Acclaimed Malian singer Salif Keita has won the La Mar de Músicas 2019 Award. La Mar de Músicas is one of the leading world music festivals in Eutrope, held in Cartagena, Spain.
Salif Keita’s was given the award for “having overcome all kinds of prejudices inside and outside Africa in his defense of the population with albinism and those who sing without belonging to the griot caste, and for the inspiration of his powerful voice, having been able to mix the deep tradition of his region with global sounds.”
Keita will collect the La Mar de Músicas 2019 award on Monday, July 22. That same day, he will perform a concert at the Cartagena festival.
Kokoko!, Fatoumata Diawara, Songhoy Blues, Bamba Wassoulou Groove, Djanka Diabaté, Nélida Karr and Alex Ikot are the African artists set to perform between July 20 and 28, 2018 in Cartagena, Spain at world music festival La Mar de Músicas.
Music from Africa has always played a leading role in La Mar de Músicas. The festival has dedicated previous editions to Senegal, Mali, Morocco and South Africa. Even though this year is dedicated to the music of Denmark, African artists will be represented as well.
“We have not stopped looking at Africa in any of our editions. We will continue being one of the seminal festivals in terms of music from the African continent in Spain,” said David Martínez Noguera, Culture councilman of the Cartagena City Council.
Representing the alternative music scene of the Congo, Kokoko! will perform on Saturday, July 21. Kokoko! is a hard to define band viewed from the western perspective. Their sounds emerge from the ghetto and the gambling dens of Kinshasa, where they avoided the censorship imposed by the government.
Kokoko! is part of the “do it yourself” concept in terms of the instruments they use. They invented their own instruments with scrap objects, given the impossibility of buying the traditional ones. A typewriter, a bucket of paint, a car’s cassette player … they have become the transmitters of their creations.
The band met French producer and African music fan, Débruit, and together they merged their sound universes, electrifying the raw sound of the Congolese and offering music that merges disco sounds, psychedelia and African traditions.
La Mar de Músicas will welcome Songhoy Blues, all the way from Timbuktu. Formed by three young people who, despite the ban on music in their region, continued their work from their exile in Bamako. They released an album that says it all, Résistence, in which they collaborated with Iggy Pop. Songhoy Blues will be in Cartagena on July 22.
Another of the Malian bands that participate in La Mar de Músicas is Bamba Wassoulou Groove, an act in which three guitarists stand in the wake of the legendary Zani Diabaté, who died in 2011.
Bamba Wassoulou Groove perform new songs and classic pieces from the bambara repertoire that sound like psychedelic guitars and electric and hypnotic blues. On July 25 will play in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Cartagena (Cartagena city hall square).
Fatoumata Diawara, originally from Mali, is a singer-songwriter who fuses wassulu music, an original style from the south of the Niger River with jazz and soul, creating a blend of modernity and African traditions with ancestral echoes. Her precious voice, trained as a theater and film performer in France and Mali, unfolds without limits in her latest work, Fenfo, which she will present in the old courtyard of the Military Training Barracks of Cartagena on July 27.
Djanka Diabaté was discovered by reggae star Alpha Blondy, who encouraged her and helped her make her first recordings. Her music combines traditional Guinean sounds and zouk and soukus influences and has made her a celebrity in Ivory Coast. In Cartagena she will perform on Monday, July 23rd along with Totó la Momposina, winner of La Mar de Músicas 2018 award.
Nélida Karr is the contemporary musical revelation of the new rhythms and sounds of Equatorial Guinea. Vocalist, composer, producer, pianist, guitarist and cellist, she has always been surrounded by the wealth of her family’s musical heritage, the landscapes of her country, jazz and gospel music.
Nélida will perform in Cartagena on Thursday, July 26, as she is one of the winners of the Vis a Vis cultural cooperation project of Casa África, in which the Cartagena festival has participated once more. Casa África is a Spanish government agency that supports cultural exchange between Spain and African nations.
On July 28, the last day of the festival, and also thanks to the Vis a Vis project, Equatorial Guinean actor Alex Ikot will perform. He’s a musician who has always excelled in the music scene of his country as a percussionist and drummer, skills that he developed from his childhood.
Álex Ikot’s resume is perhaps the most international of Equatoguinean musicians, having played during his long career with some of the greatest African musicians, such as Manu Dibango and Youssou N’Dour.
La Mar de Músicas, the significant world music and rock festival in Cartagena (southeastern Spain), will celebrate the traditional, cutting-edge and mestizo sounds of Latin America. The festival, organized by the City Council of Cartagena, will feature 23 groups from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Chile, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil and Guatemala as well as additional acts from Africa, North America and Europe. La Mar de Músicas is expected to run July 14 to 22. Of the 48 concerts scheduled, 22 will be free.
In addition to music, arts fans visiting Cartagena can look ahead to a series of events featuring other art forms: La Mar de Arte (Art), La Mar de Letras (Literature) and La Mar de Cine (Film).
La Mar de Músicas opens on Friday, July 14 with Puerto Rican artist René Pérez, the leader of Calle 13. He’ll present his first solo work, “Residente”. That same night, the festival will showcase innovative Colombian act Puerto Candelaria, Ecuadorian Nicola Cruz, Peruvian psychedelic folk band Kanaku y el Tigre, and Mexican indie star Carla Morrison.
