Tag Archives: world music

Riad Abdel-Gawad – Words of Peace (Medan Elmusica, 2019)

Riad Abdel-Gawad – Words of Peace

Riad Abdel-Gawad – Words of Peace (Medan Elmusica, 2019)

U.S.-based Egyptian composer, violinist and educator Dr. Riad Abdel-Gawad creates music that acknowledges the oneness of humanity. His new album Words of Peace comes out at a very difficult time for Riad Abdel-Gawad and his family. Their home was destroyed during the catastrophic Woolsey fire in 2018. Luckily, the CDs manufactured for this release were stored in a warehouse.

Riad Abdel-Gawad traveled to Cairo to record this album. There, he worked with 17 vocalists, chanters and instrumentalists. Words of Peace is a world music album that contains new musical compositions with elements of western oratorio and eastern wasla and nuba musical suite traditions.

Words of Peace proposes healing, spiritual and practical implements to our current-day existential predicament, delivering a social critique of the human species’ racism, corruption, and materialism, as well as its climate change disaster that directly affected Riad’s life.

The CD tells the story of humanity through Adam and Eve; speaks about the wisdom from religions actions againust racism; tells the little heard story in the West about Prophet Mohamed’s striving towards peace through the activism of politics, as well as speaks about the plight of our planet and its inhabitants through contemporary Arabic ands Nibian (African) poetry,” says Riad Abdel-Gawad . “This time there are also some incredibly improvised solos from singers, chanters and instrumentalists.”

Words of Peace is a beautifully-crafted, gracefully elegant album, highlighting Riad Abdel-Gawad’s mastery as a musician and composer. He’s joined by a outstanding ensemble of top talent from Egypt’s Arabic and Nubian traditions.

The CD booklet includes a striking cover, booklet and inside-tray art from two female contemporary Arab artists: Carelle Hosmsy and Behia Shehab. The liner notes contain fascinating details in Arabic and English.

Personnel: Riad Abdel-Gawad on violin; Ahmed Asteeka on electronic keyboard; Yaser Ontar on vocals; Mohamed Atef on kawala (flute); Mohamed Foda on nay; amal Ibrahim on vocals; Moustafa Abdel-Khalek on qanun; Taha essayad on cello; Islam El Qasabgy on oud; Ashraf Issam on riqq and duff; Hussein Darweesh on bass; and Khaloud Adel (soprano), Rahma Adel (alto) and Mohamed Khaked (tenor) on chorus.

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Artist Profiles: Collettivo Decanter

Collettivo Decanter

Collettivo Decanter was formed in Turin in 2012 by vibraphonist and keyboardist Marta Caldara (Syndone, Extremadura), guitarist Marco Perona (Mystical Trio), vocalist Alessia Galeotti (Jazz Art Orchestra, Gipsy Soul, Organic Quartet) and multi-instrumentalist and composer Vincent Boniface (L’Orage, TocTocToc, Pitularita, Extremadura) with the intention of creating of their own musical compositions, including songs and instrumental.

The ensemble skillfully mixes the deep traditional transalpine folk music with soulful flamenco soul and jazz vocals. The result is a multifaceted world music project that explores various rhythms and melodies.

The first album, Aria con da capo was released in 2012.

Emilia d’Hercole is the second album (Visage Music) featuring a mature quartet with an intense Mediterranean sound.

Collettivo Decanter –

The lineup in 2019 included Alessia Galeotti on vocals; Marta Caldara on piano; Marco Perona on guitar; and Vincent Boniface on accordion and winds.

Discography:

Aria con da capo (Dodicilune, 2012)
Emilia d’Hercole (Visage Music, 2018)

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Tuscan Sea Tales of Pirates and Witches

Collettivo Decanter – Emilia d’Hercole (Visage Music, 2018)

Emilia d’Hercole is the second album by Italian ensemble Collettivo Decanter. Emilia d’Hercole is dedicated to stories about the sea, tales of navigation, love, pirates, devils and witches that come from the folk tradition of the Tuscan archipelago.

Collettivo Decanter – Emilia d’Hercole

Collettivo Decanter plays captivating music with a Mediterranean flavor, incorporating Italian folk elements, Spanish flamenco, jazz vocal stylings, Brazilian music and African kalimba.

