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WORLD AND FOLK MUSIC NEWS
XV Saor Patrol Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary Edition
Espiral Iberian & Flamenco Fusion from La Jose
HOSSAM RAMZY ‘ROCKS THE TABLA’ AT WOMAD 2015
The West African Blues Project - Modou Touré & Ramon Goose
XV Saor Patrol Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary Edition
Saor Patrol are celebrating 15 years on top of their Scottish medieval rock mountain with the release of XV - 15 Year Anniversary Edition - Total Reworx Vol 1 . XV is a revival of some of the band’s favourite tracks with recreations and brand new recordings from their 15 years as one of the leading instrumental Scottish rock bands. XV includes Charlie Allan’s inimitable bagpipes and Steve Legget on electric and acoustic guitar acompanied by Saor Patrol’s thunderous back line from Kevin Johnston, Dan Dean and Mark Monaghan.
At the start of the year, Saor Patrol rocked the UK with their performance of Three Wee Jigs on BBC’s The One Show. This performance took their 2014 album Outlander up the UK’s Indie Album Charts to #3.
Saor Patrol’s relentless touring agenda includes annual appearances at Germany’s medieval festivals – the Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum – and others: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Wacken (Germany), SXSW (Texas), Taiwan Festival of World Culture, The Scottish Drum Day, Dollywood USA, Ely Folk Festival, the Rock and Blues Custom Show, Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre, T in the Park and Lo Spirito del Planeta.
It is the sound from Charlie Allan’s bagpipes that perhaps best connects audiences to Saor Patrol’s highland heritage, a connection that is strongly in place in XV from track 1. Dalriada celebrates the tribal kings from Dalriada - a kingdom in Ireland - who settled on the western seaboard of Scotland, having originally come from Scotland in the first place. Saor Patrol themselves mostly hail from the anicent Celtic kingdom of Fife, in fact their name – Saor Patrol [pronounced ‘shore patrol’] or ‘Soarsa Patrol’ – is Gaelic for ‘freedom guard.’ Some of the band even specialise in medieval fighting techniques and have appeared in many epic movie blockbusters such as Gladiator, King Arthur, Robin Hood, The Eagle, Thor II and Macbeth.
Duncarron holds special significance for Saor Patrol, a track that first appeared on Saor Patrol’s Hands Across the Border album in 2009. All band members belong to the Clanranald Trust that supports Duncarron. Duncarron is an educational and cultural reconstructed medieval fortified village near Stirling largely funded from Saor Patrol’s sales, merchandise and performances. Duncarron stands as a symbol of the band’s commitment to their Scottish heritage. Saor Patrol are Duncarron’s ‘freedom guards’, its founding members and celebrity clansmen.
In XV, Saor Patrol celebrate Celtic hotspots and highland traditions including the album’s closing track Weramur - Scottish slang for ‘Where am I?’. XV includes Charlie’s haunting bagpipe playing on Mood Moons and the perennially popular Solveig – sunny road. Pottytime dates back to the band’s early busking days in the Edinburgh Festival where the band would announce: ‘this was the pot, and this was the time’, if anyone cared to make a small donation.
Saor Patrol started when Charlie Allan purchased his first set of bagpipes from Bagpipes Galore on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile 15 years ago and, on picking up a drum for £35 at a local car boot sale, innocently asked his friends ‘Who can play the drums?’. XV - 15 Year Anniversary Edition Total Reworx Vol 1 is a mighty album from a mighty band - released worldwide release through ARC Music on the 31st July, 2015.
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Espiral Iberian & Flamenco Fusion from La Jose
‘I am a gypsy child of History
A gypsy Indian
Treasures of coals, gold and tin
Sap from the sacred tree
More than 1000 years ’
Welcome to Espiral – the new album from Spanish singer/songwriter Josefina Gómez Llorente – better known as La Jose. Espiral is a dynamic album spanning Iberian music, from flamenco songs to Sephardic melodies.
Espiral is a remarkable and fresh album, a vocal voyage through the varied landscapes of La Jose‘s life in which ‘emotion, reflection and vitality’ co-exist ‘in abundance… La Jose is a woman who is going to give a lot to the world of music.’ Radio 3 Nacional, Spain.
La Jose penned the first songs for Espiral in 2012, teaming up with guitarist and co-producer Victor Iniesta to complete the project which combines elements of pop and soul in an acoustic flamenco frame. Iniesta is well known in Spain for his collaborations with many musicians at a national level including Manolo Garcia and Miguel Campello. The inspirational song for the album – Espiral – was co-composed by La Jose and Iniesta and expresses the liberation from the weight that stifles the soul by letting life take one by the hand, to dance, to turn to move in spirals,
‘I let the rhythm carry me / Like the strings and your fingers doing the frets / I no longer know where I want to live / I am lost and have just found myself in the spiral, in the spiral.’
In the opening song La ruta, we are bound on a gypsy journey La Jose-style from India to the Mediterranean in which the choice of instruments proves as intoxicating as La Jose’s voice. The unusual Indian veena accompanies Spanish classical guitar. The veena is mostly widely used in Indian classical music and is a large-bodied wooden stringed instrument with a gourd attached to the end of the neck to strengthen its natural resonance.
Espiral includes the captivating sounds of the nay (Egyptian flute), oud, piano, expressive hand-clapping from La Jose, Indian tabla and a variety of percussive instruments adding to the album’s natural charm. On such a strong collection of songs, it is hard to say that one song stands out above another, but Herman@ definitely deserves special mention. Herman@ expresses a yearning for fraternity with a catchy chorus, vocal dance throughout and wild percussive outro.
La Jose dedicated Espiral plus the song La carita lavá’ to her grandmother, Luci, ‘The queen of good dishes / a saying for every occasion.’ Luci has much to be grateful for: a loving granddaughter who is arguably ‘la nueva reina del flamenco fusión’ Ibérico – the new queen of Iberian fusion flamenco. Espiral is being released for worldwide distribution through ARC Music on the 31st July, 2015.
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KHIYO Bengali Music with a London Sound
Khiyo’s self-titled new album is a celebration of Bengali music with a London sound. Khiyo are a London-based six piece band playing radical, modern interpretations of Bengali heritage music. Masterfully arranged by Khiyo’s British-Bangladeshi vocalist Sohini Alam and composer/multi-instrumentalist Oliver Weeks, Khiyo explore new ways of presenting traditional Bengali songs and mystic poems with an innovative London twist.
Khiyo are proud proponents of Bengali independence and national identity, starting with their name ‘Khiyo’, a letter from the Bengali alphabet which is a unique letter that, whilst being a combination of two letters, has an identity of its own. Similarly, although the band members have different musical backgrounds, they create an identifiable and unique sound. Khiyo is not afraid to push boundaries, a daring attitude that gets them noticed far and wide.
In 2012, Khiyo were at the centre of a national media debate in Bangladesh that focused on Khiyo’s version of Amar Shonar Bangla [My Golden Bengal], the national anthem. Sparks flew, fingers wagged amid cries of sedition from critics who argued the song should only be played in the accepted style. Did Khiyo have the right to express artistic creativity and freedom of expression? Along with renowned Bangladeshi musicians, Khiyo held firm, their video went viral with Sohini Alam casually dressed in a London home singing:
‘My Bengal of gold, I love you / Forever your skies, your air set my heart in tune.’
Khiyo are doubly-blessed. They have something to sing about and they have Sohini Alam to do their singing. As a third generation vocalist from a Bangladeshi singing dynasty, Sohini Alam trained with her mother, Hiron Alam alongside two aunts in a repertoire that included folk, patriotic modern and traditional Bengali songs specializing in Nazrul Sangeet. Rum Jhum Rumu Jhumu describes a gathering storm that ends in a torrential downpour of monsoon rain, written by the revered national poet of Bangladesh, Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976). With a repertoire of close to 4,000 songs, Kazi Nazrul Islam is one of the few musicians in the world whose name became a musical genre in itself – Nazrul Sangeet.
Many of the songs on Khiyo were penned by Bengali’s wandering mystic poets known as Bauls, such as Murshidi [Kachhe Nao Na Dekha Dao Na] – Murshidi [You Don’t Come Close, You Don’t Show Yourself] written by the famous Bengali Baul Shah Abdul Karim [1916-2009] and Kotobaaro Bhebechhinu [Many a Time Have I Thought], penned by the Nobel Prize-winning Baul poet Rabindranath Tagore [1861-1941]. Doyal Tomaro Lagiya [For You, Beloved] is one of Khiyo’s standout Bengali folk songs describing love in its spiritual and earthly forms.
Amar Protibaader Bhasha [The Language of My Protest] has particular significance for Bengalis who had to fight to preserve their language and customs. Written by multi-instrumentalist and composer Salil Chowdhury [1923-1995] and featuring renowned tabla player Soumik Datta, Amar Protibaader Bhasha concerns the power of language to create political change, referencing the pressure Bengalis endured from the Pakistani government to impose the Urdu language in East Pakistan ending in the student massace of 1952. This was part of the struggle that transformed East Pakistan into The People’s Republic of Bangladesh on March 26th, 1971.
Says ARC Music Director Julia Beyer, ‘Khiyo brings tradition together with a new contemporary sound and Sohini’s voice … they have a funky, fresh sound, a Bengali-London mix .’ There is no doubt Khiyo are going to fan an impressive Bengali fire with Khiyo. Released worldwide on 28th August 2015 through ARC Music.
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HOSSAM RAMZY ‘ROCKS THE TABLA’ AT WOMAD 2015
Egypt’s Ambassador of Rhythm Hossam Ramzy will be performing on the Siam Stage at WOMAD 2015 on Saturday July 25th at noon.
Recreating music from his album that’s rocked audiences worldwide – the fusion CD Rock The Tabla (released on ARC Music in 2011) – a fine blend of dance music and rock, funk and progressive jazz, deep bass, solo violin and blues guitar.
Rock The Tabla , the album that received Hossam Ramzy a nomination for 'Best Artist' in the Songlines Music Awards 2012, is now a live performance experience.
“…Ramzy has kicked the music world square in the rhythm section… it just doesn’t get any better than this.” – World Music Central
“…one of the best pieces of Arab rock to ever come out of a pair of speakers… a master class in musicality…” – Allmusic
“…Ramzy once again redefines the meaning of world music…” – Graham Reid, elsewhere.co.nz
Special guest musicians accompanying Hossam Ramzy include: keyboardist Chaz Dabat; Mohamed Aly (violin/oud – lute); Wael El Naggar (accordion); Hoda El Sombaty (Egyptian blues vocalist); Tony Qunta (electric blues guitar); Emmanuel Mann (bass) and Rick Shadrach Lazar (percussion/vocals).
Hossam Ramzy is part of the fabulous line-up of new and legendary world music greats at year’s WOMAD 2015, including Tinariwen, De La Soul, Noura Mint Seymali, Bellowhead, Mahmoud Ahmed & Badume’s Band, Ibeyi, Laura Mvula, Eska and many more amazing artists from the four corners of the globe.
Hossam Ramzy with his ‘Rock the Tabla’ Tour Musicians
WOMAD 2015 will be held at Charlton Park, Wiltshire between the 24th and 26th July.
Hossam will also be performing as part of the Rock the Tabla tour at London’s Union Chapel on Tuesday 21st July:
The West African Blues Project - Modou Touré & Ramon Goose
Drinking Moroccan mint tea in a London’s Moroccan café is not guaranteed to result in the creation and production of a world-class West African blues album, unless you happen to be Modou Touré and Ramon Goose. In which case, drinking mint tea goes to a whole new level: The West African Blues Project.
The West African Blues Project is a new collaboration between Senegalese vocalist Modou Touré and Brit blues maestro Ramon Goose that came together relatively effortlessly.
In Ramon’s own words: ‘ I was struck by Modou as a very quiet, humble and polite young man, yet when he is on stage - he's the opposite! At our first meeting I played him some of my musical ideas; we both laughed as he instantly felt at home and started singing some wonderful ideas to the music I had come up with .’
Touré’s vocals glide effortlessly over Ramon’s masterfully placed guitar blues riffs in the outstanding track We Walk in the Sahara, in which Touré’s vocals transport one into and over the vast and ever-changing dune landscape of the Saharan desert, in which one wrong turn could be fatal.
All songs on The West African Blues Project are sung in Wolof, Mandinka and French and co-composed and arranged by Modou Touré and Ramon Goose. Here we have a landscape that is both vast and varied: Journey to Casamance; the Saharan Dune Blues; a joyously uptempo song about a children’s game played in Senegal – Lolambe; the warrior song Kayre which depicts a fight for freedom and liberty, while Believe celebrates creation.
In Dune Blues, Modou sings of an ancient past that still bears relevance today, dedicating this song to the spirit of West African teachers and their ways. Western Comfort gives warning to Africans who forget that the important things in life can be found in Africa and who look to the west as a place of comfort.
Modou Touré inherited his vocal strength from his father, Ousmane Touré, who sang for a time with Senegalese band Touré Kunda. Touré Kunda were perhaps best noted for popularizing Senegalese world music, performing and singing in 6 languages during a career that spanned 30 years and included collaborations with musical legends Carlos Santana and Talking Heads. Modou Touré clearly continues his father’s love for West African music & traditions on The West African Blues Project.
For Ramon Goose, this is the latest in a series of successful collaborations including Mansana Blues [a Downbeat Magazine poll winner] with kora superstar Diabel Cissokho and Drew with Mississippi Blues singer Boo Boo Davies – a ‘Mojo Magazine’ Top 10 Blues album. Ramon Goose has also toured/recorded with musical legends such as James Brown’s saxophonist Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis, Louisiana blues legend Chris Thomas King, Eric Bibb and blues harmonica player Charlie Musslewhite. The West African Blues Project is masterful blues collaboration, worldwide release June 30th through ARC Music.
Seckou Keita’s New Solo Album: 22 Strings
The remarkable new solo album from Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita releases through ARC Music on 26 May 2015 in collaboration with Theatr Mwldan and Seckou Keita.
Following the critical acclaim of his award-winning collaborative project with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, the extraordinary Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita will be striking out in 2015 with a new solo album 22 Strings and a UK tour.
Seckou Keita has arguably become the most influential and inspiring kora player of his generation, an exceptional and charismatic musician. In his new album 22 Strings, Seckou explores what it means to be a modern global citizen, and yet to live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. He gives us the kora in its purest guise, a wondrous instrument that can soothe the bloodlust of warriors and take the human spirit to a place of deep meditation, stillness and beauty.
A true master of the kora – the West African harp - Seckou, from the Casamance area of Southern Senegal, was a childhood prodigy, born of a line of griots and kings. Cissokho, his mother’s family name, gave life to his talent; Keita, his father’s, gave him royal blood. Seckou has graced the international stage since 1996, earning worldwide acclaim for his kora playing and appearing with a host of fellow artists including Salif Keita, Yossou N’Dour, Miriam Makeba and Neil Finn.
The title of the album says it all. Centuries ago, when the djinns, the spirits of the African bush, gave the fi rst ever kora to the griot Jali Mady ‘Wuleng’ (Jali Mady ‘The Red’) it had 22 strings. Then, when Jali Mady died, his fellow griots took one string away in its memory. But back in its birthplace in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the 22-stringed kora survives, with the extra string giving the instrument special advantages in terms of tonal reach and groove. For Seckou Keita, that one extra string represents home: the place where his heart resides.
Variously described as a ‘griot (praise singer), composer, djembe master, virtuoso and pioneer’, Seckou is a rare type of musician, seated in tradition whilst constantly pushing the boundaries of his art. His last two albums Miro and The Silimbo Passage hit No.1 in the European world music charts, and Clychau Dibon, the fruit of his collaboration with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, won fRoots Critics Poll Album of The Year 2013, Songlines Magazine Best Cross Cultural Collaboration 2014, and two BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations (Best Duo and Best Traditional Track) as well as a clutch of 4 and 5 starTraditional Track) as well as a clutch of 4 and 5 star press reviews.
Finnish Tango by Tango-Orkesteri Unto Dark Wings of the Night
The Finnish tango band Tango-Orkesteri Unto have a new album to share with the world, Dark Wings of the Night. Taking their name from the great tango composer, Unto Mononen, the band has been charming audiences with their unique brand of tango from their homeland throughout many European countries and the US since 1998.
