Posts filed under ‘World fusion’
Relive Afro-Pop’s Golden Age of the 70’s with the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Contonou: Also appearing, African Hip Hop Sensations SMOD: July 20th, Friday @ 9:00 p.m.
Afrobeat funk was all the rage throughout the continent during the era of the 70s. This highly energized form of dance music soon made its way overseas, receiving a warm reception in Europe and beyond. Well, now this once highly popular genre of world music is making a huge comeback across the globe and what better way to experience it other than at the hands of Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Contonou. Not only are they considered to be their homeland’s top music ensemble of all time, but major critics, such as the New York Times, have dubbed them one of the world’s premier funk bands. Although heavily influenced by the late great James Brown, the band has developed a version of Afro funk that is distinctly all their own, infusing it with elements of psychedelic rock, native folk rhythms, Latin genres such as the Brazilian samba, jazz, soul, and voodoo music. The voodoo music makes its mystical presence known in the form of ritualistic chants and rhythm patterns pounded out on a large drum. And don’t let the band member’s age fool you for one minute! They are filled with just as much vibrant energy as ever. To them, African music’s era of the 70s is only just yesterday.
Appearing with OPC, will be SMOD, a popular Malian hip hop band. “African” hip hop that is. Determined to do much more than just copy the original American form of the genre, the group has brought traditional African vocals and rhythmic motifs as well as tons of renewed energy to the mix. They see their version of hip hop as a vehicle through which they can effectively express their views on the impoverished state of their native continent and the governments’ refusal to ease the hardship of their citizens. The group’s leader, DJ Sam, just happens to be the son of none other than the legendary Amadou and Miriam of current international fame. Faithfully honing their craft in practice sessions located on the rooftop of this famous duo’s home, this vocal trio has been rising steadily in popularity, serving as the opening band for such well-known world music names as Salif Keita, Manu Chao, and of course Amadou and Miriam as well as a number of other stars. In fact, none other than super star Manu Chao himself is the producer of SMOD’s latest cd release.
So, come on out to the Brighton Music Hall and catch some of African music’s top acts. How can you possibly go wrong with a ticket that brings you two world renown bands for the price of one?
When: July 20th, Friday @ 9:00 p.m.
Where: Brighton Music Hall (Allston)
More Info: 617-876-4225
Round Out Your Week with a Little World Fusion: See What Transpires When Japanese Folk Music Meets Jazz with the Tomoko Omura Quartet: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.
Jazz violinist Tomoko Omura is an artist with a mission. “I want to push the barriers of jazz violin” she urges, recognizing a pronounced absence of string players when it comes to the achievement of true stardom in the world of jazz. Still a young developing artist in the early stages of her career, already she has been haled by the likes of “The Strad” magazine as a creative genius, moving beyond the stylistic advancements made by even the great Stepahnie Grapelli himself. Her latest artistic venture, entitled Roots, involves the fusion of Japanese traditional music and jazz, the music from which will be featured at her Thursday night performance at Ryles with the Tomoko Omura Quartet. As with her earlier project, the “Visions” cd (2008), Omura shares her own highly innovative, leading-edge original works or arrangements, showcasing her ulta-modern interpretative skills and compositional techniques. However, even though she is truly an experimental jazz artist in her own right, one can still notice the influences of her earlier classical music training which remain ever-present throughout all of her compositions, as cleverly constructed improvisations are well balanced against solidly structured harmonies. With respect to Omura’s playing style, she is one of a tiniest minority of violinists attempting to solidly establish the presence of standard jazz idioms within her performances not normally associated with a string instrument. So, why not come and see what this exciting young jazz musician and her quartet have to bring to the genre, this Thursday night at Ryles.
Tomoko Omura developed an affinity for jazz early on during her training as a classical violinist. As a young music student attending Yokohama National University, she was one of a very few studying the instrument to take a serious interest in this particular genre. Eager to develop a career in jazz, she came to the United States to study at the Berklee College of Music where she graduated sums cum laude. During her tenure there, she became the very first string major ever to receive the coveted Roy Hanes award for jazz performance. Currently, she is enjoying a well accomplished professional career as a jazz composer and performer, having been featured in both The Strad and Strings magazines. In addition to her numerous recording credits, she is in constant demand as a stage performer, either as a soloist, leading her own small ensembles or as part of various other jazz groups, appearing regularly at top clubs and other major venues and events around New England and in New York City, as well. She also continues to perform in her native Japan where she was a part of J-Pop superstar, Mai Kuraki’s hit song entitled “Be With U”.
