Features Overview

Nidia Gongora and the Bahia Trio featuring Hugo Candelario, Tcheka, The Transparent Water trio, Lunasa and Bombino on NYC stages.

 
Nidia Gongora, Afro Colombian vocalist in the west coast tradition

Nidia Gongora, Afro Colombian vocalist in the west coast tradition

From a small loft in Bushwick, the swirling tones of the marimba de chonta played by Hugo Candelario and the earthy vocals of Nidia Gongora transported listeners to the Pacific Coast of Colombia.

The Bahia Trio: Hugo Candelario, center, with Jafet Andrade on the Bombo, left and Juan Bas.

The Bahia Trio: Hugo Candelario, center, with Jafet Andrade on the Bombo, left and Juan Bas.

It was the third of three New York City dates in partnership with The ITAPOA Project. ITAPOA’s goal is to bring awareness of the natural and cultural abundance of The Chocó, a unique ecosystem now threatened by development. 

Nidia Gongora

Nidia Gongora

Feature 2

 The music has both humble origins in the coastal villages and a history that reaches back to the African continent. The slave trade reached this remote region under Spanish control to provide labor in the mining of gold. 90% the population in the villages are Afro Colombian. The ancestral roots of the people, an oral history within the music has been passed from generation to generation. The Marimba Chonta, exemplifies this connection. In the hands of master Hugo Candelario it conveyed a harmony with nature, in particular flowing water. He also played saxophone.

Nidia Gongora and audience members at 200 Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn

Nidia Gongora and audience members at 200 Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn


The songs straightforward in form were very effective in conveying emotion. Nidia  Gongora maximized the power of the repetitive simple refrains, varying the emphasis similar to the way blues singers wring meaning from life’s circumstances. The heartbeat of the music is the interaction between Jafet Andrade on the Bombo a large drum slung over the shoulder and played standing with sticks and Juan Bas on the cununo a tall thin hand drum.

 

Tcheka at the Lincoln Center Atrium

Tcheka

Tcheka

Tcheka, (Manuel Lopes Andrade) played a solo show at Lincoln Center Atrium. It had been several years since we heard the Cape Verdean guitarist singer and songwriter and our first opportunity to hear him solo. The set showcased new music from his recently released album Boka Kafé. 

Tcheka performing at  Lincoln Center Atrium ’s thursday night series

Tcheka performing at Lincoln Center Atrium’s thursday night series

The usually energetic atrium audience was hushed, attentive. He sang softly in a slightly raspy voice, conveying a raw sensitivity that accompanied his deft guitar playing. Tcheka mines the rich heritage of traditional Cape Verdean rhythms, batuca and tabanka, adding his own variations, at times slowing the tempo and muting the percussive context to sketching in a bass line or tapping the body of his guitar. The music is evolving with Tcheka exploring jazz and world music collaborations as can be heard in his work with Portuguese pianist Mário Laginha who produced Boka Kafé. In the works is a duet album from the two musicians.

 

Lúnasa at Symphony Space, March 17th

Lúnasa members (L-R) Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles) Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle).

Lúnasa members (L-R) Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles) Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle).

Lunasa played a St Patrick’s Day concert at Symphony Space before a sold out audience. The band reinvigorates the vast repertoire of Irish traditional music, delivered with a dash of tongue in cheek Irish humor. New music on the new album "Cas" featured over the course of concert came from a range of sources and genres. Reels, jigs, folk songs original compostions and traditionals. The album features guests including Natalie Merchant, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim O'Brien, Daoiri Farrell and Eric Bibb. Natalie Merchant joined the band at Symphony Space to sing “The Bonny Light Horseman” a traditional from the album.

Lúnasa joined by vocalist Natalie Merchant at Symphony Space.

Lúnasa joined by vocalist Natalie Merchant at Symphony Space.

 

The Transparent Water Trio at Merkin Hall, March 9th

Omar Sosa with the Transparent Water Trio at Merkin Hall, Sosa says The music is meant to spread peace, love and unity between human beings.

Omar Sosa with the Transparent Water Trio at Merkin Hall, Sosa says The music is meant to spread peace, love and unity between human beings.

