Artist Profiles: Toque de Caixa

New traditional music from the northern Portugal, with a strong acoustic flavor. Starting from its own musical researches in “deep Portugal”, this band has developed a solid reputation in the Portuguese traditional music scene.

Toque de Caixa won the “José Afonso” Award in 1989 – Best Folk Band of the Year. The award is named after one of the best Portuguese folk-singers of all times and devoted to celebrate new achievements in the evolution of Portuguese traditional and folk music.

Miguel – guitars, viola braguesa, rajão, quatro ocarina, percussion, vocals
Machado – vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion
Albertina – accordion, concertina, keyboards, percussion
Horácio – guitar, viola braguesa and percussion
Luís Viegas – vocals, percussion
Eugénio – percussion
Tété – gaita de foles, flutes and percussion


Histórias Do Som (Numérica, 1993)
Cruzes Canhoto (Ocarina, 2009)


Malian Band Songhoy Blues Announces January 2019 UK Tour

Acclaimed Malian band Songhoy Blues, has announced a short run of U.K. dates in January 2019.

 Currently in the process of writing and recording their new album, their upcoming live dates follow their much talked about U.K. shows in2017 including a formidable set on the Park Stage at Glastonbury, a sold out headline show as part of the Summer Series at Somerset House in London, a tremendous success at the Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia and a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

 The group has released two albums: Music in Exile (2015) and Résistance (2017).

The full list of shows is as follows:

22 January, 2019– Kendal – The Brewery

23 January, 2019– Manchester – Band on The Wall

24 January, 2019– Glasgow – Celtic Connections

25 January, 2019– Leeds – Opera North

27 January, 2019– London – Earth


Artist Profiles: Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues is a Malian desert blues band based in Bamako, Mali formed by Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathanael Dembélé

Songhoy Blues released its debut album, Music In Exile in 2015.

The second album, Résistance, was recorded in the fall of 2016 at The Pool studio in London with producer Neil Comber (MIA, Django Django, Crystal Fighters, Declan McKenna) and also includes a guest appearance from Elf Kid.


Music in Exile (Transgressive Records, 2015)                       

Résistance (Transgressive Records, 2017)


Rainforest World Music Festival Receives Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in Dublin

STB CEO, Sharzede Salleh Askor with the award together with Daniella Lupi, STB’s Assistant Digital Marketing Manager.

The Chief Executive Officer of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Sharzede Salleh Askor, received the Asia-Pacific Excellence Award for the category of Film & Video in Dublin on December 7, 2018.

The commendable promotional video of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2018 won the award, outperforming videos by Marina Bay Sands and many other applicants.

STB was also shortlisted among the three finalists under the category in Travel & Tourism, in addition to receiving this award.

The Asia-Pacific Excellence Awards were created to honor the most outstanding achievements of communications professionals in their field. In addition to this, the Awards also provide an excellent networking forum for all attendees and take a comprehensive look at communications achievements across the Asian Pacific.

Coming into its 22nd year in 2019, the RWMF has become a world class event, receiving recognition worldwide, receiving accolades from music magazines and public relations awards.

RWMF was placed Top 25 Best Music Festival by Songlines Magazine, PATA Gold Award and the most recent Gold Award Special Tourism Event, to name a few.


Artist Profiles: Rodrigo Leão

Rodrigo Leão

Rodrigo Leão is one of the greatest Portuguese composers of his generation. This great Portuguese musician, founding member of the Madredeus group and key element of the Sétima Legião lineup, undertook his solo career in 1993 to explore new musical terrains.

For a long time, the trio Setima Legião was the passion of Rodrigo Leao: the constant presence of musicians who exchanged ideas and friendship became an aspect of their music that will never be dispensed with. Then came the days of Madredeus. Rodrigo Leão found in Pedro Ayres Magalhaes the ideal companion for his musical idea. Together they built one of the key groups of contemporary Portuguese music, Madredeus.

Meanwhile, in 1989, Rodrigo Leão made what can be considered his first solo work: the soundtrack for a film by the young director Manuel Mozos Um passo, outro passo e depois …

Four years later came the decisive test: the edition of the album Ave Mundi Luminar, under the name of Rodrigo Leao and Vox Ensemble. This initial album shows a new trajectory in the composition of Rodrigo Leao. He abandons the pop format to proceed through more contemporary sounds, closer to Sakamoto or Nyman, mixed with classical vocal and musical influences. Ave Mundi Luminar was produced by Antonio Pinheiro da Silva and features Francisco Ribeiro (vocals and arrangements) and Teresa Salgueiro (vocals), both from Madredeus, a group that Leão had just left.

