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World Music Festival ¡Globalquerque! Adds New Artists to 2019 Lineup

Sahba Motallebi

New Mexico’s annual celebration of World Music & Culture has announced new artists added to the 2019 program. The three new names include Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore (USA), Natu Camara (Guinea) and Sahba Motallebi (Iran). The festival will take place September 20 and 21, 2019 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The current lineup features:

47Soul (Palestine/Jordan)
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore (Downey, California / Lubbock, Texas)
Natu Camara (Guinea)
La Cuneta Son Machín (Nicaragua)
Dat García (Argentina)
Garifuna Collective (Belize)
Lucibela (Cabo Verde)
Carlos Medina (Las Vegas, New Mexico)
Mdou Moctar (Niger)
Sahba Motallebi (Iran)
Pamyua (Inuit/Yup’ik)
Le Vent du Nord (Quebec, Canada)
Yandong Grand Singers (China)

Additional artists will be announced in the next weeks.

More at www.globalquerque.org


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Earth Celebration: Feel the Drum Beats Rise through Your Feet

The Earth Celebration

From August 16th to 18th, the lush island of Sado in Japan is filled with the sounds of taiko drums, song and dance. The Earth Celebration is Japan’s longest running music festival, a yearly event which attracts music lovers from all across Japan and the world.

Hosted by the globetrotting taiko drum group Kodo, for 32 years this huge drum festival has brought festival lovers to butterfly-shaped Sado Island, just an hour or so by ferry from Niigata City in northern Japan.

For Kodo members, taiko is a way of life. The drummers spend two thirds of the year touring, performing in packed concerts both in Japan and overseas. The rest of the time the troupe lives on Sado, practicing and developing new works that show just how powerful these deceptively simple looking drums can be. Their dedication to their craft comes through in each performance, coaxing nuances from massive drums that sometimes reach over one meter in diameter.

The Earth Celebration

However, Earth Celebration goes beyond taiko, as each year the group invites musicians from around the world to perform at the Harbour Market stage, bringing together artists of all stripes through the power of music. For the 2019 edition the Kodo drummers will be collaborating with the acclaimed Korean percussion ensemble Kim Duk-Soo SamulNori.

Besides music, visitors can also enjoy light up events at the former Sado Gold Mine, watch movies at the outdoor Hello Japan Sea Cinema, sample tasty food at Harbour Market, and catch fringe events at Kisaki Shrine.

If you plan to check out this music festival, try to arrive one day early to catch a firelight performance of Noh theater on one of the island’s ancient open-air stages. The plays harken back to the Japan of yore, the performer’s carved masks and otherworldly chants made even more dramatic by the flickering lanterns.

Kids are welcome at most of the events, and there are plenty of workshops and other activities to do on Sado to teach and entertain young music lovers.

Heading to Japan and want to know more about how to get to Sado and book tickets for Earth Celebration? The festival website has all the information you need to plan your trip!

headline photo: Kodo

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live at WOMAD 1985 and Night Song Reissue

Nusrat was one of the greatest singer of our time. When his singing takes off, his voice embodies soulfulness and spirituality like no othe,Peter Gabriel said that about the late legendary Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Revisiting the utter extraordinary voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has turned into a bit of a celebration as Real World Records celebrates their 30th anniversary in the music business with a July 26th release of the live recording Live at WOMAD 1985 and the vinyl re-issue of Night Song, his final recording for Real World Records.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live at WOMAD 1985

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live at WOMAD 1985 (Real World Records, 2019)

Restored from the original analogue tapes, Live at WOMAD 1985 is simply thrilling. From the first notes of “Allah Ho Allah Ho” through “Haq Ali Ali” to “Shahbaaz Qalandar” and ending on the last of the fading notes of “Biba Sada Dil Mor De.”

Live at WOMAD is a panoramic musical landscape of all the wonderfulness that made Mr. Ali Khan’s vocals so breathtaking. Listeners are treated to the brightness of song, the reverent ecstasy of Qawwali devotion and vocalizations that sound as if they grew out of the fires of earth, bubbled up and over rocks and stones within ancient river banks, took flight and came back to earth as a gentle as a breeze. Surrounded by harmoniums, tablas, singers and hand-clapping, Live at WOMAD 1985 is just simply the raw spectacular richness whirling around Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Night Song

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Night Song reissue (Real World Records, 2019)

The re-issue of Night Song is no less astonishing. Originally released in 1996, Night Song came about as a second collaboration with Canadian producer Michael Brook after the release of the 1990 album Mustt Mustt.

