Tag Archives: world music

Best World Music Recordings of 2010, Editor’s Picks

We present the 10 Best World Music albums of 2010 lists. This year we have the lists of contributors to World Music Central, our Spanish language site Músicas del Mundo and our special guest, freelance writer Evangeline Kim, who writes for National Geographic Music, TRACE Magazine, Afropop, Giant Step, and Songlines Magazine.

Evangeline Kim (National Geographic Music, Afropop, Songlines, etc.) Top 10 World Music Recordings for 2010

1. AfroCubism (World Circuit/Nonesuch)

2. Tabu Ley Rochereau – The Voice of Lightness Volume 2: Congo Classics 1977-1993 (Sterns Africa)

3. King Sunny Ade – Baba mo Tunde (Mesa Blue/IndigeDisc)

4. Angelique Kidjo – Oyo (Razor & Tie)

5. Khaira Arby – Timbuktu Tarab
(Clermont Music)

6. The Rough Guide to Afghanistan (World Music Network)

7. Karl Seglem – Ossicles (Ozella Music)

8. Sigrid Moldestad – Sandkorn (Grappa)

9. The Rough Guide to Bollywood

– Second Edition – CD + DVD (World Music Network)


Listen To The Banned
Continue reading Best World Music Recordings of 2010, Editor’s Picks


The Recording Academy announces Nominees for the 53RD Annual Gramy Awards

Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced last night by The Recording Academy. Nominees for Best Traditional World Music Album include Gyuto Monks Of Tibet, Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Mali’s Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté, and tango act Vayo.

The artists nominated for Best Contemporary World Music Album include American banjo player Béla Fleck, Brazilian vocalist Bebel Gilberto, Afropop star Angelique Kidjo, veteran Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes, and Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon.

Eminem tops the nominations with 10; Bruno Mars garners seven; and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga each earn six nods. Jeff Beck, B.o.B, David Frost, Philip Lawrence, and John Legend receive five each; and Alex Da Kid, the Black Keys, Drake, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Roots, Dirk Sobotka, and Zac Brown each have four nominations.
Continue reading The Recording Academy announces Nominees for the 53RD Annual Gramy Awards


Musicport World Music Festival, the Indoor Festival with the Outdoor Spirit

Nitin Sawhney
Nitin Sawhney

The year is flying by furnishing us with a new set of musical memories, thrilling discoveries of unsigned talent on Glastonbury’s fringe stages, grooving to great dance bands from Africa at WOMAD or simply chilling with a beer and the Sunday papers on the Larmer Tee lawns. Just as you heave a sigh and mourn the end of the festival season, vex not…there’s one more festival that will give you the chance for a final fling, to lift your spirits before the nights start to draw in, in earnest. It’s also the perfect excuse to escape the city for the weekend and continue the very English and Victorian passion for a trip to the seaside by rail, for concerts, dancing , a paddle in the waves and of course the enjoyment of fish and chips, whilst strolling along the seafront promenade, weather permitting.

Musicport World Music Festival takes place every fourth weekend in October, in the East Yorkshire coastal town of Bridlington, birth place of aviatrix Amy Johnson, home to artist David and since 2009, Musicport’s new home. Occupying the newly refurbished Bridlington Spa complex, Musicport transforms the space into an indoor program of music, dance, workshops, a children’s festival offshoot and also world cinema courtesy of Scarborough film society.

Months of planning and hard work see creative visions materialize as food stalls and traders arrive early to set up their pitches, sound systems are given the traditional one two one two and Cloudbase, purveyors of fine music and vibes, are entrusted with creating a festival ambience. The Art Deco Ballroom featuring a glass domed ceiling and sprung wooden dancefloor, will become the main stage, the surroundings and balconies draped with fabric and more colors than the brightest sari.

