SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL STARS documentary movie trailer

Just to remember that there are lots of persons and peoples in this world who are still fighting for their freedom and dignity, unfortunately with no happy endings guaranteed.So, in wishing you all a happy new year, I do hope 2008 may be a year of reconciliation, peace and prosperity, especially for them. Peace and Love, RaduHere is a short trailer for the documentary film SIERRA LEONE'S

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Living Like A Refugee (2004)

«Made up of former displaced persons from the killing fields of Sierra Leone, members of the Refugee All Stars (a.k.a. R.A.S.) were forced to flee for their lives during the 1990s, fanning out into nearby West African nations. Through continued hard times, bandmates Reuben M. Koroma, Francis (Franco) Langba, and Abdul Rahim (Arahim) Kamara entertained and heartened their compatriots with

Postcards from Italy (46): Matera (Basilicata)

Ethiopiques 14: Gétatchèw Mèkurya - Negus of Ethiopian Sax (2002)

«L’avventura della musica etiopica moderna cominciò durante il regno dell’imperatore Menelik II (1889-1913). Quest’avventura, che da più di due decenni mi sforzo di studiare e di far conoscere, è strettamente legata all’influenza degli strumenti a fiato offerti al sovrano abissino dopo la vittoria di Adua. Nel 1897 lo zar di Russia, Nicola II, inviò in omaggio al vincitore e suo fratello nella

Tende (France)

Paroplapi - La Finestra dell'Ultimo Piano (2005)

Tobi, again (thanx!), proposes us this interesting trio that offers us a vast selection of popular songs from Italy and France, all revived with classy arrangements and inspired readings. A small gem, well worth a listen! «Questo gruppo, dal nome insolito, propone dall’inizio del XXI secolo l’incontro “musicale-linguistico” proveniente dalle rive del Mediterraneo. Paroplapi attinge le sue

Denez Prigent - Irvi (2000)

Saxan K points us instead to this remarkable artist from Brittany (Bretagne). «Denez Prigent's strong voice and nuanced performance», says our kind reader – and I fully agree – «floats among beautiful and strange soundscapes. He blends Breton traditional songs and instruments with ambient, techno, and hip-hop elements. The overall sound is a refreshing diversion from the mainstays of the Celtic

Etnika - Nafra (2000)

Hello, happy holidays to you all! Here’s the first of a series of beautiful «Christmas gifts» from my readers. Chris S. proposes us this gorgeous CD by Etnika, a Maltese group engaging in a compelling «fusion of Maltese ethnic instruments with the contemporary». Many thanx, Chris! «Etnika focuses on the resurrection of Maltese traditional instruments and music. The idea is to use the ancient

Postcards from Italy (45) - Trentino

Hubert Von Goisern - Fön (2000)

Many thanx to Tobi from Austria for this true discovery! «Activist, composer, and actor Hubert Achleitner (better known as Hubert Von Goisern) was best known for his stint as lead singer of Die Alpinkatzen. Von Goisern was born and raised in Austria, where he learned to play the guitar, trumpet, and accordion at a young age. He lived in South Africa and Toronto for many years before

Värttinä - Vihma (1998)

«One of the most internationally successful acts to emerge from the contemporary Finland music scene, Värttinä revitalized the nation's folk traditions with an aggressive and ultra-modern style that eschewed not only the costumes of their ancestors but also the long-accepted cultural notion that women should sing unaccompanied. […] After Kokko, their trip into the barren land of neo-pop, it

Pictures of Greece: Mesohori Karpathos, Dodecanese Islands

Courtesy of JTC

The Rough Guide to the Music of Greece (2001)

«This welcome addition to the Rough Guide catalog shines a light on a country whose music has largely been ignored internationally, and proves that, within the borders of Greece, the musical traditions are complex and marvellously rewarding. Thankfully it's not solely focused on modern-day artists, but frames them in the context of the past, with tracks by the legendary Kostas Nouros, "The

Untouchable Outcaste Beats, Volume 1 (1998)

