Tag Archives: world fusion

Artist Profiles: Arcángel

Arcángel

While in his early twenties, Arcángel became part of a select group of flamenco singers. He maintains this position because he wants to, because he can and because he knows how to do it.

Francisco José Arcángel Ramos, better known as Arcangel, was born in Huelva in 1977. His family was originally from the town of Alosno, known as the birthplace of fandango and the main source of the province’s rich folklore. At a mere 10 years of age, Arcángel demonstrated an unprecedented command of the local fandango when he took First Prize in a children’s competition organized by a flamenco association in Huelva called “La Orden” (“The Order”). This trophy was the prelude to a long series of honours that would eventually encourage Arcángel to dedicate himself professionally to his passion for singing flamenco.

Arcángel is capable of maintaining control of his singing technique, including compás, voice tuning and musical structure, while broadcasting an endless reverberation of perfectly rounded tones. That’s how you connect! And we’re not talking about his influence in the feminine arena, which we know nothing about, but to his amazing ability to present a cante (flamenco song) in one go, at a slow radiant pace while barely taking a breath.

Without a doubt, he has an Olympic temperament, comparable to the bullfighter’s ability to ‘moderate, adjust and control’ a charging bull. One of Arcángel’s outstanding characteristics is the intelligent way that he updates the traditional styles from his homeland. He revives them by adding infinite melodic overtones and by minimizing constraints.

In 2012, along with Fahmi Alqhai, he received the Giraldillo for Best Music at the Flamenco Biennial of Seville for the show Las idas y las vueltas. In 2015 he released his album “Tablao”. In February 2017 he was awarded the Medal of Andalusia.

[Translated by Rita Granda]

Discography:

Arcángel (Virgin, 2001)
La Calle Perdía ‎(Ediciones Senador, 2004)
De Oscura Llama ‎(Anemos, 2009)
Quijote De Los Sueños (Sony Music, 2011)
Las Idas Y Las Vueltas ˙ Músicas Mestizas ‎(Alqhai&Alqhai, 2012)
Tablao ‎(Universal Music, 2015)
Al Este Del Cante (Universal Music, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Amparo Sánchez

Amparo Sánchez

Amparo Mercedes Sánchez Pérez was born in Alcalá la Real (Jaén) on September 24, 1969. She grew up in Granada.

While in Granada, Amparo Sánchez joined her first band, the Correcaminos (Roadrunners) at 16.

In 1993 she moved to Madrid where she recorded her first album titled “Haces bien” (Fábrica Magnética). Later, she formed the group The Gang.

In 1995, accompanied by her guitar, she performed her own songs and some covers in Madrid’s famed Malasaña neighborhood. Together with La Vacazul, she formed a group called Ampáranos del blues, with which he toured parts of Spain and made her way to France.

Manu Chao and Radio Bemba were living in Malasaña at the time. Amparo married Manu Chao and they stayed married for several years.

Amparo served beer in a bar called Tio Vinagre, a place where musicians jammed on guitars, cajones and bongos. This led to the creation of Amparo’s celebrated mestizo music band Amparanoia.

Amparanoia’s 1997 debut album, El Poder de Machin, had deep Latin American influences.

In 2000, she discovered Mexico’s diverse art and its people: music, painting, Frida Kahlo, Chiapas and the revolutionary movement.

Amparanoia suffered a tragedy in 2004. On Saturday, October 9th, 2004, Amparanoia’s piano player, Caridad Borges, died in a car accident in Camaguey, Cuba. She was driving with her husband, Jose Alberto Varona, Amparanoia’s trumpet player, and her daughter Carirosa. Both Jose and Carirosa were critically injured and fighting for their lives.

In 2005, accompanied by her three musicians, she stayed for one month in the Zapatista community La Realidad. There, she recorded the song Somos viento.

In 2008, she disbanded Amparanoia and decided to continue her career as a soloist.

In 2010, Amparo released her first solo album, Tucson-Habana with an acoustic repertoire composed entirely by herself, with the exception of the song “La Parrandita de las Santas”, by the Cuban composer and singer Mane Ferret. It was recorded in two stages, one in 2007 in Tucson, Arizona and the other in 2009 in Havana, Cuba. The album includes a collaboration with Omara Portuondo.

