INTERNATIONAL BEAT: Gilberto Gil, Asian Dub Foundation, Ricky Martin ...

Gil to headline Fez festival; Asian Dub Foundation to receive funds; Martin to duet with Aguilera.

The seventh annual World Sacred Music Festival will take place June 1-10 in Fez, Morocco. Brazilian star Gilberto Gil will headline the opening ceremony. Among the festival's 17 performers are France's Ensemble Naguila, Pakistan's Abida Parveen, Egypt's Sheikh Ahmad Al Tuni and American gospel stars the Edwin Hawkins Singers, who will close the event. ...

Asian Dub Foundation Education, the youth-oriented organization conceived by Anglo-Asian band Asian Dub Foundation, will receive financial help from the British government's National Foundation for Youth Music. Based in Brent, outside London, Asian Dub Foundation Education aids young bands seeking tuition, musical education and recording facilities. ... Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera will release a duet single next year. The pair are filming a video for "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" (RealAudio excerpt), a track from Martin's Sound Loaded album. ...

Bob Marley will receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards, to be held February 21. The Who, Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys and Sammy Davis Jr. will also be honored with Lifetime Achievement awards at the ceremony. ... Kenyan concert promoter Paul Abuor has sued his government for $300,000 compensation because of the 1991 deportation of Congolese soukous star Kanda Bongo Man from Kenya in 1991. Bongo Man and his band were deported from the country two days after arriving to play a series of shows. While reasons for the deportation remain unclear, the provocative nature of the band's kwassa-kwassa dancers and the fighting that occurred during their first performances have been offered as explanations. ...

Vancouver, British Columbia, will host the 13th International Folk Alliance Conference February 15-18. Performers include Finland's Gjallarhorn, Cape Breton songstress Mary Jane Lamond and bluesmen Guy Davis and Otis Taylor. ... The Celtic Connections festival will take place January 10-28 in Glasgow, Scotland. Among the 40 acts confirmed so far are Transglobal Underground, recently reunited world folkies the Incredible String Band, Galician piper Susana Seivane, Cape Breton fiddler Natalie McMaster and acoustic guitar legend Bert Jansch. ...

Jennifer Lopez has recorded a duet with Puerto Rican star Chayanne for her second album, J.Lo, to be released January 23. A Spanglish version of "Touch Me" will be included on new pressings of Chayanne's Simplemente. ...

Roberto Duran, the Panamanian boxer known as "Manos de

Piedra" (Hands of Stone), has taken a jab at Oscar de la Hoya, the Los Angeles fighter who turned singer in October and has topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks survey with "Ven a Mi." "De la Hoya copied from Roberto Duran, because I was a singer first before him. I've gone on singing since 1975 when I made the first album with [my brother] Pototo," Duran, 49, told his country's press. Duran, who continues to box 20 years after famously saying "no mas" during a fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, said that he's introduced a popular new orchestra, La Nueva Felicidad. ...

"Sessions at West 54th," the PBS television show that featured many world and roots artists, will close up shop at the end of the year due to lack of funds. During its three seasons, the program has aired sets by such established performers as Cape Verde's Cesaria Evora and reggae's Ziggy Marley, and exposed new talent like Latino rockers Café Tacuba and Brazilian singer Virginia Rodrigues to U.S. audiences. The producers are seeking more funding in hopes of returning the show to the air. ...

Brazil's supreme court decided late Thursday afternoon that Mexican pop singer Gloria Trevi — along with ex-manager Sergio Andrade and backing singer Mary Boquitas — be extradited to face charges of rape, sexual violation and corruption of minors, according to news agency reports. The Supremo Tribunal Federal granted a petition to return the three to Chihuahua, Mexico, where a criminal case had been initiated by the parents of singer Kristina Yapor, a former member of the so-called Trevi-Andrade "clan." Yapor and several other young women have accused Trevi and Andrade of taking advantage of them after they joined the clan. ...

Jamaican reggae singer Bim Sherman died of cancer November 17 in London at the age of 50. Sherman (born Joe Lloyd Vincent), first enjoyed hits in the 1970s with Prince Far I and Gussie Clarke. In the '80s he moved to London, where he worked with singer Horace Andy and producer Clement Dodd prior to teaming up with producer Adrian Sherwood, with whom he recorded Miracle in

1997. ...

Malian singer Rokia Traoré won Album of the Year honors for Wanita in "Folk Roots" magazine's annual poll of more than 100 critics and other world-music professionals. Musica Negra in the Americas was deemed the year's best compilation. ... A reunited Sui Generis, the fabled Rock Argentina duo consisting of Charly García and Nito Mestre, attracted some 30,000 fans to a Buenos Aires stadium Thursday for their first concert in 25 years. According to news agency EFE, they were joined onstage by folksinger Mercedes Sosa and rockeros León Gieco and Fito Páez. ...

Venezuelan salsero Oscar D'León, a top interpreter of Cuban music, plans to broaden his geographic range. According to the Notimex news agency, the singer not only wants to record an album of Mexican rancheras, but also to make one in Japanese to take advantage of the Asian nation's recent huge appetite for tropical music. Appearing Tuesday in Caracas, Venezuela, on the television program "Viviana en la Medianoche," D'León sang the bolero "La Media Vuelta" and the late ranchera great José Alfredo Jiménez' "El Rey" accompanied by the mariachi group Perlas de México. ...

Moreno Veloso, son of Brazilian singer/songwriter/author Caetano Veloso, will release his debut album, Musical Typewriter, on the Hannibal label in February. The younger Veloso has also earned a Ph.D. in physics. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report