«London’s Outcaste Records continues to sate those in the know with some of the most intriguing fusionary sounds on either side of the Atlantic. Untouchable Outcaste Beats, Volume 1 will serve as the label’s American calling card – an amalgam of tracks from its roster as well as from other seminal works in the genre. Dance Music Federation’s essential “Cybersitar” stands out as a pioneering work,

Las Criollísimas (1988)

«La cultura musical criolla y afroperuana se inicia con la llegada de los españoles y los esclavos africanos que fueron traídos por ellos. La cultura musical criolla en Lima construye de manera permanente una identidad propia, transformando los géneros musicales y patrones estéticos importados. Desde la presencia de valses de origen vienés, mazurcas, jotas españolas, continuando con la influencia

Sunset in Nevada, USA

The Flaming Lips - Oh My Gawd!!! (1987)

«Starting with either a sample or a cool replication of a legendary one-off line in the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9" – "Take this, brother, may it serve you well!" – the Lips dive head-on into rock dreams on Oh My Gawd!!! Coyne's sudden resemblance vocally to Paul Westerberg is its own curiosity, but the Replacements never quite got so fried – drunk, yes, but not fried. The cover, one weird-ass

Isnebo & Faadah Kawtal - Divine (2002)

«Deliciously different music from Cameroon which takes simultaneously sure aim at head, heart and feet! Only Manu Dibango (with his slinky makossa) & Les Têtes Brulées (with their much more aggressive Bikutsi rock'n roll) have enjoyed a high international profile, but Africa's most ethnically diverse nation has other musical treasures. Our featured CD is "Divine" by title and nigh-irresistible in


Picture: Cri & Chris

Selim Sesler - Oğlan Bizim Kız Bizim (2006)

The Coltrane of the clarinet «It was a Wednesday night down the alley in Badehane's, one of Istanbul's hidden soup kitchens for the soul, where a generation of artists and musicians have found refuge from the harsh political and crueller economic realities of Turkey. Istanbul does conspiratorial like London does damp. And the dark, smoky corners of Badehane's that night held a street acrobat,

Made in Japan II

Kimonogirls in HamamatsuPicture: Noel G.-S.

Besh o droM - Macsó Hímzés (2000)

«It has been said that Hungary has two languages: its ancient spoken language and its ancient folk music. Probably due to the fact that Bela Bartók and Zoltán Kodály vigorously promoted Hungarian folk music during the inter-war period, it is intricately woven through the country’s national identity. So when an electro-acoustic, urban wedding collective like Besh o droM rises to the forefront of

Majid Bekkas - African Gnaoua Blues (2001)

«American continent is not the only place where descendants of black slaves make wonderful music. The Moroccan Gnawas are well known for their trance music and healing rituals. Their history spans more that 4 centuries. When the Moroccan army captured Timbuktu in 1591, several thousand men and women were brought north as slaves. Caravans were transporting unfortunate black Africans to the slave

Made in Japan

NeonlandOn the ShinkansenPictures: Noel G.-S.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra - World Famous (1991)

«“I'd make time for Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra anytime,” said no less an authority than the band's one-time producer, veteran reggae guitarist Dennis Bovell. Starting out in the late '80s as a ska revival group playing the streets and clubs of their hometown, the sharply suited Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra quickly became the flag-bearers for the Japanese ska scene. This movement gained

The Souljazz Orchestra - Uprooted (2005)

«Since 2002, the Ottawa-based band has been keeping the classic sounds of raw, gritty groove alive and well in Canada. Their style combines jazz, funk, African and Latin music with messages touching on politics and spirituality. The blaring horns, retro keyboards and polyrhythmic beats show the influence of James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Fela Kuti and Tito Puente, but the sound remains nonetheless

Babe(b)logue Hat?

