Cuban Music Artists

Orishas Reunited For New Album

Orishas only did two things that troubled me during their 11 years together creating stunning, one-of-a-kind Cuban hip hop music. The first was featuring Pitbull on one of their tracks “Quien Te Dijo” – and there ain’t no way of ever undoing that.

The second and much more devastating thing was their decision to split up in 2010.  All five Orishas albums have been on high listening and dancing rotation since- well and truly part of my Love & Appreciate For Forever-After Music Collection. But each listen still made me wish for new Orishas music to add to it (I’m greedy I know).

Six years on and the trio has remedied that selfish trouble of mine by delivering the super-exciting news of their reunion.

Orishas

How far that reunion goes beyond the recently-recorded single is anyone’s guess. Hopefully it involves the recording of many more Orishas albums to come and the blessed opportunity for fans around the world to have themselves the live Orishas experience. It’s one I never got to have- and since the split thought I never could. With this news Orishas goes back up high on my Live Music Bucket List, in hope.

Orishas are Yotuel Romero Manzanares, Roldán González Rivero and Hiram Riveri Medina (“Ruzzo”). If their music-making history is at all reflective of what’s to come, the world is in for a special treat. The elements that make up their distinctive sound – the very different rap flows of Ruzzo and Yotuel, the heavenly singing voice (+ guitar & bass) of Roldán and the beautiful sounds of traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms seamlessly fused with modern hip hop beats and live instrumentation – with lyrical stories, sentiments and slang dearly particular to Cuba…ain’t found anywhere else in this wide world of music.

Orishas

If you don’t already know and appreciate the musical goodness of this group check out these sample tracks from their albums past- and watch the Orishas space to hear new music they’re gifting the world in 2016.

Orishas - A Lo Cubano (1999)“A Lo Cubano” – A Lo Cubano (1999)

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Orishas - Emigrante (2002)“Niños” – Emigrante (2002)

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Orishas - El Kilo (2005)“Al Que Le Guste” – El Kilo (2005)

 

 

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Antidiotico (2007)

“Que Vola?” – Antidiotico (2007)

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Cosita Buena (2008)

“Machete” – Cosita Buena (2008)

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Get any or all of those hard-copy Orishas albums into your own music collection here.

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WOMADelaide 2015: Nourishment Forever-After

Oh WOMADelaide, how I long to be back in your nourishing arms. You came again and gave the people four days and nights of awesomely-diverse arts, culture and music from around the world under sunshine and shady trees in Adelaide’s Botanic Park. You created the space for a vibrant community of friendly, conscious, arts-loving people of all ages to come together and relax; to connect in music, dance, theatre, conversation and food; to smile, be happy and to relish the blessing of being a part of that WOMADelaide 2015 community.

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At the start of the fourth and final festival day it seemed like I’d had a wonderfully-sufficient saturation of festival goodness. On Tuesday though, with the realisation that WOMADelaide was actually over for another year; with the return to “normal” life – those four long festival days and nights suddenly seemed all-too-short.

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“Life moves so fast – the festival will come again soon enough” I tell myself. I focus on the nourishment I feel from the experience of WOMADelaide 2015 and it’s many happiness-producing moments. I remember and feel better for the fact that those enriching experiences are part of my being forever hereafter. Then I go ahead and calculate the remaining days until WOMADelaide 2016! 🙂

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho at WOMADelaide 2015

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WOMADelaide 2015 Moments

I’m sure each festival-goer had their own special moments in different forms at different times throughout WOMADelaide.

Maybe yours was having a make-over by a Spanish stylist in the Osadia salon? Watching your favourite WOMADelaide artist cook up a delicious native dish in the Taste the World tent or hearing them ‘In Conversation’ at the Speakers Corner?

Osadia at WOMADelaide 2015

Osadia

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) presents Arctic Rhythms

 

 

 

 

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Dancing up a storm to the energetic ‘Bofenia Rock’ performance of Congo’s Jupiter & Okwess International?

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jupiter

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Okwess International

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling under a tree with the sounds of live music being performed on a nearby festival stage? Climbing that tree for a view above the rest? Or when the music commanded you to get up on your feet and move?

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

Reliving the sounds of the 60’s and beyond with Native-American artist and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie? Enjoying C.W. Stoneking‘s unique contemporary take on the blues?

Buffy Sainte-Marie live at WOMADelaide 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie

CW Stoneking live at WOMADelaide 2015

C.W. Stoneking

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to the front of the crowd for the closest possible view of your most-beloved artist?

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

Hearing the Romanian brass-frenzy of Fanfare Ciocarlia?

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the Colour of Time dance and theatre journey with ARTONIK through the festival site?

ARTONIK perform The Colour of Time at WOMADelaide 2015

ARTONIK – The Colour of Time

Going to church of the atypical kind by Sinead O’Connor? Or letting Rufus Wainwright‘s mellow tunes drift you into a feeling of sublime?

