Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico (photo © Meg Rachel)

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico (photo © Meg Rachel)

Mariachi Herencia de México,
an Ensemble of Students from Chicago’s Immigrant Barrios,

Scores a Surprise Hit with their Debut CD, Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage);

CD Debuts at #2 on iTunes Latin Chart, Showcasing Growth of Mariachi Music in the U.S.

Produced by Top L.A. Mariachi Musician José Hernández, CD Features Guest Vocalists
from Renowned Bands Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Los Camperos, and others

With Support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Project Represents Success of Mariachi Program Model in Financially-Strapped Chicago Public Schools

NYC Debut August 20 at Joe’s Pub + Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on Sept 16

Mariachi Herencia de México, an ensemble of students from Chicago’s immigrant barrios, has scored a surprise hit with their debut album of traditional Mexican music. Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage) ranked No. 2 in its first week on iTunes’ Latin chart, defying a music industry trend and pointing to a revival in recorded mariachi music.

The album is believed to be the first major mariachi recording released in the U.S. by a student ensemble, with members ranging in age from 11 to 18. It was produced and arranged by L.A.’s mariachi master, Jose Hernández, who calls the project “one of those labor of love things.” Much of that love and labor came from César Maldonado, an investment banker whose most important startup was a non-profit foundation that promoted mariachi music instruction in Chicago public schools, creating a classroom incubator for the talent on this album.

“It’s really nice, and very refreshing, to see kids that age who have so much love and respect for mariachi music,” says Hernández, best known as founder of Mariachi Sol de México, one of the top mariachis in Los Angeles.

In a historic collaboration, the album features guest musicians from some of the most respected mariachi groups from both sides of the border. It includes vocal contributions, recorded in Mexico, by members of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, a revered institution in the genre. In addition, members of three top Los Angeles ensembles – Los Camperos, Sol de México, and the all-female group Reyna de Los Ángeles – recorded guest vocals on the CD.

The release of the album, featuring 11 traditional mariachi tracks, comes paradoxically at a time when the genre had been waning. With more than 100 years of history, mariachi music had become an iconic art form, representing Mexican culture throughout the world, via records, movies and spectacular live performances by superstar singers. But the lack of major new artists in the field, coupled with the emergence of other popular folk styles, especially banda and corridos, mariachi music lost its commercial appeal for the recording industry. In fact, last year the Latin GRAMMYs did not offer an award for “Best Ranchero / Mariachi Album” due to an insufficient number of entries in the category.

Nuestra Herencia was released in time to qualify for this year’s Latin GRAMMY competition and features tribute medleys to two of the genre’s greatest stars: Juan Gabriel and José Alfredo Jiménez.

For the creators and members of Mariachi Herencia de México, the passion for mariachi music has never faltered. The group’s success represents the strength of the colorful folk style as a grassroots movement, very much alive in regional festivals and especially in the schools.

“I tell people that mariachi is a sleeping giant in this country,” says Hernández, who also operates music education programs through his L.A.-based Mariachi Heritage Society. “A lot of people in the mainstream don’t realize how big mariachi has become in the schools. This album might open people’s eyes to what’s happening to mariachi education in this country. It’s really growing.”

In Chicago, Mariachi Herencia de México was purely a barrio creation.

The band emerged from a plucky non-profit, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, that pushed a cultural agenda in the schools. It was started in 2013 by a determined investment banker whose entrepreneurial spirit was aimed at doing good for his old neighborhood. César Maldonado, 33, was born and raised in the blue-collar, predominantly Latino community of Brighton Park on the south side of Chicago. At the time, he recalls, the public schools he attended had no formal arts or music instruction.

“I believe in the impact of the arts, especially when the art form is relevant. And this art form is completely relevant to Chicago’s growing Mexican and Mexican American communities,” says Maldonado.

