Tag Archives: Germany

Artist Profiles: Amir-John Haddad

Amir-John Haddad

German-Spanish musician Amir-John Haddad, better known as El Amir, was born in 1975 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. He moved to Spain in 1997.

El Amir is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, musical director, and producer. He‘s considered one of the best concert guitarists in today‘s Spanish scene, defined by his personality, maturity, sound and style.

El Amir has been playing flamenco guitar and the Arabic oud since he was seven years old, and has been performing on stage for 30 years. In addition to his extensive career, he has learned how to play traditional Mediterranean instruments including the Greek bouzouki and Turkish saz, being a virtuoso in all of them.

Amir-John Haddad

El Amir has collaborated with a long list of artists including Radio Tarifa, Chambao, Marcus Miller and Juno Reactor.

In 2010, Amir-John presented his show “From East to West,” combining all the instruments he plays, Arabic lute, Turkish saz, Greek bouzouki, flamenco guitar and the triple-necked electric guitar to expose a wide range of traditional music. A trip through several regions of the Mediterranean, through different instruments and original compositions mixed with modern and contemporary sounds, fired through effects processors.

Amir-John Haddad

Amir-John Haddad was part of a Madrid-based world music superband called Zoobazar. Group members included El Amir on oud and saz; La Musgaña’s fiddler, Diego Galaz on fiddle and mandolin; La Shica’s and Eliseo Parra’s drummer and percussionist, Pablo Martin Jones on drums and percussion; and the bassist of rock band GN3, Hector Tellini.

Zoobazar

Zoobazar’s debut album, Uno (2011), was a mesmerizing journey across the musics of the Mediterranean countries, including Iberian folk music, Turkish, Balkan, Greek, Middle Eastern and North African grooves and tunes combined with rock, funk and jazz.

Zoobazar’s second album, Dos, came out in 2014.

In 2017, Amir John Haddad played Vivaldi’s Concerto in C major for Mandolin for the first time on Greek bouzouki. The debut took place on the 6th of November at the National Auditorium of Music in Madrid accompanied by outstanding musicians from the Spanish National Orchestra.

José María Bandera and Amir John Haddad

Another project in 2017 was a collaboration with Paco de Lucia’s nephew, José María Bandera. The two guitarists performed material from Paco’s last album, Canción Andaluza, including María de la O, Señorita, I have to love you while you live, Chiquita Piconera, Romance of Valentía and Ojos Verdes, by Quintero, León and Quiroga and other great composers. The show also featured Josemi Garzón on double bass and Israel Katumba on percussion.

Amir John Haddad

El Amir was one the featured solo artists of the Hans Zimmer’s Tour performing flamenco guitar, electric guitar, Greek buzuki and ukulele. “The World of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration” presents the composer’s works arranged for a live symphony orchestra. Zimmer spent months working on transforming his soundtracks into opulent concert suites. interpreting a very special selection of soundtracks from the most famous films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Mission Impossible, The Holiday or Madagascar.

Discography:

Pasando Por Tabernas ‎(Double Moon Records, 2005)
Uno, with Zoobazar (Santa Fe / Ojo! Records, 2011)
9 Guitarras ‎(Zoomusic, 2013)
Dos, with Zoobazar (Galileo Music, 2014)

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Artist Profiles: Daniel Stelter

Daniel Stelter – Photo by Simon Hegenberg

Daniel Stelter was born in Germany. His passion for music started early: he began playing the classical guitar at the age of eight, and was soon introduced to jazz, rock and pop music by his older brothers.

As a teenager he spent hours meticulously listening and playing to tunes from records and tapes. At the age of 17 he was a member of the Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer. During that time, Stelter toured for six weeks through Southeast Europe and recorded a CD.

After his graduation he studied jazz guitar with Norbert Scholly at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, but he never lost track of the classical guitar.

With Ulf Kleiner (piano), Tommy Baldu (drums) and Michael Pauker (bass) Stelter formed a quartet tha released several albums, including “Homebrew Songs” (2009) and “Krikelkrakel” (2012). The sound of the quartet is a symbiosis of classical guitar, mixed with a trace of electronic music, underlaid with a sound carpet of cool beats and a healthy dose of funk and soul.

