John Butler has been playing the uilleann pipes since the age of 16 when he heard them for the first time on the radio and was immediately captivated by their sound. In 2010, Butler decided to set up his own uilleann pipemaking workshop, called “Ceol Pipes”, on Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland.
Barnaby Walters builds and plays the Hurdy Gurdy, a European instrument of ancient origin. The gurdy works like a mechanical violin, with the strings being constantly bowed by a wheel, and shortened in length by a keyboard. Barnaby mainly plays traditional European dance music, as well as modern compositions in a similar style, and a variety of early music.
Created in 2010, the Ecole de Musique de Kirina Band is composed of 6 professional musicians who are teaching traditional instruments at the music school in kirina. They are all from famous families of musicians. Among them, Kora teacher Ladji Diabate, is brother of Toumani Diabate, the world best Kora player who has won Grammy Award. Other members include troupe director Mahamadou Diabate, Balafon teacher Karounga Diabate, Djembe performer Seydou Kone, dancer teacher Oumou Mariko, and also dundun teacher Karim Diabate.
Ustad Amjad Khan & Group is a group of four members playing four different but melodious instruments together. The group performs sarangi the bowing instrument, flute the wind instrument, mandolin the string instrument and tabla the rhythm, and has a rare blend of all the traditional Indian music that can perfectly join every genre.
Tony Brazelton is the founder of North American Alphorn Retreat, and Salzburger Echo. Salzburger Echo, which brings the Alps to their audiences, playing old world and contemporary folk music from the alpine regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The band regularly plays some of the largest Oktoberfests in the nation as well as having performed at hundreds of elementary schools across the nation to help teach children about the origin of the music and about the music itself. Tony was the third place finisher at the 2008 international alphorn competition in Nendaz, Switzerland.
Manolis Skoutelis is the third generation of musicians in his family after his father and his grandfather. After completing music studies, he started to act professionally as traditional Cretan music player. Skoutelis is a very famous lyra player and singer around the island of Crete. In addition, he participates in music festivals and social events such as weddings and baptizes. He is also a very good traditional instrument maker. He can play four musical instruments: "lyra," "mandolin," "askombantoura" and "Cretan lute." Some of those musical instruments are very popular in many Mediterranean cultures.
MEZ-ME is the result of more than 40 years of evolution. All of their presentations and melodies are composed of ancestral instruments such as huēhuētl, teponaztli, tlapitzalli, ayoyote, quena and more. As a music group, they try to revive their language, usage of ancient instruments, dances, poetry and in some ways their ancestors' philosophy through music.
Mongolian Girl’s Hoomii Troupe was founded in 2013 and composed of five Mongolian girls: Narengaowa, Chana, Chaolemenggerile, Tunala and Suerge. They specialize in Mongolian’s primitive and ethno music, especially hoomii (a type of throat singing, also known as Khoomei), long tone and traditional musical instruments like morin khuur and tobshuur. The troupe has been taking part in various domestic and international music events since it's founded. Siqinbilige, who performs along with the troupe, is a renowned Mongolian singer who has won several awards of ethno singing competitions.
Far up in North-Eastern Europe, there is an island called Saaremaa, where men dress up as billy goats to bring good luck and fertility to households on the night of New Year’s Day. This is a pre-Christian tradition that has been carried on from generation to generation as long as people can remember. Billy goats dance, play tricks and butt people, especially girls and children. Unfortunately, this tradition is dying out. Billy goats are artefacts of local woodcraft, since men search bogs to find the finest and toughest crooked pine roots to make billy goats’ heads with horns. The only footage of billy goats available for the public is shot in the 1960s and kept in the Estonian Folklore Archives. Original soundtrack by an Estonian musician Juhan Vihterpal, played by Juhan himself. Folk tune Karjala-Soome polka played by billy goats Ain Hannus and Raimo Kald. "The Billy Goats of Saaremaa" is a video made for the contest "Wood and Humanity" sponsored by the International Wood Culture Society (http://www.iwcs.com). Author Merit Karise, teacher at the design department of Kuressaare Regional Training Centre, Saaremaa, Estonia (www.disainimajakas.ee).
The celebration of indigenous cultures is lively in the northeastern part of Australia that a large number of worldwide visitors come here to join and experience. Compared to the other areas in Australia, Cairns has a higher population of the indigenous people. In here, you can find handmade traditional wooden tools like boomerangs, spears, and more. The Cairns Indigenous Art Festival (CIAF) is one of the most renowned annual celebrations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures’ visual and performing arts since 2009, and offers an opportunity for indigenous artists to showcase and sell their artworks.
Undara Volcanic National Park is located in the north Queensland, and is famous for the remains of lava tubes formed around 190,000 years ago. The volcano erupted and expelled great amount of lava around the area, and thus geologically and ecologically affected the environment. In order to better balance the ecology here, indigenous people used fire to manage the forest and the fire management is still applied as the most effective way nowadays. Tallaroo, located west of Undara, is known for the permanent hot springs that is considered as a sacred place for healing purposes by the tribal people.