In 1996, Rodrigo Leao directed another project with the editor Herminio Monteiro: the
The group was called Os Poetas and the disc Entre Nos e As Palabras based on a poem by the Portuguese surrealist poet Mario Cesariny. The following year he released Theatrum, his second solo album, in which he traveled to darker and disturbing territories.

Pasión is a compilation album recorded live.


With Sétima Legião

A Um Deus Desconhecido (1984)
Mar d’Outubro (1987)
De um Tempo Ausente (1989)
O Fogo (1992)
Auto de Fé (Live) (1994)
Sexto Sentido (1999)

With Madredeus

Os Dias da Madredeus (1987)
Existir (1990)
Lisboa (Live) (1992)
O Espírito da Paz (1994)
Ainda , soundtrack (1995)

With Os Poetas

Entre Nós e as Palavras (1997)

Solo albums

Ave Mundi Luminar (1993)
Mysterium, EP (1995)
Theatrum (1996)
Alma Mater (Columbia, 2000)
Pasión (Columbia, 2001)
Cinema (Columbia, 2004)
Portugal, Um Retrato Social (Sony BMG Music Portugal, 2007)
O Mundo (compilation with new material) (2006)
Portugal, um Retrato Social, soundtrack (2007)
A Mãe (2009)
Equador (Farol 2010)
A Montanha Mágica (Sony Music, 2011)
La Cage Dorée (Zazi Films, 2013)
Songs (compilation with new material) (2012)
The Butler, soundtrack (2013)
O Espírito De Um País (Ao Vivo Na Assembleia Da República) (2014)
Florestas Submersas (2015)
A Vida Secreta Das Máquinas Blitz (Uguru 2014)
O Espírito de Um País (Sony Music Portugal 2014)
O Retiro (Universal Music Portugal, 2015)
Florestas Submersas (Uguru 2015)
Life Is Long (Glitterhouse Records 2016)
100 metros, soundtrack (2017)
O Aniversário (Universal Music Portugal, 2018)
Os Portugueses (Sony Music 2018)


Artist Profiles: Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos

Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos is one of the most important groups in the Portuguese traditional folk music scene. The group was formed in the early 1980s. During this time Ronda recorded over a dozen albums and performed throughout the world.

On stage, Ronda presents a selection of Portuguese traditional songs, from the north to the south of Portugal, from the islands of Azores and Madeira.

Antonio Prata – violin & bandolim;  Carlos Barata – accordion & bandolim; Pedro Fragoso – keyboards; Pedro Pita – drum set; Mario Peniche – electric bass; and Joao Oliveira – vocals & guitar


Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos (Orfeu, 1984)
Cantigas do Sete-Estrelo (Rádio Triunfo, 1985)
Canções Tradicionais Infantis (Transmedia, 1985)
Amores De Maio (Contradança, 1986)
Fados Velhos (Contradança, 1987)
Romarias (Ovação, 1991)
Uma Noite De Música Tradicional (Polydor, 1993)
Outras Terras (RQC, 1999)
Terra De Abrigo (Ocarina, 2003)
Canções Esquecidas (Ovação, 2005)
Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos com a Orquestra Sinfonietta De Lisboa – Ao vivo no Grande Auditório do Centro Cultural de Belém (Ocarina, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares was only 16 years old, when she won two of Portugal’s most prestigious TV music contests. Born out of a second generation Cape Verdean immigrants, Sara grew up between two cultures.

Initially known as a singer and composer of Gospel, Soul and Funk, she gradually incorporated more of her African music in her compositions. In 1994, she recorded her first album Sara Tavares & Shout, released in 1996. To present the album she performed all over Portugal, Cape Verde, and France.

Her second album Mi Ma Bô, produced by Lokua Kanza, reached gold in Portugal. The album was a mix of African rhythms and melodic pop songs.

By the end of 1998, Sara Tavares decided to start working on her new album. To achieve that, she stopped performing, and went through a long period of introspection to search for her real roots and influences.

As a result of such profound search, Mi Ma Bô was born. Mi Ma Bô, which translated from the criolo (language from Cape Verde) means “Me and You”, is an intimate album, wherein Sara’s voice links all the emotions expressed in its lyrics and melodies.

In this record, Sara Tavares establishes herself not only as a huge musical talent, but also as a composer and co-producer, which assures us of her maturity, her talent and of the long career she has in front of her.

Mi Ma Bô was produced by Lokua Kanza, a musician from Congo, living in Paris. He has previously worked with other African artists such as Ray Lema, Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Miriam Makeba and Youssou N’dour. Together with Sara’s co-production, the final result is a very special album, with African colours and a touch of soul, that winds up stirring the listener’s soul.

Sung in three different languages (Portuguese, Criolo and English), “Mi Ma Bô” really shows the universality of the language of music. The album reached gold status in Portugal.

In 2006, her third album, Balancê, came out on World Connection (Europe) and Times Square (North America).

