Tag Archives: world music

Transglobal World Music Chart for April 2016

The album Né So by Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traore repeats as number one album of the Transglobal World Music Chart in April 2016.

April 2016 Chart

1. Rokia Traoré – Né So (Nonesuch Records)
2. Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada (Glitterbeat Records)
3. Las Hermanas Caronni – Navega Mundos (Les Grands Fleuves)
4. The Gloaming – 2 (Real World Records)
5. Sidestepper – Supenatural Love (Real World Records)
6. Fanfare Ciocărlia – Onwards to Mars! (Asphalt Tango Records)
7. Bombino – Azel (Partisan Records)
8. Konono Nº1 meets Batida – Konono Nº1 meets Batida (Crammed Discs)
9. La Banda Morisca – Algarabya (Fol Música)
10. Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call of the Blues (Knife Edge Records)
11. Baaba Maal – The Traveller (Marathon Artists / Palm Recordings)
12. Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo (Cumbancha)
13. Divanhana – Zukva (ARC Music)
14. Karsh Kale – Up (Six Degrees Records)
15. Katerina Tsiridou – Aman Katerina: A Tribute to Panayiotis Toundas (Protasis Music)
16. Sociedade Recreativa – Sociedade Recreativa (La Chaudière Production / Jarring Effects)
17. Zulya and the Children of the Underground – On Love and Science (Zulya and the Children of the Underground)
18. Tęgie Chłopy – Dansing (Muzyka Odnaleziona)
19. Élage Diouf – Melokáane (Pump Up the World)
20. BandAdriatica – Babilonia (Finisterre)


Timeless Cross-cultural Qawwals

Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and the Rajasthan Express – Junun (Nonesuch, 2015)

Junun is a spectacular two-disc album that brings together Indian musical traditions, Sufi and Jewish spirituality and western music elements. Israeli musician and composer Shye Ben Tzur collaborated with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (England), and the Rajasthan Express, a group of Indian musicians that provide the vibrant brass band and percussion sections as well as mesmerizing Qawwali vocals.

The album was recorded in early 2015 in an improvised studio inside the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, India. Shye Ben Tzur composed the music and used. The lyrics include traditional Sufi poems and original verses by Shye Ben Tzur. The vocals are in Urdu and Hebrew.

American independent filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson made a film also titled Junun that documents the recording sessions as well as the close friendship of artistic collaboration. The impressionistic film debuted at the New York Film Festival in October 2015.

Shye Ben Tzur lives in India and Israel. He composes qawwalis in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi. A concert by Indian maestros Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia that Ben Tzur attended as a young man was life-changing. “It touched my heart so deeply,” he says. “It was at the time the deepest musical experience I had gone through. It moved me so that I could do nothing but go find out what it is. I feel I’m still in that spot. I don’t think I have achieved it. Indian music is so vast and so deep and the more I learn different things about it, I realize how ignorant I was. It just doesn’t stop.”

The Junun lineup includes Shye Ben Tzur on vocals, guitar, flute; Jonny Greenwood on guitar, bass, drum machine, computers, ondes martenot and keyboard; Aamir Bhiyani on lead trumpet; Hazmat on tuba; Ajaj Damami on trombone; Sabir Damami on tuba; Soheb Bhiyani on trumpet; Bhanwaru Khan on tuba, Zaki Ali Qawwal on Qawwali vocals; Zakir Ali Qawwal on Qawwali vocals, harmonium; Gufran Ali and Shazib Ali on Qawwali chorus; Ehtisham Khan Ajmeri on Qawwali chorus, dholak (a small double-ended barrel-shaped drum); Chugge Khan on khartal (a type of castanet made of rectangular wooden blocks), bhapang (a one-stringed talking drum), manjira (tiny cymbals); Nihal Khan on dholak; Nathu Lal Solanki and Narsi Lal Solanki on nagara (kettle drum); Asin Khan on sarangi and vocals; Dara Khan on kamaicha (vertically held string instrument); Afshana Khan on vocals; and Razia Sultan on vocals.

