Toronto-based Alma Records is kicking into high gear with a slate of spring and summer releases that particularly highlights the label’s commitment to music that transcends geographic boundaries.
Just as the sporting world is about to turn its focus to South Africa this summer for the World Cup, Alma will release the debut recording from the South African group Amabutho (June 8.) Amabutho made its “formal” musical debut in the wildly successful international theatrical phenomenon Umoja as the marimba band that powered the show’s high- energy musical and dance performances. Amabutho was signed to
Sikelela is the eagerly anticipated debut album from these seven young men ,who grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal,
Amabutho’s sound is built around the marimba. Most often described as a wooden variation of the xylophone, the marimba is a crucial component of many styles of South African music. In Amabutho’s skilled hands, it produces a sound that is simultaneously percussive and delightfully melodic. The group features lead, tenor and bass
marimba players, augmented by conga drums, bass drums, djembe, shakers and cow bell.
Amabutho have been chosen to perform at the World Cup opening ceremonies in
On June 22, pianist Hilario Duran will release Motion, the follow up to his Juno Award-winning and Grammy-nominated 2007 CD, From the Heart. The new CD features the acclaimed pianist and his working trio of bassist (and Alma Records label-mate) Roberto Occhipinti and drummer Mark Kelso, as well as contributions from guest percussionists Joaquin Hidalgo, Luis Orbegoso, and Jamey Haddad, and Pandemonium Strings.
Born in Cuba, Hilario Duran was a key member of Arturo Sandoval's band for nine years until Sandoval moved from Cuba to the United States. In 1990. Duran formed his own band, Perspectiva, and was the pianist in Jane Bunnett's award-winning Spirits of Havana band. In 1995, after a final European tour with Perspectiva, Duran established his solo career and moved to Toronto, Canada. A key figure on the Canadian music scene ever since, he has been a member of the jazz faculty at Hunter College, acting as both an adjunct professor and ensemble director. The many musicians he has collaborated with include Tat Guines, Changuito, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Jorge Reyes, Roberto Occhipinti, Larry Cramer, John Patitucci, Michael Brecker, Regina Carter, Dave Valentin, Juan Pablo Torres, John Benitez, Dafnis Prieto, Hugh Marsh, Carlos "Patato" Vales, and Leny Andrade, as well as classical ensembles Quartetto Gelato and the Gryphon Trio. Bunnett's Spirits of Havana CD won a Juno award in 1990, while Duran himself was nominated in 2003 for a June for the CD Havana Remembered, and won in 2005 for New Danzon. In 2007, From the Heart, with special guests Paquito D'Rivera, Dione Taylor and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, won a Juno award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Solo Performance for the Hilario Duran composition, "Paq Man."
Bassist Robert Occhipinti continues the explorations into musical
synthesis that marked his three earlier