In 2012 she released Alma de Cantaora, 13 songs that featured various high profile guests: Caléxico; Baby; De Pedro; Mane Ferret; Arianna Puello; Muerdo; Howe Gelb; and Charlat’58 and Bongo Botrako.

In 2014 she released the album Espíritu del sol. That same year Amparo published the book La niña y el lobo.

Amparo ractivated Amparanoia in 2017. The band released ‘
El Coro De Mi Gente ’, a reinterpretation of ‘El Poder de Machín’, the record she released exactly 20 years earlier, and was a landmark in the Spanish music scene of the 1990s.

Discography:

With Amparanoia:

El Poder de Machín (Facedown, 1997)
Feria Furiosa (Facedown, 1999)
Somos Viento (EMI Hispavox, 2002)
Enchilao (EMI Hispavox, 2003)
La Vida Te Da (Via Lactea, 2005)
Seguire Caminando 1996-2006 (Via Lactea, 2008)
El Coro De Mi Gente (Warner Music/Calaverita Records, 2017)

Solo albums:

Tucson-Habana (Via Laceta, 2010)
Alma de Cantaora (Kasba Music, 2012)
Espiritu del Sol (World Village, 2014)

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Artist Profiles: Amalgama

Karnataka College of Percussion

Amalgama was the amazing result of the collaboration between Spanish Flamenco and Jazz musicians and the renowned Karnataka College of Percussion, from India.

The idea behind the project was to blend two cultures with a common background: Gypsy Flamenco (it is believed that Gypsies originally came from India) and Indian music. Flamenco vocals (which have some similarities with Indian vocals), rhythms (especially the palmas or hand clappings) and guitars were mixed with Indian vocals and percussion.

The musicians involved were: T.A.S. Mani (mridangam), Ramamani (Indian vocals, konakol), Sheshikumar (kanjira), Tunsi Beyer (ghatam, tabil), Xavi Turull (tabla, ghatam, berimbau), Juan Parrilla (flute), Jesús Losada (Flamenco guitar), Antonio Ramos (bass), Pau Martinez (congas) and Charo Manzano (Flamenco vocals).

The group only recorded one album titled Encuentro.

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Deeply Intense Indian Fusion

 “Playing With Fire” (7D Media, 2918) by Deep Energy Orchestra is a great example of electric fusion, where Indian classical, progressive rock and jazz find a common ground. The Deep Energy Orchestra is characterized by the mesmerizing sounds of the Warr guitar, exquisite electric violin and masterful tabla.

The Deep Energy Orchestra lineup includes bassist and composer Jason Everett (Mister E), progressive rock virtuoso Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Indian percussion maestro Selvaganesh (John McLaughlin, Masters of Percussion), 7-string violin wonder Radhika Iyer and a Seattle-based classical string ensemble featuring Rachel Nesvig on violin, Aleida Gehrels on viola and Phil Hirschi on cello.

“Playing With Fire” is cutting edge, forward-thinking fusion at its best.

Buy Playing With Fire

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Nitin Sawhney to Present Brexit – A rational anthem for a national tantrum in London

Nitin Sawhney

The debut of Nitin Sawhney’s ‘Brexit’ – A rational anthem for a national tantrum, is scheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Barbican in London. Admission is free.

The show reflects the highs and lows of ‘Brexit Britain’, composed and performed by British Indian musician and composer Nitin Sawhney, members of his band, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) and London Community Voices, conducted by Jonathon Heyward. 

In this new commission, Sawhney considers the state of the nation, focusing on its modern-day elements of multiculturalism, diversity and people. Using his findings from a tour of UK towns and cities, Sawhney will showcase a new ‘anthem’ that he has devised to look away from the past and truly reflect our current society – both in its lyrics and music. Sawhney decided that the piece would be brought to life by the teenage musicians of the NYO – who represent those who will shape the society of tomorrow.

