Artist Profiles: Kardemimmit

Kardemimmit (Finland)
Kardemimmit (Finland)

Kardemimmit is a quartet band of four remarkable women playing the Finnish national instrument, kantele (lap zither). The ensemble was formed in 1999 in the musical institute Juvenalia in Kardemimmit’s home town Espoo, in southern Finland.

The ensemble’s members are Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius and Leeni Wegelius. The four musicians were attracted to folk music even though they also liked playing others types of music.

Kardemimmit creates and manages its own music. The artists compose, arrange, write lyrics and produce their recordings.

Kardemimmit

Together with 15 and 38 stringed kanteles, vocals have an essential role in Kardemimmit’s sound. The quartet’s original pieces combine modernity with Finnish, Eastern European and Scandinavian musical traditions. Kardemimmit incorporates Finnish reki-singing style, 19th century dance music, Perhonjokilaakso kantele playing style, Eastern Finnish ancient improvisation and early runo singing.

In 2004, the four musicians attended the influential Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. They got to see two of the finest Nordic bands, Väsen and Värttinä.

In 2005, Kardemimmit won the International Kantele Competition.

The group has released several album, including Viira; Kaisla; Autio huvila (Abandoned Villa), selected Finnish folk album of the year 2012;Onni (Happiness); and Kesäyön valo 2018. Kaisla was reissued in 2012 as The Rough Guide to the Music of Scandinavia compilation’s bonus CD under the title Introducing Kardemimmit.

Discography:

Viira (Musiikkiopisto Juvenalia, 2006)
Kaisla (Frigg, 2009)
Autio huvila (Frigg, 2012)
Onni (Kardemimmit, 2015)
Kesäyön valo (Kardemimmit, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Girma Beyene

Girma Beyene with Akale Wube

Girma Beyene was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is a renowned pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader.

Beyene is credited for arranging over 60 songs in the 1960s and 70s during the Golden Era of Ethiopian music. After a long break from music, he was convinced to go back to performing by his musical disciples, French band Akalé Wubé, a group deeply influenced by Ethiopian music.

Discography:

Éthiopiques Volume 8: Swinging Addis (Buda Musique, 2000)
Éthiopiques Volume 22: Alèmayèhu Eshèté, featuring Girma Bèyènè (Buda Musique, 2007)
Éthiopiques Volume 30: “Mistakes On Purpose”, with Akalé Wubé (2017, Buda Musique, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Mames Babegenush

Mames Babegenush

Mames Babegenush was founded in Copenhagen in 2004. It is a six-piece ensemble that combines klezmer music, Scandinavian roots and Eastern European traditions.

Lineup: Andreas Møllerhøj on double bass; Lukas Rande on saxophones; Morten Ærø on drums; Nicolai Kornerup on accordion; Bo Rande on flügelhorn; and Emil Goldschmidt on clarinet.

Discography:

Klezmer Killed The Radiostar (Calibrated Music, 2009)
My Heart Aches When The Angels Dance (Gateway Music, 2011)
Full Moons & Pay Days [Remixes and Originals] (Gateway Music, 2012)
Mames Babegenush (Math Records, 2014)
Mames Babegenush with Strings (Galileo Records, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Saraswathi Ranganathan

Saraswathi Ranganathan

Indian American musician Saraswathi “Sara” Ranganathan is an Indian Classical veena performer and cross-cultural musical ambassador. She was born in Mysore and grew up in a musical family. Ranganathan learned veena from her mother Shantha Ranganathan and from Karnataka Kalashree EP Alamelu in Bengaluru (Bangalore). She has been performing and teaching for over three decades.

Saraswathi Ranganathan won the ‘Best Asian Entertainer’ award at the 37th Chicago Music Awards in 2018.

She is passionate about presenting the veena to a diverse audience through concerts at world music festivals, collaborations with artists from different genres, creative workshops at schools, lecture-demonstrations at universities for world music courses, educational performances at museums and other distinguished places of public interest, demos at libraries.

Ranganathan was the first Carnatic veena artist designated to perform in an off-Broadway play, “Jungle Book,” directed by Mary Zimmerman and supported in part by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Saraswathi Ranganathan holds a master’s degree in Sanskrit and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. She directs her non-profit music school, Ensemble of Ragas, in Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, teaching Carnatic classical vocal and veena.

Discography:

The Magic of Veena, Vol. 2 (Ensemble of Ragas, 2011)
Refreshing Raga Blues (2015)

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The Multiple Sides of Ruben Blades

Ruben Blades Presents Paraiso Road Gan

Ruben Blades Presents Paraiso Road Gang (RB Records, 2019)

Famed singer-songwriter, producer and actor Ruben Blades is enjoying a highly productive phase. Recently, he has released excellent salsa and jazz albums, appears as an actor in the great zombie spinoff Fear the Walking Dead TV series and develops other fun projects. Ruben Blades Presents Paraiso Road Gan is an endeavor where Ruben takes music in a different direction and showcases Panamanian talent as well.

