Huun-Hurr-Tu Live in Toronto, Nov 20, 2014

By Allister Thompson

I have a thing for Central Asian music, which I wrote about in this piece, so I won’t recap here why it’s so appealing to me. This year, me and the wife were looking for a concert because we buy tickets every year to some event around the holiday season, instead of buying each other Christmas presents. Past experiences have been varied, from okay to horrible … from a fun Queen tribute band to awesome Kodo drummers to Shen Yun, which we unfortunately were not aware is a thinly (very thinly) veiled propaganda show and not an actual accurate representation of Chinese traditional culture.

So, searching carefully around this year, I got lucky when I visited Small World Musics site for the first time; I’m not entirely unfamiliar with this group’s promotions but had not attended any of its events. Well, didn’t my eyes just pop out of my head! Huun-Huur-Tu, the kings of Tuvan music, or actually, maybe the kings of Central Asian music as a whole, were coming to play two shows in an intimate venue. Finally, a chance to hear and see khoomei, kargyraa and sygyt throat singing up close and personal, as well as the fabulous instruments the band plays. It was a bit like how a normal dude feels when he scores a Stones ticket or something; I was pretty damn excited. I listen to Mongol and Tuvan music all the time — a bit of a mainstay around here.

Continue reading.

Susheela Raman at the LIAF Festival

If a band gets up and says “We are only going to be playing songs from our new album, not actually released here yet” normally most audiences would groan mightily. But somehow Susheela Raman has educated her audience to expect the unexpected. Her somewhat wayward musical path has included Indo-jazz, rock covers, Tamil voodoo music and introspective songs. It has not been one that a manager or record company would have recommended. They tend to like more of the same.

Susheela and her band did all the songs from the new album The Queen Between, only officially released in France I believe so far (although it was temporarily available through Songlines Magazine in this country) a powerful and varied selection. The strongest song on immediate impact being the title track and an Afrobeat-tinged work-out “Sharabi”, which means “alcoholic , one of those ambiguous Sufi words which could be about intoxication of the divine or simply getting drunk. Susheela dedicated the song to anyone who has an addiction – thus appealing to nearly everyone in the audience.

Continue reading on The Arts Desk.

Eye For Talent Is Now Riot Artists

As you know, Eye for Talent has spent decades sharing the planet’s music with new audiences around the globe with an emphasis on world, folk, and traditional music. In our continual evolution, we have always endeavored to expand the scope of our roster. Thus it is with great excitement that we announce the biggest transformation in the history of our agency. As we begin this transition, we remain at our core the same agency, but with a new name, new website, new people, new technology, and a host of new artists displaying a breadth of talent that we will continue to expand.

Riot Artists evolved out of Eye For Talent when founder Bill Smith formed a partnership with Evan Smith and former artist manager and record company A&R man, Fabian Alsultany, to bring forth a next-level agency.

Riot Artists exists to embrace new realms of talent: electronica, contemporary music, rock, as well as speakers and innovators/technologists, while still remaining true to its world music roots. In recent months we joined forces with South Asian rock star KARSH KALE and Tex-Mex legends FLACO JIMENEZ & MAX BACAWe are also representing the farewell tour of Armenian Duduk master JIVAN GASPARYAN as well as producing the thematic tour, WOMEN OF THE ARAB WORLD.

We are thrilled to continue representing the Ukrainian musical phenomenon, DAKHABRAKHA, Sarod master AMJAD ALI KHAN, the cabaret swing of PARIS COMBO, and Tuvan quartet HUUN HUUR TU, along with the other tremendously gifted artists with whom we have the privilege to work.

Amjad Ali Khan is one of the undisputed masters of the music world. For many, he takes on a celestial avatar when he is playing the Sarod. Born to Sarod icon Ustad Haafiz Ali khan, he gave his first performance at the age of six. Over the course of his career, he has delivered his music in a flexible instrument line that is vocal in its expressiveness. He has reinvented the technique of Sarod playing which today is distinct in its nomenclature. He has won numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and has performed at venues world over like the Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. His sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, are also very talented and celebrated Sarod players.Today, they are considered as one of the finest Sarod players and have obtained a very special place for themselves among music enthusiasts across the world. They are an inspiration for the younger generation of musicians.