FolkWorld #68 03/2019
© ARC Music / World Music Network

International Women's Day

Folk Group Arinushka

Folk Group Arinushka & Linas Rimša »About Hope«

The Russian folk ensemble Arinushka was founded in 1988. From the very beginning the ensemble has tried to attract the attention of Lithuanian authorities to the traditional culture of ethnic minorities of Lithuania.

About Hope is a spiritual song about beauty and gentility in paradise.

Arinushka @ FROG            

A Woman’s World – Songs of Resilience & Hope

"A Woman’s World – Songs of Resilience & Hope", ARC Music, 2018

A Woman’s World – Songs of Resilience & Hope

A Woman’s World is a topical album of songs from successful female singers and composers world-over; sharing their personal messages of strength, peace, hardships and triumphs… This 12-track album is a global journey from Spain to Colombia, from Russia to Serbia, with each singer bringing their unique flavour to the fold. The artists on A Woman’s World have individually made creative impact in their respective countries, this album is as much a celebration of womankind as a female tour de force.


Khiyo »Purbo Digontey«

Khiyo are a London-based six-piece band playing radical, modern interpretations of Bengali heritage music, fronted by Sohini Alam, a British-Bangladeshi vocalist whose musical repertoire includes folk, modern, and traditional Bengali songs.

Purbo Digontey is about looking ahead to a brighter future after breaking the shackles of oppression.

Afrika Mamas

Afrika Mamas »Imbokodo«

Afrika Mamas are a folk-tale group with a vision to promote African culture through music and theatre. The Afrika Mamas are single mothers with eleven children between them. Their social experiences are naturally expressed through their music.

Imbokodo means 'rock' and speaks of strong women. In South Africa there is a saying: "when you strike a woman, you strike a rock".


Hanitra »Eka«

Hanitra found the recipe for a world-refined and catchy music that sails between edgy folk and more rhythmic pieces. Hanitra draws from traditional songs to dynamically embody the new Madagascan generation.

You do not care about the wounded, you comfort the healthy. You are the master, of course, but only on Earth.

Marta Gómez

Marta Gómez »Almita Mía«

In her songs, Colombian songwriter Marta Gómez mixes the joy of the Caribbean with the nostalgia of the Andes, adding jazz and pop elements, taking South American indigenous folk music into a new realm.

Almita Mía is a love song dedicated to her grandfather, and to herself: Take it slow, little soul of mine, so you won't get hurt ...

Bilja Krstić

Bilja Krstić and Bistrik Orchestra »The Girl Sits Proud«

For over five years, Bilja Krstić patiently collected obscure folk songs from all around the Balkan region. The music is a fusion of traditional ethnic music, a capella songs and ethno grooves with improvi- sation and a modern musical approach.

A Serbian love song from the first half of the 19th century.

Maria Ana Bobone

Maria Ana Bobone »Auto-Retrato«

Maria Ana Bobone is widely recognized as one of the best of her generation's fadistas (singers of Portugal's fado music). Maria Ana's enormous talent and ambition led her to make various excursions into other musical projects, constantly engaging in successful partnerships.

Auto-Retrato is a song about the interior process of self-awareness and being open to new pathways and possibilities.


Minyeshu »Yeselam Ayer«

Drawing from her life surrounded by a mix of cultures has helped Minyeshu sculpt her signature tone - a hypnotic and modern hybrid of Ethiopian grooves and melodies, delicately mixed with western instruments and styles.

Yeselam Ayer is a song about longing for peace in the world, played in the Tizita style that is often referred to as Ethiopia's blues.

Lenka Lichtenberg

Lenka Lichtenberg »Zum Gali, Gali«

Her mother was a child survivor of the Holocaust. Getting to know her mother's family's story as an adult, Lenka felt compelled to refocus her creativity and musical energies and become a Yiddish singer, despite the fact that her Czech family was entirely assimilated and no Yiddish was spoken for several generations.

Zum Gali, Gali was originally a medieaval song about the plague, adapted into an early kibbutz song celebrating hard work in the life of a pioneer.

Kiran Ahluwalia

Kiran Ahluwalia »Jaane Na«

At the centre of Kiran Ahluwalia's music is love in all its shades, from the yearning romantic to the divine love of Sufi mysticism. She is a modern exponent of the great vocal traditions of India and Pakistan which she honours intensely yet departs from in masterful, personal ways. Her original compositions embody the essence of Indian music while embracing influences from both the West and Africa - specifically the Sahara. With her 5-piece group, Ahluwalia creates boundary-breaking songs that invite us to explore the human condition.


Ceumar »Onde Que«

Brazilian born singer/songwriter Ceumar was not very eager to sing the songs everybody already sang before her. In her music Ceumar combines Brazilian folk with influences from pop, jazz and samba in a unique way.

A playful text that shows the similarity between the Portuguese language and sounds from Africa. The composer talks to an imaginery boy asking him for peace.

Ana Alcaide

Ana Alcaide »Kalbu Ngalagu«

Ana Alcaide is a musician and composer from Toledo, Spain, who carries out research on ancient traditions and cultures. Ana has played a pioneering role in the introduction and popularization of the [traditional Swedish] nyckelharpa in Spain.

