Petroloukas Halkias is a living legend of the clarinet and one of the most important representatives of Greek traditional music at the present time. He was born in the village Delvinaki in Pogoni, Epirus where he began learning music from a young age next to the maestros of the Epirotic clarinet; Phillipas Rountas and Kitsos Harisiadis.
His father, Periklis, went to the United States of America before World War II and gained great popularity as a clarinetist. In 1960, Petroloukas Halkias emigrated to the United States where he lived for 20 years, disseminatign the musical heritage of Epirus and performing with numerous different groups.
One of the highpoints of his stay in the United States was the invitation to perform a concert at the White House.
He returned to Greece in the 1980s when he started recording albums that achieved great success in Greece and abroad.
Petroloukas Halkias remains a basis of inspiration for the young generation of musicians.
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.
George Maggas (Yorgos Maggas) is one of the last great clarinet masters in Greece. He considers himself the product of rural town fairs and traditional wedding dances that give texture and tradition to the Greek way of life, and he remembers the great traditional players of his childhood. He studied with them, and has made his life’s work spreading this rich cultural tradition the gypsies have given Europe.
The fact is that he is simply a great clarinet player. MTV Europe presented him as the Greek phenomenon of Balkan jazz, sending in a special crew to tape his performances,and this kicked off more recognition by the European mass media. He was prominently featured in an article in Liberation, and since then, many musicians from all around the world, ask him to collaborate with them. He has played in France, Germany, Holland, England and Canada.
Accompanied by the beautiful voice of Juli Tsineri, George Maqqas gives a fantastic and authentic experience of one of the richest gifts of Gypsy folk culture. Every one of his performances carries fiesta withinhe plays tsifteteli dance, folk music, tsamiko dance, kalamatiano, though most of the time he improvises and offers music without limits and with exceptional virtuosity.
In Greece he has appeared in many venues, clubs and festivals, and has worked with Michalis Nikoloudis and Metaxopoulos. His CDs are among the best world music albums made in Greece.
Born in the island of Cuba, Paquito D’Rivera began his career as a child prodigy, playing both the clarinet and the saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra He eventually went on to premier several works by notable Cuban composers with the same Orchestra.
A restless musical genius, Mr. D’Rivera formed and performed with various musical ensembles as a teenager and became one of the founding members of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, which he subsequently conducted for two years and was also founding member and co-director of the innovative musical group Irakere, whose explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical music and traditional Cuban music had never been heard before. The group toured extensively throughout America and Europe, won several Grammy nominations and a Grammy.
In May of 2003, he received a Doctorate Honoris Causa in Music, from the Berklee School of Music, adding this to his many numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award for his Contribution to Latin Music along with Dizzy Gillespie and Gato Barbieri.
In addition to his awards and recognitions, including six Grammys, Paquito made history for being the first artist to win Latin Grammies in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories, for Stravinsky’s Historia del Soldado and “Brazilian Dreams with New York Voices” in 2003, the other historic recipient is Wynton Marsalis.
In 1996, he received a Grammy for his highly acclaimed recording, Portraits of Cuba. In 2000 for his Tropicana Nights, along with a nomination in the classical category for his Music from Two Worlds, featuring compositions by Schubert, Brahms, Guastavino, Villa Lobos, and by Mr. D’Rivera himself.
In 2001 Grammy for his Quintet’s recording of Live at the Blue Note. He was also nominated in the Classical Crossover category for The Clarinetist, Vol. 1. In 2002, he won again as a guest artist on the recording of the Bebo Valdes Trio.
While Paquito’s discography includes over 30 solo albums in Jazz, Bebop and Latin music, his contributions to classical music are impressive. They include solo performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, and with Brooklyn Philharmonic, the London Royal Symphony, and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed with the Bronx Arts Ensemble, the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Costa Rican National Symphony, and the Sim?n Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Paquito also keeps busy by frequently touring around the world with his ensembles: the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D’Rivera Big Band and the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, and in the 2005 with the guitar duo of Sergio and Odair Assad, in “Dances from the New World”.
In his quest to bring the Latin repertoire into the forefront of the classical arena, Paquito has successfully created, championed and promoted all types of classical compositions!, including three chamber pieces composed by Paquito, recorded by Yo-Yo Ma and Paquito, live at Zankell Hall, Carnegie Hall, September, 2003.
In addition to his extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, Paquito has rapidly gained a reputation as an accomplished composer. His works often reveals his versatility and widespread influences, which range from Afro-Cuban to the dance hall, to influences encountered in his many travels, and back to his classical origins.
