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2005 Festival

The Performers:

Rahim AlHaj (Iraq)
The Bills (Canada)
Black Eagle (Jemez Pueblo/New Mexico)
Majek Fashek and the Prisoners Of Conscience (Nigeria)
The Fula Flute Ensemble (Guinea/Mali/Canada/US)
Marta Gomez and Los Changos (Colombia/Argentina)
Markus James and Wassonrai (US/Mali)
Los Reyes de Albuquerque (New Mexico)
Lura (Cape Verde/Portugal)
Niyaz (Iran/US)
noJazz (France)
Samarabalouf (Gypsy/France)
Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company (New Mexico)


2005 Press


Rahim AlHaj (Iraq)

[photo]Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud at age nine.  His talent was immediately recognized and he quickly began studying under legendary oud masters.  In 1990, Rahim graduated from the Institute of Music in Baghdad and soon after immigrated to Syria and Jordan, forced out of his homeland due to his political activism against the Saddam Hussein regime.  In 2000, he came to United States as a political refugee and has lived in Albuquerque ever since. 

Rahim's music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions are about the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country.  Rahim is recording four new CD's in 2005, including a recording of traditional Iraqi oud music for Smithsonian Folkways, new compositions with a string quartet and a live duo recording with sitar player Umjad Ali Khan.


The Bills (Canada)

[photo]From the beautiful West Coast of Canada comes this extraordinary quintet, renowned among folk music fans of all ages for their instrumental virtuosity, lush vocal arrangements, exuberant live performances, evocative songwriting, and refreshingly innovative interpretations of traditional tunes from around the globe.

Drawing musical inspiration from a broad range of North American traditions, a mélange of European stylings, rhythms of Latin America, and melodies of the wandering Romany peoples, The Bills have forged a musical style all their own that transcends musical boundaries and defies simple categorization. With three main writers in the band, The Bills have developed a glorious and growing repertoire of songs that speak of their own part of the world.

Their third release Let Em Run secured their place as one of the most inventive and talented acts on the North American and Western European folk music scene. Let Em Run has generated enormous praise from critics and fans alike, and was nominated for the 2005 Canadian JUNO award for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year. The Bills are ready to take you on a joyous musical ride, so get on board and experience Canada's foremost roots music sensation.


Black Eagle (Jemez Pueblo/New Mexico)

[photo]Black Eagle is from the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico. Malcom Yepa formed the group in 1989 after a family trip to Lame Deer, Montana, where family friend Jimmy Little Coyote taught him the protocols and ways of the Powwow world.  Malcom shared this knowledge with his brother and cousins. The group of teenagers eagerly took on the challenge of learning popular Powwow songs and was soon composing original songs in their own Towa language.

Black Eagle's began recording in 1999 and since then, has released a new record every year, to greater and greater acclaim.  Their sixth album, Life Goes On, was a collection of round dances and hand drum songs dedicated to Fidel Fragua, one of the original members of the group who was unfortunately called back to the Spirit World earlier that year.  This album was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Their follow up, Flying Free, captured both the Grammy for Best Native American Music Album and the Native American Music Award for Best Powwow Album.  Black Eagle continues to record at the same pace, releasing a compilation CD with Cozad and Red House in 2004 and garnering another Grammy nomination for their 2005 release Straight Up Northern.

Black Eagle will be joined at ¡Globalquerque! by the Black Eagle dancers.


Majek Fashek and the Prisoners of Conscience (Nigeria)

Majek FashekAfrican reggae star Majek Fashek has been called a prophet and a poet, and has become one of Africa's greatest singers and musicians with his powerful world beat sound.  Majek incorporates his core influences (Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Jimi Hendrix), seamlessly meshing roots, rock, reggae and Afrobeat into a unique signature sound called kpangolo. Majek describes it as “the sound of many cultures coming together.”

Majek Fashek has always sung from the soul about the political and social struggles he has faced in his long and winding road from Nigeria to the U.S.  He first attracted international attention in 1987 when his song, "Send Down The Rain" seemed to coax a rainstorm that ended one of the worst droughts in Nigeria' s history. Performing at an outdoor theater, he saw the thirsty crowd yearning for just a few drops of water. No one could imagine the possibility of a downpour, but as Majek sang the lyric "the sky looks misty and cloudy; it looks like the rain's gonna fall today," clouds gathered in the sky, thunder cracked and rain soaked the barren ground. Since that momentous occasion, Fashek has become one of Africa's most revered contemporary musical performers, rivaling Afro-reggae compatriots Alpha Blondy and Lucky Dube in recognition and popularity around the world.