Dark Wings of the Night is the band’s third studio album released through the ARC Music label with sweeping melodies in captivating arrangements delivered with Tango-Orkesteri Unto’s trademark passion and longing. Finland’s national love of tango is deep-rooted; there are not many countries in the world that boast an annual tango festival – the Tangomarkkinat – of 100,000 participants and which concludes with the coronation of a tango King and Queen. It can be safely said that Finnish tango is alive and well in Unto’s hands, a tradition that dates back to its halcyon years in the 1960s when up to half of Finland’s popular music charts were occupied by tangos and where Dark Wings of the Night begins.
This album’s title track Yön tummat siivet [Dark Wings of the Night] is a song by and tribute to the band’s namesake Unto Mononen. This is one of the Mononen’s dramatic pieces from the height of the 1960s tango boom that has it all: deception, bitterness, longing and destiny that can ruin your happiness at whim. Luckily the cover of night shelters one from the pain under its dark wings.
The album starts with a fiery tango chanson – Juna [Train] composed by the renowned Finnish songwriter, Anna-Mari Kähärä with lyrics by Anna-Leena Härkönen showing the lament of a woman about to leave a disappointing relationship. Focusing as it does on tormented love and nature – the traditional themes of Finnish tango – Dark Night of the Wings presents them with a fresh musical attack and vocal definition.
Jos Minut Vielä Kohtaat [If You’ll Ever See Me Again] is a rarely performed masterpiece from the Tango Composition and Lyrics Contest at the Seinajoki Tango Festival and a favourite in Unto’s repertoire, ‘I wish for one thing only: I wish to forget you.’ Then again in Katuviertä pitkin [Strolling in the Streets] we find the sad story of a couple that used to stroll in the streets together but now one of them walks with another.Eron Hetki on Kaunis [The Moment of Parting is Beautiful] is rich in the language of the beauty of love and its double sided pain, ‘ I remember the moment we parted/ I remember the beauty in the longing; the moment of parting is as beautiful as love itself.’
Dark Wings of the Night features two songs by renowned Finnish songwriter, Anna-Mari Kähärä, namely Juna and Sade luo kuultavan hämärän [Rain Forms a Translucent Twilight], sung beautifully by lead singer Pirjo Aittomäki’s warm jazzy voice. Pirjo’s breadth of expression, whether triumphant anthem or intimate suspended moment, provides delicacy and strength throughout the album. Pirjo is accompanied by prominent Finnish musicians such as Timo Alakotila on piano, composer and accordion player Johanna Juhola, Mauno Järvelä on violin, Petri Hakala on guitar and Hannu Rantanen on double bass.
Yön syli [Cradle of the Night] was originally written for Johanna Juhola Reaktori’s 2011 The Limits of Tango Show with lyrics by Elina Lajunen, inspired on a walk home from a milonga dance one night through the nocturnal city with the memory of dance steps still freshly in mind, ‘ You are never alone in the night/ you can leave your eternal longing behind you/ when the night is filled with love/ now I can linger in your arms .’
As the head of the Finnish National Broadcaster's gramophone library explains, ‘ Many tangos express a longing for the old homestead, or a distant land of happiness. The changing seasons of Finnish nature are frequently used metaphors: the spring breaks the hold of the winter, and flowers appear, creating new expectations. Autumn rains and dark evenings are symbols of crushed hopes. ’ Dark Wings of the Night infuses a vibrant strength into a genre deeply embedded in the Finnish culture. It is definitely a light in the dark night of love. Dark Wings of the Night is a polished piece of world-class musicianship in which Tango-Orkesteri Unto find and flex their wings. Released worldwide through ARC Music on 28th April.
Music from Iraq Babylonian Fingers by Oud Master Ahmed Mukhtar
Babylonian Fingers is the new album by Ahmed Mukhtar, whose ‘blessed fingers fashion shades and shapes from his instrument [the oud] that most people can only dream of.’ [Rob Smith, Taplas Magazine]. Ahmed Mukhtar is one of the world’s most celebrated oud soloists, composers and teachers, whose musical career spans thirty-six years and several thousand miles from Baghdad to London.
Babylonian Fingers celebrates Iraqi culture – on the album’s title track Ahmed plays the oud without using an oud pick. This is based on the archaeological belief that in bygone days Babylonians only plucked the oud with fingers of the right hand. This playing style is confined to oud masters, mostly ouds are plucked using an exceptionally long, thin pick [rishah] held not only by the fingers but by the whole hand. Ahmed’s album, produced by the musical director – Anis Mohammed – provides a panoramic look at Iraqi culture. Here we find the Iraqi Gypsy Song, Alleys of the Old City, Blues of the Oud and Nowroz [New Day].
From early beginnings to world-class oud master, Ahmed Mukhtar’s musical journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Born in Baghdad in 1969, Ahmed first started playing the oud at the age of ten and studied under the tutelage of oud and percussion masters Ganin Halad and Jameel Jerjis. From there, Ahmed attended the High Institute of Music in Damascus and persued further studies at London’s SOAS where he attained a Master’s degree for performance, Middle Eastern and Arabic Music. Ahmed now directs the Taqasim Music School, whose mission is to preserve the musical heritage of the Middle East.
In Erica Goode’s New York Times article A Fabled Iraqi Instrument Thrives in Exile, 2008 , the Arabic oud is said to play a central role in Iraq’s musical tradition – in its music lies the country’s soul. Babylonian Fingers is steeped in Iraqi soul. Says Ahmed, ‘There is a story of love between the Iraqis and music.’ Derived from the Arabic word for ‘wood’- ‘ūd’, the oud is a fretless pear-shaped stringed lute which is both larger and deeper than its Turkish counterpart and includes the Iraqi, Egyptian and Syrian ouds.
The album’s opening track Iraqi Jazz contains syncopated rythms, with stringed, wind and percussive instruments that resonate throughout Babylonian Fingers such as the oud, qanun, the nay [end-blown wooden flute] and percussive dafs [frame drums with a tambourine effect]. Western instruments also take their place on Babylonian Fingers such as cello, violin, clarinet, double bass and saxophone.
In Ahmed’s own words, ‘ Most of the pieces are new musical visions of the heritage of the oud... This album also contains heritage from the music of Babylonian civilisation 5,200 years ago, interacting with contemporary oud music such as the piece ‘Babylonian Fingers .’
Traditional rhythms and maqams – Arabian melodic scales each with a unique name and melodic structure – define the soundscape on Babylonian Fingers. Sama’ai is one of the ancient musical forms of the Middle East and North Africa and Sama’ai Hijaz paints a scene from an ancient palace courtyard from long ago. Illuminations describes the first moments of a Sufi ceremony while a Traditional Iraqi Love Song was composed in the 1940s by the great Iraqi songwriter Saleh Azra al Kuiati.
Alongside musical compositions in the film Al-Baghdadi directed by the British-Iraqi director, Mayhem Riada, Ahmed has also written extensively for Arabic and western TV shows, is a frequent guest on Iraqi TV and also produced work that featured in the Old Vic theatre’s new Iraqi-European version of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. Music from Iraq – Babylonian Fingers is being released at the end of March through ARC Music.
Kiran Ahluwalia’s New Album Sanata : Stillness
MULTI AWARD WINNER
‘An inspired and fresh formula.’ – NPR, USA
‘ Hers is a voice destined to enchant more than one generation. ’ – fRoots, UK
‘A powerful woman who has a depth of character in her wonderfully pliable, expressive voice.’ – The Observer, UK
‘‘ …if she carries on her journey of exploration, she has the potential to astonish us.’ – Songlines, UK
Sanata : Stillness is the new album from multi-award winning Indo-Canadian singer, Kiran Ahluwalia. Sanata is at once contemplative and rockin’, traditional and innovative; a hybrid of Indian and Pakistani grooves, Saharan blues and jazz. Says Kiran, ‘ When you take two styles and merge them together… then you’re really developing a new hybrid genre… Those moments of discovery are nothing short of sublime, it’s really the essence of everything for me .’
Sanata features Kiran’s own songs of love, life and the human spirit with sublime vocals rising and falling effortlessly through Hayat [life], Qaza [destiny], Tamana [desire], the experimental instrumental Hum Dono and the uptempo spirited Jhoom [sway]. After hearing Sanata, one is left feeling that Taskeen [satisfaction] is a not just a possibility but a musical certainty.
Kiran Ahluwalia has been on a musical mission from the age of seven. Born in Patna in northeast India, Kiran immersed herself in the exploration of classical Indian music and ghazals – Urdu songs focusing on the beauty, pain and suffering in love and life in a romantic and spiritual sense. Despite her family moving to Canada at a young age, Kiran has never abandoned her musical roots. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Kiran spent over a decade studying with India’s classical guru Padma Talwalkar and ghazal guru, Vithal Rao. Hard work and dedication
to her musical craft won Kiran success and the ability to sing in three distinct languages – Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
Several Juno nominations and 2x Juno Awards later – for Best World Music Albums for Beyond Boundaries  andAam Zameen - Common Ground  – have firmly placed Kiran Ahluwalia as a leading inspiration on the world music stage. Wanderlust won Kiran the inaugural Songlines Music Award for Best Newcomer in 2009.
Kiran has penned most of the songs on Sanata both lyrically and musically. In the opening track, Hayat [life], Kiran expresses her
personal conflicts as an Indo-Canadian now living in New York City,
Kiran’s lyrics work on many levels. The album’s title track Sanata explores the pain of separation from a loved one, albeit a place or a person, ‘This is the deafening stillness of having left you / The certainty of breaking the knot will eventually dawn on me.’
Added to Sanata’s mix is the deft production from jazz guitarist and Kiran’s musical and life partner, Rez Abbasi [Downbeat magazine’s No.1 Rising Star Guitarist] coupled with Kiran’s inspiration from the legendary Tuareg group Tinariwen, ‘ For me it’s important to blur the musical boundaries between my Indian background, influences from Western sounds and the things I love from the Sahara.’ Sanata was recorded at Toronto’s Canterbury Sound studios by Jeremy Darby whose engineering credits include Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Mariah Carey et al. Sanata is the new album in the musical evolution of Kiran Ahluwalia and what a grand evolution this is. Sanata will be released worldwide through ARC Music and is already available in the USA and Canada.
Asian Arts Agency is delighted to support ARC Music in the launch of Kiran Ahluwalia‘s album Sanata: Stillness.
Venue: The Nehru Centre (Cultural Wing of the High Commission of India), 8 South Audley Street, London, W1K 1HF
Date: Monday 30 th March Time: 6.30pm
Album/launch info: Angie Lemon:
Tel: +44 (0) 1342 770 486 | www.arcmusic.co.uk
Tours Info: Jaswinder Singh:
Tel: +44 (0) 7930 926710
Sousou & Maher Cissoko Win National Swedish ‘Manifest’ Award for ‘Best Folk Album 2015’ for ‘Africa Moo Baalu.’
Maher & Sousou Cissoko 's album 'Africa Moo Baalu' has just won the national Swedish Music 'Manifest' Award for ‘Best Folk Album 2015’, the awards ceremony can be seen here. Sousou & Maher accepted their award from Senegal as the awards were being televised live from Stockholm’s Restaurant Nalen on Feb. 6th 2015.
Sousou & Maher’s album was released for worldwide distribution through ARC Music in Feb. 2014 and soon reached #1 position on Pennsylvania's New World Buzz Charts ahead of Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Seun Kuti, Tinariwen, Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.
Translating as ‘big people of Africa’ – or ‘Leaders of Africa’ – the album’s title track appeals for world leaders to come together to put an end to suffering and war: “The world needs some changes”, says Maher. “ There are many conflicts that have been going on for so many years, from generation to generation. The leaders have the power and hold the possibilities to change .”
As Graham Reid wrote in a review of ‘Africa Moo Baalu’ in Perceptive Travel:
‘... This engaging album is ... music which goes directly from the artists' souls to the listener's heart and lodges itself there on behalf of the dispossessed, disenfranchised, and oppressed in West Africa... This quietly persuasive album — lyrics in translation — weaves its particular magic by understatement and the hypnotic sounds of kora, guitar and calabash. The concise but important liner notes give the background to the songs, but an open heart might also guess the sadness, quiet fury, and necessary reconciliation between the past and present. Sailing along with the message is music that is enchantingly melodic, heartfelt and (on the lovely "Fall" in English) a kind of folk-truth. Quite special.’
Manifest Awards is organized by the Swedish Independent Music Producers collaboration with partners and is the only independent Swedish music award where the prize is awarded for works created over the past year.
‘SILENCIA’ NOMINATED FOR BRAZILIAN MUSIC AWARD 2015
Ceumar's new album - Silencia (officially released 24/2) - has been nominated in the independent album category for a Premio Da Musica Brazil Award. Created in 1988, the Premio Da Musica Brazil Awards are considered to be the biggest celebrations of Brazilian Music to praise the efforts and talents of Brazilian singers, musicians, arrangers and producers.
Brazilian singer/songwriter Ceumar [pronounced ‘say-ooh-mar’] has a new collection of original songs and covers from notable Brazilian songwriters sung in Portuguese – Silencia. As an accomplished instrumentalist and vocalist, Ceumar intended this project to be a unique acoustic experience from start to finish.
‘ The idea of ‘SILENCIA’ was to create together with the musicians a way to reveal the silences hidden in the sounds of my songs. I invited the magical French cello player Vincent Ségal, to produce this album… Vincent joined the Brazilian musicians who are old friends of mine. ’
Silencia is Ceumar’s sixth recording project to date which was made possible by São Paulo’s Cultural Action Program known as ProAC. Other aims of ProAC are to expand and diversify artistic production and increase the movement of forms of cultural property across the state.
Silencia is being distributed worldwide through ARC Music and will be released at the end of February 2015.
Major Movie Mortdecai by Lionsgate Entertainment Starring Johnny Depp includes music from ARC Music...
The new film from Lionsgate Entertainment – Mortdecai – contains a piece of music from ARC Music’s catalogue from the album The Art of Chinese Harp by Xiao Ying with a track called Family Warmth.
Mortdecai is an action/comedy picture directed by David Koepp (Ghost Town, 2008) due to be released on January 23rd in the UK and US. The action centres on art dealer Charles Mortdecai played by Johnny Depp (the Pirates of the Caribbean films) who searches for a stolen painting that is linked to a lost bank account full of Nazi gold. The movie features Academy Award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man) as the female lead Johanna, Ewan McGregor (the Star Wars prequels) as Inspector Martland and Olivia Munn (Big Stan) as Georgina Kampf.
The movie becomes the latest in a long line of Hollywood projects to source music from West Sussex-based record label ARC Music. Previous placements include The Legend of Hercules, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, The Dictator, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Conan The Barbarian 3D, Machine Gun Preacher and many more.
More information about Mortdecai
Código de Barros Transforming Tradition - An Iberian Roots Project by El Naán
Código de Barros is a new Iberian roots project produced by the world music fusion seven-piece group,
El Naán. From Palencia in the heart of Castile, El Naán explore the Arabic, Celtic & Jewish musical heritages belonging to the Iberian Peninsula. El Naán push Castilian folk music towards the 21st century, using artistic codes that reach both the older people – the owners of the legacy of traditional music – as well as younger people, with their poetic and evocative lyrics, very visual and dynamic staging and their passionate performances.
Fernando Íñiguez from Spain’s Radio 3 says that ‘ one of the big things that has happened to the Spanish roots music is the burst of El Naán.’ On Código de Barros, El Naán flex their musical wings to the max with performances on square frame drums, bouzouki, rattles, rabel [a 3-stringed Iberian fiddle], zamomba [a rustic Iberian drum that makes a kind of ‘aquatic’ sound], congas, tenor sax, tambourines, electric guitars and stringed harp-like psaltery.
In fact, the name ‘El Naán’ is taken from one of their first experimental multidisciplinary shows called ‘Natural Android’ in 2009 which combined music, poetry, dance and theatrical performance. The album title itself is a play on words: ‘Código de Barras’ translates from Spanish to ‘barcode’ but with one letter change we get ‘Código de Barros,’ meaning ‘mudcode’. Traditionally, Castilian houses were built from mud bricks but many of these old villages are now in ruins.
Corazón de Barro [‘heart of mud’] is a tribal song about the slow and agonizing depopulation of the disappearing world of muddy Castile. The diaspora of ‘castellanos’ [the citizens of Castile] to Cuba is the subject matter of Los Negros de Castila.
