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Every week Dream FM takes a closer look at one of the artists or bands in our playlist. This week’s featured artists are the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Scroll down to learn more !

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela (Rodrigo and Gabriela) are a Mexican acoustic guitar duo who rocketed to worldwide musical fame in 2006. Their music is influenced by a number of genres including flamenco, rock, latin jazz and heavy metal. The duo’s recordings consist largely of instrumental duets on the nylon stringed or flamenco guitar. Rodrigo Sánchez was born in 1974 and Gabriela Quintero in 1973, and both grew up in middle-class families in Mexico City. Their parents listened not only to traditional forms of latin music but also to rock and heavy metal, which would be a strong influence on the duo’s music later in their careers. Rodrigo and Gabriela met at the age of 15, at ‘La casa de la cultura’ (House of Culture) in Mexico City, where Rodrigo’s brother was the director. The two bonded over their interest in music and they soon became a couple.

In the early 1990s, Sánchez formed a heavy metal band called Tierra Ácida and Quintero joined them in 1993. After four wild years they disbanded and the duo left Mexico City for the resort town of Ixtapa and started performing as a duo for the first time. Growing tired of the limited scope of the Mexican music scene, the duo moved to Europe in 1999 and settled in Dublin, where they recorded a demo and then a live album. However, it was their self titled album “Rodrigo y Gabriela” released in 2006 that became a huge success with both audiences and critics alike. Since then they have released four additional studio albums, two more live albums and one EP. They have toured internationally several times and have also worked on the soundtrack of the movies “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides” and “Puss in Boots”. They currently reside in Mexico City where they both live a vegan lifestyle and support animal rights.

Rodrigo y Gabriela in performance

Watch Rodrigo and Gabriela perform “Tamacun” HERE



>> January 12, 2020. This week’s featured artist is the Istanbul based band Light in Babylon. Scroll down to find out more !

Light in Babylon

The story of Light in Babylon begins in 2009 on a street in Istanbul, Turkey named Istiklal Caddesi (Independance Avenue). At that time buskers and street performers from all over Europe and the Middle East had recently discovered Istanbul, and had descended in droves. Located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, Istanbul has long been a melting pot for various cultures and with them a smorgasbord of different kinds of music. It was here that drummer Michal Elia Kamal, of Iranian and Israeli heritage, met French guitar player Julien Demarque. Shortly after they began performing they were joined by Turkish Santur player Metehan Ciftci. The Santur is a Persian instrument where strings stretched across a sounding board are played using tiny mallets. Light in Babylon quickly developed a devout following in Istanbul and were soon performing internationally as well as playing on Istiklal Caddesi when they returned to Istanbul.

After starting out playing covers, the band quickly transitioned to writing its own songs. At first, this was problematic because the three members of the band all spoke different languages! Michal became the primary songwriter and singer in the band; her Hebrew lyrics dealing with oceans that want to be crossed and continents that want to be reached, they’re about love found beyond the horizon like in the song “Wind”. About taking flight and the call of the ocean in “The Way to the Sea”. And in between, they come back time and again to Istanbul, the city of crowded streets and people with tired eyes, a city that trembles with fear in the song “Istanbul”. Their music has a great rhythm, with the santur lending an Oriental sound. With her petite figure, long black hair and captivating voice, Michal enchants audiences wherever she performs.

Light in Babylon performing on the street in Istanbul

Check out Light in Babylon performing “Hinech Yafa” HERE.



>>January 2, 2020. This week’s featured artist is the St.Croix based reggae artist Dezarie. Scroll down to learn more…..

Dezarie

This week’s featured artist was a challenge ! We Love Dezarie, but outside of her music she is a private person who does not reveal much about herself. We do know she was born in St.Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to a family who embraced music and spirituality and she first started singing during childhood. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia before later returning to St.Croix. Her music carries a message of spiritual elevation, equal rights and justice, created in conjunction with Ron Benjamin, her longtime musical director and producer of four of her five albums. He is also the founder of the band Midnite, with whom Dezarie often tours. Together they are responsible for putting the tiny island of St. Croix on the musical map. The combination of Dezarie’s unique voice and lyrics along with Ron’s holistic approach to producing music has yielded a soul stirring collection of uplifting songs.

