Global Drum Project
featuring Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain,
and Sikiru Adepoju (USA/India/Puerto Rico/Nigeria)
Koko Taylor & Her Blues Machine (USA)
aneXo al Norte (New Mexico, USA)
Anjani's Kathak Dance of India
Baka Beyond (UK/Cameroon)
Lankandia Cissoko (Senegal)
Dragon Art Studio (China)
Fiamma Fumana (Italy)
Marta Gómez (Colombia)
Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco)
Assane Kouyate (Senegal)
La Familia Vigil (New Mexico, USA)
Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet)
Kevin Locke (Lakota/Anishinabe Nations, USA)
Shelley Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne, USA)
Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic)
Chango Spasiuk (Argentina)
"Last night was one of the best musical experiences I have ever encountered in my life..."
—Michael A. (Placitas, NM)
"Thanks again for an AMAZING weekend. I have been to many global music events, including a handful of WOMAD festivals, and ¡Globalquerque! ranks among the best. Awesome venue, world-class artists, friendly vibe... it was outstanding. I hope you're truly proud of the accomplishment of pulling it all together... get some rest and smile when you think about all of the wonderful people you brought together for that magical weekend!"
—Matthew Moon, KXCI-FM (Tucson, AZ)
"Tom, you are wonderful and we thank you so much for the honor of being a part of ¡Globalquerque! I'm still on cloud nine from the experience. I'm telling everyone I know and don't know about the festival, we will not miss it next year!!! Everyone was very kind, helpful and relaxed, it really made our time there so enjoyable. I'll have to say it was one of the best music festivals I've been to. Hope you have a great week... all the best to you and staff"
—Shelley Morningsong, Festival Artist
"The band had a great time, and the festival exceeded all our (high)
expectations. I just wanted to let you know what a fine job everyone
involved did, and how grateful we were to interact with such a competent,
—Peter Costello, production manager, Global Drum Project
"¡Globalquerque! is one of the best events we have in ABQ. I was so impressed by the set-up and by the caliber of talent there. I have never been to a world music festival before and now I am hooked. Congratulations to Neal and Tom for a fabulous event!"
—Shamaine Giannini, Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau
"I just wanted to reiterate in writing my delight in being able to participate in ¡Globalquerque! '07!
The spirited performances and workshops and general sharing made this perhaps the best festival I have attended in 30 years of touring!!"
—Kevin Locke, Festival Artist
"Everyone I was with and everyone I met was enthralled by the selection of music that could be savored in just one evening, let alone over the whole festival. As with last year, the headline act was great. But the really remarkable treats were music I would never normally think of listening to, and would therefore have denied myself great beauty and joy. Such as Yungchen [Lhamo] and Ilgi. I feel blessed to have seen and heard them—and embarrassed to admit that I—along with many millions of others, I suspect—never knew that Latvians were known as the Singing People. Thank you for bringing us these aural and visual treats. I'm already looking forward to next year."
"It was truly a pleasure working with you. Your good will and true love of the arts permeated the festival and was felt by all. I can't tell you how much happiness it brought to Puerto Plata and Lankandia to feel so honored and appreciated."
—Benjamin de Menil, IASO Records
"Thank you! We enjoyed the party and the excuse to get outta dodge for the weekend! Beautiful facilities there. I wish Boulder had a theater like the Journal Theater! And seeing Yungchen [Lhamo] and Hassan [Hakmoun] together was quite a treat."
—Elaine Erb, KGNU-FM, Boulder, CO
"Congratulations on a job well done! Cheri and I had a great time Friday and Saturday and Cheri has already marked her calendar for next year's ¡Globalquerque! I've only heard positive feedback from everyone I've talked to who attended."
—George K. (Placitas, NM)
"The first time we went to New Mexico to perform was on 2005 to participate at the ¡Globalquerque! music festival. There we met wonderful people and shared the stage with amazing musicians of all origins. We went to perform again at the ¡Globalquerque! 2007 festival, sharing the night with other great artists and seeing friends... the concert was incredible, from the first song I felt as if I knew everybody at the audience, it is hard to explain how you feel singing with such as beautiful energy coming from outside the stage. it was truly, a magical evening and I cannot wait to go back very soon!"
