One the highlights of the Ibero American Music Expo (EXIB) 2016 was the concert by Portuguese musician, composer and singer-songwriter artist Luiz Caracol. We got a copy of his 2013 album Devagar that contains a lot of the material he performed live.
Luiz Caracol grew up in Lisbon, the son of parents who moved from Angola. His music reflects the melting pot of Lisbon with a mix of Portuguese, lusophone African and South American styles and jazz.
Most of Caracol’s songs begin with guitar and vocals and then he adds the additional instruments provided by his band. He sings seductive songs in the form of Brazilian samba, reassembled fado or featuring world music elements from other traditions of the globe. He also adapts a Spanish-language song by the great Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler to Portuguese.
In addition to his regular band, Luiz Caracol invited high profile guests to collaborate in Devagar, including Afro-Portuguese singer Sara Tavares and Brazilian vocalist Fernanda Abreu.
The album lineup includes Luiz Caracol on guitar, bass, cavaquinho, guitalele, vibraphone, percussion and vocals; Miroca Paris on percussion; Ivo costa on drums and tarola; Hernani Almeida on guitars; Renato Junior on Rhodes; Patricia Antunes on vocals; João Balão on kalimba, bombos and percussion; Carlos Lopes on accordion; Ruca Rebordão on percussion
Guests: Sara Tavares on guitar and vocals; Fernanda Abreu on vocals and beat box; and Valete on vocals.
Devagar delivers timelessly crafted songs with toe-tapping rhythms from Africa and Brazil.
Waldemar Bastos is one of the best known artists from Angola. He’s been living in Portugal for the last years, working with musicians from various backgrounds. His style is characterized by warm laid back sounds, sung in Portuguese, combined with powerful Congolese-style guitars.
”My music arises out of paradox,” says Waldemar Bastos . ”I am a professional musician who barely studied music, an African performer whose first album was recorded in South America, an artist from a war-torn country whose principal themes are peace and optimism, a singer/songwriter who is considered to be the voice of Angola, although I presently live in Portugal.”
Waldemar Bastos was born in Angola, on the border with Congo, in 1954. ‘Five centuries of colonization meant that when I was growing up I heard songs from many different cultures,” he explains. In addition to the African sounds he absorbed, he heard Brazilian music and cites the Beatles, Nat King Cole, the Bee Gees and Carlos Santana as early influences.
Bastos grew up in a country wrecked by war. First, a war of liberation, which began in the early 1960’s and ended in 1974 with the overthrow of the Portuguese dictator Salazar, and then a civil war that lasted for many years. Although both sides in the civil war tried to claim his music as their own, he refused to be drawn into partisan politics, instead offering a message emphasizing the value of all life, the beauty of the world, and the need for hope.
Nevertheless, the political climate in the newly independent country was not supportive of artists. The communist government was even more repressive than the colonial government it had replaced, and Bastos came to feel that he was in potential danger. In 1982 he defected from a cultural delegation visiting Portugal. For a time he lived in Brazil and later in Paris, and he now makes his home in Portugal.
After Angola became independent, Bastos began to write his own songs, in which African guitar-pop is laced with Brazilian and Portuguese influences. He recorded his first album, Estamos Juntos (We’re Together), in Brazil and two more, Angola Minha Namorada (My Sweetheart Angola) and Pitanga Madura (Ripe Pitanga Berry), after his return to Portugal.
Pretaluz (Blacklight) was recorded in the United States and released by Luaka bop. Pretaluz features Angolan and Portuguese musicians.
In April of 2003, Bastos went back to Angola for the first time in many years to perform in the national stadium in Luanda, the capital, in celebration of the ending of years of civil war. Since then he returned half a dozen times more, ensuring that the spirit of his African roots remained a powerful influence on his music.
His 2012 album Classics of My Soul features Derek Nakamoto on keyboards, Mitchell Long on guitars and The London Symphony Orchestra.
The message that Bastos brings to his audiences merges the suffering of his people and a longing for home with optimism and the power of love.
Acetre is one of the most experienced groups in the Extremadura (western Spain) contemporary folk music scene. Acetre was formed in 1976 and has gone through different stages. In recent years the ensemble has developed a creative musical work focused on two fronts: the reworking of traditional music and composing new songs and pieces in which there is always an ethnic element.
Group members carry out careful research and selection of old songs and tunes that they collect from the rich ‘extremeña’ oral tradition, enriching them with new arrangements.