Says songwriter and album arranger, Carlos Herrero, ‘ The music of El Naán is not a fusion but a musical archaeology. We have searched – both inside the DNA of the music of this cultural crossroads and inside ourselves – in order to create a project that is of and for today; tradition transformed into 21st century emotion .’
Panaderas de Pan Duro [the ‘hard bread makers’] is a traditional song accompanied only with the hands beating the rhythm on a table. It used to be sung by bakers when preparing the bread to make dough, and is one of the Castilian traditions that gave rise to the popular Spanish saying ‘smarter than hunger.’ El Naán recorded this song live in one take at the old dancing hall attic in Palencia’s Taberna Cerrato. [Search on YouTube: El Naán ‘Panaderas de Pan Duro.]
From the Atlantic winds to the bonfires of the Mediterranean in Catalonia, from the flameco of the old Arabic kingdoms in Andalusia to the Galician and Basque drums, El Naán has taken it upon themselves to find the true essence of this ‘land of lands’ in Código de Barros. Along the way one meets weavers [Los Tejedores], heavenly archaeology [Arqueología Celeste 2.0] and even encounters a Persian poem [ Rubaiyat]. Código de Barross is world music at its modern best: El Naán have created an exceptional album that works on all levels. Released for worldwide distribution at the end of February by ARC Music.
Silencia The Crystal Voice of Ceumar
Brazilian singer/songwriter Ceumar [pronounced ‘say-ooh-mar’] has a new collection of original songs and covers from notable Brazilian songwriters sung in Portuguese–Silencia. As an accomplished instrumentalist and vocalist, Ceumar intended this project to be a unique acoustic experience from start to finish.
‘ The idea of ‘SILENCIA’ was to create together with the musicians a way to reveal the silences hidden in the sounds of my songs. I invited the magical French cello player Vincent Ségal, to produce this album… Vincent joined the Brazilian musicians who are old friends of mine. ’
Silencia was recorded live in Na Cena Studio in São Paulo between 16th and 20th December in 2013, sans click-track, completely as an acoustic recording capturing Ceumar’s vocals and musical moods exactly in the moment of the tracks being performed. The result is an immediate sensitivity and warmth perhaps best expressed in Encantos de Sereia [‘mermaid’s charms’] in which melodic rises and falls leave an arresting silence. The recording process works to create an atmosphere of closeness to the music,
‘We were feeding the songs with sweet percussion, cavaquinho, mandolin, double bass and other special instruments.’
'Silencia' unfolds an absolute unique universe… somewhere between her first (Brazil) and second motherland (The Netherlands). Poetic and delicate she invokes, with her crystal voice, a sea of feelings and memories.
‘Silencia' gets under your skin after listening to it regularly… the eternal song of desire, the longing, the homesickness - 'saudade'- dominates the music of Ceumar.’
Trouw - National Dutch Newspaper.
Whether Ceumar is singing bossanova as on Chora Cavaquinho [‘the cry of the cavaquinho’] or gliding across an alluring waltz on Penhor [‘pledge’], the quality of her vocals are always soothing and compelling.
Hailing from a jazz background, Ceumar has performed with a multitude of premier Brazilian artists such as Vitor Ramil, Nilson Chaves, Lui Coimbra, Sergio Perere and Mauricio Tizumba as well as the great American jazz-singer Deborah Carter. More recently, Ceumar has performed a lot in Europe with a wonderful jazz trio from Amsterdam (Mike del Ferro, Olaf Keus and Frans van der Hoeven) and continues to perform many shows in The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium.
Featured instruments on Silencia include cello (Vincent Ségal); double bass (Daniel Coehlo), nylon guitar (Ceumar), mandolin (Webster Santos), drums (Ricardo Mosca), accordion (Olivio Filho), the ten-string guitar (Ivan Vilela) on Segura O Coco and hauntingly beautiful clarinet by Zlezinho Pitoco on the album’s feature track, Silencia.
Silencia is Ceumar’s sixth recording project to date which was made possible by São Paulo’s Cultural Action Program known as ProAC. Other aims of ProAC are to expand and diversify artistic production and increase the movement of forms of cultural property across the state. The city of São Paulo’s Latin motto reads ‘Non ducor, duco’ which translates as ‘I am not led, I lead.’ Silencia will no doubt lead Ceumar into a bright future as one of São Paulo’s leading musical lights with her crystal voice. Silencia is being distributed worldwide through ARC Music and will be released at the end of February 2015.
‘The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk’ album wins LiveIreland’s 2014 Compendium Award.
‘The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk’ album wins LiveIreland’s 2014 Compendium Award.
LiveIreland’s Music Awards for 2014 includes ‘The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk’ compiled by ARC Music’s Director, Julia Beyer and Ireland’s legendary music journalist, John O’Regan. The LiveIreland Annual Music Awards are now in their 13th year, from one of the biggest Irish music sites in the world.
“COMPENDIUM ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk
Click here for complete list of winners:
Media copies are available on request. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
LATIN GRAMMY AWARD 2014 FOR MARTA GÓMEZ
Congraulations to Colombian singer Marta Gómez, who has just won a Latin Grammy Award 2014 for Best Children’s Album. Marta Gomez was a previous Billboard Latin Music award nominee for Best Jazz Album among the works of such luminaries as Paco de Lucia, Nestor Torres and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Marta’s 2004 Cantos de Agua Dulce – ‘songs from sweet water’– received a nomination for Marta’s beautiful vocal warmth and soul, which also fills her latest CD, Contigo, with plenty of Latin American soul.
Marta Gómez has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Toto la Momposina and Mercedes Sosa, and was selected by Colombia’s Fucsia magazine as one of the ‘Five Most Representative Women of her Country.’ Contigo is available through ARC Music:
Media copies are available on request. E-mail: email@example.com
World Music for War Child
World Music for War Child is the first world music compilation produced by the UK’s most established world music label, ARC Music, in support of the UK charity War Child. All profits from this album go to War Child UK in aid of children in war-torn regions around the world.
War Child UK is a London-based charity providing life-changing support to the most vulnerable children whose families, communities and schools have been destroyed by war. War Child UK has already made a lasting mark in the music industry as the first recipient of the Special Recognition BRIT Award 2013 for the legendary No.1 album – HELP – recorded in just 24 hours in 1995, which raised a staggering £1.25 million to help children in Bosnia.
World Music for War Child features 17 songs and instrumentals about peace, children and a better future for all people on this Earth. The opening track is Peace written by Kenyan soul singer/songwriter Slim Ali in collaboration with Geoffrey Ngao, Nick Kim and Henry Nbagho, collectively known as The Hodi Boys. World Music for War Child also features artists whose own lives have been impacted by war, the Kurdish singer Sakîna Teyna sings a re-mix of Narînê while exiled Tibetan-born Techung sings Snow Lion of Peace.
Containing 90 minutes of world music carefully chosen from ARC Music’s catalogue of artists, World Music for War Child has global appeal with music from Kurdistan, Israel, Senegal, Syria, Afghanistan, Tibet, Namibia and beyond. Senegalese kora player Maher Cissoko sings a plea for peace to African leaders - Africa Moo Baalu – with his wife, Swedish guitarist and singer Sousou Cissoko, while Blessings Nqo Nkomo from Zimbabwe performs Lumhlaba – literally ‘this world.’ Namibia’s RFI Award-winning guitarist singer/songwriter – Elemotho – sings high and low for Better Days and then the haunting voices of Russian folklore ensemble Arinushka sing About Change written by Lithuanian composer Linas Rimša.
Canadian singer and multilinguist Lenka Lichtenberg, of Czech-Jewish descent, perhaps best summarises the message of this album as she sings, ‘ Peace is the only way, the only way is peace.’
World Music for War Child features instrumentals from the UK’s leading tango group, Tango Siempre, with a track called Peace; Jason Carter performing jazz maestro Chick Corea’s Children’s Song No.1 and Iraq’s Ahmed Mukhtar performing Childhood on traditional instruments.
From 'HELP' to 'Heroes' – War Child has always aimed not to make 'charity records' but to make fantastic records that happen to make money for charity. World Music for War Child aims to continue this beneficial tradition.
Our thanks go to all the artists on this compilation who have donated the royalties for their songs to the War Child charity. For the past 20 years, War Child has helped over 800,000 children suffering the most violent crimes and is supported by some of the top musicians in the world including Sir Paul McCartney, Coldplay and David Bowie. World Music for War Child is released on January 8th as a digital only worldwide release.
New Series for New Year Discover World Music
In January 2015, ARC Music releases Discover World Music, the first album in a brand new series called The Discover Series. Discover World Music is a double-disc album with 35 carefully selected world music songs and instrumentals. As ARC Music Director, Julia Beyer says,
“My aim for The Discover Series is to introduce listeners to the music from ARC’s extensive catalogue, to get a feel for the artists, music and the cultures being represented .”
Containing traditional and contemporary music from over 30 countries including Spain, India, Mongolia, Namibia, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico and beyond, Discover World Music is a global compilation of great musical diversity and quality.
Discover World Music contains comprehensive notes in which the question is posed ‘What is world music?’ To some it may mean music from other places or traditional ethnic music of a people that allows a window into their culture, while for others it means something exotic, or perhaps world music is a creative medium that satisfies a thirst not catered for by Western music alone. For many it is a fusion of musical traditional combined with the musician’s contemporary influences.
Discover World Music shows the music from over thirty cultures around the world. Upbeat Finnish tango, polyphonic Corsican singing, Scottish Celtic folk-rock, Greek bouzouki dance music, soulful Colombian vocals, Tibetan tales, exotic calypso, thunderous Japanese Taiko drums, masterful Portuguese guitar, thumping Balkan ballads to Bulgarian a cappella.
Some of the world’s top world musicians feature on Discover World Music, including Egypt’s ‘Ambassador of Rhythm’ Hossam Ramzy (featuring Billy Cobham) on ‘Six Teens’; Spanish singer/songwriter Ana Alcaide, whose music is known as the ‘Toledo Soundtrack;’ one of India’s finest sitar players Baluji Shrivastav; Latin Grammy Award winner Marta Gómez; Namibia’s rising star Elemotho; Senegalese and Swedish kora players Maher & Sousou Cissoko; one of Ireland’s most loved balladeers Noel McLoughlin and Scotland’s medieval Celtic rockers, Saor Patrol.
For those who have never before heard rousing bagpipes from Celtic Galicia in northern Spain or upbeat music from Madagascar, Discover World Music will not disappoint. Discover World Music contains just over 2 hours of high quality traditional and contemporary genres and is competitively priced – 2 CDs at single album price. Released worldwide by ARC Music in January 2015.
Wishing You All a Very Happy New Year!
Murshidi and Sufi Songs Deben Bhattacharya’s Field Recordings from Bangladesh
Murshidi and Sufi Songs are authentic field recordings made in 2001 from the land of Bengal or Bangladesh, the spiritual community of free-thinking Murshidi or spiritual masters. The word ‘Murshidi’ itself derives from the Arabic word ‘Ershad’ meaning to give advice. In practice, the Murshidi belong to no established religion and can trace their origins back to the Persian mystic sect of Sufism.
Murshidi and Sufi Songs is a series of devotional rites and esoteric poetry set to folk containing traditional instruments such as the one-stringed drone ‘ektara,’ the ‘kartal’ or pair of finger cymbals, a six-finger-holed bamboo flute or ‘ar banshi’, a two-headed wooden drum or ‘bangla dhol’ and the ‘sarinda’ or double-barrelled Indian folk fiddle.
The late ethnomusicologist, Deben Bhattacharya (1921-2001), devoted his life to recording music from traditional cultures in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Bhattacharya’s output was phenomenal, producing 130 albums, more than 20 films and writing more than a dozen books. Much of Bhattacharya’s works was created with the support of UNESCO.
Murshidi and Sufi Songs includes stories of itinerant beggars, Bengali Bauls or mystic minstrels, and poets such as Rongilarey Gaibo Amra Lomba Chiler Gan which translates as ‘we sing songs about long hair.’ This is a humourous eulogy for the wise men of the West and a tribute to the Bengali soothsayers and mystic poets such as Michael Madhusudan Dutta and Lalan Shah Fakir,
‘ Socrates, Shakespeare and Madhusudan / Robi Thakur, the poet of the universe, and Fakir Lalan / Oh Nazrul Islam the poet of Bangladesh / Oh my fun-loving friend, Let us sing the long-haireds’ song! ’
Song titles are often stories within themselves such as O Nirdo Bonhurey Ama Kotha Ki Tor Money Porey Na Na Na – ‘merciless bandit remember me na na na’ – is the tale of an arsonist who burns down the home of his friend. Images from everyday life are often mixed with more esoteric elements. For example, turmeric and saints are sung of in the same verse in track 4 Orey Gurur Choron Korey Shoron (Guru Charan, observe our displacement): ‘He is known as the Great Saint is found in the land of salvation. When you mix lime and turmeric the two colours become one.’ Praise is even given to the ‘godly market place where the saints are, soften this hardened body by burning it with the fire of love.’
Deben Bhattachayra’s recordings include Inside Afghanistan, Bauls of Bengal and more recently Music of the Oriental Jews from North Africa and Music of the Santal Tribe. Murshidi and Sufi Songs is another voyage of musical discovery that we have Deben Bhattachayra to thank for and will be released worldwide in January 2015 through ARC Music.
Tariq Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Fusion Jaume Compte Nafas Ensemble
Tariq – a Middle Eastern word for ‘path’ – is a captivating album of Mediterranean music with the sounds of both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean instruments by Jaume Compte and Nafas Ensemble. Tariq includes the Greek bouzouki, Arabic oud, the Persian zarb, Turkish darabuka, cajón and Arabic riq and Moroccon bendir tambourines.
Each of Tariq’s fourteen tracks are musical journeys with great diversity in tempo and mood. The majestic upbeat opener D’Aire I – literally ‘made of air’ – is rich in acoustic guitar, ebow, frame drums, cajón and caxixis. We then move swiftly into the mellower mood of L’Equipatge (baggage) which celebrates those things we carry through life with us. The sprightly De Pedra – literally ‘made of stone’ – is a tribute to the stone roads of Mallorca of which Jaume Compte has great familiarity. Tariq is an album whose musical strength is its ever-changing diversity in which repetition has no place. For such variety and fusion of world instruments we have the musical genius of Jaume Compte to thank.
Jaume Compte is well known for his contributions for contemporary dance shows – Caminacaminaras, Estanca Carnaval andDiverso Alaraia – as well as his involvement in notable films such as the award-winning soundtrack for the short film Es venen records by Pere Salom and the Academy Award nominee soundtrack for Eramos pocos by Borja Cobeaga. Compte has also worked with singer Maria de Mar Bonet in several concerts from Turkey to Ecuador and more.
Tariq’s tempo-tour of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern music is always engaging and completely varied. Fils displays the delicate balance between the Iranian bowed stringed katmanché – literally meaning ‘little bow’– and the accordion, bouzouki and acoustic guitar. Q-Abyl is an exciting arabesque melody with violin, cello, double bass and frame drums. While Tariq mainly comprises instrumental pieces, Espiral has vocals by Francisco Albéniz and the stunning song Absència is performed by the great Sílvia Pérez Cruz – winner of a Goya Award for her composition No Te Puedo Encontrar, taken from a poem by the Catalan poet Pere Quart.
Transits I is a soulful solo cello instrumental which then dives into Transits II - a more robust and dramatic taste of Middle Eastern rhythms accompanied by Mediterranean accordion. Altogether a delightful journey into the sweet and robust sounds of the Mediterranean fused with Middle Eastern delicacies.
The Nafas Ensemble were 2012 nominees for the famous Catalanian poet Miquel Martí i Pol Award for the Best Song for their song Absència by Pere Quart and have performed at many notable festivals including Greece’s Ethno Jazz festival of Thessaloniki & Barcelona’s Palau de la Música. The ensemble include Enric Pastor, Maribel Bonnin, Wojtek Sobolewski and Juanjo Tur. Tariq is a captivating new album combining multiple acoustic timbres and finely tuned Mediterranean traditions with contemporary production. Available now on worldwide release through ARC Music.
Live from the Streets and Temples of India’s Holy City The Sounds of Varanasi by Srdjan Beronja
The Sounds of Varanasi is a unique collection of field recordings and original music made by Serbian composer and musicologist Srdjan Beronja between 2001 and 2011. The Sounds of Varanasi brings the atmosphere of this great holy city to life, exploring music that was born and lives in the streets, temples and river banks of Varanasi performed and played by hitherto unknown musicians, wise men and singers.