Martín La Spina, SelfportraitKindly offered by Alonsii. Check his "Arbre de les 1000 Musiques"

B'net Houariyat - Poèmes d'Amour des femmes du Sud Marocain (1994)

«B'net Houariyat is formed by five women from the region of Marrakech, singing and dancing to the rhythm of their drums, performing traditional music of the Houara (the region between Taroudant and Tiznit), of the Hammada (plain of the Dra'a), together with Berber dances and urban styles like the Aitci (female seductive appeal) and the Chaabi, popular style that originated Rai music. The image of

Postcards from Italy (44): Alcamo Marina, Sicily

The Feelies - The Good Earth (1986)

«After the various side projects and explorations the band got up to for most of the early '80s, not to mention switching some members around (with bassist Sauter and drummer Demeski now forming the rhythm section), the Feelies made a fine return with The Good Earth. With co-production from noted fan Peter Buck, the group exchanged some of the understated tense frazzle of Crazy Rhythms for a

Tinga Tinga School (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)

Haruka, Petrol Station

The Ripple Effect - Hybrids (2005)

«Hybrids is a jazz album in name only – specifically the names of multi instrumentalist John Surman and drummer Jack DeJohnette, who leads this collaborative ensemble. One of the few musicians to have recorded or performed with Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis, DeJohnette’s jazz credentials are obvious. But Hybrids tosses his cap into the modern electronica realm


Zebda - Essence Ordinaire (2001)

«"We who live by rock and rai and accordion/On the periphery of commercial hits" is a line from Zebda's hometown portrait Toulouse and that's a pretty accurate capsule description of where the French band fronted by three second-generation North African immigrants fits among the Euro-mix crew. Rough-and-ready ragamuffin reggae and rapid-fire rapped vocals, Arabic flourishes, touches of French

Postcards from Italy (43): Torino

Rubén González - Introducing... (1997)

«Rubén González was one of the last of Cuba's great Afro-Cuban piano players. Although he had played and recorded with the band led by Enrique Jorrín, the creator of the cha-cha, for a quarter of a century, he had retired from music by the mid-'80s. Things began to change when González recorded with the Afro-Cuban All Stars in 1996. The album, A Toda Cuba Le Gusta, released the following year,

Wim Wenders - Alice in den Städten (1974)

The Soul of a Man (The Blues, Part 4 - 2003)

A small homage to Wim Wenders (and to the blues, obviously…) «In The Soul of A Man, director Wim Wenders looks at the dramatic tension in the blues between the sacred and the profane by exploring the music and lives of three of his favorite blues artists: Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir. Part history, part personal pilgrimage, the film tells the story of these lives in music

Shadows & White Lines

Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra - Not in our Name (2005)

«Charlie Haden brings back yet another incarnation of his Liberation Music Orchestra to tape. This intermittent project began at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969 and was recorded for Impulse. Carla Bley has been the only constant member of this project. She plays piano and does the arranging of these eight tunes. Other members include trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone,


Rosalia de Souza – Garota Moderna (2003)

Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Brazil (2005)

«Acoustic Brazil is Putumayo's fourth installment in its popular regional series which includes Brasileiro, Samba Bossa Nova and Brazilian Groove. Focusing again on bossa nova and samba canção, the compilers have put together a heady mix of old and new, with legendary performers like Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque crooning alongside more contemporary voices like Teresa Cristina,

Pictures of Greece: Sunset on the Island of Santorini

Courtesy of JTC


Dédale - No Past (1995) The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues (1988)

Crimson Jazz Trio - King Crimson Songbook, Volume 1 (2005)

Dedicated to Ian Wallace. «A jazz piano-bass-drums trio performing the songs of the rock group King Crimson? That's what the Crimson Jazz Trio accomplished on this intriguing CD, King Crimson Songbook, Vol. 1. By re-harmonizing the music a bit, adding vamps, and digging into the grooves, the Crimson Jazz Trio transforms the pieces from rock anthems into viable devices for jazz improvisations.