Sinead O'Connor live at WOMADelaide 2015

Sinead O’Connor

Rufus Wainwright live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rufus Wainwright

 

 

 

 

 

Browsing the colourful artisan markets or playing around them. Immersing yourself in light and colour inside the inflatable luminarium maze of EXXOPOLIS?

WOMADelaide 2015

Architects of Air - Exxopolis - WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Being rallied into the party-vibes created by Israeli/New-York based group Balkan Beat Box?

Balkan Beat Box live at WOMADelaide 2015

Balkan Beat Box

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Balkan Beat Box

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling out for a Chai break or making new friends with like-minded festival-goers?

WOMADelaide 2015WOMADelaide 2015

Experiencing the visual and musical extravaganza of Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour and his band?

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Youssou N’Dour

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

Youssou N’Dour

Seeing mother and artist Neneh Cherry on stage again post-hiatus? Hearing her acknowledge International Women’s Day before performing ‘Woman’ with Rocketnumbernine?

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rocketnumbernine

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Neneh Cherry

Or maybe it was later that night when Neneh Cherry joined Youssou N’Dour on stage to sing ‘Seven Seconds’ together?

Excitedly browsing books, vinyl and cds in the Wo Shop to take home music from a newly-discovered festival artist?

Or did your final special musical moments come at the end of your WOMADelaide nights when the music mixed by DJs made you forget you were on your way home and kept you dancing until the night’s very last beat?

Check out a video snippet here of Theo Parrish’s superb set

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Maybe your happiest festival moments had the same musical sources as mine?

Abdullah Ibrahim Quartet (South Africa)

Hearing the stunning sounds of 80 years of life and music expressed on the piano through the [beautifully-freckled] hands of jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim.

Abdullah Ibrahim live at WOMADelaide 2015

Abdullah Ibrahim

DJ Spooky (USA)

Dancing for 2+ hours to DJ Spooky’s super-diverse set that took me through much of my life’s music collection from The Police to Nirvana to James Brown to Damian Marley to the best-of-the-best old school hip hop and reggae tracks.

DJ Spooky at WOMADelaide 2015

DJ Spooky

Flavia Coelho (Brazil)

Experiencing the super-infectious colours, smile and joyful exuberance of Brazil’s multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Flavia Coelho as she and her band of two performed a fantastic fusion of dub, reggae, ragga, bossa, afrobeat and cumbia.

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Flavia Coelho


 

 

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Al

Al Chonville

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Jambinai (South Korea)

That moment at the end of WOMADelaide 2015’s last live set when a member of Jambinai, folk/metal/electro innovators of incredible skill, told the mesmerised crowd “We just want to connect with you in this moment – in this place”. I like to believe everyone else there was thinking the same thing as me: “You have. And I feel incredible for it. Thank you”.

Mista Savona with Prince Alla & Randy Valentine (Australia+Jamaica+U.K)

Hearing the live sounds of reggae represented in genuine One-Love style by Melbourne-based musician and producer Jake Savona facilitating 2 festival performances by the Mista Savona band with old-school Jamaican roots reggae legend Prince Alla and contemporary Jamaican/U.K-based artist Randy Valentine.

Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jake Savona

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

 

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla w/ Mista Savona

Randy Valentine with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Randy Valentine

Check out sample Mista Savona and Prince Alla tracks from Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound (Various Artists) here plus videos below from their WOMADelaide shows…

Mista Savona - Soul To Sound by Various Artists (2010)

‘Captive Bird’ – Prince Alla – Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound

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‘Dub From the Hills’ – Mista Savona – Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound

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Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Moments of happiness were aplenty during both of Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic’s festival performances: from hearing the rich, soulful vocals of Aotearoan divas Rachel Fraser and Lisa Tomlins front-of-stage; to the drum-off between Myele Manzanza and father Sam Manzanza; and the solos of every talented Eclectic band member during the set as they played fluid and completely-fresh sounding versions of songs from Myele Manzanza’s debut solo album One along with new ones: all of them delightfully good. Adelaidean saxophonist Adam Page joining The Eclectic on stage was another.

Rachel Fraser with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rachel Fraser

Lisa Tomlins with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Lisa Tomlins

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Myele Manzanza

Sam Manzanza with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Sam Manzanza

Adam Page with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Adam Page

Check out a recent interview with Myele Manzanza plus sample tracks from One here.

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba)

Cuban lands, people and music have a very dear place in my heart. Hearing the chops of Orquestra members young and old performing Cuban music classics live on stage for the very last time as part of their ‘Adios Tour’ truly was a blessed WOMADelaide moment.

Los Originales de Buena Vista Social Club…

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club live at WOMADelaide 2015

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club

Los Jóvenes de Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club….

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Paul D. Miller (USA)

The sound and visual journey taken in the Speaker’s Corner with multi-media artist Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) presenting Arctic Rhythms in which he traversed a huge scope of fascinating topics ranging from science, politics and climate change through to uncredited music artists of history, digital technologies, the hip hop flow and more – with all roads leading to his multi-disciplinary project work in the Arctic/Antarctic region. The Book of Ice is one part of that project – and the sounds of music are of course another.

