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World Music in Birmingham

Subscribe to RSS RSSTuesday, 18th May, 2010

Anoushka Shankar?s Sudakshini [loosely translated as ?A Beautiful Journey Southward'] tour arrives at at Town Hall on 17 May, offering a collection of newly composed ragas, interspersed with traditional South Indian music, performed by the supremely talented sitarist and daughter of legendary sitar virtuoso and composer, Ravi Shankar.

Cuban pianist and former member of Buena Vista Social Club, Roberto Fonseca storms into Birmingham for a concert at the 175 year old Town Hall on Wednesday 2 June. One of the most extraordinary and charismatic musicians to explode out of Havana in recent times, 35 year old Roberto succeeded Ruben Gonzalez as pianist for the world famous Buena Vista Social Club in 2001 and co-produced legendary Cuban vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer?s last album.

A new show by legendary flamenco guitarist, producer Edinburgh International Festival partner Paco Pena, entitled Flamenco Sin Fronteras, visits the majestic surroundings of Town Hall on Wednesday 23 June with four dancers from Paco's own company, a guest dancer from Venezuela and 12 virtuoso musicians and singers performing live on stage.

Saharan desert bluesmen Tinariwen return to Birmingham this summer, with their incredible Assouf guitar poetry in tow, appearing at Town Hall on Wednesday 28 July. Tinariwen?s latest album Imidiwan was awarded album of 2009 by UNCUT magazine, and the Tuareg [nomadic people of North Africa] band have earned two BBC World Music Award nominations, countless accolades and citations, and the attention of high-profile fans such as Robert Plant, Santana, Edge and Thom Yorke to date.

Prior to their July appearance in Birmingham, Tinariwen will perform in the June opening ceremony of the World Cup, to a global audience of 1 billion.

Giant of the flamenco tradition Juan Martin, voted one of the top three guitarists in the world by US magazine Guitar Player, returns to set Town Hall alight on Thursday 14 October with his Flamenco Ensemble ? dancers Salvador Moreno 'El Tigre' and Raquel de Luna, singer and guitarist Manuel, Paul Fawcus on woodwind instruments, and Chris Karan on percussion.

Salif Keita, ?golden voice of Africa?, direct descendant of Mali?s founding father and hugely prolific afro-pop singer-songwriter, brings his inimitable blend of rock, funk and jazz to Town Hall for a very rare performance in the West Midlands on 25 October.

Announced as a headline act at this year?s WOMAD festival, 2009 saw Salif win Best World Album at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique ceremony in 2010, following the release La Difference, which was recorded between Bamako, Beirut, Paris, and Los Angeles.

Two decades after the Broadway success of Tango Argentino, comes Tango Pasión Sexteto, 12 of Buenos Aires's finest Tango dancers - directed by Juan Carlos Zunini, seamlessly choreographed by Hector Zaraspe (former tutor to Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn), and accompanied by the salient sounds of the live six-piece orchestra. Town Hall on 27 October.

A gift to ethnomusicologists and a global broadcast hit following its creation in the early fifties, Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares marry multi-choral folk songs and avante garde dissonant harmonies for an amazing and other-wordly aural experience. Now signed to hip record label 4AD the group perform at Town Hall on 4 November.

Recently launched at the Mother India weekend, Mid-Day Mantra is a new free monthly series of informal sessions in Symphony Hall?s Level 3 Bar featuring Asian artists from the UK and the Indian subcontinent. Artists set to take part in future Mid-day Mantras include Indo-Irish band Milun on 12 June and Soumik Datta on 17 July.