Sara Tavares has become one of the leading exponents of Lisbon’s world music scene. “There is a big, big generation of Cape Verdeans and other Africans here in Lisbon, in Paris, in Boston, all over; with a kind of messed-up identity,” says Tavares. “Our generation feels very lost because there is no culture specifically for us; that talks about our reality.”

When I walk around with my friends, it’s a very, very interesting community,” Tavares explains. “We speak Portuguese slang, Angolan slang, some words in Cape Verdean Crioulo, and of course some English. In Crioulo there are already English and French words. This is because slaves from all over the world had to communicate and didn’t speak the same languages. We are a metisse culture.”

Multilingual wordplay shows up throughout Tavares’ album, and she hops across cultural references as much as she embraces any. The album title Balancê has many different meanings. The noun balan?o is used in Portuguese when music swings. Lusophone Africans use the verb form Balancê in a more general way. “When you are eating something really good you say “this food is Balancê!“? explains Tavares.

For me the song, Balancê is also about balancing yourself,” Tavares continues, “between sadness and joy; day and night; salt and sugar. It’s about balancing emotions. You are always walking a thin line and you have to keep your balance. You have to dance with that line in order to keep standing. If you stay too rigid, you will fall.”

I was in Zimbabwe a few years ago and I saw some really drunk people dancing,” Tavares chuckles. “We were watching them, and they were always almost falling and then they would catch themselves. Just like those people dancing, I also want to dance with that kind of freedom and balance.”

Through music, Tavares seeks cultural roots, along with the help of veteran African musicians in Lisbon and back in Cape Verde where she travels every year.

The whole album is like little lullabies to myself,” says Tavares. “All the messages are about self-esteem, loving yourself. About liking what is different in you. About integrating all the parts of you.”

“Bom Feeling,” whose title combines a Portuguese word with an English word that “everyone uses,” translates as “Good Feeling.” While some people look down on the Portuguese slang associated with African people in Portugal, Tavares embraces it. Tavares says she is from a “broken home” and identifies with street culture.

“Poka Terra” is influenced by Afro-Beat and semba (a style from Angola). The song’s title is an onomatopoeia for the sound a train makes. Tavares is calling on people to catch the train of consciousness and to become responsible for yourself. She sings “An alligator that sleeps will be turned into an alligator bag sold in some store.”

On “Planeta Sukri” (Sugar Planet) Tavares places a reggae style sound system on top of a traditional Cape Verdean rhythm coladeira (a style made popular by Cesaria Evora). “The poem of this song can be seen as a love poem,” says Tavares. “I am saying “Take me to a sugar planet, take me to place where there is no sadness, no cries. And this place is inside of you and me and everyone.” I mean it more in a spiritual way than a romantic way. The ballads are very much like little prayers.”

Tavares talks to the moon on “Muna Xeia” (Full Moon). The song title emerged when Tavares made a mistake and accidentally combined the English word “moon” with the Portuguese word for the same “lua.” “It’s a very feminine song with me talking to the women,” Tavares explains. “First the woman inside of me and then the women in Africa and the women in the world. I sing, “Moon go in peace, moon go in faith, walk in peace, walk in faith.””

Tavares spent time in Cape Verde working with a contemporary dance company. “You know how contemporary artists do crazy experimental stuff” she asks. “Well, they gave me the strength to experiment. If those who live in and own the culture, then we in diaspora can also experiment. As long as someone keeps the tradition. It’s a two-sided knife.”

I want to be a part of a movement like the African Americans were, like the African Brazilians were,” Tavares says. “Instead of doing the music of their ancestors, they have created this musical identity of their own. And it is now respected. It is considered whole and authentic and genuine. It will be a long time before the people from my generation do not have to choose between being African or European. I think you shouldn’t have to choose. You should just be there. Celebrate that. Be that!


Sara Tavares & Shout! (BMG Portugal, 1996)
Mi Ma Bô (RCA, 1999)
Balancê (Times Square Records, 2005)
Xinti (World Connection, 2009)
Fitxadu (Sony Music, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Terrakota


Terrakota is a Portuguese world fusion band that generates “organic music” rooted in sub-Saharan Africa, that absorbs sounds from the Sahara, the Caribbean, the West Indies, and rises above the Jamaican sun.


Terrakota (Zona Musica, 2002)
Humus Sapiens (Zona Musica, 2004)
Oba Train (Gumalaka, 2007)
World Massala (Ojo Music, 2010)
Re-Cooked Sessions (Optimus Discos, 2012)
Wontanara, EP (2015)
Oxalá (2016)


2018 Holiday Gift Guide – Day 2

There can be no doubt that music can engage the mind and body.  Beyond lowering stress, improving mood and helping one to sleep, music can reduce depression, can improve memory and learning and can help soothe pain.  So, you definitely need more music in your life, as do those on your holiday shopping list. Now, if listening is good then playing must be better, so why not consider wrapping up an instrument for those on your list.  

