World Music

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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


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


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


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

Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti: Rakshasa (slapthemoon)

15 Jul 2013  |  1 min read

Elsewhere is always pleased to introduce interesting music from elsewhere . . . and this exceptional album is about as elsewhere as it gets. British classical guitarist Simon Thacker is one of those well-traveled world citizens who has performed across Europe with various world music artists, leads his own ensembles which bridge the East/West divide, is passionate about Segovia, knows his... > Read more

Main Tenu Yaad Aavanga

Etran Finatawa: The Sahara Sessions (Riverboat/Southbound)

27 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Since the emergence of desert blues from the sub-Sahara regions a decade ago through Etran Finatawa, Tinariwen and the often overlooked Malouma (a woman who really rocks), the genre has seen a new generation come through (Tamikrest, the singer-songwriter Bombino), artists going solo (Alhousseini Anivolla of Etran Finatawa with the excellent Anewal/Walking Man), offshoots (Terakaft) and... > Read more


Alhousseini Anivolla: Anewal/The Walking Man (World Music Network/Southbound)

26 May 2013  |  <1 min read

With a terrific new album from Etran Finatawa out (The Sahara Sessions), Anivolla -- one of their key guitarists -- deserves serious attention for this solo collection on which, aside from a guest singer and a percussion player on one song, he plays everything. The result won't surprise those who follow Sahara blues, because this is typically mesmerising, but his brusque vocals... > Read more


Debashish Bhattacharya and Friends: Beyond the Ragasphere (Riverboat/Southbound)

20 May 2013  |  <1 min read

The great Indian slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya has appeared at Elsewhere before because he not only makes hypnotic music, but that he also connects with an interesting tradition which goes back many deacdes . . . and to Hawaii. Here -- in a disheartingly dull cover which gives no hint of its exotic contents -- he invites in some of his many international friends and fellow... > Read more

Reflections Remain

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Senegal (Rough Guide/Southbund)

7 May 2013  |  <1 min read

When the Rough Guide series started there were some rather uneven, not so say dodgy, collections released but -- perhaps as the series gained traction and licensing became easier and more attractive to labels given RG's reach -- the quality has improved considerably. The series is considerably more consistent that the Putamayo version which too frequenrtly errs to the lightweight (and the... > Read more

Sister Fa

Maria Ana Bobone: Fado and Piano (Arc Music)

4 Apr 2013  |  <1 min read

Quite why this fado singer and pianist would break the elegant and stately mood of her otherwise acoustic album with a live electronica piece which seems to channel the spirit of Clannad/Enya is beyond comprehension. Just to prove she could do it? To show she is also "contemporary"? The track -- the traditional Senhora do Almorto -- is a rude intrusion on an otherwise... > Read more


Custodio Castelo: InVentus (Arc Music)

31 Mar 2013  |  <1 min read

Custodio Castelo offers romantic guitars from Portugal  . . . but on this outing is heading elsewhere. His 2011 album The Art of Portuguese Fado Guitar was a delight by this master of the instrument (and lute-like 12-string) because he also stretched into stately tango. Longtime accompanist to fado singer Cristina Branco, Castelo here again takes inspiration from places (Paris),... > Read more


Various Artists: Saoco! (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

28 Mar 2013  |  <1 min read

Subtitled “The bomba and plena explosion in Puerto Rico 1954-66”, this double disc ensures your library of bomba and plena just got a shelf-filler. For most of us, myself included, this was not an explosion heard round the world but the excellent liner notes – with terrific reproductions of album covers and band shots – fill in the technical details while neatly... > Read more

Sacude Zapato Viejo