Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Taka Kigawa Performs Pierre Boulez' Complete Solo Piano Music August 25, 2014 at le poisson rouge New York City

From a media release:

Taka Kigawa, piano 
Performing Pierre Boulez' complete solo piano music
August 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM
at le poisson rouge

Get tickets

Critically acclaimed pianist TAKA KIGAWA will present a solo piano recital with the program of Pierre Boulez Complete Solo Piano Music. He will perform Twelve Notations, First Sonata, Second Sonata, Third Sonata (including a rare performance of “Sigle”), Incises, and Une page d’éphéméride.

Pierre Boulez will turn ninety years old this coming March, 2015. To honor and celebrate his musical legacy and artistic achievements, this season and the upcoming season Taka Kigawa is touring worldwide with the Pierre Boulez Complete Solo Piano Music program. Recently he performed the program at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of the most celebrated concert halls in the world, and the concert was a huge success. Pablo Gianera, the critic for the Argentine major newspaper La Nacíon wrote, “Kigawa, whose rhythmic sensibility is truly astonishing, proved to be a real master,” “(Second Sonata) one of the best works that Boulez has ever written, and seldom has it sounded more focused than in Kigawa’s version” and “(Third Sonata) Taka Kigawa as an expert negotiator between freedom and restriction.”

Pierre Boulez’s piano pieces have been Taka Kigawa’s specialty. He has performed those pieces in public numerous times worldwide, and has received lots of acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. The New York Times hailed him, as “It was music of Mr. Boulez that spurred him to greater intensity and spontaneity. Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material” and “Mr. Kigawa recast the (Boulez’s) sonata as an essay in how to apply suppleness to virtuosity, and the result was an energetic but also characterful account.” And Pierre Boulez himself highly praised Kigawa’s playing his works as “I was very much impressed by the brilliant way he performed them. He was precise, and at the same time inventive.” This recital is promised to be one of the most memorable concerts in the current season.

Taka Kigawa has steadily built his reputation as one of today’s most compelling young artists, renowned as much for his superb musicianship as for his courageous programming. Recently The New York Times described him as “A phenomenon. There’s no denying that he’s something special.” Since winning First Prize in the 1990 Japan Music Foundation Competition in Tokyo, and the 1998 Diploma Prize at Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain, he has performed extensively both as a recitalist and soloist with orchestra in many prestigious venues all over the world, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kosciuszko Foundation, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Cité de la Musique and Salle Gaveau in Paris, and Plau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona. He has collaborated closely with such renowned musicians as Pierre Boulez, Unsuk Chin, Myung-Whun Chung and Jonathan Nott, to name a few. His performances and recordings have been broadcast over many television and radio networks, including WQXR-FM in New York. Mr. Kigawa received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Shinsyu University in Japan, and continued his studies in New York at The Juilliard School, where he holds a Master of Music degree.

All Ages
Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Show Time: 7:30 PM
Seated: $25 advance, $30 day of show
Standing: $20 advance, $25 day of show

Indie Artists: CD Baby Makes CD Baby Pro Available in Canada, Increases Potential Royalty Revenue

From a media release:

Northward Bound: CD Baby Makes CD Baby Pro Available in Canada, Increases Potential Royalty Revenue for More Indie Artists

CD Baby Pro, the one-stop toolkit for indie musicians seeking publishing administration and the income streams publishing generates, is now available to Canadian artists. Canadian musicians can opt in to collect royalties via CD Baby, thanks to a new relationship with SOCAN, the Canadian Performing Rights Organization (PRO), and an ever-deepening collaboration with international rights administrator Song Trust. This means more independent artists in North America can tap into substantial, often unclaimed pools of money.

CD Baby Pro launched last year (April 2013), and unexpected payouts for independent musicians point to the importance of publishing administration. One example: NYC-based indie rockers The Orion Experience got a check for $1800 out of the blue, for UK mechanical royalties, money they had no idea they were owed but that CD Baby Pro was able to collect on their behalf.

“A lot of folks, even those who work in the music business, don’t realize that the main money engine has always been on the publishing side,” notes CD Baby’s Director of Marketing Kevin Breuner, whose background in the songwriting-driven Nashville scene helped him gain this awareness. “The recording and touring side is what the public sees and that’s what people tend to think is the main revenue driver. But it’s the copyright and the rights associated with the songs that generates the most revenue.”

Though vital to artist revenue, publishing and mechanical rights are convoluted, and the organizations charged collecting royalties are frequently ill suited to working directly with musicians and small labels. Yet publishing and mechanicals promises to be the source of new and growing streams of income for indie musicians, as the digital revolution resolves into what may be a more transparent, indie musician-friendly industry.

“More and more types of music usages are generating publishing revenue,” explains Breuner. “And a lot of musicians and rightsholders don’t realize this. On Spotify, for example, if without publishing administration, artists will get a fraction of a penny per stream. They miss out on a mechanical royalty owed to them, if they wrote the song, money they can’t collect unless they have a publishing administrator.”

That’s where CD Baby comes in, the industry leader in connecting indie musicians with the full spectrum of professional services and income opportunities. Drawing on a strong relationship with international leaders in publishing and royalties administration, Song Trust, CD Baby looks to continue its international expansion, offering publishing and other high-value tools to artists in the UK and other markets over the coming months.

CD Baby sees this move as part of its overall mission: showing how the new music environment can benefit indie artists. “In the past, a lot of publishing royalties have been swept under the rug, eventually paid out in blanket sums to major labels,” opines Breuner. “Now, it’s easy to account for things one for one. Spotify can tell us a track played, even if it’s only once. That track deserves all the same protection and treatment as something that got a million plays. No matter how many sales or streams you generate, you have the same rights.”

Recently Released: Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World (Eternal Mind Records - June 23, 2014)

Recently Released:
Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World
(Eternal Mind Records - June 23, 2014)

Get the CD - and name your own price

Based in Asheville, North Carolina these days, Matt Townsend got his start busking on the streets of Burlington, Vermont about four years ago before graduating to coffeehouses and other venues in the area. It seems entirely appropriate that his debut full-length CD "Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World" should be a crowd funding success, featuring 9 tracks and a full band. He previously released a solo EP, "What Light Shall Be" in November 2012 and he's been busy playing in the northeastern U.S. and as far as Ireland since then.