—Marta Gomez, Festival Artist
"It is so enlightening to be exposed to new and different music. Every performance was a gem but I was especially taken by Yungchen Lhamo, beautiful voice and presence who was able to instill a sense of peace in a large gathering of people, and Fiamma Fumana, a group that had energy to spare and engaged the audience with their music. These two performers were unknown to me but now are on my list of favorites."
"There was not a dull moment during the two days. I can't wait to see who gets invited next year. I realized Albuquerque has the best dancers in North America."
Other ¡Globalquerque! Programming:
¡Globalquerque! at The Guild (MAP) - a collection of international music-related movies and videos, Sept. 18-20. The Guild will be screening New Mexico premiers of Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan and Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time (view trailer), along with world music videos and shorts, including videos from ¡Globalquerque! performers. Details are available here.
Thanks to US-Cuba Cultural Exchange for supporting the premier of Los Zafiros.
Concerts around New Mexico, including:
- Baka Beyond presenting a free film screening and lecture/discussion about the Baka people of Cameroon at the Albuquerque Library Main Branch (501 Copper NW, Downtown) on Friday, September 21 at 10:30 AM.
- Dragon Art Studio presenting outreach performances in Magdalena, Silver City, Socorro and Albuquerque (Sept. 18 to 21).
- Puerto Plata at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces) on Sept. 20.
- Lankandia Cissoko at the Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe) in conjunction with the exhibit A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal on Sept. 23.
Anexo al Norte (New Mexico, USA)
Anexo al Norte, which means "Annex to the North," is a group of immigrants from Mexico who now reside in Albuquerque. Formed in 2004, the band includes Pedro Martinez on vocals; Isaias "Pollo" Martinez on vocals & acoustic bass; Elvis "Perro" Rodriguez on electric bass; Jimmy Murillo on accordion; Ivan Murillo on sax & percussion; and Jorge Murillo on drums. They have released two CDs: Al Control de los Exitos and NXO.
Anexo is fast becoming a regional favorite, regularly taking their high energy norteño show around the country to great aclaim. Norteño, which originated when the accordion sounds of German immigrants blended with the Mexican ranchera style, is one of the most popular musical styles of Northern Mexico and has become almost the de facto music of Mexican immigrants. As norteño gains popularity in the United States, the style continues to grow and evolve as bands bring new elements to the older traditions. Catch the latest wave of norteño being brewed right here in Albuquerque!
Kathak is a 4,000-year-old classical traditional dance form of northern India which combines facets of the ballet, opera, masque and pantomime. Anjani Ambegaokar, the founder of the Sundar Kala Kendra Dance School and the artistic director and choreographer of Anjani's Kathak Dance from India, received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship in 2004, the only Indian dancer to have received this honor.
The word kathak means "to tell a story," and the dancers tell stories of ancient mythology incorporating fast tempo barefoot rhythms with ankle bells and distinctive, graceful hand gestures and facial expressions. Anjani's Kathak Dance's performances include the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center outdoor festival in New York, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Asian Alaskan Festival in Anchorage.
If you are interested in kathak dance, drop by on Saturday at 3:00 for a free dance lesson with local dancer Mala Mateen. Details here.
Baka Beyond (Europe/Africa)
Baka Beyond were originally inspired by Martin Cradick & Su Hart's visits to the Baka Forest People in Cameroon. While there they played music with and recorded the Baka, resulting in the albums Heart of the Forest and Spirit of the Forest. The latter album helped define the term "world music" and pushed Baka Beyond into worldwide recognition. From these beginnings, recorded in a bedroom studio and based on live jams recorded while living with the Baka Pygmies in the rainforests of South-East Cameroon, Baka Beyond has evolved into a multicultural, dynamic live stage show. "Song and dance are used by the Baka for healing, for rituals, for keeping the community together and also for pure fun! We try to do the same in Baka Beyond," says Hart, Baka Beyond's lead singer.
