The Recording Academy unveiled today the nominees for the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The Nominees in the Best World Music Album category are:
Gece by Altin Gün
What Heat by Bokanté & Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley
African Giant by Burna Boy
Fanm D’ayiti by Nathalie Joachim with Spektral Quartet
Celia by Angelique Kidjo
For a complete nominations list, go to www.grammy.com
Innovative Cuban musician and composer Roberto Fonseca has a new album titled Yesun. It is a project where he brings together a wide range of musical influences, such as Cuban traditions, jazz, classical music, funk, reggaeton and electronic music. Fonseca also used various keyboards aside from piano, including synthesizers. Roberto Fonseca talked to World Music Central about Yesun and his career.
How and when did you start working professionally in the music world?
I started at age 15 at jazz festivals and jazz clubs in Havana.
What do you think are the fundamental elements of your musical style?
Spirituality, melody, rhythm and feeling.
How has your musical expression evolved over the years?
Thanks to the diverse influences, I have followed the philosophy of “Express more with less notes” and this has made me enter into very special sound dimensions.
Tell us a little about Yesun.
Yesun is an album that reflects my influences, my way of thinking. There are many real stories inside and it has a great emotional charge. They have a great strength of hope and sensitivity and is the result of a hard work of several years that has been simmering and I have surrounded myself with great professionals, both musicians, singers, technical team and production.
It is a very broad project that not only stays in music since we have also worked in the visual parts, and I do not only refer to video clips (shortly we will release the second single / video clip of the song Cadenas (featuring Danay Suarez) but also the production of live videos. Each song has a visual that expresses the feeling of the song, this can be seen in my concerts; similarly, we have created a poster designed exclusively for each venue (something totally unique) and the Tour apparel has been designed for us by a great designer from Barcelona called Josep Abril.
Returning to the album, it is a work in which I combine different genres and incorporate more types of keyboards. I try to show that most modern Cuba through jazz.
Yesun’s songs have been recorded in several different countries: France, Spain, Brazil, the United States. Why did you use several recording studios and is there a difference between the material according to the studio and country?
Most of the album was recorded in Paris, in Meudon’s studio (with Julien Besséres) the material they have is magnificent and there is a very familiar atmosphere that allows creativity to have incredible freedom and spontaneity.
The guests have recorded in their countries of residence. Today, thanks to technology, it is easier to make this type of collaboration without having to make a complicated trip and I also consider it very important that each person who brings their color and sound feel comfortable where they are, I think you can give a very positive sense to the contribution of your culture on the disc.
In your album Yesun you play several types of keyboards. How do you decide which instrument you will use in each theme? Which one do you like the most?
Indeed, it is just what I said earlier about the incorporation of new keyboards, it really depends on the sound of each instrument and according to the spirit of the track I choose one or the other. For example I love the sound diversity of the Moogs.
In addition to playing keyboards, you also sing without lyrics, a style similar to what Pedro Aznar did with Pat Metheny. What are your influences on the vocal side and do you plan to record your voice more?
Actually, my biggest influence in this vocal aspect is my mother Meredes Cortes, although I also have a lot of influence from Abbey Lincon and to name other great ones that I admire would say Camarón de la Isla, Freddy Mercury, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo…
Do you give classes or workshops?
There was a time that I taught jazz and traditional Cuban music, but for a few years now I am 100% dedicated to my career.
Where do you live now?
In Havana, Cuba.
If you could bring together the musicians or groups that fascinate you most to record a record or collaborate live, who would you call?
Ibrahim Ferrer, Miles Davis, Cachaíto Lopez, Dexter Gordon, Regina Carter, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Jack DeJohnette, etc. The list can be endless.
What other projects are working on?
One with symphony orchestra, soundsystem, with Joe Claussell.
More about Roberto Fonseca
The 2019 Latin Grammy Awards ceremony took place yesterday, November 14, 2019. We feature here the list of winners in roots music categories that are generally included under the world music umbrella.
