World Music

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Various Artists The Rough Guide to Rare Latin Grooves (Rough Guide)

22 Jun 2015  |  2 min read

For a very short while I played DJ in a fashionable bar for a few hours a night, about once a fortnight -- or a month -- or something like that. You can guess from my lack of enthusiastic recall I found it a desultory and pointless experience: standing in a corner playing records to a bunch of people who just wanted to drink and talk loudly at each other. I spent everything I was paid... > Read more


Ceumar: Silencio (Arc Music)

21 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Brazilian singer-songwriter Ceumar recorded these 13 songs live in a Sao Paulo studio with a small acoustic group of players who are entirely empathetic. There is a gentle and sensitive melodicism at work by all here, and Ceumar's intuitive jazz sensibilities are to the fore also. Playing nylon string guitar alongside the cello, acoustic bass, mandolin and so on, she weaves her... > Read more


Ustad Dildar Hussain Khan: Sur Sangeet (Kanaga)

1 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

At any Womad one of the most transcendental and transporting musical events is when singers of the Sufi qawwali tradition appear. Usually fronting a large group of supportive singers and percussion players, the main vocalist is capable of tremedous flights of impassioned, yearning spiritual intensity. It must be hard not to be moved by it. At recent performances too you find people seem... > Read more

Sar Tajen Ke Taj

Arinushka: Old Faith (ARC Music)

25 May 2015  |  1 min read

Years ago I was given a birthday card which read, "If you didn't know your age, how old would you be?" Let's flip that a little and ask about this fascinating album, "If you didn't know where this music came from, where might you guess?" I didn't know. I just put it in the player with barely a glance at the cover and pottered about as it started to play. The... > Read more

About Nature

Planetary Coalition: Planetary Coalition (ArtistShare)

22 May 2015  |  <1 min read

And here's what happens when a Californian thrash metaller -- in this case guitarist Alex Skolnick of Testament  --  turns the volume all the way up to . . . 5? Skolnick (who has his own power trio and has appeared with Rodrigo Y Gabriela) goes back to acoustic guitar (for the most part) and appears here in our world music pages because he's teamed up with top drawer... > Read more

Negev Desert Sunset

Techung: Tibet; Lam La Che/On The Road (ARC Music)

18 May 2015  |  1 min read

The Tibetan diaspora which has seen many flee the country since the Chinese occupation began over 60 years ago means in many countries there are second, third and fourth generation Tibetans who have never seen their homeland but who have an emotional and spiritual attachment to that remote country. The politics of Tibet -- and Tibetan Buddhism which has also spread apace -- are highly... > Read more

Lam La Che (w Keb' Mo')

Various Artists: Murshidi and Sufi Songs (Arc Music)

1 May 2015  |  <1 min read

Although we might describe these field recordings as more worthy and important than they are repeat-play items and essential on the shelf, they are deserving of our attention. Deben Bhattacharya -- who died in 2001 -- captures the musical tradition of the Sufi so ancient as to be unfathomable, and so profoundly moving it is timeless. Bhattacharya was a pioneering world music... > Read more

Orey Gurur Choron Korey Shoron

Hossam Ramzy: Sabla Tolo IV (ARC Music)

29 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

Percussionist, arranger and producer Hossam Ramzy has appeared frequently at Elsewhere, and been interviewed. From Egypt, he is one of the few Arabic musicians whose name might be slightly familiar to mainstream Western listeners because of his sessions and concerts with Peter Gabriel, Shakira, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and Sting among many others. When he steps beyond the... > Read more

Albi el Afreeky

Slim Ali and the Hodi Boys: 70s Pop! (Arc Music)

17 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

The earlier companion volume to this collection (70s Soul!) was of real interest because of the sound of the Hodi Boys band behind the classic soul voice of Kenya's Slim Ali, and African artist who worked lounge bars. The band sometimes just sounded odd and off-kilter and capable of some weird out-there playing. Regreattably this time out they do little more than sit in behind Ali on a... > Read more

Tell Me

Debashish Bhattacharya: Slide Guitar Ragas from Dusk till Dawn (World Music Network)

8 Apr 2015  |  1 min read

While his most recent album Beyond the Ragasphere was (mostly) excellent in its fusion of East and West, but succeeded best in his dialogue with guitarist John McLaughlin on an evocative conceptual piece Mystical Morning, those who prefer this great Indian slide guitarist in more traditional mode should rush to embrace this one. Here over the course of five lengthy, deep immersion ragas... > Read more

