Enthralling Songs from Rising Iranian Artist Nelia Safaie

Nelia Safaie – Songs from Lands of Silence

Nelia Safaie – Songs from Lands of Silence (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2019)

Songs from Lands of Silence is the excellent debut album from Iranian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nelia Safaie, produced by Mahsa Vahdat and Erik Hillestad.

The album highlights the vocal and instrumental talent of Safaie. Her music is rooted in Middle Eastern traditions, featuring transfixing frame drums, evocative duduk and beguiling string instruments.

The lineup includes Nelia Safaie on vocals, baglama, tar and setar; Emre Sinanmis on duduk; Gjermund Silset on acoustic bass and guitar; and Keneth Ekornes on percussion.

The physical edition includes Farsi-language lyrics and their translations to English.

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Cimarrón Musical Director and Harper Carlos “Cuco” Rojas Dies in Bogotá

Carlos “Cuco” Rojas – Cimarrón

Colombian band Cimarrón announced that the group’s musical director and harp player Carlos “Cuco” Rojas died on Friday, January 10, 2020, in Bogotá, Colombia, after suffering a heart condition.

Cimarrón is Colombia’s best know joropo act. Carlos Rojas Hernández, an educator and innovator of the Colombian joropo, achieved a widely recognized career in more than 38 countries on five continents, alongside his romantic partner, singer Ana Veydó.

Cimarrón

The band’s press releases states: “Carlos Rojas Hernández leaves an indelible mark on the history of Colombian music, with his name in dozens of record productions as a performer, producer, arranger and composer.

Cimarrón is committed to honor the legacy, memory, life and work of its eternal director and harper
.”

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Artist Profiles: Marta Heredia

Marta Heredia

Gypsy singer Marta Heredia Bermúdez, better known as Marta Heredia, was born in Madrid. She grew up in a family of well known flamenco performers. Her father is Josele and her brother is the late Ray Heredia, a celebrated nuevo flamenco pioneer.

She began her artistic career at Manolo Caracol’s famous Los Canasteros flamenco nightclub in Madrid.

Marta and her two sisters formed a group called Vuelo Blanco that released two LPs.

She performed at the Shanghai Expo in 2010 in the Spanish Pavillion for two months.

Marta was the lead singer for guitarist Enrique de Melchor’s shows.

She has worked in numerous countries accompanying great flamenco artists. Her 2020 show, Flamenco Essences is a geographical tour of traditional and current flamenco, focusing on soleá, tangos, bulerías, alegrías, fandangos de Huelva and tientos.

Marta has appeared in numerous albums, including Enrique De Melchor’s La Noche y El Dia ‎(Fonomusic, 1991), Carlos Cano’s De La Luna y El Sol (Movieplay, 1980), Vuelo Blanco’s Era Una Rosa Fragante ‎(Movieplay, 1980), Carlos Cano’s El Gallo De Morón (Movieplay, 1981), the album Ven y Sígueme with Manolo Sanlucar, Rocio Jurado and Juan Peña “El Lebrijano” ‎(RCA Victor, 1982), Vicente Soto Sordera’s El Ritmo de la Sangre ‎(Flamencos Accidentales, 1988), Chiquetete’s Tú y Yo (Zafiro, 1981), Los Del Rio’s Calentito ‎(Ariola, 1995), María Jiménez’s Eres Como Eres (Divucsa, 1995) and Con Dos Camas Vacías Various – …Entre Todas Las Mujeres ‎(BMG Spain, 2003).

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Artist Profiles: Lucky Losada

Lucky Losada

Luis Fernández Salazar (better known as Lucky Losada) is the son of flamenco guitarist Tito Losada, the artist who has contributed the most to Lucky’s musical career. Tito gave Lucky guitar lessons starting at the age of 11. However, Lucky chose percussion from a young age, identifying himself very soon with the flamenco cajón.

Lucky has accompanied important flamenco artists such as Antonio Canales, Merche Esmeralda, Duquende, Guadiana, Pepe Luis Carmona and Diego ‘El Cigala’. He has been Tomatito’s percussionist for several years. In addition, he regally participates in his father’s shows.

