Robert Mirabal has been described as a Native American “Renaissance man”. It is a fitting description for this musician, composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, author, horseman, and farmer. But in Mirabal’s case, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
An accomplished, renowned Native American flute player and maker from Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, Robert’s flutes have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of the American Indian. An award-winning musician, Mirabal performs worldwide, sharing flute songs, tribal rock, dance, and storytelling. Mirabal has twice been named the Native American Music Award’s Artist of the Year, and has received the Songwriter of the Year award three times. He is also a two-time Grammy Award winner. His breakthrough PBS musical production, Music From a Painted Cave, remains a benchmark of Native American traditional/rock fusion and storytelling. He has collaborated with other artists across genres and disciplines including ETHEL String Quartet, Japanese avant-garde modern dancers Eiko and Koma, Mohican singer-songwriter Bill Miller, multimedia environmental artist Sibylle Szaggars Redford and others.
Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the instrument. Rahim studied under the renowned Munir Bashir and Salim Abdul Kareem at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. One of the true Iraqi oud masters, AlHaj's music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and inﬂuence. His songs establish new concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional Iraqi School of oud. Rahim has toured the world with his mentor Munir Bashir, as a soloist, with percussion accompaniment and with string quartet. He has performed with symphony orchestras, shared stages with such global music contemporaries as Natasha Atlas, Lila Downs, Thomas Mapfumo, and Bill Frisell and has recorded with Amjad Ali Khan, Bill Frisell, Peter Buck (REM), Liu Fang, Robert Mirabal, Ottmar Liebert and scores of others. Rahim has garnered many awards since his many as a student at the Institute of Music, Baghdad including two Grammy Nominations, his most recent in 2010. In December 2009 he was awarded a US Artist Ford Fellowship Grant. in 2015 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the USA's highest honor bestowed on traditional musicians.
A 21st century mash-up of the thunderous grooves of northeastern Brazil with the strolling swagger of New Orleans via NYC, Nation Beat is a NYC-Brazilian collision that parades with an infectious, audacious energy, seamlessly bridging folkloric Brazilian rhythms with classic American roots music in an altogether creative and original manner.
Funk. Bop. Rock. Pounded by calloused hands; blasted by tightened lips. It calls across time and continents - with a response from hips and feet. It’s the force that blew through Louis Armstrong in the twenties. It’s the power that gets Brazilians swinging in the streets for carnival.
As only could happen in today’s shrinking world, Nation Beat singularly conjures up this elemental musical mojo, drawing on the wellsprings of rhythm that lit up jazz and got maracatu thundering. Nation Beat takes off with be-bop-via-Brazil drumming; propelled by percussive bursts of New Orleans-flavored brass. But forget the musical history; this is music to move you.
"...The closest analogy for Ndula’s powerhouse mix is Angelique Kidjo in the first flush of her earlier exuberance. Soulful, stirring, sharp and sassy, Ndula is a new African voice to rank alongside the very best." - Songlines
Born and raised in Luanda, Angola, activist, singer-songwriter, percussionist and dancer, Vivalda Ndula has become one of the voices of the new generation of musicians creating a significant cultural and international impact on today's Angolan music scene. She is multi-award winning, nominated/finalist of StarAfrica Sound, International Songwriting Competition, Angola Music Awards and Akademia Music Awards. Ndula sings mostly about love and social inequality, particularly in Angola. Vivalda also works tirelessly at raising social awareness against child labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking as reflected in her award-nominated songs “Mázui” ("Voices") and "Monandengue" ("Children").
Nosotros has been drawing music lovers to their distinctive Latin groove for over 20 years. What began as a guitar trio in 1994, quickly took on a life of its own, becoming something that no one could have predicted, including becoming one of the most recognizable and original Latin bands in the Southwest United States, Nosotros has been drawing music lovers to their distinctive Latin groove for over 20 years. What began as a guitar trio in 1994, quickly took on a life of its own, becoming something that no one could have predicted, including becoming one of the most recognizable and original Latin bands in the Southwest United States, seamlessly combines a myriad of Latin rhythms with elements of rock, salsa, jazz and cumbia creating an innovative and imaginative Latin sound that is, unique, undefinable and unmistakably Nosotros.
What to get when you mix a pinch of surrealism, a bit of modern folklore, a heaping helping of talharpa revival /rebellion and blend it together through effect blocks and loopers? The answer is the multi-award-winning neo-zombie-post-folk Estonian duo Puuluup! Ramo Teder (aka Pastacas) and Marko Veisson have virtually resurrected the ancient talharpa (bowed lyre), popular in Northern Europe since the early middle ages and played on Western Estonian islands until the beginning of 20th century. But this is not an ethnomusicological romp. Puuluup directs the vibrations of the talharpa’s horsehair strings through effects, using alternative bowing and rhythm techniques. The mellow sighs of talharpa are paired with electronically amplified echoes, knocks, creaks and crackles, while still maintaining the instrument’s natural sound. And it is all presented with a unique sense of humor and originality: They play with music as they play with words, sometimes creating their own language.
As the duo states: “We draw inspiration from Vormsi nights, trams in November, junkies in love, criminals from Odessa and Antonio Vivaldi.” Indeed.
Fanfara Station is a trance-inducing celebration with a brass band, an entire North African rhythm section and pumping electro dance beats setting the pace – all created by just three musicians, thanks to some skillful use of loop stations and live overdubbing of an arsenal of instruments.
Fanfara Station is also an intoxicating dance party, replete with a funky musical and rhythmic mix of the cultures from the African diaspora, southern Europe, the Middle East, the Maghreb and the Americas.
ROBERT MIRABAL + ETHEL
“The River resides somewhere beyond the intersection of ceremony and show biz, at a place where multicultural collaboration becomes sacred art.” — The Seattle Times
The River is a journey in instrumental virtuosity, song, and storytelling, inspired by Water as the embodiment of Spirit and essential to life on Earth. This program continues an eight-year collaboration between ETHEL and Robert Mirabal, renowned Native American flutist, instrument builder, and two-time GRAMMY® Award-winner.
RAHIM ALHAJ and SAHBA MOTALLEBI
An evening of intense and timely musical dialogue between oud and tar and Iraq and Iran featuring Iraqi oud maestro, composer, NEA National Heritage Fellow and two-time Grammy nominee Rahim AlHaj iin collaboration with the amazing Iranian tar virtuoso Sahba Motallebi. Musical selections range from AlHaj's and Motallebi's original compositions to innovative arrangements of Kurdish, Iranian and Iraqi traditional music.