The Sounds of Varanasi includes field recordings from the steps of the Ganga river as in Dasaswamedh Ghat Ganga Aarti, music of devotional love sung to deities in temples as in Paayal Ki Jhankaar Baraniya and also a prayer recorded in a narrow alleyway beside a temple dedicated to the goddess Sita and Lord Rama – Sita-Ram.
While there are polished studio recorded ragas and recitals on The Sounds of the Varanasi, there are also some surprising sounds on the field recordings such as crickets in the background, chirping green parrots, monkeys and the sounds of ceremonial bells, drums and shankh shells which are used in Hindu and Buddhist rituals. Wedding Drums also features an authentic wedding with drums and laughing children.
The musical director of The Sounds of Varanasi is Serbian composer, percussionist and writer – Srdjan Beronja – who travelled over 100,000 miles researching and recording traditional music from India, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey to Israel. Srdjan studied classical Indian tabla and music in Varanasi and while he performs on the frame drum on the sixteenth track, the music is wholly performed live by local Varanasi musicians.
Varanasi is one of India’s colourful sacred seven cities, or ‘sapta puris’ as they are known in Hindi, which include Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, Dwarka and Varanasi. Varanasi – also known as Benares, Banaras or Kashi – is considered the holiest of India’s seven sacred cities situated as it is on the banks of the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh in northern India. As Varanasi is to Hindu mythology, so is the music on The Sounds of Varanasi a reflection of the devotion and culture of its people.
Just as the holy city of Varanasi is associated strongly with the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, many of The Sounds of Varanisi are steeped in a world belonging to Hindu deities and worship. For example, Paayal Ki Jhankaar Baraniya is a devotional romantic love song associated with Lord Krishna and his consort the goddess Radha, while Dasaswamedh Ghat Ganga Aarti celebrates the main ghat or holy steps in Varanasi that lie on the sacred river Ganga – supposedly created by Lord Brahma. Legend has it that Lord Shiva was the founding deity of Varanasi and also inspired the music and dance of this holy city.
While Varanasi has given the world the iconic sitar player Ravi Shankar, the shehnai or double-reed oboe maestro Bismillah Khan and the vocal music singer Girija Devi, within the city walls are many unknown Indian classical musicians, who have now been skilfully recorded and presented to the world for the first time in field and studio recordings on The Sounds of Varanasi. Out now through ARC Music.
Korrontzi Tradition 2.1
Tradition 2.1 is the new album from dynamic Basque folk group Korrontzi and is a celebration of Basque musicians, instruments and folklore.
Basque instruments featured on Tradition 2.1 include the alboka, a single reed woodwind instrument traditionally made from animal horn; the txistu, a Basque flute and the txirula, a woodwind pipe. However, the Basque ‘button accordion’ or ‘trikitixa’ as it is known colloquially is the musical focus of Tradition 2.1. Despite being Italian in origin, the trikitixa is now the most recognised sound in Basque folk music. The origin of the word itself refers to the sound of the accompanying tambourine, ‘trikiti-trikiti-trikiti.’
Famous trikitilari – that is a person who plays the trikitixa – Tomas Sitzes gave his last radio interview during the 1970s. It can be heard in part on the track Isukitzeko Aldian. In this interview, Tomas recognises with sadness how difficult it was to find someone to keep the tradition of the Basque trikitixa alive. Tradition 2.1 is Agus Barandiaran’s acknowledgement that Tomas Sitzes musical tradition is being kept alive and well in the contemporary setting of Korrontzi and friends.
Tradition 2.1 is deeply intertwined with the musical roots of Korrontzi’s founder, Agus Barandiaran, which started many years ago in a Basque bar frequented by Agus and his father. They regularly attended to hear the sounds of accordion player Rufino Arrola and were amazed by both his technique and generated sounds,
“ Every Sunday, my father and I were present... we didn’t do it because the drink was better than in another place. We did it because our purpose was to see that barman playing those joyful melodies on his accordion. The audience was going crazy... observing him was like a spectacle to me .”
Despite resistance from the Catholic Church which later dubbed the button or diatonic accordion as ‘hell’s bellows’ on the grounds that its dance could lead the Basque youth into revelry and temptation, Agus went on to learn this instrument from Rufino and continues to represent his culture through its folk tradition,
“I tried to present the legacy I inherited from that old man. I feel so lucky to represent my culture.”
Diatonic Bilbon celebrates the life and soul of the trikitixa as it gradually evolved from being played solely as a village folk instrument to being accepted in one of the largest Basque cities, Bilbao. Diatonic Bilbon also features uilleann pipes, flute, mandolin, hudry gurdy, bouzouki, drums and acoustic double bass.
Aupa Maurizia is dedicated to Basque’s legendary female tambourine player Maurizia Aldeiturriaga who travelled from village to village accompanied by Leon Bilbao playing the alboka – double reed horn. Maurizia Aldeiturriaga is an icon of Basque folk music and her voice also features on this track. Parfums de Musiques was inspired during Korrontzi’s participation in Paris’s ‘Parfums de Musiques’ festival and includes a Zimbabwean chorus, udu, shaker, drums and valiha (a tube zither from Madagascar).
Additional folk instruments on Tradition 2.1 include whistles, flute and mandolin accompanied by percussion and bass, all of which provide a dynamic and powerful sound that belongs uniquely to Korrontzi. Out now through ARC Music.
Forests of the Future Feedback Madagascar
Feedback Madagascar is a ground-breaking new album – it will not only help to plant the trees of future Malagasy forests, but allows musicians to be heard globally that have rarely been heard before outside their island home.
50% of the proceeds from Feedback Madagascar goes to the artists and 50% of the proceeds go to Treemad – a programme run by the Scottish Charity, Feedback Madagascar. Treemad aims to plant millions of trees and improve the lives of people and natural resources and is supported by Feedback Madagascar and Sir David Attenborough,
“ Feedback Madagascar’s Treemad project is the most realistic and ambitious tree planting project the island has ever seen. These young trees will grow to form the forests of the future. ”
Madagascar is renowned for its unique biodiversity and was not always an island. Over 80 million years ago, Madagascar was joined to current day India in the supercontinent known as Gondwana. Now over 80% of all the island’s flora and fauna is uniquely Malagasy, evolving without the threat of domination from neighbouring species.
‘Madagasikara’ – the colloquial pronunciation of Madagascar – is celebrated on the first track by the artist Rossy who was also elected as a member of the Malagasy parliament this year. This song is about saving the native forests which were not only stripped away at the time of French colonization but also are being reduced by agriculture and industry today.
Mangaliba music hailing from the south-eastern coast is also performed on Feedback Madagascar by the group Hazolahy. If you are ever free on a Friday night in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to pop into Jao’s Pub which features some of the best musicians on the island and is owned by Eusebe Jaojoby who performs Somaiko Somaino – I Play It You Play It.
Come See Me is performed by ZMG – a group from Fianarantsoa who have been together since 1983; the female ‘hurricane’ Tence Mena sings a passionate Follow Me; Dedake plays the fast-picking infectious guitar track Menakiteky which is also the name of a dance in which there is much rapid back and forth shoulder movement and dancing. Feedback Madagascar also features the vocal trio Tiharea from rural southern Madagascar.
While the north of the island holds the wealth of the nation, the south suffers from terrible droughts and swarms of locusts which often devestate crops. Feedback Madagascar has the aim to change the future landscape of a nation as well as being a musical celebration of its many talented and unusual artists that you may not hear elsewhere. Out now through ARC Music.
Moipei Quartet - In the Land of the Lion
Moipei is a family name for a set of singing triplets and their sibling, making up the Moipei Quartet who share their new album – In the Land of the Lion – with the world. The Moipei Quartet have much to sing about their beloved home – Africa; its people, environment, children, majestic wildlife and everything that is now fighting to survive within its shores.
The Moipei family hail from Kenya and since they formed the Moipei Quartet have been making quite a stir In the Land of the Lion. In June 2006, they were appointed as the first ever UNICEF Child Ambassadors from Kenya and their stated goal is to sing to the world advocating the rights of children throughout Africa and beyond.
In the Land of the Lion starts with an accapella Kenyan version of John Denver’s classic Country Roads which includes the
‘Masai maidens, by still waters/dark and dusty painted on the sky/mighty roaming tuskers bring tears to my eyes... back in Kenya, mountain mama/ take me home, oh country roads...’
Stunning four part harmonies are a vocal trademark of not only their version of Peter Tsotsi and Nashil Pichen’s ‘Pole Musa’, but run throughout In the Land of the Lion. The Moipei Quartet comprises the triplets – Mary Nenkai, Magdaline Namanyara and Marta Siteiua – accompanied by their younger sister Seraphine Setoon Moipei. Their parents – Nicholas and Christine Moipei – trained their daughters to sing since the age of 2 and a fine job they have done.
In the Land of the Lion is as much a dedication to the African lion as well as songs that celebrate the strength of a great continent. The African lion has come to symbolise a way of life for many people experiencing the changing landscape of their beautiful world.
What of the actual African lion today? It is estimated that there has been as much as a 90% reduction in the African lion population which in the 1980s was between 150,000-200,000 and in the last two decades less than 21,000 in the whole continent. Kenya – home to the Moipei Quartet – has about 10% of the total African lion population but it is feared that this may well reduce to extinction over the next 20 years due to climate change, hunting, disease, poaching and loss of habitat. As Kenya’s landscape becomes encroached on with modern development blocks pervading the city skyline, many fear that the Kenyan way of life, symbolised by a free roaming African lion will, just like the actual lion, die out over the years. Gone will be the nomadic lifestyle of many Kenyan farmers, herders and tribal groups.
Themes of praise and worship are central to In the Land of the Lion, perhaps best represented by the quartet’s stunning 4-part harmonies ofVeni Sanctus Spiritus as well many traditional songs and hymns re-arranged Moipei-style, such as Panis Angelicus, Kokoliko, Ashe Naleneg Enkai Ai, The Little Brown Church in the Vale and Nakupia Yesu. Alongside the traditional African chants there are stunning performances of the Latin text Ave Maria, the Christian hymns Amazing Grace, The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended and O Holy Night. The sound of the Moipei Quartet is as unique and as varied as the actual In the Land of the Lion from which they came. Out now through ARC Music.
Ireland’s Legendary Clannad Tour UK and Ireland Nationally in October/November
Ireland’s legendary band Clannad start a national UK and Irish tour in October/November with 18 dates in just over 4 weeks. Hailing from County Donegal in 1970, Clannad’s career has spanned more than forty years attaining international success in the 1980s with their music for the TV show Harry’s Game and Robin of Sherwood. In 2013, Clannad recorded their first studio album – Nádúr – since their 1998's Grammy winning Landmarks. In 2014, Clannad were recipients of BBC Radio 2’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards and were also nominated in the Songlines Music Awards 2014 for Best Group with their album Nádúr.
Clannad will be touring with their full original line-up – siblings Moya, Ciarán and Pól Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan – now performing together again after Pól had left the band in 1990. Nádúr is a fitting title for the coming together of this legendary Celtic family band, being the Gaelic word for nature.
Clannad's national UK tour kicks off on Friday October 10th at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northamptonshire and takes them to Coventry, York, Reading, London, Llandudno, Dunfermline, Belfast and many more locations including Liverpool Cathedral. The Irish leg of the tour culminates in Dublin at The Olympia Theatre on Sunday 2nd November.
Speaking about the band’s influence on Irish culture worldwide, the Irish Ambassador for the UK, Daniel Mulhall said, “ Clannad were really the first group who actually embraced our gaelic traditions, the Donegal Gaeltacht [Irish language], and turned those into part of the cultural heritage of the world. ”
Clannad’s achievements have been hailed by Bono, " Not since Seán Ó Riada gave birth to the nation has there been such a unique talent to remind us of who we are, who we were and who we can be, ancient and modern at the same time. Clannad, we owe you ." – Bono
For interviews please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full list of Clannad's tour dates click on link: http://www.songkick.com/artists/226055-clannad
Clannad National Tour Dates October/November 2014
WOMEX 14 Announcement
We are pleased to announce that ARC Music is included in the WOMEX Top Labels 2014 as we continue to preserve and promote traditional world and folk music from all corners of the globe, celebrating our 38th anniversary.
ARC Artists to perform at WOMEX 2014
Spain’s capital city of Galicia - Santiago de Compostela - in north western Spain will host WOMEX 2014. ARC artists that are confirmed to perform at WOMEX include the iconic Portuguese fado guitarist, Custódio Castelo at Teatro Principal on Thursday 23 October at 21.00 pm and Basque folk group Korrontzi at La Cruna on Friday 24 October. ARC Music will be releasing a new album from one of Cuba’s most notable singers – Mayito Rivera – in 2015 who will also be performing at WOMEX on October 23rd.
Coimbra – Fado Ricardo Dias Ensemble
In 2013, the University of Coimbra in Portugal took its place as a UNESCO World Heritage listed building. Established in 1290, the University of Coimbra is not only one of the oldest operational universities in the world, but is considered the birthplace of Coimbra fado, cultivated by students and developed strongly in the 1880s to become the ‘Canção de Coimbra’ or ‘the songs of Coimbra.’
ARC Music is proud to release an album created by musical and lyrical masters of the Coimbra fado tradition – the Ricardo Dias Ensemble. Coimbra-Fado is produced, arranged and directed by Ricardo J. Dias (not to be confused with the second Ricardo Dias who plays acoustic guitar on the album). Dias – winner of the acclaimed José Afonso prize – is musical director to renowned ‘fadista’ (fado singer) Cristina Branco and the legendary Portuguese folk band, Brigada Victor Jara.
The Ricardo Dias Ensemble instrumental line-up is completed by Bernardo Moreira (bass) and Ni Ferreirinha (classical guitar). Ni Ferreirinha is a key figure in the development and spreading the songs of Coimbra, while singer and band member José Vilhena’s voice embodies some of the most beautiful fados/songs of Coimbra. This album also features some of the finest contemporary guest Coimbra fado singers including Nuno Silva and Antonia Ataide.
Ricardo Dias Ensemble have created a world-class Coimbra fado album that stretches tradition while maintaining the musical imprint of the early fado masters. Re Menor is an instrumental composed by the great Gonzalo Paredes, cultivator of the Coimbra guitar style, father of the late Artur Paredes and grandfather of Carlos Paredes.
Ricardo J. Dias’ goal with Coimbra-Fado is to raise the public profile of Coimbra fado and add new sounds to traditional themes. Homem So, Meu Irmao (‘man, my brother’) was written by the Coimbran poet, singer and composer Luiz Goes, and has been arranged with tastefully soft trumpet and piano accompaniment. Coimbra-Fado includes music previously unreleased on an album – Sede E Morte (‘thirst and death’) – penned by the Portuguese guitar master, Carlos Paredes, the ‘man of a thousand fingers.’
Verdes Anos (‘green years’) is an instrumental masterpiece originally written by Carlos Paredes for the Director Paulo Rocha and remains an iconic Portuguese anthem to which has been added double bass and accordion. The Ricardo Dias Ensemble continue the Coimbra fado tradition of making the instruments assume a prominent role while in Lisbon fado, the guitar is more an accompaniment.
The traditional applause for Coimbra fado is a clearing of one’s throat, a delicate cough, while Lisbon audiences opt for clapping. Expect a lot of throat-clearing after listening to Coimbra-Fado. Out now through ARC Music.
Contigo – ‘with you’ Marta Gomez Songs with Latin American Soul
Contigo – Songs with Latin American Soul – is the latest Marta Gómez compilation album packed with award-winning original songs sung by the lady who smiles while she sings. Contigo – Spanish for ‘with you’ contains songs taken from Solo es vivir – literally ‘only to live’– awarded one of the 10 Best Albums of 2003 by the Boston Globe; Musiquita (2009) and El Corazón y el Sombrero (2011). Contigo is a classy collection of Marta’s songs making them available on worldwide release through the ARC Music label.