Folding in Western and Asian influences, Night Song is smart, sophisticated and strikingly potent even after some 23 years. Listeners get an earful of sweetness edged with kora on opening track “My Heart, My Life” before the delicious open landscape feel of vocals against harmonium, percussion and keyboards of “Intoxicated.” And it just gets better with the eerie mysteries of “Lament,” the electronica mix of “My Comfort Remains” and the precious elegance of title track “Night Song.” My favorite has to be the moody mix conjured up “Sweet Pain.”

Writing together all the songs on Night Song, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Ali Khan (Mr. Ali Khan solely penned “Night Song”) found the perfect balance of east and west for Night Song so it can be no surprise that it was nominated for a Grammy award and is considered a classic world music realm. Re-visiting this recording after more than 20 years was definitely no chore and if you missed snagging it in 1996 or are just hearing it for the first time don’t waste a moment more before falling under Night Song’s spell.

Buy Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live at WOMAD 1985 and Night Song in the Americas

Buy Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live at WOMAD 1985 and Night Song in Europe

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AKA Trio Tops the July 2019 Transglobal World MusiC Chart

The album Joy y by AKA Trio is the number one recording in July at the Transglobal World Music Chart. AKA Trio is a collaboration between guitar virtuoso Antonio Forcione (Italy), kora master Seckou Keita (Senegal) and skilled percussionist Adriano Adewale.

AKA Trio – Joy

The complete list:

  1. AKA Trio – Joy – Bendigedig
  2. Minyo Crusaders – Echoes of Japan – Mais Um
  3. Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía – Mara Aranda
  4. Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat – Placeless – Kirkelig Kulturverksted
  5. Angelique Kidjo – Celia – Verve / Universal Music France
  6. Altın Gün – Gece – Glitterbeat
  7. Refugees for Refugees – Amina – Muziekpublique
  8. The Gloaming – 3 – Real World
  9. Gaiteiros de Lisboa – Bestiário – Uguru
  10. Dizzy Mandjeku & Alé Kumá – De Palenque à Matongé – Zephyrus
  11. Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa – Poetic Trance – PIAS
  12. Vassvik – Gákti – Heilo / Grappa Musikkforlag
  13. Mísia – Pura Vida (Banda Sonora) – Galileo Music Communication
  14. Las Hermanas Caronni – Santa Plástica – Les Grands Fleuves
  15. Söndörgő – Nyolc 8 Nyolc – SNDRG Music
  16. Park Jiha – Philos – Tak:til / Glitterbeat
  17. Oumar Konate – I Love You Inna – Clermont Music
  18. Yapunto – Yapunto – Yapunto
  19. Alim Qasimov and Michel Godard – Awakening – Buda Musique
  20. Black Flower – Future Flora – Sdban Ultra

More at www.transglobalwmc.com

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Timeless Country Blues

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Country Blues (World Music Network/Rough Guides, 2019)

Several years ago I was at a neighborhood party where the host had tuned in a local blues to set as background music. A woman at the party asked that the music be changed because she didn’t like blues music. She said the blues sounded dated to her and the music itself implied a kind of pre-Civil Rights misery she didn’t like and didn’t want to be reminded of.

I remember being a little irritated at this commentary, but said nothing. Blues, its regional sounds, tones and its lyrics, like it or not, are all a part of a legacy about the culture from where it comes. Misery, misogyny, racial injustices, class oppression, dirty politics and bad relationships of every kind have always been part and parcel to the blues and a clever way to slip messages past the polite society censors about the culture and its people. Like most musical genres the blues is a kind of historical record, but it’s often an uncomfortable history. Fortunately, a lone person at a party not liking the genre certainly isn’t going to stop it. Have a beef? Have a broken heart or soul? Have a confession? Add a guitar and it’s magically transformed into something universal. Have blues will travel.

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Country Blue

And the blues do indeed travel. Just one listen to The Rough Guide to Country Blues, out on the World Music Network/Rough Guide’s label, and all sorts of wonders appear. Revered rock guitar licks, jazz phrases and familiar vocal turns, growls and slides hide in plain sight on this collection of country blues that all were recorded between 1926 and 1935 by the pioneers of country blues. It’s filled with sly snatches of ragtime, gospel, hillbilly twangy goodness and Dixieland jazz.