Kalbu Ngalagu means 'singing heart', or 'happy heart'; a spiritual poem about the celebration and the joy of the union with the 'All'.

The Rough Guide To Women Of The World

"The Rough Guide To Women Of The World", World Music Network, 2019

The Rough Guide To Women Of The World

From rip roaring folk renditions by Eugenia Georgieva and Çiğdem Aslan to atmospheric and heartfelt gems from African divas Sally Nyolo and Lala Njava, this handpicked selection of tracks takes you on a journey from Calcutta to Cameroon and beyond.

Jyotsna Srikanth

Jyotsna Srikanth »Annapoorne«

Anandi Bhattacharya is joined by fellow Indian musician Jyotsna Srikanth, a virtuosic performer whose sublime violin playing on ‘Annapoorne’ unlocks the beauty of Carnatic classical music.

Anandi Bhattacharya

Anandi Bhattacharya »Jai Ganesh«

This diverse selection begins in celebratory fashion with the golden voice of Indian singer Anandi Bhattacharya whose ‘Jai Ganesh’ is a joyous invocation to the elephant-headed god.


She'Koyokh »Bağa Girdim«

Also from Turkey, Çiğdem Aslan is joined by the UK’s finest Klezmer band She’Koyokh on the rip-roaring ‘Bağa Girdim’.

Olcay Bayir

Olcay Bayir »Benim Yarim«

Crossing the border into Turkey, Olcay Bayir’s songs unfold ancient stories of Anatolian love and mystery. Of Turkish-Kurdish origin, Olcay’s classically trained voice delivers a wonderful rendition of the mystical ‘Benim Yarim’.

Rafiki Jazz

Rafiki Jazz »Jhooli Laal Qalandar«

Sarah Yaseen is one of the lead singers in Rafiki Jazz, a remarkably cosmopolitan band who explore ancient musical heritages far and wide. Inspired by her father Sufi Muhammad Yaseen, Sarah’s Punjabi vocals reach out to your very soul on a classic reworking of the landmark traditional Qawaali song ‘Mustt Mustt’.


Tartit »Afous Dafous«

Led by the charismatic singer Fadimata Walet Oumar known as ‘Disco’, Tartit are a female fronted band, originally created in refugee camps to safeguard Tuareg traditional music. ‘Afous Dafous’ meaning ‘Hand In Hand’, is a song inspired by a children’s game that encourages unity and solidarity in the fight to preserve a Saharan culture under attack.


Monoswezi »Nyuchi«

Hope Masike is another torch-bearing musician from Zimbabwe, who accompanies her vocals with the historically male-dominated instrument the mbira (thumb piano) on ‘Nyuchi’, where she is joined by fellow members of African-Nordic jazz alchemists Monoswezi helping wind things down to a closure.

Eugenia Georgieva

Eugenia Georgieva »Po Drum Mome«

Translated as ‘A Girl On The Road’, ‘Po Drum Mome’ is taken from Eugenia Georgieva’s widely acclaimed 2018 album in which she expresses the joys and sorrows of Bulgarian folk song.

Shireen Abu-Khader

Dozan »Ya Mo«

Moving into the cultural crossroads that is the Middle East, Shireen Abu-Khader is the founder and lead vocalist of Jordan-based group Dozan, an innovative acoustic ensemble celebrating Arabic folk culture. With its soaring vocals and unique harmonies, the haunting track ‘Ya Mo’ is deeply influenced by Sufi mysticism and spirituality.

Lala Njava

Lala Njava »Sweet Lullaby«

In predominantly male dominated societies, music is one of the most powerful means by which women can express themselves. Madagascan singer and campaigner Lala Njava is a leading example whose songs talk of the deep sense of responsibility she feels towards improving women’s rights and the welfare of children in her Malagasy homeland, beautifully illustrated by the heartfelt ‘Sweet Lullaby’.

Sambasunda Quintet featuring Neng Dini Andriati

Sambasunda Quintet
feat. Neng Dini Andriati
»Teman Endah«

Equally enchanting is the musical tradition of West Java, with Indonesian diva Neng Dini Andriati inviting us into this rich and mysterious world as part of the Sambasunda Quintet.

Photo Credits: (1) Folk Group Arinushka, (2) 'A Woman’s World – Songs of Resilience & Hope' (3) Khiyo (4) Afrika Mamas (5) Hanitra (6) Marta Gómez (7) Bilja Krstić (8) Maria Ana Bobone (9) Minyeshu (10) Lenka Lichtenberg (11) Kiran Ahluwalia (12) Ceumar (13) Ana Alcaide, (14) 'The Rough Guide To Women Of The World', (15) Jyotsna Srikanth, (16) Anandi Bhattacharya, (17) She'Koyokh, (18) Olcay Bayir, (19) Rafiki Jazz, (20) Tartit, (21) Monoswezi, (22) Eugenia Georgieva, (23) Dozan, (24) Lala Njava, (25) Sambasunda Quintet (unknown/website).

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