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky)

At WOMADelaide those sounds were created by Paul Miller’s live sampling of Adelaidean musicians Emily Tulloch and Hilary Kleinig playing his Arctic/Antarctica compositions:

“acoustic portraits of ice” played by “ancient instruments vs an iPad”

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

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Soil & Pimp Sessions (Japan)

Last but not least was making my absolute-favourite musical discovery of WOMADelaide 2015 in the kooky, frenzied, often-grooving jazz sounds of Japan’s Soil & Pimp Sessions playing their only festival show.

Soil & Pimp Sessions live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Soil & Pimp Sessions

Some way into their set realising that apart from a few hip hop vocals on one song, ‘frontman’ Shacho wasn’t going to use the mic to showcase his spectacular vocal chops after the other band members had showcased their own respective ones; he’d actually been performing his role of “Agitator/Spirit” in entertaining style and glory all the way along (and thereafter).

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Shacho – Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

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 If you missed Soil & Pimp Sessions’ WOMADelaide show, get a glimpse here on video and hear sample tracks below from Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions…

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Soil & Pimp Sessions - Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions (2013)

‘Sahara’ – Soil & Pimp Sessions – Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions

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‘My Foolish Heart ~Crazy on Earth~’ – Soil & Pimp Sessions – Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions

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Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

Maybe your happiness-producing moments came from none of the above? From something else I missed completely amongst the many WOMADelaide happenings?

Your moments, mine, there was an abundance of them to be had. Whichever ones brought you the most bliss, all the WOMADelaide 2015 moments were good right? Nourishing for the mind, body, heart and soul, yes?

Music festivals are so, so, so good for us. WOMADelaide 2016 will be so, so, so good for us!

How many more days to go?

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

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To relive or check out more of WOMADelaide 2015 in the meantime: watch Beaver’s FB page for more photos or click on the artist of your flavour to link to videos of their festival shows: Abdullah IbrahimBalkan Beat BoxFanfare CiocarliaFlavia Coelho – Neneh CherryOrquestra Buena Vista Social ClubPaul D. Miller Prince Alla Randy Valentine Theo Parrish.

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E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.

Post-Infiltration

Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations

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Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 

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Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes

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Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico

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Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One

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5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk

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Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust

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7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce

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Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo

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Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle

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10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 

 

Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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Carlos Sarduy – Charly en la Habana

Like with so many Cuban music artists, not enough people in the world have probably had the chance to access and hear Carlos Sarduy’s unique Afro-Cuban jazz music or super-fine trumpet playing.  This artist is another little gem from the much-insulated music bubble of Cuba.

Like with most Cuban music artists, there’s little to be found about Carlos Sarduy in the global press or cyber world.  No content on an official website.  No official musician/band page on FB (enough on its own to earn this artist my respect). Nothing really to be found in Wiki. So I don’t know much about what he’s doing musically in these days.

What I know is that during Carlos Sarduy’s long career in his so far short-lived life, he has collaborated with a long list of Cuban and Spanish music greats including Esperanza Spalding, Los Van Van, Roberto Carcasses, Bebo Valdés, Horacio el Negro, Julio Barreto, Ojos de Brujo and Buika.

On Carlos Sarduy’s first (and I think, only) solo album Charly en la Habana you’ll also find guest artists Chucho Valdés, Amadito Valdés,  Teresa García Caturla, Francis del Rio and Germán Velazco.  That’s a pretty great sign of something musically special yes?

Carlos Sarduy - Charly en la Habana (2005)

Charly en la Habana (2005)

Of all the instruments in the world I have an especially-sweet spot for the trumpet. So I can also tell you that Carlos Sarduy’s chops are pretty phenomenal – as is the level of musicianship of all musicians on Charly en la Habana, both guests and core ensemble members.

Also I know that the music on this album is skilfully composed (by Carlos Sarduy mostly) Cuban jazz with a sound only made in Cuba.

Check the music out yourself with these mp3 sample tracks from Charly en la Habana ‘Rumbatere’ features Carlos Sarduy’s contemporary Cuban jazz counterpart, saxophonist Germán Velazco (an artist for another day in this here Cuban series). ‘Erifa’ has some beautifully-minimalist vocals by Cuban singer/composer Francis del Rio.

Carlos Sarduy - Charly en la Habana (2005)

Charly en la Habana (2005) – Carlos Sarduy

‘Rumbatere’ – Charly en la Habana  – Carlos Sarduy (featuring Germán Velazco)

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‘Erifa’ – Charly en la Habana  – Carlos Sarduy (featuring Francis del Rio)

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You could buy the physical Charly en la Habana cd through on-line stores.  Or you could listen to and buy electronic copies of the music through Carlos Sarduy’s Bandcamp page or on Soundcloud.  But a much, much better and brilliant idea is to get yourself on a plane to Cuban shores and find this CD and more. It’s unfortunate for Carlos Sarduy and most music artists in Cuba, and unfortunate for worldwide appreciators of Cuban music that for political, social and economic reasons, you’ll probably have a hard time finding Charly en la Habana (and most other contemporary Cuban music CDs) in record stores outside of Cuba.

