Lakou Mizik is a multigenerational collective of Haitian musicians formed in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. The group includes elder legends and rising young talents, united in a mission to honor the healing spirit of their collective culture and communicate a message of pride, strength and hope to the world.
There are certain people in life who have such a unique energy that it demands to be shared. Whether he appears solo or with his full band, Daby Touré never fails to astound audiences with his ethereal voice, masterful guitar work and catchy original songs. He illuminates the darkest of concert halls with his joyful performances and infectious love of music. A marvelous lyricist, composer of accessible melodic hooks, endearing performer and virtuoso guitarist, Daby Touré reaches deeply into the hearts of listeners with his approachable and unique style of music.
Singer 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 and emerge as both a unique voice in the global music scene as well a passionate advocate for the environment.
Influenced by the soulful beats of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, the positive messages and deep grooves of Bob Marley and the infectious, sing-along anthems of Michael Franti, K'naan and Matisyahu, Rocky Dawuni's songs straddle the musical boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the US to create a universally appealing sound that unites generations and cultures.
Raised in The Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire at the time) with Angolan family roots, Ricardo Lemvo came to the US in the 1980s to pursue a law degree and ended up devoting his life to music. He has recorded numerous international hit songs, which have earned him fame not only in North America and Europe but also in Angola, Colombia, Senegal and many other countries.
Joe Driscoll has gained fame over the last decade for his unique blend of folk, funk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate, from Guinea, is one of the most innovative and virtuosic players of the kora, the 21-stringed West African harp. When these two seemingly disparate artistic forces are combined, an incendiary musical reaction takes place. They first first met in 2010 at a festival in Marseille, France and their explosive combustibility was evident in their jaw-dropping live shows and energizing debut album, Faya, which was released by Cumbancha Discovery in 2014. Performing as a quartet, backed by drums and bass, Joe & Sekou have performed at hundreds of festivals and venues across Europe, North America and Africa, earning ecstatic reviews whenever they set foot on stage.
It has been six years since Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective released Wátina, an album that received unanimous acclaim and elevated the international profile of the music and culture of Central America’s Afro-Amerindian Garifuna community. On the cusp of tremendous fame, Palacio passed away suddenly at the age of 47 not long after Wátina was released, leaving many to wonder who would continue bringing the voice of his people to the world.
With the upcoming release of Ayó (“Goodbye” in the Garifuna language), out July 2 on Stonetree / Cumbancha, Palacio’s band proves they are up to the task, and with Wátina producer Ivan Duran of Stonetree back at the helm, they have created a magical album of soul-stirring songs that reflect the rich heritage and appealing sound of contemporary Garifuna music. With a lineup that consists of the best musicians in the fertile Garifuna music scene, The Garifuna Collective promises to carry the torch of cultural innovation and promotion passed on by Andy Palacio far into the future.
Danny Michel first fell in love with the Central American country of Belize 15 years ago when he traveled there for a break from a cold Canada winter. What started as a vacation from the grind of touring and recording changed Michel’s life and led him down a long and winding road towards the creation of Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me, a stunning collaboration between a Canadian indie rocker, an innovative Belizean producer and some of the top musicians in the respected Garifuna music scene. After earning raves upon its release in Canada, including a coveted Juno nomination for Best World Music Album, Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me is about to be introduced to the world through its international release on Stonetree/Cumbancha on July 2.
French-American singer-songwriter Francesca Blanchard was selected Best Vocalist of 2015 by Vermont weekly Seven Days who hailed her as "a profound, mature talent” who "displays guile and artistic sensitivity that would be the envy of many tunesmiths twice her age”. With artfully crafted, intimate songs, sung in French and English, Blanchard has begun to reach a wide audience with recent inclusions on three Putumayo collections as well as opening slots for Joan Armatrading, Suzanne Vega, Yuna, Lissie, Caravan Palace and others.
Pouring her heart into delicate melodies written for the acoustic guitar, Blanchard’s debut album deux visions was produced by Chris Velan (Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars), mixed by acclaimed Montreal producer Jean Massicotte (Lhasa, Patrick Watson, Arthur H, Jorane) and mastered at the prestigious Metropolis Studios in London. The album reflects Francesca’s travels, both physical and emotional, with influences ranging from Norah Jones and Carla Bruni to Eva Cassidy and Francoise Hardy.
Founded by Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town is named after the historic neighborhood in Port-of-Spain where calypso was born. Kobo Town takes the intricate wordplay of classic Caribbean music and runs it through a 21st Century filter. In the world of Kobo Town calypso, roots reggae, and acoustic instrumentation meet innovative production techniques, social commentary and indie rock attitude.
The formation and success of The Touré-Raichel Collective, the band led by Israeli keyboardist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré—icons in their own countries and abroad—is a reminder of the unique power of music to bridge geographic, ethnic, political and religious differences.
Although a collaboration between an Israeli Jew and a Malian Muslim has unavoidable political implications, what inspired Touré and Raichel to work together was not the potential to make a statement; they simply connected as artists and friends seeking to find musical common ground.