He produced the albums “Sembrando inquietudes” by Ramón Jiménez and “Misa flamenca” by Tito Losada. respectively.

Lucky also participated in recordings by renowned flamenco artists, including Niña Pastori’s “No hay quinto malo”, Parrita’s “Parrita con el Alma”, Tomatito’s “Aguadulce”, Diego El Cigala’s “Undebel” and “Picasso en mis ojos”, and Guadiana’s “Cuando el río suena.”

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Artist Profiles: Antonio Losada

Antonio Losada

Antonio Losada is the youngest son of flamenco guitarist Tito Losada. Since childhood, he collaborated as a dancer in numerous shows (at only 4 years old he recorded a CD with his group Adali).

Years later, Antonio quit singing and chose the flamenco cajón instead. He is a skilled percussionist and regularly performs with his bother Lucky Losada.

He has toured with various artists such as Antonio Canales, Lola Greco and Cecilia Gómez. He also performs frequently with his father.

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Enchanting Argentine-Norwegian Tango

El Muro Tango & Juan Villareal – Nostálgico

El Muro Tango & Juan Villareal – Nostálgico (Galileo Music Communication, 2018)

El Muro Tango is a contemporary tango ensemble featuring Argentine and Norwegian musicians. It was founded by Argentine pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca and Norwegian violinist Karl Espegard.

The group plays delightful tango with a sense of longing, combing traditional tango, classical and jazz influences plus one Afro-rooted candombe piece. Nostálgico includes instrumental pieces that showcase the virtuosity of the instrumentalists and vocal performances by the ensemble’s singer Juan Villareal, who adds passion and a feeling of nostalgia and longing.   

Juan Pablo is the nephew of celebrated tango singer Alberto Castillo. He moved to Europe in 2016. Karl Espegard moved to Argentina in 2014 to focus entirely on tango. Karl later returned to Europe, met Juan Pablo and they formed a group.

Juan Villareal was the lead singer of the prominent Buenos Aires tango orchestra El Arranque.

Personnel: Juan Pablo de Lucca on piano; Karl Espegard on violin; Åsbjørg Ryeng on bandoneón; Sebastián Noya on acoustic bass.; Juan Villareal on vocals and guitar; Pablo Martínez on piano drum; Fer Aguirre on repique drum; and Martín Rizo on chico drum.

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Gong Hei Fat Choy, Chinese Classics Recreated by International Artists

Gong Hei Fat Choy

The album Gong Hei Fat Choy (China Music House, 2019) features classic Chinese songs recreated by musicans from various countries. The recordings took place in six countries, Cuba, Poland, France, Israel, USA, and China. The thirty musicians came from 10 countries: including Cuba, Ukraine, Poland, USA, France, Israel, Zambia, China, Brazil and Venezuela.

China Music House, the label that put together the project selected some well known artists from the world music, reggae and electronic music scene such as Cuba’s a cappella maestros Vocal Sampling, Brazil’s Luis de Aquino and Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana. Global music instruments were combined with Chinese pipa, suona and gaohu.

The folk songs featured are “Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon”, ”Bu Bu Gao”, “Xi Yang Yang”, ”Purple Bamboo Melody”, ”Song of The Phoenix”, ”Thunder in the Dry Summer.”

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The Spectacular Mongolian Roots Rock of The Hu

The Hu – The Gereg

The Hu – The Gereg (Eleven Seven Music, 2019)

The Hu is a sensational Mongolian band that combines Mongolian traditional music with rock, a style they describe a hunnu rock. On their album “The Gereg,” the group uses a wide range of vocals techniques ranging from various types of throat singing and shamanic chants to rock style vocals and harmonies.

The instrumentation includes striking modern versions of traditional instruments such as the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tsuur (end blown shepherd’s flute), tovshuur (lute), and jaw harp together with rock drums and distorted guitars.

When we do this, we try to spiritually express this beautiful thing about Mongolian music. We think we will talk to everyone’s soul though our music,” said Temka, band member.