Maybe you’d find it in Spain these days where Carlos Sarduy might be?  Maybe he’s recording new music? Releasing it on vinyl?

Playing live?  You see it’s the live Carlos Sarduy experience that I really want to have now…in Cuba or anywhere else in the world he might be.

Anyone know where in the world we can find this?

This here salute to Carlos Sarduy, numero 2 in a Cuban music series, is dedicated as each one will be dedicated to my Cuban grandfather in heart (mi abuelo del corozon) and my dear friend (mi amigo querido) Elio. May you be in some beautiful place akin to dancing salsa, son, trova and rumba amongst the clouds.

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Roberto Fonseca – A Deservedly Lucky Cubano

Roberto Fonseca’s incredible recent shows at WOMADelaide 2014 reminded me of two things about Cuba and its music:

Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca – Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

1. Cuba is a small island filled with a huge number of phenomenal musicians and amazing music.Festival del Fuego - Santiago de Cuba

2. Most of those phenomenal Cuban musicians, and most of that incredible Cuban music, never find the opportunity to leave Cuban shores.

You’ll only find them and their music by visiting Cuba – or if the right people outside of Cuba bring those artists and their music to the attention of the rest of the world.Festival del Fuego - Santiago de Cuba

Roberto Fonseca and the Cuban artists he collaborates with, are just a few of them.  Roberto Fonseca’s music, is just a bit of it.

A Lucky Cubano

Roberto Fonseca is one of the lucky Cubans who’s had the opportunity for the world to hear his music.  He became well known through his membership of the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra – and then his worldwide tours with two of its stars Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo.

He has also established himself as a player and composer in his own right – releasing a number of solo and collaborative albums.

Deservedly Lucky

Roberto Fonseca has very much earned the opportunities he’s had.

Born and raised in Havana, he’s been playing piano since he was 8 years old.  He is a phenomenal musician.

La Habana - Cuba

Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca is also a gifted composer – creating innovative and magnificent contemporary fusion music like none other inside or outside of Cuba.

His album Yo, first released in 2012 and which I was lucky enough to buy a copy of from WOMADelaide before it sold out, is the most recent example of this.

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Yo (2012) – Roberto Fonseca

Yo – I, Roberto Fonseca

 “I wanted to delve deep into my roots in light of my experiences and show the diversity of my musical universe, all these ideas which I had put aside, unable to use until now.”

Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

In Spanish, ‘Yo’ means ‘I’.  The compositions on Yo are a reflection of the life Roberto Fonseca has lived and his musical influences throughout.  That means his Cuban and Afro-Cuban roots, and all the music he’s been exposed to during his upbringing in a musical family and his travels around the world playing music.

The songs on Yo are a beautifully-blended fusion of sounds from jazz, classical, Cuban Son, Afro-Cuban music, North and West African instrumentation (especially ngoni & kora), soul, funk and electronica.  The music on this album is incredibly refreshing – each song a unique, diverse and fluid journey from start to finish.

Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Fifteen very talented musicians, singers and producers from Cuba, Africa, Brazil, the U.S.A and U.K have contributed their artistry to the songs on Yo:

Baba Sissoko (Mali); Fatoumata Diawara (Mali); Seckou Kouyate (Guinea); Munir Hossn (Brazil); Etienne M’Bappé (Cameroon); Ramsés Rodriguez (Cuba); Joel Hierrezuelo (Cuba); Faudel (Algeria); Mike Ladd (USA); Assane Mboup (Senegal); Gilles Peterson (U.K).

Listen to these compressed mp3 versions of two sample tracks from Yo – and imagine the other wonderful sounds you’ll never hear unless you buy the real album yourself…

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Yo (2012)

80’s – Yo (2012) – Roberto Fonseca

Gnawa Stop – Yo (2012) – Roberto Fonseca

Close your eyes for this one, and listen carefully…

The Not-So-Lucky Cubanos

So many other gifted Cuban artists don’t have the same opportunities as Roberto Fonseca. To find them and their music you have to go looking in Cuba’s streets, restaurants, bars and music shops. It’s a very fun music mission- with excellent rewards, I promise.

So then, inspired by Roberto Fonseca and his incredible accompanying musicians at WOMADelaide – lucky enough to have the opportunity for their beautiful music to be heard by the world –  I start this series on Cuban music with his album Yo.

Roberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014La Habana - CubaRoberto Fonseca - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Most Cuban artists I share with you after this won’t have had the same opportunities for their music to be heard by the world.

This post, and every one after in my Cuban music series, is dedicated to my ever-so-dear, recently departed, music loving friend – mi abuelo Cubano (my Cuban grandfather) – Elio. Rest in peace Elio – te quiero mucho. 

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The WOMADelaide Experience – What Everyone Wants

Everyone I know who experiences WOMADelaide festival, wants to experience it again. Everyone I know who’s heard about the WOMADelaide experience, wants to have it.

