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2012 Festival

The Performers:

The Big Spank (New Mexico, USA)
Bombino (Niger)
Canteca de Macao (Spain)
EarthRise SoundSystem (USA)
Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (Germany)
La Familia Vigil (New Mexico, USA)
Bettye LaVette (USA)
Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto (Colombia)
Ali Akbar Moradi Ensemble (Kurdistan, Iran)
R. Carlos Nakai Earth Sounds Ensemble (Navajo-Ute/Mongolia/UK)
Ozomatli (USA)
Plena Libre (Puerto Rico)
Razia (Madagascar)
Keith Secola Band (featuring the Wild Band Dancers) (Anishinabe)
Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès (Haiti)
Zeb & Haniya (Pakistan)

Photos:

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Photos by Alan Mitchell


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The Big Spank (New Mexico, USA)

photoThe Big Spank has been performing "Funky-Latin-Punkish-Ska-Pop" across the southwest since 1998.

The Big Spank transitioned from playing mostly weekend shows (while maintaining day jobs) into living gypsy-style in a converted school bus and touring full time, spreading their love in the form of feel-good tunes that beg, borrow, and steal from ska, rock, soul, R&B, hip hop, death metal, polka, Norteño, and other genres. Their stage antics and high-energy live performances are not soon forgotten.

There are stellar hooks, compelling melodies, firm song structures, and an innate collective ability to improvise. Like ever-changing cuttlefish, The Big Spank is able to read a crowd like they were tarot cards and create appeal on the spot. The Big Spank offers an amazing live performance, leaving every crowd wondering what just spanked their ass!

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Bombino (Niger)

picFor centuries, the desert town of Agadez has served as a converging point for the great camel caravans driven by the Tuareg that link West Africa with North Africa and the Mediterranean. Born in 1980 at a nomadic camp near this dusty outpost, the young guitarist and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar was raised during an era of armed struggles for Tuareg independence and violent suppression by government forces. Bombino's electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion while echoing with guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré, not to mention rock and blues icons such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page. Already a superstar in the Tuareg community, with the release of his new album Agadez on Cumbancha Discovery, Bombino's stature as one of Africa's hottest young guitarists will be revealed to the world.

Although just thirty years old, Bombino's life and travels have exposed him to the problems facing his people. He has taken on the mission of helping the Tuareg community achieve equal rights, peace, maintain their rich cultural heritage and promote education. He is an advocate for teaching children the Tuareg language of Tamasheq, the local Haoussa language as well as French and Arabic, all of which he speaks fluently. "We fought for our rights," remarks Bombino, "but we have seen that guns are not the solution. We need to change our system. Our children must go to school and learn about their Tuareg identity."

Four thousand years of living in a hostile environment taught the Tuareg that the will to survive with dignity intact is stronger than any external threat. Bombino puts that sentiment to music, writes its anthem, and gives it a life of its own. He is known as being emblematic of the next generation of Tuareg, a new voice of the Sahara and Sahel, fusing traditional Berber rhythms with the energy of rock and roll and songs about peace. After thirty years of drought, rebellion, and tyranny, Bombino extols his audience to remember who they are, but also realize who they can be.

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Canteca de Macao (Spain)

photoWith a remarkable repertoire of songs combining ska, flamenco and elements of circus, Madrid-based Canteca de Macao entrances audiences with music that celebrates the earth, water and wine, and many other things we hold dear. Formed 10 years ago, the band's first small concerts and the recording of their first demo attracted the attention of several labels. They signed a contract with Warner Bros., under the stipulation that they could offer their albums for free download via their web site. "All of our albums can be downloaded from our site for free the very same moment the album hits the stores, or even before, as happened with [their latest album], Nunca es tarde. We believe in the right to universal access to culture, and releasing music on the Internet has close to zero costs for us and allows our music to reach every corner of the planet. When we signed a record deal with Warner Music, we set this as our one and only fixed term of the contract, setting a milestone in our career and on free music. Never before was an album released by one of the major labels that was also immediately and legally available for free online."