This is straight up folk/folk-rock music that will appeal to any Dylan or Neil Young fan along with a new generation of listeners looking for insightful lyrics and a laid back folkie groove. This isn't a throwback album, but rather a continuation of the genre into the present. Matt counts Bob Dylan, Neutral Milk Hotel,  Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, William Blake and others as his influences even as he's clearly a citizen of the 21st century.

I've rode 10,000 miles
Like a man of many trials

He tips his hat to traditional songs like Man of Constant Sorrow in the title track. Matt's vocals were made for this music - strong and strident with a bit of a twang but nuanced when the phrasing calls for it and the addition of the full band - including slide and acoustic guitar, singing saw, harmonica and more - keep that country/roots swing churning along.

He's unabashedly sincere in his approach, with a straightforward delivery that emphasizes melody and harmony with a catchy rhythm. Carry On is a highlight, with its rich organ and violin and country choir back-up vocals.

Matt's lyrics are universal in approach and philosophy with clever and poetic turns of phrase. He's observational in the tradition of great folk music.

...the space between truth and masquerade...

Your television screen
Will never set your soul at ease

Tracks like Desire Like A Lion cross into the territory of personal stories and romance.

Because a lot of what was true
Would simply be unkind

He pays attention to both the words and the music, featuring enough variety in theme, mode and tempo to avoid any sense of repetition. Hollow City Streets features an interesting rhythmic foundation.

The tracks are largely up tempo with a few exceptions; slower tunes that focus more on his voice like Wind Without The Rain with its minimalist arrangement of piano and violin. He mixes up the instrumentation in a way that offers interest but remains true to his sound. In terms of theme and mode, he can convincingly go from the anthemic Love I'm Coming Home to the New Age-y Gratitude In Being.

Matt Townsend continues down the road of greats like Dylan and Young from the golden years of folk, bringing the music to contemporary sensibilities intact.

Matt Townsend-Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Jamie Bright- Bass, Piano, Organ, Back Vocals, percussion
Tim Carman- Drums
Rachel Keyser- Violin, Backing Vocals
Johnnie Day Durand- Musical Saw
Jeremy Hammond- Acoustic Bass, Backing Vocals
Casey James Saulpaugh- Pedal Steel Guitar
Peter Bixby- Bass Guitar

1. Seventh Story
2. Carry On
3. Hollow City (Free Me to My Soul)
4. Wind Without the Rain
5. Takin' a Moment
6. Desire Like a Lion
7. The Garden Where the Grass Forever Grows
8. Love I'm Coming Home
9. Gratitude in Being


Mountain Xpress and Sherwood's Music Present: Matt Townsend and the Wonder of the World from Mountain Xpress on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Glitch: Experimental Electronic Artist 1700 Monkey Ninjas

Experimental Electronic Artist:
1700 Monkey Ninjas

Get the new single

Well that's what art is, innit? Is you being free of all the world's heaviness.

Slagg II, the latest single release by 1700 Monkey Ninjas (1700MN) opens with a sample of British comedian Karl Pilkington intoning one of his more notable observations. Quirky, evocative, the message is entirely in keeping with the ethos of both the piece and the 1700MN body of work.

1700MN’s output since mid-2012 has been prolific and has consisted of self-produced indie audio releases available via the usual routes on iTunes and Amazon.com along with a series of some 40 videos that he’s released via his Youtube channel.  The videos feature his music paired with one of his digital art pieces. Like his music, the digital designs use a variety of eye popping techniques and colours in an abstract, post-modern fashion.

If the earliest waves of electronic artists helped to explore and establish the range of sounds available, subsequent waves are able to play with a vast repertoire of noise in creating their works. 1700MN’s work falls fairly neatly into the category of glitch, featuring the stuttering beat pioneered by late 1990's electronic artists. His work has been likened to that of some of the early greats of the genre like Kid606 and Like Vibert (aka Wagon Christ).

1700MN’s earlier releases range from heavier electronic assaults to tracks that combine melody and a danceable rhythm into the mix. Critics and music writers have gotten creative in describing his work – "…at times sounds like Rustie being put through a broken blender and played backwards over a broken, overdriven Burial record." – (http://www.crossradar.com/1700-monkey-ninjas-slagg-ii/)

Glitch finds its inspiration in sonic detritus; the sounds are normally edited out of an audio recording, and has come to include sampling and found noises. The range of sounds 1700MN uses includes analog and digital distortion, sampled material, cartoon and vintage video game noises.  There are vinyl stops and starts, machine noises and electronic hum. Like many other experimental glitch artists, 1700MN’s work has an intellectual rather than a visceral appeal, featuring elements of minimalism, techno and digital collage. What began as an underground movement has become mainstream and 1700MN comes as a new wave of the genre, confidently exploring the full range of possibilities in the context of easily accessible new media culture.  

His video output – uploaded to his Youtube channel between August 2012 and November 2013 – combine his digital art (albeit static, an odd choice for a video channel) with the music in characteristically short tracks in the 3 minute range and often less than 2. The video tracks tend to develop one theme/mode in various permutations rather than exploring multiple genres or approaches.

1700MN often uses flashes of humour, both in the choice of sounds (like cartoon and video game noises) and in snippets of dialogue. thuperin' thuckotash features cartoon sampling and dialogue. In some tracks like ehgooggkienendal (another video track), the mix actually approaches traditional song territory. But, before the conventional groove can get roots, it’s broken up and turned into noise.

Many of the tracks, in particular the video pieces, use a strong rhythmic element to glue the various other components together. The original track slagg appears in his Youtube channel, uploaded  October 13, 2012. It’s a playful piece that bashes its way to the end with a combination of noise over melodic piano samples and a danceable/tranceable beat . Flashes of conventional music mixed are happily married to the electronic noise.

The pieces often use playful pop culture references like vintage video game sounds and cartoons and most tracks have whimsical or made up names like Urk, Eenoo Meenoo Muhnoo Moo or
Phrysteel. However, the work does turn serious on occasion like the obviously politically-minded video UStaythe FUCKouttaSYRIA. In it, a cacophony of computer noises percolate over the sound of talking heads on the news. It's repetitive with a purpose and works to get the message across.