It could be something soothingly simply like a singing bowl.

Ohm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set – Helpful for Meditation, Yoga & Relaxation

Ohm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set – Helpful for Meditation, Yoga & Relaxation

Or going the raucous route a blue kazoo.

The Original Blue Kazoo | Ultralight Aluminum Backpacking Kazoo | Canvas Bag and Carabiner

The Original Blue Kazoo | Ultralight Aluminum Backpacking Kazoo

Don’t knock a kazoo.  You certainly can’t be depressed and play a kazoo.  Ever heard of sad kazoo music or a lament for kazoo?

Improving memory, better math skills, improving perseverance, sharpening concentration and fosters creativity are just a few of the benefits of learning to play an instrument.  Giving the gift of a musical instrument promises years worth of learning and creativity. And, I’m sure if you’ve been good this year someone would gift you with perhaps a guitar or ukulele starter kit.  

Whether you’re looking for a starter kit or an upgraded replacement, remember that old, unused instruments would make a wonderful gift for your local school band or community arts program.

Here’s a few options…

Starter Instruments for Children

Hohner Kids Musical Toys MS9000 Baby Band, Colors of Product May Vary

Hohner Kids Musical Toys MS9000 Baby Band, Colors of Product May Vary

Casio SA76 44 mini Sized Keys 100 Tones

Casio SA76 44 mini Sized Keys 100

Award Winning Hape Happy Harp Kid’s Wooden Musical Instrument

Hape Happy Harp Kid’s Wooden Musical Instrument

Toddler Musical Instruments – Ehome 15 Types 22pcs Wooden Percussion Instruments 

Toddler Musical Instruments – Ehome 15 Types 22pcs Wooden Percussion Instruments for kids preschool educational, musical toys set for boys and girls with storage backpack

17- Inch Guitar Ukulele Toy For Kids With the Picks and Strap

Guitar Ukulele Toy For Kids With the Picks and Strap

Mugig Kalimba Mbira  for Beginners

Mugig Kalimba Mbira thumb piano pocket size for beginners and children with engraved notation, cloth bag, hammer and music books 

Best Suzuki Recorder  for school ensembles & children

Best Suzuki Recorder  for school ensembles & children with cleaning brush & cloth, carry bag & fingering chart

Adult Instruments

Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Light Mahogany

Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Light Mahogan. Includes online lessons, tuner, and app

Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano with Stand, Stool, Headphones & Microphone

Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano

Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK Acoustic Electric Cutaway Guitar, Black

Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK Acoustic Electric Cutaway Guitar, black

Gammon Percussion full-size complete adult 5-piece drum set

Gammon Percussion full size complete adult 5-piece drum set with cymbals, stands, stool and sticks, Black

GP Percussion B2 Pro-Series Tunable Bongos 6 & 7 Inch

GP Percussion B2 Pro-Series Tunable Bongos 6 & 7 inch (clear finish, hickory)

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle with gig bag, tuner, strings, strap, picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD

And, just in case someone calls for more cowbell

10 inch Steel Cowbell with handle

10 inch Steel Cowbell with handle (copper)



Multifaceted Ud with an Indian Cultural Foundation

Dhafer Youssef – Sounds of Mirrors (Anteprima, 2018)

Seasoned Vienna-based Tunisian ud (lute) player, composer and vocalist Dhafer Youssef has been working for the past years on a variety of fusions, mixing Arabic ud with jazz and other musical forms. On Sounds of Mirrors, Dhafer Youssef invited famed Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, fulfilling his dream of working with the acclaimed tabla player. He also recruited another colleague, Turkish clarinetist Hüsnü Şenlendirici.

 The third guest of honor on Sounds of Mirrors is Norwegian jazz guitar virtuoso EivindAarset, who contributes atmospheric electric guitar and electronics.

Sounds of Mirrors is a reflective album of great beauty, showcasing the versatility of the ud in a fascinating dialogue with the rhythms of the tabla and clarinet melodies, enriched with “aerial guitar.” Although Dhafer Youssef is the composer and arranger of the album, he gives plenty of space to HüsnüŞenlendirici.

Even though Sounds of Mirrors was originally meant to be a tribute to ZakirHussain and tabla, the album took a twist. Shafer felt that “working with and from an Indian cultural base, we could approach a more universal speech…”

Dhafer Youssef’s earlier albums include Malak (Enja), Electric Sufi (Enja), Digital Prophecy, Divine Shadows, Glow (Material), Abu Nawas Rhapsody (EmArcy), Birds Requiem (Okeh), and Diwan of Beauty and Odd.

Buy Sounds of Mirrors


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