Charming Old Style Braguesa Guitar

Chico Gouveia – Moda Velha (Tradisom, 2016)

Guitarist Chico Gouveia showcases one of Portugal’s beautiful musical instruments, the viola braguesa (Braguesa guitar), from northwestern Portugal. Gouveia has researched this traditional guitar and plays it old style, using traditional techniques and the oldest pitch he could find.

It’s a delightful album featuring original works by Chico Gouveia along with two traditional pieces. Gouveia also played all the instruments, combining one or more violas braguesas with classical guitars, bass, percussion and castanets.

The album includes a booklet with fascinating notes in Portuguese and English about the musical pieces history of the viola braguesa.

Buy the digital edition of Moda Velha

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Artist Profiles: Mustapha Tettey Addy

Mustapha Tettey Addy

Mustapha Tettey Addy was born in 1942 in a small village near Ghana’s capital Accra. The Addy family was known for their impressive ritual drummers and so Mustapha learned to play the drum from early childhood. He first performed outside of Ghana in 1964, when he toured several eastern European countries. Since then he has been a frequent traveler to Western Europe, specially to Germany. He also toured in the UK and the United States with various groups (e.g. Ehimomo) and led many workshops, especially at Die Werkstatt in Dusseldorf.

In 1982 Addy started to collect and arrange the Obonu drum music which has its main roots in the Ashanti region. He became a student of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana and also traveled through all regions of Ghana where he researched the music and the language of the different tribes. In 1986 Addy started a new group called The Drummers which later became the Obonu Drummers.

In 1988 Mustapha Tettey Addy opened a cultural center in Kokrobitey near Accra. At the same time he founded the Academy of African Music and Arts LTD (AAMAL). This center tries to retain traditional forms of music, arts, dance and craftsmanship. The AAMAL is a school for artists, musicians and teachers, but it also promotes young talents and supports the Pan-African cultural exchange.

Discography:

Master Drummer From Ghana (Lyrichord Discs, 1972)
Les Percussions Du Ghana (Arion, 1980)
African Ritual Music ‎(Insel Hombroich, 1984)
Solo Drumming ‎(Insel Hombroich, 1984)
Come & Drum ‎(WeltWunder, 1994)
Secret Rhythms ‎(WeltWunder, 1997)
Come and Dance ‎(Weltwunder, 2003)
Smart Boys, with Obonu Drummers ‎(Weltwunder, 2005)

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Artist Profiles: Blay Ambolley

Blay Ambolley

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, affectionately known as the “Simigwa Do Man,” was born in 1947 in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana. This versatile multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer exploded on the music scene in 1964 with a jazzy highlife sound called Simigwa-do.

Ambolley’s early years of musical interest date back to the age of eight, when he began playing with his father’s flute until he was able to teach himself how to play. His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of “Uncle Bonku,” who taught him how to play the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor.

Ambolley spent a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States. He contributes his free style of singing to mentors such as James Brown, Ray Charles and Sam Cook. During the 1960s, the young aspiring musician was excitingly impressed with the music he heard on the popular radio show, “Voice of America Jazz Hour.” The sixties show featured jazz giants Jimmy Smith, Max Roach, the late Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Eckstine… all became a part of Ambolley’s early music experience.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley’s professional performances started in the 1960s in Ghana with Tricky Johnson Sextet in 1964. He participated in many other bands, such as Railway Dance Band (1965-67), Houghas Extro-Ordinaire (1968), The Meridians (1970), Uhuru Dance Band (1972-73), and Ghana Broadcasting Band (1974). In 1974 he became band leader of several bands, including Apagya Show Band (1974), Super Complex Sounds (1975-78), Zantoda Mark III (1959-80), The Steneboofs (1987-88), and Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and His Afrikan Hi-Life Band (1994).

Ambolley’s name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single released in 1972. The band leader’s talent was not limited to Ghana, Ambolley was invited to London where he performed to standing room only crowds. Having experienced success in his own country, as well as London, it was time for the ambitious musician to test his musical abilities elsewhere. In 1988, Ambolley left Ghana and arrived in New York (USA). Since his arrival, Ambolley was able to prove his worth by performing from the East to the West Coast, at places like the historical Apollo Theatre in Harlem (New York), The House of Blues in Los Angeles (California), and popular night clubs and festivals across the country.