In 2016 Daniel Stelter was recruited as guitar player for the NDR-BigBand and he accompanied jazz legend Al Jarreau on his tour through Europe, staging at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Olympia in Paris, Opera Garnier in Monte Carlo, Paradiso in Amsterdam, Performing Arts Center in Kristiansand, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Philharmonie in Berlin and Kongresshaus in Zürich.

Also in 2016, Daniel Stelter released the record Live in der Stadtkirche with acclaimed Gypsy Guitar and Latin Swing guitarist Lulo Reinhardt, which quickly made “Record of the month” in the German NDR Jazz Charts.

Stelter is also a permanent member of the Ringsgwandl band, with whom he tours regularly throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Daniel and Lulo Reinhardt toured North America in 2018.

Discography:

Homebrew Songs ‎(Herzog Records, 2009)
Krikel Krakel ‎(Herzog Records, 2010)
Live in der Stadtkirche (DMG, 2016)
Little Planets (Herzog, 2016)
Kind Of Spain (ACT, 2017)
Humming Songs ‎(DMG, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Lulo Reinhardt

Lulo Reinhardt

Lulo Reinhardt is a gifted guitarist who was taught by his father since the age of five. At twelve, he was already playing with the Mike Reinhardt Sextet, an ensemble entirely dedicated to the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. In 1991, leaving the sextet to explore new musical experiences he founded I Gitanos with his father Bawo and cousin Dege. The first result of their new gypsy goes Latin was the release of I suni CD in 1994. After that, successful tours throughout Europe and release of next CD, Ab I Reisa, in 1998 followed.

In the meantime, Lulo Reinhardt has worked on various projects and has established himself an outstanding reputation as a composer and guitarist. He has played in major events and collaborated with Brazilian guitarist Zezo Ribeiro.

Along the way, he has gathered the best musicians around him to create his personal project. Lulo Reinhardt Project is the accomplishment of a maturing style and artistic creation, which you cannot classify. Swinging from tune to tune, Lulo Reinhardt brings into his music his gypsy roots as well as flamenco or Latin rhythms from Cuba to Brazil.

After the success of his CD Project No 1 (2002), Lulo Reinhardt released the awaited Project No 2 in July 2005.

Lulo Reinhardt is a spontaneous and spirited musician who is led by the guitar into musical voyages of discovery. His curiosity has taken him to southern Spain in search of flamenco roots, and to South America, exploring various musical styles of Latin Jazz,” said Spanish producer Manuel Dominguez, founder of the Nubenegra record label.

In 2007, Saga Instruments of San Francisco, California made the first Lulo Reinhardt Model Gitane 310, modeled on the classic Gypsy guitars. This inspired Lulo to compose more Gypsy Swing material, which he combined with Latin music, and in 2007 changed the name of his group to the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project. They recorded their first CD in 2008.

In 2016, Lulo Reinhardt and fellow German guitarist Daniel Stelter released Live in der Stadtkirche, which quickly made “Record of the month” in the German NDR Jazz Charts. Daniel and Lulo toured North America in 2018.

Discography:

I suni (1994)
Ab I Reisa ‎(Nubenegra, 1998)
Project No. 1 (2002)
Project No. 2 (2005)
Lulo Reinhardt & Uli Krämer (2006)
Live in Melbourne (2008)
Lulo Reinhardt & Gerd Stein (2009)
Katoomba Birds (2011)
Bawo (2013)
Lulo Reinhardt & Daniel Stelter: Live in der Stadtkirche (DMG, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig was born in Berlin and has Norwegian roots. She is a leading vocalist and guitarist in the German acoustic scene. Her band Touchwood, with Irish singer Cristina Crawley, has an album distributed in Ireland.

