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Classic Gil

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Gilberto Gil

Banda Larga Cordel (WEA, 2008)

Jill Turner reflects on the dizzy heights that Gilberto Gil has scaled as a musician and a...
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The Ry Cooder Anthology

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Ry Cooder

The UFO Has Landed – The Ry Cooder Anthology (Rhino Entertainment, 2008)

‘Getting the...
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WOMEX 2008 Provided World Music Showcases for All Tastes

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The showcase selection this year at WOMEX was extensive and varied, representing many musical traditions of the world. The numerous concerts included the official WOMEX showcases, OffWOMEX performances and private concerts. There several themes, including Flamenco, Brazilian, Galician and much more.

Corsican group A Filetta, who played the first night, impressed some of the delegates, including Link TV's Michal Shapiro, who said: "I loved A Filetta. They are very special. Every night at WOMEX there is a surprise from an artist who moves you in an unexpected way. This year, for the first night it was A Filetta. It was like watching artisans building a cathedral."



I chose to attend some of the daytime showcases, which were held at the at the Sevilla Convention Center (FIBES) and the nighttime showcases at the Lope de Vega Theater in downtown Sevilla. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the nighttime showcases that took place in the large tents at the nearby Plaza de España. At least three showcases run simultaneously at three separate venues and, in order to see them all, you have to watch 5 or 10 minutes of each concert and then run to the next.

Many delegates were impressed by Cimarron (Colombia) and Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba (Mali). Of all the showcases I saw, the ones that a lasting effect on me the most were the outstanding bluegrass/Swedish folk collaboration of American mandolinist Mike Marshall with Swedish folk group Väsen (normally, American violinist Darol Anger is also part of the line-up, but he suffered a wrist injury and could not make it), Argentine band Astillero's new tango, Chinese virtuos Liu Fang and Egypt's lively Bedouin Jerry Can Band.

"At the Teatro Lope de Vega I witnessed one of the best concerts of the event, the one by Californian bluegrass mandolinist Mike Marshall accompanied by Swedish traditional music group Väsen," said Albert Reguant producer of a radio show for Catalunya Radio. "Thursday October 30 performances that stood out were A Filetta (Corsica), and Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba (Mali). Other interesting performances include the concerts by Aurelio Martinez (Garifuna/Honduras) and Camané (Portugal)."

"The Koreans Gongmyoung and Speed Caravan left a big impression," said Michael Genrich (India), EarthSync's Live & Distribution Manager.


"I really liked La 33, Mastretta (he is a friend and I can't be impartial), and Liu Fang," said Rubén Caravaca of Spain's La Fábrica de Ideas.

Photos: 1 - Mike Marshall & Väsen, 2 - Bedouin Jerry Can Band. All photos by Angel Romero.


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Tuvan Throat Singers Alash Return to United States for Autumn 2008 Tour

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NewsAlash will be on tour in the United States from November 10 through December 21, 2008. Alash weaves new harmonies into the unique vibrations, whistles, and growls of traditional Tuvan throat singing, creating a sound at once ancient and contemporary. Alash is a quartet of master musicians from the Central Asian Republic of Tuva, known for its unique art of throat singing. This technique, also called overtone singing, allows one singer to produce several pitches simultaneously. While the sounds of Tuvan throat singing are intimately connected with the natural world, Alash brings this music into the modern concert hall with subtle influences from western music. Traditional Tuvan songs are presented with accompaniment by handmade instruments. Commentary is provided to bridge the cultural gap for an American audience.


Alash will perform in concert, and they will conduct workshops at colleges, high schools, and grade schools. They will also appear with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones at several venues to promote the new CD Jingle All the Way on which they are featured as guest artists.

At this year’s Xöömei (Throat Singing) Symposium in Tuva, Alash members swept the top awards for individual throat singers. Bady-Dorzhu Ondar won the grand prize and was given a car. Ayan-ool Sam took first prize, and Ayan Shirizhik took second. Nachyn Choodu and his wife, Shonchalai Oorzhak-Choodu, won first place for a duet performance. Last year, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar became the youngest person ever to be awarded the title “People’s Xöömeizhi” (Throat Singer), the highest honor accorded to a Tuvan throat singer.