In 2011, they left Warner and exposed themselves to the support of their fans through a still unknown method in Spain: crowdfunding. The record could only be released if the fans support the band through their financial contributions before recording commenced. After 40 days of effort and media impact, Canteca de Macao were able to achieve their target some days before the predetermined period. The resulting album, Nunca es tarde (Never Too Late), calls for people to stop to take time to reflect; it's never too late to be honest, never too late to start all over again.

"Canteca de Macao is something that must be experienced live. Their onstage energy is contagious and their elaborate wardrobe and eclectic fusion of ska, reggae and flamenco was enough to make even the most timid dancers move their feet."
Chicago Latino

Canteca de Macao's visit is sponsored by
cervantes

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EarthRise SoundSystem (USA)

photoEarthRise SoundSystem is the artistic and live team of DJ/writer/yogi Derek Beres and producer/percussionist Duke Mushroom. Blending Duke's production style and Derek's expansive vision of Global Beat Fusion, this duo has paired up to explore common cultural and sonic ground and create unique soundscapes, equally at home in the yoga studio or club and lounge.

When the two ERSS members first joined together to remix a song by popular mantra singer Deva Premal, they set out to create a new paradigm as to what "yoga music" meant. The result was a percussively rich, organically spacious and dubby soundscape. This approach laid the foundation for their full length album, The Yoga Sessions, a collection of 21st century electronically inspired yet organically grown original music that will redefine one's notions of "yoga music."

Derek Beres has devoted his life to exposing people to international music, yoga and mythology as a means of creating better individuals and a more understanding global culture. Derek spends his days and nights employed as a multi-faceted journalist, DJ and yoga instructor. He has published five books, and has contributed to dozens of magazines and websites regarding the traditional and digital realms of global music, yoga and health. He was a resident DJ of Kollektiv with Karsh Kale for nine months, and is one of the DJ members of the groundbreaking GlobeSonic. He regularly DJs at Turntables on the Hudson, and has spun alongside the likes of Jamiroquai, Ojos de Brujo, Konono No 1, and many others. He is the producer of three albums, including a remix record of Malian artist Vieux Farka Toure, and InnerVersions: A Six Degrees Yoga Compilation.

Duke Mushroom is a platinum-selling producer, writer, and versatile musician. Duke has written and produced with artists as varied as the Baha Men, Carole King, Cooler Kids, Nile Rogers and Chic, Donna Summer, Cyndi Lauper, and Micheal Tolcher, before recording his groundbreaking foray into Global Sound, Bole 2 Harlem. As one-half of the production team PopRox, he remixed tracks for Method Man, Montell Jordan, Sisqo, DMX, and Bob Marley, among others. Besides being one of the original performing cast members of "Stomp!", his percussion credits include Gloria Estefan, Janet and Michael Jackson, Die Warsaw, and Cher. He has also scored several films, and his songs and productions have been licensed in over 40 films and TV shows as well as numerous commercials.

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Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (Germany)

picA Detroit area native, Daniel Kahn attended the University of Michigan where he studied acting, directing, playwriting and poetry. After finishing his studies he lived, played music, recorded, acted, directed plays and composed theatre music in New Orleans, Detroit, New York and Ann Arbor. He has received awards for his playwriting, poetry, acting, and composing.

In summer 2005 Daniel moved to Berlin, and has became an integral part of the international Yiddish and klezmer scene, playing in different groups and musical projects. He soon formed his own band, The Painted Bird, named for Jerzy Kosinski's grotesque novel. The Painted Bird concocts a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret and punk folk, kept together by Kahn's amazing abilities as a songwriter, translator and performer; telling stories of outrageous incidents, poetically dark, tragically humorous and politically incorrect.