Kerstin studied musicology and Scandinavian languages and cultures in Berlin and in Bergen (Norway). She is involved in a wide variety of different projects, ranging from studio work, German folk-pop and theater music productions to the Celtic groups Norland Wind and Talking Water. She made a world music album, Valivann (with Mick Franke), combining her own Scandinavian/Celtic influenced compositions with traditional lyrics and modem grooves.

In her solo performances, Kerstin presents her arrangements of traditional Norwegian and Celtic songs as well as her own material.

In 2011 she released Trolldans, the debut album by Huldrelokkk, an all-female trio featuring acoustic folk music from Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as their own material. The band includes Kerstin Blodig on vocals, guitar, bodhrán; Mia Gunberg Ådin (Sweden) on vocals, fiddle, nykkelharpa; and Liv Vester Larsen (Denmark) on vocals, fiddle, percussion.

Discography:

Atlantic Driftood – Harp Music & Song From The Celtic Northwest, with Norland Wind ‎(Slow Motion Records, 2000)
December Journey, with Norland Wind ‎(Alula Records, 2002)
Valivann (Alula Records, 2002)
Kelpie (Alula Records, 2002)
From Shore To Shore, with Norland Wind ‎(Laika Records, 2004)
Trollsang
Nordisk Sjel
Var det du – var det deg? (2007)
Kelpie: Live! (2010)
Trolldans, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2011)
Desember måne – December Moon (2012)
Storm in a Teacup (Laika, 2013)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P08LJZW?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B00P08LJZW, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2013)
Out of the Woods (Stockfisch, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: 17 Hippies

17 Hippies

17 Hippies’ history parallels the progression of Berlin’s music scene since the 1980s; beginning with acoustic unplugged concerts and changing lineups of up to 20 musicians, and maturing into a vibrant 13-piece band: double bass, banjo, ukulele and guitar for a rhythmic base and violins, cello, accordion, clarinet, trumpet and trombone for the melodies.

Though actually only 13 band mates, nor hippies, 17 Hippies still mix traditional music from Eastern Europe, French chanson and American folk music with their own Berlin background to form their own traditions.

he Berlin-based group emerged after the Berlin Wall fell. “It was like someone had opened a hidden door,” explains vocalist and lyricist Kiki Sauer. “New and exciting music from Eastern Europe flooded into town with new grooves. All we could do was listen, learn, and try to find our own musical connections.”

“The band started with a simple concept,” says vocalist and musical mastermind Christopher Blenkinsop. “We said, “OK, so you play an instrument” Well, don’t bring it!”“ Christopher picked up the ukulele (after playing bass in rock bands); Kiki, who had been trained on classical piano, took up accordion; Dirk, the heavy metal drummer, had always wanted to play guitar; Antje switched to clarinet, after classical flute training; and off they went creating their own sound.

Twelve years and 1200 concerts later, this renegade acoustic sound is captured on Heimlich, released in North America by Buda Musique, and by the band’s own label Hipster Records through CD Baby.

From the beginning, the number of musicians was constantly changing. “In Berlin you’d call a person trying to do something in a nice way, but only half succeeding, a hippie,” Kiki explains. “So with their tongue in their cheek, people were referring to us as the five hippies, 24 hippies, or whatever amount of musicians that happened to be on stage.”

One day when in a trio format, the band opened for a friend’s British punk band. “The English lead singer asked for our band name, as he wanted to announce our appearance,” says Christopher. “On a lark, one of us said 17 Hippies, and since then it stuck. In German, “17” is pronounced zieb-t-zeen, and has a nice sound to it. It also has a somewhat magical appeal. It could never have been 16 or 18.” A the time of this writing, there were 13 band members in 17 Hippies. And they also played the Jew’s harp, the Indian tanpura, the Irish bouzouki, and assorted other string, brass, and wind instruments. Just what you would expect from 17 Hippies, regardless of how many of them are on stage.

In Germany, and only in Germany, people tend to count musicians on stage,” chuckles Kiki, “and sometimes they say, “Why, there aren’t 17 of you!” One or two have wanted their money back! Same thing happens about the hippie thing: ‘Why, you’re not hippies’ we tell them, Well, the Rolling Stones aren’t exactly stones.”