Slagg II, his newest release pushes the sound into even more abstract territory. Here the stuttering beat precludes a conventional groove and the moving kaleidoscope of sounds has a distinct sense of fun about it. The electronic meandering ventures into the danceable only to bash away noisily, from squeaks to hisses to gaming sounds, occasionally lapsing into a melodic passage. It’s imbued with a sense of constant change and experimentation that is maturing with the artist and 1700MN’s prolific output.

The broken, stuttering grooves flit from one idiom to another in a crazy ride of noise. While the effect is pell-mell, the trip along quality means that the genres flow into each other – a percussive section into a repetitive, trance-like section into full frontal noise.  The track plays with the genres, juggling sounds and flitting seamlessly from one to another at a dizzying pace. He goes through a dozen genres, deftly spliced together in a kinetic arrangement. Like the original slagg, it combines analog and digital sounds to create the idiosyncratic idiom. It’s not background music by any stretch of the imagination.

While glitch as a genre has come under fire in recent years for becoming too predictable and obtuse, 1700 Monkey Ninjas comes as a rejuvenating influence. Abstract yet accessible and appealing, the creative energy of 1700MN elevates it above the level of the mundane.

Alongside his work as 1700 Monkey Ninjas, 1700MN – aka Ed Purchla –has recorded music under his own name in a singer/songwriter vein.  His digital designs are available on a wide range of merchandise from t-shirts, bags and stickers to cups and posters. His digital art similarly features a whimsical, cartoony sensibility in a bright and appealing palette and include 1700 Monkey Ninja logo items.

Videos available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh2t7nf8MVbwdSfYuNHUNMw

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/1700monkeyninjas

Discography (available on iTunes or Amazon.com):
  • Slagg II - single - Feb 26, 2014
  • Consupiscent Chaos - Dec 21, 2012 (Full length release)
  • at the height of all human indecision EP - August 31, 2012
  • Cycle of Immeasurable Indifference -August 7, 2012 (Full length release)
  • Sherful - Single - Released June 23, 2012
  • 3 little wishes EP - June 15, 2012

Friday, July 18, 2014

CD Review: Eric Frisch' Goodbye Birdcage (Independent - April 14, 2014)

CD Review: Goodbye Birdcage
(Independent - April 14, 2014)
Eric Frisch - vocals, piano, guitar, bass, percussion

Buy the CD

I found myself humming the tune to Pretty Girls and some of the other songs on Eric Frisch's release Goodbye Birdcage hours after I'd listened to the CD. Eric's obvious love of that bright, innocent pre- and early-Beatles era pop music lights up this collection.

He lists his many influences from the Beatles, Beach Boys, Sam Cooke and the Four Tops to Bob Dylan and Jackie Wilson and credits his parents back home in Toronto for introducing him to the music early on. He's been in New York City for two years now and released Goodbye Birdcage at a concert at Webster Hall. The self-produced release is his first full-length CD.

Naturally, it features a sixties pop standard instrumentation of the classic four-piece guitar-drums-bass-vocals along with a horn section and back-up chorus here and there. His vocals are pop-lite and convey the appropriate youthful longing and angst through a trippy and rose-coloured lens. The lyrics are G-rated - no tales of brushing your teeth in whisky  here - with a thread of understated humour in some songs like Telephone. The song follows the telephone tag adventures of lovers who can't quite get together for years but then ends with the pair in one house and throwing out the phone.

I'll just say things to your face
I'll just say things to your face...

He does capture the upbeat innocence of that era with a straight-faced take on it and a more modern sensibility to the lyrics. It's easy to find yourself swaying back and forth or tapping a finger to the catchy melodies. The title track is an inspirational pop ballad that features piano and a more soulful, heartfelt vocal approach.

Learn to Swim - directed by Steve Tonti:

"Goodbye Birdcage is a throwback to 50s and 60s pop productions. I wanted to create an album that was true to my biggest influences like the Beatles and the Beach Boys and reminiscent of the classic Motown sound. I wrote all of the songs in a two week span, and I wanted the album to tell a story. The title track, “Goodbye Birdcage,” is about leaving my home in Toronto behind and moving to New York City to pursue music," says Frisch in a media release.

The rhythm section trips along underneath the melodies in songs with a repetitive structure, with an easy to figure out chorus that you might be singing along to.

The drawback in a single artist recording all the parts to the all the songs is that it can miss the synergy of energies that will happen in a band or even in the studio. In The Sun in Santiago, there's a nice, jazzy arrangement with horns that gives a nod to Fifties-era pop-rock but the vocals float on top of it, curiously separate from the groove. They don't swing with the music and it has a kind of dulling effect.

There's a Celtic flair in the song Heaven Only Knows, but it's muddied by an odd arrangement with whistling crowds in the background and a fuzzy back-up chorus. The country-rock swing of Stick Around and Mary Ann - an uptempo ode to the woman who turns a boy into a man - works more succesfully.

All in all, Goodbye Birdcage is easy on the ears, hum along pop music. The last track, All Over Town is a highlight. Here all the pieces come together seamlessly in a love song where...

My heart goes, but my feet won't follow...

Pretty Girls - directed by Steve Tonti

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Off Broadway: Brad Fraser's Love and Human Remains Opens July 21 2014

From a release:

Off Broadway: Brad Fraser's Love and Human Remains
Opens: Monday, July 21st 2014
Closes: Saturday, August 2nd 2014
730PM performances
Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons
416 West 42nd St - New York, New York 10036
Phone +1 212-564-1235

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NEW YORK CITY - Here's the Official Trailer for LOVE AND HUMAN REMAINS by Brad Fraser - playing this summer at the Peter J Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons 7/21-8/2. Tickets on sale at TicketCentral.com. We are expecting a sold out run. Do NOT miss this edgy, provocative experience that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

Love and Human Remains by Brad Fraser is an edgy, provocative, dark-humored drama about the intertwined lives of seven individuals. Starring Frances Brennand Roper, Zach McCoy, Kerri Lynn Miller, Nicholas Baroudi, Paul Castro Jr, Cassandra Paras and Dan Almekinder.