Songhoy Blues: Music in Exile (Transgressive)

16 Mar 2015  |  1 min read

With the sounds of Womad still ringing in our ears, this remarkable album might get more traction that it might otherwise have found. That said however, this one also walks towards a mainstream audience more than most of what comes at us as world music. It is focused, thrilling and very significant blues-rock from West Africa, although the yearning of the final two songs – Desert... > Read more

Buena Vista Social Club: Lost and Found (World Circuit)

16 Mar 2015  |  <1 min read

If, almost 20 years ago, someone told you one the biggest music phenomena of the era would be a bunch of mostly old people from Cuba singing in Spanish, it's doubtful you'd have believed them. But BVSC got a different audience going into CDs stores and to their concerts because they had a good backstory, seemed charming and free from guile, enjoying the belated attention and made... > Read more

Como Siento Yo

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2015 (Cartell/Border)

16 Mar 2015  |  2 min read

In theory, with Spotify and the web, it should be incredibly easy to access music from all corners of the globe. But it's always helps to have someone shine the spotlight into the darkness if it's something in the nature of world music, or pop from a country on the other side of the planet. That's why Elsewhere – which has a decent track record in the world music/non-English pop... > Read more

Diary of Bike

Srdjan Beronja and Various Artists: The Sounds of Varanasi (Arc Music)

2 Mar 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

Given the stealthy return of concept albums in rock, we welcome this entry from world music where -- if the title suggests people bellowing in your ear, taxi horns honking incessantly and smiling man asking "Where are you from?" -- the subtitle is more telling: A Unique Sound Journey Through the Holy City. Serbian percussionist/composer Beronja -- who adopted Varanasi as his... > Read more

Dadra: Raga Mishra Khamaj

Chinbat Baasankhuu: The Art of the Mongolian Yatga (Arc Music)

27 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

For those who haven't been paying attention, the Mongolian yatga is like a cross-border cousin to the Korean gayageum, Japanese koto and Chinese gu-zheng. We're joking of course. You're allowed to say, "Wow, who knew?" So let's be clearer: The yatga is a plucked, 13 or 21-string instrument played horizontally and it's extremely large. And rarely heard outside... > Read more

Variations on two traditional songs

Imed Alibi: Safar (IRL)

23 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

This excitingly exotic Arabic music by Tunisian percussionist Alibi has is given an effectively capacious production in a French studio and some dramatic orchestration by composer/keyboard player Stephane Puech (Bounawara). Elsewhere, the great Emel Mathlouthi offers a guest vocal on the widescreen and oceanic surges of Maknassy, a piece which will have you catching your... > Read more


WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Barbarito Torres of the Buena Vista Social Club

18 Feb 2015  |  6 min read

Anyone who has tried to translate between different languages knows the difficulties: it's not just vocabulary but nuance, idioms, inflection and humour which can get lost somewhere along the way. And in the case of speaking with Barbarito Torres of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club for Elsewhere, Wellington-based Rosina van der Aa says there was... > Read more

Various Artists: Womad 2015 Australia and New Zealand Compilation (Cartell/Border)

16 Feb 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

Because Elsewhere has a long established reputation as the only New Zealand outlet/website which regularly addresses and interviews world music artists -- so is a Womad all year round while others amble away until the March event -- we're going to flatter ourselves a little (and embarrass casually interested media) by suggesting many of the acts on this scattergun compilation should be familiar... > Read more


Yom: Le Silence de l'Exode (Buda Musique)

9 Jan 2015  |  <1 min read

This emotionally engaging and often spiritually elevating album is an engrossing journey in music through myth, mystery and landscapes in the crescent between Eastern Europe and North Africa. French clarinetist Yom trained in Jewish klezmer traditions although in the past five years he has explored electronics with his group, the marvelously named Wonder Rabbis. But this... > Read more


Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate: Faya (Cumbancha)

2 Jan 2015  |  <1 min read

Talk about your global village . . .  Joe Driscoll is a US-born UK-resident who raps, loops, does beatbox and comes from somewhere between flat-tack folk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate from Guinea plays electric kora (in France he's been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the kora”) and has been in Ba Cissoko's band. And in the best meeting of musical minds, neither speaks the... > Read more