Preparing for the new album Heimlich, Kiki was writing very personal lyrics, revolving around the feeling of losing what you thought was secure. One of the texts was Heimlich, a deep German word, meaning something like the secret way or top secret. The title song tells what happens when a strong feeling should be kept a secret, so as to keep that feeling alive and strong; whereas blaring it out would destroy it. “To keep the song from sounding too singer-songwriter-ish we started adding different sounds. One day Carsten, Dirk, Christopher, and I all coincidentally turned up with kalimbas [African thumb pianos]. We played” and it was just right!”

“When we started, our friends were organizing the Techno-heavy, musical-political celebration Love Parade,” says Christopher. “Techno was the thing everybody was into, while we were going acoustic. We had all grown up on Chuck Berry and the Beatles, and maybe Beethoven, and that ever since the 1970s, when David Bowie and Iggy moved here, the scene considered itself to be Europe’s rock city. There was no such thing as German folk, or world music, or whatever you might call it. When we started, everyone here thought we had gone mad.”

17 Hippies continues to use traditional tunes, and instruments, but rarely playing them the right way. “Our audience in Berlin learned about these new, old sounds by listening to us,” says Kiki. “The traddies hated us. After a while, people started referring to the way we played as a style. Now in other parts of Europe they call it Berlin style.”

At the same time, the rock and roll aesthetic is carried one step further with the 17 Hippies Real Book idea, which gets their tunes out to people so that everybody can play along. “Folk music in the sense of: music for folks!” says Kiki. The band has released two books with scores (17 Hippies Realbook I & II).

Discography:

Rock’n’roll 13 (Rent a Poet, 1997)
Texas Radio (Rent a Poet, 1998)
Wer ist das? (Rent a Poet, 1999)
Sirba (Buda Musique, 2002)
Halbe Treppe soundtrack (Rent a Poet, 2002):
17 Hippies play Sexy Ambient Hippies (Rent a Poet, 2003)
Ifni (Rent a Poet, 2004)
17 Hippies Play Guitar (Hipster Records, 2006)
Live in Berlin (Hipster Records, 2006)
Heimlich (Hipster Records, 2007)
El Dorado (Hipster Records, 2009)
Phantom Songs (Hipster Records, 2011)
17 Hippies chantent en français (Buda Musique, 2013)
17 Hippies für Kinder – Titus träumt (Rent a Poet, 2013)
Biester (Hipster Records, 2014)
Anatomy (Rent a Poet, 2016)
Metamorphosis (Rent a Poet, 2016)

DVD

Live in Berlin (Rent a Poet, 2005)

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Artist Profiles: Marika Falk

Marika Falk

Marika Falk was born in Vienna, in a Hungarian family of musicians. She plays numerous percussion instruments such as frame drums and hand drums,inclufding the tombak, darbuka, riq, daf, daire, bendir, cajon, ghatam, tar, bodhran, and talking drum.

She completed her musical studies in Munich, where she lives. For over two decades she has been involved with the traditional music of Africa and the Middle East and learned percussive techniques from several well-known masters.

She has collaborated with various project relating to Early Music, jazz, theater, world music with groups like Vox, Sarband and Nunu.

Discography:

Tigrib (Konnex Records KCD 5084, 1998)
Mariano (Konnex Records KCD 5087, 1998)
Drumming Breath (NO-CD Rekords CDNO 24, 2000)
Ahoi (Konnex Records KCD 5112, 2003)
Breathing Colour (2008)

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Bavarian Klezmer

Andrea Pancur – Alpen Klezmer: Zum Meer

Andrea Pancur – Alpen Klezmer: Zum Meer (Galileo MC, 2016)

Munich singer Andrea Pancur has developed a fascinating new genre called Alpen Klezmer, an unconventional mix of Bavarian and Yiddish traditions. You’ll hear classic Bavarian brass, accordion and dances along with Klezmer melodies and instrumentation, tango, Middle Eastern rhythms and even flamenco palmas (handclap percussion).

