Artist Profiles: John Carty

John Carty

Born in London, England and now residing in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, John plays in the Roscommon and Sligo styles of his family roots. He was named Traditional Musician of the Year for 2003 by Irish Television TG4. He has released a number of well-regarded albums and also plays with his band At the Racket.

Discography:

The Cat That Ate The Candle (Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 1994)
Last Night’s Fun (Shanachie, 1996)
Yeh That’s All It Is (Shanachie, 2001)
At It Again (Shanachie, 2003)
I Will If I Can (Racket Records, 2005)
Upon My Soul (2006)
Pathway To the Well (Racket Records, 2007)
On the Fly, with Patrick Street (2007)
It’s Not Racket Science – At the Racket (2008)
Meadbh (The Crimson Path), with Ann Joyce (Racket Records, 2010)
At Complete Ease, with Brian Rooney (Racket Records, 2011)
The Good Mixer (Racket Records, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Dick Gaughan

Dick Gaughan – Photo by Genia Ainsworth

Dick Gaughan Dick Gaughan has been a professional musician and singer since 1970 and made his first solo album in 1971. Working mainly in the areas now known as Folk or Celtic music, he has recorded quite extensively since then in many countries and in various combinations. Has also worked extensively as a session musician in a wide variety of musical styles.

Having very eclectic tastes, he also plays everything from free jazz and rock to country music and has studied orchestration to develop his compositional and midi programming skills. He plays most fretted stringed instruments but his natural instrument is acoustic guitar. With 28 recordings to his credit, including the seminal Handful of Earth (1981), A Different Kind Of Love Song (1983) and Redwood Cathedral (1998) Gaughan remains a powerful force in the world of contemporary and traditional music and song.

Dick Gaughan was born in Glasgow in 1948 – he was an accidental Glaswegian, because his father was temporarily working as an engine driver at Colville’s Steelworks there. Dick really belonged to Leith, the one-time thriving port on the Firth of Forth now absorbed by Edinburgh, where his parents returned after a short while.

His mother, Frances MacDonald, was from Lochaber, and her first language was Gaelic. With the language came the Gaelic songs – as a child she had won a silver medal at the National Mod of An Comunn Gaidhealach, the annual Gaelic festival in Scotland. Dick’s father – also Dick – was born in Leith of an Irish father who spoke the Irish version version of Gaelic and played the fiddle. Dick’s grandmother, Bridget, born in Glasgow of Irish parents, played accordion and also sang.

It’s not surprising that Dick Gaughan picked up a guitar at the age of seven. As a teenager, growing up with guitar skills in an urban environment in the Sixties, he dabbled with rock, country and blues. It was a fabulous time for music-making, when no holds were barred. But for him, increasingly the music and the politics began to come together. Rock may have been an angry outpouring of sound, but it was on the quieter folk scene, with the great Hamish Henderson, Ewan MacColl, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger all leading the protest march, that the most penetrating and persuasive statements were being made about war and peace, about the state of society. Dick was soon in the thick of the burgeoning folk revival, and at the age of 22 decided to hit the road as a solo singer and guitarist.

By 1972, he had replaced Mike Whellans in the outstanding all-acoustic, Scots-Irish band the Boys of the Lough, that included the great Aly Bain on fiddle, and appeared on their first album. He left the Boys in the following year.

His own first album, No More Forever, issued in 1972, was well received. Few could have expected his next move – joining fiddler Chuck Fleming and others in a wild and often wonderful electric band called Five Hand Reel, whose rocking rhythms and great songs – including Dick’s irresistible stab at the Gaelic lines of Bratach Bana – exasperated the purists and found a newer, younger audience. He was out of it by 1978 and returned to solo work.

In 1981 he laid down his marker as one of the great voices of contemporary Scotland with Handful of Earth. With Ed Pickford’s Workers’ Song and Leon Rosselson’s World Turned Upside Down – about the Diggers’ revolt that reminded Dick that “the first colony of the British Empire was England” – Dick Gaughan became a fully-fledged troublemaker of song. But alongside these polemical eruptions were softer, ruminative pieces such as Phil Colclough’s achingly wistful Song for Ireland, Robert Burns’ Westlin’ Winds, and a reworked version of Both Sides the Tweed, which served to express Dick’s abhorrence of anti-English sentiment in pursuit of the rightful cause of Scottish self-belief. A poll conducted by the magazine Folk Roots voted Handful of Earth the top album of the 1980s.

