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Voices of the World

World Music Reviews
by Brian Grosjean, host of Sunday morning FM On Toast
The Culture Café

World Peace Through Cultural Celebration

"Our ability to live in peace with one another depends on our learning to appreciate and respect each other's differences."
Idan Raichel
, Israeli producer and musician

Omar Faruk Tekbilek / Trees of Patience / White Swan (www.whiteswanrecords.com) - It's no surprise anymore to find an outstanding release from Omar Faruk Tekbilek. This is his best effort to date, with very accessible songs bathed in Turkish rhythms and melodies. The songs move beyond the troubles of the region and remind us of the beauty and intensity which Turkish culture is renowned. The international cast of musicians includes Enrique Morente, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, David Darling and Steve Roach.

The Idan Raichel Project / Cumbancha (www.cumbancha.com) - For the composer and producer Idan Raichel, this is a journey to peace and understanding between the Israelis and their Arab neighbors. It is a hopeful sign that there is still life left in the Israeli peace community His heartfelt songs use Ethiopian folk music, Arabic poetry, Yemenite chants, Biblical Psalms, and Caribbean rhythms. It all fits together nicely with soothing keyboards and hummable choruses.

Felonious Bosch / New Dark Ages / Omnium (www.omnium.com) - I loved the album title and dove quickly into this fascinating recording of new music from old sources. The sources include Scandinavian folk music, English country dance, Medieval madrigals and a dash of heavy rock. Includes a video of a new song as well. For fans of Hedningarna, Garmarna and Swedish folk.

Ana Moura / Aconteceu / World Village (www.worldvillagemusic.com ) World Village continues to find fresh faces to carry on the Fado tradition. Ana Moura's voice drips with the throaty power which is a prerequisite of this music. Backing her up is the composer-producer-arranger-guitarist Jorge Fernando, bringing in strings, orchestral flourishes and that unique high strung Fado guitar.

Toumani Diabate and the Symmetric Orchestra / Boulevard de L'Independence / World Circuit - Toumani Diabate has collected an orchestra in an African sense, not a western sense. The collaboration between individuals as an orchestra is more like a village jam than a integrated whole. But I liked this album for its stretching of traditional West African acoustic sound, including the kora and djembe drums. The orchestra is a 50-member band hailing from Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso which adds appropriate, not overwhelming power to the traditional songs. There is a fluid feel to the album, showing the mastery of the music and how it is performed by all involved.

Sareel Project / Worldology / Sareel Records www.sareel.com - I liked this kitchen sink approach to world culture, performed effortlessly by these Connecticut natives. The music is most linked to the Indian subcontinent, but I hear influences from everywhere.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars / Living Like A Refugee / ANTI- - If a music is made from adversity, then there is music galore streaming from the suffering refugees of countries like Sierra Leone, Côte D’Ivoire, and Guinea. The title track on this album was recorded in the refugee camps - a simplistic, reggae infused number talking about the hardships of being a refugee. The rest are studio recorded tracks using Reuben Koroma and the Emperor's Band to back up top artists like Franco who represent the many lost souls looking for their country in that war torn part of the world.
Radio Latino / Putumayo - Mostly acoustic and nicely chosen recent releases from Los Pinguos, Martin Buscaglia, Costa Rico, and Bebe. Includes complete bilingual liner notes. Update your Latino music vocabulary.

Afenginn / Akrobakkus / Trade Root Music - (www.afenginn.dk) This somewhat experimental combination of eastern euro mazurkas, polkas and dance tunes in exciting arrangements. Highlights are the tracks featuring their mandolin players in duets with the clarinet and violin fun liner notes based on a juggling troupe all instrumental.

Afro -Latin Party / Putumayo - much more salsa and horn flavored than other Putumayo releases. Africano lots of Cuban, Ska cubano, cubismo where piano percussion rules.

R Carlos Nakai /Reconnections / Canyon - Mostly cedar flute ramblings around acoustic percussion, but this time thoughtfully integrating all the players behind Nakai.