From Brad's website:

David McMillan is a former actor, current waiter watching his twenties tick away. Together with his book reviewing roommate Candy and his best friend Bernie, David encounters a number of seductive strangers in their search for love and sex. However the games turn ugly when it appears one of their number might be a serial killer.

Electro Latin: Héctor Guerra Releases Fantazy Video from the Upcoming Album Desde el Infierno

From a media release:

Electro Latin:
HECTOR GUERRA presents the new video of the new song from his upcoming new album to be released January 2015

Buy the single

Los Angeles, CA - July 9th.- FANTAZY is the first single of HECTOR GUERRA's upcoming new album, which will be called "Desde el Infierno" [From Hell"] and it will be released in January 2015.

One of the major figures of Electro Latin takes us through a musical trip with FANTAZY, which goes from the elements of Cumbia, Banda Sinaloense, Dancehall, Trap,  House, Reggae, and Hip Hop. This first single has been produced at Artco Studios (México Df)  by Marco Moreno (The Who, Paulina Rubio,  Wyclef Jean, London Symphony Orchestra, Moderatto, Natalia Lafourcade)

The video was beautfully shot in the Coast of Nayarit, Mexico and was directed by Benjamin Ramauge and Eva Aguilera.

FANTAZY comes out after an extensive two-year tour, presenting his first album AMOR, which was praised as one of the best independent latin album of 2012.

Amor Tour took Héctor Guerra through México, USA and Europe, taking with him a Bomba De Amor (Bomb of Love) to a lot of cities around U.S. and Mexico, to Paris and Toulouse and as the opening acts for shows with Molotov and Panteón Rococó among many other. In addition, Héctor Guerra took part of prestigious international festivals such as  SXSW in Texas, and in front of thousands of people at Cumbre Tajín, Veracruz (México) or Festival Rio Loco in Toulouse, in front of over 50,000 people  with the Grammy nominated band, Sistema Bomb.

The tour dates for Héctor's upcoming U.S. Tour will be released shortly.

Habari Africa Festival – July 18-20 2014 at Harbourfront Toronto

From a media release:

Batuki Music Society and Harbourfront Centre unveil inaugural Habari Africa Festival lineup – July 18-20, 2014
An unprecedented exploration of contemporary African arts and culture in the heart of Toronto’s waterfront

Check out the complete line-up, including workshops, family activities & more

From the African continent to the shores of Lake Ontario, Batuki Music Society invites Toronto and its visitors to the inaugural Habari Africa festival, a free multi-disciplinary music and arts festival that displays the rich and diverse culture of Africa from July 18-20.

Habari Africa will feature a mix of traditional, fusion and emerging music and dance styles performed by musicians based in Canada, as well as international touring groups. Batuki Music Society will display an authentic African experience through presentations and workshops that celebrate the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of African music, arts and culture.

“Like the country’s landscape, African culture is large and diverse in ways that cannot be fully appreciated until an individual has actually immersed oneself within it,” shares Nadine McNulty, artistic director of Batuki Music Society. “By drawing on various modern and ancient expressions of stories used across Africa, our hope is that we bring a truly authentic reflection of modern Africa to Toronto’s waterfront.”

Be it the rhythm and variety of African music or the taste of exquisite African-inspired cuisine, the Habari Africa festival is a chance for people of all ages to experience a continent and culture that is home to 15 per cent of the world’s population. Join Batuki Music Society and Harbourfront Centre for a weekend of exploration and engagement with the art, sounds and tastes of Africa.

Afrique Nouvelle Musique supports Habari Africa Francophone programming.


Emmanual Jal (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage

In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child soldier on an unknown date in the early 1980s. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.

Evolution (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. – Redpath Stage

In the beginning came movement and the movement became "DANCE". Dance is embedded in African tradition stemming from our cultural heritage and passed down through generations and then shared via migration and technology. This is where traditional movements become part of the contemporary world and our modern life. When life comes full circle, the rhythms from our traditional instruments and ritualistic movements bring praise to our ancestors.

Kwame Nkrumah’s Rise and Fall – A Stage Play by Kwame Stephens
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. – Brigantine Room

Who was Kwame Nkrumah? What did he stand for? What was his legacy? Kwame Stephens' new one act play "Kwame Nkrumah's Rise and Fall" explores these questions. The play looks at Nkrumah through his own eyes and that of his mother Nyanibah.  Part of Kwame Nkrumah's legacy was being black Africa's first president who led the nation to independence on March 6th 1957 at the heart of the cold war era. Many nations would gain political independence after Ghana - a significant part of Pan African history that matters to black people/Africans in the diaspora. Using multimedia and live music this theatrical piece will "edutain" a cross section of audiences.
There will be a Q & A with the playwright, Kwame Stephens, immediately following the performance.


Deep Fried Africa – DJ Nice T (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Redpath Stage

DJ Nice T brings the best of Ndombolo, Rhumba and other Pan-African dance floor sounds to the Redpath stage as part of DJ Deep Fried Fridays!

Wake Up Madagascar Africa (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage

A magical concert experience with a mission: to end illegal logging in the rainforests of Madagascar. The Wake Up Madagascar tour features Malagasy star Eusebe Jaojoby, supported by an all-star lineup including Razia, Charles Kely and Saramba, creating an uplifting celebration of salegy music. With its heart-pounding rhythms, rippling guitars, lush vocal harmonies, bouncy accordion and hip-shaking dance moves, salegy represents the soul and spirit of the “Red Island”.

Amadou Kienou (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday July 18, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Redpath Stage

Amadou Kienou was born into one of Burkina Faso’s legendary musical families and received his artistic education from his father and grandfather. As a child he showed remarkable talent, quickly developing a distinctive drumming style on the djembe and tama.  The varied repertoire of griot and master djembefola Amadou Kienou consists of dances and musical soundings of the Mandingue rhythms, some of which he has adapted for the drum, such as: Senoufo, Senegalese, Peul, childhood songs, love songs and rhythms from the forest.

Black Bazar (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday July 18, 2014 from 9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage

BLACK BAZAR Black Bazar is a musical concept introduced and produced by the writer Alain Mabanckou in 2012 with the support of the label Lusafrica, and managed by Caroline Blache. The first album featured a return to the musical roots of Congolese Rumba. The numerous artists involved in the project were hailed as “the new masters of the African scene in Paris.