Returning to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honored with a standing ovation from President JJ. Rawlings and the First Lady, at Ghana’s Awards Nile 1997. Ambolley has numerous albums to his credit and has received numerous musical awards. His stage works and music have embraced audiences around the world. According to Ambolley, there is but “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

Partial Discography:

Simigwa (Essiebons, 1975)
Ambolley (Warner, 1982)
Apple ‎(Sunrise Records, 1986)
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley ‎(Simigwa Records, 1989)
Bend Down Low Party Time! ‎(Simigwa Records, 1989)
Son Of Ghana ‎(Simigwa Records, 1996)
The Sekondi Man ‎(Simigwa Records, 1997)
Afrikan Jaazz: A New Sound In Town ‎(Simigwa Records, 2001)
Sekunde ‎(Hippo Records, 2015)
Ketan (Agogo Records, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Bernard Woma

Bernard Woma

Bernard Woma plays the xylophone from northern Ghana called the gyil. Like the bala from Guinea and Mali, the gyil has gourd resonators that have a buzzing sound achieved with spider web sacks covering small holes. The group consists of two gyile, a small lizard-skin drum and often a dancer.

The Bernard Woma Trio plays at blistering speed on the gyil. Yet Bernard always keeps the energy positive, and he’s got a welcoming presence.

The music is primarily the traditional repertoire of the Dagara people, as well as original compositions by Bernard. The repertory includes Bewaa, recreational music which literally translates “you come.” Bewaa music is played at social events where community members come together. Such events can include but are not limited to: the installment of a chief, harvest festivals, marriage ceremonies, and naming ceremonies. Bewaa is also commonly played at pito bars where family and friends gather together to share in the local brew (pito), song, and dance.

Discography:

Live at the Pito Bar (Avant, 1998)
Zie Mwea: Natural Conditions (Mandara Music, 2001)
Bernard Woma in Concert (Jumbie Records, 2003)

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Artist Profiles: Aja Addy

Aja Addy

Aja Addy was born 1948 in Accra, Ghana. He was an acclaimed Ghanaian master drummer and percussionist. Influenced by his work as a tigari priest, the nephew of Mustapha Tettey Addy combined the power of the Kpanlogo drum with the more relaxed highlife rhythms of Ghana. Aja toured extensively with Reinhard Flatischler’s MegaDrums ensemble.

My father was a drummer“, explained Aja Addy, “so I learned how to drum and to dance from him. He has taught me the songs we play in our concerts. They are from the villages in the Greater Accra region and you’ll hear them at any occasions, when a baby is born, at parties, weddings and funerals All my musicians are Ga, a people of fishermen, hunters, carpenters or masons like me. My family taught me how to work with cement. What kind of job you get depends on the region where you live. For example I lived near the river so I learned how to swim and fish, but when the river carried no water, we had to hunt, so I learned all this, but in different seasons. Once every year we go to Ghana to say hello to my family and to have the ceremonies. I also teach my students there.”

After two successful solo releases, Aja Addy recorded a live album titled Live Refreshment with his band Tsui Anaa (Patience). It was recorded in Bremen, Germany and covered traditional songs and rhythms of the Ga people in Ghana. They are played at ceremonies as well as parties and dance festivities.

Aja Addy died while on a tour in Japan in 2002.

Discography:

Coreana, with MegaDrums (Intuition, 1987)
Transformation, with MegaDrums (Intuition, 1990)
Power And Patience (Weltwunder, 1992)
The Medicine Man (Weltwunder, 1993)
Live Refreshment (Weltwunder, 2002)

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Exceptionally Good Recreations of Czech Folk Songs

BraAgas – O ptácích a rybách (Indies Scope, 2018)

BraAgas is an all-female ensemble and one of the finest performers of contemporary Czech folk music. Even though they are known for playing music from various parts of the world, on O ptácích a rybách (About birds and fish) they focus on fascinating recreations of Moravian songs.

O ptácích a rybách contains a set of engaging songs where BraAgas treats the listener to a mix of solo and harmony vocals along with a wide range of traditional musical instruments from the Czech Republic and other cultures, such as dudy (bagpipes), nyckelharpa, frame drums, shepherd’s flutes, fiddle and various types of percussion.