In 2004, Dick was voted Scots Singer of the Year in the Scottish Traditional Music Awards.

In 2016, Dick Gaughan had a stroke and stopped performing.

Discography:

No More Forever (Trailer, 1972)
Kist o’ Gold (Trailer, 1976)
Coppers and Brass (Topic, 1977)
Gaughan (Topic, 1978)
Handful of Earth (Topic, 1981)
A Different Kind of Love Song (Celtic Music, 1983)
Live in Edinburgh (Celtic Music, 1985)
True and Bold: Songs of the Scottish Miners (STUC, 1986)
Call It Freedom (Celtic Music, 1988)
Sail On (Greentrax, 1996)
Redwood Cathedral (Greentrax, 1998)
Outlaws and Dreamers (Greentrax, 2001)
Prentice Piece (Greentrax, 2002)
The Definitive Collection (High Point, 2006)
Lucky for Some (Greentrax, 2006)
Gaughan Live! at the Trades Club (Greentrax, 2008)

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Umut Adan’s Psychedelic Folk-Rock Vibe

Umut Adan – Bahar (Riverboat Records, 2019)

Crafting a kind of homage recording can be tricky business, especially if you is paying reverence to a dated sound and applying that sound to your own compositions.

Walking that fine line where adoration doesn’t cross over into parody or a pale copycat effort has to come with some true convictions, not only to the original sound but also to your own musical chops and whether you have anything new to add. Well as luck would have it Turkish singer, songwriter and guitarist Umut Adan proves rightly he’s got the chops and can kick some ass on his international debut recording Bahar (meaning Spring), out on the Riverboat Records label.

Diving deep into the Anatolian rock movement of the late 1960s, Mr. Adan has revived a sound familiar to devotees of the Turkish rock scene and musicians like Cem Karaca, Fikret Kizilok and Erkin Koray. While I am sometimes skeptical about claims of retro-sounding recordings, Mr. Adan has indeed captured the psychedelic rock sound; so much so it’s a little eerie and wholly satisfying.

Umut Adan – Bahar

Teaming up with producer and musician Marco Fasolo and producer and engineer Liam Watson, who just happens to be London’s Toe Rag studio founder where Bahar was recorded, Mr. Adan breathes a renewed musical life into Anatolian rock’s heyday by recording magic and good old fashioned rock compositions. Divvying up the work load, Mr. Adan plays acoustic and electric guitars, percussion, Mellotron and belts out the vocals on Bahar, while Mr. Fasolo takes care of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums, percussion, mellotron and piano.

While the political messages of Bahar might be lost on those who don’t speak Turkish, the music is meaty and entrancing enough to cross any language barriers. Proof is opening track “Bembeyaz Cananım” Dedicated to Turkish folk musician and composer Muhlis Akarsu, this track embodies all the goodness of 60s Anatolian rock.

Following up with a meaty beat and dishy guitar lines “Şeytanın Aklını Çeldim,” Bahar perfects that electrified folk/rock sound. And it just gets better with tracks like “Ortasından Gel,” “Güneş” and the folksy love ballad “Zaman Zaman” by Fikret Kizilok.

Bahar get another hit of folk with “Arabam Kaldi’a” by Mahsui Serif. Tracks like “Dünyalardan Şen Bahar” and “ Sevdiğimi Seçtim” are as close to time travel as you are likely to get. Closing with a song about “the possibilities for humankind to better itself,” “Ana Baba Bacı Gardaş” sticks neatly to not only the sound of the 60s but also the roots of political message in Anatolian rock and folk music, and that’s no comfortable feat today in President Erdogan’s Turkey.

Bahar‘s blast from the past psychedelic/rock vibe might seem out of place, but the state of world right now might just feel the need for some solid rock rhythms and protest vocals, dig it? Also, kudos go to Ramazan Can for the wildly rich cover art. The description far out comes to mind.

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GlobalFEST 2019 Concert Review

Cha Wa

The band Cha Wa take the stage at the Copacabana, New York, on a cold night in January. The horns play precise rapid-fire funk as J’wan Boudreaux leads, “I say Mighty”. His voice is bold and clear. It is 1960’s soul. Two singers are front stage, whirling and rocking as they tap tambourines. At first, the audience is still frozen, soon they warm up. Some jump up and down: the music excites them. Others squeeze to the front of the stage. Cha Wa are having fun unlike some other performers.