The title of the album makes reference to a Christian woman from Elba (Italy) that was captured by Ottomans as a slave during a Barbary pirate raid.  She was later rescued after a Spanish and Italian city state fleet attacked Tunisia and freed thousands of Christian slaves.

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WOMEX Announces First Set of 2019 World Music Showcases

The World Music Expo (WOMEX) has unveiled the first set of official jury-selected showcase artists scheduled to perform in Tampere, Finland, October 23 – 27, 2019.

Marina Satti – Photo by Penelopi Gerasimou

The 2019 selection thus far represents a wide-range of world music genres and styles: new tango, urban-edged Senegambian sabar drums, polyphonic vocal tradition of Georgia; the fiddles of Finland,  Brazil’s ‘Queen of Carimbó’; an Iranian orchestra,  Sindhi sarangi fiddle from Rajasthan deser, Korean pansori singing , reggae, sacred steel guitar gospel blues and more.

Lakha Khan (India) – Photo by Shiv Ahuja

The first set of jury-selected WOMEX 19 Showcase artists are:

3MA: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi, Rajery (Mali/Morocco/Madagascar)

Arat Kilo w/ Mamani Keita & Mike Ladd (Mali/USA/France)

Bani Hill Band (Georgia)

Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa)

Dona Onete (Brazil)

Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala (Finland)

El Cachivache Quinteto (Argentina)

Fofoulah (Gambia/Senegal/UK)

Khonyagaran (Iran)

Lakha Khan (India)

Lemma (Algeria/France)

Marina Satti (Greece/Sudan)

Maya Kamaty (La Réunion)

NST & The Soul Sauce meets Kim Yulhee (South Korea)

Roosevelt Collier (USA)

Surel, Segal, Gubistch (France/Argentina)

More about WOMEX: www.womex.com

Headline photo: Bani Hill Band (Georgia)

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World Music Recreation of John Denver’s American Folk classic ‘Country Road’

Greece-based multi-Instrumentalist, philanthropist and producer Johno is set to release has a new music video, a distinctive and stimulating cover of the song “Country Roads”, originally by John Denver. It appears on his new album The Road Not Taken.

Johno, draws on his many musical inspirations and travels. He takes this version to a new level of song and dance that still incorporates elements of folk and country music from the original, while staying true to a variety of other ethnic styles Johno is known for.

Johno

The new version includes delicate string parts and a constant wall of drums that gives listeners a dancing upbeat rhythm throughout. In doing so, Johno turns the original American ballad into a current one that is more worldly.

The video itself is a collaboration that Johno had with director and animator Kleo Korai.  They set out to make a substantial collage of visuals from the Johno’s travels over the last two years. As Johno explains, “I also always knew that the video for this one needs to reflect the wonderful road I’ve been through in the past years, with my musical backpack, and this John Denver classic in it.” 

Buy the album The Road Not Taken.

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Arabesques Festival Announces 2019 Lineup

French event Arabesques Festival will take place September 10 to 22, 2019.  For this 14th edition, Arabesques will showcase many artists from the Arab world who incorporate their African roots and transform them: Aziz Sahmaoui, Oum, Alchimix, Imed Alibi and Gnawa Diffusion.

New collaborations reflect the creative vitality of the African continent, like the 3MA project bringing together the leading artists of Morocco, Mali and Madagascar: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss el Maloumi and Rajery.

Jordi Savall & Waed Bouhassoun

There will be an opportunity to break boundaries as with the creation of Soundjata (Sundiata Keita), a recovery of the Manding epic by storyteller Jihad Darwiche and Malian kora player Tom Diakite.

Additional shows include: The Whirling Dervishes of Damascus and the Al-Kindi Ensemble; Jordi Savall & Waed Bouhassoun, with the Orpheus XXI project; well-known world music acts: Marcel & Rami Khalife featuring Aymeric Westrich, Takfarinas, DuOud …

The festival will present a circus performance of the Acrobatic Group of Tangier with Halka.

The new Arab scene will be featured: Alchimix, Imed Alibi, Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda, Le Lanceur de dés Walid Ben Selim, and Faraj Suleiman Trio as well as the Count of Bouderbala’s One Man Show.

More at www.festivalarabesques.fr

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Echoes Of Japan by Minyo Crusaders Tops the Transglobal World Music Chart

Echoes of Japan” by Japanese ensemble Minyo Crusaders is the number 1 album in the June edition of the Transglobal World Music Chart. Minyo Crusaders, led by guitarist Katsumi Tanaka, has recreated historic Japanese folk songs (min’yō) by adding Latin American, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms. “Echoes of Japan” (Mais Um) is their debut album.

