Everything you need to know about this year's featured performances
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Black Eagle (New Mexico)
6:30 p.m., Plaza Mayor
If you've ever listened to KUNM's Sunday afternoon program "Singing Wire," you may have already heard Black Eagle. Since 1989, this Grammy award-winning group from the Pueblo of Jemez has been performing traditional and original Powwow songs in the Towa language.
Rahim AlHaj (Iraq, Albuquerque)
7:10 p.m., Salón Ortego
A political refugee from Iraq and oud master, Rahim AlHaj has resided in Albuquerque for the last five years. He composes traditional Iraqi maqams with a contemporary spin.
Los Reyes de Albuquerque (Albuquerque)
7:10 p.m., Albuquerque Journal Theatre
Described as "Nuevo Mexico Hispanic traditional music," locals probably have a good sense of what this multigenerational group sounds like. However, for those who do not, Los Reyes composes "corridos," ballads commenting on modern subjects, backing them up with the traditional sounds of horns, violins, guitars, simple time signatures, Spanish vocals and the occasional howl of the lobo.
Markus James (USA, Mali)
7:30 p.m., Plaza Mayor
Markus James' music is a fusion of American blues and traditional Malian music. Vocals are a combination of English, Bambara and Sonrai.
Marta Gomez y Los Changos (Columbia, Argentina)
8:10 p.m., Salón Ortego
You'll feel like you're dancing across South America after hearing Colombian cumbias and bambucos, Argentine zambas, Cuban sones and Peruvian landos sung by Colombian Marta Gomez and played by the Argentine Los Changos.
Niyaz (Iran, USA)
8:10 p.m., Albuquerque Journal Theatre
Niyaz is an Iranian-American New Age electronica trio featuring the captivating vocals of Azam Ali. Songs, some poems by classic Sufi poets, are sung in Farsi and Urdu, giving the music a purely Middle-Eastern feel.
8:30 p.m., Plaza Mayor
Local treasure The American Repertory Flamenco Dance Company from the National Conservancy of Flamenco Arts will perform, you guessed it, flamenco! A sensory treat that you've got to see—and hear—to believe.
The Fula Flute Ensemble (West Africa)
9:10 p.m., Salón Ortego
Traditional West African woodwinds and percussion combine with jazz aesthetics, Fulani style-instrumentation, an upright bass and passionate song to create an unusual and intriguing sound.
The Bills (Canada)
9:10 p.m., Albuquerque Journal Theatre
The incredible roots music of The Bills sounds like it could hail from Appalachia, but the quintet is, in fact, from Vancouver. Armed with an accordion, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and stand-up bass, the group draws from a variety of styles to create what is being called "neo-traditional folk."
9:30 p.m., Plaza Mayor
This wacky French five-piece create something that can't really be described—not in any language I know, anyway.
Samarabalouf (Romani, France)
10:10 p.m., Salón Ortego
Frenzied Franks foster Romani jazz à la Django Reinhardt. With an emphasis on virtuosity and influence of styles from all across the world, Samarabalouf's original music is truly intriguing.
Lura (Cape Verde, Portugal)
10:10 p.m., Albuquerque Journal Theatre
From the islands of Cape Verde, Lura is inspired by the music of Santiago, the most African-influenced of the 10. Lura's music is a mixture of Portuguese and West African and explores batuku, a percussive, polyrhythmic style that originated with groups of women in Santiago, and funana-accordion dance music.
Majek Fashek and Prisoners of Conscience (Nigeria, USA)
10:30 p.m., Plaza Mayor
Rock, reggae and funk intermingle under the otherworldly vision of Nigeria's Majek Fashek, one of Africa's great performers. He's got the power to make you move and create a few miracles, as well—Majek is said to have ended a Nigerian drought in the late '80s after playing his song "Send Down the Rain."
All events occur at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (724-4771).