Toumkak Drummers (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage

The Toumkak Drummers are a high-energy percussion group. They are led by musician/percussionist Njacko Backo of Cameroon. The group blends the rich rhythms and deep spirituality of Central and West Africa into a lively interactive performance with their audience.

Donné Roberts (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage

Donné Roberts is a guitarist, singer and songwriter from Madagascar. Effortlessly combining polyrhythmic African and European folk & groove and blazing North American funk, rock and blues influences, Donné Roberts and his band deliver a remarkably diverse, infectiously joyful and utterly unique live music experience.

Tich Maredza Band (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage

The Tich Maredza Band’s music is an acoustic guitar-based fusion of Zimbabwean traditional and contemporary rhythms with Afrojazz, powered by messages of inspiration, hope, love and awareness on different issues affecting mankind. The Tich Maredza Band puts smiles on faces and feet on the floor.

Mawa J and Rasselas (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Mawa J) & 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Rasselas) – Redpath Stage

Mawa J is a new breed of young artist who has developed a hybrid form of hip hop which is rich with traditional African rhythms and sounds. Ethiopian-Canadian Hip-Hop artist Rasselas is known as a pioneer in his field, crafting original beats and lyrics that reflect on the Abesha lifestyle, from Ethiopia to North America.

Songs of My Mother (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. – WestJet Stage

Songs of My Mother concert presents a stellar diversity of voices featuring Tapa Diarra (Mali), Blandine (Democratic Republic of Congo), Ruth Mathiang (South Sudan), Evelyn Mukwedeya (Zimbabwe), Memory Makuri (Zimbabwe) and dancer Mabinty Sylla (Guinea) with a supporting cast of musicians including Diely Mori Tounkara, Kofi Ackah, Adam Solomon, Ebenezer Agyekum, Tichaona Maredza, Ruben Esguerra and Amara Kante. The songs represent a variety of music styles that emanate from several regions of the African continent, and passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, through the generations.

African Jazz & Blues Trio(Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage

Adam Solomon is known for his unique African Renaissance Blues style. Known as "The Professor", this Juno award-winning guitar maestro is highly acclaimed for the jazzy licks which infuse his traditional African blues sound. "The Professor" Adam Solomon performs as a blues soloist as well as with his band Tikisa, creating a unique sound that combines traditional and modern coastal East African rhythms, fiesta, rumba, soukous, makossa and highlife music.

Nhapitapi Mbira (Batuki Music Society) –- Redpath Stage
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Nhapitapi Mbira (Pure Sweetness) is a Toronto based Zimbabwean Music Movement, who specialize in rich old musical and dance traditions from Southern Africa.  Nhapitapi music is centered around Mbira, an instrument that has been played in Zimbabwe for hundreds of years.

Afrafranto – Toronto Kings of Highlife and Palm Wine (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Westjet Stage

Afrafranto which means Butterfly in the Akan language of Ghana perform authentic palm wine and highlife music. Afrafranto has grown into a dynamic group that has entertained audiences over the past few years with their dance-driven music and electric performances.


War Child (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:35 p.m. (Q & A) from 7:35 – 7:50 p.m. Studio Theatre

War Child, an award-winning documentary directed by C. Karim Chrobog, chronicles the tumultuous, shocking, inspiring, and ultimately hopeful odyssey of Emmanuel Jal. A former child soldier of Sudan’s brutal civil war, he is now an emerging international hip hop star sharing a message of peace for his war-torn land and beloved Africa.
There will be a Q & A with Emmanuel Jal, immediately following the performance.

The Last Song Before the War (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Studio Theatre
Hosted by Jacques Touré

The Last Song Before the War captures the inspiring rise and uncertain future of Mali's annual Festival in the Desert told by the Festival director, musicians who perform, and intrepid travelers who journey to Timbuktu. Against the backdrop of stunning music, the film subtly reveals the challenges and triumphs of creating an artistic event in challenging political and economic times. After 12 years of success and unforgettable musical moments, the Festival in the Desert came to a halt in 2012 when separatist rebels and Islamic militants seized control of Northern Mali. The Last Song Before the War chronicles the 2011 Festival, arguably the last edition that still captured its original goals – a global display of peace, reconciliation, and the healing power of music.

Review Heylel - CD: Nebulae (Independent - June 30, 2014)

Heylel - CD: Nebulae (Independent - June 30, 2014)
Members/Instruments: Ana Batista/Vocals, Narciso Monteiro/Guitar, Keyboards,Vocals, Filipe Braga/Drums, Sérgio de Meneses/Bass

Download the album

Portugal's Heylel recently released their debut album Nebulae, a moody, atmospheric venture that crosses into progressive rock with a sideline of goth and more.

The songs are spacey and atmospheric with lush  electronic/orchestrala arrangements and the addition of melodic lead guitar lines that build layers of sound. There are wind sounds, church bells and cymbal-rich power drumming to the sound of mystical and philosophical lyrics - in short, just what you'd want from a progressive rock band who are themselves fans of King Crimson and the like. There are flashes of a hypnotic groove reminiscent of Middle Eastern sounds and a darker kind of vibe that ventures into goth territory.

Heylel's sound is anchored by the pure vocals of Ana Batista with occasional choral-like back-up. The songs are penned by band member Narciso Monteiro (guitar, bass, keyboards) a former student at Porto's Jazz School. While strong and compelling, the vocals take centre stage to a guitar line that is at times curiously buried in the mix, as in Watcher of the Light, the third track. Prog-rock, after all, is just as much about instrumental virtuosity as it is about operatic vocal lines; it would have been nice to see more of Monteiro here.

Alter Ego, the fourth track, is a highlight, featuring Ana's vocals over a repetitive piano line in a minor key, with flourishes and subtly haunting effects. It's spooky and the understated guitar works well in this case. The languid pace of many of the tracks does tend to have a repetitive feel. Wings of Eternity (track 7) is another high point, breaking the generally slow tempo with a nice Latin-ish passage with acoustic guitar over piano, bass and drums.