Bunting and huge white fabric covered hoops covered in are hung in readiness for the Cloudbase visual protections. Names on contracts are becoming a reality as the artist reception and green room are set up in readiness for Musicport’s well renowned top notch artist hospitality. This bodes well for music lovers as Jim McLaughlin, the festival’s director believes in a strong correlation between brilliant performances and the provision of good food and hospitality.

Brimming with music from local and international artists let the musical adventure begin. Its all under one roof, “the indoor festival with the outdoor spirit” includes everything we love whilst leaving behind the choice chemical toilets, crowded tents with overpriced beer, long treks between stages, knee deep mud and rain we loathe.

To give you a flavor of the music you can expect, here’s the low down from last year’s festival…. but first take a deep breath. Here we go…… Those arriving early were treated to a special performance in the foyer from Newcastle based Soznak aided by dancing from the Urban Gypsies. Rafiki Jazz from Sheffield opened the main stage to be followed over the weekend by performances from Nitin Sawhney, The mighty Misty in Roots on their only UK date, a rare appearance from the recently reformed Congolese supergroup Les Quatre Etioles, John Peel favorites the Ukranians on their comeback tour, Leeds based Chumbawumba, polyphonic singing from Bulgaria’s Bisserov Sisters, Pacific Curls from the southern hemisphere, jazz inflections with the masterful Adriano Adewale Group, Sudanese Voodoo grooves with Rango, a colorful spiritual Sunday morning awakening with the Tashi Lhunpo monks, Eliza Carthy’s favorite singer in the world Julie Murphy with Fernhill, trancey afro blues from Songlines music award winners Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara.and the Pan African band the African Jazz All stars……. Whew, you can breathe out now..…. but that’s not all.

The South Sea Stage conveniently placed near the upstairs bar and café, is where you’ll make those musical discoveries, never to be repeated, unrehearsed pure impromptu moments that just blow you away. Names chalked up on a blackboard both programmed artists, booked months ahead and last minute hopefuls. Notable performances came from Karen Tweed now one of the most sought after accordionists in Europe, Dicky Deegan man and uillean pipes at one and The Hut People who’s debut the previous year created one of the festival’s surprise sensations.

Are you exhausted yet?….well, there’s more. As the name suggests its polar opposite, the North Sea stage has commanding views across the waves, next stop Norway. The perfect backdrop to wonder what music the Yorkshire coast’s most famous seafarer, Captain James Cook, may have encountered on his voyages.

If ever there was an award for the hardest working stage, this is probably the most deserving, accommodating over twenty acts plus workshops. The sound engineers have an ear for acoustic perfection but often with less than twenty minutes to mike up, sound check and turn the stage around. It was here that Robert Maseko and the Congo Beats gave a memorable late night acoustic performance and where Paula Darwish, introduced the audience to an eclectic fusion of Turkish, Kurdish, English and Arabic music with her Country and Eastern Band. Other treats included Fiona Katy Roberts harp playing and the upcoming Liverpudlian singer songwriter Delta Maid.

English festival audiences are notorious for wanting to sit down at concerts and the venue provides a number of sitting opportunities. Chairs and tables around the outer edges of the ballroom, raked seating in the upper tier but the piece de resistance, the pearl in the shell is the venue’s hidden gem. Not at all obvious from the plain exterior, the Spa has its own self contained, revamped two tier Edwardian theatre with state of the art sound and lighting but importantly, 950 soft red velvet covered seats. Festival weary could rest aching backs and tired legs whilst listening to the “saviour of English roots music” Jim Moray; Mamane Barke the last surviving master of the ancient African instrument the Biram or Carmen Souza who mixes traditional Cape Verdean melodies with twists of contemporary jazz.

And once those weary legs are rested you can dance into the small hours with festival residents Cloudbase or one of the guest dj’s who have in the recent past included: DJ Monkey Pilot of the Whirly Gig, The Outernationalists, Mad Professor and the Ariwa Posse, The Flying Chilli Beats and Banco De Gaia and when the festival straddles two time zones, there’s an extra hour of dancing on a Saturday night as the clocks go back and British summer time ends.

