World Music

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

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Catrin Finch/Seckou Keita: Echo (ARC Music/digital outlets)

27 Jun 2022  |  <1 min read

This pairing of Welsh harp player Catrin Finch and the Senegalese master of the 21-string kora Seckou Keita (with a string section) might seem a little to sweet for those who prefer Keita's solo work or other cross-cultural collaborations, but this follows their enormously popular and award-winning Soar of 2019. And if anyone was lucky enough to be at that last Taranaki Womad before Covid... > Read more

Dual Rising

Imarhan: Aboogi (City Slang/digital outlets)

5 Jun 2022  |  <1 min read

Part of the new (third?) generation of Sahara blues/desert blues artists out of the sub-Sahara region, Imarhan might here just be the most immediately appealing of the many bands which have emerged in the past two decades. Where others are electrifying and electric (and the second generation influenced by Western rock), Imarhan – while still having the same mesmerising quality,... > Read more

Iberi: Supra (Naxos/digital outlets)

8 May 2022  |  1 min read

The opening piece here Kutaisi Mravalzhamieri/Blessings From Kutaisi will doubtless confirm exactly preconceptions about what an all-male choir from Georgia – led by former rugby player Buba Murgulia – would sound like: layered lines of baritone and tenor voices. But there is also a whimsical quality in the second half which hints at a bit of humour and that should carry you... > Read more

Utsinares/We Praised Him the Most

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

21 Nov 2021  |  3 min read

Here's a frequent flyer/transit lounge/vicarious listening music 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 occasional columns which scoop up releases by international artists (IN BRIEF), in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks out New Zealand artists.... > Read more

Omar Sosa/Seckou Keita: Suba (Bendigedig/digital outlets)

25 Oct 2021  |  <1 min read

Regular visitors to Elsewhere will know of our affection for the multi-stringed kora out of West Africa, and the player here Seckou Keita. On their second album together Keita and Cuban keyboard/marimba player Omar Sosa (with Cuban percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, others on flutes and modular effects) bridge the Atlantic with a series of mostly reflective and understated songs with lean left... > Read more

2020 Visions

Kadialy Kouyate: Aado (Naxos/digital outlets)

11 Oct 2021  |  <1 min read

The west Africa string instrument the kora has a deliciously warm, trickling sound as heard on albums by its greatest practitioners like Seckou Keita and Toumani Diabate, and the new generation of Sekou Kouyate who plays electric kora), Sona Jobarteh (one of the few women practitioners) and Kadialy Kouyate. As you can tell by the names, many of these artists are from griot families for... > Read more


Cheng Yu and Dennis Kwong Thye Lee: Longyin/The Dragon Chants (ARC/digital outlets)

30 Sep 2021  |  <1 min read

The acclaimed Cheng Yu has appeared at Elsewhere a number of times, sometimes under her own name but also as part of the Silk String Quartet. As a virtuoso on the Chinese zither (guqin, or qin) and the lute-like pipa, she has traveled extensively and performed with pianist Lang Lang and Damon Albarn among many others. Dennis Kwong Thye Lee on xiao (bamboo flute) hasn't crossed out path... > Read more

Llangxiao Lin/Prelude to a Peaceful Evening

Timba MM: Outstanding (Naxos/digital outlets)

20 Sep 2021  |  <1 min read

Cuban music out of Montreal, and why not? This band of Cuban and Canadian musicians -- an eight-piece, but only six pictured on the cover, but an additional nine Cubans on the sessions – bring to a boil a boisterous Afro-Cuban/Latin sound of horns, percussion, guitars, son, samba flamenco and jazz. Although grounded in traditions –a Yoruban prayer also here – these10... > Read more

Del Bahia

Rachel Magoola: Resilience, Songs of Uganda (Arc Music/digital outlets)

18 Sep 2021  |  <1 min read

Ugandans have certainly needed to be resilient: in living memory there was the mad despot Idi Amin and subsequent disruption, the HIV epidemic, the civil war lead by the Lord's Resistance Army (more mad bastards), economic collapses and food shortages, Covid . . .  Politician Rachel Magoona has raised money for healthcare and the education of girls, and along the way has recorded half... > Read more


Alice Coltrane: Kirtan; Turiya Sings (Impulse!/digital outlets)

19 Jul 2021  |  <1 min read

The wheel turns again, and -- more often today than just a few years back -- we are hearing spiritual music entering the consciousness. Last month soulful singer Durand Jones said he wanted his music to heal people, a not uncommon sentiment right now. And hardly surprising in these days of uncertainty. Elsewhere has reviewed quite a few ambient, spiritual albums in recent times but... > Read more

