Tag Archives: accordion

A Thrilling Night of Modern Cajun Music

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – 30 Years Live (Valcour Records, 2019)

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys celebrated its 30th anniversary with an outstanding live performance in Lafayette, Louisiana. 30 Years Live demonstrates why Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys has become one of the finest acts in the Cajun music scene.

On 30 Years Live, the band treats the listener to a set of originals and Cajun classics. What makes Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys such a fascinating and enjoyable live act is its ability to absorb and intertwine various musical influences from the American south: traditional music from southern Louisiana, blues, rootsy country music, rock, and more. Lyrics are in English and Cajun French.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – 30 Years Live

The band is led by Cajun award-winning accordion maestro Steve Riley of Mamou in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. The Mamou Playboys includes fiddler Kevin Wimme, guitarist Sam Broussard, bassist Brazos Huval and drummer Kevin Dugas.

For this celebration, the band was joined by former member David Greely on fiddle and vocals and various guests, including Chris Stafford on organ and piano, Melete Terry on vocals, Alena Savoy on vocals and Paul “Bird” Edwards on rubboard.

Buy 30 Years Live in North America

Buy 30 Years Live! in Europe

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Artist Profiles: VILDÁ

VILDÁ

VILDÁ is a Finnish duo that performs a unique mix of mystical joiks and sounds of the Sami people together with vibrant accordion. VILDÁ includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, joik, frame drum; and
Viivi Maria Saarenkylä on accordion and backing vocals.

When Hildá and Viivi listened to each other’s music for the first time, they came up with the idea of combining traditional yoik and accordion.

Hildá Länsman is a rising yoik singer from Utsjoki who has performed at the New Music Competition and at the Helsinki Music House’s great concert arena. She won the Risteys (Crossroads) award for her vocals at Finland’s first Ethno Gala in 2017.

VILDÁ

Viivi Maria Saarenkylä is an internationally acclaimed accordion player. She was declared accordionist of the Year in Finland in 2018.

Arctic fells, frosty winds, wide waters and deep forests. That is our home – the North. For us it is the birthplace of our attitude as well as many memories, a source of inspiration, stories and tradition, a vast play ground full of endless trails to travel. “

Discography:

Vildaluodda / Wildprint (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Kepa Junkera

Kepa Junkera

Kepa Junkera was born in Bilbao (located in the Basque region of Spain) in 1965. His first musical dream was realized when the band Oskorri became interested in a boy who played the trikitixa (Basque diatonic accordion) with such extraordinary skill. From 1983 onward they have shared an uninterrupted musical friendship and Junkera has played on most Oskorri albums as well as been a guest performer on several of their tours and concerts.

A composer as well as a performer, Junkera’s first original pieces were recorded in 1988 on the album Kepa, Zabaleta eta Mutriku. His two subsequent albums, 1990’s Triki Up and 1991’s Triki Zoom, are outstanding examples of a blend between jazz and trikitixa dance music.

In 1992 Junkera’s European experiences were reflected in Trans-Europe Diatonic, a special diatonic accordion trio project with John Kirkpatrick and Riccardo Tesi. The album, recorded in Belgium and followed by a long European tour, was the genesis of many international friendships Junkera has continued to nurture.

After releasing Kalegira Al-Buk, an album with an international folk rock sound, and Lau Eskuetara (recorded with Julio Pereira), Junkera joined forces with Ibon Koteron, a master of the alboka, a unique Basque wind instrument made out of two ram’s horns. Their album, Leonen Orroak (1996), explored the folk music of Junkera’s Basque homeland.

Junkera has performed on the road and in the studio with many important international folk musicians such as Béla Fleck, Carlos Núñez, Paddy Moloney and Phil Cunningham. Bilbao 00:00h, an album of unusual scope and vision, is one of these collaborations.

Kepa Junkera suffered a stroke while on tour in Belgium on December 5, 2018 and was recovering in a hospital.

Discography:

Triki Up (Elkarlanean, 1990)
Trikitixa Zoom ‎(Nuba Records, 1991)
Trans-Europe Diatonique ‎(Silex, 1993)
Kalejira Al-Buk ‎(Elkarlanean, 1994)
Lau Eskutara (Elkar , 1995)
Leonen Orroak (Elkar, 1996)
Bilbao 00:00h (Resistencia, 1998)
Maren ‎(EMI, 2001)
K ‎(EMI, 2003)
Athletic Bihotzez ‎(Fundación Athletic Club, 2004)
Hiri (Elkar, 2006)
Etxea ‎(Warner Music Spain, 2008)
Fandango: Provença Sessions ‎(Hiri Records, 2009)
Kalea ‎(Warner Music Spain, 2009)
Fandango: Habana Sessions ‎(Hiri Records, 2010)
Beti Bizi (2010)
Herria (2010)
Ultramarinos & Coloniales ‎(Warner Music Spain, 2011)
Galiza ‎(Fol, 2013)
Trikitixaren historia txiki bat – Una pequeña historia de la trikitixa, with Sorginak (2014)
Maletak ‎(Altafonte, 2016)

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Anatolia’s Joyful Celebration of Turkish and Arabic Folk Traditions


The Best of Folk Music Group Anatolia (Edward Hines Music, 2018)

The Best of Folk Music Group Anatolia is a compilation that includes recordings from Anatolia’s previous three albums: Folk Songs and Dance Music of Turkey and the Arab World (1996), Lost Songs of Palestine (2001), and Middle Eastern Songs and Dances for Children (2005).

