Artists

FABIAN ALSULTANY
A first-generation American of Iraqi and Cuban decent, Fabian Alsultany has spent his life bridging gaps.  Dubbed by Billboard Magazine as the “world music impresario,” Fabian Alsultany is a producer, entrepreneur, futurist and DJ. He has produced and guided the creation of countless albums and concerts since the early 1990s, launched the live events division for Putumayo World Music, represented music industry legend Chris Blackwell (Bob Marley/U2) as Director of A&R and Festivals at Palm Pictures, and founded Uprise Management & Productions where he represented a stable of world music stars, branded festivals, and was the talent buyer of legendary nightclub SOB’s. As the creator of GlobeSonic Sound System, a traveling DJ collective that fuses traditional music from the Middle East, India, Latin America, and Africa with modern electronica, he has brought the evolving sounds of international music to global audiences.  His works as manager, producer, representative and dj have taken him throughout the world. Alsultany’s private ventures include establishing Uprise Works, a group of creative business professionals who provide creative marketing & strategic consulting for individuals, musicians, record labels, festivals and companies.  Another venture is a full service international music company, GlobeSonic Entertainment that focuses primarily on producing groundbreaking tours, shows and festivals in the entertainment and wellness industries.

AMAYO (ANTIBALAS)
British-born of Nigerian parents, Amayo‘s spirit was first ignited at Fela’s club, The Shrine, in Lagos, Nigeria. While growing up in Lagos, his primary passions were dancing and practicing Kung Fu to the rhythms of funk and Afrobeat. It was then that the seed of Afrobeat was first implanted within him. As the lead singer, percussionist for Antibalas, Amayo has ignited festival crowds and packed audiences into a frenzy across four continents. Continuing in the tradition of Fela Kuti, Amayo presents the world with his one-of-a-kind style of music, dance, and martial arts – FU-ARKIST-RA. In addition to composing and arranging all the songs, Amayo sings and plays piano and organ intermixed with charged performances of traditional African lyrics and movement. He has opened for James Brown, performed with The Roots, Tony Allen, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Baaba Maal, and with Michael Franti and Spearhead.

BILL BRAGIN
Called “one of the most influential figures in the New York live-music business” by the NY Times, Bill Bragin is Director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center, where he produces the popular Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals as well as programming for the Lincoln Center’s new David Rubenstein Atrium. Previously, he spent six years as Director of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater where he initiated the Tony Award-winning rock musical Passing Strange and co-founded the annual globalFEST world music festival. Bragin has been Artistic Director of Central Park SummerStage, music curator at Symphony Space, general manager of NYNO Records and associate producer at George Wein’s Festival Productions. He is music adviser for the TED Conferences and DJ’s internationally as “Acidophilus” with the GlobeSonic Sound System. In 1999, Bill founded Acidophilus: Live & Active Cultures, a music and performing arts consulting service devoted to exposing and developing outlets for cutting edge global culture in a variety of mediums. Projects have included: programming Caribbean, electronic and African music series for Lincoln Center Festival 2000-2001; booking international artists for the Abril Pro Rock Festival in Recife, Brazil; providing music supervision for choreographers, filmmakers and corporate clients; and consulting on sponsorship and new program development for various clients.

KRISHNA DAS
Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das is an instantly recognizable figure on the worldwide yoga and chant scene. With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das – known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD – has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time, with over 300,000 records sold. His latest studio recording Heart as Wide as the World, invests KD’s magnetic chanting with an electrifying rock ‘n’ roll sensibility informed by a lifetime of experience and musical love. KD is clear that he is first and foremost a devotee, with the sharing of his practice a profound act of his faith. Nevertheless, KD has become an iconic music presence, drawing in other artists, including Sting, Madonna, Mike D, jazz bassist Stanley Jordan, and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, some of whom are yoga devotees, while others are simply moved by the power of the music.

MERCAN DEDE
Mercan Dede believes that when you put digital, electronic sounds together with hand-made, human ones, you can create universal language, capable of uniting old and young, ancient and modern, East and West. It’s a bold claim, but the Turkish-born and Montreal-based musician/producer/DJ has the career and the music to back it up. When he takes the stage with his group Secret Tribe, he hovers at the side behind his turntables and electronics, occasionally picking up a traditional wooden flute, or ney to float in sweet, breathy melodies, while masters of the kanun (zither), clarinet, darbuka (hand drum) and whatever other instruments he’s decided to include that night, ornament his grooves and spin magical, trance melodies to match the whirling of the group’s spectacular dervish dancer, Mira Burke. Not to mention the many great international artists appear as guest musicians both in his albums and his concerts. This contrast between electronica and classical or folkloric arts cuts to the core of the Sufi philosophy that guides this one-of-a-kind artist.

