World Music

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

18 Mar 2014  |  4 min read  |  4

The glee-cum-concern with which weather forecasters last week announced the impending tropical cyclone doubtless accounted for “calm before the storm” being heard as often on Friday, Womad's opening night, as frontman Ryo Nakata of Japan's enjoyably bizarre soul-funk band Osaka Monaurail shouting, “Are you ready?” The large crowd had been ready since the... > Read more

Kashmir

Nistha Raj: Exit 1 (nistharaj.com)

17 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

Those fresh from Womad will attest that some of the most interesting music is made at the interface of cultures, and this album is further evidence. Texas-raised Nistha Raj (now living in Washington DC) graduated with honours in her classical violin studies but was drawn back to the music of India and spent three years there exploring and learning the modes of Hindustani classical music.... > Read more

Ajde Jano

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014: Under starter's orders

12 Mar 2014  |  4 min read

Given what “world music” is – music from all over the world, duh! – you'd think it had been with us always. Not so. “World music” as we know it today only made itself known by that description after June 29, 1987, the day when some British record importers, promoters and like-minded people working with artists from all over the world got... > Read more

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

5 Mar 2014  |  <1 min read

Further proof -- if any more were needed -- that "world music" is a very slippery and loose term. These Womad visitors deliver a heady brew of Afro-Colombian grooves, soul-funk, hip-hop and some nods to roiling Afrobeat. They, of course, come from Belgium. Recording in their own studio and getting this mixed in New York just compounds the "world music" issue and in... > Read more

Me Voy de mi Cabeza

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED (2014): The exciting sound of dissent

28 Feb 2014  |  4 min read

The call to Femi Kuti in Lagos – down a line which on rare occasions reaches something approaching functional – finds his country is in turmoil. Thee ministers in the Nigerian cabinet had just resigned, various factions and parties were in disarray and president Goodluck Jonathan was asking Nigerians to pray for peace. To outsiders this might seem chaotic,... > Read more

Sorry Sorry

Womad Artist 2014: James Lindsay of Braebach

27 Feb 2014  |  2 min read

Double bassist James Lindsay of Scotland's Breabach says what they will be delivering at the forthcoming Womad in Taranaki is quite simple: “Expect a varied and exciting showcase of Scottish music, song and dance. We have double pipes, Gaelic and English song, heavy grooves and traditional step dance. “We love to play for up-for-it crowds, so come along ready to have... > Read more

Mogaisean

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide/Southbound)

27 Feb 2014  |  <1 min read

There is no sane or relevant reason for posting anything about this oddball digital-only compilation other than that it is silly fun, has some terrific (if borrowed) disco-dance groove which come with thick lacquer of Bollywood madness, that it sometimes sounds like absurd Bond soundtracks and . . . Jeeez, isn't that enough? As with the excellent and equally bizarre Rough Guide to... > Read more

Sansien Bekhi

Various Artists: Australia and New Zealand Womad 2014 Compilation (Cartell)

17 Feb 2014  |  <1 min read

And here, over 16 diverse tracks, is your useful backgrounder to just some of the artists appearing at the forthcoming Womad festivals across Ausralia and New Zealand. Needless to say, like the festivals themselves, this is an eclectic mix: it kicks off the driving Cuban piano of Roberto Fonesca (which comes with brittle electric guitars, swooping bass, horns and more), moves on to the... > Read more

Ya Tounes Ya Meskina/Poor Tunis

WOMAD ARTIST 2014: Ryo Nakata of Osaka Monaurail

8 Feb 2014  |  2 min read

Keyboard player and singer Ryo Nakata lives in the Tokyo suburb of Yokohama but grew up in Osaka. He has visited New Zealand previously when the band played a festival in Queenstown in 2012, but this year will be their first Womad in this country. At 41 and fluent in Japanese and English, you might find him at Conch record shop on Auckland's Ponsonby Rd where stopped by last time and... > Read more

Shanren: Left Foot Dance of the Yi (Rough Guide/Southbound)

2 Feb 2014  |  1 min read

I've always wanted to say this -- because it sound so archaically "Times of London" or like New Zealand Herald editorials in the Sixties -- so here goes . . . "As regular readers of this column will no doubt know . . ." And yes, such regular readers of Elsewhere as there are would know I recently spent some time in China's almost-remote Yunnan province (available by... > Read more