Andrea Pancur researched in archives for ancient melodies and added her own lyrics. The CD booklet includes German-language lyrics and English-language translations.

The lineup includes Andrea Pancur on vocals along with a long list of talented musicians: Christian Dawid on clarinet and saxophone; Ilya Schneyveys on accordion, guitar, vocals ; Alex Hass on bass and vocals; Alan Bern on accordion and piano; Lorin Sklamberg on vocals; Johann Bengen on percussion and vocals; Michel Watzinger on dulcimer; Evi Heigl on violin; Stofferl Werl on trumpet; Hansjorg Gehring on trombone; Anja Gunther on clarinet; Szilvia Csaranko on grand piano; Hermann Haertel jun on violin; and Guy Schalom on drums, payk, washboard and palmas.

Buy Alpen Klezmer: Zum Meer

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Flamencos from Hamburg

Selva Negra – Mar lleno

Selva Negra – Mar lleno (Trekel Records/ Selva Negra Music SNM003, 2016)

German duo Selva Negra (black forest in Spanish) draws its inspiration from Spanish flamenco, Latin American music and jazz. Selva Negra’s sound revolves around Björn Vollmer’s guitar and electric bass and Steffen Hanschmann’s percussion.

There’s a nice balance between lively pieces and laid back material. Björn Vollmer’s guitar style is inspired by current Spanish guitarists and does a very good job at staying true to flamenco. Meanwhile, Steffen Hanschmann uses percussion that is typically found in modern flamenco: cajón and palmas.

Guests include Omar Calvo on double bass and Illian Garnet on violin.

Mar lleno showcases the talent of two young German musicians from northern Germany heavily inspired by flamenco.

Buy Mar lleno

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A Taste of Rudolstadt Festival

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016 (Heideck, 2016)

You can catch up with the latest in world music acts with this double CD compilation from Germany’s Rudolstadt Festival. This compilation features artists from various countries that appeared in the 2016 edition of the festival.

Rudolstadt Festival is one of the most significant world music festivals in Europe.

Stylistically, the artists range from traditional to contemporary forms of world music. The album comes nicely packaged in a hard cover digibook with liner notes in German and English.

Although some of the artists are familiar names to the world music community, there are also quite a few discoveries, featuring acts that don’t tour North America.

Rudolstadt Festival 2016 is an excellent sampling of the great world music you’ll find at the annual festival.

The album is available from shop.rudolstadt-festival.de

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Enthralling Tenbur and Zaza Music

Cemîl Qoçgîrî – Zalâl (Ahenk, 2016)

Zalâl is the fifth album by German multi-instrumentalist and composer Cemîl Qoçgîrî. Cemîl is one of the finest performers of the tenbur (tenbûr), a Kurdish long-necked lute that is related to the saz.

On Zalâl, Cemîl Qoçgîrî combines ancient Anatolian musical influences with western chamber musical forms. He also uses rare Zazaki vocals. Zazaki (also known as Zaza, Kirmanjki and Dimli) is used by the Zaza Kurds in eastern Turkey and is one of the oldest languages in Mesopotamia. The Zazaki language has been classified by UNESCO as a “language threatened with extinction“.

When language, music, art and culture are lost, the understanding and communication between peoples are lost as well,” says Cemîl Qoçgîrî.

The lineup on Zalâl includes Cemîl Qoçgîrî on tenbur, guitar, and percussion; Mikaîl Aslan on qirnata; Susanne Hirsch on cello; Manuel Lohnes on bass; Eser Baki on tenbur; Nure Dovlanî on violin; Ben Neubrech on guitar; Andre Nendza on bass; Kadir Doğan on percussion; Elif Gökdemir on flute; and Tolga Keleşm on zirne.

The CD booklet contains lyrics in Zazaki with English-language translations as well as biographical information about Cemîl Qoçgîrî.

Zalâl is a beautifully-crafted album that contains mesmerizing performances on the tenbur and the warm vocals of Cemîl Qoçgîrî.

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