Album Of The Year
El Mal Querer – Rosalia (Sony Music Entertainment España)
Best Salsa Album
Mas De Mi – Tony Succar (Unity Entertainment)
Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album
Yo Me Llamo Cumbia – Puerto Candelaria & Juancho Valencia (Merlín Producciones/Peermusic)
Best Traditional Tropical Album
Andrés Cepeda Big Band (En Vivo) – Andrés Cepeda (Sony Music)
Best Contemporary/Tropical Fusion Album
Literal – Juan Luis Guerra 4.40 (Universal Music Latino)
Best Tropical Song
Kitipun – Juan Luis Guerra, songwriter (Juan Luis Guerra 4.40) (Universal Music Latino)
Best Folk Album
Tiempo Al Tiempo – Luis Enrique + C4 Trio (Chazz Music/ Empire Records)
Best Tango Album
Revolucionario – Quinteto Astor Piazzolla (East 54 Entertainment)
Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album
Jazz Batá 2 – Chucho Valdés (Mack Avenue Music Group)
Best Samba/Pagode Album
Mart’nália Canta Vinicius De Moraes – Mart’nália (Biscoito Fino)
Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album
OK OK OK – Gilberto Gil (Biscoito Fino)
Best Portuguese Language Roots Album
Hermeto Pascoal E Sua Visão Original Do Forró – Hermeto Pascoal (Scubidu Music)
For the complete list of winners, go to Latin Grammys
headline image: cover of Kitipun – Juan Luis Guerra
Folk Alliance International has hired Jay Gilman in the role of Ethno USA Project Manager. Ethno is JM International’s 30-year-old program designed to revive and keep alive global cultural heritage through international peer-to-peer music camps.
Working from the Kansas City office as a member of the Folk Alliance International staff, and reporting to JMI’s Belgium-based Global Ethno Program Coordinator Suchet Malhotra, Jay will be responsible for coordinating all of the logistics related to producing an annual two-week long international music camp for young adults in the United States.
A Kansas City native, Jay grew up immersed in music, theater, and dance. An M.Sc. graduate of Nonprofit Leadership at UPenn, and an MPA Social Enterprise Fellow of the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore, Jay has been an independent arts consultant for over a decade, with a specific interest in cross-cultural collaboration. He spent five years as the Associate Director for Programs & Productions for Philadelphia Young Playwrights and most recently served three years as the Artistic Director of the Minnesota Fringe.
Regarding his new role, Jay said, “I believe that art remains one of the few forces that can truly change our world.”
More about JM International Ethno.
Rachid Taha – Je Suis Africain (Naïve/Believe, 2019)
Rachid Taha, a leading figure in modern Algerian and French music died in late 2018. Je Suis Africain is a posthumous album with material Taha was working on before he passed away.
Je Suis Africain encompasses many of the wide-ranging influences that characterized Rachid Taha’s music: rock, Algerian rai, Arabic and Arab-Andalusian orchestral arrangements, West African rhythms, blues, Congolese rumba, French chanson, spaghetti western-style influences, Spanish music, and Gnawa trance music.
Taha’s lyrics were a mix of passion, African pride and social justice. The songs on Je Suis Africain are in Arabic, French, Spanish (sung by Flèche Love, aka Amina Cadelli, a Swiss-Algerian vocalist) and, for the first time, in English.
Je Suis Africain is a remarkable cross-genre album by an iconic bohemian artist who created music rooted in African traditions and western rock as well.
Buy Je Suis Africain
World music festival WOMAD Gran Canaria-Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will present 32 artists from four continents November 7-10, 2019 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
The international lineup includes Ghanaian artist Pat Thomas, Brazilian diva Dona Onete, Iranian-born Afghan Elaha Soroor with the duo Kefaya, Altin Gün, DJ Mam, Hanggai, Jungle by Night, Nayaband, Sofiane Saidi & Mazaldd, Tupinamba and Trans Sound Kabar.
The Spanish mainland artists this year are Novedades Carminha, Lorena Álvarez and The Limboos.
The concerts will take place at the Santa Catalina and Boulevard stages and the emerging Canary Islander artists will have their own space LPAJuventud @ WOMAD, at the Plaza de Canarias.
The Canary Island’s presence includes six groups and soloists at the two main stages: Althay Páez, Atlántida, Birkins with Álvaro Suite, Fajardo, Lajalada and Toto Noriega.
Among the fortnight of planned activities, a set of film screenings with seven feature films and three short films will show contemporary visions of Africa.
There will be dancing and percussion in the workshops for adults and children that will be taught by Peruvian Mariella Köhn with percussionist Walter Sánchez.
The commemoration of the arrival of man on the moon will be disseminated in various activities of the Elder Museum and in children’s workshops.
