With Mbókò, pianist-composer David Virelles – based now in New York but born and bred in Cuba – has taken the folkloric rhythms of Afro-Cuban religious ritual and transmuted them into a 21st-century music resonating with mystery and meaning. The main title, Mbókò, can mean “fundament” or “sugar cane” or “The Voice,” not the human voice but The Voice that is believed in Abakuá culture to be the voice of a spirit, or spirits. Sound is an element revered in this culture, and that idea – the worship of sound itself – was a shaping force in the performances of Virelles’ compositions on Mbókò.
Peter Hammill is one of the formative characters of the progressive rock scene to date. In the beginning of the 1970's he recorded four cumbersome mysterious albums with his band Van der Graaf Generator which never could reach the commercial heights of cognate bands like Genesis or Yes due to their musical intransigence. After several visionary but difficult to access albums, Hammill reformed the quartet for another four albums which introduced a more earthy but not less complex sound. After the band's second end in 1978, on solo albums like "The Future Now", "ph7" or "A Black Box" Hammill experimented extensively in the studio and acquired the latest techniques like i.e. early forms of sampling; one of the most breath-taking results being the 20 minute long soundscape 'Flight'…
…And, in fact, Elias has rarely been performed with greater respect for the original than it is here under the conductor Christoph Spering, who has recorded this “sacred opera” with his New Orchestra and the Chorus Musicus Köln in Essen’s Philharmonic Hall with the composer’s “dramatic ideal” fully in mind and heart. (…) The result was in fact an oratorio in opera form and a wealth of dramaturgical elements that absolutely enthralled the public. Fresh Interpretation Just as the composer would have wanted it, Christoph Spering has selected a full chorus and a magnificently dimensioned orchestra for this recording. The New Orchestra performs on historical instruments and in the two years since its founding has gained renown as an outstanding interpreter of the music of the romantic era. (…) Brisk tempos, sharp delineation, powerful expression, and interpretive freshness are the hallmarks of this new discovery for the MDG Live label.
BGKO is a stable band that regularly performs in Barcelona and all Europe. But more than that, it’s an ever growing family of professional musicians and singers that are often invited for guests appearances. As musicians and singers from Turkey, Slovenia, Switzerland, England, Russia, Serbia, India, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Iran and Israel gave their contribution to the never-ending story, the BGKO brought Klezmer, Gipsy and Balkan music to all generations of Barcelona. Nevertheless, the interaction became mutual and the city became a melting pot with so many different styles and cultures to embrace, so many ears to play for, and so many dancing feet to move.
“Del Ebro al Danubio” consists of 12 striking soundscapes that serve as a bridge between different cultures that BGKO was inspired by: Romanian, Russian and Serbian gypsy songs; purifying Hungarian, Transylvanian, Klezmer and Albanian dances; contemplative melodies of Lebanese Arabic-Catalan tradition, Jewish and Bosnian sevdah.