Now in its eleventh year, never in their wildest dreams could the originators of Musicport envisage the festival growing to what it is today. Talk to Robert Maseko and he soon recounts with fond affection that gig back in the late nineties that started it all. Jim and his wife Sue were running the Old Chapel in Robin Hood’s Bay as a café, bookshop and occasional venue where Lunasa and Wood, Wilson Carthy had provided previous concerts. It was the booking of Robert Maseko and his band that provided the turning point. After a sell out, Jim and Sue realized there was an audience for African music.

Revved up after the gig the trio returned to the McLaughlin home in Whitby where fuelled by positivity, they drank tea and talked until the dawn chorus. A decision was made and there would be a world music millennium celebration at Whitby’s Pavillion . With strong support from the community, there would be no going back and the cultural landscape would alter permanently. The Musicport festival was born with a line- up that included Robert Maseko and the Chaka Chaka Zouk, Labi Siffre, Susaar, Viva Flamenco, Charanga Del Norte, Imbizo, Banoffi and Manchester Adventist gospel choir amongst others.

Its slow organic growth and strong community links have ensured that the festival has retained the spirit of its humble beginnings. Festival goers warm to its friendly atmosphere, skilful programming and resistance to corporate interference. The fact that the festival now has considerable pulling power to attract the very best in international artists is just a bonus.

For Jim McLaughlin Musicport’s director, its about providing something for everyone, “it’s the joy of seeing how music connects people and if we provide the right environment we can slot other bits and pieces in and stretch the boundaries”. And like the waves that form its logo the festival has never stood still, creating support for a number of spin off concerts all year round at venues throughout Whitby as well as commissioning special collaborations for the festival.

This year’s festival takes place on 22nd- 24th October with headline acts to include Angelique Kidjo, Invisible System, Jah Wobble, Imagined Village, Alejandro Toledo and the Tombelinos, Richard Hawley and Norma Waterson.

This article formed the background to a piece commissioned by Songlines Magazine in the UK.

More at www.musicportfestival.com


Songlines Music Awards 2010 Final Nominees Announced

Bassekou  Kouyate - I speak fula
Bassekou Kouyate – I Speak Fula
Songlines magazine announced the final nominees of the Songlines Music Awards 2010 and will be releasing a compilation album on 22nd March featuring all sixteen nominated artists. Read the full article for details of all the nominees plus a GondwanaSound competition.

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural awards, Songlines magazine announced the final nominees in the 2010 Songlines Music Awards. The Songlines Music Awards recognize outstanding talent in world music and are voted by Songlines readers and the general public. There are four categories Best Artist, Best Group, Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Newcomer.

The final nominees are the top four in each category who received the most public votes. The jury will now go into a huddle and the winners of each category will be announced in the June issue (#88) of Songlines, on sale from April 30,2010. The sixteen final nominees are:

Best Artist

* Goran Bregovic (for the album Alkohol— Slijivovica & Champagne on Blue Wrasse)

* Bassekou Kouyate (for the album I Speak Fula with Ngoni ba on Out Here)

* Oumou Sangare (for the album Seya on World Circuit)

* Lura (for the album Eclipse on Lusafrica)*

Best Group

* Gypsy Groovz Orchestra Goes TuttiMundi (for the album Night Train for Lovers and Thieves on Network Medien)

* Staff Benda Bilili (for the albumTres Tres Fort on, Crammed)

* Tinariwen (for the album Imidiwan: Companions on lndependiente)

* Shooglenifty (for the album Murmichan on Shoogle Records)*

Cross-Cultural Collaboration

* Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, (for the album Tell No Lies on Real World)

* Transglobal Underground (for the album Run Devils & Demons: Best of on Nascente)

* Stockholm Lisboa Project (for the album Diagonal on Westpark)

* Faiz Ali Faiz and Titi Robin (for the album Jaadu: Magic on Accord Croises)