The lineup on O ptácích a rybách includes Kateřina Göttlichová on vocals, guitar, nyckelharpa, bagpipes; Michaela Krbcová on vocals, drums, percussion; Karla Braunová on vocals, flute, clarinet, bagpipes, wind instruments; and Michala Hrbková on vocals and violin. Guests: Jan Hrbek on bass; Jan Balcar on guitar and didgeridoo; Jan Klíma on vocals; and Jan Hrbek on vocals.

O ptácích a rybách features remarkably expressive vocals, all enhanced by a masterful and lush mix of Medieval and Czech folk music. Highly recommended.

Buy the digital version of O ptácích a rybách or the CD from www.indiesrec.cz/alba/1560/o-ptacich-a-rybach

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Sacred Sikh Vocals with a Global Appeal

Manika Kaur – Sacred Words

Manika Kaur – Sacred Words (Suriya Recordings, 2018)

Sacred Word is an album by a very successful kirtan performer named Manika Kaur. Kirtan is a type of devotional Sikh vocal music that has become very popular in American new age circles and beyond. Manika has crossed over into the world music field with collaborations with Talvin Singh and other artists.

Manika Kaur delivers pleasant, repetitive ethereal vocals accompanied by lush electronic arrangements and colorful acoustic Indian instruments. Guests include Scottish folk musician James Yorkston on guitar and dulcimer; Jyotsna Srikanth on violin; and Tunde Jegede on kora.

Sacred Words

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Masterful and Electrifying Ne La Thiass

Cheikh Lo – Ne La Thiass (World Circuit, 2018), reissue

In 1995, while Coolio’s “Gansta Paradise,” TLC’s “Waterfalls,” Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” and Madonna’s “Take a Bow” were floating on the airwaves of Western pop stations, a wonderful collection of songs was cutting a swath through the musical streets of Africa’s Senegal. It just so happened that musician, singer, songwriter, composer and studio owner Youssou N’ Dour came across a demo by fellow Senegalese musician and composer Cheikh Lo.

Setting up Mr. Lo, along with percussionists Assane Thiam and Mbaye Dieye Faye and guitarist and arranger Oumar Sow, into Mr. N’Dour’s Xippi Studio in Dakar, the recording Ne La Thiass was born. Mr. N’Dour went so far as to lend his own vocals to that of Mr. Lo’s on the tracks “Set” and “Guiss Guiss.”

So, while we were being browbeaten by overplayed songs like Hootie &the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You” and Nicki French’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the good people of Senegal were dancing to Ne La Thiass’s “Boul De Tagle” and “Cheikh Ibra Fall.”

In 1996, World Circuit Records corrected this injustice by releasing an enhanced version of Ne La Thiass and the world was set to rights again as world music fans around the globe were treated to the Latin-flavored Senegalese goodness of Cheikh Lo.

Mr. N’Dour would go on to record scores of albums such as 7 Seconds: The Best of Youssou N’Dour, Joko: The Link and Africa Rekk, win a Grammy Award for 2004 album Egypt, appear as Olaudah Equiano in the movie Amazing Grace and earn an honorary doctoral degree in music from Yale University. Mr. Lo would go to record such albums as Bambay Guieej, Lamp Fall, Jamm and Balbalou, as well as collaborate with Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez’s on his recording Chanchullo singing alongside the esteemed Ibrahim Ferrer and work with Les Nubians and Manu Dibango for the Fela Kuti tribute recording of Red Hot and Riot.

So, now it could be that the planets have aligned just so or that we’ve been very good (this might be a bit of a stretch) that fate has once again smiled down upon us. Of course, it could just be the person at World Circuit sent to rummage through shelves and boxes that we owe our good fortune. This sweet luck would be the re-issue of Ne La Thiass from its original 1995 cassette tapes. Available on vinyl, CD and digital down load, with color booklet, Ne La Thiass has been lovingly remastered and has hit the streets.

Even after more than 20 years, Ne La Thiass hasn’t lost a bit of its keenly addictive appeal. It takes only the barest listen to opening track “Boul Di Tagale,” to fall under Cheikh Lo’s spell.
Weaving a magic spell out of vocals that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, acoustic guitar, double bass, flute, electric bass, keyboards, some truly spectacular mbalax rhythms and talking drum (and those who don’t like a good talking drum are out of the club), Ne La Thiass is masterful and electrifying as it makes its way through treats like title track “Ne La Thiass,” the feel-good feel conjured on “Ndogal,” the plummy rhythms of “Set” and the sweet swing of “Cheikh Ibra Fall.”