The band's most recent release, Baka Live, was recorded in April and May 2006. Seven Baka Pygmy musicians made a historic visit to the U.K. to tour with Baka Beyond; for most of them it was their first journey outside their rainforest home and for all of them their first trip outside Africa. Their remarkable performances were captured on a digital multitrack to create a record of this unique tour.
Lankandia Cissoko (Senegal)
"Djele," which means "blood," is a musician caste of the Mande people of West Africa. The Cissoko clan, of which Lankandia is a distinguished elder, is the Djele family most closely associated with the kora, a calabash backed harp of particular importance to the Djele tradition. It was in fact a Cissoko ancestor who first invented the instrument, and the finest kora players are still said to come from the family. Lankandia plays the kora with the artistry and mastery of a true initiate. Kora playing is literally in his blood.
Lankandia grew up in Casamance, Senegal, where his grandfather, an émigré from Mali, is said to have been the first to introduce the kora. Lankandia's talent was recognized early on by the director of Senegal's national orchestra, and Lankandia was chosen to represent Senegal's Mande community in the prestigious Théâtre National Daniel Sorano. In his 20 years with Théâtre National, Lankandia toured the world's capitals as one of Senegal's cultural emissaries. The orchestra, composed of the most outstanding musicians from each of Senegal's many ethnic groups, also further exposed Lankandia to a diverse musical styles.
Lankandia eventually left Théâtre National to settle in New York City. He compares his travels to that of his grandfather before him, saying it is the role of the Djele to travel, to search for fortune and to spread Mande culture.
Dragon Art Studio (China)
Chinese puppetry has more than one thousand years of history. It began as a cultural ritual, and later became a form of entertainment to the royal family and common public. Chinese puppetry has developed tremendously over the years. It has combined artistic expression with detailed hand craft, traditional Chinese Opera movements and music, beautifully-engineered mechanical puppet parts and western technology to tell the story.
Dragon Art Studio is the only professional Chinese Puppet Theater in the U.S. Images of China blends puppetry and music with elegance, humor and special effects to create a beautiful theatrical event. Chinese rod puppetry, seldom seen here in America, is an ancient art form revered throughout China. Their puppet show will delight and enthrall the audience while giving a special insight into Chinese folklore and culture. Dragon Art puppeteers Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu were honored by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004, when they received a National Heritage Fellowship Award.
Fiamma Fumana (Italy)
Fiamma Fumana began as a studio project in 1999—a tribute to the female vocal tradition of Northern Italy (like the choirs of mondine, the rice gatherers who were all young girls) revitalized by a new generation and electronic dance music culture. The result is an intriguing blend of old Italian dance tunes played to new Italian dance grooves, traditional ballads and state-of-the art electronica. To these young urbanite Europeans, electronic beats make a natural bedrock for re-interpreting the songs of previous generations. Female vocals connect past to future with unforgettable pathos. One other key ingredient, a rare regional bagpipe called the piva Emiliana, adds an unexpected Celtic-sounding flavor to the mix. The result is clearly Italian yet broadly international in its appeal.
FF's first album, 1.0, was released in 1999 in Italy by Mescal and soon travelled beyond national borders. The core group had built up a young, predominantly female live band to play this material, and FF has since performed at world music festivals throughout North America and Europe. Their new album, Onda (If you can't ride the wave then you're gonna go unda!), was steered by producer Peter Walsh (Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, Pulp, Robert Plant, AfroCelt Sound System).
Global Drum Project featuring Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo and Sikiru Adepoju (USA/India/Puerto Rico/Nigeria)
Global Drum Project features Mickey Hart, NEA Heritage Fellow Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo. The musicians released their ground-breaking album Planet Drum in 1991 on the Rykodisc label and went on to earn the first-ever Grammy in the World Music category, as well as spending 26 weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart.
