International Beat: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ras Shorty I, Juan Luis Guerra ...

Ladysmith to play Bumbershoot fest; Ras Shorty I dies of cancer; Guerra returns to Miami.

South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Buena Vista Social Club guitarist Compay Segundo, Haitian roots band Boukman Eksperyans and Los Angeles world rockers Ozomatli are among the acts announced Friday (July 14) for Bumbershoot, the massive Seattle music and arts festival to be held during the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1–4. ...

Lord Shorty, the calypso singer and soca pioneer, died Thursday (July 13) of bone cancer in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, at the age of 59. Born Garfield Blackman, he recorded "Endless Vibrations" and "Soul Calypso" in the mid '70s, songs that fused traditional Trinidadian calypso with American soul, disco and Latin music to create soca. Shorty eventually discovered Rastafarianism and changed his name to Ras Shorty I. "Don't wait to say that Shorty I will [be dead soon] and we will play his songs for two days and then after that we will forget him just like we forget everybody else," he told the Trinidad Express in May. ...

Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra, responsible for the Latin Grammy-nominated "El Niágara en Bicicleta," will perform in Miami for the first time in more than seven years. In 1992, the merengue-bachata singer/songwriter was ostracized by Cuban exiles living in Miami after a concert in the Dominican Republic, in which he gave what the news agency Notimex reported as a "fraternal embrace" to Pablo Milanés, the Cuban singer considered a "faithful spokesman" for the Cuban government. Guerra will appear Aug. 27 at the Miami Arena, as well as on Aug. 5 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; Aug. 12 in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Aug. 19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ...

Jimmy Cliff recently offered the Associated Press his perspective on the connection often made between marijuana and reggae: "Rastafarianism and reggae music has one affinity — definitely with ganja. But rock 'n' roll has an affinity with cocaine; blues has an affinity with alcohol; jazz has an affinity with heroin, and so on. Every music form has some affinity with some kind of drug." ...

Grammy-winning Brazilian stars Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento are recording an album together for the first time. "Both of us are 58, and it's time to do something together," Gil told the news agency EFE from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The album will include five new songs by the pair, as well as several by other Brazilian artists, plus Argentine rockero Fito Paez and the Beatles. The two also are planning a tour of the United States and Europe, to begin next March. ...

Pop singer Christina Aguilera, whose "Genio Atrapado" (a Spanish-language version of her megahit "Genie in a Bottle") is nominated for a Latin Grammy, will release her first Spanish-language album Sept. 12. Produced by Cuban-American Rudy Pérez, the album, tentatively titled Mi Reflejo (My Reflection), will feature 12 songs, including translations of such numbers from her 6-million-selling Christina Aguilera album as "Genie in a Bottle" and "So Emotional" ("Tan Emocional"), as well as several new compositions. The album also will feature a duet with young Puerto Rico–born singer Luis Fonsi. ...

Nydia Rojas, nominated for Best Ranchero Performance in the Latin Grammys, has been added to the U.S. tour of Mexican ranchero superstar Juan Gabriel and popster countrywoman Ana Gabriel. The tour kicks off Sept. 30 in San Jose, Calif. ...

Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour, whose album Joko (From Village to Town) was issued on Sony Globetrotter July 4, is set to sign a deal with the Nonesuch label and release Joko (The Link) on Sept. 12. The Nonesuch album will consist of cuts from the Globetrotter disc, along with new material. A U.S. tour is also in the works. ...

Ska pioneers Carlos Malcolm and His Afro-Jamaican Rhythms, best known for their instrumental version of the "Bonanza" TV show theme in the early 1960s, will be presented with a Lifetime Award for Musical Achievement on Aug. 7 by Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson. The band's seminal Skamania album will be reissued by Rough Stuff in August, too. ...

Black Uhuru, Maxi Priest and Toots and the Maytals are among the 15 artists who have contributed new tracks to Reggae Blitz Allstars (Music Blitz), a compilation assembled by "Native" Wayne Jobson. The album, due Tuesday (July 11), also will include fresh performances from toaster Yellowman and dancehall star Shabba Ranks. ...

Miami Sound Machine, the mid-'80s band that launched Gloria Estefan with such hits as "Conga" and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," will release a new album, MSM, in September on Sony Discos, the news agency EFE reported. The reformulated group will feature "a new generation of Miami musicians," said Emilio Estefan Jr., creator, producer and sometime member of the original Latin-pop crossover band. Included among the six vocalists replacing Emilio's wife, Gloria Estefan, is Tati Blades, the 16-year-old daughter of producer Roberto Blades and niece of salsa performer Rubén Blades. ... The Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will honor Emilio Estefan Jr. as Person of the Year during a tribute dinner and concert Sept. 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The tribute, recognizing Estefan's professional and philanthropic accomplishments, is the first of its kind to be bestowed by the Latin Academy. ...

Zimbabwe's Thomas Mapfumo has had two songs from his new album Chimurenga Explosion effectively banned in his homeland. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation refuses to play "Disaster" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Mamvemne" (RealAudio excerpt) because of their condemnation of President Mugabe's policies. Mapfumo begins a North American tour July 13 in New York. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report