World Music

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Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla (Arc Music)

22 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

With the kind of diverse guests only this acclaimed Egyptian percussion player could call on -- jazz drummers Billy Cobham and Manu Katche, A.R. Rahman (aka "the Mozart of Madras", of Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack fame), guitarist Phil Thornton, taiko drummer Joji Hirota, Indian and Egyptian ensembles -- the great Ramzy once again redfines the meaning of world music... > Read more

Cairo to India

Various Artists: High Life Time 2 (Vampi Soul)

11 Aug 2011  |  <1 min read

The enjoyable reissues of West African music by the Strut, Sound Way and Vampi Soul labels (Funky Lagos, Ghana Special, High Life and others) have brought back music from the Sixties and Seventies on well annotated double-discs. This Vampi Soul sequel wraps up more legendary artists/bands from Ghana and Nigeria (E.T. Mensah and the Tempos, The Ramblers Dance Band etc) alongside lesser... > Read more

Okwukwe Na Nichekwub (1974)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

1 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

When a musical genre loses its figurehead -- as reggae did with the passing of Bob Marley and Sufi music did with the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, both of whom had taken their music to a global audience -- it can have two results. At one level the music's profile can drop for a more general audience (as happened post-Marley), but that it can also allow other artists to come through... > Read more

Hai Rabba

Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80: From Africa with Fury; Rise (Border)

27 Jul 2011  |  <1 min read

The musical offspring of the great founder of Afrobeat Fela Anikulapo Kuti have an unenviable career path to follow, especially Seun and Femi who choose Afrobeat as their chosen vehicle. Femi has embraced remixes and on his recent Africa for Africa outing edged more towards a pop version of the boiling and urgent style, and Seun delivered an exciting, if instantly familiar, debut Many... > Read more

Mr Big Thief

Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

11 Jul 2011  |  1 min read

Just as John Mayall's bands spawned others when players left the ranks, so it seems the desert blues out of the sub-Sahara is an ever-flowering plant: this group -- which formed in 2001 -- contains two former members of Tinariwen and inevitably work in a not dissimilar musical territory. This is their third album so they are dogging very close to the quite prolific Tinariwen and Etran... > Read more

Wer Essinen

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

24 May 2011  |  <1 min read

As the son of kora player N'fa Diabate who was a founder of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and with the great Toumani Diabate as a cousin, Mamadou was born to play the kora. For this, his fifth album -- it follows his previous Douga Mansa which won the '09 Grammy for Best Traditional World Music album and his second album Behmanka which was Grammy-nominated in '05 -- he again delivers... > Read more

Mamadou Diabate: Macky

Le Trio Joubran: AsFar (World Village/Ode)

23 May 2011  |  1 min read

A previous album Majaz by these oud-playing Palestinian brothers was a Best of Elsewhere 2008 selection, so this one seems long overdue -- although I have just learned there was a live album in '09 which was aimed at the local market. They are the fourth generation in their family of players and oud makers but, to these ears at least, do not sound so steeped in tradition as to be unable to... > Read more

Le Trio Joubran: Zawaj el Yamam

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs)

8 May 2011  |  <1 min read

The rather mouthful of an album title tells you that this is forced marriage of two Romany groups teaming up to celebrate the Taraf's 20th anniversary. This album comes a decade on from the first Taraf Band of Gypsies album (which had the Orkestar playing on three pieces) and with both bands by sharing a Belgian musical director Stephane Karo they are here on equal footing and share... > Read more

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Talk to Me, Duso

Dub Colossus: Addis Through the Looking Glass (Real World)

26 Apr 2011  |  1 min read

With recent interest in the music of Ethiopia (the Ethiopiques compilations, albums by Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics), the ground has been well prepared for this by Nick Page (aka Dubulah who was behind London's innovative TransGlobal Underground and Temple of Sound). Dubulah has already been in the region for A Town Called Addis (and off on a tangent with his Syriana project... > Read more

Dub Colossus: Yigermel

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

19 Apr 2011  |  1 min read

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 recording session or in the street outside the studio)... > Read more

Hamouda Ali: El Samer

The Rhythmagic Orchestra: The Rhythmagic Orchestra (Unfold)