“It is an artistic roster that perfectly condenses the essence of WOMAD and that will offer a magnificent sound and cultural map of the world in a unique communion of tradition and innovation, because culture is history, but also evolution, and that responds to this programming ”, assured festival director Dania Dévora in her presentation.
The mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo, expressed his happiness for the new edition of the festival: “We are tremendously happy with this new edition, to which the Government of the Canary Islands finally joins more firmly. We also add value with a new stage for emerging bands that was born from an initiative of the City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria through its Department of Youth ”, referring to the new emerging bands stage, LPAJuventud @ WOMAD.
Likewise, the president of the Cabildo (island government) de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, expressed his commitment to the WOMAD festival, which he has described as one of the “great events” national and international. “There are no events of the transcendence of multiculturalism like WOMAD,” he said.
Finally, the president of the Canary Islands regional Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, expressed his delight to contribute to the celebration of this festival that has, in his words, “a transcendence that exceeds music, as it contains values that we share, of multiculturalism, inclusion and also has great economic value for the city and the island.”
American world music showcase globalFEST 2020 is set to take place on January 12, 2020 at the Copacabana club in Manhattan, New York.
The globalFEST 2020 lineup includes:
– Ak Dan Gwang Chil (South Korea): Korean shamanic music
– Bohemian Betyars (Hungary): speed-folk (NY debut)
– Cheikh Lô (Senegal): spiritual West African folk
– La Chica (Venezuela/France) Introspective electro pop (USA debut)
– Les Amazones d’Afrique (France): West African female supergroup (USA debut)
– Meklit (Ethiopia/USA): Ethiojazz
– Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas (Louisiana/USA): accordion-driven Creole dance music
– San Salvador (France): (USA debut) French polyphonies and percussion
– Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda (Algeria/France): Raï (USA debut)
– Tufan Derince (Kurdistan/Netherlands): Electric Kurdish wedding songs (USA debut)
– Xenia França (Brazil): Afrofuturistic Bahian soul
– Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet/USA): Songs, chants and prayers by iconic vocalist
More at globalFEST
The 2019 Jeonju International Sori Festival took place October 2-6 in Jeonju, a city located in southwestern South Korea. The festival is held in a exquisitely-designed, comfortable performing arts complex called Sori Arts Center of Jeoballuk-do that includes various indoor theaters and several outdoor stages.
The 2019 edition of the Jeonju International Sori Festival focused on wind instruments. Due to an approaching typhoon (that thankfully weakened), the outdoor events on October 2nd were cancelled. The official program started October 2nd with a grand gala at 7:30 p.m. at the elegant and restful Moak Hall with Wish on the Winds, featuring master Instrumentalists and singers from around the globe.
The show started with Mazurka on the Wind, a lively performance by the great Polish contemporary folk group Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, joined by wind instrumentalist Manu Sabate from Barcelona, Spain. Next came Sujeon Variations, another highlight, with the United Youth Wind orchestra of Jeollabuk-go. This was a magnificent group of 200 young school students playing a variation of Sujecheon (Korean court music) on wind and percussion instruments.
Sacred music was represented by the gorgeous vocals of Georgia’s Iberi Choir and the Buddhist ritual music of Jeonbuk Yeongsan Jakbeop Preservation Society, joined by organist Miyeon.
The Ethnic Innovation segment showcased two talented Taiwanese artists, suona master Tseng chien-yun and Chung Pei-yun. They were followed by The Songs of the Forest with bamboo flute virtuoso Won Janghyun and his students.
The opening show also included spectacular dance, represented by three diverse styles: flamenco from Spain performed by Spain-based Mexican dancer Karen Lugo, Korean traditional artist Cho Sehoon and belly-dancing by Dominika Suchecka.
The show ended with a wind instrument extravaganza conducted by musician and composer Park Jechun, Commissioner of the Jeonju International Sori Festival. The show highlighted various instrumentalists and ended in a freeform improvisation. The lineup included Kang Taehwan on saxophone; Won Janghyeon on bamboo flute; piri master Choi Gyeongman; Tibetan flutist Nawang Kechog; Janusz Pruzinowski; Manu Sabaté; and Anders Harberg.
On Thursday, October 3rd, I got to see a pansori performance for the first time. Pansori is a captivating traditional Korean art form that brings together poetry, storytelling and music. The format includes one singer/narrator (male or female) and a drummer that keeps a steady beat and engages with the singer with encouragement calls.