Acetre is based in the Spanish border city of Olivenza in Badajoz, which links band members historically and geographically to Portugal. That’s why their concerts feature traditional styles from Extremadura such as perantones, rondas, tonadas festivas, pindongos or alboradas extremeñas along with Portuguese verdegaios, fado, corridillos, etc., which provide a virtual bridge between Extremadura and the Portuguese tradition.
In 2000 Acetre composed the music for the soundtrack of the animated film Marina, la princesa del fondo del mar (Marina, Princess of the Seabed). Other soundtracks followed after that.
In 2016, Acetre celebrated its 40th anniversary with a series of special concerts.
Extremadura en la frontera (1999) Ramapalla (1987) Acetre (1989) De malteseria (1994) Canto de gamusinos (1999) Barrunto (2003) Dehesario (2007) Arquitecturas Rayanas (Nuba Records/Karonte 2011) Edipo Rey, soundtrack (2015)
The Iberoamerican Music Expo 2016 turned out to be a great opportunity to catch up with Portuguese music and some of the album releases from neighboring Spain and Latin America.
The EXIB trade show area was smaller than WOMEX, but there was a pretty good representation of booking agencies, festivals, institutions and record labels/producers.
One of the most fascinating exhibitors was Tradisom Producoes Culturais. This record company puts together fabulous boxed sets, books with CD, hard cover CDs, and regular CDs focusing on traditional and contemporary Portuguese folk music. Some of the goodies exhibited included a mammoth hard cover 552-page book accompanied by 4 CDs titled A Origem fo Fado (the origin of fado).
Tradisom also had a boxed set with the entre discography by one of the greatest Portuguese folk bands in the late 20th century, Brigada Victor Jara. There were also fado boxed sets, a Julio Pereira (cavaquinho master) hard cover book+CD and much more. This label is a goldmine for Portuguese music.
Several of the exhibitors represented some of the artists that showcased throughout EXIB 2016. I managed to get a pretty decent amount of CDs and memory sticks with press kits so we will be reviewing some of this material in the next weeks.
In this era of digital everything, it was great to see a new print magazine made in London. La Tundra is a free Spanish language culture and arts magazine published and designed by Silvia Demetilla. The magazine features CD and book reviews, the theater scene, urban radar (reviews of recommended places in London neighborhoods), urban spaces, travel articles, interviews and environmental consciousness reports.
Iberoamerica Musical is the umbrella organization that supports EXIB. The organization runs several other initiatives such as the upcoming Revista Digital Pura Mestiza, a quarterly magazine targeting Ibero-American music industry professionals.
Three influential music journalists, Gabriel Plaza (Argentina), Enrique Blanc (Mexico), and Humphrey Inzillo (Argentina) gave a presentation about the network of Ibero-American music journalists.
Inzillo, Plaza and Blanc also introduced some of the most interesting sounds coming from Latin America, like various forms of cumbia, including electronic cumbia produced by companies like tropical futurism label ZZK Records; the new tango scene in Argentina, featuring new tango orchestras and bands with a new attitude such as Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro, El Arranque, Buenos Aires Negro, Melingo and La Chicana.
Enrique Blanc explained that Mexico has four main music production areas: Mexico City, Tijuana, Monterrey and Guadalajara. Mexico City is a huge city that produces all music genres; Tijuana has an interesting electronic scene and is heavily influenced by its northern neighbor, the USA; Monterrey (near Laredo and Brownsville in Texas) focuses on conjunto and norteño sounds.
Guadalajara, meanwhile, is considered the cultural capital of Mexico. Enrique introduced Guadalajara acts like indie rock band Porter, showcasing their video Huitzil; and Hoppo! a new band featuring Chilean and Mexican artists, including Café Tacvba vocalist Rubén Albarrán.
Festival programmers met for the 2nd Encounter of Ibero-American Music Festivals. The first session was a networking and strategizing section open to festivals only. The second part was open to artist managers and agents as well as musicians.
Brazilian wind instrument virtuoso Carlos Malta gave a masterclass and conference at Evora University, and then there were numerous micro-conferences presenting books, events, new media platforms, music guides and more within the EXIB trade show space. Lastly, the expo featured an Ibero-American music documentary series.
My impression this year is that EXIB has grown. Naturally, this year the Portuguese presence was much larger, which made the event very attractive for those unfamiliar with the Portuguese music scene. I also saw some media colleagues from beyond Ibero America: musician and writer Andrew Cronshaw (UK), Simon Broughton of Songlines magazine (UK) and Drago Vovk from Radio Sraka in Slovenia.