That’s because it’s one of the world’s best musical festivals, and Australia’s very best. Fundamentally for the quality of music and its friendly festival people, but for so many other reasons too.

So declares I anyway – and anyone I’ve ever spoken with about it who’s in the know.

Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Cherif Soumano (with Roberto Fonseca) live @ WOMADelaide 2014

I’ve just experienced WOMADelaide 2014 with about 90,000 other people. Over four days I was reminded over and over again (as they probably were too), of all the reasons we were counting down the days to WOMADelaide 2014 since the end of WOMADelaide 2013.

WOMADelaide 2014

WOMADelaide 2014

The People Will Come

Artists love playing at WOMADelaide. They are treated well, and valued, as artists should be valued. They get to play their music (and sell CDs on-site) to friendly, musically-open-minded and appreciative crowds of people who might otherwise never be exposed to it.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014Artists not playing at WOMADelaide, who don’t usually take themselves to festivals or gigs unless they are their own, love to go to this festival to hear its global artists.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

The friendly people of Adelaide love to go to their home festival – set up base-camp under an old, shady Botanic Park tree – and enjoy the festival with family and friends. Some of them have been to every WOMADelaide since 1992.

WOMADelaide 2014

WOMADelaide 2014

Parents love to go because they can relax and enjoy the festival knowing their kids are happy and safe somewhere nearby on-site.

WOMADelaide 2014WOMADelaide 2014

Lovers of diverse music who live in other parts of Australia, love to make the music pilgrimage to WOMADelaide whenever possible.

Ngaiire live @ WOMADelaide 2014

NGAIIRE

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Sounds of the Planet

“It doesn’t matter which artists are in the line-up.  Turn up to the festival any ole year and you’ll hear amazing artists from all over the world.”

My musician friend who “hates most music”, said that to me about WOMADelaide many years ago. At every WOMADelaide I’ve been to since, his words about the festival’s line-up have rung absolutely true.

WOMADelaide 2014 saw about 500 very diverse artists, representing 20+ countries, performing across 7 festival stages.

All of those artists were good, most were fantastic and many were phenomenal.

Australia Represented

Australian music that I absolutely love, is rare to find. Last year I found two musical diamonds in Ngaiire and Hiatus Kaiyote.

WOMAdelaide programmed both of them at this year’s festival – and their shows were amongst the best I saw.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

Ngaiire live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Ngaiire

Hiatus Kaiyote

A live Hiatus Kaiyote experience amongst the trees at Botanic Park…it was all a bit magical really.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

The spunky Nai Palm on guitar and vocals, smiling all through the set – plus her incredibly talented band members – put a huge and long-lasting smile on my face too.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Nai Palm – Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote’s music, along with Cuba’s Roberto Fonseca’s music, was the most inspiring and happiness-inducing music of all the music I heard at WOMADelaide 2014.

Videos of Hiatus Kaiyote’s one and only WOMADelaide show here

Hiatus Kaiyote is supporting Queen Erykah Badu at her Australian shows in a few weeks. Lucky me, I’ll be there in Melbourne at what I predict could be the most special live show of 2014 for me 🙂 . 

NGAIIRE

At her WOMADelaide 2014 show Papua New Guinean born, Australian based NGAIIRE, was exactly like NGAIIRE always seems to be – absolutely mesmerizing to hear and see.

Ngaiire @ live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Ngaire @ WOMADelaide 2014

She was accompanied greatly by her skilful band, with a slightly different line-up to usual.

x

Check out this video of a new Ngaiire track played live for the 1st time at her WOMADelaide shows…

Sounds of the Rest of the Planet

Aotearoa (New Zealand) – Fat Freddys Drop

I’ve always said that as great as Fat Freddys Drop‘s studio recordings are, their live shows are the ultimate experience of this band.

Fat Freddys Drop live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Fat Freddys Drop

Fat Freddys Drop live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Fat Freddys Drop

Well, I left Fat Freddys Drop’s WOMADelaide show before it finished. And not because I had anywhere else to be. I just wasn’t feeling moved or inspired where I was.

Video of their festival show here. Maybe you’ll be inspired…

China – Hanggai

Hanggai’s music was probably the most foreign and novel to me at WOMADelaide 2014: rock mixed with traditional Mongolian music. The live experience of this band was a totally unique and entertaining one.

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

 

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

 

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

Check out Hanggai’s WOMADelaide show on video here…

Colombia/Belgium – La Chiva Gantiva

It’s always a treat for me to hear the sounds of traditional Colombian music like cumbia and chirimia in the mix with the likes of funk and afro-beat.  Also to get a dose of the distinctively joyous Colombian energy put out by los Colombianos in La Chiva Gantiva – as well as that of their Flemish, Belgian and Vietnamese band members.

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva wins the WOMADelaide 2014 prize for crowd participation.

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

Videos (of their more subdued tracks) from both La Chiva Gantiva’s WOMADelaide shows here

Cuba – Roberto Fonseca

Roberto Fonseca and his phenomenal accompanying band – which included Malian kora and tama player Cherif Soumano – were the musical jewel of the WOMADelaide crown for me.

Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Once upon a time, Roberto Fonseca was a young piano player with Ibrahim Ferrer’s Orchestra.  Now and for many years past, he’s been an established artist in his own right. In these days Robert Fonseca’s still young -and is creating stunning Latin Jazz music that explores sounds of traditional African roots music and electronica.

Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca

Both the music and the musicianship of this group were an absolute joy to experience live.

Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Cherif Soumano

Yandy Martinez with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Yandy Martinez

Ramses Rodriguez with Roberto Fonseca Live @ Womadelaide 2014

Ramses Rodriguez

Joel Hierrezuleo with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Joel Hierrezuleo

Roberto Fonseca’s album Yo was one I made sure I bought home with me from WOMADelaide.

Glimpses of the magic of Roberto Fonseca’s WOMADelaide shows here on video…


France – Dub Inc

A french fusion of ever-so-danceable sounds of dub, reggae, dancehall, ska, ragga, hip-hop, Arab and African music.

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

The really unique thing about this band is the voices and vocal combinations of Hakim “Bouchkour” Meridja and Aurélien “Komlan” Zohou.

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

See what I’m talking about here on these videos from Dub Inc’s WOMADelaide 2014 shows

Nigeria – Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti needs no description. Nor does his music.

Hearing Femi Kuti play saxophone took me somewhere heavenly.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

His supporting band and dancers The Positive Force, were as incredible to hear and watch as you’d expect them to be.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Videos of Femi Kuti’s one and only WOMADelaide show here. Check out the chops of the Positive Force band towards the end of the first one…

x

Spain/Guinea – Buika

Contemporary sounds rooted strongly in traditional flamenco – sung and played exquisitely.

Buika was absolutely divine.

Buika live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Buika

The guitarist accompanying Buika is amongst that group of phenomenal artists I heard at the festival.

Videos from one of Buika’s two WOMADelaide shows here

Sample tracks (mp3 only) off Buika’s album En Mi Piel here too…

Mi Niña Lola – Buika – En Mi Piel

 

Somos (Featuring Chucho Valdes) – Buika – En Mi Piel

 

USA – Arrested Development

You all know who Arrested Development are and what they do. Hip-hop of the inspiring kind.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

Well, the line-up of the group might have changed. But I think they’re still doing what they’ve always done, in style. With new music and a new album coming.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

Arrested Development Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Arrested Development

 

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

 

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

The live Arrested Development experience is one to have.  Check out a video here…

USA – Red Baraat

Red Baraat blends North Indian Bhangra rhythms with the delicious sounds of jazz, brass-funk and hip-hop.

This awesome New York-based group was musically one of my favourites at WOMADelaide 2014.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

 

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

 

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Their 5-piece-strong brass section was an extra special delight for my musical senses.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Videos from each of Red Baraat’s WOMADelaide 2014 shows here…

Red Baraat’s 2nd album Shruggy Ji  is also in my bag of music goodies that I bought home from the festival.

ZimbabweMokoomba

Mokoomba fuses traditional sounds from African music with more modern ones, some of them even disco-like.

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

 

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

 

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

Have a listen to the vocals of this group here on video. They’re sung in traditional Tonga language (unknown to most, even in Africa).

Other corners of the world represented live at WOMADelaide 2014 were Algeria, Bulgaria, India, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Reunion Island, Tunisia and Scotland.

Rachid Taha live @ WOMADelaide 2014.

Rachid Taha (Algeria)

Carminho live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Carminho (Portugal)

 

DJs Represented

Towards the end of your WOMADelaide nights, when you’re feeling happy and revitalized from all the amazing live music you’ve just experienced and want to keep dancing, you can.

Just head to the Speakers Corner stage and find yourself a spot amongst the trees. There you can have your last dance of the festival day to DJs spinning tasty tunes.

WOMAdelaide 2014 had some of the world’s best DJs on offer…

1. DJ Yoda (UK)

2. DJ Muro (Japan)

3. Awesome Tapes From Africa (USA) – DJ Brian Shimkovitz with his samples from 4000+ rare and random cassette tape recordings collected from Africa for more than a decade.  You can check it out on his blog.

4. Will Holland (aka Quantic) (UK)

Will Holland makes some of my favourite music in the world.

Will Holland (aka Quantic) @ WOMADelaide 2014

Quantic DJ Set @ WOMADelaide 2014

Will Holland (aka Quantic) @ WOMADelaide 2014

Will Holland (aka Quantic)

In his WOMADelaide set he delivered a mix of old and new Quantic concoctions from his large collection of musical productions of the funk, soul and Latin flavoured kinds.  So for me it was possibly the best DJ set I’ve ever experienced.

Check out a video snippet of a new concoction here…

[You can read more about Will Holland’s diverse musical projects, including Ondatrópica, and hear sample Quantic tracks, here.]

More Than Music

Incredible music, a friendly community of people and a green, open-air festival space. WOMADelaide has those fundamental festival ingredients.

