN Music, Peacework Music)

Automaton is the first part of Turkish-Austrian synthetist/electronic musician Murat Ses’ trilogy that began in early 90s.
I listened to the second album Binfen first and then came to other two. Automaton is more Anatolian roots and wild compared to Binfen and Culduz.

Murat is telling wonderful musical stories from a part of the world with rich traditions (see booklets). His musical approach is neither “orientalistic’ nor ‘occidentalistic’… and difficult to categorize.His trilogy’s main theme “The Timeless and Boundariless Context of Culture and Civilization” possibly is something all we need these days be it west or east.
A fusion of ethnic self-programmed timbres (such as a synthetic zurna, mey, kaval, ney, kanun or sounds of mehter ensembles you might hear at the Topkapi Palace) in microtonal settings.
His sound possibly is a dialectic quantum leap from his earlier sound of the 70’s called Anadolu Pop. That style revolutionized Turkey’s music then.

As an enthusiastic student of this kind of music I liked: Dry Sun, Argus babe, Mehter and some kind of symphonic New Age Belt of Orion.

Murat’s official website:


Haila Releases New Album

Haila Live
Haila Live
(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cuba – “Haila Live,” is the new Bis Music production. One of the characteristics of the album is that it is a live recording from a concert at Havana’s National Theater. Thus, the final result is the print of spontaneity and acceptance in the atmosphere created by the audience.

The special guests at the concert, now a CD, were Chucho Valdes, Isaac Delgado, Mayito Rivera and the voices of Charanga Habanera. Haila’s songs included La Sopa en Botella, by Senen Suarez; Sobre Una Tumba, Una Rumba, by Ignacio Piñeiro; Drume Negrita, by Emilio Grenet; Qué te pedí, by Fernando Mulens; and Pensamiento, by Rafael Gomez (Teofilito). Added to this, the “spice” of modern sounds with the songs mainly from prolific Manuel Limonta: Yo No Me Parezco a Nadie and Hoy Me Inclino y Te Doy las Gracias, which open and close the album.


‘Global Fusion’ Is The Name Of This Year’s Pestalozzi Festival

Battle, East Sussex, UK – Following on from the success of World Music, Crafts and Storytelling 2002, the Pestalozzi International Village will be hosting a second even more ambitious event to be held on the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th June 2003.

This year the plan is to take the festival one step further to incorporate the idea of global fusion. The emphasis will be on celebrating the similarities between cultures hosting artists who share influences through their music, crafts, storytelling and puppetry.This year there will be three main marquees, one more than last year, housing: Music – Storytelling – and Interactive Workshops. Visitors will be able to listen to fabulous bands in one, watch and interact with stories, music and puppets in another or take part in African Drumming and learn Belly Dancing in the third.

The main Music Marquee headline band for the Saturday night is Transglobal Underground; as with the Twinkle Brothers last year this band has a major cult following. Mandy Curtis Festival Co-ordinator explains: “ If one band sums up what we mean by global fusion it’s this one. Natacha Atlas provides eastern vocals and chants to the raps of the Transglobal Crew. They are famous for their live performances – Balinese tribal masks and Natacha’s chiffon-draped belly dancing in a hypnotic, dazzling display, fusing together the sound of global music with the contemporary dance scene. This is a must see act.

“As If Transglobal weren’t enough, we have Celloman, North African and Arabic influences, he plays electric cello with loads of attitude – Sugarbeat a mix of Mauritians and Jamaicans performing traditional SAGA music – Bushfaya a local group led by Nana Tsiboe combining young DJ’s mixing poetry to a dance beat – Sujata Banerjee Dance Company with traditional North Indian music interwoven with Flamenco dance – Maambena a fusion of West African music. And a real coup we have Black Voices, the Birmingham based acapella group renowned for their African, Caribbean and gospel sound.”

The storytelling theme is puppetry but all working within the framework of fusion. Mandy Curtis continues: “We are going to have a lot more hands-on activities for the children this year. There will be a puppet-making workshop run by Radiator Community Arts Group where the kids can make their own puppets and participate in a final procession at the end of each day session. Fantastic Circus Skills workshops, Belly Dancing, African Drumming and DJ Mixing.

“Usifu Jalloh makes a welcome return to the children’s marquee, as always Usifu will have the entire audience from the youngest to the oldest participating in the stories, singing, dancing and shouting. Pat Robson makes her Pestalozzi debut; she is an English storyteller who illustrates her tales with the aid of her magic quilt – and the marvellous ‘KINTU’ a puppet theatre show produced by the famous Theatre Rotto Puppet Company. Intensely visual as well as physical ‘KINTU’ combines unique shadow and rod puppets

One very popular feature from last year to appear again in even bigger numbers will be The World Craft Market: South African handicrafts, Latin American music, African drums and clothes, health goods, herbal products, oils, homeopathy, jewellery, paintings, ornaments, Tibetan arts and crafts, African arts, musical items and much more help to create that authentic festival atmosphere. Many stallholders are very keen to return to Pestalozzi, they see the festival as a stepping stone to their next big venue Glastonbury.

Mandy Curtis sums up: “ Last year, despite the weather and the World Cup, we managed to take the enormous step up from an open day to a two day event with all the colour, sounds and activities of a real live festival. Those who came last year were full of praise for what we had achieved and have been very supportive of our future plans. We are confident that this year will be even better than last and who knows, if everyone comes back and we attract a few more we could hit four thousand attendance this year. If that happens we are on our way to putting this festival well and truly on the map.”

Tickets are now on sale at: £6 per session in advance – £8 per session on the gate Children 5 and under will go in free while 6 – 16 year olds will pay £5 per session. Session times are Saturday 11am – 5pm Saturday evening: 5pm- 11pm. Sunday: 11am – 5pm. Ticket booking and information is available on: 01424 870444 or alternatively by visiting the Pestalozzi website at:


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