When: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.
Where: Ryles Jazz Club (Mainstage)
Admission: $10.00 (Purchase Online)
More Info: 617-876-9330
Discover a Whole New Side of the Music of Eastern Europe with the World Renown Guitarists of the Trio Balkan Strings: April 22nd, Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.
Zoran, Nikola, and Zeljko Starcevic are a father and son team that together have formed the Trio Balkan Strings, a highly successful group showcasing the talents of three of Serbia’s best guitarists. Inspiring audiences with their own special brand of world fusion, they share with the rest of the world a version of Balkan-inspired instrumental music that is not only electrifying and exhilarating but also most contemporary and innovative as well. The group’s uniqueness of sound stems in a large part from a masterful blending of an extensive array of various Eastern European and other world music styles including, Serbian, Romani, Macedonian, Romanian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Mediterranean, Greek, Oriental, and more. Add to that elements of Western style genres such as jazz, swing, classical and rock, and you have a whole new interpretation of what actually began as Balkan folk music. The Starcevics regard each of the many diverse styles of Balkan music as individually unique in character, and yet quite similar in many ways. This viewpoint is reflected in their music which can be appreciated as unique over-all blending of many such genres and at the same time a well constructed collage of diverse stylistic elements, each of which stands out in the mind of the listener as a distinct part of the whole. The guitarists of Trio Balkan Strings are also known for their leading-edge instrumental technique, often displayed in the form of breath-taking improvisational passages or in the execution of musical ornamentations never before performed on a pectoral stringed instrument.
Each member of the trio brings their own special set of talents to the over-all mix. Zoran has recorded countless cds totaling over a million copies, while sons Nikola and Zoljko both graduated from music school and teach classical guitar. As a group they have won international awards in both performance and composition. They have graced the stages of jazz, classical, and ethnic music events throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States, and have conducted workshops with American music students. The Trio Balkan Strings have two cds to their credit entitled Balkan Guitars and Watermill. So, are you ready for a new take on Balkan music? Just come on out to Johnny D’s and spend a unforgettable evening with the Trio Balkan Strings.
Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)
More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720
Help West African Drumming Star Moussa Traore & Friends Build a New School for the Children of Mali @ the African Rhythms Benenfit Show: March 24th, Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Listen to Moussa Traore.
This highly successful annual benefit concert, which features the music and dance of West Africa and the African diaspora, is in its 11th year and still going strong. West African-style music and dance performances showcasing the traditional cultures of Mali, Guinea, and Senegal will be featured. In addition more modern styles of semi-African performance art which involve a blending of various diverse genres will also be highlighted in variations of hip-hop, break dancing, jazz and other forms of Afro-fusion. This years featured performer will be none other than internationally acclaimed djembe artist Moussa Traore, a well-seasoned performer of 30+ years who is currently considered one of the best Malian drummers in the world. He will be leading a drum troupe composed of some of the areas most talented musicians. In addition, there will be a number of local dance groups also performing including, the Teriya Dance Company, Troupe Teranga, the Hip-Hop Mamas, Dance ‘n Feet, and students from the Movement Center (Acton) and the Harvard Academy of Dance who will add a little variety to the cultural mix with some Latin dance moves. All of the proceeds of this event will go to benefit the “Build a School in Africa Project”. This highly dedicated group of volunteers have managed to complete a total of 9 buildings thus far for the benefit of Africa’s impoverished youth.
Moussa Traore’s rise to fame in his homeland of Mali in West Africa started early on when, at the age of 17, he was selected as the permanent representative from his region to lead the local drum troupe into national competition every year. Under his skillful guidance, they manged to win each and every time! After 12 years of rigorous study in the art of djembe playing, he earned himself the distinguished title of Master Drummer and continued to build on his already illustrious national career, excelling as a performer, teacher, recording artist, and musical director. He has since gained an international reputation as well, not only as a djembe virtuoso, but a leading authority on Malian music. In 1994, he was invited to teach and perform as a part of Brown Univerisity’s “African Dance and Music Program”. Now a resident of New England, he continues to perform extensively with his own drumming troupe Timinandi and with other artists, as well, while recording a few CDs along the way. He also teaches classes and conducts workshops throughout the US.