Contigo contains five poems which Marta has arranged into songs taken from El Corazón y el Sombrero – a tribute album featuring poems written by the late Spanish poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936). Garcia Lorca rose to international fame between 1923 and 1927 as one of the influential poets belonging to ‘Generation of 27’ but was later executed during the Spanish Civil War by Nationalist forces. El Corazón y el Sombrero was nominated in 2011 for The Latin Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. Granada is Marta’s own tribute to Garcia Lorca,
Let me tell you what my city smells like in spring / its two rivers, its voice / stop listening to your own steps so much / To then understand the six strings and the drums / And the rhythm of the holy, singing, water...
Contigo’s subtitle is Songs with Latin American Soul, of which Marta Gómez is an undoubted queen. Contigo features Argentinean zamba, Chilean cuecas, Bolivian carnavalitos and Peruvian festejos, while Gómez writes sweet melodies that cross all language barriers. Chicharra, Rio and Dejalo Ir feature the Colombian dance rhythm known as cumbia, a similar dance music to salsa. The traditional Colombian beat bambuco is found on Almita Mia, similar to the European waltz.
The title track Contigo is perhaps the most romantic song ever written by Marta. Marta’s songs normally express the way she connects with others but on Contigo, Marta reveals her own feelings. Not necessarily romantic love but her own fear to lose a lover, the pain of loving and the beauty hidden inside the simple things in a relationship.
Almita Mia – ‘my little soul’ – dedicated to Marta’s grandfather – is a highlight track on the album on which Marta is accompanied by piano, bass and flute, allowing her vocals to soar and shine. Marta Gómez may well be the first lady who smiles while she sings creating an audible warmth no matter the rhythm, no matter the lyrics, the listener will rise and fall with Marta’s unrestrained emotion.
Kris Kristofferson requested Marta Gómez to sing The Circle on his tribute album for Layla Al-Attar and her husband who were killed by US missiles in an attack on Baghdad in 1993. In his own words, Kris said, “ Marta lifted that song up to where it’s supposed to be, to where it belongs.”
Marta Gómez has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Toto la Momposina and Mercedes Sosa, and was selected by Colombia’s Fucsia magazine as one of the ‘Five Most Representative Women of her Country.’ Marta’s 2004 Cantos de Agua Dulce – ‘songs from sweet water’– received a nomination for Billboard Latin Music awards as Best Jazz Album among the works of such luminaries as Paco de Lucia, Nestor Torres and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Marta’s beautiful vocal warmth and soul fills Contigo with plenty of Latin American soul.
Exploring Terra Australis Kamerunga-Style!
Terra Australis is an eclectic and zesty album packed with Kamerunga punch from start to finish. The songs on Terra Australis are rich in both cultural significance and musical prowess. Queensland Whalers features a guest performance from The Cat Empire’s trumpeter, Harry Angus, while Australian guitar legend Jeff Lang plays trademark slide on The Cameleers.
Terra Australis was recorded, produced and mixed by Nigel Pegrum – Kamerunga’s current drummer and former long-time drummer for premier UK folk-rock band Steeleye Span. Pegrum has this to say about Terra Australis:
“ The concept was not a million miles from the old Steeleye Span brief and with the instrumentation including keyboards and saxophones, the boundaries could be stretched further… Their music featured dynamic orchestral arrangements and we also wanted to use textural layering and multiple time signatures with Kamerunga.”
The name ‘Kamerunga’ itself derives from an Aboriginal name for a landmark gorge in Far North Queensland that lies between Cairns, where the band is based, and Kuranda, a town surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest on the Atherton Tableland. Mulligan is a rap-style song dedicated to explorer James Venture Mulligan, an Irish immigrant who first explored the Atherton Tableland and later discovered the Palmer River Goldfield in 1873. Mount Mulligan remains his namesake:
From Erin’s Isle with guts and guile in 1873 / Venture set his course for a foray north on a daring bush sortie / To the Cape he sped with his picks and pegs and a sparkle in his eye / He beat a track through the harsh outback under cloudless Queensland skies…
Kamerunga takes Australian folk music and heritage and infuses it with a melange of world music rhythms and other genres. Congress Reel, a traditional Irish reel given a jazzy makeover, and Burke’s Lament, a poignant band original based on the ill-fated explorer Robert O’Hara Burke’s farewell letter, are perfect examples of Kamerunga’s ability to mix folk with world music rhythms, as noted in Songlines:
“What makes their arrangements unusual is that their sprightly music is interwoven with creative time changes, Latin-Jazz touches and Middle Eastern instrumentation.”
South Australia Suite is the musical microcosm of Terra Australis and Kamerunga's unique modus operandi. Via band compositions and a very well-known Australian sea shanty, it takes the listener on a journey — a voyage from England to Australia on an 18th century sailing ship that encounters both stormy and calm seas. Instead of making 'South Australia' the focus, the song, in effect, is the 'middle eight' in a sea of orchestral music.
Leading Australian jazz musician and composer Paul Grabowsky’s statement that “Kamerunga breathes new life into Australian folk music” continues to hold true for the band’s third and latest album Terra Australis – now available on worldwide release through ARC Music. Both The Push and Worlds Kaleid earned Kamerunga critical acclaim and appearances at virtually every major roots musical festival in Australia. Earlier this year, Kamerunga were selected to record The Samba of the World – Australia track, which accrued in excess of 80,000 visits on Visa’s on-line soccer World Cup project.
Elemotho sings and speaks on BBC Radio World Service programme ‘Focus on Africa’
Having just wowed a 12,000 strong crowd at WOMAD on July 26th, Namibian singer-songwriter Elemotho went onto the BBC London headquarters to record a radio interview for ‘Focus on Africa’ with presenter Bola Mosuro. The BBC World News also recorded an interview with Elemotho which will be airing on Thurs. 31st July during which Elemotho sang the track Broken Moon from his most recent release, My Africa.
The radio interview can be heard in full at:
Bringing World Rythms Together – Sabla Tolo IV - Tak Raka Takum – Hossam Ramzy
Between now and the end of 2014, belly dancers and audiences from England, Italy, Brazil, Finland, Portugal, Spain and France will be instructed and wowed by Hossam and Serena Ramzy’s special classes in belly dance and rhythm. While all tours have their special moments, this tour features the new dimensions of Hossam’s latest album in the Sabla Tolo series, Sabla Tolo IV, Tak Raka Takum.
The Sabla Tolo [a pun on ‘Solo Tabla’] series of albums – all composed and produced by Hossam Ramzy – started with Sabla Tolo I as ‘Journeys Into Pure Egyptian Percussion.’ Sabla Tolo II pursued ‘Further Journeys…’ with fiery hot solo pieces covering the whole gamut of rhythms from Egypt to Morocco, and Sabla Tolo III progressed even further into ‘Advanced Journeys into Pure Egyptian Percussion’ and ‘Rhythmic Illusions Unveiled.’
Sabla Tolo IV is an instrumental album of 13 new compositions Hossam produced for Egyptian tabla (darbuka) and percussion. It is a celebration of world rhythms integrated into Egyptian percussion. Hossam stretches the boundaries of his musical journeys in Sabla Tolo IV, as he says in his own words,
‘… this album is another journey into Egyptian rhythms… but this time it has gone further and further out into other percussive realms. I have always been able to bring rhythms from around the world to fit together… to see them gelling together as if they belonged to each other. Widening the sphere and narrowing the gaps between their home lands.’
The album’s title track Tak Raka Takum mixes Egyptian belly dance with salsa, samba and a rock/blues feel, and is full of variety and changes that are both ethnic and authentic. Says Hossam, ‘The name of the album came from the sound of the rhythm on track number 13. The sound is Tak Raka Takum… It is also going to be the song we will be teaching in many of our dance workshops this and next year, worldwide.’
Flamenco music influences Flamenco Sweet while Samba Train to Cairo is an interplay between samba and Egyptian belly dance rhythms. ‘In Samba Train to Cairo , I have made this connection very clear by mixing the samba with fallahy and other Egyptian rhythms together with several other South American rhythms. Going all the way back to Egypt.’
In Eskandarany – The Alexandrian – Hossam uses the unique 6/4 Alexandrian rhythm which is very much part of the Baladi style from this region, while Rio Maharaja - a rhythm in 7 - includes Indian and Brazilian influences. Hossam includes Bakebbek Yasmek Eih – I love you thingi-mi-jig – a track dedicated to his ‘Queen of Tablas’ made in Cairo which features on all of Hossam’s albums to date including Sabla Tolo IV.
As the world’s leading exponent of Egyptian percussion, Hossam has worked with many of the great western artists such as Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Shakira as well as renowned Arabic musicians such as Rachid Taha and Khaled. Hossam produces solo albums as well as landmark studio collaborations such as Rock the Tabla with special guests A.R. Rahman, Billy Cobham, Manu Katché, Omar Faruk Tekbilek which earned Hossam a nomination for Best Artist in the Songlines Music Awards 2012. Hossam’s ability to integrate world rhythms with Egyptian percussion validates his title as the Egyptian Ambassador of Rhythm. Sabla Tolo IV is Hossam’s new release available through ARC Music.
Review of Sakina’s album Roye Mi in July/August edition of R2, Rock ‘n’ Reel, written by Dave Haslam.
‘With Roye Mi the well-documented suffering of the Kurdish people is put into sharp focus by one of its finest musical ambassadors, Turkish Kurdish singer Sakina Teyna. Currently living in exile in Europe to where she was forced to flee after getting on the wrong side of the Turkish authorities, Sakina continues to fight to keep Kurdish culture alive despite continued persecution.
Given that persecution, it comes as no surprise to learn that the music of Roye Mi is shot with a sense of sadness, nostalgia, suffering and melancholy that’s reflected in songs the subject matter of which adds to the poignancy of this supremely crafted collection.
The extent of their persecution is such that a love song sung in Kurdish is considered an act of terrorism, so the distinction between these love songs and those that document the personal suffering of those involved is the fight for Kurdish autonomy is constantly blurred, as it is with ‘Berxam’ where a mother sings of her fears for her guerrilla fighter daughter, and the title track, a protest against Kurdish feudalism that stands in the way of love marriages.
Sympathetically supported by the superb collection of a band that includes guitarist Erdem Beyazgul, Sakina’s heartfelt vocals result in an album that speaks from, and to, the heart.’
Dave Haslam, R2 Magazine
Review of Old Faith by Linas Rimsa in July/August edition of R2, Rock ‘n’ Reel, written by Dave Haslam.
‘Recognised for his jazz, classical and film score compositions, Lithuanian composer Linas Rimsa was commissioned by the Pokrovskiye Kolokola Festival to write fourteen new songs for the folk group Arinushka. Based on the chants and poetic texts of the ‘old believers,’ a Lithuanian sect that broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1666, it’s those songs that appear on this extraordinary album.
Such a project could have been an exercise in dusty academia but Rimsa’s compositions use programming and sampling technology alongside traditional instruments and the powerful voices of Arinushka to create something that’s simultaneously ancient and modern.
Song titles are succinct and self-explanatory. ‘About Sanctity’ is a spiritual hymn about Jesus Christ; ‘About Rites’ is a song about walking around trees to ward off bad spirits; and ‘About Love’ (featuring a stunning vocal from Inga Fedaraviciute) is a song sung when a husband leaves for war.
Whatever they’re about, these fourteen songs and instrumentals are as varied as their subject matter, with voices, instruments and electronic combining beautifully, and no element threatening to overwhelm in a delicate balancing act that all involved pull off with considerable panache.’
Dave Haslam, R2 Magazine
# 1 for Sousou & Maher Cissoko's track Wula from Africa Moo Baalu album…
The track Wula by Maher Cissoko & Sousou Cissoko from their album 'Africa Moo Baalu' reached #1 on Pennsylvania's New World Buzz Charts! Ahead of Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Seun Kuti, Tinariwen, Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars…
Africa Moo Baalu is currently charting at #21 on New World Buzz album charts.
Congratulations Sousou & Maher!
Spirit of the Planet - Outlander – Saor Patrol
Saor Patrol – pronounced Shore Patrol – are renowned for their tribal Scottish rock. Their new album – Outlander – brings out their more melodic side, giving more insight into what it means for them to be Scottish clansmen. Outlander is already being hailed as their most interesting accomplishment to date, bringing the unique sound of Scotland back from the past and into the 21st century, the music of the clan.
Outlander – literally ‘out of our land’ – is a track of pride and power for the Scottish culture and heritage of which the clan is the central feature. Saor Patrol are clansmen with an aim to Close the Gap – bringing people together so everyone feels part of the group. Says Charlie Allan,
‘For us it’s easy, Clan means children, family, a team. When was the last time your child came to you about how he or she feels about something, anything? Works for us. It’s the greatest thing we have in life. Clan.’
Outlander showcases the softer side of Saor Patrol with Heavy Heart - a delicate performance about the pain of losing someone which builds gently, while Road Back is another piece that shows the lighter side of Saor Patrol’s music with melodic guitars and a very soulful bagpipe performance.
Spirit of the Planet was inspired by a live show involving many drums and global dances to which Charlie’s response was, ‘The drum beat is like a heartbeat.’ Thus Spirit of the Planet came into being as a celebration of many cultures coming together which in essence is the spirit of the clan and a statement for the planet also.
As founding members of Scotland’s Clanranald Trust – keeper of the Duncarron medieval cultural and education village – Saor Patrol’s allegiance to Clanranald runs deep. Aftermath is a mighty tribute for those who perished in The Battle of the Field of Shirts in 1544 between the Clanranald and the Frasers. Aftermath is a song for the dead and dying and those who had to brave the field to find their loved ones. The track features slick bagpipe playing from band leader and Outlander’s musical director, Charlie ‘Chick’ Allan with some reverse compression on the bagpipes at the start.
Saor Patrol tour annually throughout Germany and this year will make a special guest appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival – the world’s largest open air heavy metal festival. In the Flesh celebrates Scots who have lived in Germany throughout the centuries from Gallowglass to the Sutherland Highlanders who fought as mercenaries and then later as soldiers.
Saor Patrol’s performances include The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, SXSW, Taiwan festival of World Culture, The Scottish Drum Day and the MPS - Europe’s largest medieval cultural festivals in Köln - the renowned Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum. And while Outlander includes melodic tracks, there is still plenty of music for Saor Patrol diehards.
Girl from the Golden Mountains - The Art of the Mongolian Yatga - Chinbat Baasankhuu
The Art of the Mongolian Yatga by Chinbat Baasankhuu is likely to be the first full Mongolian yatga recording widely available outside Mongolia and includes techniques only possible at the highest levels of yatga accomplishment.
Traditionally the yatga – a plucked zither with movable bridges – was played vertically during royal occasions at Mongolian court, complete with an ornate swan’s head and strings made from animal intestines. Today, the yatga is played horizontally with strings of silk and steel without the décor of a swan’s head, Mongolian wolf or deer.
On The Art of the Mongolian Yatga, Chinbat Baasankhuu performs the 13 and 21-string master yatga. Space, speed and intricacy define the musical pieces which mirror the landscape of Chinbat’s birthplace,
‘I was born in a village in the Altai, a western province of Mongolia whose capital city is Altai. It's a very diversified region in which you can find massive mountain ranges, large rivers, the Gobi desert and large steppe areas .’
The Altai Mountains – or ‘golden mountains’ as they are known in Mongolian – connect Mongolia, Russia, China and Kazakhstan. From Altai, Chinbat went on to study in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator’s College of Music and Dance, then to the National University of Culture and Art where she progressed to become professor of the yatga in the Department of Traditional Music.
Chinbat has carefully selected pieces for both the 13 and 21-string yatga from well-known Mongolian composers on The Art of the Mongolian Yatga including B. Naranbaatar’s The Trot of the Horse with the Black Velvet Coat. B. Naranbaatar was one of the first musicians to play the yatga in concert. Other pieces written by well-known composers include A. Mend Amar’s Variation 2; The Colt of the Kherlen River composed by L. Murdorj and Variations on Two Traditional Songs by J. Chuluun.
Chinbat effortlessly plays the 21-stringed master yatga known colloquially as ikh gariing yatga on tracks 4-10 - including An Elegant Saddle – written by the renowned Mongolian composer B. Sharav in which Chinbat’s prowess shines: fast fingers plucking simultaneous strings in an aural ballet. Other Mongolian folk classics include My Mother, Sunrise (Chinbat’s favourite) and Variations which includes high-end string-bending.
The Mongolian yatga belongs to the zither family of ancient stringed instruments from which the guitar evolved including the Japanese koto, Chinese gu-zheng, Vietnamese dan tranh and the Korean gayageum.