Two additional acts from Puerto Rico are scheduled: iLe, René’s sister and also former Calle 13 member. She’ll present her first solo album that inspired by 1950s boleros. African-American artist Mark Underwood, who relocated to Puerto Rico, will showcase his futuristic folkloric concept under the name of Ifé.
In addition to Puerto Candelaria, the Colombian lineup includes mestizo rock masters Aterciopelados and roots innovators Systema Solar.
Mateo Kingman is the other artist representing Ecuador. His music makes reference to nature and jungle sounds.
Bareto, one of the finest Peruvian bands at the moment is projected to showcase its alternative tropical sound.
Cuban music fans can look ahead to concerts by La Dame Blanche (Yaite Ramos Rodriguez), a vocalist and flute player who mixes urban and tropical genres. The festival has also planned to celebrate the lifetime achievement of legendary Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés, who’ll receive the La Mar de Musicas 2017 prize. Pablo Milanés is set to perform a special concert accompanied on stage by Pablo López, Rozalén and Jorge Marazu.
Chile returns to La Mar de Músicas with a tribute to the influential folklorist Violeta Parra. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the writer of the iconic song “Gracias a la vida” and the festival has planned a special concert that includes Chilean singer-songwriter Manuel García and the granddaughter of Violeta, Tita Parra. This tribute includes an exhibition, a lecture and the projection of the documentary that her brother Ángel Parra made. La Mar de Musicas will also feature irresistible Chilean cumbia masters Chico Trujillo.
The talent from Brazil includes young female singers Céu and Maria Gadú who are well known in their country, as well as Brazilian Afrobeat act Bixiga 70, a world music sensation in 2016.
Representing Honduras is Garifuna music star Aurelio. Another Central American artist, Madrid-based Guatemalan artist Meneo is scheduled to present his vision of global electronica.
Argentine band Chancha Vía Circuito is set to present its combination of Latin American folk sounds and electronica.
Celebrated pianist Michel Camilo, from the Dominican Republic and flamenco guitar maestro Tomatito will present the latest part of their longtime collaboration. The two artists have been working together for years, celebrating Latin American music, jazz, flamenco and Spanish music. Their latest album is Spain Forever.
Two artists from the United States are set to perform, folk innovator Leyla McCalla and jazz singer Kandance Springs. Leyla McCalla plays a mix of old time folk music, jazz and traditional Haitian music.
Africa is usually well represented at La Mar de Músicas. This year the festival’s last day has programmed a great African party with Malian star Oumou Sangaré, who will present her new album, and the most important African reggae act, Alpha Blondy. Other African acts include Konono nº1’s congotronics and Angolan artists Toto ST and Elenco Da Paz.
European acts include influential pop singer-songwriter Franco Battiato (who was also an electronic music pioneer in Italy); acclaimed British reggae band UB40; Portugal’s Rodrigo Leão, who will be accompanied by Australian artist Scott Matthew; and Norwegian act Moddi.
The Spanish part of the festival includes Rosalía, Raúl Refrëe, Rocío Márquez, the new sensation Estricnina (Juanito Makandé and Canijo de Jérez) and Macaco.
The festival regularly programs local and regional talent from the Murcia region. The artists featured this year are Perro, Ayoho, Noise Box, La Farándula and the project Fémina Project featuring the vocals of Saray Melo and Paula Marengo.
La Mar Chica, the musical section dedicated to children, has scheduled concerts by Feten Feten, Jamaikids, Malvariche and Perlita.
La Mar de Músicas festival, held in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain), will take place July 15-23 this year. This twenty-second edition is dedicated to Sweden. In addition to Swedish artists, international performances will include world music acts Cheikh Lô, Julian Marley, Omara Portuondo, Mariza, as well as American band Earth Wind & Fire Experience, among others.
International reggae star Julian Marley & Uprising will open the festival on Friday July 15.
On Saturday 16, Spanish group Chambao will present songs from its new album “Nuevo ciclo”.
Niño Elche will perform on Sunday 17 in el Batel.
Monday, July 18 will be one of the highlights of the festival. Senegalese artist Cheikh Lô will receive the la Mar de Músicas award. He will perform a unique concert accompanied by artists such as Pee Wee Ellis, Tony Allen, Flavia Coelho and Raül Refree.
On Tuesday 19, two great vocalists will appear on stage, Cuban singer Omara Portuondo and the flamenco cantaor Diego “El Cigala”.
Wednesday, July 20 Earth Wind & Fire Experience will perform Paseo del Puerto.
The great fado singer Mariza will present her latest recording “Mundo” on Thursday, 21.
British pop group Tindersticks will present their show on Friday, July 22.
La Mar de Músicas will conclude on Saturday 23 with the “gypsy techno rock” of Serbian act Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra.
Sweden, the guest country in 2016, will have a very special place throughout the festival with the participation of some of its best and brightest artists, such as singer-songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson, Anna Ternheim, Kolonien, Bob Hund, Anna Von Hausswolff, Räften, Tingval Trio, Hoffmaestro among others.