It’s got lots more too  – all a part of making it the positive festival experience it is.

Amongst the music and dancing there are activities of all sorts to be found around the festival site…

  • Find your favourite festival artists cooking up their traditional home dishes at Taste The World giving a talk – or a music or dance workshop.
WOMADelaide 2014

The Positive Force dance workshop

  • Listen to environmental talks and panel discussions at The Planet Talks.
  • Interact with a roving theatre performer.
  • Join in or watch the Parade.
  • Lay on the grass in the Pines and watch a visual installation of the best dancers from around the world in slow motion.
Slow Dancing (After Dark)

Slow Dancing (After Dark)

  • Get creative at an art workshop.
  • Eat delicious foods, drinks delightful wines, and browse artisan markets at the Global Village.
  •  Nourish your weary body with a massage at The Healing Village.
  • Or entertain yourself and others in any other ways you want…

Importantly too, festival runnings are professional and smooth. Shows start on time. Set change-overs are efficient. Lighting and sound are quality. Stage emcees do a great job.

The wonderful experience of all that is WOMADelaide, comes at a comparatively cheap festival ticket price too.  At its most expensive (post early-bird rates) the cost of a 4 day pass for 2014 was just over $300.

WOMADelaide Bliss

I think I’m on solid ground for declaring WOMADelaide to be one of the world’s best, and Australia’s very best music festival. Don’t you?

The ‘best’ or not (it’s subjective, I know), one thing is for sure. People who have the WOMADelaide experience get happier with each passing festival hour. Somewhere during those 4 festival days, music and festival bliss kicks in.

WOMADelaide 2014

What do you say peoples? If you’ve already had yourself the WOMADelaide experience, did I get this declaration right? If you haven’t had it yet, surely you want it now?  

We’ve only got about 50.5 weeks to wait until WOMADelaide 2015 !

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‘A’ is for Afrobeat Hip Hop

I was talking music with a Texan musician recently.  He told me about a few fusion music genres from the U.S. I’d never heard of and sounded great.

When I later checked them out I remembered again that the very long and ever-growing list of music genres in our world, is pretty damn cool.

Don’t you think so?

If you do then you might be into this here series my new Texan friend has inspired me to start. It’s an A – Z of Worldwide (Mostly) Fusion Music Genres…with sample tracks where possible.

Here goes…

A

Afrobeat

is a combination of traditional Yoruba music, highlife, jazz and funk with chanted vocals styles and conscious lyrics.

Afrobeat made it into my A list cause it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Afrobeat’s main pioneer was the legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti  (you knew that already).

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti was of course succeeded by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti (amongst others).

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Many Things (2008)

Many Things (2008)

African Problems (Many Things-2008) – Seun Kuti

Remember please people…it’s just an mp3. Kuti (Fela, Femi & Seun) albums are easy to buy and touch, and amazing to hear.

Afrobeat Hip Hop

I haven’t found this one in any official-type music genre lists. It’s on my A list cause in Melbourne recently I heard The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra playing a combination of Afrobeat and hip hop at their AWME gig.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Do Anything  Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

How Long It Go Take (Do Anything Go Anywhere – 2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra 

 

Afro-Cuban Jazz

is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and improvisation techniques.

Another one of my favourite music genres.  Sadly for the world and for Cuban artists, people don’t get to hear most Afro Cuban jazz or other incredible Cuban music without physically going to its soils and looking.

Here are a couple of sample tracks from the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project album Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project - Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project – Descarga Uno

Campina (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

La Fiesta Esta Comenzando (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

Aleatoric

Music the composition of which is partially left to chance and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realisation is left to the determination of its performer.

Aleatoric could be fusion, or not, but it sounds interesting anyways.

Anyone have some Aleatoric music to share?

Or some other weird and wonderful  ‘A’ genre?

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Colombian Music v Cuban Music For Fusion

Deliriously jet lagged in Bogota. Slightly dizzy from the high altitude. So happy to be here. This time (unlike my first) I know the fusion music delights that await me.

IMG_5325

I was on a plane to Colombia when Cuban band Orishas gave me my first taste of Latin fusion music.

Fusion Music in Colombia? 

Arriving in Colombia for the first time, I didn’t know much about the music I’d find here. Only what travel books, blogs etc tell you generally about Colombians’ love of music and the popular music you will hear – Salsa, Cumbia, Vallenato, Reggaeton, Merengue, Champeta etc.  They are definitely right about that, but that’s only a part of the bigger musical picture in Colombia.

Colombia - www.beaveronthebeats.com

My first month in Colombia (Cartagena) all I heard was those popular genres of music – playing in houses, cars and bars everywhere. I left Colombia thinking those were the musical styles on offer.

Fusion Music in Cuba? 

I went to Cuba to find innovative and unique music.  I assumed I had a pretty good chance of finding it in Cuba.   When I heard Orishas on that plane I was even more hopeful.