Chinbat has performed with the National Mongolian Philharmonic Theatre and in world music concerts from China, Inner Mongolia, Japan, India, France and by invitation only for the South Korea Yatga Society. Chinbat Baasankhuu may come from a town that boasts one unpaved runway but on The Art of the Mongolian Yatga, there is no doubt Chinbat is taking us to a whole new height of yatga performance.
SAOR PATROL TO PLAY AT WACKEN
Scottish tribal rockers Saor Patrol have secured themselves a place at the 2014 Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany on Wednesday July 30th. Wacken is the biggest heavy metal open air festival in the world held annually in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany and attracts over 80,000 heavy metal fans. Saor Patrol join the world’s best heavy metal bands on the 2014 line-up including Motörhead, Hammerfall, Kreator, Arthemis and Saxon to name just a few.
See http://www.wacken.com/en/woa2014/main-bands/billing-2014/ for more info.
Taste o’ Auld an’ Noo The Early Years– Saor Patrol
Early Years is Saor Patrol’s latest album to be released through ARC Music – a combination of their hugely successful albums: Esspee (an exaggerated pronunciation for SP or Saor Patrol) and Black Bull. With their gripping sound of pounding drums and the untamed power of the pipes, this album will stir the hearts of listeners all around the world.
In the 18 tracks on Early Years, Saor Patrol celebrate Celtic hotspots and highland traditions including the ever popular Weramur - Scottish slang for ‘Where am I?’ and haunting bagpipe playing on Mood Moons by Charlie Allan. Early Years contains Saor Patrol’s perennially popular Solveig – sunny road – Wallace Bled and Stonewall.
Early Years is a collection of Saor Patrol’s music from their early days and is a tribute to those who helped Saor Patrol in those times. Music was the vehicle that allowed Saor Patrol to both acknowledge their culture and heritage and raise awareness and funds for the building of Duncarron – the recreation of a fortified medieval village supported by the Clanranald Trust. It all started with Charlie purchasing his first set of bagpipes from Bagpipes Galore on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and picking up a drum for £35 at a local car boot sale and asking his friends ‘Who can play the drums? ’ – someone was brave enough to raise their hand.
From the first band practises in Canongate’s graveyard, the band went on to busk in Edinburgh’s festival, perform at Derby’s Rock & Blues Festival and won BBC’s best street performers award for 2000. The sound of Saor Patrol was forged from an idea given during a chance encounter with Rock & Blues Festival compere, Clive Jackson, who suggested that the band should add some electric guitar. An idea heavily supported by their producer at the time, Paul Kane. And add it they did.
Dalriada and Cornish March show the band’s commitment to their celtic roots while the cover art features an interesting combination of the Scottish dragon, Gorbash, that proudly flies on Duncarron’s flag along with the black bull - a tribute to the massive piece of rock called the Burghead Bull that was carved out of stone two-and-a-half thousand years ago. Early Years is really like track 15, a Taste o’Auld an Noo’, which is just what Saor Patrol give to their fans worldwide – traditional strength pounding with timeless popular appeal.
With performances at the Scottish fortified village named Duncarron, King Robert’s Hotel in Bannockburn, Italy’s Lo Spirito Del Pianeta festival, Germany’s MPS festival in Hohenwestedt and even a secret session in Switzerland, Scottish tribal rockers Saor Patrol have got a busy month ahead of them. In July, Saor Patrol will also be performing at Wacken – one of Europe’s biggest heavy metal festivals. If you don’t get to see them live, you can certainly catch up with the spirit of the band as their bagpipe player and Chief Clansman – Charlie Allan – can be seen on BBC Two’s The Quest for Bannockburn: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zhv3s
Review on Africa Moo Baalu published in R2 Rock n Reel,
While the album also deals with other hard-hitting subjects such as poverty, immigration and being away from family, the overlying message is one of peace and love. The album’s opener, Wula – which features some stunning kora playing by Maher – is dedicated to his brother Aliou, who passed away in 2010. Other songs on Africa Moo Baalu were inspired by their experiences on the journey from Stockholm in Sousou’s home country of Sweden to Dakar in Maher’s Senegal. That journey was documented on their second album Stockholm-Dakar, an album which explored some of the similarities between the music of their respective homelands.
“I can’t be a griot in the same way as my ancestors. But I can be a griot of today. My time is now”.
Born into to a musical family, Sousou studied classical and Swedish folk music before falling in love with the kora. It was when she was invited to Senegal by Maher’s older brother Solo to learn their playing style that she met Maher. While both are of course influenced by the music around them, with Africa Moo Baalu they strive not to be bound by national borders. “It’s not a meeting between Senegalese folk music and Swedish folk music,” says Sousou. “We are working more on finding and developing our own expressions, creating our own songs and finding our own voices. Times change and we are living in a global world now where everything is connected. It is more about your interests, your passion and love rather than the colour of your skin.”
March 2013 sees the worldwide release of The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk, a double-CD package highlighting the astonishing depth of Irish folk music through names that will be familiar to all, and names unheard of as yet.
The release follows the first instalment in the series, The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Folk (2013), which was received with critical acclaim: “… a fascinating overview of the current state of folk music”, said Songlines, and “…a journey through music of mind-boggling variety and inventiveness linked by having its roots firmly planted in the tradition” (R2 Magazine).
Continuing the hallmark of the series, The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is compiled by an expert in the field. Irish music journalist John O’Regan, a lifelong supporter of the genre, selected the tracks and provided liner notes culled from his encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject.
“The idea behind The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is to reflect the development of Irish folk music from the 60s and 70s onwards, and highlight its current state of inspirational well being”, says John. “The selection of tracks was based on what characterizes Irish folk music for me and attracted me in the first place: the emotional quality, the honesty, the humour, and the willingness to involve outside influences and create something while remaining rooted in tradition.”
The collection showcases the variety of musical styles used by native players in Ireland, while also highlighting the strength of the music among the diaspora in Britain and America. All folk music is in a constant state of evolution as it is handed from generation to generation. Whether it isClannad merging their own gaelic traditions with influences from West Coast American pop, Horslips’ trad-rock fusion, or Afro Celt Sound System bridging continents through music, the folk music of Ireland is no exception.
Moya Brennan of Clannad says, “When I was growing up, and before that, the music was handed down. It was your aunty who had the songs, it was your grandfather who played the fiddle... If you picked up an instrument, unless you had somebody close to you [who played], you weren’t going to be great at it. Now you have [folk music] schools spread out in Ireland, which is amazing for the young kids.”
Perhaps both due to being a stronghold of tradition and the emergence of folk music education, Ireland’s music has found firm footing in its current generation. The Young Folk pull the crowds in to Dublin bars with their brand of pop-folk, while harpist/multi-instrumentalist Michelle Mulcahy’s music is firmly rooted in the tradition. Lou McMahon from Co. Clare adds a wistful, bluesy hue while retaining that unmistakeable folk element: “My song writing is influenced by a variety of genres of music, but tradition is ever present in my subconscious”, says Lou. “I was exposed to traditional Irish music from a young age; it was omnipresent and I absorbed it. All of its rare beauty and charm is imprinted on my soul and it flows out through my words, voice and music.”
To John O’Regan, the discovery and promotion of young and unknown artists was a major catalyst behind this project: “I hope to introduce new up-and-coming artists whose work recognizes traditional roots but also possesses a contemporary creative energy,” he says. “I also wanted to highlight talents whose work is either completely new or has been confined to its locality, and provide a doorway to an international platform for their work.”
“Irish folk music is constantly renewing itself, absorbing contemporary influences while retaining its roots intact. This continuing evolution and development will continue to fascinate and delight for decades to come.”
The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is a document of Ireland’s music: past, present and future.
The legendary Celtic music band Clannad and English folk singer Martin Carthy have been announced today (January 28) as the recipients of Lifetime Achievement awards at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
The awards will be presented to BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 at London’s Royal Albert Hall on February 19. The Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrate an important milestone this year - marking their 15th anniversary.
Clannad, who will also be performing at the awards, comprises siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Their music mixes the traditional and the modern, the past and the future. The band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and embarked on several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya.
"We are absolutely honoured to be recognised in this way by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The BBC have been such great supporters of us since we first broke through in the UK with Theme From Harry's Game. We are really looking forward to being part of the big night at the Royal Albert Hall."
Clannad recently released a new album – their first in 15 years. Nádúr, released in September 2013, includes the single Brave Enough, for which the band debuted this video last week.
English folk singer Martin Carthy has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music. For more than 50 years he has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, and has recorded more than 40 albums, with only 10 of these being solo records. He has recorded with legendary bands including Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey and Imagined Village.
Martin Carthy said:
“I’ve just been lucky enough to follow my heart and pretty much do what I want over the past 50 years or so. If, along the way, I've been able to play a part, however small, in keeping the traditional music of these islands alive, then I consider myself a fortunate man.”
Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said:
“The Radio 2 Folk Awards exist to celebrate the very best in folk music. Clannad and Martin Carthy have made magnificent contributions to Folk music over the years and are thoroughly deserving of these prestigious accolades. Many congratulations to them.”
The awards ceremony at The Royal Albert Hall will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.
The event will welcome a host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega and The Fisherman’s Friends set to perform live on the night.
Radio 2 has also confirmed that Martin Simpson, Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer and The Full English are set to perform on the night.
This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element - the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.
The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp - widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.
The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/radio2, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.
Clannad have marked the beginning of their 2014 European and US tour with the release of their new music video for Brave Enough.
Brave Enough is from Clannad’s latest album, Nádúr, released in September 2013. Featuring Duke Special, the track’s lyrics deal with overcoming obstacles and adversity, a theme reflected in its video.
Clannad started their tour in Langen, Germany, on 20th January. Over the next two months the band will travel to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the United States. The Most of the UK dates will be co-headline performances with the legendary Mary Black.
Full tour dates:
20-Jan-14 - Germany - Langen - Stadthalle
21-Jan-14 - Germany - Stuttgart - Theaterhouse
22-Jan-14 - Germany - Dusseldorf - Richard Schumann Saal
23-Jan-14 - Germany - Nuenkirchen - Geblaesehalle
25-Jan-14 - Germany - Schwabach - Markgrafensaal
26-Jan-13 - Germany - Leipzig - Peterskirche
28-Jan-14 - Poland - Zabrze - DMiT
29-Jan-14 - Poland - Poznan - Sala Ziemi
30-Jan-14 - Poland - Warsaw - Stodola
31-Jan-14 - Poland - Warsaw - Stodola
01-Feb-14 - Lithuania - Vilnius - Congresshall
02-Feb-14 - Latvia - Riga - Congresshall
05-Feb-14 - USA - Washington, DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
06-Feb-14 - USA - Ridgefield, CT - Playhouse
07-Feb-14 - USA - Harrisburg, PA - Whitaker Center for the Arts
08-Feb-14 - USA - Collingswood, NJ - Scottish Rite Auditorium
09-Feb-14 - USA - New York, NY - BB Kings
11-Feb-14 - USA - Cleveland, OH - Hard Rock Theater
12-Feb-14 - USA - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
14-Feb-14 - USA - Phoenix, AZ - Music Instrument Theater
15-Feb-14 - USA - Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
16-Feb-14 - USA - Folsom, CA - El Dorado Theater
19-Feb-14 - UK - London - Royal Albert Hall (BB2 Radio 2 Folk Awards)
21-Feb-14 - The Netherlands - Arnhem - Arnhem Music Sacrum
22-Feb-14 - The Netherlands - Dordrecht - Bibelot
23-Feb-14 - Belgium - Antwerp - The Arenberg
25-Feb-14 - Norway - Oslo - John Dee Rockefeller
26-Feb-14 - Norway - Horton - Bakkenteigen Kulturhus
27-Feb-14 - Norway - Fredrikstad - Kulturhus
28-Feb-14 - Norway - Drammen - Drammens Teater
01-Mar-14 - Norway - Skien - Ibsen Huset
03-Mar-14 - Sweden - Gothenburg - Stenhammarsalen
04-Mar-14 - Germany - Hamburg - Fabrik
05-Mar-14 - Germany - Hannover - Theater am Aegi
07-Mar-14 - The Netherlands - Haarlem - Stadsschouwburg
08-Mar-14 - The Netherlands - Uden - Theater Markant
09-Mar-14 - The Netherlands - Steenwijk - De Meenthe
11-Mar-14 - UK - St. Albans - The Alban Arena
12-Mar-14 - UK - Leeds - Town Hall
13-Mar-14 - UK - Glasgow - Royal Concert Hall
14-Mar-14 - UK - Gateshead - The Sage
15-Mar-14 - UK - Salford - The Lowry
17-Mar-14 - UK - Birmingham - Symphony Hall
18-Mar-14 - UK - Cambridge - Corn Exchange
19-Mar-14 - UK - Liverpool - Philharmonic
21-Mar-14 - UK - Eastbourne - Congress Theatre
22-Mar-14 - UK - Plymouth - Pavilions
23-Mar-14 - UK - Basingstoke - The Anvil
25-Mar-14 - UK - Nottingham - Royal Centre
26-Mar-14 - UK - Leicester - De Montfort Hall
27-Mar-14 - UK - Cardiff - St David's Hall
28-Mar-14 - UK - Oxford - New Theatre
29-Mar-14 - UK - London - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
In 2012 Ana Alcaide made her debut on the international world music scene with the release of her album La Cantiga del Fuego, receiving critical acclaim, entering the World Music Charts Europe at number three and spending five months in the Top 20.
In February 2014, Ana releases her second international release on the ARC Music label.
Como la Luna y el Sol (Like the Moon and the Sun) was recorded prior to La Cantiga…, and has previously only been available in Spain.
The album is Ana Alcaide’s first full foray into Sephardic-inspired music, a theme she continued to explore on La Cantiga del Fuego. Ana has long been inspired by Sephardic music; her home city of Toledo is central to the story of the Sephardic Jews, who were exiled from Spain under the Alhambra Decree of 1492. Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures for its historic co-existence of Jews, Christians and Muslims, whose cultures pervade the city.
“The words Como la Luna y el Sol belong to a song found in Turkey and represent the relationship that bonds us with all that is remote and unreachable”, says Ana. “The Sephardic people dream of Sefarad (Spain), the unobtainable quest, the unreachable, the Moon seeking the Sun, the search for what we love but will never have”.
Ana’s instrument of choice is the nyckelharpa, the keyed fiddle used in Swedish folk music, which Ana fell in love with when studying at Sweden’s Lund University. Returning home, she taught herself to play it on the streets of Toledo, far from its traditional setting. Ana has played a pioneering role in introducing and popularizing the nyckelharpa in Spain. She first explored the instrument on her debut album Viola de Teclas (2006).
Como la Luna y el Sol was recorded and released in Spain in 2008. This is the beginning of the story that was continued with La Cantiga del Fuego, an album that, according to Songlines, “conjures an elegantly seductive tone that will beguile listeners far from Toledo”.
Tibet’s Techung has been added to the line-up for the 24th annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert, to be held at New York’s Carnegie Hall on 11th March 2014.
Techung is currently one of the most in-demand performers of Tibetan music, having performed the opening concert for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to New Orleans in May 2013, and releasing his latest album, Lam La Che – On the Road (featuring Keb’ Mo’), in August. The album was well received by the world music and Tibetan communities, scooping five awards at the annual Tibet Music Awards, including Best Album and Best Song.
Techung joins some legends on the bill for the Tibet House US Benefits Concert, including godfather of punk Iggy Pop, rock ‘n’ roll icon Joe Walsh (the Eagles), synth-pop trailblazers New Order, rock visionary and poet Patti Smith and her Band & musician Jesse Smith, lauded American composer Philip Glass, acclaimed composer/guitarist Bryce Dessner, and brilliant American composer Nico Muhly. The evening is once again curated by artistic director Philip Glass. Additional artists will be announced soon. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are Honorary Chairpersons for this year’s event.
For 24 years, this one-of-a-kind concert has assembled some of the biggest names in music and offers a mix of unique musical collaborations and solo performances. Past benefit concerts have featured world-class artists such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Moby, Sigur Ros, Bright Eyes, R.E.M., The National, Natalie Merchant, Regina Spektor, Rufus Wainwright, Vampire Weekend, Emmylou Harris, Ray Davies, Jim James, Damien Rice, The Roots, among many others.