Transparent Water Trio is Omar Sosa, piano, vocals; Seckou Keita, Kora, lead vocals; and Gustavo Ovalles percussion, vocals. Their music shimmered like wind driven ripples over still water, adventurous and unpredictable filled with moments of pure delight for the ears. On stage the concert unfolded with a seemingly effortless sense of ease, but is the fruition of the meeting of kindred spirits and several years of collaborative efforts. 

transparenttrio10web.jpg

Transparent Water Trio is Omar Sosa, piano, vocals; Seckou Keita, Kora, lead vocals; and Gustavo Ovalles percussion, vocals.

Central to the compostitons was the interaction between Sosa and Keita. Both started studying music early in life and is felt in the structure of the music. At 8, Omar began studying percussion and marimba at the conservatory in Camaguay, Cuba and later piano at the Escuela Nacional de Música. Seckou began absorbing kora in his home in Senegal, his mother family, the Cissokhos,  are griot musicians.  Their paths crossed on stage in London in 2012 and led to recording of “Transparent Water” in 2017.  Ovalles, a Venezuelan, was included in the project and has also performed with Sosa.  He added a percussive color from a variety of instruments that at one point had Sosa and Keita dancing and the audience on their feet clapping along.

 
Nidia Gongora

Nidia Gongora

Feature 3

Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge w The Dead Messengers March 20th.

Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge

Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge

Omara “Bombino” Moctar passed through New York City, perfoming at Le Poisson Rouge March 20th. a show presented by the World Music Institute. His tour crisscrosses the US before another local gig at Brooklyn’s Industry City, June 13th.

Bombino

Bombino

Bombino stood patiently after his set signing CDs and talking with fans until all had left. His soft spoken presence incongruous with the guitarist who had just unleashed a ferocious eight minute encore that sent his audience into a frenzy (see the below video recorded by Rose Ortiz.) The set began at an unhurried pace he came on stage backed by his band Illias Mohamed Alhassane on guitar, Youba Dia on bass, Corey Wilhelm on drums, on percussion, and Mohammed Araki on keyboard.

Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge March 20th 2019 (r. Ortiz)

Easing into the first number grew from a brief guitar solo with the band following the tempo he set, it grew slowly into a more layered sound that enveloped his vocals and building in intensity. It was a pattern repeated over the course of the evening, the musical space, created was denser, with a jauntier blues edge than we remembered. Songs giving way to extended jams. One listener was reminded of ZZ Top. It was dazzling show, building during the set to a frenzied conclusion as captured by Rose Ortiz in the video above.

Bombino and audience at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan.

Bombino and audience at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan.

“Deran was recorded in Casablanca, Morocco and was the grammy nominated. It was his return to Africa to record for the first time in the studio. About Derain he says: “You’re a Touareg. With all the travels, all the experience of world, it’s as if I’m making myself remember where I come from. Where I come from will always be my home, my memory.” The urgency of his message can mission for this album, he says, was always to get closer to Africa. The Dead Messengers opened featuring Sonya Rae and Ryan Taylor and Mohammed Araki on keyboard.

(L-R) Corey Wilhelm on drums, Illias Mohamed Alhassane on guitar, Bombino (Omara Moctar) guitar and lead vocals, Youba Dia on bass on percussion and Mohammed Araki on keyboard.

(L-R) Corey Wilhelm on drums, Illias Mohamed Alhassane on guitar, Bombino (Omara Moctar) guitar and lead vocals, Youba Dia on bass on percussion and Mohammed Araki on keyboard.

Tcheka at the Lincoln Center Atrium

Tcheka at the Lincoln Center Atrium

 
Lunasa’s , Ed Boyd (guitar), Trevor Hutchinson (bass)

Lunasa’s , Ed Boyd (guitar), Trevor Hutchinson (bass)

Seckou Keita, kora, and Omar Sosa, piano of the Transparent Water Trio at Merkin hall

Seckou Keita, kora, and Omar Sosa, piano of the Transparent Water Trio at Merkin hall

Transparent Water Trio (L-R) Omar Sosa, piano, vocals; Seckou Keita, Kora, lead vocals; and Gustavo Ovalles percussion, vocals

Transparent Water Trio (L-R) Omar Sosa, piano, vocals; Seckou Keita, Kora, lead vocals; and Gustavo Ovalles percussion, vocals

The Dead Messengers featuring Ryan and Sonya Rae Taylor, Boston based soul/psychedelia band (revival house records) opened for Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge.

The Dead Messengers featuring Ryan and Sonya Rae Taylor, Boston based soul/psychedelia band (revival house records) opened for Bombino at Le Poisson Rouge.