Personnel: T.S. Galbadrakh (aka Gala) on lead throat singing and morin khuur; B. Enkhsaikhan (aka Enkush) on lead morin khuur and throat singing; G. Nyamjantsan (aka Jaya) on jaw harp, tsuur, flute, and throat singing; and N. Temuulen (aka Temka) on tovshuur.

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Artist Profiles: The Hu

The Hu in 2019 – Photo by E. Altankhuyag

Mongolian band The Hu was created in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by their producer Dashka, along with band members TS Galbadrakh (Gala); B. Enkhsaikhan ( Enkush); G. Nyamjantsan (Jaya); and N. Temuulen (Temka).

Collectively, they create rock music with traditional mongolian instrumentation such as the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tovshuur (Mongolian lute), tumur khuur (jaw harp), and deep throat singing along with altered guitars and heavy drums.

The Hu became an online phenomenon when they released music videos for “Wolf Totem” and “Yuve Yuve Yu” in December 2018, adding millions of views. They re-released the singles on March 29, 2019, generating incredible global attraction.

In April, the band was named Official Mongolian Ambassador to the World by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mongolia, while he congratulated them on their success.

The Hu’s inaugural performance was in June 2019 in their hometown, followed by their first headlining European and North American tours in 2019. On stage the four member band expands to an eight-piece group to create an all-encompassing wall of sound.

Discography:

The Gereg (Eleven Seven Music, 2019)

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SGAE Foundation to Showcase Madrid Flamenco in January 2020

The SGAE Foundation will present Flamencos de Aqui (Flamencos from Here), a series of concerts from January 23 to 25, 2020 at the Sala Berlanga venue. The artists featured are part of Madrid’s thriving flamenco scene.

The series will begin on January 23rd with celebrated Gypsy singer M. Heredia (Marta Heredia), an artist that has performed at the most important theaters in the world, accompanied by upcoming artists on dance and guitar. M. Heredia is a member of the famed Heredia flamenco lineage. Her show is titled Esencias Flamencas.

M. Heredia

The next day, January 24, the focus will be the Flamenco cajón, a percussion instrument that has become a standard in flamenco ensembles. Cajón masters Lucky Losada and Antonio Losada, members of the well known Losada family, will show the audience the evolution of this musical instrument, together with dance and guitar. The show is titled Flamencos por cajones, a word play that means ballsy flamenco or flamenco for the sake of it.

Lucky Losada
Antonio Losada

The series will conclude on Friday, January 25, showcasing the great guitarist Iván Losada, accompanied by young upcoming dancers and singers. The show is titled Los canasteros: Tributo al Teatro Real de los gitanos (Los canasteros: Tribute to the Royal Theater of the Gypsies).

Iván Losada – Photo courtesy of Cardamomo Flamenco Madrid

This diverse concert is a tribute to the legendary flamenco maestro Manolo Caracol, his zambra and the now defunct Los Canasteros flamenco nightclub in Madrid. For 30 years, Los Canasteros welcomed artists, intellectuals and bullfighters on Barbieri Street, and was known by the nickname of “Teatro Real” (Royal theater) of the gypsies

Program:

Wednesday, January 23 – Esencias Flamencas

  • M. Heredia, vocals
  • Jesús “el Almendro”, vocals
  • José Sisón, guitar
  • Marcos Morales, dance
  • Antonia Estepa, dance

Thursday – January 24 – Flamencos por cajones

  • Lucky Losada, percussion
  • Antonio Losada, percussion
  • Saúl Quirós, vocals
  • Mario Montoya, guitar
  • Ileana Gómez, dance

Friday, January 25 – Los canasteros: Homenaje al “Teatro Real” de los gitanos

  • Iván Losada, guitar
  • Eleazar Cerreduela, vocals
  • Nael Salazar, vocals
  • Iván Losada Jr., percussion
  • José “el Bocadillo”, dance

All shows at 9:00 pm at Sala Berlanga, Calle Andrés Mellado 53. Price: 6.50 euros. Advance sale at the box office and at entradas.com.

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