* Invisible System (for the album Punt: Made in Ethiopia on Harper Diabate)

* Deolinda (for the album Canção ao Lado on World Connection)

* Speed Caravan (for the album Kalashnik Love on Real World)

* Mamer (for the album Eagle on Real World)

The audience for world music is greater now than it’s ever been,” says Simon Broughton, editor-in-chief of Songlines, “and it’s reaching out in ever more diverse directions. The fact that we have Balkan maestro Goran Bregovic and Western China’s Mamer as nominees is indicative of that. But it’s still essential to have awards in which the leading names can be feted and the new and innovative names highlighted.”

GondwanaSound will be running a prize draw competition to win a Songlines Award nominees cd for those who can correctly predict the jury’s decision and name all four winners. Tune in live every Wednesday 11 am to midday on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM

Jill Turner contributes to Songlines Magazine, World Music Central and is on the fRoots critics albums of the year panel.


Cross-Cultural Collaborations and Fusion Bands – What makes them so brilliant?

The Imagined Village -  The Imagined Village
The Imagined Village – The Imagined Village
In a world where the news is constantly derived of tragic tales of war and devastating violence, it is a pleasant surprise to see artists from vastly different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds working together to create truly beautiful and original pieces of music.

Idealistically, cross-cultural collaborations show that the people can work peacefully together to create something striking and harmoniously unique. It may be naive to think so, but music is an art form based on expression and emotion and surely it couldn’t seem more adequate than when two entirely different genres, traditions and societies are brought together to express a particular similar feeling of that time?

Nevertheless, this isn’t always as easy as it seems, Simon Broughton – Editor in Chief of Songlines Magazine makes a fair point, that the problem with most fusions is that they are in fact “extremely uninteresting, people somehow think that ethnic musicians plus beats will make something attractive.. That’s rubbish.” Broughton goes onto explain that “what makes it work is not the styles of music that are meeting, but the musicians themselves and how responsive they are to each other. It’s the fact that this is so difficult, yet so inspiring that made us devote an award to it.”

Yes, we may be reading too much into these collaborations and fusions; they will have, in some cases, only been created for the sake of making “nice sounding music” but I think we all want to believe that these partnerships are more than that. Apart from anything else, they bring people and audiences together and if this works well, then surely it’s been a success? Furthermore, it seems bittersweet that we regard cross-collaborations and musical fusions so highly, although some pairings aren’t going to work, it should be more of an everyday occurrence and less of a big deal.

The fact that it isn’t however, is perhaps what makes these collaborations just so special. Following this is a collection of the top ten best cross-cultural collaborations and fusion groups of all time. You may disagree with the order, with who is or isn’t in there but give it a read, give the artists a listen and let it help to make up your own mind.

1. The Imagined Village: The Imagined Village is a musical project created by Simon Emmerson, comprising of several artists of various cultures, ethnicities and faiths. Formed in 2007 to highlight the advantages of multiculturalism in the UK, The Imagined Village stands for bringing people together to create something truly diverse and spectacular. The first self-titled album, The Imagined Village, released in 2007 is a must have for any fan of World Music.

2. Transglobal Underground: Transglobal Underground is a London-based World Music fusion group. Created in 1990 and featuring members of many nationalities, they have released 7 albums to date, not including any of their remix albums. Many of their albums have also featured collaborations with other World Music artists; ‘Yes Boss Food Corner’ starred Zulu vocalist Thobekile Doreen Webster and the 2004 album ‘Impossible Broadcasting’ featured the Egyptian vocalist Hakim.

3. Afro Celt Sound System: Also formed by Grammy-nominated guitarist Simon Emmerson in 1992, Afro Celt Sound System is a wonderful exploration of Celtic music and African/World beats. Intrigued by the theory that nomadic Celts lived in Africa or India before moving to Europe, Emmerson brought members of Baaba Maal’s band together with Irish musicians to see what the outcome would be. Clearly, the experiment worked and since being signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label in 1996 they have sold over 1.2 million from their 5 albums.