Sikiru Adepoju, whose specialty is the talking drum, is the protégé of the late Babatunde Olatunji from Nigeria, the man who introduced African drumming into popular American sensibilities. One of the great Latin percussionists of all time, Giovanni Hidalgo, brought in the flavor of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Finally, Zakir Hussain, the son of Allah Rakha (Ravi Shankar's tabla player and a mentor to Hart), blended in the magical sounds of classical India. Mickey Hart, of course, is best known as the percussionist for the Grateful Dead, but he is also the author of several books on the history and traditions of drumming. Hart serves on the Library of Congress National Recorded Sound Preservation Board and is known for reissues and other recordings with historical and cultural value.
"This is a deep drumming groove. We're taking the archaic rhythm worlds into outer space. Global Drum Project explores rhythm and noise; it's a sound yoga of processed acoustic percussion headed straight for the trance zone that becomes a dance of ancient and modern worlds. Deep drumming is a skeleton key into these realms." —Mickey Hart
Official press release, which has some nice history of the group.
Marta Gómez (Colombia)
Our first repeat performance. Marta stole our hearts during the inaugural ¡Globalquerque! and we are thrilled to have her back again this year.
Marta 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. Her Cantos de Agua Dulce (2004) was nominated for the Billboard Latin Music Awards as the best Latin Jazz Album of the year, and her most recently released album, Entre Cada Palabra, placed Marta Gómez as "The Best National World Music Artist of 2006" by the Boston Phoenix. In an interview on the National Public Radio, journalist Steve Inskeep said he admires Marta's capacity of "turning the bitter history of her native country into sweet music."
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. She 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. The singer started to compose songs exploring her Colombian 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.
Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco)
Hassan Hakmoun, originally from Morocco, is currently a New York-based musician who will take you into the mysterious world of the Gnawa. Former slaves originally from the Sudan who travelled to Morocco and converted to Islam, the Gnawa people of Morocco serve as intermediaries in the spirit world and also as entertainers. Hassan was raised in Marrakech and began to study the healing rituals of tagnawit, the Gnawa-related arts and lore, at a young age; by age four, he performed alongside snake charmers and fire-breathers on the streets of Marrakech. His travels led him to Europe and the U.S., where he has absorbed elements from a variety of popular styles including jazz, rock, funk, and hip-hop, and eventually to participate in several WOMAD tours, recordings with his fusion group Zahar and work with Peter Gabriel.
While still a youngster, Hakmoun chose the sintir as his main instrument. The sintir is a three-stringed lute with a body made of camel skin stretched over nut wood. The strings are pitched low, so the instrument can serve as the bass foundation, much like the Western string bass. But the tone of the sintir is sweet, so it is also well suited to carrying the melodic line of a composition. By drumming on the body, Hakmoun adds his own percussion, while also contributing vocals. Moreover, he is schooled in the traditional trance-inducing dances.
Iļģi is certainly one of the biggest names in the Baltic, banner carriers for the Latvian sound. The five-piece group has undergone many changes in the more than two decades since their start as part of the folk resurgence in Latvia at the beginning of the 80s. But it hasn't been always been easy: even their birth was difficult under Soviet rule. Band member Maris Muktupavels remembered being asked to go to the local KGB precinct in Riga for "friendly conversations" where he had to explain where he found the reference materials for their songs. And harrassment at work was common. Muktupavels's brother Valdis, an expert on Latvian folklore, set up a folklore division in the Latvian Conservatory of Music; it didn't last long. Violinist Ilga Reizniece had a degree in music that protected her, and Iļģi, from being classed as nonprofessional musicians, and thus banned.
With the fall of Communism, things have opened up a great deal, and Ilgi tour internationally, not just around the Baltic, but throughout Europe, the U.S., and even Canada. Their most recent show at home, in the Latvian capital of Riga, pulled one of the largest audiences in the city's history. The biggest change occurred when "Latvia regained its independence and suddenly tons of information on music throughout the world began pouring in," said bassist Gatis Gaujenieks. "Interests in Celtic music began to flower—World Music was accepted throughout the world. Members of Ilgi came and went, these new members obviously changed the sound of the band and brought their musical influences with them." Today, along with traditional Latvian instruments, you will hear percussion, guitars, accordions, electric bass and youthful sensibilities in touch with both the 15th and 21st centuries.