The performance will also feature material from Nitin Sawhney’s back catalogue of 11 solo studio albums: Spirit Dance (1994), Migration (1995), Displacing the Priest (1996), Beyond Skin (1999), Prophesy, Human, Philtre (2005), London Undersound (2008), Last Days of Meaning (2011), OneZero (2013), and Dystopian Dream (2015).

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Interview with Emre Gültekin

Emre Gültekin

Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin recently released Karin, an album that reached number 1 on the January 2019 Transglobal World Music Chart. Emre Gültekin discussed his musical background and Karin with World Music Central.

Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültekin – Karin

How did Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin meet?

One of the first meetings was when we were looking in Brussels for a duduk player for a recording. It was an album project with my father Lutfu Gultekin…So he came, we met and recorded; it was wonderful.

At that time, I was studying sound engineering and there was a class named “soundscape” or something like that. One of our exercises was to put a poem in sound without using music. 

I was often the first student to present my works because we had a home studio in our house. 

So I presented the work which was a poem of Nazim Hikmet and asked Vardan to play duduk.

So the Poem (20th century) was presented with just a voice and duduk in front of the class and the teacher. 

A lot of students were laughing, etc…Then the teacher said ‘Ok! You forgot the main instruction for this work (no music) but your work touched me so much that I will give you 18/20 and if you correct this part by doing this, I will make it 19/20.’

I answered something like “I am ok with 18/20”. After that it was obvious that we would keep in touch through music.

Emre Gültekin and Vardan Hovanissian

What attracted a Belgian with Turkish roots and an Armenian to collaborate?

There is no point for us not to collaborate because of so many common things from food to music.

For me, the “modern Turkish identity” they wanted to create doesn’t mean so much or it is not relevant. Turkey is a mosaic of more than 40 ethnic groups with several languages, which includes Kurdish, Aramaic, Pontos Greek, Armenian, Laz… so much!

Unfortunately, a lot of blood and tragedies accompany their stories.

As in Europe with Bretons, or all the “little communities” which are actually so big for me as the Baul, in India for giving just one example…Sorry for my English.

For Vardan and me particularly, the music is the common language we want to express our feelings… and I think in this attempt the goal is quite appreciated for that we are so grateful to our respective masters… you have some interviews where their names are noted.

For me, Lutfu Gultekin, my father then so lot of so nice musicians. Specially and first from Turkey (one of my main roots), Talip Özkan, Mustafa Karaçeper, Neşet Ertaş, Muharrem Ertaş, Tamburi Cemil Bey, Cengiz Özkan, Engin Arslan, Ertan Tekin.

I want to apologize because there are so many.

Then also here in Europe or India or Africa, America, Far East, Middle-East.

Actually, Muziekpublique based in Brussels or De Centrale based in Gent can give a good idea about the diversity of musical cultures we exchange in Belgium.

My second root is related with Belgium, where I was born. 

So it means through Brussels more than 170 countries… so much diversity who can give so much perspective in the way of musical exchange creations, etc.

At the end, the world is like a village 🙂

Very soon, I hope we can effectively understand the absurdity in so much ideas like borders, papers. Music has to remember that as an artistic point of view of life.

Then there is no point of defining music by “nationality” which is also nonsense. Of course, territorial geographical particularities is relevant. Sometimes even between two neighboring village stylistic differences exist…Particularly for Armenian and Turkish folk music we can say that there is a so large common background through the centuries of living together than we can hope to collaborate with Vardan all our life. As long as breathe, we will perform!

Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültekin

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?

Soul and spirit…feelings…fluidity… all our respective lives in a way… get in our music our hopes to transmit all of this through our music

Whom can you cite as your main musical influences?

I already mentioned some earlier, my father Lutfu Gultekin, and a lot of his colleagues or friends, Talip Özkan, Mustafa Karaçeper, and a lot more. 

Recently I met after 20 years Aynur, for a Kurdish folk project. Through the platform muziekpublique I get the chance to meet a lot of musicians from “world music.” I dislike this categorization of music. A big mistake;-) the categorization.

Vardan has also his own masters (I don’t have the names in memory but you can find through muziekpublique.be His roots related to Armenia so old and deep traditions…so the sound of duduk is printed by all of this…

Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültekin- Adana

Tell us about your previous album Adana and your musical evolution.