Marisa Monte / Universo Ao Meu Redor (Universe Around Me) / Metro Bleu - this is the more acoustic, traditional sounding samba with crystalline vocals and Sambas of Jayme Silva, Dona Yvonne Casemiro and other groundbreaking songwriters, some from fifty years ago, combined with contemporary songs of Adriana, Paulinho, and herself, focused on atmosphere surrounding samba more than on samba itself.

Shelley Morningsong / Out of the Ashes / Silverwave - Shelley Morningsong has received much well deserved praise recently, including a Grammy nomination. This recording of contemporary native songs is mostly acoustic and beautifully sung. This is a long was from the pow-wow and needs attention as one of the best of recent Native releases.

Habana Albierta / Boomerang / Calle54 - It is boomerang time - when the sounds of the Caribbean, Latin America and New York are thrown south, then come back at us again. The horns and percussion dominate, but never intimidate on this extremely well produced disc.

Mamadou / Nadine / Loud-Dust - A group of Cambridge area musicians backing up the Senegalese artist Mamadou Diop. On this, their second release they expand to a fuller sound with a modern, reggae and pop inflected Senegalese rhythms.

Bela Lakatos & Gypsy Youth Project / World Music Network - (www.worldmusic.net) - This is the story of life as a Hungarian Gypsy youth, dominated by the outcast status of the Roma in Hungary. The group is known as "ternipe” (Meaning "Youth" at home) uses what is has including percussion with a stick, foot stomping and banging of a metal can, acoustic guitar and mandolin. They aim to survive as a Gypsy band in the midst of unfairness and stereotyping.

Rahim Alhaj / When the Soul Is Settled / Smithsonian Folkways - After escaping from Iraq before the war, Alhaj set himself up in the US to continue the traditional Taqsim Maqam improvisations with traditional Iraqi musical ideas. This should remind us that Iraqi culture has been moved, not destroyed by the war.

Mostar Sevdar Revolution / A Secret Gate , and
Ljiljana Buttler & Mostar Sevsdah Reunion /The Legends of Life / Snail Records - ( www.traderootmusic.com) info@traderootmusic.com - I just loved the feeling of this enthusiastic rendition of polkas, Balkan dances and mourning songs from Serejevo. Singer Ljiljana Buttler and Saban Bajramovic pulled together this band of accordion, clarinet, violin, flamenco guitar, and percussion to become the preeminent band to come out of Sarajevo since the war. Very highly recommended.

Global Rhythm Sampler Dec 06 - Another wide ranging and intriguing release for the world music voyager. Highlights include Thomas Mapfumo , Cirque du Soleil, some fun Electric Junkyard Gamalan and many more. A bonus is receiving the magazine when you purchase the CD.

Ska Cubano / Ay Caramba! / Cumbancha - Standing on the shoulders of past Cuban masters, British producer Peter Scott and singer Natty Bo (of the U.K. ska band the Top Cats), start with the Jamaican Ska beat, and add Cuban Son, Columbian Cumbia and the best of everything they found in their travels through the Caribbean.

Various / West Africa Unwired / World Music Network (www.worldmusic.net) - All acoustic tour of modern Africa brings you kora player Toumani Diabete, Senegalese star Nuru Kane and many more. A very fine introduction to the thriving acoustic scene in Africa. This is part of a series of releases raising money for charities - this one for Amnesty International. In the liner notes it states: "When an elderly person dies, it is like the loss of a whole library of knowledge" referring to the songs and oral histories which are passed down through generations in Africa.

One World Many Cultures / Putumayo - Another excellent Putumayo release includes tracks by Alan Stivell with Youssou Ndour, The Us based Ethiopian Band Gigi and a track of Cheb Mami from Algeria with Ziggy Marley. Keep it coming

Brian Grosjean, World Music Director
"World Peace Through Cultural Celebration"

WWUH Radio 91.3FM
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117

Office: (860) 768-4703

E-mail Brian: culturecafe913@yahoo.com

To read all of my reviews and find out what is going on at The Culture Café, visit the Culture Café Website at http://www.geocities.com/culturecafe913

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