World Music

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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


Slim Ali and the Hodi Boys: 70s Soul!

6 Dec 2014  |  <1 min read

This interesting collection proves that sometimes the frontman is the least of it. Here it is all about the band.  In the late Sixties, Slim Hodi from Mombassa adopted the soulful style Otis Redding, Al Green and Percy Sledge and had a decent career playing in clubs and hotel lounges across the Middle East and North Africa and ended up in Kenya. There he hooked up again with... > Read more


WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

1 Dec 2014  |  5 min read

Mauro Durante of the southern Italian band of the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino laughs about the problem the group has, but also how they rise above it. “Many of our songs are written in Salentino which is the dialect we speak in this area but some are Grecanico which is an ancient greek dialect related to the byzantine period we had in this area. And there are some songs in... > Read more

Pizzica Caddhipulina

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Lake Street Dive

24 Nov 2014  |  5 min read

Bridget Kearney, the acoustic bassist and songwriter in Boston's Lake Street Dive, says they have taken the tortoise approach to a career. “It's been a slow crawl,” she says, “but about two years ago – after eight year of casual playing together – we thought we should give it a real go. So we quit our other jobs and bands and made it our first... > Read more

Various Artists: Music of the Santal Tribe (ARC Music)

12 Nov 2014  |  1 min read

At Elsewhere we've observed as recently as earlier this year -- in a review regarding the Taranaki Womad -- how much festival-programmed "world music" has become just percussion-based dance to get people on their feet . . . with the inevitable fall-back position to a reggae rhythm. Never fails to appeal and appease, but increasingly does not impress. I've never thought... > Read more