Alash’s interpreter and manager, American-born Sean Quirk, also has distinguished himself this year. In recognition of his passionate support and promotion of Tuvan music and culture, Quirk was honored at Naadym, a traditional Tuvan festival that features wrestling, horse racing, and archery, as well as music and other arts. He was named “Merited Artist of Tuva” and given a medal by Sholban Kara-ool, head of the Tuvan government.

Buy the CD: Alash.

For a complete tour schedule, visit

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The Ninth Annual San Francisco World Music Festival

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NewsSan Francisco (California), USA  – The San Francisco World Music Festival is celebrating its Ninth Anniversary November 9 - November 23, 2008 with an exciting gathering of some of the most interesting musicians in the world. For the past eight years, the San Francisco World Music Festival has commissioned musicians and artists from different countries to collaborate together to create a new evening-length performance as the centerpiece premiere of the festival.
 Door Dog Music Productions will present the ninth season of the San Francisco World Music Festival, themed The Reeds Give Way to the Wind, a reference to the poem, Small Song, by A. R. Ammons. In the poem, the wind is revealed as the reeds push and bend, exposing this invisible force of nature. It becomes an appropriate metaphor for the invisible threads that link us together as a global community. In many cultures throughout the world, the reed is significantly symbolic. Although a seemingly delicate plant, it has the ability to withstand and endure the most brutal storms. It is a timely symbol of endurance in the face of the regional and global challenges that our species on this planet are facing.


The San Francisco World Music Festival runs from November 9th through November 23rd in venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. On November 9th from 3-5 pm at the Thoreau Center San Francisco (in the Presidio), kicked off the festival in collaboration with Paintbrush Diplomacy and the Thoreau Center with a gallery opening. The exhibit will feature the work of young artists from many countries around the world over the past 25 years, and will run through the duration of the festival. There will be live youth performers from different traditions, including eleven-year-old Kurdish singer Berfin Oztoprak.

On November 16th at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2pm), we will present a showcase of young musicians from the Bay Area, including the California Youth Chinese Symphony (60 members), Anuradha Sridhar's Trinity Center for Music and the talented Armenian oud player Phillip Hagopian.

On November 17th (7:30pm), the festival will present a workshop entitled, The Music and Songs of the Laz, taught by visiting master Laz musician, Birol Topaloglu. Check our website for location details.

On November 19th (5pm) at the San Francisco Public Main Library, the festival will present a free event called, The Music of China, lecture/demo by renowned master of musician Zhang Xiao Feng.

On November 20th, the festival will present an artist residency free event featuring the schools choir singing Kurdish songs taught by Duygu Bayar.

On November 21st (7:00 pm lecture, 8 pm concert) at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, the centerpiece of this year’s festival is a new commissioned work entitled The Reeds Give Way to the Wind. It will feature master reed artists, including Birol Topaloglu (tulum/guda) from the Laz region of northeastern Turkey, Zhang Yu (suona) and Wan Peng Guo (sheng) from China, Azerbaijani master Rahman Asadollahi (garmon), Riccardo Tesi (melodeon) from Italy, Wang Wei (percussion) from China, Duygu Bayar (vocals and percussion), plus Romany musician Rumen Sali Shopov (percussion) from Bulgaria. There will be a pre-concert lecture on the Azerbaijani Mugham music by master Rahman Asadollahi. In addition to the performers Azerbaijani master musician and composer Imamyar Hasanov will be the arranger of the entire evening program.

On November 23rd (7pm class; 8pm concert) at Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center in Berkeley, Birol Topaloglu will give a Laz Xoroni (Horon) Dance Class and a second concert with percussionist Rumen Sali Shopov, Edessa and festival musicians.

Ticket Information:

11/16 Cost of Admission to the Museum Asian Art Museum 415-581-3500

11/17 $25 Door Dog Music Productions 415-561-6571

11/21 $18, $20, $22 Jewish Community Center 415-292-1233

11/23 $12/ $15 at the door Ashkenaz 866-468-3399

All other events are Free.

NewsPhoto: Birol Topaloglu

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