Ba-ere Yotere Live on the African Gyil with Valerie Naranjo, Gyil; and Barry Olsen, percussion – Podcast 118

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Ba-Ere Yotere a master of the African Gyil performs live with great percussionists Valerie Naranjo  (also on Gyil)  and Barry Olsen.   We hung out at Valeries house and recorded a few songs as well as talking to Ba-Ere about his early days with a man I searched for but never found, the great Kakraba Lobi.

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Valerie Naranjo

 

Kane Mathis (Kora) and Brandon Terzic (Oud and Ngoni) Live! – Podcast 111

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Kane Mathis and Brandon Terzic performed live sets of incredible beauty of the NYC radio airwaves.  First Kane Mathis played solo  (on the 21-string Mandinka Harp) and then he was joined by Brandon on the Oud and later the Ngoni.

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Kane began taking trips to The Gambia, West Africa in 1997 and has continued rigorous study of the Mandinka Kora. Over the past ten years his performances have earned him recognition by the Gambian president, The Gambian minister of culture, and both national television and radio of The Gambia.

Kane’s primary kora teachers are Malamini Jobarteh of Brikama, The Gambia and Moriba Kouyate of The Gambia. The Jobarteh family remain one of The Gambia’s most important musical legacies. Tata Din din Jobarteh, Pa Bobo Jobarteh, and Siffai Jobarteh are the families current most visible exponents touring the world.

Brandon Terzic has performed in the states and Internationally, traveled to Morocco, Senegal and Egypt studying music, and playing with many incredible Musicians, amongst them Tomchess, Matt Kilmer, Matt Darriau, Rufus Cappodocia, Shane Shanahan, Luke Notary, Hassan Houkmoun, Peter Slavov, John Shannon, Gilad Dobrecky, Mal Stein, George Stathos, Sylvain Leroix, Tom Rossi, Max ZT and many many more. He currently teaches and performs in his band Xalam Project amongst other projects.

Both Kane and Brandon also perform on the Oud. 

 

 

 

 

Finding Fela! Femi Kuti and friends remember Fela Kuti – Podcast 110

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Fela used music as a weapon against injustice. He was beaten, arrested over 200 times, married 27 women and was buried in a glass coffin with a spliff in his hand. We’re still trying to get a handle on who he was and what he means. In this podcast we’ll be talking with his son Femi Kuti, Alex Gibney, Academy Award winning director of the new documentary “Finding Fela,” his friend and manager Rikki Stein and producer Stephen Handel. 

Noura Mint Seymali live with Jay Gandhi, Jeiche Ould Chighaly and Ehren Hanson – Podcast 108

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Podcast DownloadNoura Mint Seymali and Jeiche Ould ChighalyFresh from the inspiration of Ragas Live Festival, we tried our hand at a novel combination of styles an instruments.  Mauritania’s greatest singer, Noura Mint Seymali and her husband/guitarist, Jeiche Ould Chighaly performed live in studio with two Brooklyn-based Hindustani musicians Jay Gandhi (bansuri flute) and Ehren Hanson (Tabla).  They met at the ASAMAAN Festival of Music & Astronomy in the Gorée Island – Dakar, Sénégal on April 2013 but had never performed together until this day.

We also got a chance to share a track from Noura’s burning new album Tzenni.

Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries.  Born into a prominent line of Moorish griot, Noura began her career at age 13 as a supporting vocalist with her step-mother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba.  Trained in instrumental technique by her grandmother, Mounina, Noura mastered the ardine, a 9-string harp reserved only for women.  Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, Noura’s father and namesake, sparked her compositional instincts, himself a seminal scholar figure in Mauritanian music; studying Arab classical music in Iraq, devising the first system for Moorish melodic notation, adapting the national anthem, and composing many works popularized by his wife, Dimi.  Reared in this transitive culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb, and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists.