The Kouyate Twins come from a long family line of Griots (known as storytellers of history). The family's lineage starts in Mali and expands to Senegal, West Africa where the twins were raised and learned their family's history through song and dance. The duo has toured all over the globe as lead dancers with the National Ballet of Senegal and various famous African artists, including Youssou N'dour, Ami Koita and Baaba Maal.
The band will play a mix of traditional African and western instruments and feature the spectacular high-impact dancing and traditional African singing that Assane pulls off with amazing flair.
Along with performing they teach West African dance for children to adults at Maple Street Dance Space.
Hailing from the norteño village of El Rito, famed ethnomusicologist Cipriano Vigil and his family mix it up with a blend of old and new that always stays true to the spirit of New Mexico.
Along with traditional Spanish colonial folk songs and entriegas that mark such rites of passage as baptism, marriage, and death, Cipriano and his son, Cipriano Jr., and daughter, Felicita, play original compositions that put the norteño stamp on Nueva Canción, a Latin American musical genre birthed in the 1960s to speak folk with a political accent.
With guitar, fiddle, and words, the trio tells the story of northern New Mexicans' struggles for justice and cultural preservation.
Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet)
Since fleeing Tibet on foot in 1989, Yungchen Lhamo has emerged as the leading Tibetan vocalist on the world stage. From the quays of Sydney, Australia to the spotlight of Carnegie Hall, her a cappella performances have enchanted audiences in more than 70 countries since she began touring professionally in 1994.
Yungchen's name was given to her by a Tibetan lama when she was a baby and translates to "Goddess of Melody and Song." Since the release of her award-winning first album Tibetan Prayer, her music has met with critical praise worldwide, alternately described as "beautifully evocative," "mesmerizing," "spine-tingling," and "transcendent." Her songs take listeners on an emotive journey across plateaus and soaring over vistas. The West Australian raves: "That she sings without any accompaniment, and succeeds in holding the attention of the listener, places her in a special category. I cannot readily recall another singer capable of such a feat."
Kevin Locke (Lakota/Anishinabe Nations, USA)
Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin is his Lakota name, meaning "The First to Arise") is known throughout the world as a visionary Hoop Dancer, the preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator. Kevin is Lakota (Hunkpapa Band of Lakota Sioux) and Anishinabe. Kevin received training from many elders and relatives in the values, traditions and language of his native culture for which he works tirelessly. While his early instructions were received from his immediate family and community, from his extending family in every part of the world Kevin has learned many lessons in global citizenship and how we each can draw from our individual heritages to create a vibrant, evolving global civilization embracing and celebrating our collective heritage.
Kevin Locke is acknowledged to be the pivotal force in the now powerful revival of the indigenous flute tradition which teetered on the brink of extinction just twenty years ago. In 1990, Kevin was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) which recognized him as a "Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States."
Shelley Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne, USA)
Of Northern Cheyenne heritage and raised in the entertainment-rich climate of Southern California, Shelley Morningsong has been a performer on stage and screen since her early childhood. Over the years she has honed her craft working alongside performers such as Charlie Daniels, Juice Newton and most recently as a touring member of Native American superstar performer Robert Mirabal's group. Her original music and profound lyrics are filled with the essence of her Native American heritage.
"I feel my Indian brothers and sisters as well as many non-Indian brothers and sisters have such a deep need to learn Native ways due to their own longing to be connected to the earth and spirituality. I believe that we are all connected and that music is the language that speaks to all. Through my music I desire to touch people's hearts and change their lives," says Morningsong.
On her debut release, Out of the Ashes, award-winning producer Larry Mitchell augments Morningsong's captivating voice with sizzling electric guitar, bass, and drums artfully intertwined with Native percussion, tribal drums, and vocables. Morningsong adds more magic to the mix performing enchanting lines on Native American flute. The result is a spectacular mix of mainstream and ethnic sounds that deliver pop songs in a way the world has yet to experience. Shelley will be performing at ¡Globalquerque! with a six-piece band.
Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic)
José Manuel Cobles, a.k.a. Puerto Plata, is an 83-year-old veteran of the guitar tradition of the Dominican Republic, adept in all of its many forms—bolero, merengue, ranchera, mangulina, bachata—and above all, son. Son is a style which is most often associated with Cuba; nevertheless, the Dominican Republic is home to an unbroken native son tradition, and José Cobles has personally lived a good part of its history. He offers us a taste of the living music of the great soneros which only a contemporary of theirs could give us, yet his interpretations of classic sones and boleros have a particularly Dominican flavor. When he plays merengue, he takes us back to a time, before the dominance of saxophone and accordion, when son, merengue, guaracha and música jíbara were much closer in their nature, being merely different regional variations of the same Afro-Iberian fusion.
Born in the resort town of Puerto Plata in 1923, Cobles combines the wisdom of an elder statesman with an astounding vigor and charisma which one would expect of a much younger man. His mother died when he was young, and upon the death of his grandmother when he was 16 he went to work as a carpenter for the United Fruit Company. His work took him to Manzanillo, to Panama, and finally led him to settle in Santiago (in the Dominican Republic) at the age of 27. There, because of his hometown, he was christened with the nickname Puerto Plata. It was when he was living in Manzanillo that he began to save pennies in a shoe box until he was able to buy his first guitar for 20 Dominican pesos. He was 24 years old—leaving him a scant 56 years of practice to bring his mastery to its current level!
Chango Spasiuk (Argentina)
Accordion master Chango Spasiuk has come to be seen as the guardian angel of Chamamé, the most influental champion of the "music with the deepest swing in Argentina“. In many ways his contribution to the revitalisation of these folk traditions can be compared to the influence that his fellow countryman Astor Piazzolla has had in the contemporary development of Tango. After 6 local albums "Tarefero de mis Pagos“ is his first original international release, which helped net him a BBC Award for World Music as the best newcomer.
Chango Spasiuk was born in Apóstoles, a small locality in Misiones, a province with unique cultural characteristics. Set in the frontier region bordering southern Brazil and Paraguay, its society is a complex fusion and interaction between contrasting elements: the original native communities (mbya-guarani), the Creoles and the foreign settlements established at the beginning of the 20th century. Among the latter were Ukranians, to whom Chango is intimately linked by virtue of his two Ukranian grandparents.
Spasiuk produces a rich mix of sound and tradition, where both legacy and synthesis, improvisation and composition, tradition and modernity play equal roles, making his music an intense listening experience that moves beyond boundaries of style and sound.
Over the course of her almost 50-year career, undisputed "Queen of the Blues" Koko Taylor has received just about every award the blues world has to offer and then some. She's received Grammy nominations for seven of her last eight Alligator albums, and she won a Grammy in 1984 for the live multi-artist album Blues Explosion on Atlantic Records. In 2004 she was presented with the coveted National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment For The Arts. She holds 25 Blues Music Awards (more than any other blues artist, male or female). A major feather in her cap came on March 3, 1993, when Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley honored Taylor with a Legend Of The Year Award, and declared "Koko Taylor Day" throughout Chicago. In 1999, Taylor was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall Of Fame. "There are many kings of the blues," said the Boston Globe, "but only one queen. Koko's voice is still capable of pinning a listener to the back wall." Her first new CD in seven years, Old School, was inspired by the sound and spirit of the Chicago blues of the 1950s. Taylor wrote five new originals and carefully chose songs from Willie Dixon, Lefty Dizz, Magic Sam and others to create an album of tough, "old school" Chicago blues. All Music Guide calls Old School "raw, ragged and as real as a biting winter wind off of Lake Michigan. Call it a comeback if you want, but this is the territory that Koko Taylor has lived in for nearly 50 years. She owns this stuff."