The Great Abstinence (track 9) has a more dynamic groove with a churning rhythm section and the guitar balances well with the vocal lines. Ana's voice sounds equally at home in the folk-ish territory of Sometimes (track 10), something of a side trip that features soulful, personal lyrics over acoustic guitar.

There's a cover of King Crimson's classic I Talk to the Wind and it's somewhat symbolic of the effort - well put together and obviously a nod to the heady days of the genre. There's nothing terribly new or innovative but when the ingredients are balanced, the alt/goth/prog-rock cocktail works well for Heylal.

Official : www.heylel.net
Facebok : www.facebook.com/heylel.band
Youtube : www.youtube.com/user/heylelband

Friday, July 11, 2014

2nd Annual New Music Season Bryant Park, New York City - Fridays July 11 to August 8 2014

From a release:

2nd Annual New Music Season
Bryant Park, New York City
Award-winning classical and jazz ensembles perform back-to-back each week.
July 11 to August 8, 2014

Check the schedule here

NEW YORK CITY New Music in Bryant Park, presented by Bryant Park Corporation and Chamber Music America, returns to Bryant Park this Friday for its second season. The series brings an extraordinarily talented jazz and classical ensemble to the park’s Upper Terrace for five consecutive Friday evenings, each performing exciting new work commissioned by Chamber Music America.

The series kicks off with performances by the all-star groups World Time Zone and SYBARITE5. World Time Zone plays a mix of straight-ahead jazz with a cool bluster and far-reaching curiosity, influenced by soul, funk, R&B, and folk. The concert features Michael Blake’s commissioned work Contrasts In Individualism, an homage to the legacies of saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.

The award-winning string ensemble SYBARITE5, which has caught the attention of the music world with its dynamic performances and range of influences, presents the commissioned work Revolve by composer Andy Akiho.  

New Music in Bryant Park continues each Friday, 6:00-8:30pm, through August 8. We’ve arranged for an audience in the round. The stage is setup on the gravel facing the steps to the Upper Terrace, and chairs are placed on the Upper Terrace, the sides of the stage, and the lawn.

Hopestreet Recordings Present: The Bombay Royale - The Island of Dr. Electrico (US release July 8 2014)

From a media release:


Buy the CD

Melbourne-based, world-conquering originators of vintage Bollywood-inspired surf, spy, disco and funk, The Bombay Royale, have unveiled a new single with a bold new video. Henna Henna is the first glimpse of their latest album, The Island of Dr Electrico (out July 8 on HopeStreet Recordings via Kudos).

A sweeping, exhilarating romp sung in Bengali with raunchy wild-west flourishes, Henna Henna is The Bombay Royale’s first single from their much-anticipated second album. The “high concept” (pun intended) film clip for Henna Henna, directed by Kess Broekman-Dattner (The Bamboos / Hermitude/ Clare Bowditch), depicts The Mysterious Lady and her crack team’s efforts to rid the dastardly Skipper of the key to his secret lair and rescue the Tiger, on a private jet somewhere above the Pacific Ocean.

The Skipper - The Mysterious Lady - The Tiger - The Bandit Priest - Doctor Electrico - The Railways - Mogul - The Kungfu Dentist - The Leaping Shaman - The Jewel Thief - Chip Chase

It’s a mischievous introduction to The Island of Dr Electrico, the extraordinary new musical safari and second album from The Bombay Royale. The Island of Dr Electrico is a varied musical landscape, at times lush and tropical, at other times an impenetrable swamp teeming with all manner of surprises. Migrating seabirds have long flown thousands of extra miles avoid Dr Electrico’s blighted isle, leaving him alone to experiment with dark beats, primitive synthesizers and the raw emotion of kidnapped souls. The resulting sounds are a rich palette of classic cinema, from lonesome spaghetti to surf-rock, from psychedelia to spine-bending space disco, overlaid with the voices of our protagonists The Tiger and The Mysterious Lady.

From their unlikely beginnings in the suburban wilds of Melbourne Australia, The Bombay Royale have taken their unique sound to audiences throughout Europe, UK and the USA, where their performances have been met with astonishment and critical acclaim. The band has announced a Melbourne album launch party over two nights at Howler on Friday June 20 and Saturday June 21, with announcements to follow of a national album tour and building on the band’s immense overseas achievements since their breakthrough debut, You Me Bullets Love (HopeStreet Recordings, 2012).

The Bombay Royale’s music featured in new Far Cry 4 game. The latest in the Far Cry series from Ubisoft is set in the Himalayas and features some music from The Bombay Royale.  Watch the trailer below which features the title track from the band’s first album You Me Bullets Love  (warning: strong violence)

Recently Released: Juliette Jules EP - Black Crow (iAMCORP - May 23, 2014)

Recently Released:
Juliette Jules
EP - Black Crow
(iAMCORP - May 23, 2014)

Get the CD

Reputedly a performer on the streets of Paris since the age of fourteen and discovered by music producer and manager Peter Karroll singing in a Parisian park just a year ago, Juliette Jules released her debut EP Black Crow on her sixteenth birthday this May.

The 5-song EP showcases her expressive voice in swingy, easy to like roots/pop compositions held down by acoustic guitar and tinkly piano with a vintage sound to it. While grounded in the whole contemporary singer/songwriter mode, Juliette's music has the melodic depth of the classic artists of the late 1960's and early 1970's like Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith - artists she discovered attending concerts with her mother. The songs have a satisfying, singalong kind of vibe that will appeal to older listeners as well as her contemporaries.

The material is lit up by a fluid vocal style that's capable of both richness and subtlety. There's a nice variety in her approach from a pure, clean high range to a softly musky lower end. Her voice has an edge that sweetens the raspiness and works well on the rhythmic first track, Johnny Was.

Juliette's voice is perhaps put to best effect on the sadly haunting title track, Black Crow, where it fills in all the moody, melancholy spaces, accompanied by string sounds along with guitar and piano. In The Game, the vocals are fluid and reminiscent of the kind of idiosyncratic style of early Jewel tracks.

Trained in both classical music and literature, she's a fan of writers like André Breton and Marcel Proust. Her love of good words shows up in clever lyrics; storytelling with a literary flair.

She does a cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Juliette does try - with a spidery, tremulous and minimalist rendition, and odd phrasings that pause halfway through the lines - but it's hard to do anything that's truly striking with the well-worn song.