Anatolia is a world music group led by American multi-instrumentalist Edward J. Hines, whose goal is to preserve the folk,classical and dance music traditions of the Middle East.

The Best of Folk Music Group Anatolia presents a fascinating overview of the rich and varied folk traditions of Turkey and the Arab world, using a wide spectrum of traditional musical instruments performed by Hines and his collaborators.

Even if you don’t speak the language, the popular Turkish children’s song “Ali Baban’ın Çiftliği” reels you in right away with its catchy hooks. It’s a lot of fun, featuring various mimicked farm animal sounds.

The lineup includes Edward Hines on ‘ud, divan sazi, kaval, clarinet, zurna, buzuq, cura, sipsi, ocarina and vocals); Taner Okatan on saz, baglama, divan sazi, percussion and vocals; Michel Moushabeck on percussion and vocals; Jamal Sinno on kanun; Jenny Killgore on violin, kasik and vocals; Bruce Rawan on kanun; Mohammed Mejaour on nay, percussion and vocals; Saied Khoury on violin, buzuq, ud and vocals; and V. Tailan Yildiz on accordion.

Buy The Best of Folk Music Group Anatolia

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Artist Profiles: Frode Haltli

Frode Haltli – Photo by Rolf Schoellkopf

Accordion virtuoso Frode Haltli has received several awards, including a Norwegian Spellemann Prize in 2002, and was named Young Soloist of the Year by the Norwegian Concert Institute in 2001.

Haltli was was a member of Rusk and contributed to a long line of productions, including recordings for the prestigious German label ECM.

Since 1999 he has performed and recorded regularly with Scandinavian trio POING.

Frode Haltli – Photo by Knut Bry

Discography:

Looking on Darkness, with the Vertavo String Quartet (ECM, 2002)
Rusk (Heilo/Grappa, 2002)
Rusk II (Heilo/Grappa, 2006)
Passing images (ECM, 2007)
Yeraz, with Trygve Seim (ECM, 2008)
Arne Nordheim Complete Accordion Works (Simax Classics, 2012)
Vagabonde Blu (Hubro/Grappa, 2014)
Air, with the Trondheim Soloists and the Arditti Quartet (ECM, 2016)
Rumi Songs, with Trygve Seim (ECM, 2016)
StaiStua, with Ulvo and Hole (NorCD, 2016)
Avant Folk (Hubro/Grappa, 2018)

With POING

Giants of Jazz (LLRR, 2003)
Planet POING (Jazzaway, 2005)
River Mouth Echoes (Tzadik, 2008)
Wach auf! (Øra Fonogram, 2011)
Sur POING (Aurora, 2016)
Kapital & Moral (Grappa, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Regis Gizavo

Regis Gizavo with Nguyên Lê – Photo courtesy of Act Music

Regis Gizavo was an accordionist from Tulear. He presented himself not only as a defender of the traditions of his region (where the ethnic groups, Vezo, Masikoro and Mahafaly, co-exist), but also of modern, original music, absorbing diverse influences with perfect ease. His experience in Madagascar: immersion from his early childhood in trance music, performance of popular music with various variety groups, and pure research in collaboration with the guitarist D’Gary made him an accomplished musician. In 1990, was awarded Radio France International’s “Discovery Prize”.

Tulear, 1971. In a hut, in the Mahavatse neighborhood, a group of kids armed with makeshift instruments, performed songs they had heard on the radio: French songs, American tunes, South African and Mozambican music, spread by the radio waves that reached the extreme southwest of Madagascar. In a neighboring hut, there was a woman in a trance. Surrounded by relatives, she was prey to the caprices of the spirits which shook and transformed her. Suddenly, she perceived the sound of an accordion behind the wall, and was taken over by a frenzy of dancing (the accordion is an instrument of trance in this region, accordionists are part of every ritual, of every celebration). Quickly, they sent for the providential musician. It turned out to be a twelve-year-old child, Regis Gizavo, who fled at the sight of the possessed woman. He was caught and brought back by force. He was forced to play with his eyes closed, terrified, but would succeed little by little in calming the spirits and freeing the woman. The ambivalence of Regis Gizavo’s talent is entirely shown in this anecdote.