Plans for EXIB 2017 have not been finalized yet, but it looks like Cordoba in Spain might be the next location for this unique music expo.
The EXIB 2016 opening act on May 6th was captivating Spanish vocalist and composer Lara Bello. Although she’s originally from Granada, Lara Bello is currently based in New York City. Lara’s concert at Praça do Giraldo in the Evora town center was one of the highlights of the day, delivering an entrancing mix of sounds of the Mediterranean: flamenco, North African, jazz and Latin America.
Lara Bello uses flamenco and jazz vocal stylings and was accompanied by two superb Spanish instrumentalists, guitarist David Minguillón and percussionist David Gadea.
Lara Bello’s discography includes Niña Pez (2009) and Primero Amarillo Después Malva (2012).
The second act, award-winning fado singer Jaqueline was one of the most popular acts that night. Her charismatic presence on stage and her passionate, powerful voice drew in a large crowd. Although we’ve been given an image of the melancholic fado singer, there was no melancholy there. Jaqueline delivered well-known songs that Portuguese members of the audience were very familiar with, and they sang along.
Jaqueline was accompanied by three virtuoso musicians, who got an opportunity to showcase their talent with an instrumental piece. The lineup included Paulo Ferreira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar), Jerónimo Mendes on Viola de Fado (fado guitar) and Miguel Silva on bass guitar.
Jaqueline Carvalho was born in Lisbon in a family of musicians and singers from Madeira and Lisbon. She was a member of “As Miudas Mem Martins”, a group of Portuguese fado artists who performed throughout Portugal and abroad. In 2009 Jaqueline released her first album, titled “Fado”.
Cuban multi-instrumentalist Mel Semé was the third act on stage. He was joined by guest vocalist and guitarist Iraqis del Valle. The concert showcased Mel Semé’s acoustic side featuring Cuban-rooted jazz and pop songs.
Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Mel Semé began his music career playing with the older musicians who performed a type of Latin gospel music. After graduating from Havana University of music and forming part of the Havana Symphony Orchestra and the Camagüey Symphony Orchestra he lived for a while in Switzerland where he taught courses in percussion and performance. He is currently based in Spain and is the leader of the reggae and funk group, Black Gandhi. Mel Semé latest album is “Naturaleza”.
The fourth official showcase act was Portuguese world music band Projeto Alma. The ensemble crosses various musical and geographical boundaries, featuring genres from the Iberian Peninsula such as fado from Portugal and flamenco tango from Spain as well as Afro-Brazilian bossa nova, Latin American boleros, Cape Verdean morna and Argentine tango.
“O Outro lado da Rua” (the other side of the street) is the band’s first album.
Projeto Alma’s members include Teresa Macedo on vocals; Júlio Vilela on guitar; Zeca Neves on bass; Vitor Apolo on accordion; and João Abreu on percussion.
The last act on stage was La Corrala from Granada, Spain. The group features musicians from various parts of Spain who are based in Granada and come from the reggae and mestizo music scene. Granada has become a really attractive and affordable location for musicians from Spain and abroad (sort of like Asheville in the USA). La Corrala plays flamenco combined with Latin music and reggae beats, jazz, Argentine tango, blues, bossa nova and pop featuring original lyrics by the band’s vocalist. They were one of the highlights of the night.
La Corrala has released an EP with studio and live tracks. Band members include Manuel Jesús Afanador Herrera on vocals; Juan María García Navia on piano, flute and background vocals; Eduardo Tomás del Ciotto on electric bass; Jesús Santiago Rubia on percussion; Juan Peralta Torrecilla on trumpet, flugelhorn and background vocals; and Rubens García Real on guitar.
The threat of rain forced organizers to move the EXIB 2016 showcase stage from the Roman Temple of Évora (Templo de Diana) to Praça do Giraldo in downtown Evora. The first artist to appear on stage was Chilean singer-songwriter Nano Stern. Armed with just a guitar and his vocals, he put on a lively show. Nano is deeply influenced by the Nueva Canción Chilena, especially artists like Victor Jara and Inti Illimani.
Nano’s lyrics are charged with political and anti-establishment messages. Unlike other singer-songwriters in the past, he strums and plays some solos on his acoustic guitar wildly, looking more like a rocker than a folk singer. His one-man show was highly entertaining.
The next artist scheduled to perform was Ecuadorian singer Mariela Condo. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it due to the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. Mariela was replaced by Spanish vocalist, dancer and educator Mariola Membrives.