4. Tinariwen and Tunng: You couldn’t get two more different bands if you tried; Tinariwen a desert blues band from the Sahara and Tunng an experimental folk band from the UK , broke all musical boundaries earlier this year to create a remarkable piece of collaborative music. Joined together for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction show and resulting in a 10 date UK tour; both bands successfully demonstrated that language and cultural barriers weren’t enough to prevent a coalition of musical forces from making an awe-inspiring debut together. Make sure to check out ‘Tamatant Tilay’ on YouTube.

5. Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas: When in July, the infamous songwriter and guitarist Gary Lucas collaborated with the inspiring and traditional ghazal style singer Najma Akhtar to create ‘Rishte’, we were taken aback. The result was a deeply sensual and compelling compilation of blues, jazz and raga. Make sure that you have a listen to ‘Special Rider Blues’ the 6th track on the album.

6. Salsa Celtica: As the name suggests, Salsa Celtica are an infused hybrid of traditional Scottish and Irish artists and talented jazz, salsa and world musicians from both the UK and Latin America.Creating their own infectious style of salsa and folk, Salsa Celtica have gone onto play hundreds of festivals including Glastonbury, WOMAD and Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival. Since 1995, they have released four albums, their 3rd album ‘El Agua De La Vida’ reached number 5 on the World Music Chart of Europe. They are the ultimate success story of a fusion band bringing together two completely different genres of music.

7. Damon Albarn & Friends ‘Mali Music’: Damon Albarn,a musical legend known for his part in Blur and Gorillaz has, for the last few years, taken an interest in World Music. Beginning in 2002 during a trip for Oxfam, Albarn recorded and released the album ‘Mali Music’ featuring the likes of Toumani Diabaté and Afel Bocoum. ‘Mali Music’ is a fantastic collaboration album highlighting the success of an African/English fusion and enforcing the talents of not only Albarn but of his Malian counterparts, particularly with the song ‘Sunset Coming On’.

8. Jah Wobble & the Chinese Dub Orchestra: The album, released in 2008, is a project created by legendary musician, songwriter and poet Jah Wobble and his wife – the Chinese born guzheng player Zi Lan Liao. The collaboration entitled ‘Chinese Dub’ consists of Wobble’s regular band plus Chinese vocalists Gu Yinji, Wang Jinqi and the Pogoda Chinese Youth Orchestra from Liverpool. The fusion of different genres of music have created a tremendous composition that is both rich in heritage and culture and wonderfully diverse.

9. Nitin Sawhney – ‘Beyond Skin’: The critically acclaimed composer and producer from Kent has won many awards for his contribution to World Music. With 7 albums to date, Sawhney has collaborated with several different World Music artists including Natacha Atlas and Anoushka Shankar and Ojos De Brujo. His greatest album so far is his 1999 breakthrough album ‘Beyond Skin’ exploring the issues behind Nuclear Weaponry and Identity as an Indian male in Britain. The album features the likes of Hussain Yoosuf, Sanchita Farruque and the nephews of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

10. Jayme Stone and Mansa Sissoko: When Jayme Stone decided to travel to Mali in 2007, he expected to gain an understanding of the banjos roots and history. What he actually came home with however, was an in-depth insight into African music and friendships that would ultimately lead to the release of Stone’s first folk-griot fusion album. His collaborations with the “walking encyclopaedia of Malian songs” Mansa Sissoko, a griot player from Bayela resulted in the 2007 ‘Africa to Appalachia’. The album also features guest appearances from Casey Driesson, the legendary ngoni master Bassekou Koyate and Katenen Dioubate. Simplistic in nature ‘Africa to Appalachia’ is a sublime understanding of two separate cultures where Stone became more “attuned to the communal aspect of making music”.