The Fula Flute Ensemble (Guinea/Mali/Canada/US)

Fula Flute EnsembleThe Fula Flute Ensemble was founded in New York City in 1999 and is composed of some of the finest African and African-oriented musicians in North America. Its jazz-style approach to mostly traditional Mande repertoire makes an otherwise foreign idiom sound strangely familiar.

The ensemble's music focuses on the tambin, the traditional wood flute of the Fulani people of the Fouta Djalon highlands of Guinea. The tambin is a little-known instrument outside of West Africa. There, it is revered for the profound effect it has on listeners, often bringing them to tears with its haunting sound and melodies that reach deep inside one's soul. The tambin is often encountered as one travels through the back country... it emanates from the forest as if the song of a spirit. The lead soloist of the Fula Flute Ensemble is Bailo Bah, a master of the tambin. Every one of his breaths is infused with vitality as his exhalations move in rhythm with the music infusing it with his rich and profound timbre.

Named for the Fulani style of playing that features huffing, whooping and singing through the tambin, the group is led by a pair of tambin players and rounded out with kora (gourd harp), balafon (wooden xylophone), upright bass and vocals, creating a mesmerizing multi-dimensional musical interplay.


Marta Gomez and Los Changos (Colombia/Argentina)

Marta GomezMarta started her musical studies at the age of six in her native Colombia when she entered the Liceo Benalcazar choir, becoming its soloist for ten years. In 1993 Marta moved to the capital of her country to continue her musical studies at the Javeriana University before entering the Berklee College of Music in 1999.

In 2001 Marta recorded a self-titled CD and in 2003 she released Solo es vivir, chosen by The Boston Globe as one of the 10 best albums of the year.  Marta not only traverses a whole range of Colombian cumbias and bambucos, Argentine zambas, Cuban sones and Peruvian landos but she also writes the kind of melodies and refrains that translate across whatever language she is singing in.

Marta Gomez and her group perform a repertoire composed entirely of original songs based on a fascinating variety of rhythms from all over Latin America including Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Argentina mixed with jazz and pop elements.Originally from Colombia, the singer started to compose songs exploring her roots, but when she met Argentinean musicians Julio Santillan, Franco Pinna and Fernando Huergo, (Los Changos) they decided to share their musical backgrounds to create a distinctive blend of music that reflects the sound and culture of South America.


Markus James and Wassonrai (US/Mali)

Markus James and Wassonrai"Spare, moody, and beautiful, it builds a bridge between continents, and takes the blues home."

"A hypnotic journey through time that goes all the way to the heart of the blues."

Markus James has traveled extensively in Mali over the years collaborating with traditional Wassoulou and Sonrai musicians to create an infectious and unique blues-based American - Malian cross-cultural collaboration. Markus performs with Malian artists playing kamele n'goni (the 8-stringed hunter's harp of the Wassoulou people), kurubu and njarka violin of the Sonrai people, as well as calabash and bolon (3-stringed gourd bass). The vocals alternate between Bambara, Sonrai, and English.  The result is music that is haunting, soulful and inspired and as timeless as it is innovative.


Los Reyes de Albuquerque (New Mexico)

Los Reyes de AlbuquerqueRoberto Martinez was born and raised in the farming village of Chacon in the mountains of northern New Mexico, a New Mexican Hispanic culture. His musical odyssey began at the age of 6 when his uncle fashioned him a guitar from a gallon gasoline container with wire for strings.

In 1960 Martinez and his wife moved to the Albuquerque area and a year later he founded Los Reyes de Albuquerque, a group that played a wide range of Mexican music favored by New Mexicans. During this period Martinez began composing corridos, or ballads, on contemporary topics, including a local Vietnam War hero and the NASA Challenger tragedy. He also founded two record labels dedicated to the dissemination of New Mexican Hispanic music.

The Martinez's raised five children, all of who took up music. In particular, their son Lorenzo showed an interest in the old melodies of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. At the age of 15, he started recording albums of traditional New Mexican music, which are now recognized as pioneering efforts in documenting and disseminating the regional Hispanic musical tradition of New Mexico.

Roberto and Lorenzo were named NEA National Heritage award winners in 2003.  Their music has been preserved on Smithsonian Folkways recordings and was recently included in the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Corridos Sin Fronteras/Ballads Without Borders.  The current incarnation of Los Reyes de Albuquerque is a mutli-generational ensemble consisting of Roberto Martinez, Ray Flores, Angela Perez, Tony Ordono, Stanley Guiterez, and Robert David Martinez, Jr.