To attend the African Rhythms Benefit Show is a multi-faceted experience to be sure. First and foremost you get to enjoy the world-class performance of Moussa Traore and his ensemble. In addition, you get a taste of what’s happening performance-wise on the local world music scene, including student dance activities who knows, you might be motivated to tryout some of these classes for yourself. Then of course, there’s always the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to the well-being of others on this planet who are less fortunate and in need of a helping hand!
When: March 24th, Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cronin Auditorium (Bromfield School – Harvard, MA)
Tickets: $15.00 (Adults), $5.00 (Students), Free (Children under 4)
More Info: 978-433-2384 OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Latino Culture As It Comes Alive in All of Its Wonderful Diversity In a Unique Spectacle of Music and Dance: Ballet Hispanico Comes to Boston: March 9th – 11th, Friday – Sunday (Times vary)
Watch Ballet Hispanico in action!
NYC’s Ballet Hispanico was the
creation of award-winning dance artist/arts administrator Tina Ramirez who started the troupe in hopes of strengthening the position held by the Latino culture within the dance world. Since 1970 the company has continued to produce a steady stream of performances which effectively showcase various forms of Latin dance and its accompanying music. In 2009, Eduardo Vilaro, an awarding-winning dance artist in his own right, became the ballet’s new artistic director after dancing with them, himself, for ten years. Hoping to build upon Ramirez’s already successful legacy he aims to widen the variety of Hispanic cultures represented in their performance repertoire as well as bringing more of a contemporary flavor to the over-all choreography. The Boston performance is part of the popular Celebrity Series and will include two local premiers.
Asuka – Choreographed by Vilaro, himself, this piece is a tribute to the life and legacy of the great Celia Cruz, dubbed the “Queen of Salsa” by her Cuban contemporaries. In fact, the Grammy award-winning singing star became such an icon in America that the Smithsonian has dedicated a section of one of its web sites to her. Vilaro fondly remembers her for the important role she played in the lives of countless Cuban ex-pats, such as his parents, who looked to her music for some sense of cultural identity as they established their new lives as Hispanic-Americans. The piece at hand, with its biographical story-line, is danced entirely to Cruz‘s music, which often displays stylistic influences derived from African, American pop, and jazz genres. The choreography showcases the earlier styles of salsa dance to which Vilaro has added his contemporary touches.
Mad’moiselle (Boston premier) – This work is the creation of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa who is actually of Dutch, Belgian, and Columbian heritage. It was originally created at the request of Vilaro for his Chicago-based dance company, “Luna Negra Dance”. Obviously a success, we see it here on the program once again. The theme of the work centers around the faulty over-all image of Latino women and, to a lessor extant, men which has become widely embraced by non-Hispanic society. Lopez-Ochoa attempts to re-frame this stereotype in the minds of the audience.
Espirito Vivo (Boston premier) – Not by any means new to the Boston dance scene, choreographer Ronald K. Brown returns with more of his trademark West African diasporic influenced music and choreography. In this work he explores the effects of both the West-African and Latino diaspora upon the performing arts cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. The audience is taken on a journey through the grieving process via a skillful combination of narration, native dance forms and costuming, and the music of popular Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca. In keeping with his colleague Lopez-Ochoa’s aspirations, Browne too has identified a societal myth he’d like to see dispelled. In this case it is the notion among the Latino community at large that, outside cultural influences from Europe are to be considered more acceptable than those coming from poorer regions of the world such as Africa and the Caribbean.
Ballet Hispanico prides itself in the recognition of the value of Hispanic performing arts as they relate to the dance world. To attend their performances is not only a guarantee that you will experience top-notch Latino cultural entertainment but also an exciting adventure in the exploration of countless diverse forms of Hispanic culture as they manifests themselves into various intriguing dance forms and music genres.
