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 .

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

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
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

[Photo caption: TransGlobal Underground]


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


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).


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)


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


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.


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.


One for the Road

Harry Manx - Road Ragas
Harry Manx – Road Ragas
Harry Manx

Road Ragas (Salt Spring Island, Canada, 2003)

I have found that there is
little safety to be found from paint by number artists even in the world music or folk roots genres. Fortunately,
Harry Manx doesn’t paint by numbers and instead, he boldly leaps into the unknown. Equally at home in an
ashram or performing on a blues stage, he is the first musician that I have encountered who plays a raga (The
Gist of Madhuvanti) on a 6 string banjo and then classic blues on a Mohan Veena. Harry gives his listening
audience an earful of soulful blues which is evident on his live recording, Road Ragas.

Then again, you can’t contain some folks in a box. Among us, exist prodigal sons and daughters who flee
abroad to a foreign locale before the heavy weight of adulthood catches up to them and they busk for a living in
these far off places. A lot of folk or blues musicians get discovered this way, Harry on the other hand,
discovered himself in Europe, Japan and in India. In India, he succumbed to the temptations of the Indian way
of life and spent five years studying the Mohan Veena from the master and inventor of the instrument Vishwa
Mohan Bhatt. Eventually, Harry reinvented the blues while acquiring classical Indian flavoring to spice his
repertoire. Road Ragas distills the Canadian blues musician’s travels, life experiences and musical inventions into
transcendental blues. Harry who resembles a bohemian sage with his goatee and serene disposition, wheels
out traditional tunes from the American South including, Take this Hammer (he’s backed by the gospel choir,
Heavenly Lights), Sitting on the Top of the World, Reuben’s Train (which he performs on a Mohan Veena)
and he pays tribute to Willie Dixon (Spoonful) and Riley King (The Thrill is Gone). Among his favorite blues
classics, are original songs from his other recordings, including Wise and Otherwise, including, Bring the
Thing, Don’t Forget to Miss Me, Coat of Mail, Nat Bhariau, Sunday Morning Ascension (about the death of a
friend) and the love song, Lay Down My Worries.

Road Ragas goes beyond providing insightful cathartic moments that are normally associated with the blues
and instead the musical moments here allow us to transcend our troubles. Similar to an Indian raga, these
songs, delivered with a lot of soul would cause anyone’s heart to swell with universal love. But you need to ask
yourself if you are ready to soar above the mundane and sprout wings.


Bossa Nova Pioneer Dies at 73

Sao Paulo, Brazil – Guitarist and composer Paulo Mendes Pupo Nogueira, known artistically as Paulinho Nogueira, died in Sao Paulo this week. He was one of the creators of bossa nova. He died at age 73, after suffering a heart attack.

Pablo Arthur Mendes Pupo Nogueira was born October 9 of 1929 in Campinas, São Paulo, and at a young age he showed an inclination for the arts, mainly drawing and music. In 1950, after graduating from college, he moved to São Paulo where he performed at clubs and radio stations Bandeirantes and Gazeta as a soloist. In 1959 he recorded his first LP for CBS Records.

In 1964, Nogueira received the Pinheiro de Ouroaward, granted by the Government of the State of Paran. At that time, he began to teach guitar. TV Record of São Paulo hired him for the O Fino da Bossa show and his song ‘Menino Desce Daí’ became a hit.

Nogueira published a book of harmony for guitar in 1968, which has become very popular and was reprinted 20 times. In 1969 Paulinho Nogueira invented a new 12-stringed musical instrument called craviola, with steel strings.

His song Menina became a hit in Brazil in 1970 and also reached the top of the charts in Italy and France.

In 1986 he was involved in the Tones and Halftones project, an LP of solo guitar pieces accompanied by sheet music. In 1990 he released the Violão em Harmonia video for MPO. In 1991, he produced four videos focused on solo guitar.

In the following years he recorded several CDs and became involved in the struggle to preserve a Sao Paulo park.


Preparation for Benny Moré Festival in Progress

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Santa Isabel de las Lajas (Cienfuegos), Cuba.- With more than a hundred activities on the program, preparations for the Benny More International Festival of Popular Music, to take place September 11 through 14, is making progress in the city. The cradle of the “Sonero” King, Cienfuegos, and Havana will be once again be the venues for the cultural event, this year celebrating its 14th edition. Front line groups and soloists will perform at the Festival, with which the local cultural institutions will enrich with the homage to the mythic figure of Benny, whose presence is felt in each corner of the southern municipality. The community will star in the program that will include options leading to the native roots and knowledge on the life and work of the musician from Santa Isabel de las Lajas. Year after year the Festival becomes an event ennobling the life and work of the King of Rhythm.


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