“As an artist, part of my function is to provoke reactions, stimulate discussion and tear down stereotypes,” says Ruben about Paraiso Road Gang.

In the album credits, Ruben appears as El Hijo de Anoland (Anoland’s son). Anoland Diaz is Ruben’s mother and he uses this artistic name when he experiments with other musical genres.

The album opens with the song “No te Calles,” a collaboration with alternative rock band Making Movies. The group includes two Panamanian brothers, guitarist and vocalist Enrique Chi and bassist Diego Chi; and Mexican brothers Juan Chaurand on percussion and keyboards and Andrés Chaurand on drums. On this piece, rock meets a wall of global drums.

“El País” is a delightful rock song with engaging lyrics in Spanish, elegant jazz trumpet and overall excellent vocal work.

On “Love Me or Leave Me,” Ruben switches to irresistible roots reggae with English vocals and a rocking guitar solo.

Says Ruben about Paraiso Road Gan : “This album represents the fulfillment of an intention that I expressed more than three decades ago. Make a record with material other than what I usually interpret and produce, in Spanish and English. This is “Paraiso Road Gang.”

On “Templo de Agua,” Ruben collaborates with renowned American bagpiper Eric Rigler from Bad Haggis. It’s a potent mix of rock and world music with Celtic influences and vocals in Spanish.

Panamanian rapper Pash appears on “Panamá Gris,” a song that incorporates salsa and rock.

“Nación Rica, Nación Pobre” is a Spanish language blues-rock song; a sharp socially conscious comparison between life for blacks in Haiti and the United States and also a critique of world powers.

Pop love song “Mírame” gives voice to singer-songwriter Horacio Valdés.

“Dime (Que puedo hacer sin Ti)” presents a love song with folk, rock and pop elements.

The final track, “La China Medina” is a really fun piece with rock, funk and retro disco beats and strings.

Paraiso Road Gang

The lineup includes El Hijo de Anoland on vocals; Luis Enrique Becerra on keyboards and chorus; Marco Linares on guitars; Daniel Ortega on drums; Ademir Berrocal on percussion; Germán “Chispa” Lawson on bass; Juan Carlos “Wichy” López on first trumpet and Flugelhorn; Alejandro “Chichisin” Castillo on second trumpet and flugelhorn; Avenicio Núñez on first rombione; Francisco Delvecchio on second trombone; Carlos Ubarte on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; Karla Vargas on chorus; Carlos Pérez Bidó on batá drums; Roberto Delgado on bass; Jose Ramón Guerra on percussion; Raúl “Toto” Rivera on percussion; Marcos Barraza on congas; Juan Antonio Berna on piano; Idígoras Bethancourt on trombone; Enrique Santamaría on guitars and bass; Néstor González on tenor saxophone; and Ladislao Becerra on harmonica.

“This new genre, “Mixtura”, allows me to present musical explorations that are fun and at the same time educate me,” adds Ruben. “Leaving the comfort zone is something necessary for the creative mind and I will continue to do it periodically. It is something that helps us grow and that prevents indifference from taking over our life.”

Buy Paraiso Road Gang

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offWOMEX 2019 Lineup Announced

Eme Alfonso

The World Music Expo (WOMEX) revealed today the artists set to perform as part of the offWOMEX 2019 programing.

offWOMEX provides an additional integrated platform for bands and artists to present themselves and their music to the world music professionals attending WOMEX from around the globe. WOMEX will take place October 23-27, 2019 in Tampere, Finland.

This year’s offWOMEX stage includes a wide range of artists from Spain, Latvia, Canada, Hungary, Cuba and Russia, and are presented and funded by ICEX/Sounds from Spain, Sierra, Basque Music, Eesti Kultuurkapital, Mundial Montréal, Folquébec, Musicaction, FACTOR, Canada Council for the Arts, SODEC, National Cultural Fund of Hungary and the Halmos Bela Program.

The confirmed artists for offWOMEX 19 are:

Digging Roots (Canada)

Eme Alfonso (Cuba)

Leela Gilday (Canada)

Les Grands Hurleurs (Canada)

Oyme (Russia)

Romano Drom (Hungary)

Saucējas (Latvia)

TOPA-K (Korrontzi & DJ Makala) (Spain)

Zagala (Spain)

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Iranian Musician Kayhan Kalhor Wins WOMEX Artist Award 2019

Kayhan Kalhor – Photo by Todd Rosenberg

The World Music Expo (WOMEX) announced today that Iranian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor (Iran/USA) is the winner of the WOMEX Artist Award 2019.

