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Voices from the Village
World Music at WWUH
By Brian Grosjean

"Meditation, Dancing and Dreaming"

Nakai, Eaton, Clipman, Nawang

In A Distant Place
Canyon (www.canyonrecords.com)

After several trial recordings together, R. Carlos Nakai and Nawang Khechog have succeeded in combining their visions of music for meditation and peace.  On the same road for many years, the two flutists – Nakai on cedar and Nawang on bamboo – have pursued peace, contentment and joy through their music, Nakai from the West and Nawang from the East.  Nakai has found his way using his Native American background solo and with scores of collaborations.  Nawang has until recently walked the path solo composing pieces based on Tibetan philosophy for TV and film scores.  Now the two have found success in their expression together.  William Eaton’s unique harp guitar provides the network of notes for them to bond to.  Will Clipman’s acoustic percussion grounds the group.  The chanting in both Native American and Tibetan adds focus to an already meditative album.  This album breaks new ground in its spiritual aim, and it is well worth noting that with it, the distance between the ancient Native Americans and the Tibetans has grown smaller. 

Various Artists

Women’s World Voices, Volume 2
Blue Flame (www.blueflame.com)

This challenging and wide-ranging compilation takes you far beyond today’s pop divas.  World beat predominates with Shai No Shai (France), Natacha Atlas (Egypt), and Princess Erika (Africa).  The Mamas (my personal favorites) embody the Mediterranean renaissance in women’s music.  Their song Amaria is all that is best of today’s confident women artists.  Just as with the rest of the music world, reggae, Indian, middle eastern, and techno influences combine with women’s voices for a new traditionalism.  Women are combining local traditions with western pop elements, with a sensibility all their own.  Pioneers like Sheila Chandra and Yulduz Usmanova are presented alongside today’s innovators like The Herbalizer and Vas.  In women’s hands, the music of the world is rendered with grace and assurance. Eighteen pages of Guido.Artworks’s gorgeous photographic gallery of women graces the liner notes in English and German. 

Sam Mangwana

Sings Dinu Vangu
Stern’s Africa (www.sternsmusic.com)

As a stylistic vagabond, Sam Mangwana has embraced influences from all over the globe.  So much so he is called Le Pigeon Voyageur.  At one time with Rochereau and then the Africa All Stars, he is an acknowledged master of American Funk, Zimbabwean chimurenga and Antillies Zouk.  Here he settles back to his favorite form – Congolese rumba.  Even though many have written Congolese rumba off, Sam sets out to prove that this form still has life within it.  In songs written by guitarist Dinu Vangu, Sam’s sleek voice lords over his first rate horn and rhythm section.  As the music seeps into your soul, you cannot help but be moved.  The unique rhythm and mood of the music clutches at you to dance and sing along as best you can.  Vangu’s guitar predominates as the mover of the rhythm.  His high twang takes you to urban dancehalls filled with sweating fans driven by the music.  The universal appeal of Congolese rumba and soukous fills the globe again, following Sam wherever he alights next.  

Various Artists

Peregrina’s Dreamworld
Peregrina Music +49 7141 226822

  The German label Peregrina has issued this sampler to acquaint you with their artists from across Europe.  Included are selections from George Theodorakis, Rosanna & Zelia, Totem Trio, Maria Farantouri, Sema & Taksim, Penguin Café Orchestra and others.  Mostly oriented toward singer-songwriter folk and light jazz vocals with interesting accompaniment, these artists show European style and polish.  Brazilian, Turkish and Greek rhythms prevail.  Ambient backgrounds predominate in tracks like George Theodorakis’ Alientation and Sambiente by PAmagieRA.   Especially interesting is the Piccola Orchestra Avion Travel which bridges several genres in its view of Mediterranean music. Every time you settle into a groove, the music takes new twists and turns. Liner notes in German and English include detailed information on each artist, their albums, musicians, and a press review.  This album will delight you and head you off to find more from Peregrina’s artists. 

The Electronic World Of Music

Independent music labels have been quick to jump onto the internet.  Email, web sites, and the like offer inexpensive ways of communicating with record stations and the general public.  In addition, this also helps level the playing field by providing equal access to labels no matter what their size.  An email or web site for the smallest independent label is as accessible as is Sony, Capital, or any of the major brands.   I try to give a website for each label, when available.  For more information, try browsing for World Music Links at Rootsworld www.Rootsworld.com/rw .  Or contact me at grosjean@neca.com.

 Copyright©WWUH: March/April Program Guide, 2001

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