Maldonado, who still lives in his old neighborhood, decided to make good on his convictions. With the blessing of Chicago’s arts-focused leader, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and support from a network of local businesses, a program of mariachi music instruction was launched, initially in five public schools. These were among the schools identified by a city study as most lacking in arts resources. And that included Maldonado’s alma mater, Davis Elementary.

The program, part of the regular school curriculum, has now expanded to eight schools and enrolls 2,100 students, who learn music theory and performance in the mariachi style. The ensemble Mariachi Herencia de México was created for students who showed the most talent and promise, and enrollment for the group was opened citywide.

For trumpeter Marco Villela, 14, who joined the mariachi last year at the urging of his mother, the experience has been a cultural eye-opener.

“It’s something that changed my life,” says Villela. “It really taught me how to look at music differently, and that there are more things out there than just classical and jazz.”

The group performs in major mariachi festivals, including upcoming events in Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Guadalajara, Mexico’s mariachi capital. Maldonado says the band recently signed with IMG Artists, the New York agency that also represents international stars Aida Cuevas, Eddie Palmieri, and Diego El Cigala.

The aim is more exposure, so the world can see what these young musicians have to offer. Debut concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and The Public Theater in New York City are now on the schedule.

“I want people across the country to hear about these kids,” says Maldonado. “These are kids from some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, most of them first generation Mexican American, and all of a sudden, they enroll in this mariachi program and awaken a talent they never knew they had. And they become good enough to record something like this.”

Mariachi Herencia de México – Summer 2017 Tour

August 20 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub – 7:00pm
Aug 25- Sept 3 – Guadalajara, MX – Guadalajara International Mariachi Festival
Sept 16 – Washington, DC – Kennedy Center / Millennium Stage (FREE)
Sept 16 – Chicago NPR Radio – WFMT-FM Performance on “Introductions”


Great lecture by Billy Bragg, recorded July 21, 2017 at the Library of Congress. Presented by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

Billy’s talk is about skiffle, a catchy name for a do-it-yourself music craze that swept Britain in the 1950s, primarily influenced by American jazz, blues, folk, and roots music. Skiffle is the main reason the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK, and in this sense led directly to both the UK folk scene and British rock and roll, including the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Faces, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, and David Bowie — not to mention Martin Carthy, John Renbourn, and the Watersons — all got their start playing skiffle. Bragg has spent several years researching and writing about skiffle in an exciting new book, Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World.

Oumou Sangaré - Mogoya CD

Renowned Malian vocalist Oumou Sangaré has just released her new video for “Yere Faga,” the lead single from her much anticipated latest album Mogoya (to be released May 19, No Format!).  The track contains a powerful message of perseverance for those facing depression and thoughts of suicide, and is the result of a masterful collaboration with afrobeat drumming legend Tony Allen.

It has been eight years since Oumou Sangaré, often called the greatest living female voice in African music, last released an album of new material and much has changed since then. The power of her voice and the potency of her message remain inviolable.  Now with a new label, an all-new production team and a vital new set of songs, her latest album Mogoya (roughly translated as ‘people today’) represents an exciting new chapter in Oumou’s storied career.

While her sound remains deeply rooted deep in Malian tradition, this is Oumou as we have never heard her before. Recorded in Stockholm by Andreas Unge, and produced in Paris with the crack French production team A.L.B.E.R.T. (Vincent Taurelle, Ludovic Bruni and Vincent Taeger) known for their work with the likes of Air, Beck, and Franz Ferdinand, Mogoya is a record that both draws upon a rich musical heritage and leans towards the future.

Traditional African instruments such as the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash (gourd used for percussion) are complimented by electric guitar, bass, keyboards and even synths. The legendary drummer Tony Allen, once Fela Kuti’s bandleader and the co-creator of Afrobeat, guests on drum kit.

The Jerry Cans

The Jerry Cans

Nunavut roots rockers The Jerry Cans kick off the year with “Arnalukuq.” The video is dedicated to those who experience domestic abuse, and the lyrics express love and support for those affected. The word ‘piujupaalujutit,’ which means ‘you are beautiful’ is repeated throughout.

