Mixing Flamenco, Middle Eastern, Spanish and Western motifs, Moodafaruka creates a tapestry of sound that is both familiar and new. The global community is burgeoning into a multicultural, multicolored, multilingual village. Moodafaruka's mission is to remind people of the common values we share, to honor our differences, and promote the celebration of life through music.
Moodafaruka: Mood of the Dance. A "faruka" (farruca) is a flamenco style of dance. We've combined it with the word mood, to create a new word that means mood of the dance.
Guitarist Rom Ryan has performed throughout the country, and has lived in Houston, Texas since 1988. Rom performed as a solo artist and was also a regular opening act at Rockefeller 's concert hall. Rom made two solo CD's and in 1993, his CD - Mysteria was the 5th most added CD on Adult Contemporary Radio for four weeks. In 1991 and 1992, Rom was voted "Best Guitarist" by the Public News Reader's Poll. While being recognized as a solo guitarist, Rom was ready to bring other musicians into his compositions.
Rom played with a number of fine musicians, and in 1999 he teamed with long time friend and percussionist Terrence Karn for a world dance performance and shortly afterwards released their first CD - La Luna Lounge to rave reviews, excellent radio play around the globe, and thousands in sales. Moodafaruka later expanded, adding incredible bassist/vocalist Arlandus Chimney and the amazing gypsy violin talent of Maryann Willis. Maryann not only brings a mastery of gypsy violin that fits right in with Moodafaruka's compositions but she also plays with great technical expertise. Maryann wrote all of Mel Bay's books on gypsy violin. In 2001, Moodafaruka recorded their second CD - Zazu. Talented rhythm guitarist, Katja Grimm next joined Moodafaruka, and Blame It On The Moon was released in 2005.
"I first met Rom Ryan when he had just finished a Moodafaruka performance at the second World Music event at the SXSW 2006 Music Festival," recalled MEGAWAVE label president John Palmer. "Marco Werman had introduced the previous night's performances and had referenced this among other events featuring World Music, as distinguished from the predominately alternative and mainstream acts throughout Austin."
"The setting was not a traditional SXSW venue. A hotel meeting hall at first seemed incongruous, but it quickly became sublime as the senorous gypsy violin, dual flamenco guitar, and Middle Eastern percussion resonated throughout the hall. Beautiful young children played among the mix of seating and potted plants, as Moodafaruka carried the audience from Morocco to Spain, from Persia to Eastern Europe, with its own blend. It was an evening of discovery and delight that I would not soon forget."
Essential Moodafaruka is a collection of favorites drawn from Moodafaruka's first three CDs, presented mostly in the order in which they were originally recorded, with two new songs recorded especially for this collection. Joining Rom's lead guitar for the two new recordings is Katja Grimm on rhythm guitar and Aaron Hermes on percussion.
Rom Ryan and Moodafaruka: A Legacy of Critical Acclaim
Independent Music Awards
Houston Chronicle's Choice Awards
"Each track [of Zazu] tends to evoke an emotion or physical setting, like a travel video of the mind. Spanish Caravan opens the record, unfolding slowly as it takes the listener through a gentle countryside dappled with sunlight. Drink with Umbrella and Luna Amor favor a more dramatic, dancing atmosphere (a bullfight? a fiesta?) with Mary Ann Willis's scale-romping gypsy violin adding much to both. Fiesta del Viento and Ella de la Luz, two of the best tracks, maintain festive feelings that build with each chorus. And finally, on the title track, Arlandus Chimney's solid bass intro breaks out into a touch of light all-American funk.
- Houston Press
"In a fine collaboration of musical cultures and styles, Moodafaruka's second release deserves stellar attention in the world music spotlight. Blending flamenco, Indian, Moroccan, Latin, and Western sounds in a tapestry all their own, Moodafaruka captures the essence of world fusion. An eminently tasteful - and danceable! - mix."
- NAPRA Review
"Featuring melodies that are exotic and enchanting, the 11 songs on Zazu showcase Ryan's splendid guitar mastery of flamenco and other musical world styles. All this is made all the more impressive by the constant, pulsing rhythms supplied by Karn. In listening to their recordings (and seeing them perform live), it is obvious that they were meant to play together, as the fusion of string and drum blends together into one perfect, harmonious whole."
- Body Mind & Soul
"A very fine CD filled with jazz mystique and otherworld promise. Suppose world music and jazz had a kid, this might be that child at age 44 minutes long. Instrumentals and a few non-English vocal tracks make this a CD to buy."
- The Muse's Muse
"Moodafaruka's music takes a bypass right past your conscious mind and continues on straight until it reaches your subconscious awareness. Once there, it goes to work massaging and releasing any tension thereby allowing you to enter a world of semi-conscious mind wanderings and contemplation."
- 181.4 DftN!
"Acoustic guitar wizard Rom Ryan and percussionist Terrence Karn carry the listener around the globe--into the center of teeming cities, across hazy deserts, through steamy jungles and towering mountain ranges. Ryan's guitar work is often literally entrancing, as on the churning Psychedelic Texas, and he turns in some spellbinding flute work to boot, while Karn, who doubles on vocals, proves himself to be a versatile polyrhythmist."
"If you are looking for music that's influenced by styles from other cultures than western rock, Moodafaruka are certainly a good place to start."
"La Luna Lounge provides an escape from the typical sounds we are constantly bombarded with by promotional music media. It's admirable to see two Americans create a mixture of styles based on Mediterranean chants, hypnotic percussion and Spanish guitar with a twist of New Age."
"Rom Ryan and Terrence Karn play music that takes you on an aural vacation to practically every corner of the globe."
"What a great album! La Luna Lounge is something of a musical travelogue of chanting rhythms from around the world."
"The art of solo guitar has provided many with tremendous pleasure. Recently I discovered my latest guitar indulgence, Rom Ryan. While Ryan is adept within many styles, his mix of pure gentleness and dazzling intricacy on the classically-inspired compositions runs through the core of his release Mysteria."
"Rom Ryan plays Rockefeller's on January 25. He's followed by Strunz and Farah the next night and Leo Kottke the night after. It's fitting the three acts follow each other because all are acoustic guitarists who are genre-jumpers."
"Rom Ryan deserves a spot next to guitar great William Ackerman."
"Cielo Vago evokes images of a stroll under dark desert skies, the wind rolling past in waves. Overall Mysteria is hard to resist for those who love technical perfection and sonic beauty on the acoustic guitar."
"Suffice it to say the audience was held captive by his music. The rest of the program proved equally dazzling. What has been described here might give an idea of the power of his live performance."
"Ryan combines an easy mastery with a relaxed virtuosity on Another World."
"Rom's fresh sound draws on music from around the world...very enjoyable."
"Rom Ryan's Mysteria was one of our favorite guitar releases displaying a dynamic style unique in its sonic quality."
"A unique style that penetrates the intellect of music lovers."
"Rom Ryan was mysterious and dazzling with his, well, it was advertised as new-age jazz guitar...it's oddly compelling mood music, gripping in its fluid way."
"Rom Ryan has been able to captivate, through his music, that certain essence of life that we only feel when we are able to find those moments of peace and tranquility within oneself."
"While on Another World Rom's fluid guitar work is expanded even farther than on Mysteria, it is the vocals that really shine in a sort of 'Dead Can Dance' vein that lends a new depth to his music."

To Essential Moodafaruka Release Notes



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Last updated February 25, 2013.
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