Minyo Crusaders – Echoes of Japan

The June 2019 list:

  1. Minyo Crusaders – Echoes of Japan – Mais Um Discos
  2. Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat – Placeless – Kirkelig Kulturverksted
  3. Refugees for Refugees – Amina – Muziekpublique
  4. AKA Trio – Joy – Bendigedig
  5. Altın Gün – Gece – Glitterbeat
  6. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Miri – Outhere
  7. Alim Qasimov and Michel Godard – Awakening – Buda Musique
  8. Las Hermanas Caronni – Santa Plástica – Les Grands Fleuves
  9. Waed Bouhassoun – Safar: Les Âmes Retrouvées – Buda Musique
  10. The Gloaming – 3 – Real World
  11. Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa – Poetic Trance – PIAS
  12. Ifriqiyya Électrique – Laylet el Booree – Glitterbeat
  13. Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía – Mara Aranda
  14. Le Vent du Nord – Territoires – Borealis
  15. Zulya – Six Days Loving / Alty Tön Yaratu – Zulya Kamalova
  16. Dobranotch – Merčedes Kolo – CPL-Music
  17. Söndörgő – Nyolc 8 Nyolc – SNDRG Music
  18. Gaiteiros de Lisboa – Bestiário – Uguru
  19. Our Native Daughters – Songs of Our Native Daughters – Smithsonian Folkways
  20. Black Flower – Future Flora – Sdban Ultra

More at www.transglobalwmc.com

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Artist Profiles: Minyo Crusaders

Minyo Crusaders in 2019

In the late 1990s, guitarist Katsumi Tanaka moved to Fussa, a city in western Tokyo immersed in counter-culture folklore. Initially uninterested in min’yō, a catastrophic event in recent Japanese history led Tanaka on his current path: “Following the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, I reflected on my life, work and identity. A fan of world music, I began searching for Japanese roots music I could identify with. Discovering mid-late 20th century acts Hibari Misora, Chiemi Eri and the Tokyo Cuban Boys, I was captivated by their eccentric arrangements and how they mixed min’yō with Latin and jazz.”

Tanaka met vocalist Freddie Tsukamoto, who was performing in a session band as a soul singer. Mindful that Freddie’s true passion was min’yō, Tanaka asked him to form a band to revive this style. Freddie became very interested in min’yō after hearing a song from his birthplace on a TV competition while in a restaurant. It was an eye-opener. Until then he had been an aspiring jazz singer although he was uncomfortable singing in English. The restaurant owner told him a min’yō teacher was his neighbor and the rest is history.

“For Japanese people, min’yō is both the closest, and most distant, folk music” clarifies Katsumi Tanaka: “We may not feel it in our daily, urban lives, yet the melodies, the style of singing and the rhythm of the taiko drums are engrained in our DNA”.

Katsumi and Freddie invited other musicians like local drumming legend Sono and for the first few years they played low-key concerts. Things changed when bassist DADDY U, a veteran of the Tokyo roots music scene and the well-known Ska Flames, joined the band.

Minyo Crusaders in 2019

Through DADDY U, the musicians met keyboard player Moe, the leader of Caribbean jazz outfit Kidlat; saxophone player Koichiro Osawa, a member of Japanese-reggae/ska groups Matt Sounds and J.J. Session and regular session musician for reggae musicians visiting Japan; trumpeter Yamauchi Stephan, also a member of J.J. Session; percussionist Mutsumi Kobayashi of Tokyo’s cumbia Banda de la Mumbia; Irochi, conga player with Afro Cuban band Cubatumb; and vocalist Meg, a member of esteemed tropical DJ collective Tokyo Sabroso.

Since then, Minyo Crusaders have become a regular act on the Tokyo music scene and went national in 2018 through festivals such as Fuji Rock.

The Minyo Crusaders in 2019 included Freddie Tsukamoto (vocals); Meg on vocals, melodica; Katsumi Tanaka on guitar; DADDY U on bass; Moe on keyboards; Sono on timbales; Mutsumi Kobayashi on bongos; Yamauchi Stephan on trumpet; Koichiro Osawa on saxophone; and Irochi on congas.