17 Apr 2011  |  <1 min read

The Rhythmagic Orchestra which plays Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz wouldn't perhaps qualify as world music for purists. They are mostly Londoners with an affection for the music of the greats of the style and come from bands like the Heliocentrics (who recently recorded with Ethiopian composer Mulatu Astake) and Jazz Jamaica. But they bring so much talent, respect and enthusiasm to the... > Read more

The Rhythmagic Orchestra: Afrodisia

Various Artists; Bossa Nova and the Story of Elenco Records, Brazil (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

16 Mar 2011  |  <1 min read

The Elenco bossa nova label -- founded in Rio de Janeiro in '63 -- gets this well-annotated Gilles Peterson-complied 23 track disc (and a booklet with an essay) of great tracks by guitarist Baden Powell, the cool Quarteto Em Cy and others. With the credibility and an in-house art style something akin to Blue Note in jazz, Elenco pulled together the finest bossa acts of the Sixties and... > Read more

Baden Powell: Candomble

Carolina Moon: Mother Tongue (Moon)

14 Mar 2011  |  <1 min read  |  3

Although this enchanting album -- songs of the Sephardic Jews of Spain -- might seem a departure for Wellington-based jazz singer Carolina Moon, she has previously explored what we might call world music, although never with this depth and resonance. These glorious songs -- intimate, yearning, emotional -- come from centuries ago but are here arranged for delicate piano (Kevin Field),... > Read more

Carolina Moon: Yad Anauga

RAJENDRA PRASANNA AND THE SPIRIT OF INDIA (2011): Family matters

24 Feb 2011  |  4 min read

In many ways, the Indian musician Rajendra Prasanna is an emblem of his country's classical tradition. As with so many Indian musicians, he grew up in the gurukal system where he was one of a long lineage who had been taught by their musician father who would pass on the knowledge acquired from the previous generation. Prasanna's father and grandfather were both musicians, but in some... > Read more

Hassan Erraji: Awal Mara (World Village)

14 Feb 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

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 liner notes he is "a man prone to oud-flailing a... > Read more

Hassan Erraji: Akhadh Aqli/She Blew My Mind

Mundi: In the Blink of an Eye (Monkey)

14 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

Every now and again New Zealand throws up a group which has a jazz/improv aspect but looks to diverse world music for influences. Elsewhere has posted albums by Superbrew from the Eighties and, from the past decade, releases by the Mamaku Project. The prog art-rock band An Emerald City also incorporate elements from Middle Eastern-and-beyond musics as well. Mundi -- fronted by flute... > Read more

Mundi: Berimbau

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2011 (Border)

13 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

These annual double CD compilations of recent music from France -- from pop to, yes, chic, but not alt.rock etc -- are the unofficial soundtrack to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival (details here) but afford us the opportunity of hearing a swag of music from a country with a reputation of making the most awful pop. At least that's what the British would tell you. Of course it has... > Read more

Disiz Peter Punk: Dans le ventre du crocodile

Various Artists: Womad; Sounds of the Planet 2011 (Border)

13 Feb 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

A Womad festival -- like the Big Day Out -- rather sells itself these days: many people will go knowing only a couple of names in the line-up but will make discoveries on the day. This 14 track sampler of acts at the Taranaki Womad (March 18 - 20) might be a useful intro to some of them and it kicks off fine fashion with the upbeat rocksteady sound of Calpyso Rose from Trindad/Tobago who... > Read more

Hanggai: Togur Gin Mountain

TAGAQ INTERVIEWED (2011): From out of the frozen north comes a sound . . .

7 Feb 2011  |  12 min read

Inuit throat-singer and painter Tanya Tagaq Gillis – who often performs simply as Tagaq – grew up in remote Cambridge Bay (pop. 1500) in Canada's remote north. She went to high school in Yellowknife where she still lives, but these day is in demand on the concert circuit for her innovative throat-singing which is grounded in a long tradition – Inuit women would sing in... > Read more

Tagaq: Still (from Sinaa)

Syriana: The Road to Damascus (Real World)

6 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

The last time Nick Page (aka Dubulah and co-founder of London's terrific Transglobal Underground) appeared on these pages it was as Dub Colossus with the album A Town Called Addis in which he recorded local Ethiopian musicians in situ then worked on the tapes back in the Real World studios in England. There has always been an authenticity and integrity in his work with musicians from around... > Read more

Syriana: Al Mazzeh