Classical

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Richard Bona Mandekan Cubano
Fans call him ''The African Sting,'' critics call him a pro. Originally from Cameroon, Richard Bona remains true to his roots on Heritage , his 8th album as a leader and the first one with his Afro-Cuban band ''Mandekan Cubano.'' An energetic, life affirming and truly fantastic album, it explores the alchemy of African rhythms in Cuba. Richard Bona is a rare African artist to have established an unscalable reputation on an international platform, which has led to a host of awards along with his fruitful collaborations with colleagues Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, John Legend and Stevie Wonder.
Richard Bona Mandekan Cubano
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Stephen Marley
Fruit of Life is the second installment of Stephen Ragga Marley's two part series, following Revelation Part I: The Root of Life (2011). Whereas The Root of Life is more a traditional roots reggae album, The Fruit of Life will utilize a diversified sonic palette to express the far-reaching impact Jamaican music has had on various genres, especially hip hop. Produced by Marley, Fruit of Life boasts 18 new tracks and features a variety of guest collaborations with Rick Ross, Pit Bull, Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley, Iggy Azalea, Waka Flocka Flame, Dead Prez, Rakim, DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, Black Thought (of The Roots), Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Capleton, Ky-Mani Marley, Jo Mersa and more.
Stephen Marley
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Reggae Gold 2016 / Various
Major street visibility campaigns in NYC, Miami, Toronto and London, ENG to support launch to include: Subway poster campaign Street postering, flier distribution at all major Caribbean events beginning May 15th Digital display, search and banner ad campaigns
Reggae Gold 2016 / Various
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Rough Guide
New Orleans is widely seen as the birthplace of jazz, where African slaves created groundbreaking music that fused elements from both Africa and Western traditions. By the twentieth century, jazz (and subsequent African-based musical forms including soul, funk, and Cuban rumba) travelled back across the Atlantic, first through recordings and later by artists on tour. There, African musicians immediately recognized the source roots, adapted some, altered others, and in the process, created entirely new musical forms. In Ethiopia, one of the first major musicians to lay the groundwork for Ethio-jazz was Nerses Nalbandian. His family escaped the Armenian genocide in Turkey, and settled in Ethiopia, where Nalbandi would become a band leader for many burgeoning Ethio-jazz musicians in the 1950s. Largely credited as being the greatest innovator of Ethio-jazz and exposing it to the world, Mulatu Astatke was born in 1943 in Jimma, Ethiopia. He travelled to Wales in the late 1950s to study engineering and to the chagrin of his parents, Astatke began to take an interest in music, first studying Western classical music before heading to Boston’s Berklee College of Music to formally study jazz. It was there where Astatke took the fusion of traditional Ethiopian folk music and American jazz to a new level. Astatke explained its roots to the BBC, ‘There are tribes in the south called the Derashe. They are surrounded by people who play five tone music but they have created a diminished 12-tone scale. Diminished scales are very important in jazz music especially for improvising. We learn how Charlie Parker came up with diminished scales as well as Claude Debussy and Bach. But always on my mind is the question of who were first with the scale, these people or the Derashe tribe?’ By the late 1960s, Astatke decided to return to Ethiopia in order to cultivate Ethio-jazz in his homeland. At first, his vibraphone-based folk-jazz was considered quite unorthodox. However, within years, it transformed the capital, which came to be known as ‘Swinging Addis’. The late 1960s and early 1970s were known as the ‘golden age’ in Addis Ababa, as countless jazz orchestras and ensembles thrived in the city, led by the innovations of Mulatu Astatke and saxophonist extraordinaire, Getatchew Mekuria. Addis Ababa was in full swing in 1973 when American jazz legend Duke Ellington came to town and performed together with Mulatu Astatke. Much of the Ethiopian jazz scene came crashing down the following year, in 1974, when a Soviet-backed military junta known as the Derg overthrew the government. The consequences of the coup and subsequent ‘Red Terror’ were profound. It left tens of thousands dead and military curfews virtually destroyed the thriving musical club scene. When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, the Derg lost its backing and was subsequently overthrown. That decade saw a rebirth in Ethiopia. The budding democracy quickly became a thriving home of musical creativity. Ethiopian Jazz hit new global audiences through CD releases that included the Ethiopiques series and several Rough Guide albums. Astatke’s captivating soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers in 2005 brought Ethio Jazz to even wider audiences. Today, Astatke is still active, and his creativity has inspired a new generation of artists in Ethiopia, Europe, North America and beyond.