Fatima Al Qadiri: Medieval Femme (Hyperdub/digital outlets)

18 Jul 2021  |  <1 min read

By coincidence a fortnight ago when Elsewhere posted collage art which accompanied a 2017 article about the post-modern global citizen Fatima Al Qadiri, she released this new album. And it is very different from her previous work. The album we focused on back then was influenced by China – she was born in Sengal, grew up in Kuwait, graduated in NYC and has hip-hop and multi-media... > Read more

Namgar: Nayan Navaa (Arc Music/digital outlets)

5 Jul 2021  |  1 min read

Because in the past Elsewhere has gone to the remote Pamir Mountains, Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Native American musics and elsewhere, we are quite comfortable with a venture to the territory of the nomadic Buryats, an ethnic minority in Southern Siberia and Mongolia. But here – rather than some ethnomusicologist's approach – we are welcomed by the Moscow-based Namgar group... > Read more

Khadin Kursa Nogoonda/Green Grass

Araki Kodo VI: Hankyo (bandcamp)

13 Feb 2021  |  <1 min read

The background here does sound like an Irish story told in a pub over the fourth Guinness but . . . Apparently Hanz Araki is an American who is highly regarded as a traditional Irish flute player. So far so simple. However as Araki Kodo VI he is a sixth generation master on the shakuhachi (Japanese flute) whose family have been players for centuries. And so the Hanz is an... > Read more

Utsav Lal: Visangati (digital outlets)

4 Feb 2021  |  1 min read

When we reviewed a previous album by this Indian pianist playing Indian classical music we did note the obvious limitations which the instrument imposes: no ability for melisma and microtones as can be found in classical Indian instrumental and vocal music. Yet we also concluded that the album would appeal to more people than many might first think. The slowly unfurling raga form is quite... > Read more

Keleketla!: Keleketla! (Ahead of Our Time/digital outlets)

22 Aug 2020  |  1 min read

Given the geographical and cultural diversity here – from the late Tony Allen and the Watts Prophets to South African artists from Soweto, West Papua highlands' singers Benny and Maria Wenda and kicked off by Johannesburg's Rangoato Hlasane and Malose Malahlela with UK electronica dance artists Coldcut – the surprise here isn't that it sounds like a Womad dance party in your lounge... > Read more

fra fra: Funeral Songs (Glitterbeat/digital outlets)

13 Jul 2020  |  <1 min read

If memory serves, when the late writer Paul Oliver (who died in 2017 at 90) released an album to coincide with his seminal book The Story of the Blues in the late Sixties, the first track was a song of praise by people known as the Frafra tribe from Northern Ghana. In it you could hear some of the elements more familiar from songs by Willie McTell, Leadbelly and other early bluesmen.... > Read more

Ssewa Ssewa: Nva K'la (ARC Music/Southbound/digital outlets)

28 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

This smart 33-year old Ugandan multi-instrumentalist and singer has invented his own instrument, the 15-string harp-like Janzi which is non-metallic so he can pass through airport security without much hassle. That's just one reason he's smart. Another is the evidence on this multi-lingual album where his seductively low vocal rides across gently bubbling rhythms, mesmerising guitar... > Read more

RECOMMENDED RECORD: Tamikrest; Tamotait (Glitterbeat/digital outlets)

11 May 2020  |  1 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .  Hard to believe that Elsewhere could miss this new album, released last month, by the extraordinary Tamikrest whose sub-Saharan blues we have championed right from their debut Adagh 10 years ago to their previous release Kidal (named for the town in Mali where they formed) in... > Read more

Awale Jant Band: Yewoulen/Wake Up (ARC Music)

27 Mar 2020  |  <1 min read

Another multi-culti band out of London, but this collective of Senegalese, British, French and other players stands apart from the meltdown of jazz by the likes of Shabaka and the Ancestors, Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming, Nerija and others. That's because this is more firmly grounded in West African music with elements from the juju guitars of King Sunny Ade, Orchestra Baobab,... > Read more

Domi Adama

FRESH FOLK FROM THE FAR NORTH (2020): Warm music coming in from the cold

23 Feb 2020  |  3 min read

As we should expect, traditional and contemporary folk music from a region which encompasses Scandinavia to Siberia is going to sound different, and often fresh, to ears more attuned to Anglo-folk or Americana. Because of Elsewhere's on-going engagement with world music, Christian Pliefke out of Germany got in touch because he has three labels which release music from Northern Europe and... > Read more