Pansori includes only 5 stories and fans known them well. I attended the Sugungga performance, featuring two renowned masters. As you can imagine, now knowing Korean is a barrier to understanding the nuances of the story. However, the festival provided a guidebook in Korean and English that helped follow the story. Additionally, this performance showed the texts in Korean and English projected on several walls.
The Sarungga story is very fun to follow. This performance included two masters. Lee Nancho and Lim Hyeonbin.
Later in the day, the Jeokbyeokga pansori was performed by Song Sunseop and Lee Jaram. The other three pansoris took place October 5th and 6th, featuring JoTongdal, Yu Taepyeongyang, Kim Yeongja, Choi Hyeonju, Kim Myeongsin and Jeong Sanghee.
The pansori tradition is carried forward by a new generation of performers. Five artists appeared in the Young Pansori Five Batangs set: Lee Sung-hyun, Kim Yulhee, Jeong Yunhyeong, Choi Jandi and Gwon Songhee.
There is a lot to see during the afternoon and evening. Some of the highlights on October 3, in addition to pansori, included a workshop/concert by the magnificent Georgian ensemble Iberi Choir; and Korean fusion group Tannemotion, winners of the 2013 KB Sori Award.
The most popular event that night by far in terms of audience was the Starlight K-pop ticketed show at the Open Air Theater. The performance included artists loved by all generations, including Korean rock stars BooHwal and pop singers Jeong Hunhee, Choi Seongsu, Hong Gyeongmin and Park Migyeong.
Later came an entertaining workshop by the Polish group Janusz Prusinowski Kompania followed by a concert by Polish act Masala Soundsystem, who delivered a mix of global sounds, electronics and ragga/rap.
One of the best evening concerts was the performance by Tuareg group Tamikrest, an enthralling southern Algeria-based desert blues band formed by Malian musicians and French band members
The final concert on October 3rd was by Tres Bonbon, a Korean Afropop band that fuses Asian melodies and African rhythms. The group includes Korean musicians Giwan Seong; Doyeon Kim; Haneul Kim; and Yunhee Choi; along with Amidou Balani Diabate from Burkina Faso.
October 4th started with several shows for children, included traditional Korean puppetry. There were also workshops by Swedish wind instrument virtuoso Anders Hagberg; Ensemble Selene, a band featuring members from Korea and Argentina; and various percussion workshops.
In the afternoon there were more percussion workshops and the continuation of the Young Pansori Five Batangs series. This time the setting was the relaxed Cypress Forest stage in the woods. The audience enjoyed the show sitting on benches, lawn chairs and resting on hammocks. Young master Jeong Yunhyeong performed the Jeokbyeokga pansori.
In the late afternoon, there was a spectacular show of nongak, Korean rural folk music performed by the drummers, percussionists and acrobatic dancers of Jeonjeup Nongak. The integrated ensemble includes men and women playing various types of drums and gongs led by a loud horn.
Ogando, another winner of an earlier edition of the Sori Frontier contest, performed at 6:00 p.m. It is an all-female Korean fusion group.
An evening highlight was the first episode of the Sacred Music Series at Yeonji Hall. The concert featured the marvelous Georgian ensemble Iberi Choir and the Korean Jeonbuk Yeongsan Jakbeop Preservation Society. The Iberi Choir delivered a beautiful set of songs from Georgia’s ancient Christian tradition along with ballads, legendary tales and lullabies. The Jeonbuk Yeongsan Jakbeop Preservation Society performed a charismatic traditional Buddhist ceremony to guide the souls of the departed to heaven.
Next came the Asia Sori Project 2019. It is an international artist residency program in Jeonju that brings together Asian musicians. The artists in 2019 included Sosorbaram Enkhtur (Mongolia) on morin khuur and khoomei; Enkhjin Oyuntsetseg (Mongolia) on bishguur; Duy Nguyen Quang (Vietnam) on dan nhi; Tho Nguyen (Vietnam) on dan tam thap luc; Vishwa Bharath (India) on urumi and parai; Zulfikar Rizki Ananda (Indonesia) on talempong and katindik; Eunyoung Jin on pansori(Korea); Jun-Young Noh (Korea) on percussion; Jihoon Kwon (Korea) on percussion. Jae-Hyo Chang: Music Director. Miyeon: Composer.