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Rough Guide
Encompassing the marabi, kwela and jive styles of mid-twentieth century urban South African music, this compilation covers the sounds, styles, assemblages and musicians that reside under the umbrella of South African jazz – from the golden age of 1960s and 1970s to the new wave of musicians in the twenty years of post-apartheid democracy. Recently re-issued releases from musician-in-exile Ndikho Xaba demonstrate the strong transatlantic dialogue between the civil rights movements in the USA and the anti-apartheid struggle through the language of jazz, with the rare single ‘KwaBulawayo’ as performed by his group The African Echoes. The Sowetan spiritual Afro-jazz of Batsumi on the track ‘Emampndweni’ contributes to the narrative of music at home during the height of apartheid in the 1970s and similarly slots into the category of undeservedly lesser-known artistry. From a period considered by some as the golden era of South African Jazz, these artists and their compositions are pertinent and vital reminders of the intrinsic link between this music and the dismantling of oppression. One of the most prominent figures of the South African jazz movement is the composer and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, whose career spans over 50 years, including a performance at Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Presidential inauguration. Having played alongside Abdullah Ibrahim, the late Zim Ngqawana was a leading proponent of the exploration of free improvisation. While retaining South African jazz roots, Ngqawana incorporates traditional and avant-garde elements in his performances. This is prominently illustrated with the rasping vocals and volatile harmonica on the track ‘Ebhofolo’. Gospel, hip-hop and electronic music now dominate mainstream music in South Africa. But against this backdrop, the new school of South African jazzers have embraced the diversity of musical output, with many making the crossover themselves. Bokani Dyer regularly performs with fellow band member and bassist Shane Cooper, in his electronic music alias Card On Spokes. Furthermore, it could be argued the trajectory of popular music in South Africa over the last twenty years is personified by Thandiswa Mazwai, who rose to prominence through her work with kwaito group Bongo Maffin in the mid-1990s, before going on to encompass gospel and delve into maskanda and electronic music in her solo career. Featured here is Thandiswa’s take on the South African Jazz standard ‘Ntyilo Ntyilo’. South African jazz may now sit on the fringes of popular culture in South Africa, but you only have to look at the success of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Joy Of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg and the National Youth Jazz Festival to recognise the legacy of the pioneering musicians and the continuation of their collaborative spirit in the wealth of burgeoning jazz talent in South Africa.
Rough Guide
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Rough Guide
The 1920s was undoubtedly the era of the female blues singer. With their origins in the worlds of vaudeville and jazz music, they enjoyed great commercial success throughout the decade, selling a considerable number of records and packing out clubs and theatres alike. Never has there been another time when women so dominated the genre and made the blues so much their own. Mamie Smith was the first to emerge from the vaudeville circuit and became the first African-American artist to make a blues recording in 1920 with the featured ‘Crazy Blues’. The immense success of this recording opened the door for many others to follow such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Ida Cox. Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith were undoubtedly the most captivating and expressive of what became known as the ‘classic blues’ singers. Both dressed in flamboyant style and their powerful voices and forceful personalities set the standard for recorded blues, selling well among a southern rural audience familiar with their travelling tent shows and musical revues. Drawing upon some of the finest jazz talent of the early and mid-1920s for studio accompaniment, the classic blues of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and other popular blues singers was always full of double entendre or hidden and multiple meanings. Although an outcrop of Southern rural blues, an expression of the poor and oppressed, the sequined glamour of the classic blues was seen as a welcome contrast to drab lives. So while the blues until the 1920s was largely local, rural, Southern and male, these women were urban performance artists, travelling and performing in the new speakeasies and nightclubs of a dynamic era. The classic blues had a great impact also on important rural bluesmen, and here both Kate McTell and Bertha Lee are accompanied by their illustrious bluesmen husbands Messrs Blind Willie McTell and Charley Patton. Likewise, Blind Blake provides typically nimble and ingenious accompaniment for Irene Scruggs – commonly known as ‘Chocolate Brown’ – on ‘Itching Heel’ which demonstrates sublime interplay between the two. These vintage tracks highlight the significant role that women have played in the more rural aspects of early blues, which is further demonstrated by the haunting voice of Lottie Kimbrough whose self-penned song ‘Rolling Log Blues’ has subsequently been recorded by many important blues performers. During the 1930s, blues music underwent a radical change as larger-than-life female singers fell out of favour with the public and male guitarists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton and Tampa Red started to capture people’s imagination. Memphis Minnie, though, transcended this change in the public's musical tastes, as her powerful vocals commanded authority and her six-string skills rivalled and, in many cases, surpassed those of her male contemporaries. Mattie Delaney was another accomplished guitarist whose variant of Tommy Johnson’s ‘Big Road Blues’ shows how she possessed one of the most remarkable voices in country blues. Geeshie Wiley is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever recorded country blues singers whose style is totally unconventional. Here she teams up with her female compatriot Evie Thomas for a wonderful rendition of ‘Pick Poor Robin Clean’. When the Depression effectively ended the careers of many of the classic blues artists including Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, the blues revivalists were ultimately looking for an "authenticity" that they equated with the country blues, particularly that of the Mississippi Delta region, so many of the blues queens of the 1930s were largely forgotten. This welcome collection deservedly revives the memory of both the urban and rural female blues singers who played a pivotal role in the development of the blues.
Rough Guide
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