World Music Central’s Best World Music Releases of 2009

Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions
Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Companions

The editors at World Music Central, its Spanish language portal Músicas del Mundo and other friends, present their lists of Best World Music Recordings of 2009.

TJ Nelson (World Music Central)

Patricia Herlevi (World Music Central / Whole Music Experience blog)

Honorable mentions to: Songs Around The World CD/DVD by Playing for Change  (Concord Music Group/Starbucks) and Mario Adnet and Philippe Baden Powell – AfroSambaJazz: The Music of Baden Powell (Adventure Music). World Village came out as top label for The Whole Music Experience in 2009, followed by Adventure Music and ECM New Series.

Tom Orr (World Music Central)

My list (which is in no particular order) includes dub reggae by an artist who’s neither Jamaican nor Rasta, Afrobeat fused and not fused, blues and rock-tinged music of Saharan origin and other stuff that no words of mine can begin to adequately describe. I urge you to seek out, listen and enjoy.

Rafael Mieses (Músicas del Mundo)

Jason Ferguson (World Music Central)

Angel Romero> (World Music Central / Músicas del Mundo)


Musicport World Music Festival 2009 Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Nitin Sawhney
Nitin Sawhney

Musicport Festival 2009 promises a wide range of international, national and regional artists celebrating 10 years of bringing the best in global music to the Yorkshire coast. This year’s eclectic line up mixes many artists who are new to the festival with some previous special guests. With the successful transition to its new venue at the recently refurbished Spa Complex in Bridlington undertaken last year this year Musicport 09 is set to be the biggest and best yet.

The 10th anniversary will be a celebration of the last ten years as well as pointer towards what the future holds in store for its loyal audience that has grown year on year. This year the festival is back in its traditional half term dates and takes place over the weekend of 23-25 October 2009. The line-up so far includes music, dance and spoken word traditions from countries as diverse as Tibet, New Zealand, Chile, India, Malawi, Jamaica, D R Congo, Sudan, Philippines, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Bulgaria, Niger and Brazil as well as many excellent UK based artists.

The festival includes the multi-talented Nitin Sawhney (at the forefront of the Asian Underground movement), regular Radio 4 comedian/musician Mitch Benn, the classic roots reggae of Misty in Roots, the gentle Maori music of Pacific Curls, the lead singer of The Inspiral Carpets, the only living master of the traditional instrument of the fishermen of Lake Chad in Niger Mamane Barka, stunning Flamenco music & dance, the best African jazz ensemble, BBC Radio 3 World Music Award winners Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara.

Also featured are: top ambient DJ/producer Banco De Gaia, the haunting polyphonic singing of the Pirin mountains in Bulgaria by the Bisserov Sisters, the political folk harmonies of Chumbawamba, the amazing spectacle of Sufi music and whirling dervishes of Forever Haqqani, the award-winning English musician Jim Moray, dub poet Jean Binta Breeze. From Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists (& Musicport regulars) The Urban Gypsies, the trance-inducing Sudanese acoustic dance music of Rango as well as a host of local musicians and performers

The festival has 4 stages all in one gloriously restored Art Deco venue overlooking Bridlington’s extensive South Beach sands. With workshops, spoken word events, film, children’s events, festival market , DJ room and food court the festival offers an all weather alternative to the outdoor summer festivals and is many peoples chance to recapture and rekindle that festival spirit (and paddle in the sea) before the nights get way too long.