Panama! Latin, Calypso and Funk on the Isthmus 1965-1975 (2006) Ossian - The Best of Ossian (1994)

Iness Mezel - Wedfel (1999)

«Iness Mezel is of Berber (Kabyle) origin. She has been developing a musical identity, firmly rooted in her dual culture, since 1995. After the usual classical musical studies – singing, piano – she went on to learn jazz improvisation and various singing styles different from the Berber style like African (Elik Tara) and classical-contemporary (Tamia). Her voice has a rare and bewitching tone;


Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory (1985) Radio Tarifa – Rumba Argelina (1993)

Dominic Kakolobango - African Acoustic (2000)

«Kakolobango is a Zambian guitarist, raised in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), where he learned a guitar style that is now "relegated to the local equivalent of the 'oldies' bin," as the liner notes so aptly put it. The resulting album, in its updated traditional style and grassroots sound, recalls not only the legendary Jean-Bosco Mwenda, and Euro-American folk and blues singers,

Lhasa (de Sela) - The Living Road (2004)

One of my favorite albums of the new millennium. Simply W-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l. Best wishes, Lhasa, and thanx for existing! «Lhasa de Sela's debut album, La Llorona, appeared quietly 6 years ago.Her voice on that record came over like some ancient matriarch in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel; heartbroken songs from a long life of exodus and lost love, offering ominous warnings of the weirder,

Albrecht Dürer – Pond in the Woods (1496)

Uttara-Kuru - East Wind (1999)

«Uttara-Kuru had an astounding debut in 1998 through their combination of sutra recitation and digital music which created a highly original style. In addition, pop style elements seem fundamental to their music. Their concept has been to create a new kind of music by combining the instruments, melodies and other features of traditional Japanese culture with western harmonies, synthesizers,

Playing Backgammon in Istanbul

Photo: Cri & Chris

Orhan Gencebay - Yargisiz Infaz (2006)

«Orhan Gencebay is the pioneer in Turkish music as he combined Arabic motives with the elements of Turkish classical and folk music. His music includes also psychedelic notions since he's also familiar with rock and jazz music and is a close friend of the world famous psychedelic guru Erkin Koray. During the 1970s he released many singles in a new genre that is a fusion of traditional Turkish

Jablkon - Machalaj (1995)

«The adventurous, highly risk-taking Jablkon has turned out to be one of the more long-lasting bands on the Czech music scene. Formed in what is now the Czech Republic back in the late '70s, Jablkon was around during the Cold War […] and the group is still going strong long after the fall of communism and the demise of the Eastern Bloc. Jablkon's music is not easy to categorize; perhaps their

Pictures of Greece: Kimis Theotokov Church, Santorini, Cyclades Islands

Courtesy of JTC

Abaji - Oriental Voyage (2003)

«Musicien d’origine arménienne né au Liban et exilé en France, Abaji est un déraciné heureux. Son blues, ponctué d’éclats de rire et nourri de nomadismes, se moque des frontières comme des catégorisations. Ce troubadour des bédouins s’accompagne d’instruments insolites qu’il manie en virtuose. Si le oud et le bouzouki qu’il maîtrise n’ont rien de stupéfiant, sa guitare sitar ou son saxophone de

Konono N° 1 - Congotronics (2004)

«This amazing record is the product of utility, coincidence, and accidental discovery as much as it is a product of academic deliberation, and it manages to sound old and traditional even as it is refreshingly (even radically) new and avant-garde. Konono No. 1 was formed in the 1980s by a group of Bazombo musicians, dancers, and singers from the Democratic Republic of Congo to play traditional

The Park

Govi - Guitar Odyssey (1997)

«Every so often, a musician emerges who is quite unlike any that have come before; a musician that reflects not an imitation of styles and tones, but who embodies the entire spectrum of styles in such a unique way that "categorizing" is impossible. Guitarist Govi is one of those artists. A native of Germany, Govi spent eight years living in India. "My approach comes from the meditative and

Sorten Muld - Mark II (1999)

