Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Electric Rhapsody: GarDel + Greg Humphreys @ Shakori Hills

Greg Humphreys is leaving us soon to spend the summer in Prague, so here (at last) is my going away present: Greg making musical history with Orquesta GarDel, back in April, sitting in on their salsa set at Shakori Hills with this electric guitar solo:

The early 70s tune, "Que Se Sepa," is a Los Van Van classic, heard in this arrangement made famous by Roberto Roena.

Greg really captured the flavor of the Roena version while making it his own. I got goosebumps hearing them connect the dots from Cuba 1972 --> to Puerto Rico 1974 --> Shakori Hills 2011.

Orquesta GarDel @ Shakori, 4/24/11

GarDel, by the way, performs live at Motorco in a couple of weeks on Saturday, June 11.

Mr. Humphreys, bon voyage and enjoy a summer of bohemia! May you travel light, troubadour, and come back with a suitcase full of songs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kairaba @ Talullas; World Beat Fest TONIGHT (5/27)

Djiali Cissokho & Kairaba
Diali Cissokho & Kairaba @ Shakori Hills in April

The sensation I am recommending to everyone these days is Kairaba, a newly formed African band from the 'boros--Pittsboro, Carrboro, and Mbouror, Senegal. Diali Keba Cissokho is the griot to watch on the local music scene, having assembled a soulful trailblazer in Kairaba.

Kora, vocal, electric guitar, bass, drumset, djembe, dun dun and talking drum form the basis of this experimental sextet, whose members include Diali's nephew Sidya Cissokho, Midtown Dickens' Jonathan Henderson, jazz guitarist John Westmoreland, and longtime students of African rhythm Austin McCall and Will Ridenour.

The band name means "peace and love," a powerful, one-word concept in Manding. Will dissected it grammatically for me Thursday night:
Kaira = peace
-ba = a suffix meaning "big, great," therefore,
Kairaba = the big peace, or "peace to every living thing on earth."

The no-cover show was Kairaba's second at Talulla's, an event slated to repeat itself, for the time being, every other Thursday at 10 pm.

Andrew Magill, a fiddle player and former member of Charanga Carolina, joined the band last night for a few numbers. Here's audio capture of Andrew sitting on the last tune of the evening:

Catch KAIRABA again TONIGHT, Friday (5/27) at The Cat's Cradle's World Beat Fest, opening at 9:15 pm for DIFFERENT DRUM and DUB ADDIS.

Kairaba @ Tallula's, 5.26.11

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shakori Memories: Part One

Take me back to Shakori Hills...

The Beast @ Shakori 4.23.11

April showers resulted in the muddiest Shakori in recent memory, making one appreciate anew such modern inventions as the gravel road. I saw cars and SUVs do mudwheelies in the artists' parking lot, sliding downhill into rows of parked cars as they tried to get traction on the once-grassy lanes.

But the music goes on, and on and on, all day and long into the Shakori night. I arrived around 11 am Saturday morning, and caught half of a belly dance class in the Healing Arts area, before wandering over to the Meadow Stage where Greg Humphreys was playing a brunch set. Sol Roots, Pura Fe, Tim Smith, Eric Hirsh, Robert Cantrell and other pals helped out for a song or two.

Greg Humphreys @ Shakori 4.23.11
Greg Humphreys

Greg Humphreys + friends, 4.23.11
Tim Smith, Robert Cantrell and Sol Roots

The mix'n'match jam sessions and artist exchanges that evolve are always among the best Shakori moments.

The Beast
was at the same stage soon after...

The Beast
Stephen Coffman and Pierce Freelon of The Beast

The Beast
shake that tambourine...The Beast's Eric Hirsh

Umalali, the Garifuna Women's Project, was way more folkloric than I expected. I don't know much about these specific musical styles they played except that they are Central American with a strong African component. Of note: the maracas technique (way different from the Caribbean/salsa thing), and these big skin-covered barrel drums. Sometimes they played a clave recognizable as "Latin," sometimes not.


What's wonderful about this clip is the dancing, including audience participation (!):


My Shakori Saturday stretched out 14 hours in total, so I can't tell it all. But I did make it through killer sets in the Dance Tent by Kairaba, Diali Cissokho's exciting new African band out of Pittsboro, and Orquesta GarDel's midnight salsa excursion.

Djiali Cissokho & Kairaba
Jonathan Henderson and Diali Cissokho of Kairaba

More posts on those bands SOON TO COME, including footage of a neat little salsa workshop by members of GarDel, with old time fiddle players sitting in!

Only at Shakori Hills...

Umalali @ Shakori 4.23.11

Friday, May 6, 2011

Replay: Bomba Estereo Tour Through Carrboro

Bomba Estereo @ Cat's Cradle  5.4.11

In case you missed it:

Bomba Estereo
live at the Cat's Cradle on Wednesday:

Bomba Estereo @ Cat's Cradle 5.4.11

Big Enchilada: K'Che Takes Over Cinco de Mayo

Orquesta K'Che ["kah-CHAY"] is now vying for the title of the Triangle's Latin Party Band. The legendary Cinco de Mayo party at Dos Taquitos in Raleigh is hardly a level playing field, though; the supply of Coronas never outlasts the partiers at this redoubtable outdoor fiesta. It was K'Che's first year playing at this event, which has been held down in the past by Carnavalito.

I came in for the last two sets, and by then, things were loose and lubricated. In the front row, sonero Jaime Roman was stoking the attention of a cadre of ladies in giant straw hats. Finding a safe cul-de-sac, I got busy dancing to the salsas, cumbias, merengues, and occasional son. Some casino rueda dancers were making space to dance their Cuban formations in the parking lot. At one point, a conga line snaked through the tiny dance tent, which was an endless traffic jam of jubilating bodies.

It was a party that just wouldn't quit, and this young band was drinking it in. Pushing their time an extra 30 minutes, they kept jamming even as the percussionists were packing up, and friends like Brevan Hampden and Cristian Cañaveral jumped in for a swan song.

The only video I took (because I was too busy dancing) was this one, a juiced descarga very close to the end of the night:

K'Che's official lineup: Andres Leon (piano, musical director), Billy Marrero (percussion, leader), Julio Correa and Pako Santiago (percussion), Levy Vargas (electric bass), Jaime Roman (vocals/hand percussion), Nelson Rodriguez (vocals/hand percussion/tres?), Channing McCullough (sax), William Villalba (trumpet), Mathew Parunak (trombone).

LINK: Orquesta K'Che on Facebook