World Music

The term “World Music” is really a marketing category invented by Gringos for any non-Western traditional music. As a result of the digital communication revolution, and easy access to travel, world citizens are discovering each others rich exotic musical traditions resulting in expanding our music palette and offering possibilities for collaboration and cross fusion. I take joy in attempting to live the Vedic ideal of “The World is my family”;

Rav Vast Meets Guo Bass Flute

In the last few years I have surrendered to the percussionist in me and have begun studying Afro Cuban, Brazilian, Flamenco and Mid Eastern world rhythms. Although the piece I am playing here is not from any particular style of traditional world music, I have discovered a process where playing with rhythm gives birth to melody. Along the way, I am discovering some very beautiful instruments and drums. Read more here:

La Llorona – Josue Tacoronte (Flamenco Guitar) and Marty Howe (Chromatic Harmonica)

A beautiful thing about traditional World Music (such as Flamenco), is the use of the range of tempo and dynamism, from slow tender yearning to thundering passion, all within one piece. Seems to mirror how our heart and breath respond to various emotions.

Of course playing with Master Flamenco guitarist Josue Tacoronte, it is easy to be taken in to the flow, and just enjoy the ride!

This piece is from a short 4 stop tour we did on Vancouver Island, just before Omicron became a threat. It sure felt good to perform and soak up the collective joy! Better days to come again soon!

La Comparsa (Josué Tacoronte – Guitar, Marty Howe – Flute, Jose Sanchez – Percussion)

La Comparsa is a famous composition (1920) written by Ernesto Lecuona, arguably one of Cuba’s greatest composers. Every time I hear it, I remember the adventure of learning the composition from my dear friend Josué Tacoronte when we performed a concert in Havana a few years ago. We had met at a guitar festival in Zihau Mexico, and Josué had the idea of inviting a few international musicians to perform with him in Cuba. He gathered a contingency from Canada, Cuba, Mexico and Japan, and we performed at the prestigious Teatro Marti , and also a popular Cultural Arts Centre (FAC).

The performance presented here is from Salt Spring Island, Canada (2021). Performing this piece with Josué conjured up memories of our previous Havana adventure (mentioned above), so I decided to add a photo montage from the Cuba trip. Joining us on on this Salt Spring performance is Jose Sanchez (El Jose) on percussion, who is also a Cuban native, and now lives, performs and teaches music on Salt Spring Island, Canada. Josué and I had serendipitously met Jose when we ran into some travel issues, and ended up with a new musical friend!

Tara Nova

Please enjoy this collaboration with Josue Tacoronte and Paulina Izquierdo. Both of these dear friends are beautifully gifted musicians and human beings, and I am grateful for their friendship and generosity. During these last few covid years, it has been especially challenging for professional musicians to make a living. I have tremendous respect and compassion for them, how they have adapted to survive. The world really needs them! Things are looking better now, there is light at the end of he tunnel. Soon the world will be able to gather together again, in celebration of music and dance. I think there will be a greater appreciation of the simple act of gathering around our favorite artists to resonate together in joy.

Kanjira Funk

“Kanjira Funk” is a World Fusion piece performed on Yamaha Flute, Kongsheng Lyra Chromatic Harmonica (12-hole), and the ATV aFrame Electro Organic Percussion instrument, using Mid-Eastern rhythms and percussion instruments.


Read more about this composition on this post Kanjira Funk

World Music – Flamenco Fusion

Both flute and chromatic harmonica are already familiar friends in Nuevo Flamenco Fusion. Listen to Paco de Lucia’s collaboration with Spain’s Antonio Serrano (harmonica) and Jorge Pardo (flute) for proof of this.

In my journey of discovery, I attended an International Guitar Festival in Mexico and met Cuban/Mexican Flamenco Guitar master Josue Tacaronte. We ended up performing together in Mexico, Canada, and Cuba, and discovered a mutual intent to explore a fusion of Flamenco styles with jazz improvisation. “Marty, el flamenco and jazz they are hand in hand” Josue said to me.

The following clips are a record of the beginning of our journey. Stay tuned, much more to come!

Bulerias (Am)

Performed at the Victoria Flamenco Festival, with Cuban/Mexican Josue Tacoronte (guitar), and Cuban/Canadian Miguelito Valdez (flugelhorn and cahon). They are both amazing World Class musicians and it is an honor to play with them.

Miguelito Valdes has played his horns with Buena Vista Social Club, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, many other international musicians. 

Bulerias is a popular Flamenco form in 12 beat cycles.


Also Performed at the Victoria Flamenco Festival with Josue Tacoronte and Miguelito Valdez in addition to Mark Woodside (Vancouver).

Popular re-interpretation of Aranjuez (2nd Movement) derived from a guitar concerto by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Written in 1939.

El Andariego

Josue’s wife, Paulina Alvarez Izquierdo (vocals), sings like an Angel and will transport you to Heaven and make you weep with joy!

El Andariego was written by Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón a popular Mexican composer and songwriter.

Flamenco Fusion Compositions (Nuevo Flamenco)

This is my first offering at composing in a Flamenco/Jazz fusion genre. My next adventure will be in incorporating more traditional Flamenco rhythms into my compositions.


Traditional Flamenco has very specific styles (Palos) and rhythms ( examples: Bulerias, Faruca, Rumba Flamenca etc.).

Nuevo Flamenco describes a music style rooted in Flamenco, but at the same time departs from tradition by blending and fusing with other genres such as Jazz, Rumba, Bossa Nova, Gypsy, Latin, Middle Eastern, Cuban, Tango, Salsa and even blues.

Paco de Lucía and the Gipsy Kings are famous for bringing such fusion to the world. Paco not only lead the way, but was the one who introduced the Cajon (Afro-Peruvian) into the rhythm section.

In this composition I used a Nuevo Flamenco ensemble of nylon string guitar, (also steel string), Cajon, standup bass, and flute.