Adana is before all the idea to combine some examples from Armenian and Turkish musical cultures. Through this friendship we developed with Vardan. Musically it is a mix I made as I am sound engineer…One of the rules I learned through years it is: less rules or indication or scores…to the musicians…

Just feelings… even the musician cannot understand the deep roots the expression he is giving to the music my role is to catch them and then put together.

And for this process I am so grateful to people with ears so fined tuned as my father Lutfu Gultekin, Cengiz Özkan, Talip Özkan…and many others.

The ear is our main tool; as musician or sound engineer which has to be in fusion (the two functions) if we want to give a chance to the music…to be heard.  Music coming first and before sound engineering (modern way to broadcast “diffuser.”

After Adana and in parallel a lot of projects…

There is no impossibility in music if you are open mind and if you want to share and find a common way. So it is a permanent journey. These are some of the projects: www.amusicjourney.com, www.seyirmuzik.com

A lot of recordings we have also to share, but in this very troubled period in the way they are diffusing consuming music sometimes it is very difficult to find it. Then you give up to think about and continue to play record. Making music is our life.

 You play two traditional Turkish musical instruments, the saz and the baglama. What’s the difference between the two instruments?

Saz is a generic term for all the lute family we can find in Turkey. There is no standard format of this instrument. Each instrument maker has his signature… initially it was like that. Today, industrial mood and process can be used. But I like signatures. 

So baglama is one of the format but in different regions it can represent different instruments. 

Baglama in Aegean part (west) is a cura in another part…More than 40 different ethnic group in Turkey;-)

Complicated a bit, but if you change the perspective to analyze music, it becomes quite ok. 

We can make music with spoon in Greece or Turkey:-)

Who makes your musical instruments?

I never bought instruments. Till today, my father had a very good approach of restoring old saz (as wine it is better older) and we have not this idea of mine, my instrument. Every material things for music is shared as it has to be through music, so in that way we share instruments. 

Also I received some gifts from very good masters. The instrument makers are in Turkey, Central Asia, Iran…Difficult to find here in Europe.

Are you involved in any form of musical education?

After years of “teaching,” you understand if you can go further that there is no point to teach, and maybe we have more to call it sharing…

Also as “teacher,” I learned a lot because new things generally can come also from “students” if the “teacher” is attentive. 

So in that way I was involved a lot but neither in academy or conservatory where they cannot teach the spirit of the saz…Some cultural association.

The masters as considered like were never in institutions or conservatory or academy. Some have opened their own school and sometimes they also the same impact as institutions for music… they empty the music from its own soul or spirit.

That is one of the thing I heard from Talip Özkan and then I experiment in my own musical trip.

So it is continuing like that…Some young people interested they can follow you, then it will depend of their own intention, to be or not actor in musical developments. And how… a lot of questions of course.

If you could gather any additional musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?

There is no impossibility. We can make music with anyone who is close to our feelings. You cannot cheat in music. In that way if the person is sincerely involved to share and express something which is above us, the music, then this one can emerge.

For Adana and Karin it is with double bass percussion and a lot of other instruments. For Karin we invited also a lot of guest: Iranian, Kurdish, Georgian, French, Belgian, and Indian.

Do you have any other upcoming projects to share with us?

Baul meets saz (Indian Baul); Aynur Kurdish; Osuna Trio Silk Road folk; Gultekinler (kalan music); Guo Gan “lune de jade.” And so much more in hard drives 🙂 Easy to get info through internet…

Discography:

Chansons Pour La Fin D’un Jour ‎(Homerecords.be, 2011)
L’exil, Refuge Du Barde, with Lütfü Gültekin ‎(Homerecords.be, 2013)
Adana, with Vardan Hovanissian ‎(Muziekpublique, 2015)
Lune De Jade, with Guo Gan (Homerecords.be, 2016)
Karin (Muziekpublique, 2018)

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Sublimely Gracious NES


NES – Ahlam (ACT Music, 2019)

Ahlam (dream in Arabic) is the beautifully-sculpted new album by NES, a trio of virtuoso musicians based in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain. The ensemble includes multidimensional Spanish percussionist David Gadea, eclectic French cellist Matthieu Saglio and captivating French-Algerian cellist and vocalist Nesrine Belmokh.