Kalhor is set to receive the prominent award at the 25th anniversary edition of WOMEX in Tampere, Finland, on Sunday, October 27, 2019. Kayhan Kalhor will perform as a duo together with Erdal Erzincan on bağlama in what will be the final concert of WOMEX 2019.

Kayhan Kalhor stated: “Receiving the WOMEX Artist Award means so much to me. The award is recognition of the rich culture of my homeland Iran and an ageless Persian art that thrives and is beloved throughout the world. As forces arise across the globe and push for divisiveness, borders and intolerance, music brings us together and reminds us of our common humanity. As a citizen of the world, I am humbled by this recognition and stand with artists whose music fosters unity.”

The WOMEX 2019 closing ceremony will also include the Award for Professional Excellence and the annual Label Award, both of which are yet to be announced.

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The Remarkable Nyckelharpa of Toledo

Ana Alcaide

Spanish vocalist, nyckelharpa player and composer Ana Alcaide performed at the RaInforest World Music Festival on Saturday, July 13 at the Theatre Stage.

Ana Alcaide

Ana’s music encapsulates Spanish traditional music, Sephardic traditions and global music influences. She and some of her colleagues live in Toledo, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage that used to be the capital of Spain before it moved to nearby Madrid.

Three cultures lived in Toledo during the Middle Age: Christians, Jews and Muslim Moors. Ana Alcaide draws from this deep historic well and delighted the audience in Sarawak with her captivating vocals and enthralling nyckelharpa, a remarkable Swedish instrument that has adapted well to Spanish traditions.

The band featured Spain-based musicians from Germany and the United States: Rainer Seiferth on guitar and Bill Cooley on darbuka, frame drum and psaltery; and Spanish musician Bruno Duque on clarinet and ney.

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Old Town School of Folk Music Announces World Music Wednesday & Global Dance Party Series

Subrata Bhattacharya & Abhisek Lahiri / Lucio Feuillet Quinteto

Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music has announced the new season of its World Music Wednesday & Global Dance Party series. The weekly events provide a showcase of world music and dance featuring some of the finest local and touring talent. Most World Music Wednesday concerts are free with a $10 suggested donation. Global Dance Party ticket prices vary.

Event Schedule:

September 4, 8:30 PM – Mames Babegenush – World Music Wednesday

September 11, 8:30 PM – Subrata Bhattacharya & Abhisek Lahiri / Lucio Feuillet Quinteto – World Music Wednesday

September 18, 7:00 PM – Jeremy Dutcher / The Englewood/Soweto Exchange – World Music Wednesday – World Music Festival Chicago

September 18, 8:30 PM – Beppe Gambetta – World Music Wednesday – Rescheduled from January 30

September 25, 7:00 PM – The Gurdjieff Ensemble / HaitiDansCo – World Music Wednesday – World Music Festival Chicago

September 28, 8:30 PM – Jimmy Träskelin and Tallari – Global Dance Party

October 2, 8:30 PM – Emel Mathlouthi – World Music Wednesday

October 9, 8:30 PM – Sammy Figueroa & His Latin Jazz Explosion – World Music Wednesday

October 16, 8:00 PM – Indigenous Peoples Day Concert Chicago – featuring Frank Waln, Nufolk Rebel Alliance, and OPLIAM – World Music Wednesday

October 23, 8:30 PM – Isabelle Olivier Trio – The O.A.S.I.S. Project – World Music Wednesday

October 30, 8:30 PM – Giovanni Seneca & Andreas Kapsalis – World Music Wednesday

November 1, 8:30 PM – Iré Elese Abure with Orisha Dance Chicago – Global Dance Party

November 6, 8:30 PM – The Bongo Hop – World Music Wednesday

November 13, 8:30 PM – René Izquierdo – New Latin American Music for the Guitar · World Music Wednesday

November 20, 8:30 PM – Nella – World Music Wednesday

November 27, 8:30 PM – Old Town School of Folk Music and Cenzontles present – The Cenzontles Indigenous Celebration · World Music Wednesday

Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

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Joseph Tawadros Releases Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower

Joseph Tawadros -d Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower

Cairo-born Australian ud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros has a new album titled Betrayal of a Sacred Sunflower.

On this recording, Joseph Tawadros shifted from his customary high energy compositions. Betrayal of Sacred Sunflower is a more thoughtful and contemplative.

The majority of the musical pieces are minimalist and expansive, with long lasting notes giving the listener space to dream and to create their own images.

The album features ud, violin, piano, electric guitar, trombone and percussion.

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