Dezarie’s success began immediately after the release of her debut album “Fya” in 2001. “Gracious Mama Africa” followed soon afterward, leading to her recognition as a powerful new female voice in the world of reggae music. Her first major tour saw her play ten major cities on the west coast of the U.S.  She has since toured Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. She is especially popular in Brazil, and is a fixture of the festival circuit there. Among her biggest hits are “Gracious Mama Africa”, “Travelers” ,”Poverty”, “Strengthen Your Mind” and “Love in Your Meditation”. She has released five albums thus far and is still touring regularly.

Dezarie on the Mic !

Check out Dezarie’s song Travelers right HERE!



>>December 15, 2019. This week’s featured artist is the French-Ethiopian band Akale Wube. Scroll down to find out more !

Akale Wube in concert

The band Akale Wube, also known as the Akale Wube Quintet, was formed in Paris in October 2008 when five young French musicians got together on a wild project: to delve into the repertoire of the Ethiopian golden age, as defined by the producer Francis Falceto, a contemporary French musicologist and music producer, specializing in World music and in particular the music of Ethiopia which he helped propagate internationally from 1986 onwards. The five musicians had the idea of taking songs from the golden age of modern Ethiopian music in the 1960’s and 1970’s and reworking them with a more modern worldbeat sound. The original vision was for the band to play without a vocalist, and with the flute playing the melody line instead. Later, and especially on tour, the band worked with several different female vocalists, and also collaborated with several Ethiopian bands.

Akale Wube is a popular and critical success, especially in their native France, attracting large crowds of dancing fans. The name Akale Wube is derived from a song by the great Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya, It is an old-fashioned expression which can by translated as ‘my beautiful’ in Amharic, a poetic metaphor which also means ‘beauty of the soul.’ Akale Wube perform songs that are rooted in the “Swinging Addis” music of the 1970’s, but which also incorporate strong elements of funk, jazz, reggae and other forms of world music.

Even more of Akale Wube…..

Check out Akale Wube’s song “Mata” HERE



>>December 3, 2019. This week’s featured artist is the fascinating trio Khruangbin. Scroll down to learn more !

Khruangbin

Khruangbin  is an American musical trio from Houston, Texas. The word “Khruangbin” is Thai for “flying engine”, or “airplane”. The band consists of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr. on drums. The band is known for blending global musical influences with dub, soul and psychedelia. Their debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You (2015), draws from the history of late 1960’s Thai music, while their second album, Con Todo El Mundo (2018), has influences from Spain and the Middle East.

Speer and Johnson met in 2004 while playing in the St. John’s Methodist Church gospel band in Houston. The church employed Speer as the guitarist and Johnson as the organist. Speer & Lee met through friends in 2007, and in 2009, Speer taught Lee to play the bass. The three went on to form Khruangbin a few years later, developing the bass-heavy, psychedelic sound that became the basis of the band’s sound. A notable part of the band’s visual style is the black wigs that Lee and Speer wear on stage, as well as during promotional interviews and photoshoots. This began as a way to help them move from the stage to the merchandise stand without being recognised during early tours !

The band quickly developed a large following and soon joined the festival circuit, playing a string of highly acclaimed shows at festivals worldwide. Khruangbin’s musical genre is a hotly debated topic. Mostly instrumental, their sound has been described as soulsurfpsychedelic, and electronic. Another term used to describe Khruangbin’s music is Thai funk, as the music has considerable Thai influence. However, the band members themselves challenge the convention of genres, publicly refusing to be pigeonholed into one particular label.

Khruangbin live in concert

Check out Khruangbin live on NPR in this video HERE !



>>November 25, 2019. This week’s featured artists are the Cuban/Malian duo of Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara. Scroll down to learn more !

Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian singer-songwriter and Roberto Fonseca is a renowned Cuban pianist who have been performing together since 2014. Fatoumata Diawara, born in 1982, has been living in France since 1999. She initially involved herself in theatre and film before learning the guitar, composing her own material and writing songs that blend Wassoulou traditions of southern Mali with international influences. Noted for her rich sensuous voice, she has performed and recorded with numerous Malian and international greats and has toured every continent. Her debut album ‘Fatou’ was released in September 2011.

Roberto Fonseca, born in Havana in 1975 is a Cuban jazz pianist. From an early age, Fonseca was surrounded by music; his father was drum player Roberto Fonseca Sr. & his mother, Mercedes Cortes Alfaro, was a professional singer. After an early interest in drums, Fonseca switched to piano at the age of 8, and by 14 was experimenting with fusing American jazz and traditional Cuban rhythms; he appeared at Havana’s Jazz Plaza Festival in 1991 when he was only 15. He obtained a masters degree in composition from Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Arte and then left Cuba to find his sound. He has since toured the world with the Buena Vista Social Club and has recorded with other well known Cuban musicians. He released several solo albums between 2008 and 2014, after which he began his collaboration with Fatoumata Diawara. Their first album together was  At Home – Live in Marciac

Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara Live in Paris

Check out Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara performing the song “Sowa” HERE.



>> November 19, 2019 This week’s featured artist is Jamaican reggae sensation Sister Carol. Scroll down to learn more !

Sister Carol

Sister Carol was born in Kingston Jamaica as Carol Theresa East on January 15, 1959. She lived in Brooklyn New York after moving there with her family at the age of 14. In 2018 she moved back to Jamaica and currently lives there in the village of Saint Mary. She has used several stage names over the years, including Black Cinderella (also the name of her record label) and Mother Culture, before settling on Sister Carol. Her father Howard East was a Senior Engineer with Radio Jamaica and contributed to her early recording sessions at Studio One

She earned a degree in education from the City College of New York in 1981, the same year she gave birth to her first child. Around that time she met Brigadier Jerry, a Jamaican DJ, who encouraged her to try DJ chatting in Jamaican dancehall style, rather than singing. Sister Carol has been a huge inspiration for women in reggae. Her music is rich with cultural heritage and infused with a vital social consciousness.She later toured with The Meditations before releasing her first album, Liberation for Africa, in 1983, as a limited edition. The follow up 1984 album Black Cinderella. established her as a formidable force in reggae music.. In the mid 1980’s she formed her own record label, also called Black Cinderella with a number of other albums released on that label. Sister Carol is one of only three female reggae artists to ever be nominated for a Grammy .

Sister Carol on the mic !

Check out Sister Carol’s song “Herbal is Natural” HERE !



>>November 3, 2019. This week’s featured artist is the highly acclaimed Colombian band Bomba Estereo. Scroll down to find out more !

Bomba Estereo

Bomba Estéreo is a Colombian band founded in the capital, Bogotá, in 2005 by Simón Mejía. Their music has been described as psychedelic cumbia. Bomba Estereo translates into English as “stereo bomb” and is also a Colombian term for a really cool and awesome party. Founder Simón Mejía was previously a member of the 1990s Colombian alternative rock band Charconautas, a group whose music was influenced by Colombian groups such as Sidestepper and Bloque de Busqueda who in the late 1990s had started combining traditional Colombian musical rhythms such as salsa and cumbia with modern electronic dance and techno beats and sounds.

 Santa Marta-born singer and rapper Liliana “Li” Saumet joined Bomba Estereo at its founding in 2005. Saumet had briefly been the singer for the dub reggae band Mister Gomes en Bombay before meeting Mejía at a concert. Impressed with Saumet’s voice, Mejía began a collaboration with her on songs for the first Bomba Estéreo album. Bomba Estereo is influenced by music from many parts of the world, but they are proudly Colombian at heart. “We are a hybrid culture,” says the band’s founder, Simón Mejía, “We come from Africans, Indians and whites. We have European influences and we have Arabic influences.”

Bomba Estereo Live in concert

Check out the video for Bomba Estereo’s song “Somos Dos” HERE



>>November 3,2019. This week’s featured artist is Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, from the landlocked desert country of Mali. Scroll down to learn more !

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Bassekou Kouyaté is a musician from Mali. His band is known as Ngoni ba. He was born in Garana, Mali in 1966.  At the age of 12, he started playing the Malian instrument known as the ngoni. In the late 1980s he moved to Bamako, the capital city of Mali. Kouyaté’s debut album Segu Blue was released internationally in 2007, leading to performances in several European nations. He has also toured with Toumani Diabate and appeared on a number of his albums. He has also toured with American “newgrass” legend Bela Fleck. His father , Mustapha Kouyaté was also a ngoni player. Kouyaté’s wife, Amy Sacko, is a successful solo artist in her native Mali as well as singing lead in Ngoni Ba.  

The ngoni or “n’goni” is a string instrument originating in West Africa. Its body is made of wood or calabash with dried animal (often goat) skin head stretched over it. The ngoni, can produce fast melodies, and in modern times has often been electrified and played through an electric guitar amp, complete with effects. The ngoni is known to have existed since at least 1352, when Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveller reported seeing one in the court of Mansa Musa. It is believed to have evolved into the banjo in North America after Mande slaves were exported there. 

The entire Ngoni Ba family at home in Garana

Check out Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba with Abe Sumaya HERE



>> October 27, 2019. This week’s featured artist is the French artist Jain. Scroll down to learn more !

Jain on stage

Jain was born in February 1992 as Jeanne Galice in Toulouse, in the southwest of France. When she was nine, her family relocated to Dubai for her father’s work in the oil industry, which also took her to Congo and Abu Dhabi. It was in Pointe-Noire, Congo, where she lived from ages 12 to 16, that she began making music. Her big sister started playing guitar and taught her a few chords. Jain wrote “Come,” a catchy, acoustic foot stomper, and met a local producer who called himself Mr. Flash. He helped her make a cheap demo which was picked up by a French producer and began her musical career, with her first album coming out in 2015. Her music effortlessly blends elements of pop and electronic music with Arabian and African rhythms and influences and her own unique sense of style. Onstage, she often performs solo, creating intricate pieces through the use of a looping pedal and samples. The artists she looks up to most these days include Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino, and she still enjoys what she calls “classical” albums by Michael Jackson and Otis Redding. Another influence comes from her time in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where she heard lots of Bollywood music. Her latest favourite is the Lebanese artist named Fairuz. “She’s a legend in the Arabic world, and she has a beautiful voice,” Jain says.

Jain

Check out Jain’s official video for ‘Makeba” HERE



>>Oct.20, 2019

This week’s featured artist is London based saxophonist Nubya Garcia. Scroll down to find out more !

Nubya Garcia

Nubya Garcia, is a saxophonist and composer and one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of jazz-influenced sounds in the United Kingdom. Raised by Caribbean parents in a musically creative London environment she was influenced at an early age by musical sounds of the tropics. Her music is a radical clash of Caribbean rhythms, fusion, and modern electro-jazz. She is notable for filling nightclubs with large and surprisingly youthful crowds of a demographic normally more associated with pop and electronic music acts than jazz. Nubya Garcia is very much at the forefront of Britain’s youth-led jazz explosion, creating futurist bebop and afro-centric jazz that acknowledges the roots of jazz while at the same time creating a new musical future for the music. She frequently appears at jazz festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Nubya Garcia is an alumna of London’s innovative jazz education organization, Tomorrow’s Warriors. Nubya credits the program with giving birth to Britain’s new jazz explosion.

Nubya Garcia in performance at the Ottawa Jazz Festival

Check out Nubya Garcia in this video HERE



>>October 12, 2019

This week’s featured artist is reggae star Nattali Rize. Scroll down to learn more….

Nattali Rize

Nattali Rize (born Natalie Magdalena Chilcote) is an Australian-born, Jamaican-based musician, record producer and social activist. Her musical career began in 2003 when she formed the urban roots music band Blue King Brown with Carlo Santone. Later, in 2014, she moved to Jamaica and began a collaboration with local reggae group Notis. Together they recorded the hit single “Rebel Love”. This initial success was followed by further collaborations with Jamaican musicians including Julian Marley; resulting in two more albums by 2017. She is well known on the reggae circuit for her epic, high energy, thought provoking and uplifting live performances. Reggae music has seen the emergence of a remarkable amount of talented female artists since the Roots Revival Movement around 2011 started to gain serious attention. New artists such as Nattali Rize have made significant inroads in the male-dominated reggae industry, becoming highly successful artists in their own right.

Nattali Rize, Notis, and Zuggu Dan

Check out Nattali Rize’s hit track “Rebel Love” HERE



>>October 5, 2019

This week’s featured artist is the Chilean band Newen Afrobeat. Scroll down to learn more……

Newen Afrobeat on stage. There’s a lot of them !

The Chilean band Newen Afrobeat was founded in 2010. Initially inspired almost solely by the music of the renowned afrobeat artist Fela Kuti, they have evolved to include influences from Latin music and the native cultures of Chile.  The word Newen means ‘strength’ in the native Chilean Mapuche language. In addition, their live performances are heavily influenced by Mapuche dance and culture. The band was founded by Tomas Pavez & Nicolas Urbina. Pavez was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1987 and is a self-taught musician. He plays clave (jam blocks, wood blocks, and cowbell), Kpalongo-style Nigerian drums, and shekere. One of the most exciting bands to come out of South America in the last ten years, Newen Afrobeat surely have a bright musical future ahead.

The women of Newen Afrobeat

Check out an amazing live Newen Afrobeat track HERE



>> September 28, 2019

This week the featured artist is Oum, from Morocco. Scroll down to learn more….

Moroccan singer / songwriter Oum wearing one of her elaborate head wraps.
Oum

Easily recognized by her elaborate head wraps and captivating stage presence, Oum El Ghaït Benessahraoui, better known as Oum, is a Moroccan singer-songwriter born in 1978 in Casablanca, Considered an ambassador of Moroccan culture,  She mixes hassanijazzgospelsoulafrobeat and Sufi music influences in her songs. Most of her songs are about love and sensuality, but she also strives to show through music how much Morocco is the gateway between Africa and Europe. As well, her music often touches on the subject of globalization. Oum grew up singing in choirs and wrote her first song at 17. After going through architecture school, Oum decided to dedicate herself to music, initiating her career in the early 2000s with songs in English and Moroccan Darija. Now, she is a highly respected member of the world music diaspora.

Moroccan singer / songwriter Oum perfomring on stage in Bulgaria.
Oum performing in Bulgaria

Listen to a sample of Oum’s music HERE or HERE



>>September 20, 2019

This week’s featured artist is Saodaj’……

Saodaj’ is a group from Reunion Island, located in the Indian ocean several hundred miles from the east coast of Africa. Their name originates from the Portuguese word saudade, meaning melancholy. Inspired by traditional maloya, these five musicians blend influences from West Africa, Europe and Australia, including the use of the didgeridoo. Saodaj’ place their crystal clear voice and island rhythms in the great concert of globalized music. Saodaj’s rhythms and melodies make people dance as though in a state of hypnotic trance.

Saodaj, a band from Reunion Island in performance at an outdoor venue.
Saodaj’ in performance

Listen to a sample of Saodaj’s music HERE


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