laura riz

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Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Look, I have absoluely no doubt that singer Riz -- who was previously a fashion choreographer and director who sang light jazz and bossa nova -- makes music as authentically "Gypsy" as Enya makes authentically "Irish" music. And she doesn't help her case by the dreadfully cheap cover on this album, nor by liner notes in...

Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

It may be some time before the soul of Iraq is settled but if anyone can bring the traditional music of that troubled country to international attention it is Baghdad-born Alhaj who fled Saddam Hussein's regime to Jordan then Syria, and now lives in New Mexico. A graduate with honours in music, he has been playing oud since he was nine and...

Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

For an issue of Real Groove magazine I wrote about how boring many New Zealand jazz albums are -- they simply don't surprise and are often retreads of standards which have been done better elsewhere. I like my jazz to have an element which makes me sit up and listen -- and this French/North African trio managed to do that, and more. I...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Le Trio Joubran: Majaz (Jawwal/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Le Trio Joubran: Majaz (Jawwal/Ode)

They may look like those agency-groomed opera singers you see on the back of buses -- immaculately trimmed stubble, tuxedos with ties hanging loose, brooding good looks and sultry come-hither eyes -- but put aside any preconceptions: this trio of oud-playing Palestinian brothers is the real thing. This exotic, hypnotic and deeply emotionally...

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Said it before but will say it again: you should never judge a bellydance album by its cover.  You should look for a name like Hossam Ramzy and consider that a hallmark of quality. The man is genius and also astonishingly prolific as a writer and performer. This time out the percussionist pairs up with multi-instrumentalist El Hendy...

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

By coincidence Elsewhere here acknowledges the son of another music master in the same week as we pick up the album by Jakob Dylan. Kamel El Harrachi is the Paris-based son of the late oud player/singer Dahmane El Harrachi from Algeria and this is his tribute on the 30th anniversary of his father's death. Singer/oud player Kamel has a...

Souad Massi: O Houria/Liberty (Wrasse/Shock)

Souad Massi: O Houria/Liberty (Wrasse/Shock)

It has been far too long since this Paris-based Algerian singer has graced the pages of Elsewhere -- her Mesk Elil of 2007 contained the sublime psychedelic track Tell Me Why (here) among other delights, and her double acoustic "best of" album of 2009 (although it didn't get a mention here) has been a personal favourite for a long...

Hassan Erraji: Awal Mara (World Village)

Hassan Erraji: Awal Mara (World Village)

One of the delights of "world music" is that it is a constant journey of discovery and so you have no qualms picking up an album by an unknown name (Hassan Erraji? Never heard of him myself) and taking a chance. And in this case you stumble on someone you wished you'd discovered many years ago -- especially when you read in the...

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

As has been noted previously at Elsewhere, anyone interested in world music learns quickly to never judge an album by its cover. In many countries the cover is just the thing you wrap around the sound and not much thought is given to it. Often an “exotic” landscape photo or unflattering image of the artist (snapped at the...

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

The Putumayo label pumps out the compilations and some of them, most actually, are pretty indifferent. But the likeable generic packaging has captured the imagination so some people just get into that "buy the series" thing -- and get stuck with uninteresting Asian Lounge, various albums of kiddie folk, and disappointing collections...

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