Sad news from the website of Scottish band Shooglenifty.

It is with deep sadness that we announce that our brother Shoogle, Angus R Grant, passed away last night after a short illness. We would like to thank his doctors and the team from St Columba’s Hospice who enabled him to die peacefully at home surrounded by family and close friends. Here follows a short appreciation …

Angus R Grant

Angus first picked up a fiddle at five years old. He was given a quarter sized instrument by his uncle and the family were amazed when in just few days he had three tunes on the go. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been so surprised. As the son of the renowned left-handed fiddle player and teacher from Lochaber – Aonghas Grant – his destiny was to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Not that he saw it quite in the way that Grant Sr intended. In fact, his teenage years were full of filial rebellion, as he gave up the fiddle and took up the electric guitar. It was the time of punk, and a do-it-yourself vibe. Spending hours practising pibroch and puirt tunes seemed less attractive than thrashing away at a guitar. In those days, playing fiddle was decidedly uncool, ironically something Angus did much to change in the next 30 or so years.

Source: Shooglenifty | Angus

“Da Eye Wifey” – Cambridge (U.K.) Folk Festival on 2 August 2015

“The Pipe Tunes” from the first album, Venus in Tweeds (1994)

“Tammienorrie” – Cambridge Folk Festival 2007


One of the aspects that makes Malian popular music so compelling is the unique blend of Western and traditional instruments, like kora, balafon and ngoni. One of the lesser-known, but no less important instruments, is the njarka: a small, one-stringed violin, made from a gourd and stringed with the tail-hair of a horse.

Brehima “Youro” Cisse is a master of the njarka, and currently touring with Malian bluesman Mamadou Kelly, as part of his band Ban Kai Na. Youro was faced with unusual dilemma last week, when the one string of his njarka snapped and he needed to find a replacement.

Luckily, the band’s manager Christopher A Nolan swung into action, contacting a Hudson Valley neighbor with a nearby horse farm. A visit was arranged, and Maggie the Pony was kind enough to donate a tail hair or two for the cause. The results were a success.

Maggie: 1     Guitar Center: 0


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Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na Remaining Tour Dates:

  • July 27 Joe’s Pub, Manhattan NY
  • July 29 BSP, Kingston NY
  • Aug 5 Kennedy Center, Washington DC
  • Aug 6 Balliceaux, Richmond VA
  • Aug 7 Bossa Bistro, Washington DC
  • Aug 10 Union Pool, Brooklyn NY
  • Aug 12 Half Moon, Hudson NY



Listen to Djamila:


Photos: Christopher Nolan
Text courtesy of Tom Pryor

The Baltimore Folk Music Society sponsors English Country Dance every Monday at St. Mark’s on the Hill on Reisterstown Road and American Contra and Square Dancing every Wednesday at the Lovely Lane Church on St. Paul Street. The BFMS Open Sing is Thursday at Guitars of Pikesville. 888.646.BFMS

The Institute of Musical Traditions presents The Kennedys at Allyworld in Takoma Park, MD on Monday. 301-754-3611

At the Ram’s Head in Annapolis – Monday: The Return: The Ultimate Beatles Experience; Tuesday & Wednesday: Leon Russell; Thursday: Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra. 410-268-4545

On Tuesday there’s an old-time music jam led by Ken and Brad Kolodner at Liam Flynn’s Ale House in the Station North Arts District. 443-956-1702

Thursday, Letitia Van Sant and Slow Down Tommy are at the Four Hour Day Lutherie on Harford Road. (410) 637-3728

Thursday is bluegrass night at The 8×10 with The Woodshedders, Plank Stompers, and Herb N’ Hanson. Friday it’s The John “Papa Gros” Band with special guest Cris Jacobs and Cara Kelly & the Tell Tale. 410-625-2000

Another Thursday show is the Anders Osborne and Amy Helm & the Handsome Strangers at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton MD. 410-822-7299. The same bands are at the 9:30 Club in DC on Friday. 202-393-0930

On Friday, Uptown Concerts at The Cellar Stage Baltimore features Seth Kibel & the Music Pilgrim Trio. The Cellar Stage is located in Faith Community United Methodist Church of Hamilton on Harford Road. 410-521-9099

The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival Battle of the Bands Round 2 is Friday at Union Craft Brewing.