«A Danish trio, Sorten Muld consist in the main of Ulla Bendixen's very traditional voice mixed with a pile of samples and electronics masterminded by Henrik Esben Munch and Martin Dossing Ottosen. A number of studio players are tossed in for good measure, but they contribute only bits and pieces to the whole. The principle behind the group, and this album, is the re-envisioning of Nordic folk


Jóhann Jóhannsson - Englabörn (2003)

«Jóhann Jóhannsson è uno dei più apprezzati compositori e performer della nuova scena musicale del Nord Europa, tra i fondatori della Kitchen Motors, il collettivo di musicisti e artisti islandesi da cui provengono popolari band quali múm e Sigur Ros. Dal 1999 è attivo con una delle band di rilievo della Kitchen Motors, l’Apparat Organ Quartet, con cui si è esibito in importanti festival in

Tinga Tinga School (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)

Hemed, The Port of Dar Es Salaam

Afro Celt Sound System - Volume 1: Sound Magic (1996)

«The traditional music of Western Africa and Ireland is fused into a seamless blend by Afro Celt Sound System. The band's exciting performances have become a popular attraction at the WOMAD festival in Reading, England, since 1995, while their 1996 debut album, Volume 1, remains one of the most successful examples of cultural exchange. Afro Celt Sound System bring together top-ranked musicians,

Tinga Tinga School (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)

Juma, Birds

The Rough Guide: Australian Aboriginal Music (1999)

«This collection of tribal, ambient, and folk music by Australia's aboriginal artists and tribes is an interesting snapshot of the various indigenous faces of Australia. Listeners will find much of the famed didgeridoo, sometimes as the cornerstone for tribal dreamtime rituals, sometimes leading the melodies in modern electronic pop music, sometimes setting the dark, ominous tone for ambient

Tinga Tinga School (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)

Haruka, Kariakoo Market

Zanzibara, Vol. 2. - 1965-1975: L’âge d’or du taarab de Mombasa / Golden Years of Mombasa taarab (2006)

«The second entry in Buda Musique's overview of the Tanzanian-centered music scene covers seven popular acts who recorded for the Mzuri label, run by M.J. Shah, who also recorded the bands in a simple but clear and effective one-microphone set-up in a warehouse behind the shop he owned in the major port of Mombasa. As the subtitle indicates, the range covers about ten years of time, with focus on

Yemen: Musiques des Hauts-Plateaux / Music of the High Plateaux (1997)

«Ne serait-ce que pour son premier titre, ce disque mérite toute notre attention. Il commence en effet par trois minutes de sons subjuguants enregistrés à Sanaa, la capitale du Yémen, lorsqu’aux premières heures de la journée, les muezzins donnent de la voix. Sensation intense, s’il en est ! Suivent des poèmes chantés et des danses que l’on peut entendre dans les villes ou les campagnes. Le oud,

Ahmed Abdul-Malik - East Meets West (1959)

«The late Ahmed Abdul-Malik was one of the first musicians to integrate non-Western musical elements into jazz. Best known to jazz listeners as a bassist with Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Coleman Hawkins, and many others, he made a few records as a leader, with this one being his most exotic and also the hardest to find. The Brooklyn native was of Sudanese descent; in addition to playing bass

Pictures of Greece: Mykonos

Courtesy of JTC

I Mericani - Death Folk (1996)

An incredibile Switzerland-based group between Folk and Avantgarde, Zappa and Carosone. Another fine offering from my friend Giuliano. «I Mericani comenzaron en 1992 como una banda exclusivamente acústica (violín, banjo, acordeón, saxo, contrabajo y percusiones). Los primeros años fueron una enriquecedora experiencia a través de las diferentes ambiciones musicales de sus miembros.