For the skeptics who just can’t imagine why they would want to listen to some old scratchy recordings, let me remind you these songs are the real deal and, here’s the kicker, you probably already know a fair number of them. Proof is in The Rough Guide to Country Blues opening track the hauntingly good “Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues” by Skip James. Some of you might recognize it from T. Bone Burnett’s soundtrack from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” as sung by Chris Thomas King.

Some might recognize Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe’s “New Dirty Dozen,” a future version of the song was used in Quincy Jones’s movie soundtrack “The Color Purple” and sung by Tata Vega. Frank Stokes appears on the Rough Guide on “I Got Mine.” Ry Cooder and Pink Anderson have cut versions of this song. Just as Rhiannon Giddens took cues from the vocals of Geeshi Wiley on her “Last Kind Words Blues.”

Halfway through the Rough Guide listeners get a sweet string laced version the Mississippi Sheiks’s “Sitting on Top of the World.” As with all things good and right with the world, what goes around comes around and “Sitting on Top of the World” has gone around and around. This song has been recorded by a few notables like Howlin’ Wolf, Doc Watson, Cream, Chris Goss & the Forest Rangers, Ray Charles, The Grateful Dead, Jack White and Janis Joplin.

The Rough Guide to Country Blues possesses some real gems, songs that just shouldn’t be missed like the sweet jaunty rag of Blind Willie McTell’s “Georgia Rag” or the guitar licks found on Blind Willie Johnson’s “God Moves on the Water” or Bukka White’s “Sic ‘Em Dogs On,” or the sheer goodness of Big Bill Boonzy’s “How You Want It Done?” or Blind Blake’s “Come On Boys Let’s Do That Messin’ Around.”

And there are some blues artists that shouldn’t be missed like Charley Patton’s “A Spoonful Blues,” Son House’s “My Black Mama – Part I” and Leadbelly’s “Packin’ Trunk Blues.”

And no listener wants to miss out on these lyrics on Tommy Johnson’s “Cool Drink of Water Blues.”

I asked for water, and she gave me gasoline
I asked for water, she gave me gasoline
I asked for water and she gave me gasoline
Lord, Lordy, Lord

Crying, Lord, I wonder will I ever get back home
Crying, Lord, I wonder will I ever get back home
Lord, Lordy, Lord

Or these lyrics from Son House’s “My Black Mam – Part I”

Oh, Lord have mercy on my wicked soul,
Wouldn’t mistreat you baby for my weight in gold,
Oh, Lord have mercy on my wicked soul,
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.

Buy The Rough Guide to Country Blues in the Americas

Buy The Rough Guide to Country Blues in Europe

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Playful Guitar, Vocals and Kora

AKA Trio – Joy  (Bendigedig, May 2019)

AKA Trio, an international collaboration featuring Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione, Senegalese kora player and lead vocalist Seckou Keita and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale has released a spirited album titled Joy.

AKA Trio – Joy

Joy is pure delight, a captivating melodic mix of West African, Mediterranean, blues, jams and global rhythms. Throughout the album, the kora and the guitar dance masterfully around each other, supported by exquisite subtle percussion.

Buy Joy

headline photo: AKA Trio by Anna Kunst

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Santana and Buika Back to the Roots

Santana – Africa Speaks (Concord Records, 2019)

Two iconic artists, guitarist Carlos Santana and vocalist Santana teamed up to record a superb album titled Africa Speaks .

Carlos Santana brought to the table his wide-ranging experience in mixing Afro-Cuban music with rock, jazz and other global music influences. Afro-Spanish singer Buika is deeply influenced by the African music of her parents, flamenco, jazz, soul and Afropop.

Santana – Africa Speaks

Together, Santana and Buika deliver a remarkable album, where two unique sounds meet and intertwine:  Santana’s highly recognizable electric guitar and Buika’s distinctive voice and singing style.

Santana was a pioneer in world fusion, combining Cuban music and rock in his early albums. Now, rock, African, flamenco and Afro-Latin sounds come together in an explosive mix on Africa Speaks.

