England based Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione has developed a dynamic and original blend of gypsy, folk, flamenco, jazz, Indian and Latin sounds.
He has recorded many albums of predominantly original material with companies such as Virgin Venture, Jazzpoint, Naim and K-Tel International, with guest artists such as Trilok Gurtu and Kai Eckhardt. Several of these have hit the top 10 of various European Jazz Charts such as Jazz FM, MTV, Tower Records and others.
Forcione has shared the stage with John McLaughlin and opened, often solo, for others such as Phil Collins at the Royal Festival Hall, Bobby McFerrin in Germany, Zucchero in Austria, Van Morrison in Madrid, Barclay James Harvest and Jools Holland.
Antonio Forcione was awarded the Covent Garden Entertainer of the Year in 1983 when he first arrived in England which led straight to a BBC TV appearance. Since then the Arts Council of Great Britain have granted him project awards
In 2001 at the Edinburgh Festival he won the ‘Best Spirit of the Fringe 2001’ Award
In 2002 he won the Award for Excellence at Adelaide Festival 2002.
In 2003, he released Touch Wood, his first recording with his World Music Quartet, featuring Jenny Adegayan (Nigeria), Adriano Pinto (Brazil) and Giorgi Serci (Sardinia).
His first recordings were as a duo with Spanish musician Eduardo Niebla. He has performed or recorded with Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Jools Holland, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Charlie Haden, John McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Steps Ahead, Leo Kottke, and Biréli Lagrène.
Light & Shade (Sol International Records, 1984)
Eurotour 84 (Sol International Records, 1985)
Celebration (Virgin Records Venture, 1987)
Poema (Jazzpoint Records, 1992)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996
Acoustic Revenge (Naim, 1993
Live at Edinburgh Festival (1993)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996) Meet Me In London (Naim, 1998)
Ghetto Paradise (Naim, 1998)
Vento Del Sud (Naim, 2000) Live! (Naim, 2000) Touch Wood (Naim, 2003) Tears Of Joy (Naim, 2005)
Heartplay (Naim, 2006) Sketches Of Africa (Antastic, 2012) Compared To What (Antastic, 2016)
Live! (Inspiration) (2000)
Antonio Forcione Quartet in Concert (2005)
Eme Alfonso, one of Cuba’s most captivating young artists, has a new music video titled “Oroko”.
Oroko is a song dedicated to Oshún, the goddess of the Yoruba pantheon. Eme moves forward the family tradition. Her parents were the founders of one of cuba’s greatest bands, Síntesis. Eme combines Afro-Cuban music with other genres.
The track includes an arrangement performed by Harold López-Nussa and vocals by Sintesis.
Composer, guitarist & ud player Amos Hoffman started as a classical guitar player. On his 8th birthday, his father gave him an ud as a present. He never studied the ud formally but taught himself, and over the years became the talented composer & player he is today.
At the age of 20, he left for New York where he played for several years with top jazz musicians such as Dennis Charles, Avishai Cohen, Sam Newsom (with whom he had also recorded an album), Collins and others. He also recorded an album (for the Spanish Fresh Sound label) with Jorge Rossy, Duane Eubanks and Avishai Cohen.
During his stay in New York, he studied ud and maqam (the Arabic modus) with the famous Lebanese ney & ud player Bassam Saba (who played with Simon Shaheen). After returning home to Israel at the end of 1999, he began to compose the music that would eventually become the tracks on Na’ama, his most recent work. On Na?ama, Hoffman plays homage to the traditions of classical Arabic music the taqasim (improvisation) and the maqam (scales). All 12 tracks are original compositions, inspired by the great Arab composers of the 20th Century. Not completely content to simply play his instruments, he’s also taught himself to build them. To date, he has built several ouds, including the one he plays on Na’ama.
Hoffman has recorded solo albums and collaborated with several artists in Israel and worldwide including Avishai Cohen, Kiko Berenguer (Spain), and Jan Mlynarski (Poland).