The show Song of Masters ‘Ways of Winds’ took place at 8:00 pm in Moak Hall. The program included Kang Taehwan on saxophone; Kang Sungwon on songs; Anders Hagberg on flute; Lee Changseon on large bamboo flute; Nawang Khechog on Tibetan flute; Yeo Mido on improvised dance; and Tseng Chien-yun on suona, saenghwang, zither.
Next came another performance by Janusz Prusinowski Kompania accompanied by Manu Sabaté.
The last show featured Akdan Gwangchil, a group that performs a modernized version of the music of Hwanghae-do (the western provinces of North Korea) combined with electronics.
The program on October 5th started with Janusz Prusinowski Kompania’s workshop in the Cypress Forest followed by a children’s theater event.
In the afternoon, French brass band Imperial Kikiristan entertained the public with a fun mix of Balkan and popular classics and humorous sketches targeting the audience, especially children.
The pansori series continued with Choi Jandi‘s Young Pansori Five Batangs Hyun Joo.
The Sori Frontier contest took place at 3:00 p.m. This contest showcased three innovative young Korean acts that fuse Korean music and other elements. Read the news story about the contest here.
The excellent Sacred Music II series presented a set of western classical music works along with new works by Korean artists performed by renowned cellist Sung-won Yang & TIMF Ensemble. The second half introduced the Araetnyeok Suryukjae Preservation Society with a Buddhist ceremony from the Youngnam region that comforts the dead souls remaining on the land and in the water.
The Jeonbuk Nongak showcased the dazzling farmer’s folk music of Gochang Nongak.
Sanjo Night featured two wind instrument maestros, Choi Gyeongman on flute and Won Janghyeon on large bamboo flute at Moak Hall. They were joined by Yu Jisuk and Jang Munhee on vocals and Kim Gyuhyeong on drum.
The highly polished Modern Maori Quartet crooners presented a set of Maori classics. The group includes James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora.
The enthralling Tuareg sounds of Tamikrest returned for an additional live performance in the evening.
Sunday events started at 11:00 a.m. with a series of workshops by Jin Yun Kyong. Maori Quartet along with activities for children.
Brass band Imperial Kikiristan amused the outdoor audience one more and was followed by two pansori performances: Young Pansori Five Batangs with Gwon Songhee at the Cypress Forest and Pansori Five Batangs with Kim Myeongsin and Jeong Sanghee at Moak Hall.
Iri Nongak provided a dynamic show that included music and choreography.
Korean fusion band The Tune, winner of the 2014 Sori Award, delivered a great performance with a mix of traditional Korean sounds and musical instruments such as haegeum and drums combined with keyboards and vocals.
Next came Janusz Prusinowski Kompania with another set of beautiful contemporary Polish folk music.
The festival ended with the animated closing show called Rock and Sinawi, bringing together hard rock and sinawi (traditional Korean music). The stage featured a mix of traditional Korean and rock musicians, conducted by festival commissioner Park Jechun. Park is also drummer and he joined in on a second drum set for a few minutes, delivering one of the most spectacular moments of the show.
In terms of food, there are lots of options in the festival grounds and nearby, as well as in the hotels area, including the bibimbap (rice with sautéed and seasoned vegetable with chili sauce, available with or without meat), kimchi, bulgogi, various types of soups and noodles. The festival area also has several cafes where you can get some fod, coffee, tea and other beverages, and sweets.
While in Jeonju, a must see is Hanok Village. There, you will find traditional Korean buildings, gift stores, restaurants and temples.
You can get to Jeonju via high speed train or by bus, directly from the Seoul airport.
Special thanks to the staff at Jeonju Sori Festival, specially Joy, Han Ji-young, Park Je Chun and our interpreters Rachel and Rose Lee.
Afrosideral – El Olimpo de los Orishas (Wonderwheel Recordings, 2019)
El Olimpo De Los Orishas is an irresistible global electronica album by Cuban musician Kumar Sublevao-Beat also known as Afrosideral. A former rapper, Kumar embraced world music when he moved to Spain. El Olimpo de los Orishas is a superb tribute to Yoruban music and deities that are present in some parts of Cuba and Brazil.
Kumar combines cutting edge electronic beats and samples; Afro-Cuban chants; Cuban and Brazilian rhythms rooted in African traditions; electric guitars and bass; and more.
El Olimpo De Los Orishas includes an impressive cast of Cuban and Brazilian musicians: Ariel Brínguez, Martín Meléndez, Jurandir Santana, Dreiser Durruthy, Sexto Sentido, Doctor Matanza and Arema Arega.