Lura (Cape Verde/ Portugal)

luraThe music of Cape Verde—an archipelago 300 miles west of Dakar, Senegal—is a music of emigration.  While the island nation's best-known singer is Cesaria Evora, a young singer born and raised in Lisbon's émigré community is presenting once-hidden Cape Verdean styles to American and European audiences. Her name is Lura.

The first European colonial town in Africa was founded in Cape Verde in 1462, three decades before Columbus set sail for the Americas. Cape Verde's music reflects the mix of Portuguese and West African roots. But since traveling between Cape Verde's ten islands is expensive, the populations on each island are distinct with their own personality and dialect. Cesaria Evora—from the island of Sao Vicente—is known for the European-inflected mornas and the faster-paced coladeras. Lura is part of a new generation of musicians rediscovering the hidden traditions of her ancestral homeland. Her music is inspired by the styles of Santiago—the most African of the islands, andthe island from which her father came; styles such as batuku (polyrhythmic songs based on the beat associated with cleaning cloths, overlaid with improvisational vocals that often touch on politics and community) and funana (accordion-based dance songs), while mixing in R&B and jazz influences.  Lura fronts a lively 5-piece band who will be making their North American debut at ¡Globalquerque!!


Niyaz (Iran/USA)

NiyazVas vocalist Azam Ali, Axiom of Choice's multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian, and producer/remixer Carmen Rizzo have joined forces to create a globe-spanning sound that the trio calls "folk music for the 21st century." Known collectively as Niyaz, the trio's first eponymous release is a hypnotic, ecstatic, and eminently danceable album that represents the best of both traditional world music and electronic music. All three of these musicians have built impressive individual careers.

For these three artists, Niyaz represents a real departure from their usual avenues of artistic expression. Their first joint album weaves together ten beautiful, mystical poems written by some of the greatest Sufi poets of all time, with music accessible to a contemporary audience. Azam, who was born in Iran but largely raised in India, sings in both Farsi (the Persian language) as well as in Urdu, a language widely spoken in India and in Pakistan. The music, too, represents cultural blendings of the highest order, crossing back and forth over centuries of musical expression to combine ancient instruments, rhythms, and tonalities with brand new sounds. Mingling the textures of traditional acoustic music with new electronica, Niyaz represents a finely-tuned balance that ushers in a new era of artistic possibilities for Iranian music.


noJazz (France)

noJazz"Is noJazz the future of Jazz?"
Le Monde

Find out for yourself.  noJazz bring "Jazz" back to the syncopated, danceable rhythms, words, modalities and globally influenced melodies that gave the music universal appeal back in the day. The band's concept is very simple: to mix the original celebratory spirit of jazz with hypnotic rhythms and contemporary sounds. Acoustic and Jungle, Trip Hop and Fanfares, world music rhythms, samples, funk and, yes, jazz happily mingle with drum and bass to shape a new musical vocabulary.

The noJazz live shows are events, with this funky, rocking Parisian electro-jazz five-piece dance band creating an on-the-spot party whereever they play.


Samarabalouf (Gypsy/France)

SamarabaloufA delightfully crazy music trio hailing from France and playing original music in the spirit of world famous Gypsy jazz star Django Reinhardt and his rhythmic guitar. The recent addition of an accordion brings originality, humor, virtuosity and emotions to this happy and fun group.

A popular success in Europe, Canada and at Festival International de Louisiane (April 2004), Samarabalouf has released 3 CDs combining influences as diverse as calypso, blues, rock and roll, Middle Eastern, ska and Arabic themes.


Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company (New Mexico)

YsatrosYjastros—the American Flamenco Repertory Company is a national touring company featuring top U.S. flamenco dancers under the direction of Joaquin Encinias. Joaquin is a fourth generation flamenco dancer and musician who received his earliest flamenco lessons listening to his grandmother Clarita Garcia de Aranda sing in her garden. He performed in Clarita's company at age 5 and became a soloist in his mother's company at age 12. Today, Joaquin is widely acclaimed as the premiere male flamenco dancer in the United States. His unique dance style is a dynamic blend of power, passion, technical mastery and elegance.

Yjastros is based out of the The National Institute of Flamenco (NIF) in downtown Albuquerque. NIF is a unique, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the art, culture and history of flamenco. NIF offers a full flamenco curriculum for all ages and experience levels through the National Conservatory of Flamenco Arts and hosts exceptional performances by world famous flamenco artists throughout the year.


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