They wear long, elaborate, costumes that they took a year to make – so J’wan told us with pride. They continue their forbear’s tradition of marching in the Mardi Gras parades of the 1800s. They wear blue, red, and silver feathers of those Indian tribes who welcomed slaves escaping their masters. Joe Gelini, the group’s drummer and founder says, “We wanted to take the roots of what we love about New Orleans brass band music and Mardi Gras Indian music and then voice it our way.”

The horns open a new song, moving with slow ease. “Get on out the way,” the chorus chants, and the audience joins in. The instruments echo the chant, accentuating it. More people start to dance, some climb up onto their seats for a better view. Midway through, an electric guitar breaks out of nowhere and improvises funk. The horn section adds power to the music and an additional punch at the end of the piece. This group could keep the audience dancing all night. And although Cha Wa’s set is only a handful of numbers, their heat sets everyone on fire.

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness

The Copacabana’s dance spaces on all four floors are pulsating. But their atmosphere is filled with music from four continents. GlobalFEST highlights the best young groups in world music. They have each won a place on the stage. The high intensity Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness come from Soweto. The political edge of the group 47SOUL are Palestinians. Debashish Battacharya is Calcutta’s famed slide guitar master.

Orquesta Akokan

But Orquesta Akokán stand apart. When they come on stage in the main ballroom, you enter 1960’s Havana with its tailored suits and sleek dancers. They play classic Cuban dance music – Beny Moré’s mambo meets jazz. Akokán is a Yoruba word that means “from the heart,” and this soul reinvigorates the older music, just as Buena Vista Social Club did. The vocalist José “Pepito” Gomez on ‘Mambo rapidito’ picks out his words like a Dizzy Gillespie staccato solo over Cuban percussion. On “Un Tabaco par Elegua” he tells us about Elegua, a god and a guardian of the dead. He starts to sing, and an elegant acoustic guitar joins in. A steady percussive rhythm keeps rolling forward, and the horns punctuate the music. The musicians are dancing. The intensity grows. A chorus of vocalists opens up. And dancers in the audience weave ever more sensual circles around one another.

On “Yo Soy Para Ti,” the singer starts by translating the opening lyrics:

For you, for you, I’ve been born just for you:
Para ti, para ti, yo he nacido mi vida para ti.

The horns move in. The percussion plays a steady undercurrent. The vocalist stretches out notes to express love and longing. He goes beyond Spanish to communicate to everyone. The music and the musicians sway together. The lead vocalist calls: the chorus responds. Passion and precision. Emphatic unisons and graceful improvisations. Veterans and apprentices. The tradition continues.

Old school Cuban music heard live never ceases to captivate.

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Artist profiles: Pretinho da Serrinha

Pretinho da Serrinha

Ângelo Vitor Simplício da Silva, better known as Pretinho da Serrinha, was born August 30, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pretinho da Serrinha has become the most requested musician of the new samba generation because of his unique, talented way of playing percussion and cavaco (cavaquinho). Many of the greatest Brazilian artists have invited Pretinho to tour and record with them – names like Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Seu Jorge, Sergio Mendes.

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Artist profiles: Rogê

Rogê

Brazilian guitarist Rogê was born April 25, 1975 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was inspired by masters like Baden Powell, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Dorival Caymmi, and Noel Rosa.

Rogê represents the new generation of artists of the Brazilian Popular Music movement. He plays a captivating kind of samba and moves effortlessly from bossa nova to samba and reggae with the ease of a prolific composer.

Rogê’s shows also present the roots of the Brazilian music and its connection to Africa through a combination of jongo, samba, afoxe and maculele.

He has released six albums (‘Rogê’ in 2003, ‘Brasil em Brasa‘ in 2008, ‘Fala Geral‘ in 2010, ‘Brenguele‘, 2012, ‘Baile do Brenguele‘ in 2014 and ‘Nomade’ in 2018) and 2 side projects (‘4 Cabeça’, that got a Brazilian Music Award as best album; and ‘NA VEIA’, along with Arlindo Cruz, leading them to a Latin Grammy nomination as best samba album).

