World Music

Music and musicians from around the global village; interviews, overviews and profiles.

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Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is a Scar (Glitterbeat/Southbound)

6 Feb 2017  |  2 min read

The history of Vietnam in the last half of the 20th century saw appalling division, wars and retributions. The “American war” was just a part of it. Prior to the American engagement there had been the colonial war against the French and then after the Americans left in '75 there were the terrible things which the victorious north inflicted on those in the south they... > Read more

Help Us in This LIfe


30 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

One of the most powerful and expressive voices out of her homeland of Mali -- indeed, out of the African continent -- Oumou Sangare has been a longtime Elsewhere favourite . . . although we conceded when we reviewed her 2009 album Seya we were surprised we hadn't written about any of her previous releases. And we have them all!  She has won numerous world music awards and was signed... > Read more



23 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

Given her parentage – her father the famous composer/singer/guitarist Jaoa Gilberto and her mother the singer Miucha – it would have been harder for Brazilian bossa nova star Bebel Gilberto not to have become a singer. She started early enough – as you will see below – and even though her parents separated she spent time with them both as she was growing up.... > Read more



16 Jan 2017  |  2 min read

At the forthcoming Womad in Tarakani wise ears will head to the sessions by the Welsh alt.folk group 9Bach whose ethereal (and exotically Welsh-language songs) have previously captured Elsewhere's attention. Founded by a decade ago pianist/singer Lisa Jen and guitarist Martin Hoyland, they have taken their enchanting and timeless-sounding music to clubs and festivals across the globe,... > Read more

Gwydr Glas


9 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

It is in the nature of these things that you send a questionnaire to a group and someone answers, but they neglect to tell us who. So with apologies to whoever in the Korean percussion ensemble Tago -- who come to New Zealand for the Taranaki Womad -- we introduce this high-energy oputfit to to you in advance of that person's answers. With traditonal instruments alongside those they... > Read more


15 Dec 2016  |  <1 min read

In a welcome departure from previous years, the Womad festival for next year in Taranaki has been announced early. These are just who is on what day and the actual running times and full schedule wil be released in late January. Meantime though you can plan ahead -- be there Friday for Marlon Williams and the Specials for sure -- and look at the festival website here for bios of artists... > Read more

Marcel, Rami and Bachar Khalife: Andalusia of Love (Nagam)

12 Dec 2016  |  1 min read

Anyone watching "developments" in that collision of Israel and Palestine these days can't but feel this disputed ground is, sooner rather than later, going to be just scorched earth. And neither Palestinian nor Israeli natonalists are going to survive the firestorm of their own making. But . . . Politics aside -- if that is ever possible in thiat narrow world where... > Read more



12 Dec 2016  |  3 min read

Although Womad festivals always deliver the unexpected – the great act you'd previously never heard of let alone heard – it is possible to make a few predictions, like the African acts will have people up dancing and . . . That in 2017 the East Pointers out of Canada will be extremely popular. The folk trio of guitar, fiddle and banjo offer their own take on Celtic... > Read more

Work That Way


5 Dec 2016  |  4 min read

Since Vietnam opened itself for Western tourism in the mid Nineties, thousands have travelled there to experience the wonderful food, cheap beer, beautiful beach and mountain villages and the hospitality of the people. These days however – with luxury hotels with infinity pools at places which were largely deserted in those early days of openness (when Elsewhere visited a... > Read more



21 Oct 2016  |  1 min read

As regular readers of Elsewhere will know, we have had a long tradition of writing about world music here. In fact we sometimes boast that we are the ony place which regularly gives coverage to music from other parts of the planet beyond the Western pop and rock axis, check out our world music reviews, interviews and so on here. So we always applaud the annual Womad festival in New... > Read more

ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

3 Oct 2016  |  2 min read

Here's a frequent flyer/transit lounge column for those at home who want to get their musical passport stamped. Elsewhere has so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention that we run an occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists (IN BRIEF), in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks out New Zealand artists. And of course Shani.O... > Read more