DUB GABRIEL
Producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, Dub Gabriel has been pushing the limits of subwoofers worldwide for over a decade. His musical explorations in Brooklyn in the mid 90’s drew him to the outer limits of the New York scene where he got his start as a DJ at the legendary Limelight club. With his early sound being a portent of today’s burgeoning dubstep scene, his bass-bending style and hard-hitting sets launched him as a trailblazing figure in the New York underground club scene and gained him the attention of leading publications that include XLR8R, Interview, Billboard, Pitchfork, Time Out New York, The Wire, International DJ and countless others. Today, Dub Gabriel’s live performances continue to push the sonic envelope and herald the end of traditional DJing as we know it. One of only three artists in the world endorsed by Akai for their APC40 controller, his electrifying performance-driven sets blur the lines between DJ, sound system and live electronic music. His unique style has created much demand on the international circuit and has seen him perform regularly alongside a truly diverse set of cutting-edge artists that include Kode9, DJ Craze, Benga, Bomb Squad, Jazzanova, Scientist and Meat Beat Manifesto.

ZAKIR HUSSAIN
Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, but gained him worldwide fame. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study. The favorite accompanist for many of India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers, he has not let his genius rest there. Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir’s contribution to world music has been unique, with many historic collaborations, including Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar, Remember Shakti, the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, Tabla Beat Science, Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, YoYo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris, and the Kodo drummers. His music and extraordinary contribution to the music world were honored in April, 2009, with four widely-heralded and sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall’s Artist Perspective series.

KARSH KALE
Described by Billboard as a “visionary composer and producer,” Karsh Kale is one of global music’s brightest stars. In the past 12 years as a solo recording artist, producer, composer, live performer and DJ, Karsh has set the world of electronic fusion on fire and has helped to create a genre of new music and culture that continues to influence an entire generation. His body of work has been cause for fans and critics alike to claim Kale as a pioneer and a trail blazer, not only opening doors for his own career but for an entire scene to emerge in the world of electronica and fusion music. Karsh Kale has also developed a reputation as a genre bending collaborator and a world renowned tabla player and musician, exploring the worlds of electronica, Indian classical music, rock, jazz fusion and hip hop which has led him to work with some of the most renowned artists from around the globe. Kale continues to reinvent his ever-evolving sound and has established himself as one of the worlds most sought after fusion artists.

BILL LASWELL
Bill Laswell is an American bassist, producer and record label owner. He ranks among the most prolific of musicians, being involved in hundreds of recordings with many musicians from all over the world. Laswell’s music draws upon many different genres, most notably funk, various world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles. He has also played or produced music from the noisier, more aggressive end of the rock spectrum, such as hardcore punk and metal. The credo of one record label run by Laswell, and which typifies much of his work, is “Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted.” Though projects arranged by Laswell may be credited under the same name and often feature the same roster of musicians, the styles and themes explored on different albums can vary dramatically: Material began as a noisy dance music project, but subsequent releases have been centered around hip hop, jazz, or backing spoken word readings by beat generation icon William S. Burroughs. Similarly, most versions of Praxis have featured guitarist Buckethead, but have explored different permutations with each new album. Though some artists have chafed against Laswell’s distinctive recording and production style — most noticeably some of his for-hire production gigs including Motörhead, Swans and White Zombie — many other collaborations, such as with pianist Herbie Hancock and singer Iggy Pop, have been lengthier and recurring.

BOBAN MARKOVIC
The Boban Marković Orchestra has been the leading Balkan Brass Band in Serbia over the last 17 years. They are from Vladičin Han, Southern Serbia, which can be heard clearly in their music. They have won several of the most important prizes (“Golden Trumpet”, “First Trumpet” and “The Best Orchestra”) at the Guča trumpet festival, called “Dragačevski Sabor”, which has been held every August in Central Serbia’s town of Guča, since 1961. Every year “Sabor” gathers 20 of the best bands from all parts of Serbia, as well as some 300,000 people in the audience. Winning there means more jobs for the bands, but also is so prestigious, that no one misses the festival and all the bands play for free. Boban Marković Orchestra won the “Best Orchestra” prize at 40th “Sabor” in Guča, August 2000. They won the “Best concert 2000” prize for their concert with Lajko Felix. In Guča, at “Dragačevski Sabor 2001” Boban Marković won “The First Trumpet”, which is officially the best and most coveted prize of the festival. It was the first time ever that any musician received all five “10” scores from every jury member. Since winning, he has decided to stop competing. Lately, the band have opened up to more collaborations, one with Austrian duet Attwenger and the other with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars Di Shikere Kapelye. Together they formed the Brotherhood of Brass.