NES’ combination of artful cello, light percussion and diverse vocal forms is intensely satisfying. On Ahlam you’ll find masterfully-constructed songs influenced by Arabic music, flamenco, classical music and jazz.

Nesrine Belmokh shifts with ease from American-influenced jazz songs with English vocals to traditional Arabic and flamenco modes.  

The lineup includes Nesrine Belmokh on vocals and cello (on tracks 3 & 7); Mathieu Saglio on cello and vocals; and David Gadea on percussion.

Buy Ahlam

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Artist Profiles: Vladiswar Nadishana

Vladiswar Nadishana

Vladiswar Nadishana is a Russian multi-instrumentalist and composer, who creates his own path in music, design, dancing, rites and other life processes.

His music style is ethnic fusion, ethnic jazz or world fusion – the creative synthesis of different musical traditions of the world on the basis of contemporary technologies.

In 1990, along with studying at the Cinema Engineers Institute in Saint Petersburg, Vladiswar Nadishana began his self-education in playing guitar. Then he mastered other instruments like fretless bass guitar, sitar, mandola, chanzy, jew’s harp, ethnopercussion (darbuka, jembe, kalangu, udu, frame drums); winds (bansuri, quena, kalyuka, zhaleyka, gayda). In addition, he has created some experimental musical instruments: dzuddahord, pruzhingum, plastrimbaphon, rablorrum, ghostcatcher, pin-sansa, spring-pivot-gamelan, banbang (beer and coffee-tins), etc.

In 1991 he founded his first group Soulbuilding Society together with Lavrenty Mganga, then he played in Ensemble Ri,with Lavrenty and Youl (1996). He also launched two other projects with Youl: phonic Duet (1994) and The Fourth Race (2001).

2000 -was the foundation year of a trio Russian-Tuvan Karma Knot with a throat singer from Tuva, Ayas Holazhyk. Vladiswar also played in the group Capercaillies at the Treshold of Eternity.

In Berlin he worked with famous ethno DJ Genetic Drugs and with Ramesh Weeratunga, a musician from Sri Lanka . All these groups and artists create music based on an experimental synthesis of musical traditions from all over the world (ethno jazz, ethno fusion, new world music etc.)

Since 2000 Vladiswar lives in Tibercul, the biggest ecovillage of the world. There he established The Department of Sound Microsurgery (DSM) . DSM is a creative research laboratory, tackling a wide variety of project: from mastering unknown ancient musical instruments to investigating the influence of modern sound electronics on the human energy structure. The Department researches also how musical instruments influence the consciousness and inner organs of the human body (the project Move Your Chakra!).

V. Nadishana created several solo albums in his own studio, recording with a computer, using a multi-track overdubbing method. Vladiswar possesses a big collection of musical instruments (more than 100) from different parts of the world.

He is laureate of the international festivals Ustuu-Huree, The Sayan Ring and New Songs of the Old Lands, and he is also the founder of the ethnofestival Free of Karma Zone.

Discography:

Takku Ta Tei (2000)
Penetration Into Substance (Sound Microsurgery Department, 2001)
The Traditional Music of Ancient Kuzhebar Aboriginies (2005)
Kuckhermann Duo, Vladiswar Nadishana, David Kuckhermann – Live At The Moscow Hang Festival (Sketis Music, 2012)

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Stunning Scottish Rajasthani Synthesis

Shooglenifty and Dhun Dhora – Written in Water (Shoogle Records, 2018)

Written in Water is a fascinating collaboration between Scottish music innovators Shooglenifty and acclaimed Rajasthani ensemble Dhun Dhora. It’s a captivating fusion that brings together the Celtic traditions of Scotland and the music of Rajasthan (India). The album was recorded at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and in Craigrothie, Scotland.

Shooglenifty and Dhun Dhora had been collaborating for a few years and decided it was time to make an album together. The plan was to record at Mehrangarh Fort in 2016. The fort is one of the wonders of the world. It’s the former palace of the Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur that includes one of the most important museums in India.