Tibet House US is a non-profit educational institution and cultural embassy founded in 1987 at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to ensure the survival of the unique Tibetan civilization. This is Tibet House US’ 26th year serving the public on behalf of the Tibetan people. They are grateful for the support over the years and hope that everyone will continue to help them stand up for the dignity and the distinctive contributions that the Tibetan people make to the world.
Visit www.tibethouse.us for full information and tickets.
A track by percussion ensemble Zarbang is to feature in the soundtrack to the new motion picture The Legend of Hercules.
Circle in Seven from Zarbang’s album Persian and Middle Eastern Percussion is included in the film, which is released in the United States today (10th January). The Legend of Hercules becomes the second Sword & Sorcery movie to feature the track, following its use in Disney’s 2010 film The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Listen: Circle in Seven
The Legend of Hercules stars Kellan Lutz (Twilight saga, Immortals) in the title role as the half-god hero of Greek legend. Learning his real identity as the son of Zeus, Hercules embarks on a mission to overthrow a tyrannical king and fulfil his destiny.
Watch the trailer:
The movie becomes the latest in a long line of Hollywood projects to source music from ARC’s extensive world music catalogue, following placements in Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, The Dictator, and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (all 2012). Prior to this, music had been provided for James Bond Casino Royale (2006); Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008); Burn After Reading (2009); Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010); Conan The Barbarian 3D and Machine Gun Preacher (both 2011); The Kingdom; Munich; The Constant Gardener; War; and The 40 Year Old Virgin, among others.
As it is the Holiday Season and nearly the end of yet another year, I wanted to write to you to thank you for being part of our team.
As you know over the recent years there have been major changes in trends within the music industry and its development. I will not say that it has been easy for us, because it hasn’t, but having been careful and vigilant enough, as well as hard working, has meant we have been able to thrive as an independent label in a challenging environment!
I am sure that you have perhaps had a somewhat similar experience in that at times it can seem very difficult, if not almost impossible, to compete with what is considered ‘current’ or ‘popular’ music. Unfortunately we face an ever increasing scenario of ‘mix & stir’ or ‘made to order’ artists gaining mainstream attention through major corporation cash-driven campaigns that unfortunately tend to distract attention from those talented artists that live and breathe music and have to continue to work hard and make their way dedicatedly with somewhat less glamorous earnings.
But why are we really here? Yes, of course we need to survive! But why did we even choose music as our path in the first place? Was it just happenstance?
I don’t think so.
Music is one of the highest aesthetic art forms on Earth and I believe it is very important to life and the survival of the society at large.
I am not sure if you are aware of the purposes of ARC Music so I wanted to share them with you:
This is why we exist and this is what we work towards achieving every day we come to work. But enough about us!
On behalf of every single staff member at ARC Music: Phil, Christine, Andy, Chris, Diz, Sarah, Amelia, Caren, Andras, Bernard and myself, I would like to say THANK YOU for being who you are and doing what you do every day to help us forward the above purposes.
Stay determined, stay productive and for God’s sake do not lose your integrity! Realise that what you do every day as dedicated artist has a positive effect on your friends, family, town, culture and the world at large. Music brings people together and makes them happy – is there really a better achievement than that?
So again thank you and a very Happy Holidays and successful New Year to you.
Make it your best year ever!
All my love,
Clannad have been announced to perform at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014, to be held on Wednesday 19th February.
In an announcement made on the Radio 2 Drivetime show, Mark Radcliffe and Simon Mayo revealed that the awards will be returning to London for 2014, and will be held for the first time at The Royal Albert Hall, the city’s most prestigious concert venue.
The legendary Irish band Clannad, who recently released their first new album in fifteen years, Nádúr, have been announced in the first round of performers. Also announced to perform are Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega and The Fisherman’s Friends.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the awards in 2014, some of the biggest names in folk music come together for an evening of performances and presentations. This year’s show also sees the introduction of a Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame, with the renowned folk collector and revivalist Cecil Sharp being the first inductee.
Mark Radcliffe, presenter of the Radio 2 Folk Show, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Folk Awards again this year, particularly on the event's 15th anniversary and in the very grand Royal Albert Hall. Folk music is in rude health, and we're all relishing the chance to make a big fuss about the genre's vibrancy, diversity and sheer quality."
Nominees for the Folk Award categories will be announced by Mark Radcliffe in the Folk Show this Wednesday (November 20, 7pm GMT).
See the BBC’s official announcement.
Tickets are available at bbc.co.uk/radio2/folkawards.
“Romology is the voice of a new Romani generation”, says Dragan Ristic, whose band KAL release the album on the ARC Music label in November 2013.
A bold statement, yes, but then those familiar with KAL would expect nothing less. Romology is a proud celebration of Roma life and culture, and an indictment of the prejudice propagated by Western society. The band’s third album of their unique brand of Rock ‘n’ Roma, it follows their self-titled debut, which topped the World Music Charts Europe in 2006, and ‘Radio Romanista’ which ranked second in the same chart in 2009.
“Our message is ‘Do not look at us like thieves, beggars on the street, simple musicians who are playing traditional gipsy music. We can do other things; we can play contemporary music but still preserving our identity in doing so. Forget about prejudices – we are proud, strong and we know who we are!’”
The message is evident on Romology from the beginning. The title track, with its seductive beat and breathy vocals, is a celebration of Roma life and sexuality, with lyrics like “I’m a gipsy love machine”. In fact, many of the songs on Romology have a rather sexual tone, sometimes subtly, and sometimes not.
Vust (‘Lips’) carries the obvious sensual undertones, while Bibi is about the attractive wife of an uncle. Spunky Man tells the story of a Balkan handy man being required to fill the gap created by the sexual inefficiency of Western civilization, when an Austrian woman invites him to her house to ‘take a look at her pipes’. Dragan says that love, sexuality and emotion play a key role in the identity of the Roma people: “I would say that after so many centuries of struggling we are very sensitive nation. We really feel, we really love, we really play. Everything we do is honest and strong.”
Other notable songs include Emily (‘Emily was little older, she was hairy all over’), about a love interest whose only redeeming feature seems to be that she has US citizenship. “Emily is a symbol of the side of society in which the most important things are superficial, and in which there is no sincerity. Emily is a provocation directed toward that part of society. Everything is fake, from organic food to love.”
“The world is a constant struggle between good and evil,” says Dragan. “Prejudice exists because people need someone to be worse than they are...”
Techung’s new album ‘Lam La Che – On The Road’, released by ARC Music in August, took home five awards at the annual Tibetan Music Awards 2013 in Mcleod Ganj, India this past Saturday (12th October).
‘La La Che’ received the coveted award for Best Album, as well as individual awards for Best Song for ‘ Lama Khen’, and Best Love Song for ‘Kipotang’. Producer and co-performer Michel Tyabji was presented with the award for Best International Artiste for Tibet, while the album artwork by ARC Music’s Sarah Ash was recognised with the Best Album Cover award.
From all of us here at ARC Music, a big CONGRATULATIONS to Techung and his band.
You can watch the band’s ‘Thank You’ video on YouTube.
For a full list of all the winners at the Tibetan Music Awards 2013, please visit their website.
The legendary Irish band Clannad were the focus of a special celebration at the Embassy of Ireland in London on Thursday 19th September.
Billed as ‘a celebration of 40 years of Clannad on the occasion of the release of their new album, Nádúr’, the celebration marked the first event hosted at the embassy by the new incumbent Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, and his wife Mrs. Greta Mulhall.
L-R: Moya Brennan, Pádraig Duggan, Pól Brennan, Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, Ciarán Brennan, Noel Duggan, Mrs Greta Mulhall
The evening was highlighted by a performance by Clannad – siblings Moya, Pól and Ciarán Brennen, and their twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan – who performed their classic Theme from Harry’s Game, as well as two songs from their new album Nádúr, to be released on 23rd September on the ARC Music label.
Named after the Gaelic word for nature, the album sees the coming together of the full original line-up of the band for the first time in 25 years, the last being 1989’s Past Present. Pól had left the band following that album’s release, while the band continued to release several albums, most recently the Grammy winning Landmarks in 1998.
Speaking about the band’s influence on Irish culture worldwide, Ambassador Mulhall said, “Clannad were really the first group who actually embraced our gaelic traditions, the Donegal Gaeltacht, and turned those into part of the cultural heritage of the world.”
Ambassador Daniel Mulhall’s address: “Clannad have been cultural ambassadors for Ireland for the last forty years”
“We in Ireland have a great advantage that, although we’re a small country, our cultural footprint around the world is much bigger than you would expect from a country with our small population. Why do we have such a footprint? [It’s because] we have a culture, a literature, a musical tradition and dance that projects our country onto the world stage and makes people have an interest in Ireland because they enjoy our music. People who enjoy the music, they tend to come to Ireland as tourists, they buy houses in Ireland, and they develop a genuine interest in our country. So Clannad have really been cultural ambassadors for Ireland for the last 40 years.”
Ambassador Mulhall also spoke of Clannad’s influence on his personal life: “When I met my wife Greta… how did I make my first impression? I read her the poems of W.B. Yeats, and I played her the music of Clannad. And it seemed to work very well.”
The event, by invitation only, was attended by leaders of the UK’s Irish community, well known Irish figures and celebrities, dignitaries and journalists.
Radio 1 Breakfast Show producer Matt Fincham with ARC Music staff, from left to right: Amelia Zimmatore, Julia Beyer, Sarah Ash
Clannad are the legendary Irish family group responsible for such timeless music as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’, ‘I Will Find You’ and the soundtrack to the ‘Robin of Sherwood’ TV series.
Over the decades, Clannad have made music that entwines the traditional and the modern, the past and the future, with stunningly beautiful results. With their haunting songs, mesmerizing vocals, and captivating sound the group has sold over fifteen million records worldwide.
‘A celebration of 40 years of Clannad on the occasion of the release of their new album, Nádúr’ was a fitting tribute to the band who are probably the single most important influence on what we know now as Celtic music.
The Amália Rodrigues Foundation today announced the results of its annual awards. Among other awards, the winner in the coveted Best Album category was announced as Rodrigo Costa Felix’ Fados de Amor.
The prestigious award comes as the album is being prepared for international release on the ARC Music label on 27th August 2013.
“This award is a great honour because it carries Amália Rodrigues’ name. That alone is a huge privilege”, says Rodrigo. “Fados de Amor is an album dedicated to women and to love; it is a very fitting that Amália was a great woman and someone that lived for, and by, love.”
Rodigo continued, “This award means recognition from my peers, which is always a very special feeling.”
The Fundação Amália Rodrigues was formed following the passing of Amália Rodrigues, and by her will. Rodrigo is in good company among the winners of the Best Album award; well known winners in recent years include Camané and Carminho.
Fados de Amor is notable for being the first album in Fado history on which all the Portuguese guitar is played solely by a woman, Marta Pereira da Costa, and featuring duets with Kátia Guerreiro on Morena, and Angolan singer Aline Frazão on Fado Contido. For Rodrigo it is a milestone album, and one that demonstrates his progression since his debut album Fados d’Alma (2008).
“Fados de Amor is very special to me and to all of those who participated in it. All the songs have been carefully chosen and I identify with every single one of them. So it's a sort of self-portrait.”
Watch: Amigo Aprendiz
Clannad have announced the name of their long awaited new album, due for release in September 2013 on the ARC Music label.
In an official announcement on their website and Facebook page, the legendary Celtic band announced the album name as ‘Nádúr’ (pronounced: Ned-dur), the Gaelic word for Nature.
It is a fitting title; the album sees the family band – siblings Moya, Ciarán and Pól Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan – back together on record as the full original line-up for the first time since the 1989 album Past Present. Following Pól’s departure after that album, the band continued to release four highly successful albums – the last being the Grammy-winning album Landmarks in 1998. In an extended hiatus over the following decade, there was only the rare occasional performance.
In 2011, Clannad were invited to perform a series of concerts at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral. With the intimate and historic nature of these shows, Pól was invited along to be part of the event. The concerts were a huge success and they were filmed and recorded for a DVD and CD which were released following airings on PBS in America. This event provided the catalyst for the five of them to start seriously considering a new album but before going into the recording studio they decided to embark on an extensive tour across North America and Europe. This time together on the road helped shape the ideas they had for Nádúr.
“The fact that we'd toured quite extensively in the months leading up to recording really had an effect on the album,” says Moya Brennan. “Playing live across various countries gave us a really good indication of not just what we wanted from a new album but also what the audience out there wanted to hear. We feel this record touches on every aspect of our forty year career. Every track is different yet every track is pure Clannad”
Indeed, Nádúr is a very natural progression to the Clannad sound, which since the 70s has been to fuse the traditional with the modern, the past and the future, with stunningly beautiful results.
It is perhaps best summarized by the Irish author Colum McCann, who concludes his liner notes for the album by saying, “Clannad – the family – have taken the local and made it universal once again. Is é seo nádúr dhúchasach ...this is their inherent nature.”
“It will always be so.”
We advise music fans who are looking for something fun to read to check out Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops by Graham Jones.
Compiled from over thirty years of visiting record stores,Strange Requests… features more than 200 funny and… quite frankly bizarre stories compiled from over thirty years of visiting record stores, as told by shop owners and staff.
Graham Jones is also the man behind the critically acclaimed book and documentary film ‘Last Shop Standing – The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop’. Watch the trailer below.
March 2014 will see two of Ireland’s musical icons share the stage in a special tour that will be sure to delight fans of both Artists. Performing both separate sets and together in 15 dates across the UK, this unique concert is one not to be missed.
Clannad will perform old favourites as well as tracks from their upcoming album. Due for release in September 2013 on ARC Music, it is the band’s first album of new material since 1998’s Grammy-winning Landmarks, and the first with the full original line-up since 1989’s Past Present. Their music entwines the traditional and the modern, past and future with stunningly beautiful results, as evidenced by such timeless music as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’ and ‘I Will Find You’. With their haunting songs, mesmerizing vocals and captivating sound the group has sold over fifteen million records worldwide.
For over a quarter-century, singer Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music, both at home and abroad. Mary has released 11 studio albums all of which achieved platinum sales status and spawned countless hits. Her enduring success has proven that her depth of talent and her love of singing transcend the generations, as well as national and musical boundaries too. She is indeed a real Irish treasure and her talent a gift from this small island to a grateful world.
Clannad - Mary Black tickets are on sale now! (see www.clannad.ie for details)
|Wed, March 12||LEEDS||Town Hall|
|Thu, March 13||GLASGOW||Royal Concert Hall|
|Fri, March 14||GATESHEAD||The Sage|
|Sat, March 15||SALFORD||The Lowry|
|Mon, March 17||BIRMINGHAM||Symphony Hall|
|Tue, March 18||CAMBRIDGE||Corn Exchange|
|Wed, March 19||LIVERPOOL||Philharmonic|
|Fri, March 21||EASTBOURNE||Congress Theatre|
|Sat, March 22||PLYMOUTH||Pavillions|
|Sun, March 23||BASINGSTOKE||The Anvil|
|Tue, March 25||NOTTINGHAM||Royal Centre|
|Wed, March 26||LEICESTER||De Montfort Hall|
|Thu, March 27||CARDIFF||St David's Hall|
|Fri, March 28||OXFORD||New Theatre|
|Sat, March 29||LONDON||O2 Shepherds Bush Empire|
Charlie Allan and The Clanranald Trust for Scotland
As the ‘untamed’ piper with ARC’s Scottish folk-rock band Saor Patrol (“The Motörhead of Folk” – Lemmy), Charlie Allan is used to facing large crowds. Saor Patrol performances have taken him all over the world performing to thousands at concerts, medieval festivals and heavy metal festivals.
But for his ‘other’ job (or one of them), Charlie usually finds himself up against crowds of a more… hostile nature.
Charlie heads Combat International, a group of combat re-enactment specialists who have provided warrior armies for battle scenes in movies like Robin Hood, King Arthur and Gladiator (Charlie’s the one taunting Maximus with the severed head in the opening battle). Combat International specialise in medieval combat and weaponry, which Charlie has studied extensively, but they often find themselves drawn into the fantasy arena too. They recently completed filming for one of 2013’s most anticipated films, Marvel’s Thor II.
But Charlie’s movie projects don’t end there. Both Saor Patrol and Combat International are part of the Clanranald Trust for Scotland, a foundation established by Charlie to educate and preserve Scottish heritage. A major undertaking of the Trust includes building a medieval fortified village, Duncarron, in the Carron Valley near Stirling in Scotland, which will be used as an educational facility and a film/TV set for period pieces.