NICKODEMUS
From the early days of Giant Step to today’s Turntables on the Hudson parties, Nickodemus has been a key element in the NYC dance music scene for over 15 years. As a DJ & a producer, he explores the intersection of urban & world music with sounds of funk, folk, jazz, hip hop, house and dub, all with a message of peace, awareness and love for the dance. Nickodemus’ sound is like a traveling circus that gets everyone’s hips & feet moving. It will stop off in the Middle East & Africa, over to Brazil, Colombia & the Caribbean, up to New Orleans & landing in his hometown, Brooklyn. Nickodemus has been touring as a DJ and collaborating with musicians all over the world since 1996. He has two albums & remix albums, Endangered Species and Sun People, as well as eight Turntables on the Hudson compilations to date. His songs can also be found on hundreds of compilations, as well as several movies and TV shows, including Battle in Seattle, Sex in the City, Dancing With the Stars and True Blood, and commercials such as iTUNES, Revlon, Heineken and Michelob.

NIYAZ
By any measure, Niyaz has come very far, very fast. The trio’s 2005 debut featured a convincing blend of Sufi mysticism and trance electronica, and quickly established them as a standout ensemble in a very crowded world music field. A worldwide tour followed. Drawing on medieval Persian poetry and 300-year old Persian folk songs, with Nine Heavens Niyaz has created a 21st century global trance tradition. Vocalist Azam Ali co-founded the best-selling world music duo Vas in 1996; her unmistakable voice has graced numerous recordings and major film scores. Loga Ramin Torkian is a multi-instrumentalist whose group Axiom of Choice brought the ancient sounds of Persian classical music to Western listeners in the 1990s. And producer Carmen Rizzo, a multiple Grammy nominee, has worked with Coldplay, Seal, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and many others. With Nine Heavens, Niyaz breaks new ground in a two-disc format: the first is an adventurous, spiritual exploration of the ties that bind Persian, Indian, Turkish, and Western dance music.  The second disc showcases 8 out of the 9 songs in a purely acoustic setting.

OJOS DE BRUJO
Ojos de Brujo (“Eyes of the Sorcerer”) is a nine-piece band from Barcelona, Spain, who describe their style as “jipjop flamenkillo” (hip-hop with a little flamenco).The band sold over 100,000 copies of their self-produced Barí album, and has received several awards, among these the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Europe in 2004. Their success is also notable for being achieved without the aid of label backing; they set up their own label, La Fábrica de Colores, to get complete artistic freedom for Barí, away from the pressure they perceived from their record company Edel Records for their debut Vengue. The music of Ojos de Brujo uses the drama of flamenco, but carries it along on a steady rhythmic foundation, making the group’s music a closer relative to rumba catalana. Usually the focus of Ojos’ songs are the vocals by Marina Abad, which move smoothly from gritty flamenco wail to authoritative rapping. The blend of music opens up their audience base and provides more opportunity to keep creating new types of sounds.

TJ REHMI
TJ Rehmi (aka Jav Rehmi) is one of UK’s most creative and innovative musicians. A critically acclaimed but reclusive artist who has often shunned the limelight, Rehmi’s unique style of music has inspired and influenced countless musicians, DJs and discerning fans around the world. As a guitarist, composer and producer, he has been a pioneering figure who, from the early 1990’s in the UK, experimented with Asian influenced sounds that were later to become part of the international ‘Asian Underground’ movement. His work includes recording and performing as a session guitarist, producing experimental solo albums, performing as a DJ, remixing, collaboration work, co-writing and studio production. As well as doing session guitar work for countless other producers, Rehmi has done remixes for the likes of Natacha Atlas, Trilok Gurtu, Shaukat Ali, Russian Rock band Mumiy Troll, Sheila Chandra and DJ Cheb I Sabbah. Rehmi continues to compose and produce and the next album ‘Inventions from the Mood Lab’ is a collection of previously unreleased material waiting to be heard; music that had been hanging around in Audio files on various hard drives spanning a period of 10 years.