This is music that I hold so dearly, and it’s not a stranger to me,” says Carlos Santana. “The rhythms, grooves and melodies from Africa have always inspired me. It’s in my DNA. If you take your inspiration from many, it’s called research. I researched this beautiful music from the African continent. They have a frequency that’s all their own. It’s funny, because when I play in Africa, people say, ‘How do you know our music?’ And I say, ‘How can I not know what I love?’”

Personnel: Carlos Santana on lead electric and rhythm guitars, backing vocals and percussion; Buika on lead vocals; Laura Mvula on backing vocals; Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums; Salvador Santana on keyboards; Tommy Anthony on rhythm guitar; Benny Rietveld on bass; Karl Perazzo on timbales, congas and percussion; David K. Mathews on Hammond B3 organ and keyboards; Andy Vargas on backing vocals; and Ray Greene on backing vocals.

Africa Speaks brings out of the best of Santana and Buika: memorable guitars and exceptionally expressive vocals rooted in African traditions. One of Santana’s finest albums in many years.

Buy Africa Speaks in the Americas

Buy Africa Speaks in Europe

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Second Set of WOMEX 2019 Showcases Revealed

The jury- designated WOMEX 2019 Official Selection concert program, is nearly complete with only two more Club Summit artists to be announced.

The second round of artists includes trumpeter Itamar Borochov who fuses jazz with classical maqam scales, Sephardic and Middle Eastern influences; Mission Songs Project, an important heritage project recovering the secular songs written and sung by indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islanders; Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou, a rare all-female Gnawa ensemble; two Tanzanian top names from the vanguard of singeli, the electronic dance music from the streets of Dar-es-Salaam – DJ Duke & MCZo; the Grammy-winning progressive mariachi conjunto from New York City, Flor de Toloache; along with other artists.

The Jury-selected Showcase artists announced today:

Ahlberg, Ek & Roswall (Sweden)
Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) (South Korea)
Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou (Morocco)
Carmelo Torres y su Cumbia Sabanera (Colombia)
DJ Duke & MCZo (Tanzania)
Elida Almeida (Cabo Verde)
Faraj Suleiman (Palestine)
Flor de Toloache (USA)
Itamar Borochov (Israel//USA)
Lalala Napoli (France/Italy)
Los Wembler’s De Iquitos (Peru)
Mission Songs Project (Australia)
Monsieur Doumani (Cyprus)
Omiri (Portugal)
Ryan Young & Jenn Butterworth (UK)
Santrofi (Ghana)
Yossi Fine & Ben Aylon (Israel)

Club Summit artists:

Dat Garcia (Argentina)
Lorenzo BITW (Italy)
Otim Alpha (Uganda)

headline photo: Asmaa by Khalil Mounji

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WOMEX 2019 Announces Opening Show: Arctic Fire – Pohjoiset tulet

Pauanne – Photo by Aki Ppekka Sinikoski

The World Music Expo, WOMEX, has announced the artists set to perform during the opening ceremony. This year’s opening show is titled Arctic Fire – Pohjoiset tulet. WOMEX 2019 will take place October 23 – 27, 2019 in Tampere, Finland.

The artists featured include Pauanne, a power trio described as folk fiction, who incorporate archive recordings from the last 100 years into their new folk sound; Pekko Käppi, a Finnish folk music composer, singer and juhikko (ancient Finnish bowed lyre) player who has revolutionized the standards of playing this iconic instrument; Suistamon Sähkö, a folktronica act with a bit of folk poetry, rap and manic dance moves; and Vildá, a duo that is a blend of indigenous Sámi yoik, detailed rhythms and improvisation.

The concert is staged and directed by celebrated choreographer and dancer Kaari Martin, together with composer, musician, and producer Roni Martin, renowned for their ensemble Compañía Kaari & Roni Martin. Kaari Martin and Roni Martin said: “It is a pleasure to work with the selected Finnish artists for the WOMEX 19 Opening – Arctic Fire – Pohjoiset tulet. It represents some of the finest artists we have in the Finnish folk scene. You might think that Finland is on the edge of the world, and to be honest, it is, but for centuries it has also been a melting pot for different cultures from east and west. And, we are happy that there is also dance involved because dance is an organic part of folk music“.

More at www.womex.com

headline photo: Vilda by Joanna Suomalainen and Jimmy Traskelin

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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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