The Painted Bird has brought "Yiddish Punk Cabaret" to rock clubs, theatres, festivals and shtetls, from Berlin to Boston, Leningrad to Louisiana. The band has been called "The Yiddish Pogues," and Kahn was once described as "someone between Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits—but Yiddish." On tour premiering his new album of old and original songs in Yiddish, English, German, and Russian, Lost Causes, Daniel Kahn challenges the borders between radical & traditional, lyrical & political, east & west, folk & punk, mama loshn & loshn hora.

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La Familia Vigil (New Mexico, USA)

photoHailing 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.

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Bettye LaVette (USA)

picA classic soul singer in the tradition of Aretha Franklin and Irma Thomas, Detroit's Bettye LaVette tears into songs written by Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, Fiona Apple, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and others. Rolling Stone magazine describes Bettye LaVette as "someone who this very minute could unleash a performance that would make your hair stand on end." And with good reason. A timeless, deeply soulful singer, LaVette is an extraordinary performance powerhouse. This Grammy-nominated songstress is blessed with unmatched vocal talents; LaVette's voice commands absolute respect as it conjures devastatingly raw, emotional truths in performances that are more revelation than stage show.

This fall, Bettye will be releasing A Woman Like Me, an inspiring, no-holds-barred, audacious memoir—guaranteed to make news, and make hearts break, too.

"Now recognized as one of the great soul interpreters of her generation, she has a gift that, in my opinion, makes her the equal of Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner... This slender, fit woman, with power to spare in her voice, infuses everything with the narrative acuity of a natural storyteller who has survived to deliver the tale."
The New York Times

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Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto (Colombia)

picThere are different oral and written versions of when Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto was formed, but most agree that the group, as it is recognized today, had come into existence by the 1930s. In the mid-1950s, they undertook their first tour throughout Colombia, under the leadership of folklorists Manuel and Delia Zapata Olivella. In 1958, they toured internationally to China and Japan, and to Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and other European countries.

In 1968, they won the Olympic Cultural Medal in Mexico. Their touring, the exceptional quality of their musicians across generations, and the fact that they are one of the few gaita ensembles whose music has been commercially produced have made them the most important musical group of gaitas in Colombia.

The founder and initial leader of the Gaiteros de San Jacinto was Miguel Antonio "Toño" Fernández (1912–1988). Today, the elders of the group are Joaquín Nicolás Hernández (male long gaita and maraca), Manuel Antonio "Toño" García (female long gaita), and Juancho "Chuchita"Fernández (voice), who trace their direct lineage and heritage to the founding members.

The fact that the group has persisted and includes several generations of musicians speaks to the vitality of this tradition. Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto are a musical icon in San Jacinto and Bogotá and a reference point for other gaita musicians throughout Colombia. Through their own new compositions and through teaching young musicians, they are a crucial link between traditional gaita music and its contemporary renewal. Thanks in great part to them, gaita music has become one of the most influential traditional musics in contemporary Colombian popular music today.

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Ali Akbar Moradi Ensemble (Kurdistan, Iran)

picAli Akbar Moradi is Iran's greatest living master of the tanbur. Known for his work as a soloist and with Shahram Nazeri and Kayhan Kalhor, he has created new interest for the tanbur — an ancient lute traditionally used in religious ceremonies. His program features meditative improvisations based on the repertoire of the Yarsan people, the followers of a mystical faith associated with Sufism, who live in western Iran.

Moradi was born in 1957 in Guran, near the city of Kermanshah. He began playing the tanbur at the age of seven and studied with various masters, including Sayyed Hachem, Sayyed Mirza Khafashyan, Sayyed Mahmoud Alevi, Darvishi, Allahmouradi Hamedi, and Sayyed Vali Hosseyni. In 1973, he founded the first tanbur ensemble and began his touring career. By the age of 30 he had completed learning the entire 72 maqams (modes) of the Kurdish tanbur repertoire, making him perhaps the only living artist with this knowledge. His recordings include the acclaimed CD, In the Mirror of the Sky, with kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor for World Village/Harmonia Mundi USA. He has performed as a soloist and with ensembles in festivals throughout the world.