Membrives performed part of her “La Llorona” show. It’s a mix of flamenco, Latin American influences and jazz. She appeared before the live audience accompanied by bassist Masa Kamaguchi. While Membrives sang with a mixture of flamenco and jazz vocal techniques, Masa Kamaguchi performed serpentine jazz bass lines. It was an unexpected mix that felt like two simultaneous performances on stage, but it worked.
The third act, Duarte, brought the passion and charisma of fado to downtown Evora. Duarte started the show saying “Welcome to my square, welcome to our square. It’s good to be back home after so many travels.” Duarte is a native of Evora and has a fado and pop and rock background. He researched traditional Fado lyrics and music and has composed his own songs that form part of his repertoire. In 2006 the Amalia Rodrigues Foundation awarded him the Emerging Male Fado Singer prize.
The audience loved Duarte’s captivating performance. He was accompanied by two outstanding instrumentalists, Pedro Amendoeira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar) and Rogério Ferreira on viola de fado (fado guitar).
Vocalist and percussionist Karyna Gomes brought the sounds of Guinea Bissau to EXIB 2016. Karyna grew up in Guinea Bissau and was a member of the iconic Super Mama Djombo. She currently lives in Portugal.
During her show, Karyna introduced the gourd water drum played only by women and despite having a drummer, Karyna delivered a set of laid back songs.
Karyna Gomes recently recorded her first solo album, titled “Mindjer“, produced by Paulo Borges. “Mindjer” is a tribute to the strength, determination and courage of the women of Guinea Bissau.
Karyna Gomes’ band included Jose Afonso on keyboards; Hugo Aly on bass; Nir Paris on drums; Ivan Gomes on guitar; and Ibrahima Galissa on kora.
Northern Basque band Kalakan put on a popular show, using drums, the alboka animal horn (hornpipe), the chalaparta percussion instrument and Basque traditional vocals. The trio sings in Basque and their dynamic show was well-liked by the audience.
Kalakan has a new album titled Elementuak that features instrumental and a cappella pieces, combining traditional sounds with newly composed material.
Band members include Thierry Biscary on vocals and percussion; Jamixel Bereau on vocals and percussion; and Xan Errotabehere on vocals, alboka, flute and percussion.
On Friday night, March 18, the public showed up early to BabelMed and rushed in at the opening of the gates, eager to have a good time.
Born into a noble family and descendant of Mogho Naba Konkis Konkistenga the village of north-eastern Burkina Faso, Alif Naaba delivered us folk music at the Tent stage. The lyrics were in French and his native language Mooré, one of the two official regional languages of Burkina Faso. He revisited the musical traditions evoking the West African regions of today.
With the song “Manita” Alif Naaba explained that musicians do not have easy love relationships under pressure from the families. Who wants a man who cannot afford to buy a pair of shoes?
Alif Naaba is a singer with a clear griot (storyteller, poet, musician) voice like Baaba Maal orSalif Keita.
Autostrad, a self-produced band stating its independence showcased at the Salle des Sucres. The musicians from Jordan compose on western scales, but the lyrics are in Arabic dialect.
“Estann Schwai” was a nice pop song on a slow reggae beat that made me think of Chris Rea or 10CC. The super Zen melody ended with a saxophone solo.
“Habeetak Bel Turki” featured beautiful guitar solos with jazzy guitar riffs throughout the entire song.
The term “Arabic Mediterranean Street indie” suits the band.
Breabach emerged in 2005 from the Scottish folk scene to undertake an international career. The musicians entered the Tent stage in total darkness. We listened to a flute, then a voice…The lights turned on, the crowd went on shouting and whistling.
Spectators could not keep their feet on the ground and jumped on the tent floor. We were not in the Wild West, but the atmosphere propelled by the rhythm generated an infectious energy.
The band played “Proud to play a pipe”, a composition dating back to the 17th century claiming their Scottish identity. Megan showcased her vocal capacities during the last verses and choruses.
I discovered the best of Scottish musicians with an academic background and the passion to create. They were pleased to be in Marseilles, smiling and joking during the concert.
Ricardo Ribeiro is advertised as being the rising star of the Portuguese Fado. Most of the time, Ricardo Ribeiro kept his hands in his pockets at the Tent stage.
His mournful tunes expressing melancholy, resignation, frustration and fatefulness made me feel down. Some people in the crowd overwhelmed by the Portuguese saudade applied handkerchiefs to their eyes to wipe off the tears. It was a bit unrealistic watching people coming to a concert to cry.