Line-up (subject to contract):

Nitin Sawhney
Misty In Roots
Mad Professor Ariwa Possee
Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara
African Jazz All Stars
Banco De Gaia
Abdullah Chhadeh & Syriana
Sumayo Flamenco
Pacific Curls (New Zealand)
Les Quatre Étoiles (Congo)
Mitch Benn
Batanai (Zimbabwe)
Jim Moray (England)
Jean Binta Breeze
Carmen Souza (Cape Verde)
Rafiki Jazz
The Hut People
The Ukrainians
Forever Haqqani (Sheikh Ahmad Dede & His Whirling Dervishes)
Mamane Barka (Niger)
Rango (Sudan /Egypt)
Tom Hingley
Bisserov Sisters (Bulgaria)
The Balkanatics
Tashi Lhunpo Monks (Tibet)
Jack Mapanje (Malawi)
La Romeria De Santa Fortuna (Chile)
Adriano Adewale Group (Brazil/UK)
Samay (UK/India)
Fernhill (Wales)
Mother India – MI21 remix
Maalstroom & Jo Freya (UK/Netherlands
Guy Buttery & Nibs Van Der Spuy (solo & duo)
DJ Monkey Pilot
Union Central
Ian Clayton & Boff Whalley
Flying Chilli Beats
Bon Appetit
Eddy John
Urban Gypsies
LK Dance (Phillipines)
Delta Maid
Andrew Lowe
Karen Tweed & Reg Meuross
Country & Eastern Band
Martin Stephenson

This year’s featured cause is Love Music Hate Racism.

Ticket Prices There are cut-price full weekend tickets £79.50 available until August (Then they go up to £89.50). Day & session tickets go on sale on 1st July. There is an official campsite (charged separately) and an abundance of B & B /self catering accommodation within easy walking distance of the venue

Ticket Line 0845 3732760. www.musicportfestival.com


World Music Central’s Best World Music CDs of 2008

World Music Central’s contributors have released the editor’s top world music picks of 2008:

Angel Romero,  World Music Central/Músicas del Mundo (USA)

Conchi (Kontxi) Diez of Músicas del Mundo/World Music Central (Spain):

Patricia Herlevi, host of The Whole Music Experience blog and regular contributor of World Music Central (USA):


Jill Turner of Gondwana Sound and World Music Central (UK):

Read more at www.gondwanasound.co.uk/node/288

Rafael Mieses, Músicas del Mundo (USA)

  • Plena Libre “ Plena al salsero” (Ritmo Artists/GN Music)
  • Concha Buika “Niña de Fuego” (Wea Internacional)
  • Papo Vázquez -The Mighty Pirates  “Marooned” (Picaro Records)
  • Esperanza Spalding “Esperanza” (Heads Up)
  • McCoy Tyner “Guitars” (Half Note)
  • Taj Mahal “Maestro” (Heads Up)
  • Lila Downs “Shake away”(Manhattan Records)
  • David Sánchez “Cultural Survival” (Concord Picante)
  • Lionel Loueke “Karabu”( Blue Note)
  • Raya Yarbrough (Telarc)

Musicport World Music Festival 2008

musicport_2008-300Musicport 2008 notches up a gear as they publish their list of forthcoming events in the run up to this October’s festival.

The first event on 17th May, was a runaway success with Belinda O’Hooley, who by all accounts turned in a stunning set supporting Jim Moray.

Acts confirmed so far, for the festival, which takes place at the Spa in Bridlington on October 17/18/19th include: Toumani Diabate, The Levellers, Rolf Harris, Ska Cubano, Etran Finatawa, Ivo Papasov, Billy Cobham and Asere, Reem Kelani , Moussu T et Lei Jovents, Warsaw Village Band, Bob Brozman, Carmen Souza, Lani Singers from West Papua, The Young Coppers, Zoe Rahman Project, Papa Noël & Adan Pedorosa, Martin Simpson, The Outernationalists with more in the pipeline.

Momentum, for the three day festival in October will continue to build with further events throughout the summer, which will include concerts from Martin Stephenson, Albert Nyathi & Imbongi and Chumbawamba at Whitby’s Coliseum. Music and ale trains will also be running every Friday evening from 18th July – 6th September where you can travel from Whitby to Middlesborough and back, accompanied by the best in local music talent and fine ales.

