Available this week on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound is the album 'Tambolero' by long-time Real World Records artist Totó La Momposina y Sus Tambores.
Totó La Momposina's entire life has been dedicated to representing the music of Colombia's Caribbean coastline. As a singer, dancer and teacher she embodies that fertile place where Colombia's African, indigenous Indian and Spanish cultures mingle to create a unique musical tradition. Totó is not only its greatest interpreter, but a restless innovator too.
Whilst still a child civil war forced Totó to flee her home and move to the capital Bogotá. There her mother started a dance group from which Totó emerged as a promising singer in the 1960s. She began touring internationally a decade later but it wasn't until the early 1990s that her global fame was cemented by a WOMAD tour across three continents and the release of La Candela Viva on Real World Records.
In the subsequent years the music has continued to endure, and has even been routinely sampled by the world of dance and hip-hop. It was during the search for the original master tapes to find the parts for a Michel Cleis dance track that producer John Hollis discovered something rather remarkable.
Amongst the original 2" master tapes was a treasure trove of material: some 40 takes of 20 different songs. Material all involved had forgotten existed, until then. Not only was there a wealth of recorded material from the La Candela Viva sessions that didn't make the original album there were also a number of previously unheard songs too.
A process of restoring the original tapes, reassessing all the different versions and new songs, re-editing and over-dubbing began. The result is Tambolero. More than just a re-release of La Candela Viva it is a genuine re-appraisal and re-imagining of the original.
Tambolero is in effect a new album and one in which Totó La Momposina continues to reflect the experience of her native Colombia through her life and music. The two things are intertwined: the story of Totó La Momposina is truly the story of modern Colombia.
A full commercial release of 'Tambolero' will follow, on Real World Records, in the Summer of 2015.
More details on the Society of Sound release of 'Tambolero'
It's just a few days to go now until the 16th annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards takes place at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, hosted by Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis. The show starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday 22 April and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.
We're delighted that two Real World Records artists The Gloaming and 9Bach are nominated in some of the biggest categories of the night.
Irish/American super-group The Gloaming, who's debut album last year garnered universal acclaim are nominated for three awards: Best Group, Best Original Song (for The Necklace of Wrens) and Best Traditional Track (for Samhradh Samhradh). Unfortunately, not all of the band will be able to attend the awards but long-time Real World associate and singer with The Gloaming Iarla O'Lionaird will be attending. The band really have had a stellar year with live shows in some of the most prestige venues across the world and a host of accolades for the album already received. Feels like they're only just getting started too!
Also nominated at the Awards are 9Bach. Their album 'Tincian' is nominated for Best Album, the only category that was subject to a public vote.
As well as being nominated the band will also close the show with a very special live performance.
It seems only fitting that with the Awards coming from Cardiff a Welsh band should be nominated for one of the major categories. No Welsh artist has ever won a Folk Award, so it could be a very special night indeed!
Read an interview with 9Bach from last weekend's Daily Telegraph.
The band played a warm-up show for the Awards at London's King's Place on Saturday 18 April 2015.
The new album 'Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow' from Bristol four-piece Spiro is released today.
Recorded at Real World Studios, Jane Harbour (violin/viola), Jon Hunt (acoustic guitar/cello), Alex Vann (mandolin) and Jason Sparkes (piano accordion/piano) continue to break through the boundaries of their instruments to deliver a collection of fourteen exhilarating instrumental tracks, all imbued with a powerful emotional intensity.
The album is about being alive and the extremes of human experience that come with it. The title 'Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow' is taken from a Keats' poem of the same name which features the line "Dancing music, music sad, both together, sane and mad". It's pretty much a musical mission statement for the band.
"Music taps into something fundamental to us all" says Jane, "and instrumental music is particularly rewarding and meaningful as you don't know why you're feeling emotional. You've reached a place beyond words, the most amazing place that we all share. We go through life trying to connect with other people and the universe, and music is a powerful, fundamentally honest way of doing this. With instrumental music this connection is not muddled by words."
It's why Spiro are an instrumental band. Yet words are important - not only do the titles of each track inform the way the band perform it, they suggest a way into Spiro's sound world whilst offering intensely personal listening experiences.
Following what has been an incredible year for The Gloaming, we're delighted to now be able to offer the album on vinyl.
You can pre-order the LP now, which will be release on 20 April 2015.
Priced at £16.99 in the Real World Store, the LP also comes with a coupon code which will allow you to download the album in 24-bit high resolution, in your choice of Apple lossless or FLAC files.
The track listing is:
The Girl Who Broke My Heart
The Sailor's Bonnet
The Necklace of Wrens
Hunting The Squirrel
In other The Gloaming news, congratulations to the band who have been nominated for a Newcomer Award in the category of Best Newcomers Songlines Music Awards 2015.
The Songlines Awards champion brilliant music from around world so we're delighted to see The Gloaming in the shortlist, nominated by the magazine readers.
The winners will be announced in the June issue, out May 1st.
"They may be newcomers as an ensemble, but The Gloaming are something of a Celtic supergroup. Their debut as a collective is an epic achievement, brilliantly innovative and executed with masterly conviction." Songlines
Real World Records artist Ayub Ogada's track 'Ondiek' is featured in Kabir Dhanji: Darkness into Light, a short film produced by the International Development Law Organization - IDLO.
