World Music

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Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt: Slide to Freedom 2 (Northern Blues)

5 Sep 2010

Slide guitarist Cox from Canada and Indian veena player Bhatt appeared at Elsewhere a couple of years back with the first of their Indo-blues crossover albums, Slide to Freedom. And Cox reappeared with a fine compilation album Without Words of some of his instrumentals. For this sequel to Slide to Freedom, he and Bhatt have brought in New Orleans singer John Boutte whose soulful and... > Read more

Dog Cox and Salil Bhatt: Blessings

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

5 Sep 2010    1

Although it would take an expert in this field to say whether this 15 track collection (with a bonus disc of mesmerising music by Ahmad Sham's qawwali group) is a fair overview, you can't help but get caught up in the swirling pop, evocative instrumentals and often quite thrilling Afghani "rock" on display. Clearly much of this music isn't Taliban-approved because some of the... > Read more

Farhad Darya: Salaamalek

ITALIAN POP AND ROCK: Searching for the young soul rebels

1 Sep 2010

Let’s be honest, Italian opera might be wonderfully transcendent -- despite Oasis’ Noel Gallagher dismissing Placido, Carreras and the Big Pav as “three fat blokes shouting” -- but Italian pop/rock hasn’t made it internationally. A book entitled Famous Italian Bands would be slim indeed -- and wisely not include the unfortunately-named Shampoo who did... > Read more

Shampoo: Nowhere Man

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

22 Aug 2010

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which swept across large tracts of Asia, music producer Patrick Sebag and others visited the regions to record and film local musicians. This became the Laya Project CD/DVD (reviewed here with some questions asked about the ethics of the thing, given it seemed no money went back to the people to help them rebuilt their lives). Again, with this... > Read more

EarthRise SoundSystem: Nium Nium

Luisa Maita: Lero-Lero (Cumbancha)

22 Aug 2010

There are perhaps a hundred or so singers such as Luisa Maita in Sao Paolo but doubtless her family connections -- mother a concert promoter, father a musician, uncle owning a record label where she worked -- gave her the opportunity which others lacked. But out of her musical background and connections (and she ain't from a broke family) she emerged as a successful songwriter first of all,... > Read more

Luisa Maita: Desencabulada

IMAGINING AFRICA IN THE SIXTIES: The Soul of Africa album considered

2 Aug 2010

Funny how “African music” has been perceived, adapted and mis-represented down the decades, innit? That’s not to say Bengt Berger and the other musicians from Stockholm who recorded Bitter Funeral Beer for ECM in the early 80s didn’t come up with something interesting when they used the voices and rhythms of Ghanaian people. Or that Talking Heads, Ginger Baker, Paul... > Read more

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

12 Jul 2010

Here's a true meltdown of many African styles from a multi-culti/multi-continent group from Brixton which pulls together juju guitars and a horn section, brings in some rolling Afrobeat percussion of the old style and deliver the brew with a dose of palm wine warmth and Ghanaian highlife. Purists may bemoan the all-in collision of sounds but it works and hits head, heart and feet... > Read more

Afrobeast: Bukom Mashie

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 2 (Strut)

6 Jul 2010

Following on from the recent and pretty cool Next Stop Soweto (volume one, obviously) comes this even better collection, this subtitled "soul, funk and organ grooves from the townships 1969-76". This is a steamy collection of 22 tracks -- many of them with some real guitar sting as much as funky grooves. In fact when the Monks kick in with Blockhead (the sample track here)... > Read more

The Monks: Blockhead

TEN SONGS WHICH CONJURE UP A MYTHICAL PACIFIC: From Blue Hawaii to the mean streets of urban Auckland

28 Jun 2010

Auckland, the city with the largest Polynesian population in the world, has an annual Pasifika Festival to celebrate this cultural diversity. But the songs picked here conjure up a mythical Pacific, the one of palm trees waving in the wind on a white sand beach, waves lapping on the side of the outrigger, lands where beautiful maidens and handsome men . . . You get the picture. Tune in,... > Read more

Bill Sevesi: Blue Moana

Various Artists: Afro-Rock Volume One (Strut)

27 Jun 2010

This 12-song compilation pulls together rare and unreleased Afro-beat from the likes of the pre-Fela star Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone (with Heavy Heavy Heavy) to the 12-minute rolling, organ-driven groove of Yuda from Dackin Dackino and the explosive, dirty funk of Das Yahoos (Booker T taking a trip) and the Booker Band (with slippery harmonica). This is Afro-beat meets American... > Read more

Mercury Dance Band: Envy No Good

Etoile De Dakar: Once Upon a Time in Senegal (Sterns/Southbound)