In another Friday show, Andrew McKnight will appear at the 333 Coffeehouse in the Annapolis Friends Meeting House. (443) 333-9613

Saturday, Ken & Brad Kolodner Trio with guest multi-instrumentalist Rachel Eddy are at Germano’s Piattini Restaurant in Little Italy. 410.752.4515

Also on Saturday, Creole Carnaval will be at Lisner Auditorium in Washington DC with music by Brushy One String (Jamaica), Emeline Michel (Haiti), and Casuarina (Brazil). 202-994-6800

Next Sunday at 5pm, the Roots Café Singer-Songwriter Series presents the Grandsons’ Alan MacEwen and Scott McKnight with singing host Geoffrey Himes at An Die Musik Live. (410) 385-2638

New Charm City Junction video

Posted: December 23, 2015 in Videos

Charm City Junction backstage at Helicon’s 30th Annual Winter Solstice concert, Saturday, December 19, 2015.

Brad Kolodner: banjo
Patrick McAvinue: fiddle
Alex Lacquement: bass
Sean McComiskey: accordion

The Baltimore Folk Music Society sponsors English Country Dance every Monday at St. Marks on the Hill on Reisterstown Road and American Contra and Square Dancing every Wednesday at the Lovely Lane Church on St. Paul Street. The BFMS Open Sing is Thursday at Guitars of Pikesville. 888.646.BFMS

The Institute of Musical Traditions presents Robin Bullock, Ken Kolodner & Elke Baker at Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville, MD on Monday. 301-754-3611

WTMD presents an evening with Sun Club on Wednesday at 8pm in WTMD’s performance space in Towson. Tickets are available at MissionTix. We’ll be broadcasting the show live on 89.7 FM.

At the Ram’s Head in Annapolis – Wednesday: Marshall Tucker Band; Thursday: ‘How I Got the Blues’: a multi-media show with Toby Walker and special guest Cory Seznec. 410-268-4545

The next Live Lunch in WTMD’s performance space in Towson is the Freddie Jones Band on Thursday. Come see the band live at noon or tune in to 89.7 WTMD.

Uptown Concerts presents Songs for the Holiday Season by Lynn Hollyfield with Dave Abe, Jimmy Brink, & Steve Wolf at Baldwin’s Station in Sykesville on Thursday. 410-795-1041

Mountain Ride, Fiery Deep and Jordan August Band are at The 8×10 on Thursday. Saturday it’s A Very Jerry Christmas with Cris Jacobs and Friends. 410-625-2000

The Folklore Society of Greater Washington presents “Seasons of Light” with the duo Magpie at Seekers Church in Takoma Park MD on Friday. 301-754-3611

Another Friday show features Red Sammy at 1919 on Fleet Street in Fells Point.

Vox Pulchra & Tina Chancey will perform early and traditional holiday music from around the world at The Corner Store in Washington on Friday and Saturday. Sunday at 5pm it’s OCEAN Celtic Quartet‘s Winter Solstice concert.

Saturday is Helicon’s 30th Annual Reunion Winter Solstice Concerts at Kraushaar Auditorium of Goucher College with guests fiddler Elke Baker, stepdancer Jonathan Srour, and old-time/Irish music quartet Charm City Junction. Helicon is Ken Kolodner, Robin Bullock and Chris Norman. Two shows at 3:30 and 7:30. 410-243-7254

Kipyn Martin

Kipyn Martin

Saturday is Folk Music Night at Perry Hall United Methodist Church on Belair Road from 7:00-10:00 pm. There’s an open mic, and featured guest Kipyn Martin. 410-529-7176

Also Saturday, Ensemble Galilei brings Irish, Scottish, early and original music to the Churches of the Nativity and Holy Comforter. 410-433-4811

The OCEAN Quartet has a Winter Solstice concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring. (301) 434-4050

Irish instrumental band Lúnasa with vocalist Karan Casey will be at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD on Saturday. 240-567-5775

Christmas From Ireland in Maryland takes place Sunday at 2:30pm at The Severna Park Community Center in Severna Park. The show features Peter Brice, Catherine Marafino, Patrick McAvinue, Matt Mulqueen, Shannon Dunne and their students.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O’Brien

Detour Playlist
Paul Hartman
November 1, 2015 5:00PM – 7:00PM

* = some songs for Halloween

Time, artist, song, album, label, notes

4:58PM Stan Rogers “The Witch of the Westmorland” Between the Breaks… Live! [Borealis] Canada *

5:03PM The Kingston Trio “Zombie Jamboree” All Sides of the Kingston Trio [Silverwolf] *

5:05PM Jimmy Walker with Paul Westmoreland and His Pecos River Boys “Detour” Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Hillbilly Music 1945 [Bear Family] Opening theme; Various artists CD

5:11PM Tim O’Brien “The Tulips on the Table” Pompadour [Howdy Skies]

5:14PM Terakaft “Tafouk Télé (The Sun is There)” Alone [OutHere] Mali

5:19PM Fred Eaglesmith “Spookin’ the Horses” Lipstick Lies & Gasoline [Razor & Tie] Canada; Playing in the Baltimore area this week

5:25PM Guy Davis “Taking Just a Little Bit of Time” Kokomo Kidd [M.C. Records]

5:29PM Garmarna “Gamen (Vulture)” Vengeance [NorthSide] Sweden *

5:33PM Bob Dylan “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: 1965-1966 The Best of the Cutting Edge [Columbia/Legacy]

5:40PM Solas “The Ditching Boy” The Turning Tide [Compass] USA/Ireland

5:44PM Teddy Thompson “Let Me Roll It” Let Us In: Americana – The Music of Paul McCartney …for Linda [Reviver] England; Various artists CD

5:49PM Richard Thompson “Oops! I Did It Again” 1000 Years of Popular Music [Beeswing] England

6:55PM Debi Smith “Haunted” Hits & Holidays [] Playing in the Baltimore area this week *

5:58PM Free the Honey “Jenny Caught a Catfish” Fine Bloom []

youssou-ndour-fatteliku6:01PM Youssou N’Dour et le Super Étoile de Dakar “Immigres” Fatteliku [RealWorld] Senegal; see video below

6:10PM Richard Thompson “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” Rumor & Sigh [Capitol] England; By request

6:15PM Loudon Wainwright III “Vampire Blues” More Love Songs [Rounder] *

6:20PM Pentangle “Reynardine” So Early in the Spring [Green Linnet] England *

6:24PM Insingizi “Basitshelile” Siyabonga (We Thank You) [ARC Music] Zimbabwe

6:28PM Mari Black “Draggin’ the Bow” Flight []

6:32PM Kepa Junkera “Nondik jo Maurizia?” Bilbao 00:00h [Resistencia] Spain (Basque Country); w/Béla Fleck

6:38PM The Turnpike Troubadours “Bossier City” The Turnpike Troubadours [Bossier City/Thirty Tigers] Playing in the Baltimore area this week

6:43PM Hillfolk Noir “North Idaho Zombie Rag (Mix 8)” Pop Songs for Elk [Self-released] *

6:47PM The Devil Makes Three “Deady Body Moving” I’m a Stranger Here [New West] *

6:50PM Calan “Gwdihŵ Shoes” Dinas [] Wales

6:52PM Dick Gaughan “No Gods and Precious Few Heroes” The Ultimate Guide to Scottish Folk [ARC Music] Scotland; Various artists CD

6:56PM Väsen “Johsefins dopvals” Trio [NorthSide] Sweden; Closing theme