Cuba - Beaver on the Beats

I never really did find it in Cuba. I heard music everywhere. I heard live bands playing everywhere. I heard multi talented/instrumental and technically brilliant musicians everywhere.  I found some cool, unique  contemporary jazz music – but I didn’t find much other music that really messed around with traditional styles and sounds.

Fusion Music in Colombia?

I found it when I got back from Cuba, to Colombia. Musical diversity+. Fusion. Lots of bands creating really original & unique music I loved by craftfully blending different traditional and non-traditional styles together.

Colombian music is the fruits of having a mix of very diverse peoples and cultures. Also unrestricted access to the music and peoples of the rest of the world – unlike insulated Cuba. Orishas live outside of Cuba by the way.

The musical diversity in Colombia, the fusion music and so many other reasons (people, food, nature & people in all their diversity) make me ever so happy to be back in Colombia again.

I still love Cuba too – and  listen to and love a lot of Cuban music.

Cuba - www.beaveronthebeats.com

A Fusion Ode to Cuban & Colombian Music

In celebration of both Cuban and Colombian fusion music then, here’s a really awesome fusion song. It’s  a collaboration between Cuba’s Orishas & legendary Colombian salsa artist Yuri Buenaventura.

300 Kilos (Orishas & Yuri Buenaventura – Emigrante)

  

Cuba – I’m not gonna make it to you this time round.

Colombia – here I am again. Bogota, here I am…for as many fusion (and traditional) music experiences as I can find.

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Orishas – A Musical Remedy for Colombian Anxiety

I first met Orishas exactly 6 years ago.  It was on the same time flight I am about to board soon – to Bogota, Colombia. I remember it ever so clearly. The feeling of anxiety, and the moment Orishas’ music made that anxiety disappear and put a huge smile on my face.

Orishas - www.beaveronthebeats.com

No one else is going to Colombia

I was on my own you see. On a plane to Colombia for the first time.  With a total of about 5 Spanish words in my vocab. I’d been warned by a Colombian living in Colombia “Don’t come. It’s too dangerous”.  I didn’t know why I was going. But for whatever reason I’d chosen to ignore the Colombian’s advice and be on that plane to Colombia.

I was on the last of the 4 plane rides that took me to Colombia, by then in Spanish speaking territory. The same plane I’m about to get on again now. I looked around at the people and noticed that every other tourist on my last 3 plane rides had arrived at their destinations and departed by now. Why wasn’t anyone else going on to Colombia?  What the hell was I doing going to Colombia?  About that time I started to feel anxious.

The Orishas Remedy

Atypically for me I grabbed the airline headphones to try and find some music that might help soothe my anxiety, or at least maybe help me progress my Spanish faster.

A few moments later, to my absolute delight, I heard the sweet musical sounds of Orishas coming through the head phones. It was a totally unique mix of traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms with hip hop beats, scratching, really cool raps and beautiful melodic male vocals.

Orishas - www.beaveronthebeats.comThat was my first beautiful taste of Latin fusion music (Orishas are Cuban, based in Europe since the late 1990’s).

It woke me up to the fact that I was about to enter and explore a whole new magical world of Latin fusion music sounds.  When I realised that, my Colombian anxiety instantly transformed into excitement and a smile.

The rest of my Colombian & other Latin fusion music story is history. Part of that history definitely includes hours and hours of Orishas music listening and dancing pleasure.  The future will too.

The Music

Have a listen to some sample tracks from the Orishas albums. Try to imagine all the extra sounds you’d hear in the music if you didn’t have to listen in MP3 format. Maybe you’ll buy the CDs and that will become part of your listening and dancing future?

Orishas music is by the way, a perfect illustration of the distinct fusion music I was trying to explain in WTF is fusion music anyway Beaver?.

 

A Lo Cubano (1999)

A Lo Cubano (1999)

04 A Lo Cubano

10 Canto Para Elew Y Chango

 

Emigrante_Album_Cover_  Orishas_2002_Beaver_On_The-Beats

Emigrante (2002)

06 Niños

08 Gladiadores

 

El_Kilo_Album_Cover_Orishas_2005_Beaver_On_The_Beats

El Kilo (2005)

08 Al Que No Le Guste

11 La Calle

 

Antidiotico_Album_Cover_Orishas_2007_Beaver_On_The-Beats

Antidiotico (2007) Essentially a ‘best of” album

Cosita_Buena_Album_Cover_  Orishas_2008_Beaver_On_The_Beats

Cosita Buena (2008)

01 Cosita Buena

09 Machete

To Colombia with a Smile

Orishas was a top quality introduction to Latin fusion music – and are one of my all time favourite musical finds. I remember them today, because exactly 6 years ago they sent me to Colombia with a big smile on my face.

Orishas - www.beaveronthebeats.com

So then, HOLA COLOMBIA again!  I come with a smile this time too, because I know we’re definitely going to share many delightful musical experiences in the coming months. Hopefully lots of them will be fusion ones.

P.S . Sadly, Orishas is no longer  – but the 5 albums remain forever after, and are available to buy.

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