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Artist Profiles: Marta Pereira da Costa

Marta Pereira da Costa

Marta Pereira da Costa started playing the piano at the age of 4, later at 8 learned the classical guitar and at 18 began to study the Portuguese Guitar under the tutelage of Carlos Gonçalves, one of Amália Rodrigues’ most important guitar players.

Marta has performed with some of the true giants of Portuguese music, including Camané, Mário Pacheco, Dulce Pontes, and Mariza, as well as Afro-Atlantic legends such as Cameroon’s Richard Bona and Cape Verde’s Tito Paris.

Marta’s self-titled debut album was released by Warner Music in 2016, containing 13 tracks that mixed original compositions with interpretations showcasing contemporary Portuguese composers; instrumental tracks with guest vocalists such as Dulce Pontes, and Rui Veloso, and fado tradition with jazz improvisation and instruments and influences from around the world. One of Marta’s key collaborators on this album was GRAMMY Award-winning Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona, who helped bring Lisbon’s simmering Afro-Atlantic vibes to the fore on “Encontro”.

Discography:

Marta Pereira da Costa (Warner Brothers, 2016)

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Salif Keita Wins La Mar de Músicas 2019 Award

Salif Keita – Photo by Thomas Dorn

Acclaimed Malian singer Salif Keita has won the La Mar de Músicas 2019 Award. La Mar de Músicas is one of the leading world music festivals in Eutrope, held in Cartagena, Spain.

Salif Keita’s was given the award for “having overcome all kinds of prejudices inside and outside Africa in his defense of the population with albinism and those who sing without belonging to the griot caste, and for the inspiration of his powerful voice, having been able to mix the deep tradition of his region with global sounds.”

Keita will collect the La Mar de Músicas 2019 award on Monday, July 22. That same day, he will perform a concert at the Cartagena festival.

More at lamardemusicas.cartagena.es/2019/

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WOMAD UK Anounces 2019 Lineup

Salif Keita

Pioneering British world music festival WOMAD UK has announced the artists scheduled to perform in 2019. The festival will take place from Thursday, Jul 25 through Sunday, July 28, 2019 at Charlton Park House, United Kingdom.

Ziggy Marley
Orbital
Salif Keita
Anna Calvi

Brushy One String
Cymande
DakhaBrakha
Dhafer Youssef
Liniker e os Caramelows
Nadine Shah
Ustad Saami

A Change is Gonna Come
BaBa ZuLa
Bantou Mentale
Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
Channel One Sound System
Château Rouge
Delgres
Fofoulah
Gili Yalo
Hejira
Jungle by Night
Kim So Ra
Kokoroko
Kraftwerk re:werk
Malawurr
Les Filles de Illighadad
LiNDiGo
Macha y el Bloque Depresivo
Madalitso Band
Maija Kauhanen
Marja Mortensson
Maysa Daw
Meute
Nimba
Orquesta Akokán
Petite Noir
Rura
Saint Sister
San Salvador
Santrofi
Soham De
Soothsayers
Szun Waves
The Breath
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra
Tshegue
Vaudou Game
Victoria Hanna

More information at womad.co.uk

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Delicately-crafted Contemporary and Traditional Visions of the Kora

Dawda Jobarteh – I Met Her By The River (Sterns Africa, 2019)

Denmark-based Gambian kora maestro Dawda Jobarteh showcases the many faces of the kora and his multidimensional influences on I Met Her By The River. The album includes delightful original and traditional solo kora pieces such as “I Met Her By The River”and “Karang Folo”.

On the song “Begging Boys”, Jobarteh decries a certain type of Quranic school found throughout Gambia and Senegal where part of the daily occupation is to beg on the streets. The boys are found dirty, hungry and with worn-out clothes.

Another side of Jobarteh is showcased through modern, charming ensemble pieces with lead kora, bass and West African and global percussion.

Jobarteh provides a tribute to Denmark by transforming “Jeg Gik Mig U Den Sommerdag” (“I Went Out On A Summer’s Day”), a well-known Scandinavian melody into a lovely tune with skillfully-crafted kora overdubs and cymbals.


Dawda Jobarteh – I Met Her By The River

There is also a cutting edge electric kora version of Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue,” bringing together jazz fusion, Afro-Cuban and Gambian music.  

The lineup includes Dawda Jobarteh on electric and traditional koras and vocals; Souleymane Faye on vocals; Preben Carlsen on bass; Jacob Andersen on percussion; Salieu Dibba on percussion; and Stefan Pasborn on drums.

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