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R. Carlos Nakai Earth Sounds Ensemble (Navajo-Ute/Mongolia/UK)

photoEarth Sounds is a cross-cultural collaboration between Native-American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, Mongolian khoomei throat-singer Shinetsog Dorjnyam, Mongolian yatag (zither) player Munkh-Erdene and didgeridoo player Stephen Kent.

By combining the Native-American flute playing with Mongolian khoomei throat-singing, Mongolian yatag music and Indigenous-Australian didgeridoo playing, the musicians hope to create a deeply evocative musical resonance that brings forth a meditative, healing, and inspiring musical creation that is rooted in nature-inspired indigenous musical forms from three ancient cultures.

Musically harmonizing with the sounds of nature crystallizes a kinetic connection with the earth and nature and is the root-inspiration for the music of all four musicians comprising this group. The ancient traditions of the three cultures comprising this group of musicians are intrinsically linked with the experience of nomadic life, seasonal migrations, the sounds of nature, and ultimately the earth itself. Working together collaboratively the musicians aim to develop a universal musical language built on melodic rhythmic patterns, powerfully resonating overtones and inventive interpretations of venerable musical practices.

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Ozomatli (USA)

photoOzomatli has always juggled two key identities. They are the voice of their city, Los Angeles, and they are citizens of the world. Their music—a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East L.A. R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga—has long followed a key mantra: it will take you around the world by taking you around L.A.

Originally formed to play at a Los Angeles labor protest over a decade ago, Ozomatli spent some of their early days participating in everything from earthquake prep "hip hop ghetto plays" at inner-city elementary schools to community activist events, protests, and city fundraisers. In recognition of their efforts towards Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles officially declared April 23rd, 2010 as "Ozomatli Day", as well as every following April 23rd, in perpetuity.

Ozo is also a product of the city's grassroots political scene. Proudly born as a multi-racial crew in post-uprising 90s Los Angeles, the band has built a formidable reputation over five full-length studio albums and a relentless touring schedule for taking party rocking so seriously that it becomes new school musical activism.

"Just being who we are and just doing what we're doing with music at this time is very political," says bassist Wil-Dog Abers. "The youth see us up there and recognize themselves. So in a playful, party-type of way, I think it's real easy for this band to get dangerous. We are starting to realize just how big of a voice we actually have as a band and how important it is for us to use it."

They were invited by the U.S. State Department to serve as official Cultural Ambassadors on a series of government-sponsored international tours to Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, tours that linked Ozomatli to a tradition of cultural diplomacy that also includes the esteemed likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong. Ozo were the first Western band to do a concert in Nepal and the event was the country's first peaceful mass gathering that was not a protest or religious ceremony. Ozomatli has spent 15 years working diligently to spread its message of peace, communication and understanding through music.

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Plena Libre (Puerto Rico)

picFour-Time Grammy Nominee Plena Libre is the Music of Puerto Rico as it Should Be Experienced Live!! Captivating and moving audiences over the course of a fifteen-year, thirteen-album career, this fine-tuned 12-piece Puerto Rican-based ensemble of virtuoso musicians has only gotten better with age, as evidenced by their four recent Grammy nominations. Plena Libre has created an all-new exciting repertoire along with new choreography, compelling new stories told from the stage between songs, and an overall presentation sure to win the hearts of both aficionados and newcomers to their sound. Plena Libre infuses their contemporary Caribbean compositions with a deep sense of the unique indigenous musical traditions, known as plena and bomba, which developed on the island over a century ago. Unlike salsa bands, who usually only have two singers, Plena Libre features five vocalists singing in lush three and four part harmonies; a musical representation of a traditional community gathering. Further giving their live performances a memorable standout quality, occasionally, the entire band will vocalize the percussion parts of the plena, creating an a cappella polyphonic polyrhythm. These artistic choices drive home the core of the tradition in an aesthetic that appeals to broad audiences and aficionados alike.