Sergent Garcia, a heavyweight in the European mestizo music scene, is set to release his first full-length album in five years with the groundbreaking Una y Otra Vez (Time and Time Again). A pioneer in blending the fiery Caribbean sounds of salsa, reggae, ska and dancehall with a punk attitude and continental style, Sergent Garcia's latest musical adventure finds him traveling to Colombia to dive into what is currently the epicenter of some of the world's hottest sounds.
Omara "Bombino" Moctar,a young Tuareg guitarist and songwriter, was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence and violent suppression by government forces. His 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.
Since the moment she was born on April 27, 1982 in the Bela Vista neighborhood of São Paulo, Luísa Taubkin Maita has been surrounded by music. In fact, it was a love of music that brought her parents together, helping them cross the divide of their different family backgrounds. Luísa's father, Amado Maita, was a working class musician of Syrian Muslim roots and her mother, Myriam Taubkin, came from a wealthy family of European Jewish heritage, and has been an important concert producer and cultural advocate for over thirty years.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rupa & the April Fishes create music that defies easy categorization. Their two albums, eXtraOrdinary rendition and este mundo, echo with influences of French chanson, Argentinean tango, Gypsy swing, American folk, Latin cumbias, and even Indian ragas. Their raucous and inviting performances have made them internationally renown, with strong followings throughout the world.
Sarazino is the brainchild of Lamine Fellah, a musician, songwriter and producer whose nomadic life is reflected in the multicultural influences in his songs. Fellah is a true child of a globalized world and Sarazino's music draws on reggae, Latin and African grooves, Arabic music and catchy, international pop to create an upbeat celebration of the diverse world we all share.
Kimi Djabaté was raised in Tabato, Guinea-Bissau, a village known for its griots, hereditary singer-poets whose songs of praise and tales of history and legends play an essential role in Africa's musical life. Centuries ago, Djabaté's ancestors, a wandering troupe of musicians from Mali, traveled to the region and the king of Guinea so loved their songs he invited them to stay and offered them the territory of Tabato. Ever since, the area has been a recognized center for music, dance, handcrafts and other creative arts.
Since its formation in 2001, Novalima has been breaking down boundaries, uniting seemingly irreconcilable genres, communities and generations to create an inspiring movement that has revolutionized the music scene in their native Peru. Founded by four friends from Lima with a shared passion for both traditional Afro-Peruvian music and modern DJ culture, Novalima searches for the common ground between past and future, between tradition and innovation.
Producer, keyboardist, Lyricist, composer and Performer Idan Raichel is a global music icon who has brought his inspiring example and soul-stirring music to some of the planet's biggest stages. As the leader of The Idan Raichel Project, Idan acts as a musical ambassador representing a hopeful world in which artistic collaboration breaks down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Over the past 13 years, Idan has collaborated with American pop stars India.Arie, Dave Matthews and Alicia Keys, not to mention a wide range of artists who are household names in their native countries: Portugal's Ana Moura, France's Patrick Bruel, Italy's Ornella Vanoni, Germany's Andreas Scholl, and Mali's Vieux Farka Touré to name but a few. The Idan Raichel Project’s spectacular live show has enchanted audiences worldwide.
Zimbabwe's Chiwoniso performs entrancing and uplifting songs with ancient soul and modern spirit. Backed by the mesmerizing interlocking melodies of the mbira and the deep grooves of an all-star lineup featuring some of Zimbabwe and South Africa's top musicians, Chiwoniso's voice resounds with defiant strength and profound tenderness.
Habib Koité was born in 1958 in Thiès, a Senegalese town situated on the railway line connecting Dakar to Niger, where his father worked on the construction of the tracks. Six months after his birth, the Koité family returned to the regional capital of west Mali, Kayes, and then to Bamako. Habib comes from a noble line of Khassonké griots, traditional troubadors who provide wit, wisdom and musical entertainment at social gatherings and special events. Habib grew up surrounded by seventeen brothers and sisters, and developed his unique guitar style accompanying his griot mother. He inherited his passion for music from his paternal grandfather who played the kamele n'goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters from the Wassolou region of Mali. "Nobody really taught me to sing or to play the guitar," explains Habib, "I watched my parents, and it washed off on me."
At age 12, Dobet announced to her father that she wasn't going to return to school. "I want to stay in the village like you!" she asserted so forcefully that her father knew there was no talking her out of it. However, this was no ordinary "village." Dobet's father, a respected master drummer, singer and actor, was a founding member of Village Ki-Yi M'Bock, one of Africa's most unique artist enclaves. The influence of this exceptional community and the creative environment in which she was raised can be heard in Dobet's recordings.
Take classic Jamaican ska and blend it with Afro-Cuban son and salsa, throw in some retro swing and Colombian cumbia for spice, and the result is a magic musical concoction to get your feet moving and your hips shaking. With Ska Cubano, rarely has the expression "a match made in heaven" been so apropos. Mix classic rhythms from two of the world's most musically influential islands, Jamaica and Cuba, mash them together like mint and sugar, add ample of amounts of intoxicating melodies and a dash of jest; the result is a magical musical cocktail that has been setting dance floors ablaze from London to Tokyo.
"Free" was written while I was sitting on my dad's back porch in Miami, staring out at one of the most beautiful sunsets I'd ever seen. I thought of what it would be like to witness that kind of spectacle every day, no matter the season...how liberating it would feel to be constantly reminded of how small we are in relation to everything else. And be OK with that."