CHARANGA SOLEIL brings together three of the world’s greatest dance genres: Cuban salsa, Haitian compas, and Congolese rumba-soukous! In addition to the standard charanga instrumentation (flute, violin, piano, bass, conga, vocals and chorus), the group includes the Cuban tres and a full drum set, and sometimes even a 21-string West African kora (among other special guests).
The charanga ensemble – with its distinctive mix of violins and flute – migrated from Haiti to Santiago, Cuba in the late 18th century, with the addition of African-Caribbean percussion and vocal stylings in the 1920s. The modern Cuban charanga has endured as one of the most popular styles of Afro-Cuban music in the world, particularly in West Africa and Haiti.
All seasoned master musicians and bandleaders in their own right, the group’s regular members are: Cathy Lopez (vocals); Goussy Celestin (vocals); Prof. Yaa-Lengi (vocals); Hadar Noiberg (flute, vocals, musical director); Lewis Kahn (violin, trombone); Junior Rivera (tres, vocals); Fred Doumbe (bass), Sergio Rivera (piano); Diego Lopez (drums); and John Berdeguer (percussion, vocals). Taking its name from RADIO SOLEIL D’HAITI (http://www.radiosoleil.com), Charanga Soleil reintroduces the tradition of a radio station represented by an orchestra or big band. A pioneer in Haitian-American radio broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in three languages (Kreyol, French and English), RADIO SOLEIL transmits on an FM sub-signal from Brooklyn, NY to a listener base of more than 600,000 Haitians across a five-state area, as well as an ever-expanding international Internet audience. Along with comprehensive news programming, the station remains a showcase for Haitian and other world musics.
Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.Read More
Bidew Bou Bess
BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.Read More
MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).Read More
Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates. In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide. During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.Read More
Ibu hails from Podor, a small town in Senegal, Afrika. Ibu picked up the guitar at the age of twelve, starting a special relationship with music. Self taught, he studies music like one would study a language. Very early he found himself surrounded by various styles of music from Pulaar rhythms to American Blues and RNB. “I remember listening to James Brown, Otis Redding without knowing what they were saying…there was a time I was nicknamed Wilson W. Pickett,” Ibu says.Read More