Fueled by the exploratory sound of her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly’s emotive psych guitar lines, Noura and Jeiche formed their first “fusion” band in 2004.  Jeiche, a master of the tidinit (aka. ngoni, xalam), brings the force of yet another important line of Moorish griot to bear, translating the tidinit’s intricate phrasing to a modified electric guitar with heroic effect.  His unique sound, mirroring vocal lines and then refracting their melodies into the either, was born out of years presiding over wedding ceremonies, directing the dance often as the sole melodic instrument.  In addition to his work with Noura, Jeiche remains one of Nouakchott’s most sought after guitarists for traditional ceremonies.

After two albums – Tarabe (2006) & El Howl (2010) – released locally in Mauritania and years of experimentation adapting Moorish music to various pop formations, Noura Mint Seymali’s current band is a concise return to the roots, a light formation led by the “azawan,” a word in Hassaniya that refers to the collective ensemble of traditional instruments; the ardine, tidinit, guitar.  Backed by a declarative, funk-speaking rhythm section, composed of Ousmane Touré (bass) and Matthew Tinari (drums), the band has made a formidable debut on the international stage, releasing two EPs – Azawan (2012) & Azawan II (2013) – and touring widely.  The band’s first full-length album for the international market – TZENNI –  is set for release via Gliiterbeat Records on June 20, 2014 and to be followed by an extensive North American tour.

Though performances at events like globalFEST (USA), Festival-au-Desert (Mali), Hayy Festival (Egypt), Jeux de Francophonie (France) and Festival Timitar (Morocco) and collaborations with artists like Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Baaba Maal, the band is actively exposing Mauritanian roots music to the world.  In a rare merger of cultural authority and experimental prowess, Noura Mint Seymali applies the ancient musical traditions of the griot with a savvy aesthetic engagement in our contemporary moment, emerging as a powerful voice at nexus of a changing Africa.

 

 

Hassan Hakmoun – Live Performance and Interview from the Gnawa Master Musician (Podcast 85)

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A real thrill: One of the most legendary musicians of Morocco, Hassan Hakmoun stopped by WKCR to give a sneak peak of his new album, Spirit, and performed live with Said Damir.

Hakmoun at WKCR, with his daughter Aya.
Hakmoun at WKCR, with his daughter Aya.

As a master musician  whose vision and contributions have enabled a unique fusion and blending of traditions, cultures and genres in a world of ever-expanding global communication and exchange,  his work maintains its profound and enormous capacity to joyously inspire and heal the individuals and communities it reaches, as Hakmoun undoubtedly remains  a commanding and intriguing artist in the world music scene.

Hakmoun’’s musical origins are rooted in the African folk music of the Islamic Gnawa sect, descendants from West African slaves brought to North Africa several hundred years ago.  Their music combines complicated West African syncopations with long, sinuous North African melodies. Tracing their roots back to the Bilal, a freed slave known for his beautiful voice and believed to have been chosen by the Islamic prophet Mohammed to serve as the first muezzin to call the people of the faith to their prayers, Gnawa musicians often express their religious devotion through their music, using it to enter into spiritual trance states.

Since moving to the US in 1987 his music has absorbed elements from a variety of popular styles, from jazz and “world music” to neo-classical contemporary Western music and cerebral pop, resulting in a diverse, award-winning and critically acclaimed body of work.

It’s been 26 years since the talented vocalist and sintir player released Gift of the Gnawa. yet the time has been spent well. Hakmoun’s latest album, ‘Unity’ is the finest example of ritual music combined with the heart of American rock, soul and blues ever recorded.

Awa Sangho: The Golden Voice of Mali – Podcast 56

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As the world’s eyes turn to her hometown of Timbuktu, Awa Sangho, the golden voice of Mali,  visits NYC Radio Live.   Awa, who learned song-craft from Ali Farka Toure, has since toured the world with a who’s who of African Music:  Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Amadou and Mariam, Habibe Koite, Cheick Tidiane Seck,  Marc Cary, Bassekou Kouyate and Oumou Sangare. Her exquisite new album, yet to be released, was first heard this night by the listening audience of WKCR.
She is joined by master percussionist Daniel Moreno, who has collaborated with countless jazz and world music legends from George Benson and Roy Haynes to Chico Buargue.