The intricate rhythms of “Bamba Sunu Goorgui” and the Youssou N’Dour vocals laced “Guiss Guiss” are additional icing on the cake that is Ne La Thiass.

There’s always that moment before listening to a re-issue where you wonder if it will be as good as you remembered. With Ne La Thiass it’s not as good as you remembered – it’s better. So intensely addictive, this is the music that if you listened to it all the time you’d never get anything done. And, I doubt you’d care.

Buy Ne La Thiass

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Artist Profiles: Lulo Reinhardt

Lulo Reinhardt

Lulo Reinhardt is a gifted guitarist who was taught by his father since the age of five. At twelve, he was already playing with the Mike Reinhardt Sextet, a formation entirely dedicated to the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. In 1991, leaving the sextet to explore new musical experiences he founded I Gitanos with his father Bawo and cousin Dege. The first result of their new gypsy goes Latin was the release of I suni CD in 1994. After that, successful tours throughout Europe and release of next CD, AB I Reisa, in 1998 followed.

In the meantime, Lulo Reinhardt has worked on various projects and has established himself an outstanding reputation as a composer and guitarist. He has played in major events and collaborated with Brazilian guitarist Zezo Ribeiro .

Along the way, he has gathered the best musicians around him to create his personal project. Lulo Reinhardt Project is the accomplishment of a maturing style and artistic creation, which you cannot classify. Swinging from tune to tune, Lulo Reinhardt brings into his music his gypsy roots as well as flamenco or Latin rhythms from Cuba to Brazil.

After the success of his CD Project No 1 (2002), Lulo Reinhardt released the awaited Project No 2 in July 2005.

“Lulo Reinhardt is a spontaneous and spirited musician who is led by the guitar into musical voyages of discovery. His curiosity has taken him to southern Spain in search of flamenco roots, and to South America, exploring various musical styles of Latin Jazz,” said Manuel Dominguez, Nubenegra.

Discography:

I suni (1994)
Ab I Reisa ‎(Nubenegra, 1998)
Project No. 1 (2002)
Project No. 2 (2005)
Lulo Reinhardt & Uli Krämer (2006)
Live in Melbourne (2008)
Lulo Reinhardt & Gerd Stein (2009)
Katoomba Birds (2011)
Bawo (2013)
Lulo Reinhardt & Daniel Stelter: Live in der Stadtkirche (2016)

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Artist Profiles: Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig was born in Berlin and has Norwegian roots. She is a leading vocalist and guitarist in the German acoustic scene. Her band Touchwood, with Irish singer Cristina Crawley, has an album distributed in Ireland.

Kerstin studied musicology and Scandinavian languages and cultures in Berlin and in Bergen (Norway). She is involved in a wide variety of different projects, ranging from studio work, German folk-pop and theater music productions to the Celtic groups Norland Wind and Talking Water. She made a world music album, Valivann (with Mick Franke), combining her own Scandinavian/Celtic influenced compositions with traditional lyrics and modem grooves.

In her solo performances, Kerstin presents her arrangements of traditional Norwegian and Celtic songs as well as her own material.

In 2011 she released Trolldans, the debut album by Huldrelokkk, an all-female trio featuring acoustic folk music from Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as their own material. The band includes Kerstin Blodig on vocals, guitar, bodhrán; Mia Gunberg Ådin (Sweden) on vocals, fiddle, nykkelharpa; and Liv Vester Larsen (Denmark) on vocals, fiddle, percussion.

Discography:

Atlantic Driftood – Harp Music & Song From The Celtic Northwest, with Norland Wind ‎(Slow Motion Records, 2000)
December Journey, with Norland Wind ‎(Alula Records, 2002)
Valivann (Alula Records, 2002)
Kelpie (Alula Records, 2002)
From Shore To Shore, with Norland Wind ‎(Laika Records, 2004)
Trollsang
Nordisk Sjel
Var det du – var det deg? (2007)
Kelpie: Live! (2010)
Trolldans, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2011)
Desember måne – December Moon (2012)
Storm in a Teacup (Laika, 2013)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P08LJZW?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B00P08LJZW, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2013)
Out of the Woods (Stockfisch, 2015)

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