Junun is an impressive world music recording featuring splendid timelessly crafted Qawwal devotional songs enriched by a lavish and imaginative production.

Buy Junun


French Band Lo’Jo Announces 2016 North American Tour


French world music band Lo’Jo will be touring the United Sttes and Canada in April. The group will be promoting its most recording recording titled Cinema El Mundo.

2016 North American Tour

April 8 – Montreal, Maison de la Culture [Ahuntsic-Cartierville]
April 11 – Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
April 12 – Dirty Bourbon, Albuquerque, NM
April 15 – Stay Gold, Austin, TX
April 16 – Stay Gold, Austin, TX
April 23 – Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, LA
April 24 – Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, LA


The 3rd Annual Havana World Music Festival Begins Today

The 2016 Annual Havana World Music Festival, produced by the National Center of Popular Music and the Cuban Institute of Music kicks-off today, March 26 in Havana, Cuba. The concerts will take place March 26 and 27 at Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), a multi-purpose venue from the Ministry of Culture created by Cuban rock and media artist, X Alfonso.

Featured international acts include underground flamenco act Juanito Makandé, mestizo music star Sergent García, calypso innovators Kobo Town, Centavrvs (electronica), and top Cuban artists Yoruba Andabo and Yelsy Heredia.

In addition to the main music festival, Havana World Music Festival and Copperbridge Foundation extended program began March 21 at Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC) hosting creative workshops, lectures, planned and spontaneous jam sessions, and exclusive performances.

Copperbridge Foundation, an American non-profit organization with the mission to promote cultural and educational exchange through the medium of artistic expression, supports Havana World by publicizing this cultural event that represents the creative, open-minded side of modern Cuba.

Artist Lineup:

Yoruba Andabo (Cuba)
Juanito Makandé (Spain)
Sergent García (France)
Centavrvs (Mexico)
Kobo Town (Trinidad y Tobago – Canada)
Yelsy Heredia (Cuba – Spain)
Daniela Spalla (Argentina)
Vox Sambou (Haiti – Canada)
Yissy & Bandancha (Cuba)
Carolina Camacho (Dominican Republic)

For more information visit: www.havanaworldmusic.com


Artist Profile: Mokoomba


World music act Mokoomba is based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The band’s six members, Mathias Muzaza (lead vocals), Ndaba Coster Moyo (drums, backing vocals), Trustworth Samende (lead guitar, backing vocals), Donald Moyo, (keyboards, backing vocals), Miti Mugande, (percussion & backing vocals) and Abundance Mutori (bass, backing vocals) grew up as friends in the Chinotimba township.

While the majority of Zimbabweans are part of the dominant Shona ethnic group or the large Ndebele minority, the members of Mokoomba hail from a variety of different ethnic groups represented in this border town, including the Luvale, Nyanja, and Tonga peoples; and it was the Tonga who gave mighty Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, its original name: “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (the smoke that thunders).

Living in a border city that attracts tourists from all over the world gave Mokoomba’s music an international perspective from the beginning, incorporating everything from soukous to ska and salsa along with local musical traditions.

The members of Mokoomba started playing music as teenagers, with the help of a local bandleader, the late Alfred Mijimba, who gave the young musicians the experience they needed by hiring them to play local concerts with his band. Even though he was never an international star, Mijimba was a respected local musician, and the members of Mokoomba gained substantial experience under his direction.

The group’s members began playing together in 2001, and Mokoomba was officially formed in 2008. Their first major success came that same year, when they won the Music Crossroads Inter-Regional Festival Competition in Malawi.

In 2009 Mokoomba recorded its first album, Kweseka — Drifting Ahead, produced by Dutch DJ Gregor Salto, as part of the Stand UP anti- poverty campaign funded by AfricaUnsigned. The album generated a local hit “Messe Messe”, and the group’s first European tour. Mokoomba recorded a second EP, Umvundla, with Salto in 2011. But their big break came in 2012, when the band released Rising Tide, produced by pioneering Ivoirian bassist Manou Gallo (Zap Mama, Kiyi M’Bock) for the Belgian label ZigZag World.