In 2013, Amos was awarded one of Israel’s most prestigious prizes – The Landau Prize for Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Jazz.
Hoffman’s album Back to the City follows in the tradition of the great guitarists of the old school, such as Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. Back to the City includes original compositions and standards, with a lineup of old friends bassist Omer Avital, drummer Vince Ector, saxophonist Asaf Yuria, trumpeter Duane Eubanks and special guest Itai Kriss on flute.
Essev Bar is one of Israel’s leading world music bands. The band’s music is a meeting point of musical genres and instruments from different cultures: Africa, Ireland, Australia.
The band released its debut album “Essev Bar” in Israel in 1996. The second album “Prayer for the way” was released internationally in 1998. Essev Bar’s third album “Darbashia” was released in January 2000 and is also distributed internationally.
The band’s Song through the Meadow was released in September 2001. The band tours constantly and successfully all over Israel And abroad.
Essev Bar also made soundtracks for movies on the Israeli Television.
The band tours constantly and successfully all over Israel and abroad.
Essev Bar’s music is influenced by the human diversity and the beautiful nature in the Galilee.
Ori Cohen – Acoustic guitars and lead vocals
Hagai Covesh – Soprano saxophone, flute, recorder, Irish tin whistle, didgeridu, nai, Indian snake charmer’s Flute and more, vocals
Nimrod Nol – Violin
Aviv Ram – Bass guitars, vocals
Yaron Rozenberg – Drums, jembe, darbuka, clay drum, cymbals and more
Doron Lev, Shai Shtreifler – Sound
Essev Bar (Magda, 2000)
Darbashia (Adama Music, 2000)
Song through the Meadow (2001) Prayer for the Way (Magda, 2002)
Light Years (Adama, 2003)
Almora (Primary Music, 2005)
Habrera Hativeet, formed in 1977, played music that has evolved from Sephardic, African and Eastern roots. It was the first group to play Israeli world fusion.
Shlomo Bar, the founder of Habrera Hativeet drew much of his musical inspiration from Biblical as well as modern Israeli themes. “For me,” says Shlomo Bar, “music is something internal without beginning or end. In my music there are elements of prayers, wonder, yearning and messianism.”
Shlomo Bar was the group’s leader, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. Bar was born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1943. He drew much of his musical inspiration from Biblical and modern Israeli themes. On stage, Bar captivated his audience first by a steady beat on the drums, and then by drawing the other musicians into instrumental and vocal harmony. He arranged and composed most of the group’s songs and played drums and flute – all accompanied by vocals.
“With the oriental approach to art,” said Bar, “there has to be continuity between past and present. In my music I try to create this bond to be a link in the chain connecting my parents to my children.”
Menashe Sasson was born in Iran in 1945, where he studied classical Persian music with the famous Santur player Mr Kiu Hagigi. Later on, Menashe continued his studies in the Music Academy of Teheran and played with several orchestras. He plays the Santur, an ancient Persian classical instrument. Menashe emigrated to Israel in 1963 and since has been very active in the music field. He participated at various international festival across the world as a soloist or as member of musical ensemble. In 1980 he played the chant for Santur &Chamber Orchestra composed for Menashe by Tsvi Avni
Moshe Malienkar was born in India. He plays Dolki and Dholak.
Ilan Ben-Ami, the guitarist of Habreira Hativeet, was born in Israel in 1967. He plays the acoustic guitar and specializes in classical Spanish music. As a self taught musician, he has also a very wide theoretical knowledge in classical music. He is a graduate of “Rimon” school of Jazz and Modern Music in Israel. Ilan has been playing with Habreira Hativeet since 1990. Lately, dedicated to his individual musical search, and meeting with senior musicians, Ilan started using the ud and the Turkish Jumboosh.
Yael Offenbach was born in Israel in 1968. She studied tabla at the Indian music department in Dartington College of Arts, U.K. with Pandit Sharda Sahai, the head of the Benares gharana (style) of tabla playing. On her return to Israel in 1992, she joined Habreira Hativeet, adding a new rhythmic touch to the music of the group. Yael participated in the special multimedia program “Habria”. She also accompanied several singers in Israel and participated in combinations of Indian classical music with local musicians of different styles.