Originally sung by fishermen (Kushimoto Bushi; Mamurogawa Ondo), coal miners (Tanko Bushi) and sumo wrestlers (Sumo Jinku), these songs deal with topics such as the returning spirits of ancestors (Hohai Bushi), Japan’s smallest bird (Toichin Bushi) and a bride’s undying love for her husband’s pockmarked face (Otemoyan), evoking nostalgia for a forgotten Japan. “As a traditional performing art, min’yō is considered highbrow, yet these are mainly songs for working, dancing or drinking – we want to return them to their literal meaning as ‘songs of the people’ ”.

Discography:

Echoes of Japan (Mais Um Discos , 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Veronika Bulycheva

Veronika Bulycheva

Russian singer, guitarist and composer Veronika Bulycheva was born in the Ural region of Russia. In 1992, she emigrated to Paris. After many years of successful artistic career fate brought her with a wonderful instrumental ensemble Emerald from Ekaterinburg, representing traditional “balalaika-rock” in the spirit of Balkan-styled carelessly-drunken music.

She sings in Russian and in French, sometimes combining both languages. Her lyrics describe talk about women and immigrants, simple scenarios in which basic human emotions are expressed: love, nature, nostalgia and exile. She incorporates blues, pop, bossa nova, French chanson and north African rhythms, all colored by jazz, classical and traditional Russian sonorities.

Discography:

Demoiselle Cygne (1998)
Tout ira bien (2004)
SPACIBA, merci.. (Sketis Music, 2008)
От всего сердца – De Tout Coeur (Artsmusic, 2011)
Voyage de l’Oural à Paris, Volume 1 (Sketis Music SKMR-095, 2012)
Of the Ural (Sketis Music, 2018)

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Top Global Music Talent at Sarawak’s Rainforest World Music Festival 2019

The acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) will be back July 12-14, 2019 for its 22nd consecutive year. Announced as bigger than ever, organizers expect over 20,000 music fans from the region and beyond as well as visiting tourists.  The event will take place at the scenic Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo), which is approximately 50 minutes away from the Kuching International Airport.

Irish band Kila, one of the acts scheduled to perform at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019

The impressive program this year includes well-known traditional and contemporary world music acts along with talented regional and local artists. The list includes Ana Alcaide (Spain), At Adau (Sarawak), Ballet Folclorico de Chile Bafochi (Rapa Nui /Easter Island, Chile), Darmas (Malaysia), Druk Folk Musician (Bhutan), Duplessy & The Violins of the World ft. Guo Gan (France, China, Sweden, Mongolia), Ha Noi Duo (Vietnam), Kemada (Sarawak), Kila (Ireland), Kila & Oki (Ireland, Japan), La Chiva Gantiva (Colombia), Macka B (United Kingdom / Jamaica), Mauravann (Mauritius), Mehdi Nassouli (Morocco), Oki (Japan), Olga Cerpa y Mestisay (Canary Islands, Spain), Otava Yo  (Russia), Rajery (Madagascar), San Salvador (France), Sangtam Naga (Nagaland), Sedaa (Iran/Mongolia), Spirit Of The Hornbills (Kalimantan), Staak Bisomu (Sarawak), Suk Binie’ (Sarawak), Suku Menoa (Sarawak), Tabanka (Cape Verde), Talisk (Scotland), Trad Attack (Estonia), and Wai (New Zealand).

Sape (Borneo lute) workshop at The Rainforest World Music Festival 2018 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

In additional to the concerts, the family-friendly RWMF 2019 includes day time percussion tutorials and music workshops that begin as early as 11:00 am plus arts and crafts workshops, a wide-variety of food options, an interactive gathering of the tribes showcasing the region’s indigenous cultures and much more.

Percussion workshop at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

The Rainforest World Music Festival also promotes various environmentally-friendly and sustainable programs, emphasizing preservation. Through its Green initiatives, a no-plastic ruling, will be the festival’s fundamental awareness while banning entry of all plastic water bottles throughout the festival.  

Jamming at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

Sarawak will host other musical events in the next weeks, including the Rainforest Fringe, July 5 – 12, just one week before the RWMF 2019 and then followed with The Borneo Jazz Festival July 19 – 21, 2019.  

All these captivating music events are organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and endorsed by Tourism Malaysia.

Sarawak Cultural Village

For more information on the RWMF 2019 and pre-sale tickets, go to rwmf.net.

headline photo:  Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli

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