CHEB I SABBAH
Cheb i Sabbah, musical adventurer, global spiritualist and producer extraordinaire has returned to the Indian subcontinent for Devotion, his seventh album on Six Degrees Records. Hundreds of artists in the world music genre, or for that matter any genre, have come and gone like bottle rockets, but Cheb i Sabbah’s light keeps burning and it is his bhakti (devotion) to the spiritual essence of music, and to truth and humanity, that is responsible for his longevity. Sabbah was nominated for the BBC’s 2006 Award for World Music in the Club Global category. dj Cheb i Sabbah grew up Jewish of Berber (Amazigh) descent in Constantine, Algeria, so the idea of mixing cultures was, you might say, in his blood. He moved to Paris in the 1960s, and, more or less by accident, became a DJ. By the late 1980s, he was pushing boundaries on the dance floor, seeking ways to work African, Asian, and Arabic music into the mix. Then, as the “world music” movement unfolded, Cheb i Sabbah took the inspired step of recording traditional and classical musicians himself and using those tracks to create bold, new creations. For his record La Kahena, Sabbah returned to his native North Africa to gather the raw material and produce a set of eight pieces created from music by eight different acts, all featuring women singers. Sabbah remains a DJ at heart, but he is also something more—one of the most innovative forces in contemporary dance music today.

SHANTEL
Shantel, real name Stefan Hantel, is a German DJ/producer of Romanian descent, known for his work with gypsy brass orchestras, DJing and remixing traditional Balkan music with electronic beats. His grandparents on the maternal side were from the Romanian part of Bukovina.Shantel began his DJ career in Frankfurt, Germany, and was inspired by the audience reaction to gypsy brass bands such as Fanfare Ciocărlia and trumpeter Boban Marković to infuse electronically tweaked Balkan gypsy music into his DJ set. Shantel released two compilations of his popular DJ night, Bucovina Club, on his own Essay label, which won the Club Global award in the 2006 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music. He was one of several DJs to remix recordings of Taraf de Haïdouks and Kočani Orkestar on the Electric Gypsyland compilations from Belgium’s Crammed Discs label, and released his next album on that label. He gained popularity in Turkey after recording the clip of ‘Disko Partizani’ in Istanbul. Shantel’s 2007 album Disko Partizani departed somewhat from the techno sound of Bucovina Club, concentrating more on the music’s Balkan roots. On August 28th 2009 he released his new album with the name Planet Paprika. Recently during a CBC radio interview, Shantel hinted at an upcoming release of Mexican Salsa remixes called Voyage On My Flaming Taco.

VISHAL VAID
Gathered around a makeshift stage of comforters, pillows and tapestries, 25 friends and family members collect to share a most intimate gathering. For eons the mehfil is the preferred space to perform Ghazal, a Persian song form literally meaning “to hold conversation with the divine.” A tabla player sits besides a cello player; not the most classical situation, but this is not a traditional performance. At the center of the stage sits Vishal Vaid, ready to fuse a 700-year old style with modernity. A London native, Vaid moved to America at age four, reared in a panoramic culture split between delving into this beautiful 13th century art form and playing sports and watching MTV. While this sounds like the seeds of identity crisis, Vaid has taken both worlds – the atmospheric elegance of his vocal training mixed with unforgiving New York streets – and created music at once inspiring, gorgeous, evolutionary. Originating in Iran, ghazal arrived in India through the Moghuls and eventually became the most important devotional art form as singers like Aurangabad-born Wali Deccani fused the two predominant languages, Persian and Urdu, and made one song. Vishal is now doing the same for America.

WARSAW VILLAGE BAND
Warsaw Village Band is a band from Warsaw, Poland, that plays traditional Polish folk music combined with modern elements. According to the band’s creative manifesto, it was formed as a response to mass culture and narrow-mindedness, “which in fact leads to [the] destruction of human dignity.” Indeed, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the expansion of the European Union to most of the former Warsaw Pact countries, Poland’s economy has grown dramatically, while at the same time ushering in investment by a number of multinational corporations, leading to concerns of globalism and loss of Poland’s cultural identity. Warsaw Village Band was intended to be a response to this trend by exploring Poland’s musical traditions and making them relevant to its new capitalist economy. Member Wojciech Krzak has stated that “after the nightmare of Communism, we still have to fight for our identity, and we know that beauty and identity are still in our roots.” Krzak has further stated that the band are “trying to create a new cultural proposition for the youth in an alternative way to contemporary show-biz.” The band’s very name appears to evoke what troubles Krzak about Poland’s new capitalism: many large Polish cities do not have suburbs in the traditional sense, leading to unsettling transitions directly from city to field. To this end, in their most recent release, Wykorzenienie (Uprooting), the band traveled throughout Poland to find and record older musicians who still played almost-forgotten styles of music, thereafter incorporating those melodies into new songs and expounding upon them.