27 Jun 2010

There is not exactly a shortage of collections of African music from the Sixties and Seventies these days: Fela is well covered so are the rumba scene out of Zaire, the Rail Band from Mali, the Syliphone label from Guinea, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Geraldo Pino, Congotronics from Kinshasa, Soweto township jive, high-life . . . If you can't afford the 10 CD set of Etoile De Dakar (through Sterns),... > Read more

Etoile De Dakar: Kine Kine

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB in concert, review: Music, myth and marketing in Melbourne (2001)

21 Jun 2010

The old man looks desperately frail, shuffling as if each step could be his last. But as he is helped the few metres from the wings of the stage to the piano, each faltering footfall is accompanied by a deafening roar of applause and a standing ovation. The footstamping and clapping subsides, the band kicks in and Ruben Gonzalez starts to play.He may be fragile, but at 82 there is a direct... > Read more

The Ipanemas: Que Beleza (Far Out/Southbound)

21 Jun 2010    1

The wonderful old Ipanemas (Wilson Das Neves and guitarist Neco) last appeared at Elsewhere two years ago with their Call of the Gods album, and at that time I wondered why they hadn't taken off in the manner of Cuba's famous Buena Vista Social Club because so many elements were the same: seasoned old musicians playing from the heart; wonderfully warm and exotic music; slippery rhythms and... > Read more

The Ipanemas: Passa o Ponto

Sarazino: Ya Foy! (Cumbancha)

20 Jun 2010

Singer, songwriter and producer Lamine Fellah (aka Sarazino) is a true child of the global village: born in Algeria, the son of a diplomat he lived with his family in Spain, Switzerland, Burundi and Burkina Faso; later studied in Montreal where he made music in various bands; and in '96 moved to Quito in Ecuador. Lucky him, you might say.  And for this melange of styles –... > Read more

Sarazino: Nadia

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

14 Jun 2010

As two Lennons and any number of Marleys might tell you, it isn’t easy carrying the name of a famous musician father, especially if you want a career in the business yourself. Certainly doors may open that otherwise wouldn’t -- but because of that critics and the public often treat your career with some scepticism, you have to grow up musically in public, and your best work will... > Read more

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

8 Jun 2010

Etran Finatawa have band members from two nomadic groups from around Niger, and play music which sounds like the raw electric blues from Chicago in the Fifties and Sixties. Their electrifying music is tough, but full of yearning. It may have a hypnotic quality which conjures up the open spaces of their region, but it also rocks mightily. Their debut album Introducing Etran Finatawa stormed... > Read more

Etran Finatawa: Iledeman

Rango: Bride of the Zar (30IPS/Southbound)

1 Jun 2010

Just as pop and rock suddenly throws up new cover stars, so too in world music -- and Rango out of Egypt by way of the Sudan with their spiritual trance sound, odd-looking and strangely tuned wooden xylophone (the rango), driving percussion and music which rises to states of ecstasy are the latest off the block. There is no denying the danceable quality of this exciting music and the... > Read more

Rango: Henna Night

Paban Das Baul: Music of the Honey Gatherers (World Music Network/Southbound)

24 May 2010

The music of the itinerant Bauls of Bengal has only made a brief appearance at Elsewhere previously (the album by Bapi Das Baul here) but its uplifting spiritual quality in pop-sized bites (it is often improvised, but on CD nothing stretches much longer than Hey Jude or Stairway to Heaven) which makes it appealing on a number of fronts. Paban Das Baul has been quite the ambassador for this... > Read more

Paban Das Baul: Prem Katha Ti Shunte Bhalo

Various Artists: Rumba Blues (Rhythm and Blues Records/Southbound)

20 May 2010

From the same label which has brought the superb 4-CD sets of rhythm and blues (here) comes this equally excellent 26-song collection of post-war material which had soaked in a Latin rumba-shuffle influence. And when you look at who is here, that influence was considerable and across a wide range of artists: T-Bone Walker; the Johnny Otis Orchestra; Lowell Fulson; r'n'b legend Big Mama... > Read more

Fats Domino: Mardi Gras in New Orleans (1949)

Francoise Hardy: La Pluie Sans Parapluie (Virgin)

10 May 2010    1

At first glance this might just seem to be one for those who knew the title meant "Rain Without an Umbrella" or just want a bit of that breathy chanteuse mood music for dinner parties. But if you are in the latter camp you will be a little surprised: although this certainly has reflective ballads over piano and soft strings, Hardy's vocals are more prominent than mere background... > Read more

Francoise Hardy: Noir sur blanc