Mokoomba - Rising Tide
Mokoomba – Rising Tide

The success of Rising Tide led Mokoomba to tour over 40 countries worldwide in 2012, 2013 and 2014, including performances at Denmark’s Roskilde festival, the UK’s WOMAD festival, Belgium’s Couleur Cafe´ festival, and Morocco’s Gnawa festival.

Mokoomba has become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular bands, playing with such icons as Hugh Masekela and Baba Maal at Zimbabwe’s annual Harare International Festival of the Arts.

Mokoomba was the subject of a documentary called Mokoomba: From One River Bank to Another, by Frank Dalmat and Francis Ducat. The film tells the group’s story in the context of the relationship between culture and economic development in the global south.

In 2015 Mokoomba recorded its self-produced third album Luyando, a stripped down, mostly acoustic album that balances the group’s love of pan-African and international sounds with the local and traditional sounds they also grew up listening to.

Luyando translates as “Mother’s Love” and takes its inspiration from the Makishi masquerade ritual practiced in parts of Zimbabwe and nearby Zambia, which the members of Mokoomba participated in as boys.

The Makishi masquerade is performed at the end of the Mukanda, an initiation ritual for boys between the ages of eight and twelve, when young boys leave their homes and live for one to three months at a bush camp away from their villages. It’s a fundamental and often lonely time in a boy’s life, when they learn the self-assurance required of young men in their community, while still often yearning for the tenderness of their mother’s love. The end of the Mukanda is marked by a joyous graduation ceremony called Chilende, full of colorful masks, music and dancing.


Breabach Releases Astar

Scottish contemporary folk music band Breabach has a new album titled Astar (Breabach Records, 2016). After five years traveling the world, Breabach presents a recording inspired by the people and places they have encountered and collaborations they have been involved in.

Astar is a multiethnic celebration, embracing the music of four nations in partnership with their own. The band invited friends from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand to be part of this recording, all of which has been brought to life under the guidance and production of Greg Lawson.

The guests include Aboriginal artist Yirrmal Marika (Australia), Maori tradition keeper Scott Morrison (New Zealand), Hardanger fiddle master Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Norway), Quebecois fiddler Olivier Demers (Quebec) and Le Vent Du Nord (Quebec) with guest vocals.

Buy Astar in North America

Buy Astar in Europe


Toronto to Host the 14th Annual Asian Music Series in April and May

Small World Music has announced the lineup for the 14th Annual Asian Music Series, a set of concerts that celebrates Asian and South Asian Heritage Month. The series will take place from April 2nd to May 29th, 2016 at several of the finest venues in Toronto.

Highpoints this year include a strong female presence, with two of the most significant artists in South Asian music, Anoushka Shankar and Abida Parveen. Other performers include Indo-Canadian star Kiran Ahluwalia, pipa maestra Wu Man and singer Ramneek Singh, among many others.

Also scheduled is the new Small World Music Explorers Program, a cross-promotional initiative for purchasing tickets in the city.
Asian Music Series Program:

Wednesday, April 6
Anoushka Shankar (India)
Koerner Hall

Thursday, April 7
Tsumugu (Japan)
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre

Saturday, April 9
Wu Man & Shanghai Quartet (China)
Markham Theatre

Thursday, April 28
Kiran Ahluwalia (India / Canada)
Markham Theatre

Friday, April 29
Shuujat Khan / Ramneek Singh (India / Canada)
Aga Khan Museum

Saturday, May 7
Globtrotter – Adham Shaikh (Canada)

Friday, May 13
Tabla Workshop TBA (India)
Small World Music Centre

Sunday, May 15
Abida Parveen (Pakistan)
Roy Thomson Hall

Friday, May 20
Avatar (Canada /India)
Small World Music Centre

Saturday, May 28
Telematic Asia (Canada / China)
Small World Music Centre

Sunday, May 29
Mekaal & Haniya (Pakistan / Canada)
Lula Lounge

More information at www.smallworldmusic.com.