When: March 9th, Friday @ 7:30 p.m. / March 10th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. / March 11th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (Downtown Boston)
Tickets: $43.00, $53.00, and $68.00
More Info: 617-824-8000 / email@example.com
Yet another year has come to a close and yet another installment of the Boston Music Awards is complete. This special ceremony, now in its 24th year, honors one of the most coveted local recognitions among New England’s very top musicians and members of the music trade industry. Nominees and winners are determined by a hand selected academy of over 150 local music aficionados along with the voting general public. So, the International Artist of the Year Award goes to “drum roll” … Mamadou Diop, a world fusion artist well-known for his incredible African drumming technique and rhythm guitar artistry, for which he has developed a reputation as one of the best in the world. A professional performer for over 30 years, Diop is the epitome of multiculturalism, having been named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Art of Living Foundation and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He firmly believes that all aspects of ones daily existence should be centered around a variety of world cultures rather than any single one, no matter what one’s original ethnic origin may be, as each and every one brings its own special value to the over-all quality of life. Undoubtedly, this philosophy ultimately translates into the trademark style of Diop and his band MAMADOU.
MAMADOU’s over-all sound is most heavily characterized by driving Senegalese and other African rhythmic motifs accented melodically by the electric guitar. Added to this basic musical foundation are elements of a number of other diverse styles including high-life, juju, rumba, samba, salsa, and reggae. Aside from leading the band, Diop, originally from Senegal, is also responsible for the group’s original compositions. What he has managed to bring us with the creation of MAMADOU is an extraordinarily popular diversified world fusion ensemble with universal crowd appeal that memorizes audiences with its highly potent rhythms just begging one and all to move their feet and clap their hands in exhilaration.
There were five bands nominated in the international category this year. The other four nominees were Zili Misik (past winner), Debo Band (past winner), Dub Apocalypse (past winner), and Bloco AfroBrazil (past nominee). There were also other world music artists who actually won awards in additional categories including: The Dropkick Murphys (Best Artist of the Year & Best Live Artist of the Year), David Wax Museum (Song of the Year), Esperanza Spalding (Jazz Artist of the Year). Way to go world music artists! Keep the music alive. By the way, it’s also a pretty good bet that you will find some other names of interest in this regard amongst the nominees, if you care to take a peek.
Join Gregorio Uribe and His Big Band for some of the “Very Coolest” in Columbian Style Jazz and Funk: January 20th, Friday @ 7:30 p.m.
As a youth, Gregorio Uribe set out on a self-conducted musical tour of South America. Curious about all of the various genres of Latin music in existence at the time, he exposed himself to as many of them as he could, often in the most informal situations. Then it was off to pursue a more formal education in jazz studies at Boston’s Berklee College of Music where he graduated with honors. All of this diverse musical exposure served as a solid basis for Uribe to eventually create his own Latin genre, still distinctly Columbian, yet at the same time, highly unique and personalized as well. In fact, this new take on the music of his native homeland met with such success that it actually received the stamp of approval from the legendary Ruben Blades and international stars Aterciopelados and Bomba Estero, all of whom invited him to join them in a performance. Uribe formed his Gregorio Uribe Big Band to serve as the perfect showcase for his original compositions and re-arrangements of folk and other traditionally Columbian works. This 16-member ensemble has been known for its immense sound which is a combination of Afro-Columbian rhythms, elements of samba, jazz, and funk.
Boston CD Release Show
Gregorio Uribe and his band have come to Boston to preview their latest cd “Pluma Y Vino“, a new venture which brings out the ensemble’s versatility. Although their original musical style remains much the same, it has been re-introduced in a much more subdued manner. Audiences will be enlightened to a quieter, yet more sensual side of the ensemble, much of which features Uribe’s vocals and solo guitar passages. His masterfully poetic lyrics speak of the ups and downs of Columbian life, taking listeners on an intense yet ever shifting emotional journey. The music itself is still highly characterized by the presence of Columbian folk and other Latin rhythms, including cumbia, currulao, bolero, bellerengue and trova, but in keeping with the ever-changing nature of the lyrics expresses many diverse moods, which are further enhanced through a wide variety of instrumental textures.
Gregorio Uribe and his big band enjoy a regular fan base in NYC and have also been a big hit during previous visits to Boston. With respect to their latest cd release, it would seem that they have superceded their own already highly notable previous artistic accomplishments. Let’s welcome them back with open arms in excited anticipation of their latest musical evolvement!
When: January 20th, Friday @7:30 p.m.
Where: Regattabar at the Charles Hotel (Harvard Square)
Purchase online here
More Info: 617-395-7757