World Music

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Natacha Atlas: Mounqaliba/In a State of Reversal (World Village)

10 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

This great interpreter of Arabic music has made a number of appearances at Elsewhere for her sinuous voice and often remarkable songs. She could hold her own with TransGobal Undergrounds in the electronica-beat-driven world music end of the spectrum but her more traditional albums were much more persuasive. This time out she goes for a broad conceptual piece with a large Turkish ensemble... > Read more

Natacha Atlas: Batkallim

Various Artists: Cumbia Beat Vol 1 (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

4 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

This double-disc -- with fat multilingual booklet and period photos of bands and chintzy album covers -- pulls together 25 intrumental tracks from the Sixties and Seventies by Peruvian guitar pop bands who bring traditional percussion backbeats to their slightlydelic pop and proto-rock. There is cool guitar jangle and sharp playing (think Telstar with funky congas) and you'll perhaps want to... > Read more

Los Sander's de Nana: El Tramboyito (1972)

HUONG THANH AND NGUYEN LE: Fragile Beauty reviewed (2008)

4 Oct 2010  |  2 min read

These days world music compilations are pretty thick on the ground -- largely because they have been thrown there by disillusioned buyers who thought they might be getting a decent collection but discovered some lazily cobbled-together Thailand-lite or Indo-groove tracks which commit that most grave of sins: they are boring. The high profile Putumayo label has been churning out such... > Read more

Huong Than and Nguyen Le: Rowing the Sampan

Nour Eddine: Morocco; Traditional Songs and Music (Arc)

3 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

The propulsive, rhythmic music of the Gnawa in North Africa has been surreptitiously infiltrating Western ears through the likes of Bill Laswell and his world music meltdowns with jazz and de facto "rock" musicians on the Axiom label. Here the oud, guitar and percussion player Nour Eddine -- with some young musicians from the Maghreb -- offers music from rituals designed to... > Read more

Nour Eddine: J'bel

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

3 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

After the Buena Vista Social Club alerted the planet to great old, and largely forgotten, musicians in Cuba – and of course the beguiling rhythms of that small island – it was open season on catalogue exploitation for major record companies, many of whom suddenly discovered they had Cuban bands on their books from decades before the American cultural boycott. Rubbish... > Read more

Wyclef Jean: Stayin' Alive

1 GIANT LEAP'S DUNCAN BRIDGEMAN INTERVIEWED (2008): Into the great wide open

20 Sep 2010  |  11 min read  |  1

A few drinks and late afternoon pre-dinner nibbles in an Auckland bar with London-based, world music-inclusive musician Duncan Bridgeman of 1 Giant Leap means a free ranging conversation: American politics; how the Western world unforgivably medicates its young (especially teenage boys); Maori moko; 70s prog-rock (he likes the voice of Yes frontman Jon Anderson, and that lapse in taste... > Read more

1 Giant Leap: How Can I Be a Better Friend to You?

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Desert Blues (Rough Guide/Southbound)

19 Sep 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

Elsewhere has long advanced the case for the thrilling music which comes out of the sub-Sahara and is driven by barbed-wire guitars and passionate vocals. This collection pulls together all the big names so merely listing them with the internal link to their albums at Elsewhere (which have sample tracks) should do the business. Here is your journey into a music which will just drag you... > Read more

Malouma: Yarab

SUSAN AGLUKARK INTERVIEWED (1995): Inuit into the mainstream

18 Sep 2010  |  4 min read

It is 1995 and Susan Aglukark is speculating on how she’d like to see herself in five years; married certainly (she and her boyfriend have talked about it), a lot of children, learn to fly, go to law school . . . Making music doesn't come into it? "Oops," she laughs and glances guiltily around the record-company office where she is sitting doing promotional work for... > Read more

Susan Aglukark: O Siem

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

5 Sep 2010  |  <1 min read  |  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

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

5 Sep 2010  |  <1 min read

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

ITALIAN POP AND ROCK (2010): Searching for the young soul rebels

1 Sep 2010  |  2 min read

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  |  1 min read

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  |  <1 min read

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  |  2 min read

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  |  <1 min read

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  |  <1 min read

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  |  3 min read

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

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

27 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

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

Various Artists: Afro-Rock Volume One (Strut)

27 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

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

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

21 Jun 2010  |  6 min read

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