The last track is perhaps the weakest, relying too much on her vocal stylings in another minimalist arrangement. Still, it's a very listenable collection of songs from an artist with a long career ahead of her.

Members/Instruments:  Juliette Jules - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Synths
Producer: Peter Karroll
Engineers: Peter Karroll/Doug Fury
Mixing engineers: Peter Karroll/Doug Fury
Recorded at: Fortissimo Sound, Vancouver, Canada & Grenelle Studio,
Paris, France
Mastered by: Doug Fury - Fortissimo Sound, Vancouver

Johnny Was: lyrics & music: Juliette Jules/Peter Karroll
Black Crow: lyrics: Juliette Jules/music: Juliette Jules/Peter Karroll
The Game: lyrics & music: Juliette Jules/Peter Karroll
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen
To The Mountains: lyrics & music: Juliette Jules

Official: www.JulietteJules.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliettejulesmusic

Monday, July 7, 2014

Scotiabank Buskerfest Returns to Downtown Toronto August 21-24 2014

From a media release:

15th Annual
Scotiabank BuskerFest
in support of Epilepsy Toronto
Announces New and Returning Acts from around the Globe!
AUGUST 21-24, 2014 throughout the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood

Toronto -
Epilepsy Toronto is pleased to present their signature fundraising event, Scotiabank BuskerFest.  In partnership with the Downtown Yonge BIA, they are proud to announce an outstanding roster of international and Canadian acts, both new and returning, for the 15th edition of Toronto's international street performers festival. Scotiabank BuskerFest runs Thursday, August 21 to Sunday, August 24 throughout the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood, from Queen to College Streets and surrounding areas (including Trinity Square Park and Yonge-Dundas Square).

An estimated one-and-a-half million spectators attended the festival last year - an astounding success for its first year along the downtown Yonge Street corridor. Organizers are anticipating at least as many this year, as more buskers than ever before - over 120 of the  best street performers in over 50 acts from across the country and around the globe -bring their world-class talents to Canada's most populous city.

Buskers retain proceeds from “the hat” passed after their performances except for shows on the Scotiabank Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square: for the first time ever, each performing act will be doing one performance on this stage over the course of the weekend, and all proceeds will go to Epilepsy Toronto!

Joining the previously announced FlameOz (returning) and Reuben DotDotDot (new) from Australia, and NoMaD Cirquel (new) from Austria and Les Frères Taquin (new) from Belgium, are several outstanding international acts, including:

From Australia
Bendy Em (returning), a pint-sized former gymnast with a wicked wit who bends and contorts her body into freakily mind-boggling positions.

From Ireland
Jack Wise (returning), a Molotov cocktail of comedy and magic - including swallowing a real 24" steel sword!

From Japan
Ikeda Yosuke (new), a unique style of performance blending mime with graphic and acoustic arts - the lyrics of a song appear in many different ways with the music.

From Spain
Ale Risorio (new), an eccentric, absurd clown with a bag full of unusual and unexpected props.

From the United Kingdom
Billy Kidd (returning), one of the few female magicians in the world  who hosts Discovery Channel's Breaking Magic: the Magic of Science. She reads people's minds, turns paper to money and produces the most unsuspecting things out of nowhere; and Mat Ricardo (returning), an award-winning performer with incredible showmanship, razor-sharp wit, tricks nobody else in the world can do and unsurpassed sartorial elegance.

From the United States
Kamikaze Fireflies (returning), a triple Guinness World Record holding two-person vaudeville smack-down from Los Angeles that juggles, cracks whips and climbs on people, stacking chairs, German Wheels, and even shopping carts! Just last week they received four "Yeses" from the judges of America's Got Talent!

Among the great, returning local performers from the GTA:
Art $ Fortune, a one-of-a-kind fortune-telling, 'robotic' statue who stilt walks! Drop a coin into the booth and watch Art come to life!
Chalk Chick brings the streets of Toronto colourful sidewalks, love, and joy.
Fireguy, ever-popular with his sophisticated fire-breathing and world-class devil sticks.
Hercinia Arts Collective entertain with their hilarious act "Money Fish" - synchronized swimmers out of water and looking for audiences everywhere.
Mental Floss Side Show, a vaudevillian duo that brings exhibits from the five corners of the globe - all with a little dash of snake oil.
Oparty twists balloons into incredible creations - from one balloon dog to a 400+ balloon motorcycle!
The Silent Violinist combines balloons and mime dressed in her visually stunning balloon dress with a gigantic wing spread.
Stilt Guys, with their HIGH energy, HIGH stamina, HIGHLY interactive roaming stilt performances.
Stiltdancer & Friends, a team of dynamic stilt artists who dance and play on their gravity-defying stilts.
The Twisted Ones share their crazy gigantic balloon creatures with audiences - a giant spider hat, or a beautiful butterfly costume anyone?
Internationally acclaimed living statue Kate Mior.
Max T. Oz, a sleight-of-hand magic favourite who has been at each and every festival since its inception;
And, of course, the festival would not be complete without veteran festival busker Silver Elvis, a mechanical metal man who moves for money, honey

And new from Quebec:
Chasseurs de rêves: a tribe of larger-than-life stilt puppets shines in colours and movements, with an elegant bird and majestic elephant.
CiRcO LoCo: Argentine tango dancers, circus artists, knife thrower and tribal belly dancing make for an awesome concoction of circus, stunts & mystery!
Les Vitamines: a colourful, high-energy duo that dazzles with acrobatic feats punctuated by improvised acts during which the public is invited to join in the fun.

And more!

Admission to Scotiabank BuskerFest is by voluntary donation to Epilepsy Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping more  than 40,000 Torontonians with epilepsy, and their families, through counselling, employment support, advocacy and education.

15th Annual Scotiabank BuskerFest
in support of Epilepsy Toronto
Thursday, August 21 - Sunday, August 24, 2014
throughout the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood:
Yonge Street all the way from Queen to College and surrounding areas (including Trinity Square Park and Yonge-Dundas Square).