Sadly, a member of each band passed away so plans were postponed. Shooglenifty’s fiddler Angus R Grant died on October 2016 of cancer. Then in February 2017 the band was informed that Dhun Dhora’s dholak player Roshan Khan had died in a traffic accident.

With assistance from Divya Bhatia of Jodhpur Riff, a music festival held in the Fort each year, Shooglenifty got the permits from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and HH Maharaja Gaj Singhji to record in the Fort.


Shooglenifty and Dhun Dhora – Written in Water

Shooglenifty arrived to India in September 2017 with producer Ben Seal and met with their Indian colleagues Dhun Dhora. Both ensembles contributed melodies and songs. They rehearsed and recorded in the 17th century Chokelao Palace, previously the Maharaja’s guest quarters.

The album pays tribute to the two musicians who died before the recording by featuring performances on two tracks recorded earlier.

The lineup on the album includes:

Shooglenifty: Angus R Grant on fiddle (track 1); Ewan MacPherson on mandolin, tenor banjo, jaw harp; Garry Finlayson on acoustic and electric 5-string banjos, EBow; James Mackintosh on drums, percussion, bass; Kaela Rowan on vocals; Malcolm Crosbie on guitars; Quee MacArthur on bass; and Laura Jane Wilkie on fiddle (tracks 2 – 8).

Dhun Dhora: Chanan Khan Manganiyar on dhol, dumbek; Dayam Khan Manganiyar on vocals, harmonium; Ghafoor Khan Manganiyar on khartal; Latif Khan Manganiyar on bhapang, morchang; Pyaru Khan Manganiyar on dhol; Roshan Khan Manganiyar on vocals (track 3); Sardar Khan Langa on sarangi, vocals; Sattar Khan Manganiyar on dhol; and Swaroop Khan Manganiyar on dhol, dholak.

Written in Water is an innovative and refreshing album where the music of two ancient and distant cultures come together with ease.

Buy the CD from beloud.co/shop/en/shooglenifty or the digital version from amazon.

headline photo: left to right: Swaroop Khan (dhol), Kaela Rowan (vocals), Quee MacArthur (bass), Sattar Khan (dhol), James Mackintosh (drums), Sardar Khan (sarangi), Ewan MacPherson (mandolin), Dayam Khan(vocals), Latif Khan (morchang), Ghafoor Khan (khartal), Channan Khan(dhol), Laura Wilkie (fiddle), Malcolm Crosbie (guitar), Pyaaru Khan (dhol).

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Alma Latina’s Tribute to African Diaspora


Julio Montoro y Alma Latina  – Black Roots

Julio Montoro y Alma Latina  – Black Roots (Tumi Music, 2018)

Cuban guitarist and composer Julio Montoro and his band Alma Latina dedicate Black Roots to the African-rooted music of South America , the Caribbean and North America.

Black Roots features one of the rising stars in Cuban music, vocalist Dayana Botello as well as guest appearances by Congolese guitarist Papa Noel and vocalist Nolita Golding.

The album is a multifaceted set that includes an effervescent mix of reggae, Afro-Cuban, funk, hip-hop, Cuban son and salsa. Unfortunately, a very melodic smooth jazz saxophone appears throughout the album. It may make the music more accessible to wider audiences, but it also makes it less appealing if you are seeking fiery Cuban music.

The lineup includes Dayana Botello on lead vocals and chorus; Julio Montoro on guitars, chorus and keyboards; Roger Reina on bass;  Yosvany Betancourt on drums, congas and  timbales; Ivan Reyes on percussion; Juan Lázaro Pompa Zamora on piano; Abel Hernández on alto and soprano saxophone; Juan Kemell on trumpet and chorus; Raul Hernandez on congas; Amaury Balzan on double bass; Leonardo Milian on piano; Javier Chacon on piano and keyboards;  Osmel Cuellar on tenor saxophone; Osmel Cruz on tres; Nolita Golding on vocals;  Papa Noel on guitar in Sambembere; Jose Luis Hernandez (El chewi) on tenor saxophone; and Esteli Roz and Maydenis Palomino on chorus.

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