The work of Dhanji, a Kenyan photographer and Ayub Ogada fan, forms part of the exhibition In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda. The show opened at the Palais Des Nations in Geneva in early March, to coincide with the 28th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Presenting the work of five photographers from the developing world who are documenting stories about the rule of law and sustainable development, the exhibit is sponsored by IDLO. It explores crucial issues linked to the rule of law - from gender equality and indigenous rights to energy poverty and land tenure - and reveals the human side of justice.
The exhibition is curated by artist/activist Shahidul Alam, founder of Majority World Photo Agency, a photo agency headquartered in Dhaka that trains young photographers in developing countries and represents their work. Plans are underway for the exhibition to travel to additional cities, including The Hague, Milan, Washington DC and New York City.
"This is my most rigorous album to date. It's music of big contrasts but sonically unified with the intention to create a complete album with an intense emotional arc." - John Metcalfe
Composer, producer, classical violist, guitarist, pioneering A&R man, and arranger to A-list pop stars, John Metcalfe has always been a name worth seeking out. Part of seminal Manchester band The Durutti Column, he then set up the Factory Classical label and has subsequently not only released his own solo albums but worked as an arranger for a host of artists such as Morrissey, The Pretenders, Blur, Coldplay and not least Peter Gabriel on his 'Scratch My Back' and 'New Blood' albums.
'The Appearance of Colour' presents Metcalfe as a solo recording artist - as front man, maestro and manipulator of sounds.
To get a taster of the new album, listen to the track 'Gold, Green', available instantly when you pre order 'The Appearance of Colour' on iTunes.
Photos: Sofia Verzbolovskis
On Saturday night, 14th March, at the launch of the 7th annual Garifuna-American Heritage Month, Aurelio was guest of honour at a night celebrating his contribution to the preservation and global profile of Garifuna culture.
A Musical Tribute to Aurelio Martinez celebrated Aurelio's thirty-year career and took place at the Hostos Centre for the Arts & Culture in New York City, hosted by the Garifuna Coalition USA.
This year is the 218th anniversary of the Forcible Transfer of the Garifuna People - from St Vincent and the Grenadines to their settlement in Central America - a history marked by the yearly events of Garifuna-American Heritage Month.
New York City is home to the largest Garifuna population outside of Central America, with a community of over 200,000 people. The Garifuna are an African/Caribbean/Arawak culture who originate from Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua; despite their Spanish surnames, their culture and history are completely distinct from other Afro-American and Latino groups. The tribute event last weekend marked the launch of a strategy promoting Garifuna culture, creativity and sustainable development.
On the night itself Aurelio was presented with several awards, including one from Real World Records that we were delighted to be able to give. AfroPop Worldwide's Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre presented Aurelio with the honorary gift on behalf of Real World Records. Sean even greeting the crowd in Garifuna to a rapturous reception!
Over 1500 people - fans, family, friends and dignitaries - packed the Hostos Center for a night that saw traditional dance and drumming pageantry, a punta rock tribute to Aurelio and also a punta rock set from the man himself. Aurelio also took the stage to deliver a brilliant set of his own crossover music as well, which ended with all the other artists on stage in a mass sing-a-long.
An important, well-deserved and joyous night.
Many congratulations to Aurelio; here's to many more years!
Following a sell out show at the Barbican in London and three at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, The Gloaming have been announced as 2014 Meteor Choice Prize winner for Irish album of the year. The 10th annual Meteor Choice Music Prize celebrates and acknowledges the best in Irish recorded music. The Gloaming fended off competition from other nominees, including albums from Hozier, Aphex Twin, Sinead O'Connor, U2 and Damien Rice.
The band are currently out on tour in Australia with forthcoming dates also in New Zealand and Mexico.
RTE 2 Television will broadcast a one-hour highlights programme of the Meteor Choice Music Prize on Sunday March 8th at 10.50pm.
Spiro: "Dazzling", "magnificent", "intense and minimal", "soulful", "passionate", "breathtakingly moving" - this unique Bristol-based acoustic four-piece are celebrated for the beauty of their interlocking, intricate musical patterns. Like whirlpools, they suck you in to a compelling, complex minimalism and you're swept away in an irresistible river of sound. And just when you think it can't get any better, with each release Spiro up their game.
On 13 April 2015 Spiro will release their new album entitled 'Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow'.
The Society of Sound release for February comes courtesy of the Chicago archive label the Numero Group and features the music of the Universal Togetherness Band.
At the Universal Togetherness Band's nucleus was Andre Gibson, a Chicago native who had gone from curious keyboardist to musical polyglot during his comprehensive musical education at Chicago Vocational School. In the mid 1970's Gibson assembled the Universal Togetherness Band with Fred and Leslie Misher on bass and guitar (respectively), and his younger brother Arnold Gibson on drums. Upon enrolling in Columbia College's music business program, he met guitarist/harmonica player Paul Hannover, who became the group's fifth and final member.
In 1979, Andre Gibson spotted a flyer announcing that a faculty from the engineering department were seeking bands to serve as specimens for recording majors needing to clock-up studio hours as part of their studies. Shortly after, UTB auditioned for Malcolm Chisholm, the pioneering instructor of Columbia's sound engineering program, and were soon embarking on a four year recording bender that saw this erudite party band explore permutations of soul, jazz-fusion, new wave, and disco.
This new release on Society of Sound captures the brightest, never-before-heard moments from this visionary group's recordings between 1979 and 1982 all lovingly restored and remixed by Numero Group. By self-imposed law, everything released by Numero is a stunning new artifact of image and word painstakingly re-mastered and carefully researched and available for you to hear now in stunning quality from Society of Sound.