Due to its picturesque scenery and rolling landscapes, Scotland has already been attracting interest from Hollywood location scouts. Recent movies to be filmed partially in Scotland include Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, Snow White & The Huntsman, and World War Z. Recent speculation is that Star Wars: Episode VII will include scenes shot in Scotland.
The Duncarron project hopes to further attract film and TV productions by providing an authentically recreated medieval village for period, fantasy, historical educational dramas and documentaries.
The Trust has already received a helping hand from one of Hollywood’s leading stars: Russell Crowe, who Charlie had met while filming Gladiator, visited the site and was so intrigued by the project he convinced producers to donate a battering ram from the set of Robin Hood to Duncarron village.
While Charlie is the driving force behind the Trust’s activities (he established the Trust in 1996 for the purposes of building Duncarron), he has certainly not done it alone. The Trust’s members and volunteers freely give up their weekends to help with construction of the village, and Charlie’s own wife Malin is the site supervisor. In fact, Malin has a movie connection all of her own: as The Daily Mail pointed out, Malin bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain ‘Brave’ heroine.
To contact Charlie Allan, Combat International or the Clanranald Trust for Scotland, please visit www.clanranald.org
Photos courtesy of Charlie Allan
Legendary celtic band Clannad have announced a partnership with ARC Music for their new album. Scheduled for release in September 2013, this new album will be the band’s first album of new material since 1998’s Grammy-winning Landmarks, and the first with the full original line-up since 1989’s Past Present.
Clannad – siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan – began recordings for their as-yet untitled new album last week. Pol had previously left Clannad following the release of Past Present, but returned to the band in 2011 to perform a special concert at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral, which was released on CD and DVD early in 2013, also through ARC Music. The reformed line-up have been touring globally over the last several months and are planning an even more extensive worldwide tour to coincide with the release of the new album.
ARC Music’s Artistic Director Julia Beyer says, “We are very pleased to be working with Clannad again for their new album, following our release of their live album and DVD Christ Church Cathedral earlier this year. We are sure that the new album will delight Clannad’s fans as well as winning them many new ones – what better way to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary year.”
The new album marks the next chapter in Clannad’s legendary career, which has already spanned forty years. In that time Clannad has been responsible for timeless music such as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’, ‘I Will Find You’ and the soundtrack to the ‘Robin of Sherwood’ TV series. Their music entwines the traditional and the modern, the past and the future, with stunningly beautiful results. The band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since the release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya. During those early years the band developed their trademark sound, immediately identifiable by anyone who has ever heard it, which has earned them legions of fans in the incredibly successful years since.
Julia Beyer added, “Clannad continues to tour and to captivate audiences all over the world, and this new album further cements their legacy as one of Ireland’s most enduring and influential music acts.”
Tibetan singer and multi-instrumentalist Techung will perform the opening concert for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s speech in New Orleans on 18th May 2013.
Techung and his band were selected to perform at the event in New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena, one of three public events to be held by His Holiness in New Orleans from 16-18 May.
Techung’s US tour starts on 3rd May at Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. The Grammy-award-winning musician Keb’ Mo’ may join the band for some of the dates.
In 2011 a group of eight children from schools in South Africa travelled to India to embark on a life changing musical and cultural journey. That journey is documented by the release of the album Gondwana Dawn through ARC Music in April 2013.
Gondwana Dawn is an Afro-Indian world fusion project led by double-Grammy-winning producer Robin Hogarth (Soweto Gospel Choir) and Vidushi Sumitra Guha, one of India’s great musicians and recipient of the PADMA SHRI, one of the country’s highest civilian awards for art. What started as a collaborative project between Sumitra and Robin soon evolved into an idea of involving South African children in an unforgettable cultural experience. Together with the supervisors of a school music programme he was involved with, Robin had the idea of forming a choir of students from the seven schools in the programme. Following a series of auditions, eight children were selected from the seven schools.
“When we started I really had my own doubts because the children are not exposed to Indian classical music”, says Sumitra. “Maybe I can improvise but what about them? How is it going to work? I had a very big question mark”.
Robin adds,“When we arrived in India we just had an outline of some of the African music that I thought would work and some of the Indian music that I thought would work. We had no real idea whether it would or not. But what these kids have done with these different rhythms is very intriguing. Everyone did fantastically – I think everyone got the message of what we’re trying to do. It is a fusion of the cultures but it isn’t a new music; a new different sound but it does use the traditional elements.”
The album was written and recorded throughout the duration of the visit to New Delhi. For alto singer Koketso Maphelela, the recording process was the realisation of a dream. “Entering the studio was just amazing because I’ve never been to a studio before. You know, wearing the headphones - I always see Mariah Carey recording in the studio, but I did not think I would get that far with singing until I got there. It felt so real but then at the same time it felt like I was dreaming.”
The visit to India culminated in a concert in New Delhi which received a standing ovation, which was another highlight for Koketso: “There were a lot of journalists running after us trying to take pictures and everything. I do love attention!”
Gondwana refers to the paleogeographical landmass when what is now Africa was joined to the Indian subcontinent. Even beyond that the two cultures have many parallels, and the music symbolizes the coming together of the significant spiritual elements of their history, and the hope for a better future. The main themes within the music relate to modern day representations of the two cultures – Ahimsa (‘Non-Violence’ – as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi) and Ubuntu (Brotherhood – representing the ethos of Nelson Mandela) which are articulated throughout this album.
While in India a visit to the Gandhi Museum helped to illustrate the similarities between their two cultures: “I like Mahatma Gandhi because he is similar to Nelson Mandela”, says bass singer Sean Mashigo. “They did basically some of the same things; they worked to provide freedom for the people, and that is interesting because we get to understand how we are where we are today”.
The ARC Music team recently attended the Clannad concert at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on 20th March 2013.
Visit ARC Music on Facebook to see the photos.
In March 2013 Niyireth Alarcón is embarking on her 11th international tour, the fifth to Europe and first visit to Spain. There she represents Colombia at the 13th Festival del Folclore "Casa de Aragón en La Rioja" held in Logroño, 15th - 17th March. Additionally she performs again in countries such as Italy and Switzerland.
Japanese multi-instrumentalist Joji Hirota will perform a special concert with the London Metropolitan Orchestra in March 2013 to support victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami.
This is the second ‘Beyond the Requiem’ concert in benefit of the survivors of the disaster which devastated Japan in March 2011. The first concert took place in March 2012. This year’s event takes place at St John’s Wood Church, London, on 16th March.
Vist www.beyondtherequiem.com for more information.
Tango-orkestri Unto will perform in Washington DC and New York in February.
The six virtuosi of Finnish Tango will perform at the Kennedy Center in DC for the Nordic Cool Festival on Wednesday 20th February, then on the New York for a performance at Scandinavia House on Thursday 21st.
Please take a look at this video.
As we enter a new year ARC Music celebrates a highly successful twelve months in 2012. Bucking the industry trend, ARC’s physical album sales worldwide for 2012 were up on 2011, while digital sales continued its upward trend.
Just in the latter half of 2012, key ARC releases included Dindinha by Ceumar; A Bright Star Has Risen by Perunika Trio; Vocalism by Vusa Mkhaya; Best of Buena Vista; New Queens of Fado; Ana Alcaida’s La Cantiga del Fuego; InVentus by Custódio Castelo; Best of Isla St. Clair; The Persian Azeri Project; Summertime - Best of Black Umfolosi and the double release Duncarron/Two Headed Dog by Saor Patrol, among others.
Releases already scheduled for early 2013 include new albums by legendary Celtic group Clannad, fado singer Maria Ana Bobone, and Namibian singer-songwriter Elemotho, winner of the RFI 24/7 Discoveries Award.
2012 saw ARC Music receive numerous industry recognitions, including two artists – Hossam Ramzy and She’koyokh – shortlisted in the Songlines Music Awards (Best Artist and Best Group, respectively). The label was also listed in the WOMEX 2012 Top World Music Labels and had a number of releases featured in the World Music Charts Europe throughout the year.
It was also a blockbuster year for ARC Music’s publishing division, highlighted by a placement in the highest grossing British film of the year, Skyfall, as well as four other major movie productions: The Dictator, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Zero Dark Thirty, and the HBO TV movie Hemingway & Gelhorn. Other publishing highlights include music featured in TV shows such as Touch and NYC 22, and a series of three TV commercials for internet domain giants GoDaddy.
ARC’s Managing Director Philip Collinson said, “Despite common perceptions about the current state of the music industry, 2012 was a fantastic year for us and we’re looking forward to continuing the good work into 2013”.
“Our physical sales were up last year. Add that to the rising revenues from digital and other media, and we are in a good position. We tend not to get too involved with industry figures – we take them for what they are but we believe it is always possible to improve on what we are doing – which is part of the reason we are still here and expanding after nearly forty years.”
ARC Music was established in 1976 to preserve the ethnic music of world cultures, and to spread traditional and original music with a positive message. The label now offers the largest selection of traditional and contemporary ethnic music from all corners of the world.
In early 20th century Lisbon, fado, which was a song of the streets, was adopted into the rich houses of the aristocracy where it was played at the piano. Now, in the early 21st century - an era of accelerated progression in fado - one of Portugal’s most favoured fadistas looks back to earlier times to prove that, sometimes, something old can yield something new. Fado & Piano by Maria Ana Bobone is released worldwide through ARC Music in late January 2013. It is her first album since 2006’s ‘Nome de Mar’.
Maria Ana’s arrangements for piano bring a very natural warmth to her fados. She both sings and plays piano, allowing herself total control of the cadence and pace of the song. Fado’s instrument-of-choice, the Guitarra Portuguesa, plays a much more understated role, delicately supporting the piano instead of taking its usual lead. The album’s main trio of instruments is completed by the double bass. Herein lies one of the main strengths of the project: its simplicity and its subtlety.
Fado & Piano brings new dimensions to evergreens such as ‘Que Deus Me Perdoe’, which serves as the album’s opener. “It was sung by Amália Rodrigues, our diva, and in that sense it’s a very big responsibility… a challenge”, says Maria Ana. “It works wonderfully with this piano formation, because I’m controlling my time, and I’m giving it all the space that I think it needs. So I have my own very personal way of living it and of singing it”.
“’Fado Xuxu’ is a song to make you smile. It tells the story of fado going to Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, and mixing with samba. It’s very lighthearted, very happy and the way we played it is a bit more old fashioned. We went back to the tradition of the early 20th century to find the right way of playing it.”
Much more than simply a nostalgia or revival project, Fado & Piano includes a number of Maria Ana’s own compositions, some of which she has called her most personal songs to date. ‘Auto-retrato’ (‘Self Portrait’) is a song that she was encouraged to complete for the album as it fit so well with the fado and piano format. “I hadn’t even finished it when I started recording this album. My producer, Rodrigo Serrão, heard the first part of it and he thought it was so beautiful, he said ‘You have to finish it and you have to finish it now’. It’s my self portrait in the sense that… I’m always questioning myself – I’m always trying to find reasons for my existence and ways to grow.”
‘Imagem’ is another highly personal song. Not a fado in the traditional sense, it is instead a pop song with that undeniable and irrepressible fado feeling: saudade. “I wrote this song when I was eighteen. I was always very, very shy to show [my songs to people]. This one I wasn’t supposed to show – it was something that just came to me. It’s out of the fado language… but because it shows a little bit more of me I decided to include it in this project. Rodrigo wrote the words for it – he’s always trying to pull me out of my shell and making me expose parts of me.”
The album includes two fados sung in English with lyrics by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pinto do Amaral. ‘Twilight’ and ‘Love Ballad’ demonstrate how this very Portuguese tradition can translate into any language.
“This is a special album for me because it gave me the chance to grow”, concludes Maria Ana. “Revisiting my cultural roots from a new point of view, writing my own songs and working with different tools to enrich my work, always working towards the goal of exploring my own identity as an artist.”
Ana Alcaide’s album ‘La Cantiga del Fuego’ re-entered the World Music Charts Europe this month following its international release in November 2012.
When ‘La Cantiga del Fuego’ was released in Spain earlier this year it immediately caught the attention of the World Music Charts Europe panel, who placed it at No.3 in their August 2012 chart.
Following its worldwide release through ARC Music in November the album has re-entered the chart for January 2013 in tenth position. Click here for album information.
The World Music Charts Europe panel consists of 50 of Europe’s leading world music DJs, who elect their favourite releases for that month to determine the chart positions. www.wmce.de
One of this year’s hardest hitting movie releases goes on limited release in the United States today, earning several Golden Globe nominations and becoming the latest major movie production to source music from world music specialists ARC Music.
Zero Dark Thirty follows the decade-long search for Osama Bin Laden, climaxing with his capture and death at the hands of US Navy SEALs in Pakistan. It goes on general US release on 11th January 2013.
The movie uses 3 ARC Music tracks sourced from ARC Music: ‘Ishq di baazi jittan naalon’ and ‘Shishey utthey thuran jamiya’ from Asif Bhatti’s album Traditional Music from Pakistan, and ‘Sakhi’ from Sublime Sufi by Shafqat Ali Khan.
“With parts of the movie being set in Pakistan they were looking specifically for Pakistani music, and we were able to provide three tracks,” says ARC’s Licensing Director Caren Entwistle. “The tracks they selected are very typically Pakistani and are high in passion and drama, so they should complement the movie well.”
The film is co-produced by Kathryn Bigelow (Director) and Mark Boal (Screenplay), the Oscar-winning team behind The Hurt Locker, and stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton and Kyle Chandler.
With its topical and controversial subject matter as well as its graphic torture scenes, the film has been courting much media attention and looks to be a hit in theaters over the Christmas and New Year period in the US. Initial reaction to the film has been very positive, earning nominations for four Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Jessica Chastain), Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture.
The movie becomes ARC Music’s fourth Hollywood success for 2012, following the use of music in Skyfall, The Dictator, and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter earlier in the year. These are the latest in a long line of movies to source music from ARC’s extensive world music catalogue, following James Bond Casino Royale (2006); Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008); Burn After Reading (2009); Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010); Conan The Barbarian 3D and Machine Gun Preacher (both 2011). Previous placements also include The Kingdom, Munich, The Constant Gardener, War, and The 40 Year Old Virgin, among others.
ARC Music was established in 1976 to preserve the ethnic music of world cultures, and to spread traditional and original music with a positive message. The label now offers the largest selection of traditional and contemporary ethnic music from all corners of the world.
Legendary Irish family group Clannad release their first ever live DVD and an accompanying live album in early 2013. 'Clannad - Christ Church Cathedral' has its release through ARC Music in February.
Throughout a forty-year career Clannad has been responsible for timeless music such as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’, ‘I Will Find You’ and the soundtrack to the ‘Robin of Sherwood’ TV series. Their music entwines the traditional and the modern, the past and the future, with stunningly beautiful results. Comprised of siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, along with their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan, the band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since the release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya. During those early years the band developed their trademark sound, immediately identifiable by anyone who has ever heard it, which has earned them legions of fans in the incredibly successful years since.
The new live album and DVD were recorded at Dublin’s historic Christ Church Cathedral on 29th January 2011. Being in such an intimate setting the band chose to lean heavily on their early traditional material as the acoustic nature of these tracks would suit the surroundings well. Pol, who had left Clannad in 1990 to pursue solo interests, rejoined the band marking the first time the original five members had performed together for more than twenty years.
Says Moya Brennan, “When we were asked to perform in Christ Church Cathedral we really wanted to put together a unique show that would complement the spectacular surroundings. It was the first time in many years that we had played in such an intimate setting and in choosing the programme it made us go right back to the earliest days of our forty years as a band, we even start the show with the first song Clannad ever played together.”
“The show is almost like a history of the band,” adds Ciaran, “starting with just the five of us on stage, as it was in the beginning, and gradually being joined by some wonderful musicians and very special guests. The backdrop of the cathedral's architecture provided the perfect setting for us and everything just felt very special on the night.”
2013 promises to be another landmark year for the band as they embark on a new European tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Confirmed tour dates can be viewed here, while further dates are to be announced. A new studio album is scheduled to be recorded later in the year.
It is indeed fascinating to consider that what today is so widely regarded as Celtic music was first called “Clannad music”. There is perhaps no greater testament to the impact of this groundbreaking group than that.