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Current Projects

Arabesque, 2014 Center Stage Tours, There is one independent contemporary dance company in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): Arabesque. Under the Artistic Direction of Nguyên Tán Lôc, an alumnus of Tokyo’s Fujisato Ballet Company, and the guidance of Kiev-trained ballerina (Ngô Thuy Tô Nhu), this striking Vietnamese company has worked hard to find a new vocabulary of movement in a country where contemporary dance is rarely taught or presented. 12/10/13 >> go there
Baladino, Dos Amantes (Kamea Music), Israel’s music scene is a crucible. Its multicultural abundance pushes musicians to be highly flexible, leaping from jazz to rock to folk, while keeping a profound commitment to both technique and heritage. Baladino sprang from this world, where as highly skilled professional players, they engage on a regular basis with a wealth of deep roots and little-known traditions. 01/29/14 >> go there
Blitz the Ambassador, Afropolitan Dreams, “I wanted a story that wasn’t just about glamour, but that captured the challenges for young immigrants as well,” says Ghanaian-born, NYC-forged rapper, producer, and thinker Blitz the Ambassador of his new album, Afropolitan Dreams. With a vision that embraces his personal West African past and a revolutionary future of Afropolitan cross-pollination, the young MC meshes African popular sounds, American vintage soul, and hard-hitting beats and lyrics with the help of an international cast of collaborators, including the elegant Angelique Kidjo and Afrobeat firebrand Seun Kuti. 03/17/14 >> go there
Bria Skonberg, Into Your Own (Random Act Records), “I love problem solving, getting a bunch of different variables and finding a way to make them fit,” reflects Bria Skonberg. “I want to appeal to people who like to be a bit challenged, but still want to bop around to good music.” 03/17/14 >> go there
Brushy One-String, Destiny, When filmmaker Luciano Blotta walked out of a rural Jamaican recording studio, way off the beaten path of tourists and music hounds, he saw something wildly unusual: a man with an instrument. Even more surprising, the instrument in question—a battered but resonant acoustic guitar—had only one string. 03/13/13 >> go there
Center Stage 2014 Tours, Now in its second season, the program will bring seven acclaimed contemporary dance and music ensembles from Morocco, Pakistan, and Vietnam to the U.S. to perform, interact, and begin meaningful dialogues with Americans during independent month-long tours scheduled nation-wide from June through November 2014. 10/18/11 >> go there
DakhaBrakha, 2014 Tour, They craft stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances. With one foot in the urban avant-garde theater scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha show the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore. 02/20/14 >> go there
Danny Rivera and Nelson González, Obsesión, Late at night, after yet another sold-out show at a major venue like Carnegie Hall, one of the most adored voices in Latin music would rush over to Jersey and hit the studio. Danny Rivera—a powerful singer, thoughtful public figure, and consummate musical instigator—would sit down with the renowned tres virtuoso player Nelson González. For ten years, these sessions became the two veteran musicians’ obsession. 11/19/13 >> go there
Dervish, Thrush In the Storm, 2014 Tour, Often referred to as the Land of Heart’s Desire, Sligo, with its mountains, glens, and windswept Atlantic shore, has long been the source of inspiration for Irish artistry, from the visionary works of renowned poet W.B Yeats, to the revered music of fiddle legend Michael Coleman. The source remains and the tradition continues, inspiring musicians like local legends and international Celtic music darlings Dervish. 01/25/13 >> go there
Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis, 2014 Tour, There are stories and there are stories. Tales that simply have to be told, that beg to be heard, stories filled with outrageous hope. But every story needs someone to tell it. Dudu Tassa is a musician, one of Israel’s biggest star for well over a decade. He’s not a storyteller, but he does have a tale to tell, that of his grandfather and great uncle. And on his eighth album, Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis, he tells it with striking, personal passion. 01/27/14 >> go there
Eileen Ivers, 2014 Tour, Groundbreaking Irish-American fiddler Eileen Ivers can keep up with classical virtuosi while keeping up the warmth of a kitchen party. She can shred, play reels through a cry-baby pedal, inspire with a bittersweet air and with her signature intensity, all while transmitting her deep love for tradition. The audience and stage become one through the interactive nature of the music, the joy of the musicians and the passion with which Ivers shares the stories of these traditions. 01/15/14 >> go there
Ferenc Illenyi, Gypsy Dream (Mesa/Bluemoon Records), “I was classically trained,” he explains. “That was my education, but growing up in Hungary, Gypsy music is there in your soul, subliminally. With classical music you do as you are told, you play what’s in the score. Gypsy music is so much freer, people take and add their own parts to the melody.” 01/13/14 >> go there
Fleur d' Orange, 2014 Center Stage Tours, “I made a decision,” states choreographer and dancer Hind Benali, founder of Fleur d’Orange, a contemporary dance company in Casablanca. “I had to dance and that meant I had to fight.” 12/10/13 >> go there
globalFEST, globalFEST Selector, Think of globalFEST Selector as a planetary playlist meant to connect curious fans to thrilling globalFEST artists and to introduce newcomers to great music. globalFEST Selector’s musical choices are a powerful grasp of the past mixed with a sixth sense for the sonic future. Building on their reputations as some of the best “ears” in the global music scene, the curators behind globalFEST have selected previously unreleased tracks as eclectic and wide-ranging as a night at the festival. 12/13/13 >> go there
globalFEST@SXSW 2014, “Sounds from all kinds of places and communities and eras are seeping into the mainstream,” explains Isabel Soffer of globalFEST. “We’re here to provide artists with a platform to connect with future fans, the people who may not know this music, but who will love it the moment they hear it. We’re also here to connect with programmers who want to introduce this music to their communities and build new audiences.” 02/10/14 >> go there
Golem, Tanz (Corasón Digital), As the story goes, when the Jews of 17th-century Prague feared for their lives, their rabbi went down to the river where he collected clay and fashioned it into the shape of a man. It came alive, and the golem was born. But the rabbi’s creation was all too human and too wild to control: The rabbi removed the spell and the clay figure crumbled to pieces. 03/28/14 >> go there
Habib Koite, Soô, For a musician, on the road for long stretches, home becomes a dream, a vision. A place to treasure. But this home is much more than four walls. It’s a chance to draw together all the strands of his life – his music, his friends, his countrymen. A chance to breathe, to reflect, and to make some changes. 12/03/13 >> go there
Hassan Hakmoun, Unity (Healing Records), The iconic musician who put North African trance traditions on the map is back with a soaring, hypnotic album with rock drive. It’s a sound that seems to reach beyond time. The sintir, the three-string bass lute of Morocco, pulling ancient melodies from the air and leading the traditional Gnawa spiritual trance rituals that fire the Moroccan nights. 02/06/14 >> go there
Hoba Hoba Spirit, 2014 Center Stage Tours, They’ve played Roskilde. They’ve recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio. But this isn’t your typical stadium-packing rock band. This is clever, catchy Marocc’n Roll. Casablanca’s unfettered and irreverent Hoba Hoba Spirit finds the rock drive within the bold clack of qarqaba (double castanets) and rhythmic swagger of North Africa. 12/10/13 >> go there
Khumariyaan, 2014 Center Stage Tours, It all started with a smashed lute. A friend of the Peshawar-based ensemble Khumariyaan’s founder Farhan Bogra had brought the rubab, a traditional Pushtoon (Pashto) instrument, home, only to meet with serious paternal disapproval. The instrument was soon in pieces, to be replaced by a more respectable guitar. That got Bogra thinking: If the instrument sparked such potent passion, what might the plucky long-bodied lute be able to say? 12/10/13 >> go there
KiT, Tambutronic (Jiga Musica), Tradition is a tricky beast. There are those who would leave it as a dusty, living museum exhibit. Then there are others who see further, into the possibility of tradition, a line that runs through history all the way to the present. They’re the ones who respect the past but aren’t going to be hidebound by it, who make it a very vital part of now. People like KiT. 11/18/13 >> go there
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, whatsnext? (DÜNYA), At age 16, musician, composer, and ethnomusicologist Mehmet Sanlikol dropped a hand-written letter in the mail in his hometown of Bursa, Turkey, addressed to the admissions department at Berklee College of Music. It was the first big move in his love affair with jazz, in particular with the sound and compositional possibilities of the big jazz band. 01/28/14 >> go there
Meridian 23, Meridian 23 is a bar with a utopian streak. It’s a neighborhood hang out, but with planetary scope. It’s a place where surface pleasures—a cool sound, a good bite—have deep roots. It’s a rare nightspot in Chelsea that shoots to foster creative community and take on cultural context, to harness local artisanal and global artistic vibes. It’s a rare music venue that embraces both traditional sounds and global electronica, with a well-finessed, menu that gives a nod to street food from Africa to South America and with cocktails built from fresh ingredients. 03/21/14 >> go there
Pedro Luis Ferrer, Final (Escondida Records), “When a human being is capable of conceiving the transformation of the surrounding world, an inevitable change begins. The spiritual world is as real as stone,” Ferrer says. And he draws heavily from all around him for Final, nature, the mind, the heart – and the deep tradition of music in his homeland. 01/16/14 >> go there
Poor Rich Boy, 2014 Center Stage Tours, “It’s the truth of the matter: We are poor rich boys. We are okay, well off, and are still sad,” explains Shehzad Noor Butt of Lahore, Pakistan’s experimental rock band Poor Rich Boy. 12/10/13 >> go there
Real Vocal String Quartet, Four Little Sisters, In a Bay Area rehearsal room, four musicians are finding each and every sound their instruments can produce. One classically trained but pop-minded string player grabs her phone and records the sound of a bow tapping the violin tailpiece, then running sideways over the cello fingerboard. 08/08/12 >> go there
Rebel Tumbao, self-titled (Sacred Rhythm Music), “This is a movement,” says band co-founder and percussionist José Claussell. “That is even more important than the music. It's about the message, and we're passionate about getting it out into the world.” 01/29/14 >> go there
Ribab Fusion, 2014 Center Stage Tours, To really make a monochord like the Amazigh (Berber) ribab sing, you have to have the chops of Jimi Hendrix. Or so insists Foulane Bouhssine of Ribab Fusion, who’s on a mission to turn the bowed, one-string fiddle into a furiously funky sign of a new era. 12/10/13 >> go there
rock paper scissors showcase @ SXSW 2014 (Austin, TX), In the chaos of a world buzzing with sound, deep eclecticism is a guiding principle that embraces the wild, thrilling search for new connections that gleefully defy time and space. It’s an approach that can handle the quirks of today’s hyper-collaborative world, without throwing out the depth of yesteryear. It’s how rock paper scissors hears the planet. 02/13/14 >> go there
Sheela Bringi, Incantations (White Swan), As a young woman Bringi was influenced by M.I.A. and Dead Can Dance, studied with Cecil Taylor and Meredith Monk, while at the same time deepened her studies with demanding Indian classical instructors like G.S. Sachdev and Aashish Khan. “Studying with these innovators and masters cracked my musical world wide open,” she says. “It helped me develop a sense of where music traditions might bend, and where they might break. This sense is necessary if you hope to reshape and re-imagine old music.” 11/12/13 >> go there
Showkicker, If you’ve ever considered purchasing overpriced scalped concert tickets, you’ve probably wondered where the extra money goes. As you’ve probably guessed, it goes into the pocket of the scalper and none of that money makes it to the artist. That thought process is what spurred a group of music-loving economists to start Showkicker, a website where fans and artists connect to book concerts based on local demand. 02/25/14 >> go there
Stick Against Stone, The Oregon Bootleg Tapes - LIVE (MediaGroove), Plenty has been written about the Reagan-Thatcher era and the almost daily fodder it provided to inspire, if not incite, the roiling punk rock underground of the early ’80s. From London to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, spontaneous music scenes were taking on an insurrectionary fervor. These were vibrant hubs in a do-it-yourself network of artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians, tapped into the same philosophical switchboard of resistance and flipping the collective bird at authority. 03/26/14 >> go there
Taj Weekes & Adowa @ SXSW 2014, One love. It’s much more than a song. For Rastafarians, it’s a creed. And for reggae musician Taj Weekes it’s the way to live his life. He and his band Adowa will bring their inviting, open sound to the rock paper scissors showcase at SXSW. 02/18/14 >> go there
Tri Minh's Quartet, 2014 Center Stage Tours, The twang of the zither against the overtone-laden bamboo mouth harp, hinting at tradition one moment, and the analog experiments of midcentury electronic music the next. Sweet jazz piano and hand drums, juxtaposing electronic and organic. These are the sounds of Hanoi, where open-ended experimentation is coming into its own in Vietnam’s capital city. 12/10/13 >> go there