Thursday noon - 11 pm; Friday noon - 11pm; Saturday 11am - 11pm; Sunday 11am - 8pm
Admission is by voluntary donation to Epilepsy Toronto

CD Review: Andrew Remondini - Non Sequitur (Independent - May 29, 2014)

CD Review:
Andrew Remondini - Non Sequitur
(Independent - May 29, 2014)

Buy the CD

Tuneful and layered, Non Sequitur, the debut album by Italian composer Andre Remondini, ably spans the gap between contemporary classical and electronic pop music.

He's been on the radar since his single Ocean Whispers (co-written with DJ Mauro Picotto) reached #3 in the Italian sales charts in 1996, followed by a slew of other dance singles that charted in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.

Andrea has actually been making music since the age of 12. Self-taught at the piano, his first experiments in electronic music featured old school computer and keyboard technology. A decade later, at 22, he worked as a staff songwriter/studio musician/sound engineer at an indie dance label in Italy. He left that gig to pursue his own music and Non Sequitor is the result. Andrea plays all the keyboards and produced the album himself.

His transition from dance to progressive synth-pop comes in the form of a single, title track that clocks in at 44'12". Along the way, Andrea weaves in and out of melodies and themes seamlessly.

It comes as no surprise to learn Andrea cites the early works of Mike Oldfield and Jean-Michel Jarre as inspiration. He builds the track in layers of keyboard and synth for melodic and rhythmic effects, throwing in percussive sounds, echoes of a churchy organ, carillon-like bell tones, choral notes and more to create a lush, orchestral feel. A single track of 44+ minutes may seem indigestible but he changes moods and modes seamlessly. A melody and theme are established, developed and then effortlessly morph into another and then another over the course of the long track.

The music is atmospheric and ranges from spacey, spooky, moody themes to contemplative to heroic to upbeat. Some sections have an almost whimsical feel while others feature wordless choral tones. Just when you think you hear a theme coming to a close, it transforms into another. The constant change and variety that veers from pop to new music contemporary classical avoid monotony. A favourite section comes about halfway in - minimalist, rhythmic and mesmerizing.

A good instrumental album reminds you that you don't need words to express emotion. Like a long, meandering story, Non Sequitur is the soundtrack to a movie that runs through your head as you listen.

Recently Released: Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca - La Rumba SoYo (June 24 2014 - Cumbancha)

From a media release:

New Album La Rumba SoYo
(June 24, 2014 - Cumbancha)

Buy the CD

La Rumba SoYo, the new album from Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, is a multinational undertaking that was recorded on three continents and in four countries (US, Canada, France and Angola). It took Lemvo three years to complete and sees him diving even deeper into his Angolan roots for inspiration. Cumbancha will release the album in North America on June 24, 2014 and in Europe and the rest of the world this fall.

Check out the song and free download:

With his band Makina Loca, the Los Angeles-based singer produces an appealing blend of African and Cuban music that has earned him a worldwide following. Lemvo's early recordings drew mainly from Congolese rumba and soukous mixed with Cuban son and salsa. His 1998 hit "Mambo Yo Yo," which appeared on the first of two albums he released on Putumayo, can be heard to this day pouring out of taxicabs and on salsa club dance floors in Cartagena, New York, Tokyo, Paris and beyond.

Lemvo hails from M’Banza-Kongo, Zaire in Northern Angola. He grew up in Congo-Kinshasa where he was introduced to Cuban music by a cousin who owned a large collection of vintage Cuban LPs. Lemvo came to the US more than 30 years ago to pursue a law degree but ended up devoting his life to music. Since forming his band Makina Loca in 1990, Lemvo has toured extensively in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Africa and released six previous albums.

While Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca made their name with a blend of Cuban and Congolese music, Lemvo eventually decided to explore the Angolan styles and languages he also heard while growing up in the Congo. He began singing in Portuguese and indigenous Angolan languages, and adding Angolan rhythms such as semba and kizomba to his mix. With a number of successful albums to his name, and having performed on some of the world's greatest stages, his musical career took an unexpected turn about a decade ago when he suddenly became a household name in Angola. What began as a personal artistic journey led him to be embraced by the Angolan public and his life in music began a surprising new chapter.

Today Angola has become one of the world's fastest-growing economies.  Music is an essential part of the country's cultural life.  Interestingly, Angola’s recording industry still has thriving record stores and is one of the few African countries where legal CDs are still prevalent in spite of the rampant piracy. Local musicians have developed a unique sales strategy to beat piracy; every weekend, musicians en masse bring their CDs to a series of outdoor markets, where they perform to backing tracks nonstop from morning until evening. Some artists can sell up to 2,000 CDs a day to the throngs of music fans that show up to the many such markets. Lemvo's music is now in high demand in Angola, and he is invited there to perform numerous times a year.

Three songs from the new album, “Dikulusu,” “Padre George,” and “Simone CM,” were written in collaboration with Angolan songwriters. With his increasing fame, Lemvo has built strong relationships with revered Angolan musicians and composers. Songwriter Adão Filipe is the director of the National Radio of Angola. A fan of Filipe's work, Lemvo asked him for some lyrics and the result was “Dikulusu” (A Heavy Cross). Fellow Angolan Ndulo Kituxi, who is well known in local music circles, composed the music.  It is a humorous song in three languages (Portuguese, Kikongo and Kimbundu) about a man who complains to his ex-wife about the alimony he pays her ending up in her new husband's pocket, “Dikulusu” begins with an accordion-led Angolan semba rhythm then shifts effortlessly into a Congolese rumba.

With La Rumba SoYo, Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca have created an exciting new album that retains their appealing salsa meets soukous grooves and blends them with the Angolan rhythms and styles that have been such an inspiration to Lemvo in recent years.

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca will be bringing their infectious music to stages across North America and Europe this summer and fall.
July 11 @ Blackbird Tavern, San Jose, CA
July 12 @ The Seahorse, Sausalito, CA
July 13 @ Music in the Park, Los Gatos, CA
July 18 @ Chicago Summerdance, Chicago, IL
July 19 @ Evanston Ethnic Art Festival, Evanston, IL
July 20 @ Celebrate Clark St. Festival, Chicago, IL
Aug. 15 @ Music in the Park, Carlsbad, CA
Aug. 16 @ Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena, CA
Aug. 21 @ Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Jessie Square, San Francisco, CA
Aug. 30 @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA