World Music

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TARANAKI WOMAD 2020: THE ARTISTS' LINE-UP in words, sound and vision

20 Oct 2019  |  8 min read

And here we come again, the music world arriving in Taranaki in March next year for three days of sound, vision, crafts, dance, food, words and so much more. As regular readers of these pages know, Elsewhere has always shone the spotlight on what we call "world music" (see here) so are pleased to bring you this rundown of the acts schedlued for New Plymouth's annual festival.... > Read more

Otava Yo: Do You Love (ARC Music)

27 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

This may well be a first for Elsewhere, an album of traditional Russian folk music . . . But wait, before you go . . . The clip below has had over 27 millions view on YouTube and the song topped the World Music Network chart so . . . Otava Yo are a six-piece collective from St Petersburg which includes film makers, so they know how to present an idea and a video (check their others... > Read more



26 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

In the past some of the first announcements of acts for the Womad in Taranaki have been a bit underwhelming. (Dragon?) But the two groups announced for next year's three day festival of music, dance, food and conversation with artists from around the world look like hitting the right note. First out of the gate are the Blind Boys of Alabama and Seckou Keita with Catrin Finch. The... > Read more

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan: Times of Maharajas (ARC Music)

25 Sep 2019  |  <1 min read

As the liner notes to this album remind us, the time of the Maharajas was – for the elite of course – a world of opulent palaces and bejeweled kings and courtiers. Musicians would be there to sing praises, religious incantations, perform at ceremonial occasions and so on. This group of musical siblings led by tabla player Rahis Bharti come from seven generations of... > Read more


Rachid Taha: Je Suis Africain (Believe/digital outlets)

20 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

The late Rachid Taha – who died in September last year – has made intermittent appearances at Elsewhere but we single out this posthumous release for an example of this Algerian-born, France-based artist who drew influences from traditional Algerian rai, French poets, punk and post-punk, various African styles and electronica. He was political, collaborated with great rai... > Read more

Olcay Bayir: Ruya; Dream for Anatolia (ARC Music)

9 Sep 2019  |  <1 min read

This album was described as “exquisite” by a Guardian reviewer and it's pretty hard to argue with that assessment. Born in the south of Turkey the daughter of a father who was steeped in the Alevi tradition, classically trained as a soprano and drawn to the Kurdish and Turkish folk traditions, Olcay Bayir – who has lived in London with her family since she was 16... > Read more


Mdou Moctar: Ilana; The Creator (Sahel Sounds)

6 May 2019  |  1 min read  |  2

These days with so many artists trickling out singles and then maybe an album every few years, this Tuareg singer/guitarist from Niger has an admirable work ethic. Although this is his first studio album he's clocked off a handful of live album including the soundtrack to a movie he was in which paid homage to Prince's Purple Rain and Perry Henzell's struggling central character Ivan... > Read more

Asshet Akal

Various Artists: Womad Australia and New Zealand 2019 Compilation (Womad/digital outlets)

11 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Those lucky enough to be going to Taranaki Womad this coming weekend (details below) will doubtless be lining up at the merchandise tent to buy albums by many of the artists whose CDs and vinyl wouldn't otherwise appear in stores. And to get them autographed. There are some exceptional artists on the bill – we have profiled/interviewed a few in the following links – but this... > Read more

Tipiti (by Dona Onete)

Tenakhongva, Stroutsos, Nelson: Ongtupqa (CD/DVD

4 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

We are right to be suspicious of all the faux-spirituality which attends so-called "Native American" detritus: cheap dream catchers manufactured by the thousand to hang from rear-view mirrors, your spirit animals determined in a 20 minute session with a self-described shaman who used to sell real estate until the market crashed, something akin to chants co-opted for New Age albums,... > Read more

Place of Emergence

Le Vent du Nord: Territories (Borealis/digital outlets)

25 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

With this year's Taranaki Womad almost on us (March 15-17), this new album by a Quebecois band is timely, they played the festival last year and delivered their powerful take on traditional Franco-Canadian/British-Canadian folk to an enthusiastic audience. Womads have always had their fair share of Celtic and African dance-folk but this outfit offered something different where traditional... > Read more

Au regiment

Tri Nguyen: The Art of the Japanese Zither (ARC Music)

23 Feb 2019  |  1 min read  |  1

As with the Korean gayageum, the 16-string Vietnamese zither (dan tranh, pronounced “dan chang”) is fiendishly difficult to play but offers gloriously, light and evocative charms in the hands of the best. Tri Nguyen studied Western classical music (piano) in Saigon and later Paris, but also learned dan tranh from an old master, one of the last apparently. So because he could... > Read more

Twilight Mist

TWO FOR THE WOMAD (2019): Introducing Dona Onete and Las Cafeteras

22 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

Every Womad introduces artist you'd never heard of but afterwards feel you couldn't live without, and artists you feel you should have known about. In the latter category is the distinctive, tight and hard voice of the Amazon, 79-year old Dona Onete from Brazil who only recorded her first album six years ago but is considered the Queen of Carimbo (a lively dance). She is a scholar... > Read more

Salif Keita: Un Autre Blanc (Naive/Southbound)

17 Feb 2019  |  2 min read  |  1

This “retirement” thing is a long game: artists like Paul Simon, Sir Elton, various New Zealand television “personalities” and others announce their farewell . . . then tour for a few years to sell-out concerts, or clutter up the small screen with their goodbye-interviews. Frankly I don't trust 'em. None of them. After having interviewed Seekers' singer... > Read more


Taiwu Children's Ancient Ballads Troupe and Daniel Ho: To and From the Heart (Wind Music)

11 Feb 2019  |  2 min read

In Taipei, the choking capital of Taiwan there is the remarkable National Palace Museum dug deep into a mountainside and which houses centuries of Chinese treasures, most of them brought over when the Nationalists fled the mainland as the Communist forces surged into ascendancy. It is visited by millions every year and its displays – a tiny, tiny percentage of what the museum holds... > Read more

Yaqui/Ode to Mothers

Jamie Smith's Mabon: Twenty Live! (EOTR)

4 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

For far too many years Elsewhere observed how reggae was the obligatory default position at Womad for bands which wanted to get people moving, no matter which part of the world they came from. So there would be African reggae, Irish reggae, Kiwi reggae etc etc. And they all sounded much the same and were barely recalled after the dancing stopped. In many ways Celtic music is reggae for... > Read more

Kingfisher and Magnet

Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

27 Jan 2019  |  1 min read

Although this remarkable London-raised woman from West Africa is acknowledged as a rare female kora player from her griot family (Toumani Diabate is a cousin), she is also a strong advocate and exemplar of women's rights, has her own Gambia Academy which is a cultural centre which she underwrites (see here) and has taken her music and opinions to festivals and forums around the world. And... > Read more


Damoussi and Eddine: Jedba (ARC Music)

20 Jan 2019  |  1 min read

Those who have been lucky enough to go Morocco – or who have been curious enough to check out the various musics which come from there – know how mesmerising it can be. Over the decades everyone from Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Ornette Coleman, Paul Bowles, Led Zeppelin and others have explored Berber sounds, Sufi spiritual songs, Gnawa music, the Master Musicians of... > Read more

Lailaha Illa Allah

AMJAD ALI KHAN INTERVIEWED (2019): The master of the singing sarod

16 Jan 2019  |  7 min read  |  1

Among the big and familiar performers at this year's Womad in Taranaki – Angelique Kidjo, Nadia Reid, Teeks, Ria Hall and the Silk Road Ensemble to mention a few – there is someone whose name may not be well known but he's a man who is one of the most revered masters of his art. This living legend is Amjad Ali Khan who, at 73, has been acclaimed for more half a century and --... > Read more


Utsav Lal: Indian Classical Music on the Piano (digital outlets)

16 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

Elsewhere will occasionally preface or conclude comments on albums with something like “not for everybody”. The implication is that the music is of some specialised nature, but the hope is that it will spark curiosity. Perhaps among those who think they aren't like “everybody”? This album -- which we have placed under World Music but might just as easily be in Jazz... > Read more

Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram

Chris Prosser: Mistune; Violin and Tanpura (Rongotai)

5 Dec 2018  |  <1 min read

Violinist Chris Prosser was one half of the innovative and genre-defying duo Besser and Prosser (with pianist Jonathan Besser) in the Eighties. After two albums they went on separate paths: Besser also part of the Free Radicals electronic outfit with Ross Harris then into many other directions; Prosser back to London for 20 years before returning to New Zealand a decade ago. These days he is... > Read more