In 2002, The National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic commissioned Paquito, to write a concerto “Gran Danzon” (The Bel Air Concerto) for the acclaimed flutist Marina Piccinini under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
A gifted author, Mr. D’Rivera’s book, My Sax Life was published in Spain by the prestigious literary house, Seix Barral and contains a prologue by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. It’s been translated into English, published by Northwestern University Press. You can also listen to it in Mr. D’Rivera’s own voice by Recorded Books in Spanish available in the Internet and in libraries alike. His novel Oh, La Habana is published in Spain by MTeditores, Barcelona.
As one of Turkey’s leading and versatile clarinetists, Husnu Şenlendirici has worked with major stars domestically and also internationally, taking the listener on a musical journey whether he is solo or accompanied. Senlendirici combines the evocative and enticing melodies of his Anatolian heritage-particularly his Aegean homeland’s musical traditions-with the jazz sensibilities of the west.
After forming his present band, Laco Tayfa and collaborating with the famous American ensemble, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, to record their interpretations of traditional melodies and funk/acid jazz for the album, ‘In the Buzzbag’. Following that first release on Doublemoon records, Senlendirici has continued to play his snaking eastern melodies with lavish ornamentation or wild improvisations against complex drummed rhythms to release ‘Bergama Gaydasi’ and ‘Hicaz Dolap’. Working with such Turkish pop icons as Athena and Kibariye and world music master Mercan Dede to the delight of music aficionados everywhere.
His recording ‘The Joy of Clarinet’ focuses in on the instrument itself, which with a sound resembling the human voice, is the medium for expressing musically hopes and yearnings of centuries. Soothing listeners with its fusion of ancient gypsy soul and modern chillout, the album is evocative and enticing, displaying exactly why the clarinet has become a much-loved part of the Turkish musical landscape.
This recognition has afforded him the opportunity to perform internationally at concerts like EXPO-2001 in Germany, supported by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism; New York, Central Park concert within the framework of Mayfest festival 2002; and the concerts he gave, in July 2002, with his 35 member Laco Tayfa Big Band during Istanbul Jazz Festival.
Diego Villegas was born in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cadiz, Spain) in 1987. He grew up in a flamenco environment. His sister is a flamenco dancer and she initiated and guided him.
At 8, Villegas began his classical guitar studies at the “Joaquín Turina” Conservatory in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cadiz, and then completed his Professional Degree at the Joaquín Villatoro Conservatory in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz). At the age of ten he enrolled in the Sanlúcar de Barrameda Municipal Academy, where he studied clarinet and symphonic percussion. At 12 he joined the “Julián Cerdán” Band, also in Sanlúcar, as a clarinet soloist.
In terms of flamenco, Diego Villegas has shared the stage with dancers such as Antonio Fernandez ‘Farru’, Ángel Muñoz, María Juncal, Concha Jareño and Raquel Villegas. He also collaborates with artists like Remedios Amaya, María Toledo, Jorge Pardo, Israel Suárez “Piranha”, etc.
Diego Villegas leads the Flamenco-Jazz Project. He plays musical instruments such as flute and saxophone. He also uses other wind instruments rarely utilized in flamenco: harmonica and clarinet.
In 2016 Diego Villegas released his first solo album titled Bajo de Guía, which is dedicated a well-known neighborhood in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. On Bajo de Guía, Villegas combines flamenco, jazz, bossa nova and Latin American rhythms.
As the title indicates, Bulgarian clarinetist Georgi Koev was a well-respected performer. His musical style combined folk music traditions with thrilling improvisations.
This compilation includes 25 musical pieces compiled by Yves Moreau from the archives of Bulgarian National Radio and the former state-owned Balkanton record label.
Georgi Koev specialized in traditional dances and slow tempo melodies from his native Malo Konare and other villages in the Pazardzhik region in western Thrace.
The CD includes a 24-page booklet with photos and liner notes in Bulgarian, English and French with translations by Nikolay Chapanski (Radio Plovdiv), Yves Moreau and Martha Forsyth.
Georgi Koev (1910-1983) Legend of the Bulgarian Clarinet is a highly expressive set of traditional Bulgarian musical pieces performed by one of the finest Bulgarian clarinet players in the 20th century.
French Klezmer clarinetist and composer Yom dedicates Songs for the Old Man to his father. His previous 7 albums were indirectly dedicated to his maternal Jewish ancestry of Transylvania. This time, Yom follows his father’s experience in the USA. Songs for the Old Man combines Klezmer-clarinet melodies with Americana-style guitars such as dobro and steel guitar.
The lineup on the album includes Yom on clarinets; Aurélien Naffrichoux on electric guitar, steel guitar, and baritone guitar; Guillaume Magne on guitars, dobro, banjo; Sylvain Daniel on bass; and Mathieu Penot on drums.
Songs for the Old Man is a fascinating cinematic adventure representing the vast American landscapes combined with Eastern European Klezmer tunes.