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MT Products

Since its earliest days, MT has been producing cassettes of important music, not commercially available in the UK.  We are please to say that all of these are now available again.  See our Products page for further details.

In addition, we have now started production of a new series in CD format, the first of which should be available early in the New Year.  This will be a double CD of Suffolk singer Bob Hart - 46 songs - titled A BroadsideOrder now to secure the special price of £15 inc P&P.  Details in our Records page.

Members of the ZORNITSA co-operative from Sofia, Bulgaria, send news of their Practical Seminar for Balkan Folklore:


This, they say, is a great meeting of friends of the folklore, coming from all over the world to dance, sing and play music together - and is held each summer in their country.

More information on Balkanfolk'98 can be found on their web site - http://www.balkanfolk.com

MT contributor and reviewer, Fred McCormick is presenting a 10 week course at Liverpool University's Continuing Education Centre on:

The Roots of Country Music

The course challenges the view that American Country Music is a direct descendant of Elizabethan ballads andsongs brought to the New World by early settlers, and looks at what is 'American' about it.

The course starts on Thursday 22nd January from 7:00 to 9:00 and costs £27.50 with various reductions for all sorts of claimants.

Further information from the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Liverpool,
19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool L69 7ZG, tel: 0151 794 2519/6900

Traditional Calimbas, Mbiras and Marimbas

... a possible Christmas present with benefits all round?

Calimbas are the latest product from Trade plus Aid which, in the 5 years since it was set up in 1992, has helped thousands of people in communities throughout the developing world through fair trade and development initiatives.  The company is an unusual combination of the entrepreneurial and the philanthropic, using business skills and fair trade ethics to generate income, employment and profits which can be donated back to different development projects to help needy communities.

calimbas.jpg - 23.4 K The Calimbas are hand-produced by African craftspeople using centuries old traditional skills.  Each one is different and models range from a 4 note Calimba, through a 12 note resonator Mbira, to the 20 note calabash resonator double Marimba - for two players.  The instruments are made from organic and reclaimed materials - i.e. fruit gourds grown on the project's land, as well as wood and metal that have been discarded by industry, redirected to Trade plus Aid's calimba workshops.  Metal strips are cut and straightened by mentally-handicapped people providing vital occupational therapy and an income.  These 'lamellas' are then hand-set and tuned by a musicmaker who finally burns into the Calimba his own symbols, unique to him and his tribe.

The Calimbas are hand-tuned to a dissonant African musical scale. This scale is the traditional system used by Mbiran players and differs from the Western one. They can be easily retuned by the purchaser.

Through Trade plus Aid, Calimba-making helps preserve traditional craft skills and promotes the use of environmentally sound materials.  Trade plus Aid provides producers with craft and agricultural training, accommodation and a small plot of land for growing vegetables.  Through fair trade, it also provides training and, in securing reliable first world markets, income and employment for marginalised and destitute people in South Africa.  The first important steps on the road to self-sufficiency - the ultimate aim of the trading projects - and long term global business alliances.

The instruments are very reasonably priced, from £3.99 for the basic calimba to £24.99 for the double marimba.  P&P within the UK is £1.50 for orders under £10, £2.95 over £10.  A full colour catalogue with prices and ordering details can be got from: Trade plus Aid, 17 Paxton Close, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 2AW, tel: 0181 948 0533 or 0181 287 3086, e-mail: Trade_Plus_Aid@compuserve.com  Wholesale order no is: 0181 287 3086

Cassette - Trade plus Aid also sell a cassette of field recordings called 'Music of the Kalahari' which is available for £5.  Among its 22 tracks are 5 featuring types of calimba.  The others are of singers and the music of mouth bows and various other stringed instruments.  All the performers appear to be traditional and, whilst knowing nothing of this music, I must say that it sounds 'right' and is very pleasant listening.  We hope to get it reviewed shortly.

Heights of the Spirit - Fez, Morocco

Fourth Annual World Sacred Music Festival
Featuring International Performers

Leading musicians of world calibre will gather in Fez, Morocco from May 23 - 30, 1998, to share sacred music from the spiritual traditions of both East and West.

The concert program will feature a diversity of soloists and ensembles, ranging from the Gospel and sacred repertoire by Barbara Hendricks and Staffan Scheja (USA), to the Master Musicians of Gamelan of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Among the 22 scheduled groups are:

The Seventeen concerts in the 1998 World Sacred Music Festival will take place at historic sites in the ancient city of Fez, Morocco.  Home to Muslims, Jews and Christians for centuries, Fez has proven to be an ideal location for this annual event.   Hundreds of pilgrims from around the world - including a delegation from the United States - attended the 1997 World Sacred Music Festival.

Scheduled performance venues include a 15th century Moorish palace, the reception courtyard of the Royal Palace, and the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis.

According to Mr. Mohammed Kabbaj, Festival President and Moroccan Minister of Finance, "the greatest challenge at the end of this century is to give birth to real communication and a living solidarity among civilizations and cultures."

Press Contact: Hamid Mernissi, Director of communication,  1-800-267-0036   http://www.morocco-fezfestival.com


Rod Stradling - e-mail: rod@mustrad.org.uk    Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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