Mei Han and Red Chamber: Classical and Contemporary Chinese Music (ARC Music)

26 Sep 2016  |  1 min read

For Western ears, the sound of Chinese music falls into cliché (“Oh, Chinese music . . . riiight.”) or something so discordant (traditional opera) that it's easy to dismiss on a cursory listen. However – setting preconceptions aside if that is possible – this album by a child of the diaspora brings a bigger picture. Mei Han learned the plucked-string... > Read more

Peng Baban

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changüí del Guaso Productions)

12 Sep 2016  |  <1 min read

As we've previously observed at Elsewhere, Cuban music has, since the Buena Vista Social Club more than two decades ago, been often reduced to the cliches of romantic old folk and supple rhythms with a horn section. It must come as a surprise to many to learn that there is hip-hop ansd rock on that island. And this hugely appealing debut  -- scuffed and perhaps... > Read more


Sarathy Korwar: Day to Day (Ninja Tune/Border)

18 Aug 2016  |  <1 min read

This intricate weave of styles stitched together by jazz, samples and percussion can sometimes come off as oddly stateless and shapeless, but over the full distance offers multiculti surprises and entrancemnts throughout. It isn't proscriptive “world music”, but it is most definitely music of this world. And sometimes well out of it too. Some background... > Read more


ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

25 Jul 2016  |  4 min read

Here's a frequent flyer/transit lounge column for those at home who want to get their musical passport stamped. Elsewhere has so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention that we run an occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists (IN BRIEF), in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks out New Zealand artists. And of course Shani.O picks... > Read more

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble: It's Time (Slow Walk)

26 Jun 2016  |  <1 min read

As the rugby people like to say, this was a game a two halves . . . and all the action happened in the second. Usually albums play their aces up first but this band -- mining the oh-so familiar tropes of Fela-styled Afrobeat -- doesn't offer anything you haven't already heard in the genre during the first half. But, persistence is a small reward. Formed in Chicago by... > Read more

DWB Breakdown (DJ Quiet Cool Down emix)

Konono No.1 and Batida; Konono No.1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

20 Jun 2016  |  <1 min read

Musical relationship where the partners share similar attitudes make for warm comfort but often not much creativity. So perhaps because Angola-born, Portugal-based producer and DJ Batida (Pedro Coquenao) works in similar lo-tech territory as Konono No.1 – the biggest thing to come out of the Congo since Papa Wemba many decades ago – that this pairing offers less excitement... > Read more

Yambadi Mama

Julia Vorontsova; Over (Privet)

17 Jun 2016  |  1 min read

In the manner of television game show hosts from the Sixties, Elsewhere is going to  . . .  "flip all the card" (to reveal the quiz question answer) and say . . . We've rarely been interested in music as therapy. Want help? Get thee to a physik. Of course, there is a long and rather exceptional tradition of soul-scouring albums by artists whose lives seem... > Read more


The Baboons: Spanglish (Global Gumbo)

13 Jun 2016  |  <1 min read

In a cover designed to catch attention, this Miami band fronted by husband and wife Mano and Majica Pila toss a stylistic salad together almost as if they hope something is to your taste. So in the first third of these 15 tracks you get Balkan beats (with a jazz flute solo and Santana-styled guitar), samba, rap-lite, Afro-Cuban sounds, hard rock, Miami pop and more. The final third... > Read more

Balkan Thang

Various Artists: Soul Sok Sega (Strut/Southbound)

23 May 2016  |  1 min read

A couple of weeks ago we pulled a track from this thoroughly enjoyable (and not a little confusing) compilation to post at From the Vaults.  But this double vinyl (with a CD disc and useful liner notes in the gatefold) is so good we just want to bring it to attention again. We could have dropped this into our catholic-taste Music From Elsewhere pages but it is kind of world... > Read more

Eliza by Georgie Joe