Resilient Ethiopian Grooves

Debo Band – Ere Gobez (FPE Records, 2016)

Ere Gobez is the title of the new album by Debo Band, a large multi-ethnic American world music band that brings together an irresistible mix of danceable Ethiopian roots music, rock, Ethiojazz, and jam band sections featuring masterful solos. On this occasion, Debo Band goes beyond Ethiopian influences, featuring their vision of popular songs from Somalia and Okinawa.

In Ethiopia, in the early 70s, you had a lot of different styles and artists and arrangers. You had such wealth,” says Ethiopian-American band leader and saxophone player Danny Mekonnen. “You can never stop digging; there will always be new material to introduce people to. That’s something significant. We’re digging much, much deeper. We’re still unearthing new sounds after a decade.”

Although the core members of Debo Band are based in the United States, the band’s violinist, Kaethe Hostetter, lives in Addis Ababa and recorded her tracks there, together with guests Endris Hassen, who plays the mesenqo (one-stringed bowed fiddle), and singer Nardos Tesfaw, who appears on one song.

Debo Band
Debo Band

The lineup on Ere Gobez includes Bruck Tesfaye vocals, Danny Mekonnen on saxophones, Gabriel Birnbaum on tenor saxophone, Danilo Henriquez on trumpet and percussion, Jonah Rapino on electric violin, Kaethe Hostetter on 5-string violin, Marié Abe on accordion, Stephanie Baird on trombone, Brendon Wood on guitar,
Arik Grier on sousaphone, PJ Goodwin bass, and Adam Clark drums. Guests: Endris Hassen on mesenqo and Nardos Tesfaw on vocals.

On Ere Gobez, Debo skillfully intertwines different strains of Ethiopian musical tradition delivering a ferociously powerful album.


British Red Cross Releases The Long Road Benefit Album

The British Red Cross has released The Long Road, a concept world music album featuring Robert Plant, Scroobius Pip, the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Tinariwen and Kindness. The album is based on the real-life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

The Long Road album sees features the stories of individuals who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in the UK.

This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys people go through,” said producer Ethan Johns. “Music is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and these are important stories to be told.”

All earnings will go to funding the British Red Cross’s refugee work in the UK.

Buy The Long Road


Transglobal World Music Chart for March 2016

The album Né So by Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traore is the number one album of the Transglobal World Music Chart in March 2016.

March 2016 Chart

1. Rokia Traoré – Né So (Nonesuch Records)
2. Baaba Maal – The Traveller (Marathon Artists / Palm Recordings)
3. Sidestepper – Supenatural Love (Real World Records)
4. Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada (Glitterbeat Records)
5. Las Hermanas Caronni – Navega Mundos (Les Grands Fleuves)
6. Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood & The Rajasthan Express – Junun (Nonesuch Records)
7. Bixiga 70 – III (Glitterbeat Records)
8. Divanhana – Zukva (ARC Music)
9. Vieux Farka Touré & Julia Easterlin – Touristes (Six Degrees Records)
10. Zulya and the Children of the Underground – On Love and Science (Zulya and the Children of the Underground)
11. Tęgie Chłopy – Dansing (Muzyka Odnaleziona)
12. Lura – Herança (Lusafrica)
13, Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call of the Blues (Knife Edge Records)
14. The Gloaming – 2 (Real World Records)
15. Dizu Plaatjies and Friends – Ubuntu-The Common String (Mountain Records)
16. Sam Lee & Friends – The Fade in Time (The Nest Collective)
17. Élage Diouf – Melokáane (Pump Up the World)
18. Bareto – Impredecible (World Village)
19. Čači Vorba – Šatrika (Oriente Musik)
20. Konono Nº1 meets Batida – Konono Nº1 meets Batida (Crammed Discs)