Song of the Wa

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

13 Jan 2014  |  <1 min read

No one would deny Dr John being on this voodoo collection (more correctly “vodou” in Haiti, the country it is most associated with), but the Night Tripper is here with his sophisticated salute to the famous Nawlins voodoo priestess Marie Laveau rather than one of his more elementally voodoo Gris-Gris songs . . . and that seems the least of the problems with this collection.... > Read more

Canto de Xango

Buika: A La Noche Mas Larga (Warners)

4 Nov 2013  |  <1 min read

In the first announcement of next year's Womad acts a fortnight ago, this Mallorca-born singer stood out against Kiwi pop princess Kimbra and Americana retro-roots musician Pokey LaFarge as the most recognisably “world music”. But hold hard, because although she currently works a dramatic flamenco-fusion or sultry soul style, the Miami-based singer (who also has a flat in... > Read more

Throw It Away

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014: THE ARTISTS' LINE-UP

30 Oct 2013  |  26 min read  |  4

As those who have followed Elsewhere would know, we here have long been interested in -- and have written extensively about -- "world music", long before many others. In fact, a quick glance at our World Music in Elsewhere pages shows we have about 350 separate entries which include interviews, overviews and album reviews . . . And over at Absolute Elsewhere you can... > Read more

Anoushka Shankar: Traces of You (Universal)

28 Oct 2013  |  1 min read

Although nominally here under "World Music in Elsewhere", this emotionally charged album by the daughter of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar is her most cohesively interesting and engaging album yet in that bridge between her father's generation and her own. And until she does an album of classical ragas expressing the loss of her father -- as this one does in places, in miniatures --... > Read more

Unsaid

Gogol Bordello: Pura Vida Conspiracy (ATO)

18 Oct 2013  |  <1 min read  |  2

Given their background, you're allowed to be cynical about this Gypsy-punk band from New York. However on the noisy evidence of this – their most concise and fist-hard album and the one least trying for Gypsy-punk – you might just break out a bottle of the hard stuff and get into an enjoyably rowdy party-party album. Like a Eurocentric Clash slugging it out with the... > Read more

We Rise Again

Amparo Sanchez: Alma de Cantaora (Wrasse)

14 Oct 2013  |  <1 min read

Although some may prefer her previous and more volatile incarnation when she fronted the band Amparanoia, this politicized post-punk folk-rock singer here -- on her second solo album -- steps back from the often incendiary nature of her earlier work. These passionate songs – English translations are in the booklet – look to the universal feminine songstress (the title... > Read more

Free Day

TARANAKI WOMAD 2014: The first acts announced

10 Oct 2013  |  2 min read

As their website says today, perhaps half joking, "only 155 days till WOMAD 2014". And we too are counting down to the annual multi-culti music, arts and what-have-you festival which draws performers from all over the world. As residents of Elsewhere  know, this website has a long history of writing about and interviewing artists who fall under that broad category know as... > Read more

Monoswezi: The Village (Riverboat/Southbound)

11 Aug 2013  |  <1 min read  |  1

Further evidence as to why, especially in the area of world music, you should never judge an album by its cover. As Elsewhere has said previously, exceptional and exciting bellydance albums usually come in covers which have photos of the kind you might see on a mechanic's garage in a Cairo suburb. And this cover -- and the band name and album title - might suggest some African folk singer.... > Read more

Kalahari

Yasmine Hamdan: Ya Nass (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

1 Aug 2013  |  <1 min read

Out of the Lebanon -- where she co-founded an electronica duo Soapkills -- and now based in Paris, this striking singer-writer and counterculture figure in the Arab world really hits her straps here on an album which is at a point between sensual electronica, downbeat chill-out, generic pan-Middle Eastern slo-mo pop and cocktail lounge slinkiness. That it comes in (mostly) Arabic adds... > Read more

La Mouche

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Bollywood (Rough Guide/Southbound)

29 Jul 2013  |  1 min read

We've made the point previously with The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Africa -- and ignored The Rough Guide to Latin Psychedelia  on these grounds -- that this usually reliable label is a bit too liberal with the "P" word. A few wobbly and weird songs do not for psychedelic make.   So for those of us whose reference points in this matter include the Grateful Dead,... > Read more

Cabaret Dance Music