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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

New Music

Rough Guide to North African Cafe / World Music Network - everything seems familiar on this release of music from the back streets of Cairo, Morocco, and Algeria. The music has an easy flow of acoustic instruments and experienced musicians. Includes something from Barrio Chino, Abdel Gadir Salim and Tarik in the far reaching mix of tango and flamenco songs, as well as instrumental tracks including some drum n bass.

Tanariwen/ Aman Iman / World Village - These Tauregs from Central Africa shocked the world in 2005 with their first bluesy African outing. This one is even more mature, and stays true to their roots. Longish songs staying with the same rhythm and key throughout - mesmerizing and really cool.

Jose Maria & The Clinch Fado Boys / Any Day Now / Jose Maria - this surprising release of folky US country music and bluesy Portugesefado written by Jose Maria caught my attention for its easy listening tunes and great instrumentation. Clark Tenakhongva / Po'li / Canyon - with an honesty and love of the music only found with those who live it, Clark Tenakhongva writes and performs songs of the Hopi people of western US. With the most minimal of instrumentation - frame drum and shakers, one can feel at home among his songs.

Thomas Mapfumo / The Long Walk / Caroline - More Zimbabwean pop from the "Lion of Zimbabwe". Thomas Mapfumo now lives in Oregon and tours extensively, playing and lecturing about Zimbabwe. This is a musical background for his struggles within his home country and a way to keep the music alive while awaiting the inevitable fall of the government.

Juan Carmona / Orillas / Caroline - Once in a while an album arrives which is so impressive it pulls the genre to a new place beyond its borders. Juan Carmona is a flamenco guitarist who has mastered the form and is now taking it to new locations - this time to Morocco where Carmona has personal roots. The mix of Gnawan instrumentation and singing is perfect and his songwriting and production talent will be noticed by those outside the genre. The instrumental backup such as string sections and symphonic beddings show his production prowess. In addition, he has released a new classical album at the same time, which is equally impressive.

Putumayo World Party / Putumayo - an eclectic mix of party music from all over time and space, including surprising appearances by the 70's group Osibisa, the reggae of Burning Spear and the Mexican Rock of Los Pinguos.

Ibrahim Ferrer / Mi Sueno / World Circuit - more stately, fabulous and carefully produced jazzy Cuban music from one of the charter members of the Buena Vista Social Club. This is his last live recording, finished by his followers a few weeks after his death in August 2005 at the age of 78. This release is the result of his lifelong obsession with Cuban boleros. The first acknowledged tune of the genre, "Tristezas," was composed in Santiago by Pepe Sánchez during the late 1800s.

Bob Brozman Orchestra / Lumiere / Riverboat - Brozman has been traveling the world for years collecting musical trinkets. He displays them all here. The music ranges from Turkish, Indian, Calypso, and tango to ska and waltz . Amazingly, every instrument is plucked and strummed and overdubbed by Bob. Think Tango / World Music Network - collection of tango greats like Quinteto Suarez Paz and Melingo presenting South American tango for your dancing pleasure. Also a fundraiser for Oxfam.

Zap Mama / Supermoon / Heads Up - Marie Daulne continues the Zap Mama mystique and writes and sings all the tracks on this new album. Less techno and 80's, more fluid and organic than recent hit-oriented efforts, and much more likeable.

Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil / World Music International - where does one start to show off the music of a rich and diverse land such as Brazil? How about including international talents such as Carlinhos Brown, Chico Cesar, and Bebel Gilberto? Every track is another slice of the seemingly neverending love of music from this rich country.

Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam / World Music International - Vietnam has been modernizing behind our backs, but in a way very respectful of traditional culture. Now with less outside influences, the indigienoius talents are coming forward. The music ranges from light singing and whistling to full bands performing complex arrangements. A very unexpected place.

Jerry Leake / The Turning - Percussion Expansions / Rhombus Publishing - Jerry Leaks uses his melodic percussion technique on dozens of percussion instruments f ro m all over the world. His performance is especially great on the balafon (similar to a xylophone) where he can use his percussion to developed melody. These pieces mostly start with African or Indian traditional songs, worked in with new instrumental ideas.

Sultans of String / Luna / Factor - mix of swing, Mediterranean goulash and lots of indigenous fun from this Canadian Troupe.


  It is my goal during my show to present music from the rest of the world, which enlightens and entertains. The Culture Café is a place where one can learn and be enriched by the cultures of other humans occupying this earth.
It is my hope that once you hear the honest and emotional music from another culture there's no reason anymore to be afraid of them. This is the beginning of peace in our hearts and in our countries.

  Join me on my website to see all my music reviews, some links to concert websites, a list of world music labels geocities.com/culturecafe913

  Streaming audio from a recent Culture Café show can be found at: wwuh.org/program/music/folk/sunday/culture_cafe.html

  Other highly recommended websites for music from the rest of the world: Afropop Worldwide - based on the weekly Public Radio show: afropop.org

World Music to listen to and purchase: CDRoots.com

Links to ethnographic studies from the University of Indiana: library.music.indiana.edu/music_resources/ethnic.html

Or email me for specific requests:
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

WWUH Program Guide 2007 ©

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