Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Masters Podcast 208

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This was an amazing experience. We got to hang in the studio with two legends of Afro-Cuban Jazz: Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill! After the two recorded an improvised set we got to sit down and talk music. We also get to hear some music from Bobby’s record celebrating his 50 years of creating music in Havana and NYC: 50 TH Aniversario, De La Habana A Nueva York. 
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 ARTURO O’FARRILL, pianist, composer, educator, and founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City.  His debut album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a first GRAMMY Award nomination in 2006. His next album Song for Chico, earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009.  The 2015 release of The Offense of the Drum was yet another Grammy Award winner.  Arturo was, in addition, the winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Cubadisco Award for The Offense of the Drum in 2015. His newest album release (August 21, 2015) is Cuba:The Conversation Continues on the Motéma label. This album’s Afro Latin Jazz Suite  was warded the 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Instrumental Composition.

Arturo received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. As his professional career began to expand, Arturo was the pianist with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983.  He then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

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BOBBY CARCASSES – Born into a Cuban family (his maternal grandfather worked as a diplomat in Jamaica at the time of his birth), Carcasses moved with his family back to Cuba aged four, where he was surrounded by the various forms of local music. However, he started out as an opera singer before switching to Cuban music and working as a vocalist at the famous Tropicana nightclub. It was here that he first began to experiment with incorporating scat and bebop influences into his vocal style. By 1960 he was also known as a dancer and athlete (he was Cuba’s Long Jump Champion for that year) and as a multi-instrumentalist (playing trumpet, bass, congas and drums). Later in the decade he travelled, including a year in Paris playing with resident jazz greats Bud Powell and Kenny ‘Klook’ Clarke.

On his return to Cuba Carcasses formed his own jazz group, as well as acting in films and television. In 1980 he organized the first Jazz Plaza Festival, bringing to Cuba a host of international artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden and Airto Moreira. The festival became an annual event, with Carcasses and his band performing each year. He also toured extensively throughout Europe and the USA, performing alongside Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and many other big names of Latin jazz. Jazz Timbero was recorded in Havana in 1997 with an all-star Cuban big band (including members of Irakere and Los Van Van), playing a funky mix of Latin and jazz. His son is Roberto Carcasses the jazz pianist.

 

T. H. Vikku Vinayakram: Master of the Ghatam – Podcast 207

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This was an amazing experience!  We sit down with one of the great families of rhythm for a live performance and interview.  TH Vikku Vanyakram and family will be back in NYC, starting Oct. 24th teaching an incredible workshop on rhythm.   Recorded at the East Indian Music Academy, this is a legendary lineup:

TH Vikku Vanyakram,  Uma Shankar -ghatam

Selva GaneshSwaminathan – khanjira, konnakol.

A. Ganesan – morsing

Avirodh Sharma, tabla

Left to Right: A. Ganesan, Avirodh Sharma, Swaminathan, TH Vikku Vanyakram, Selva Ganesh, David Ellenbogen, Uma Shankar

Special thanks to Avorodh Sharma for expertly mixing and hosting us.

TH Vikku Vanyakram 

Rhythm has always been a quintessential facet of Carnatic music, and in the modern generation of percussionists, perhaps no other individual has mastered the intricacies and the laya endowments of the ghatam to such a great degree as Sri Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram. T.H. Vinayakram, affectionately known as Vikku, has transformed himself into an international celebrity with his imaginative and beautiful drumming on the ghatam.

Well known as a Carnatic artiste, Vikku came to international prominence as part of the famous fusion group Shakti, and went on to participate in many other international fusion music projects.


V. Selvaganesh

Selvaganesh Vinyakaram is the world’s premiere performer on the kanjira, the South Indian frame drum. The T.H. Vinayakram,  he is also a veteran of the fusion group ‘Remember Shakti’ with John McLaughlin. His solo album Soukha (2006) featured all of the members of Remember Shakti, as well as his father and Masters of Percussion sitarist Niladri Kumar.

Selvaganesh is also a major force in Tamil film making circles, composing songs in a beguiling mixture of genres, from folk to hip-hop to romantic ballads, and backed by a wide array of players from all over the world.
Avirodh Sharma is one of the leading Tabla Players from the West Indies and the United States. He is featured on Zee TV, TV Asia, NPR radio on the leonard lopatte show, NY Daily News, and at the end of 2015 making an appearance on the Starz Network Season Premiere, “flesh and bone”..

Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound

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 Amir ElSaffar brings his deep knowledge of Iraqui maqam to the context of jazz, creating a fresh, new, vibrant style of music.  The multi-instrumentalist (vocalist, trumpet player and dulcimer) joined me for an intimate, at home, interview.  He shares tracks from his stunning new album Crisis. His  17 piece ensemble is coming to Pioneer Works this Friday!

Vieux Farka Toure Live! Podcast 205

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itunes-button1This was a real incredible experience.  We got sit down and hang with Vieux Farka Toure, talk to him and record a little acoustic music…AND record his entire live set at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan with his
smoking band!  Many thanks to World Music Institute and Le Poisson Rouge for making this happen.  This podcast will air on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY at 11pm Sunday Oct 2nd and stream and www.wkcr.org.

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Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father dissaproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician. He know tours internationally with many acclaimed records to his name.

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Rajasthani Folk Music Live at WKCR Podcast 204

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Vocalists Sattar Khan Langa, Manjoor Khan Manganiyar  join us at WKCR for a live in-studio set.  The music from this region is recognized around the world for its virtuosity and beauty.  The chance to see and hear real live Rajasthani folk music is really rare and these guys really blew us away.

Tonight on WKCR – Vieux Farka Touré/ Maya Kamaty/ Sattar Khan Langa, Manjoor Khan Manganiyar

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Sunday Oct. 2 WKCR 89.9 FM-NY will be broadcasting the following programs produced by NYC Radio Live.  Download the podcasts here.

7-9pm
Live Rajasthani Folk music on Raag Aur Taal.
Vocalists Sattar Khan Langa, Manjoor Khan Manganiyar  join us at WKCR for a live in-studio set.  The music from this region is recognized around the world for its virtuosity and beauty.
11pm-2am
Vieux Farka Touré and Maya Kamaty on In All Languages

We’ll hear a live perfomance and interview with one and only Vieux Farka Touré and later be joined by Maya Kamaty a charismatic singer and mutli-instrumentalist who brings her music all the way from the Indian Ocean.

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father dissaproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician. He know tours internationally with many acclaimed records to his name.

Maya Kamaty, a dazzling singer and band leader from the La Reunion, a small Island near Madagaskar.  After an amazing show at New York’s Sub Rosa we got to sit down with her and learn more about Maloya music from the Indian Ocean.