With an aggressive, tight, yet sensitive style, which balances the traditional with the contemporary, the global and the local, Plena Libre creates a brand of music and live performance that is both profoundly Puerto Rican and universally appealing. One of the hottest tropical bands today, known for their high-energy show and hard-driven Puerto Rican rhythms. Plena Libre are considered the Ambassadors of the Puerto Rican afrorican music, Plena and Bomba.

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Razia (Madagascar)

photoSinger and songwriter Razia Said's nomadic life has taken her across Africa to France, Italy, Ibiza, Bali and New York City, but despite these wanderings, her heart and soul remains inexorably tethered to Madagascar, the land of her birth. Her musical explorations have also been wide ranging, and over the years Razia has experimented with French chanson, rock, jazz and even smooth, Sade-style R&B. But it took reaching back to her cultural roots for Razia to uncover her true artistic calling as one of African music's most promising talents.

Razia attended boarding school in southern France, where she first started learning to play guitar. Seeking economic stability, Razia received her doctorate in pharmacology and moved to Paris. But her passion remained with the arts, and in Paris, Razia made a living through modeling, acting and occasional music gigs. In 1987, Razia moved with a lover to New York City, and they worked odd jobs in order to earn enough money to spend three months a year living in Bali, Indonesia. Over the years, Razia also lived in Ibiza and Milan, working as a stylist, an actor and in fashion, struggling all the while to find her own musical direction.

Eventually, Razia met and married Jamie Ambler, a musician, filmmaker and advertising creative director, and he worked with her to record her first album. While Razia was happy to have gotten some of her songs recorded, the pop-oriented, English-language R&B and jazz direction left her unfulfilled. Razia had been traveling often to visit her family in Madagascar, and after she had a chance meeting with members of Njava, one of the country's best bands, she decided that she needed to record songs in the Malagasy language and inspired by the rhythms, melodies and instruments she fell in love with as a young child. Razia's longing to protect and preserve the environmental and cultural heritage of her homeland permeates the songs on her album Zebu Nation, and gives it a powerful, real-world significance.

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Keith Secola Band (featuring the Wild Band Dancers) (Anishinabe)

picKeith Secola is an icon and ambassador of Native music. He is one of the most influential artists in the field today. Rising from the grassroots of North America, he is a songwriter of the people. Critics have dubbed him as the Native versions of both Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. "NDN Kars" ("Indian Cars"), his most popular song, is considered the contemporary Native American anthem, achieving legendary status and earning him a well deserved cult following. It has been the number one requested song on tribal radio since the 1992. In 2011, he joined the ranks of Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams, Crystal Gayle, and Richie Valens, and was inducted into the Native Music Hall of Fame.

Born in 1957 in Cook, Minnesota, Secola is affiliated with the Anishinabe tribe. He graduated from Mesabi Community College with a degree in Public Service in 1979, and completed a BA in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota in 1982. He is married and has two children.

Secola is an accomplished artist, garnering awards and accolades as a musician, a singer, a songwriter, a composer and a producer. He is highly skilled with the guitar, flute, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and piano, and has played in venues from the halls of the Chicago Urban Indian Centre, to the walls of the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He has also performed at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 and Salt Lake City 2002, and toured Europe several times. A seven-time Native American Music Award winner, Secola has earned NAMMYs not only for his music, but also his abilities as a producer. He has self-produced five well-received independent CDs since the early 1990s. His long-anticipated sixth album, Life Is Grand (2012), is a sixteen-song collection of rock and folk, merging roots music with a Native soul and demonstrating a new level of artistic maturity.

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Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès (Haiti)

photoTi-Coca made a name for himself—literally and figuratively—after he came to Port-au-Prince from the countryside in the 1970s. Only 14, he was so short when he arrived that everyone called him "Little Coke Bottle," a reference to the diminutive glass bottles the soda was sold in at the time.

