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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

Native Music and Dance,
Gamelans and Playful New Zealanders

  What's the idea of The Culture Cafe?

  Fear is the new bigotry. Fear makes people avoid the unfamiliar, hide behind walls of indifference, and run away from new experiences. But once music or art cracks through that wall, the fear subsides, and is replaced by happiness. The goal of The Culture Cafe is to provide that music that dispels the fear, replacing it with singing and dancing.

  Radio and new music production opportunities have opened up the music form the rest of the world to new listeners. Professional studios in places like Dakar, Havana, Manila, and Lima are producing music of the highest quality for export to a hungry audience, looking for new musical experiences. Come and join us every week as we explore this treasure together.

  After five years on the show, I feel very happy to be continuing as your host to the rest of the world. The Culture Café website is up and alive (See the web address at the end of this article). Hopefully you can make a visit and let me know what you think. There are some great suggestions here of new world music for every mood. Listen in every week and give me a call if you are waiting to hear something in particular.

David Nighteagle / Torn From the Heart - The Journey / Canyon (www.canyonrecords.com) - Music for solo Native American Flute combined with the expressive voice of Courtney Brocks. Very moving release which focuses on the plight of contemporary Native people in the US. Standout tracks include a folky rendition of the title track with some but not too much accompaniment; the extended Warrior's Lament following the plight of soldiers everywhere; and the lovely Turtle Island. This is will definitely appeal to those preferring the more American Roots style of Native music.

Todi Neesh Zhee Singers / Dancers of Mother Earth / Canyon (www.canyonrecords.com) - The earthy songs of the Navajos are captured in this studio recording from the remarkable Canyon Records. These two step and skip dance songs are used at powwows and gatherings of the tribes. I would recommend this as a very nice place to understand the culture. This is one of the two albums the Singers have out on Canyon Records.

Uun Budiman and the Jugala Gamalan Orchestra / Banondari / Felmay (www.felmay.it) - An exotic trip to Java to hear the famous gamelan "orchestras" taking along the fabulous vocalizations of Uun Budiman. Her modern jazzy voice stays in the recognizable formats of gamelan, switching rhythms constantly, and being followed at all times by the chimes, gongs and marimbas of the gamelan. The high register vocals and off-key notes take some getting used to, but this release should not be missed.

Various / Rough Guide to the Music of Iran / World Music International - Just in time for Iran's entrance onto the world stage again, music, rhythm and voices from the people showcasing their heritage. Here are their feelings direct to you in a well packaged, heavily annotated album. Highlights are the modern sounds of Arian Band and the sensitive acoustic pieces of Trio Chemirani. Classical Iranian music is also included with tracks by Dastan Ensemble and Shahram Hazari.

Te Vaka / Nukuehe and Tutuki / Spirit of Play Productions (www.tevaka.com ) - This is the best, most fun and heartfelt music out of anywhere to appear recently. These two w\faell produced albums of music from New Zealand sound like South African jive music one minute then South American then some Japanese electronica all covered with the soaring vocals of Opetaia Foa'i and almost child like vocals Sulata Foai Amiatu. Get it just for fun.

Various / Music From the Winelands / Putumayo (www.putumayo.com) - Another excellent Putumayo sampler of international artists including my favorites Gianmaria Testa, Amparanoia, and Melingo. This is the fourth in their series focusing on Chocolate, coffee, tea, and now wine. Two albums were recently received by the Brazilian star Marisa Monte. Unsatisfied with just one recording, there are two new albums to choose from: Universo ao Meu Redor and Infinito Particular both out on the Metro Bleu label. A full review will follow on the Culture Café website, and in a future issue of "Voices of the World". The full lineup of samba and jazz influences are underscored with a tasty techno beats and riffles.

Owain Phyfe / Lagrimas de Sangre - Canciones Hispanoamericanas / Nightwatch (www.nightwatchrecording.com) - With their acoustic origins shining brightly, this fine group of master musicians from Venezuela have created a very likable and creative album of acoustic music. The production and recording bring out a special quality in the music that helps it flow and find its place above most Latin acoustic albums.

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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