French band Temenik Electric, including five musicians, appeared on the Salle des Sucres stage to (re) discover their Arabian Rock. The group mixes Western music, reggae, funk and North African roots. They sang in the Arabic dialect northwest of Oran, but sometimes make incursions into French or English.
On the song “Denia” the vocals were backed by an energetic rhythm section and a powerful bass line. The keyboardist added oscillating synthesizer sounds in clever arrangements. Meanwhile, the singer said “Salam aleikoum, we salute you“. ACDC is singing “For those about to rock (we salute you).”
Indeed, Temenik Electric can easily appear on a rock, alternative or world music stage.
During the last song “Ouesh Hada” (what happens? In Arabic), the atmosphere was Middle Eastern trance, whipping the crowd into euphoria.
Temenik Electric is a band aware of the events in the world, but not engaged, without political or philosophical claims. Their language is the universal one.
There is no wonder that Justin Adams (Tinawiren, Robert Plant guitarist) became interested producing their latest album “Inch’ Allah Baby” given the outstanding qualities of the band.
Fado star Maria do Carmo Carvalho Rebelo de Andrade, better known as Carminho, is set to perform at the Udaipur World Music Festival. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, February 13 & 14, 2016.
Her debut album “Fado” (EMI) was one of the most acclaimed albums in Portugal in 2009; it went Platinum. Fado was followed by Alma (EMI,2012) and Canto (Warner Music, 2014).
Carminho’s success led to a showcase at WOMEX 2011 and in the UNESCO headquarters, in Paris, within the scope of Fado as World Heritage candidate. Then came the invitation to participate in Pablo Alborán’s “Pablo Alboran” album, which became a phenomenon of popularity in both Portugal and Spain.
For the second year, Mariza is nominated for “Best Folk Album” by The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Terra is the fourth album by fado singer Mariza. The Portuguese artist is nominated for the category of “Best Folk Album”. Other nominees are Damaris , Peru Negro, Walter Silva and Cholo Valderrama .
Terra was released in Portugal and Spain on the 30th of June. Since then it has been the # 1 record on the Portuguese charts. Recorded between Lisbon (Portugal) and Madrid (Spain), it was produced by Javier Limón, one of the most acknowledged producers of the moment. Limon was responsible for recordings by Bebo y Cigala, Buika, Light Couple, Paco de Lucia, Enrique Morente and Carlinhos Brown.
Mariza sings on Terra the lyrics of poets such as Florbela Espanca, David Mourão Ferreira or Ary dos Santos. Also participating in Terra are Dominic Miller (Sting), Concha Buika and Tito Paris .
Mariza will start the European tour of Terra performing just in September at the “Cirque D´Hiver” in Paris and the Biennal de Lyon in France. In October, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Germany will follow.
Mariza is in Brazil working on a new album to be produced by Jaques Morelenbaum. As yet untitled, this will be Mariza’s third album, following on the heels of the internationally acclaimed Fado Em Mim (2001) and Fado Curvo (2003).
Last year, Mariza released the DVD Mariza Live in London, which has already won a platinum award, building on the success of the CDs which have sold over 200,000 copies in Portugal and around half a million worldwide. The DVD records the singer’s performance at the Union Chapel in London in March 2003, on the eve of winning the BBC Awards for World Music, Best European Act.
The BBC award adds to the list of Mariza’s trophies, which include two Deutscheschalplatten Kritik (awarded by the German press), the First Award for Most Outstanding Performance (Canada) and the European Border Breakers Award (sponsored by the European Union).
Her career has been recognized by the foreign press in Portugal with the “Personality of the Year” award “for her contribution to promoting Portuguese Culture”.
Last year, Mariza joined Sting in a duet to record the song “A thousand years”, adding two verses in Portuguese. The track appears on the album “Unity”, issued to commemorate the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Jaques Morelenbaum is a byword in the world of music. He produced the albums Livro by Caetano Veloso, the winner of the 1999 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album, and “António Brasileiro” by Tom Jobim, which won him a Grammy in 1995 for Best Latin Jazz Performance.
He has been Caetano’s musical director since 1991. Morelenbaum has also worked as a musician and producer with leading names in the world of music such as Egberto Gismonti, Gal Costa, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Carlinhos Brown and Ryuichi Sakamoto, with whom he did a world tour.
A cellist trained at the New England Conservatory (USA), he has appeared on over 500 albums by top international musicians.
In 2001, at Sting’s invitation, he took part in the “All this Time” concert which the critics said brought together in Tuscany some of the best musicians in the world.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion