23 Feb 2020

New Zealand artists at WOMAD

From Pick and Mix, 12:05 pm on 23 February 2020

New Zealand Auckland songwriter Reb Fountain takes the main stage at WOMAD in New Plymouth next month. Reb was the winner of the 2018 Tui for Best Country Music Artist and another for the Best Country song. Reb has some new song to perform at the festival including the ballad ‘Faster’ which features her playing piano as well.


The Black Quartet is a real WOMAD surprise package: four Kiwi classical musicians who take popular tunes from other genres and make them dance on their fiddles and cellos. The quartet members draw on their varied experiences playing blues, rock, roots, folk, jazz and opera to create their own style.


New York’s All-Women Mariachi Group Flor De Toloache is certain to get the WOMAD crowd on its feet. The group's members come from backgrounds as diverse as New York city itself and mix traditional and modern styles to draw in a new audience to this ever-popular Mexican art form.


Nina Simone was one of the great unclassifiable pop singers of the 20th century, with a massive recording career; the first 15 years she performed everything from soul, pop, jazz, Broadway, classical and even fusion.  But she began her career studying classical piano and we have a recording that includes her improvisation on a Bach prelude.


Bebo Valdés was one of the great Cuban bandleaders in the 1950’s who developed his own style based on Afro Cuban street music and American swing. When Castro’s new government closed the clubs he left and moved to Sweden where he played in hotel bars. But in his mid 70's he was coaxed back to record a disc of Cuban classics Bebo Rides Again, and  to perform with his son pianist Chucho Valdés in a documentary on Latin jazz Calle 54.


American composer Michael Torke has composed a bluegrass violin concerto for Tessa Lark. Michael says he was inspired by the theme to the 'Beverly Hillbillies' with its intricate banjo picking. With Tessa coming from Kentucky he thought it’d be interesting to use the techniques of banjo picking for her as a violinist.


Music details:

Juan Luis Guerra: Quisiera - Flor De Toloache (FLORDETOLOACHE PROMOINDESTRUCTABLE)
GERSHWIN,: Swanee - The Black Quartet (PRIVATE P001452)
TRAD: Bohemian Rag - The Black Quartet (PRIVATE P001452)
ELLINGTON / RUSSELL: Don't Get Around Much Anymore - The Black Quartet (PRIVATE P001452)
ELLINGTON / MILLS: It Don't Mean A Thing - The Black Quartet (PRIVATE P001452)
Bricusse, Newley: Feeling Good - Nina Simone (MERCURY 522747)
Donaldson, Kahn: Love Me or Leave Me - Nina Simone (MERCURY 522747)
Bebo Valdes, Chucho Valdes: La Comparsa - Bebo Valdes, Chucho Valdes (EMI 529898)
Bebo & Cigala: Lagrimas Negras - Bebo Valdes & singer Diego el Cigala (Songlines 25)
FOUNTAIN: Dance With Death Alive - Reb Fountain (FOUNTAIN 684211)
TORKE: Concerto for violin, Sky (1) - Tessa Lark (violin), Albany Symphony/David Allan Miller (ALBANY TROY1784)