But he was big on stage presence, and had a long and resourceful tradition behind him. Evolved in Haiti's isolated rural areas, twoubadous' repertoire—often referring to history, turning past events into parables—is apolitical, but has become a key touchstone for Haitians, privileged and poor alike. Twoubadous are in demand everywhere: They are hired to greet visitors at the airport, to pack the dance floor at exclusive dinner clubs, and to keep the party going in small villages and towns. And Ti-Coca is considered one of the best.

Though increasingly appreciated by urban audiences, twoubadous have long made the most of their rural communities' lack of electricity and technology, using whatever resonant materials they can get their hands on.

"Anything could be an instrument," Ti-Coca notes. "It's about friends gathering and playing, getting together to have fun and express their lives and feelings. It doesn't take a lot of equipment to do it." Musicians crafted their own flutes, double bass-like manoumbas, gourd shakers, and songs reflecting bittersweet everyday life, the instructive follies of the great, and the pleasures of love.

Bursting with energy and quickly rising from obscurity to Port-au-Prince prominence, Ti-Coca added new elements to the twoubadou music he had learned as a child, as rural sounds gained popularity in Haiti's urban centers. Cuban moments, the mereng (Haiti's French-inflected version of merengue), and the wildly popular and swinging dance music of konpa-direk found a place in Ti-Coca's light yet deep-rooted songs.

New influences and old acoustic ways all serve one purpose, as Ti-Coca likes to emphasize: Fun. "You just use everything that makes a sound to create good music, so that people have a good time," he laughs. Lyrics may have moments of critique or complaint, or references to the profound spiritual traditions of Haitian vodou, but basically it's about the party. "Our music isn't about politics or religion. We make a different kind of statement," Ti-Coca explains. "It's very light and brings joy, but on top of it, it gives you hope. It gives you hope and carries a lot of faith."

picThe ensemble will tour the U.S. in September-October 2012 as part of Center Stage. An initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Center Stage brings compelling contemporary artists from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the United States to engage the American people in cultural diplomacy as a way to create opportunities for greater understanding. Administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts, in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, this public-private partnership is the largest public diplomacy effort to bring foreign artists to American stages in recent history. General Management for Center StageSM is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.

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Zeb and Haniya (Pakistan)

photoZeb and Haniya's music speaks to a shared base of human experience while evoking the rich and textured soundscapes of West Asia. Cutting edge and commercially successful, the musicians write their own songs and also rework existing melodies of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. In doing so, the musicians carve a space for music that transcends national boundaries. The duo's debut album, Chup (Hush), broke to glowing reviews in Pakistan; Herald credited Zeb and Haniya with creating an entirely new canon of jazz-influenced numbers and blues in Urdu, and The News called their arrival "a landmark event." All songs in the album, with the exception of "Paimana Bitte"—an Afghani composition from the 1970s—were written by Haniya and Zeb themselves. Consequently, the singer-songwriter duo has been described by Deutsche Welles as "among the most innovative musicians in Pakistan." Across the border, India Today writes that "everything about their music reads as extraordinary."

Zeb and Haniya's songs are set to music influenced by the classical tradition of the Indian subcontinent, Latin and west African grooves, American folk and blues, and their lyrics are poignant, soulful, and emotive. Their latest recordings have included songs in Turkish, Dari, and Pushto, and their music has been claimed by diverse audiences across West Asia. They have also performed in Malaysia, Italy, France, Pakistan, and at music festivals in the U.S and Norway, and their music has been received with the generosity of spirit with which it has been composed. Zeb and Haniya's music is truly global; their songs excavate historical memories shared across national boundaries, and their music speaks to audiences unfamiliar with the language in which their lyrics are written, but open to the transcendent sweep of music.

picThe ensemble will tour the U.S. in September-October 2012 as part of Center Stage. An initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Center Stage brings compelling contemporary artists from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the United States to engage the American people in cultural diplomacy as a way to create opportunities for greater understanding. Administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts, in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, this public-private partnership is the largest public diplomacy effort to bring foreign artists to American stages in recent history. General Management for Center StageSM is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.

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