The son of a teacher with modern ideas who played the accordionist musette and taught it to five of his thirteen children, Regis pursued management studies at the university, and played all kinds of music on his island and in Europe, where he lived since 1990. But in his ethnic group Vezo (fishermen of the southwest coast of Madagascar), and all those which inhabit the Tulear region (Masikoro, Mahafaly…), the accordion has a religious connotation far too strong for Regis not to have somehow been permeated by it. Every summer, he returned to his mother’s village, Tampolo, on the other side of the Mangoky river where he listened to traditional accordionists; and even if he didn’t learn the trance music, he grew up in their vibrations; their driving grooves emanated naturally forth from his fingers.

His first band was the Filibustiers, a group that entertained at local events. When he left the group to return to school, he was barely fifteen. After that he was hired by a more professional group, the Sailors, who accompanied the singer Angeline in concert and on the radio. The accordion belonged to the boss, as is often the case in Madagascar; Regis didn’t get his own instrument until 1990. At age twenty-five, after he graduated, he undertook a journey across the island which gave him the opportunity to play with numerous traditional! and modern musicians. Beginning in 1989, he started to record his own compositions with Landy, a singer from Tulear living in Tananarivo.

In 1990, Regis was the winner of the “Decouvertes” (Discoveries) musical competition organized by Radio France Internationale. He left for Europe where the music scene greeted him with a warm welcome and he was encouraged to pursue an international career. The drummer Francis Lassus invited him to join Boh? Combo, the group he was putting together. Regis accompanied Graeme Allwright, played on the albums of Zao, Higelin, les Tetes Brulees, etc.. and occasionally joined up with his old friend D’Gar. In 1993, he became the regular accordionist for I Muvrini, replacing jazz musician Daniel Mille. The 330-odd concerts and sessions given in the span of two years at their side didn’t stop him from working on his first solo album, which he recorded around Christmas 1995.

Regis Gizavo died on July 16, 2017

Discography

Mikea (Shanachie, 1996)
Samy Olombelo (2000)
Stories (Marabi, 2006)
Madagascar All Stars (2009)
Ilakake (Cinq Planètes, 2012)

[Biography edited from an original by Corinne Serres].

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Artist Profiles: Ambrogio Sparagna

Ambrogio Sparagna
Ambrogio Sparagna is one of the most important musicians in contemporary Italian folk music. His musical project, which explores the Southern of Italy and the Mediterranean musical tradition, involves his compositions and ballads.

A wide range of both traditional and original songs showcase the melodic inspiration and harmonic richness of Ambrogio Sparagna’s accordion, as well as the acrobatic rhythm force and passion of the tambourines, ciaramella (traditional oboe), and the guitar of his musical friends.

Ambrogio drives his audience to jump, playing with the Arts Comedy, and with the Neapolitan Theatre masks.

He has recorded several albums with l’Orchestra Popolare Italiana.

Discography:

L’avvenuta profezia (Finisterre, 2000)
Vorrei ballare (Finisterre, 2001)
Ambrogio Sparagna (Finisterre, 2003)
La notte della taranta 2005 (2005)
La notte della taranta 2006 (2006)
Fermarono i cieli (Felmay, 2006)
La chiara stella (2008)
Taranta d’amore (Parco Della Musica Records, 2009)
Vola Vola Vola. Canti Popolari E Canzoni ‎(Parco Della Musica Records, 2012)
Stories 1986-2016 ‎(Finisterre, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Mirella Murray

Mirella Murray

Mirella Murray (accordion) grew up in Claddaghduff, Ireland. Her father John Joe, is a leading sean nos dancer,from Inishark Island, Ireland, and has a deeply-rooted understanding of, and love for, traditional music. Mirella studied the piano accordion under the guidance of from Mary Finn (a great player from the musical Finn family of Ballymote, County Sligo). She and fiddler Liz Kane won the All-Ireland duet in 1995, while Mirella gained the title on the piano accordion that same year. The pair performed together for years and toured in France and North America with Comhaltas.

Later, Mirella teamed up with the fiddle player Tola Custy and they played throughout Ireland and Europe as part of various tours and festivals. Their album, Three Sunsets received critical acclaim and was voted one of the top five albums of 2002 by The Irish Times.

Mirella has accumulated a vast store of tunes from her travels, and musicians such as Sharon Shannon, Lunasa, and the Bumblebees credit her as a source for many uncommon melodies.

Discography:

Three Sunsets (2002)
The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone, with Cherish the Ladies (Windham Hill Records, 2001)

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Artist Profiles: Paddy O’Brien

Paddy O’Brien

Hailing from County Offaly, and residing in St Paul (Minnesota, USA), Paddy O’Brien is regarded as one of the most important sources of traditional Irish music in the world.

A 2006 Bush Foundation Fellow, Paddy is an acknowledged master of his instrument, the two-row button accordion. Paddy has an extensive discography.

His third CD with his band Chulrua was released in early 2007 and the debut recording of the Doon Ceili Band, Around the World for Sport, was released in 2006.

Discography:

Barefoot on the Altar (Pied Piper, 1999)
Down the Back Lane (Shanachie Records, 2003)
The Singing Kettle (Shanachie Records, 2007)

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