Yaacob Segal was born in Jerusalem in 1963. His family has roots in Europe (Lita) and Asia (Urfu) on the Turkish border. He started to play piano and guitar at the age of 15. He graduated from the Rubin Music Academy, in the Jazz department on guitar and bass. In 1999 he started to get involved in Middle-Eastern music playing ud and tur. In 2000 he joined Habreira Hativeet.
Achinoam Nini, better known as Noa, was born in Israel in 1969 but grew up in New York. “When I was 17 years old I went back to Israel and I stayed here. At 18 years I served in the military, since it is obligatory for all in Israel. I spent two years doing performances in the Army band, making hundreds of presentations, often in difficult circumstances and in unpleasant conditions.” After finishing military service, it was clear to Noa that she wanted to dedicate herself to music.
Noa enrolled in a music school for a year, where she met her musical partner, Gil Dor. “Gil is not only a great composer, arranger, guitarist,” says Noa, “he is also a great friend.” The influence of Gil in the duo’s songs is diverse, from the contribution to the lyrics and music to the production and arrangements. “Even though I manage to carry out most of the musical creation, Gil is my second wing“.
In her recordings, Noa sings in English, Hebrew and Yemeni. “Being bilingual is a very complicated subject. For example: In what language do you dream? From what root is poetic inspiration born? For me, although I have been living in Israel for many years, the answer is clear, in English. In the same way, my musical tendencies are more Western than Oriental. I’ve been inspired by musicians like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchel, James Taylor and Leonard Cohen, and in geniuses of poetry like E.E. Cummings“.
When asked to describe her music, Noa says she would rather not have to. “I find that descriptions and definitions are very limited. If my music represents my spirit, why should I cage it? I just hope that my songs reach many people and that they inspire and like them.”
Regarding her album Blue Touches Blue, Noa said: “There is a point on the horizon where the sea and the sky come together. A thin line that takes us to the unknown. Living in Israel we see it a lot and it becomes a point where our dreams and hopes come together. What mystery is hidden behind it? What energy hides behind the silence it encompasses? I have always seen blue touching blue and closing against each other, each powerful and beautiful in its own space. The bright blue sky of happiness, the dark blue sea of pain, or the purely rational and the wildly irrational. I think it is from this meeting point from which all creativity is born.”
Noa has collaborated with musicians from around the world, such as Florent Pagny, Eric Serra, Khaled (France), Maurane (Belgium), Juan Mnauel Serrat, Miguel Bosé, Carlos Núñez (Spain), Peter Maffay (Germany), Pino Daniele, Zuchero (Italy), Sting, Donovan (United Kingdom), Pat Metheny, Al DiMeola, Mike Manieri, Stevie Wonder and Santana (United States). She also collaborated with Palestinian musicians, such as Rim Bana and Amal Murkus.
Noa has raised her voice on numerous occasions for peace, including at the Peace Rally in Tel Aviv in 1995 where Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. She also participated in the White House and in Oslo in special concerts in his memory, both requested by President Bill Clinton. “I will I continue to do everything I can to promote peace in Israel and in the world,” she said.
She collaborated frequently with Nabil, a Palestinian singer from the Italian world music group Radiodervish. The friendship between Nabil and Noa became more solid in 2000 and was made important by the delicate political situation in the Middle East. In July 2000 the town council of Melpignano (in the Province of Lecce, Italy) granted to both singers the Honorary Citizenship for the common engagement for peace. In December they received from the United Nations an invitation to sing together in the Duomo of Monreale (Palermo) in front of the Heads of States. The orchestra that accompanied them was directed by Maestro Nicola Piovani (author of the R. Benigni’s soundtrack La Vita è bella).
The year 2001 was possibly the most important year for Noa, as she witnessed the birth of her first child, Ayehli.
In 2002 Noa participated in the Concert of the Three Cultures that took place in Seville, Spain on September 28.
Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor Live (1991)
Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor (1993) Noa (Geffen Records, 1994) Calling (Geffen Records, 1996)
Achinoam Nini (1997)
Achinoam Nini & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1998) Blue Touches Blue (Geffen Records, 2000)
First Collection, compilation (2001)
Now (Universal Music, 2002)
Noa Gold, compilation (2003)
Noa Live with the Solis Quartet (Universal Music, 2005)
Napoli-Tel Aviv (2006)
Genes & Jeans (Decca, 2008)
There Must Be Another Way, with Mira Awad (More Management, 2009) Noapolis – Noa Sings Napoli (Sud Music, 2011)
The Israeli Songbook (More Management, 2011) Love Medicine (More Management, 2015)
Ofra Haza was one of Israel’s best known female singers. Born on November 19, 1957 in the Hatikva neighborhood in Tel Aviv, Israel, to a Jewish-Yemenite family of 8 brothers and sisters, Ofra was surrounded by traditional culture, music and the beautiful voice of her mother.
Ofra Haza’s talent was first recognized in the children’s theater group she belonged to in her poor Tel Aviv Hatikvah neighborhood. Her manager, Bezalel Aloni, who founded the Hatikva Theater group, discovered her. She earned roles as a soloist from the 1970’s and thereafter her professional career as a singer of popular music was launched.
In 1985 Ofra Haza, released her first international album, Yemenite Songs>, a collection of interpretations of devotional poetry written by 17th-century rabbi, Shalom Shabazi.
Thanks to the vision of English DJs Matt Black and Jonathan More, who sampled Ofra’s voice to add color to the song Paid in Full, by New York rappers Eric B. &Rakim, Ofra’s voice became known worldwide. It was an example of early world beat.
Ofra’s next album, Shaday, continued her international success selling over 1 million copies worldwide and receiving “The New Music Award” for the “International Album of the Year” in New York City on October 26, 1989. Her international tour continuously sold out in Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan. Ofra’s single, “Im Nin Alu,” won 1st place at the Tokyo music festival. In Germany, Ofra won the Tiegra Award (The German Grammy Awards) for singer of the year, and “Im Nin Alu” won song of the year. In 1990 Ofra performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Ofra sang in Hebrew, Aramaic, English and Arabic, covering a wide range of styles, from religious hymns to songs supporting peace in the Middle East peace, with frequent evocations to her people’s past in the Yemenite desert.
In 1992 Ofra’s album Kirya was nominated for the Grammy Awards for the best album in the World Music category.
Ofra’s mystical voice was continuously sought after, as she appeared in many projects including, the soundtracks to the Prince of Egypt (1998), and The Governess (1998), Paula Abdul’s single, “My Love Is For Real,” Sisters of Mercy’s 1992 version of “Temple of Love” (sub-titled—”Touched By The Hand of Ofra Haza”), and the “Give Peace a Chance” video (1991).
Ofra Haza died in Ramat Gan on February 23, 2000 at the age of 41.
Ahava Rishona – First Love (1974)
Vehutz Mizeh Hakol Beseder – Apart from that All Is OK (1976)
Atik Noshan – Ancient Old (1977)
Shir HaShirim Besha’ashu’im – The Song of Songs (1977)
Al Ahavot Shelanu – About Our Loves (1980)
Bo Nedaber – Let’s Talk (1981)
Pituyim – Temptations (Hed Arzi, 1982)
Li-yeladim – Songs for Children (Hed Arzi, 1982)
Hai – Alive (1983)
Shirey Moledet – Homeland Songs (Hed Arzi, 1983)
Bayt Ham – A Place for Me (Hed Arzi, 1984) Yemenite Songs (Shanachie Records, 1984)
Adamah – Earth (1985)
Shirey Moledet 2 – Homeland Songs 2 (Hed Arzi, 1985)
Yamim Nishbarim – Broken Days (1986) Shirey Moledet 3 – Homeland Songs 3 (Hed Arzi, 1987) Shaday (EastWest / Sire, 1988) Desert Wind (Sire, 1989) Kirya (Shanachie Records, 1992)
My Soul- Kol Haneshama (NMC, 1994)
Golden Album (Hed Arzi, 1995) Ofra Haza (BMG Ariola, 1997)
Shirey Moledet, Pt. 3 (Hed Arzi, 1998) Ofra Haza at Montreux Jazz Festival (1998)
Temptations (Hed Arzi, 2003) Earth (Hed Arzi, 2003)
Broken Days (Hed Arzi, 2003)
Homeland Songs A+B (Hed Arzi, 2005)
Aynur Doğan, better known as Aynur, was born in 1975 in Çemisgezek, in the province of Tunceli. She attended ASM Music School in Istanbul, where she studied singing with Begüm Erdem and Askin Metiner. In 2002, her first album, Seyir was released.