Now in its ninth year, Musicport is enjoying a reputation as the best indoor World Music festival in England if not the world, it has quickly outgrown its much loved home on the Whitby seafront. Whilst it is now known by its new trimmed back name Musicport, in preparation for the new festival venue at Bridlington Spa, the main administrative centre and the heart of the festival will still be in Whitby.

The Spa in Bridlington has been the beneficiary of a £19.4million makeover and offers some fine sea views and promises to be a great new home for the festival. To be the first to experience the new venue, make your way over to the official launch night party for Musicport World Music Festival on the 4th July where Leeds based South East Asian outfit Samay, will be supporting TransglobalUnderground. It will be a great night no doubt.

To keep up to date and for further details and ticket information for the main festival or any of the other events in the run up, go to the website: www.musicportfestival.com and register for news updates.


Forever Seeking Persian Excellence

Mamak Khadem - Jostojoo Forever Seeking
Mamak Khadem – Jostojoo Forever Seeking

Mamak Khadem

Jostojoo Forever Seeking (Banyan Tree Production, 2008)

Most world music fans would easily recognize Mamak Khadem’s voice by her work with the popular Persian ensemble Axiom of Choice, but that would just be a sliver of this songstress’ career. Lending her exquisite voice to movie and television soundtracks like The Peacemaker, Traffic, The Profiler and Battlestar Galactica, participating in the Voices of Women Festival in Greece and the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles, as well as, appearing on Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s Alif and Jamshied Sharifi’s A Prayer for the Soul of Layla has certainly put Ms. Khadem firmly on the musical map. Now fans have a new reason to rejoice because Mamak Khadem has kicked off her solo career in a big way with Jostojoo Forever Seeking out on Banyan Tree Productions.

Assembling and arranging a repertoire of songs based on melodies found in Iran, Baluchistan, Armenia, Turkey, Greece and Kurdistan and shot through with Persian poetry, Ms. Khadem, along with producer extraordinaire Jamshied Sharifi and Omar Faruk Tekbilek, has created a smart, sophisticated CD with Jostojoo. Artfully crafted and expertly arranged, Jostojoo is simply an invitation something magical.

Opening track “Baz Amadam The Return” starts simply but blossoms into a full force of clarinet, oud, darbuka, viola, bass, djembe, gungon, bender, chaker, bells, bombo and some snappy hand claps against the full force of Ms. Khadem’s vocals. I have to admit a little greedy pleasure I get from tracks like percussion layered “Gelayeh Plaintive” or the achingly poignant Kurdish melody “Varan Rain” in that there is a fairytale like feel to them, where there are unexpected turns of vocal phrasing I didn’t expect or the subtle circle of accordion or clarinet that wend their way throughout the compositions.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek lends his rich voice to Ms. Khadem’s bewitching vocals on “Heydar,” a composition brimming over with the meaty sounds of ney, baglama, tam-tam, daf, cajon, darbuka, shaker and accordion. In addition to rich pieces like title track “Jostojoo,” “Lalah Lullaby for the Awakening” and “Avareh Homewrecke,d” there is the powerful “Lachrymosa” with Mamak Khadem on vocals and harmonium, Kourosh Moradi on tambur and vocals and Omar Faruk Tekbilek on vocals and ney that is deliciously evocative.

While centered around Mamak Khadem’s vocals, Jostojoo Forever Speaking also features some splendid musicians like Ole Mathisen on clarinet, Simone Haggiag on daf and cajon as well as a whole host of other instruments, Eyvind King on viola, Brahim Fribgane and Dimitris Mahlis on oud, Skuli Sverrisson on bass, Benjamin Wittman on darbuka and Hamid Saeidi on santur. There’s also Habib Mefia on dom dom and damman, Sofia Lambropoulou on kanum, Roubik Haroutunian on duduk, Layla Sakamoto Sharifi on violin, Marc Shulman on guitar and other fine musicians I simply don’t have room to mention.

Jostojoo is simply a triumph of a jumping off point for Ms. Khadem’s solo career.

Buy Jostojoo.