Besides taking part in concerts and albums of artists and groups such as Metin-Kemal Kahraman, Grup Yorum, Anjelika Akbar and Orient Expressions, she also performed vocals for television and cinema.
She performed at home and abroad in both Kurdish and Turkish. Her album Keçe Kurdan – Turkish Girl was released by Kalan Music in 2004.
The product of nearly a year’s effort, with arrangements by such master musicians as Aykut Gurel, Serdar Ataser, Kemal Sahir Gurel and Burhan Bayar, Aynur’s Keça Kurdan presented a combination of Turkish and Kurdish folk songs, as well as new compositions. Accompanied by a host of fine musicians, the album was notable for its original arrangements.
With her broad vocal range, Aynur performs both folk songs and improvisations, and her album has proved capable of deeply moving audiences.
Rising quickly to the top of Kurdish music albums, Keça Kurdan received a significant amount of attention, both in the Turkish and world press.
Attaining great success through the song she sang in Kurdish in Yavuz Turgul’s film Gönül Yarasi, Aynur became the first to sing a Kurdish song live in a film shot in Turkey. She was also featured in Fatih Akin’s 2005 documentary film Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul.
In May 2005, Aynur received great interest when she performed in various cities of Holland with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, considered the finest wind ensemble in the country. Later, she gave three concerts in the Festival of Turkey held in Spain in July 2005, alongside such artists as Aksu, Erkan Ogur, Kardeş Türküler, Mercan Dede and Burhan Ocal.
Aynur also performed one song in Kardeş Türküler’s album Bahar (Kalan Muzik, 2005), and two songs in Mikail Aslan’s album, Miraz (Kalan Muzik, 2005). Her album Nûpel was released from Kalan Music at the end of 2005.
Aynur appeared in the 2015 documentary film “The Music of Strangers” about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
On March 16, 2017, Berklee College of Music’s Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute awarded Aynur with the Master of Mediterranean Music 2017 in recognition of her contribution to the preservation of Kurdish folk oral traditions, performing the traditional repertoire and combining it with other modern western styles, opening a new path to this Mediterranean style. Aynur’s faithfulness to traditional Kurdish music, and her perseverance in overcoming big challenges to follow her artistic path, make her an important example for other female artists seeking a creative voice in the Mediterranean music scene.
“To hear Aynur’s voice is to hear the transformation of all the layers of human joy and suffering into one sound. It reaches so deep into our soul, tears into our hearts, and then we are for one moment, joined as one. It is unforgettable!” — Yo-Yo Ma
Aynur, one of the great voices of the eastern Mediterranean, will be touring the United States and Canada in September 2018. Her ensemble includes Salman Gambarov on piano and Cemil Qoçgîrî on tenbur. Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh will be a special guest at New York concert.
Aynur is one of the leading musicians in Turkey. Her music is based on traditional Kurdish folk music, which she combines with Western music. Her lyrics often describe the life and struggles of Kurdish people, specially women. Her recordings include Hawniyaz, Hevra (Together), Rewend and Keçe Kurdan.
Aynur has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Kayhan Kalhor, Javier Limón, Kinan Azmeh, and appeared in the documentary film “The Music of Strangers” about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.