Ba Cissoko - Sabolan (2004)

«Given his reputation in Europe and his native Guinea, as well as his pedigree, the debut from kora player Ba Cissoko and his group arrives with plenty to live up to. For once, though, all the hype is more than justified. There's plenty of dance music on hand here; all of it from the Manding tradition, but given a healthy, and sometimes daring edge that makes it contemporary without being


Ruela, Babel [for Babe(b)logue]More at Neo Artes

Diana Baroni & Sapukai - Son de los Diablos: Tonadas afro-hispanas del Perù (2002)

«On sait que le recherche de Diana Baroni cible les intonations justes, au carrefour du respect des indications des manuscrits abordés, et de la pratique encore actuelle dans la rue péruvienne. De fait, qui a assisté au carnaval de Lima, serait frappé de retrouver ici les consonances et la vitalité rythmique pourtant vielles de plus de deux cents ans. La « danza de carnaval » : son de los diablos

Various Artists - A... Canzoni per l'Ambiente (Songs for the Environment) (2000)

Hello everybody, although mine is mainly a music blog, I adhered gladly to the Blog Action Day campaign because, as a citizen of this planet, I am profoundly concerned with the actual conditions of its natural environment. We live on the thin-like-a-record surface of the only known world able to support life as we know it, and yet we continue to hurt it in every possible way and treat it as

Blog Action Day

«On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. That means we need you! Here are 3 ways to participate: Post on your blog

Açoriana: Landscape (São Jorge)

Věra Bílá and Kale - Rom-Pop (1995)

«Věra Bílá and Kale (Vera White and the Blacks as it translates) come from a small town in Bohemia about 70 kilometers west of Prague in the heart of Eastern Europe. As with most Romany groups, all of the band are related family members. Věra Bílá 's music is deceptively simple and sophisticated at the same time. It's exotic yet homey, Central European yet Latin American. Partially due to

Devendra Banhart & Friends - The Golden Apples Of The Sun (2004)

Some of the best acts in the US neo-folk scene gathered together in an excellent (and not so easy to find) compilation assembled by Devendra Banhart. «How classic is this – the compilation that defined a genre. I get asked time and time again ‘what the hell is this New Weird America thing?’ well, beardy bloke Devendra Banhart managed to put together this disc in 2004 when the scene was just a

Açoriana: Landscape (São Jorge)

Idir - A Vava Inouva (1996)

«Author of one of the first world music hits, Idir has been an ambassador of the Kayble culture (Berber people inhabiting Northern Algeria) since the Seventies. Idir, whose real name is Hamid Cheriet was born in Aït Lahcène, a Berber village in Haute-Kabylie, in 1949. This farmer's son, raised by the Jesuits, started studying Geology and was destined for a career in the petroleum industry. In

Lo Ka Ping - Lost Sounds of the Tao (2004, recorded 1970-71)

«An album of qin music collected from archives and attics alike, comprising the whole of the known recordings of Lo Ka Ping, a lost qin master privately active before his passing in 1980. A small number of other surviving recordings were unusable due to the poor sound quality. What we have here are a number of traditional works for the qin, as well as a number of original compositions by the

Nightshapes II

Fenja Menja - Fenja Menja (1999)

«Listen to this nine-track self-titled debut recording by Danish band Fenja Menja and you're sure to hear echoes of Sweden's Hoven Droven, with whom they share a commitment to a high-energy, virtually demented take on Nordic folk music, supercharging the tradition's naturally driving, spinning cadences and furious fiddle melodies with wailing wah-wah electric guitar and thumping bass. You'll hear

Afia Mala - Angelina (1997)

A great singer from Togo. «Afia Mala a une voix limpide comme les eaux du fleuve Mono qui irriguent le village de Vogan, au coeur du Togo, où elle a grandi au sein d'une famille polygame avec vingt-quatre autres enfants. Surnommée «la Princesse des rives du Mono», elle a fait ses premières armes aux côtés de sa mère dans un groupe de femmes Habobo et au cours des fêtes annuelles de son


Stary Olsa - Kelih Kola (Loving Cup) (2001)

«Stary Olsa is a band of mediaeval Belarusan music. It was founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnouski and now consists of 5 musicians. It takes its name from a brook in the west part of Mahilou Region (Belarus). The band’s repertoire includes Belarusan folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusan national dances, works of Belarusan Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusan

Putumayo Presents: Republica Dominicana (2000)

«Putumayo's compilations are known for making unlikely choices; so when the label released a collection of Dominican music in 2000, it was safe to assume that the CD wouldn't emphasize the really big names in neo-merengue. And sure enough, Putumayo Presents: Republica Dominicana is hardly a collection of recordings by Olga Tanon (the top young female merengue star of the 1990s). This album isn't

Açoriana: Landscape (Terceira)

Musafir - Gypsies of Rajasthan (1998)

«The title comes from the supposition, since borne out by linguistic and DNA evidence, that the Roma, or Gypsies, originally migrated from northern India. Just why they left their homeland over a millennium ago to wander the face of the earth is not known. Musafir, who are often described as "proto-Gypsies," consist of singers, dancers, instrumentalists, fakirs, and Sapera snake charmers. They

Lura - M'Bem di Fora (2006)

«Funana, batuku, and mazurka are Cape Verdean words – the names of traditional island rhythms. They don't exactly roll off the tongues of most English speakers, but Lura, whose ancestors are from the region, is an especially capable and captivating translator. The songs collected on M'Bem di Fora, the Portuguese singer's second North American disc, sound less like examples of a new exotic strain

Pictures of Greece: Varlaam Monastery, Meteora

Courtesy of JTC

Songs of Greece's Gypsies (1996)

«This is an album that could be a source of influence for blues, jazz and even some rock musicians. Though it is ethnic folk style music, it's a hauntingly beautiful journey through minor keys with (for western listeners) unusual chord changes. The album cover states that these are live recordings. They are, actually, taken from a live concert where a variety of Greek Gypsy musicians were brought

Mojave 3 - Excuses for Travellers (2000)

Simply one of the best albums of the last decade, «heroically tragic» in its outdatedness, which is the reason why it does appear so relevant today. An homeopathic cure for the autumn blues, particularly useful to those who still believe in joy and are not willing to give up to cynicism, «cos anyday will be fine, still some distance to run, keep moving on». Very highly recommended. R. «I

Açoriana: Madalena (Pico)

Soledad Bravo - Paloma Negra (2001)

«Spain-born and Venezuela-raised Soledad Bravo has been one of the leaders of the nueva cancion (“new song”) movement that swept through Latin America in the '70s and '80s. Although equally proficient at singing traditional and popular songs, Bravo made her greatest impact as a protest singer. According to Billboard, “her voice is an exceptional instrument”. The Diario, a newspaper in Madrid,


Bijan Chemirani with Ross Daly - Gulistan (2001)

«At 22, surrounded by his brother and father, who had taught him how to play the zarb (a Persian drum transforming the beat into a melody), Bijan Chemirani invited several musicians, among them Ross Daly, to accompany him on his sumptuous and intoxicating album. Beyond the interest one can find in the multitude and the originality of instruments chosen to compose this record (oud, cetera, saz,


Pidżama Porno - Bułgarskie Centrum (2004)

A great band from Poland, playing an infectious punk-rock (with touches of ska & reggae for good measure) and showing very good instrumental and vocal technique, above average compositional skills and excellent taste for arrangements. I discovered them some weeks ago thanks to, and since then they have become a staple in my daily music “diet”. Recommended. «Pidżama Porno evolved from


Fela Kuti & Nigeria 70 - The '69 Los Angeles Sessions (1969) Nour-Eddine - Zri-Zrat (1997)

Pictures of Greece: Moonrise Over Santorini

Courtesy of JTC

Ivan Kupala - Kostroma (1999)

«Despite what some first-time (English-speaking) listeners may think, Ivan Kupala is in fact a group not a single composer. Hailing from St Petersburg in Russia: Denis Fyodorov, Alexei Rumyantsev and Alexei Ivanov were all working at the same radio-station when they teamed up and decided to make modernised versions of Russian folk-songs. A variety of live shows and tours across Russia resulted in

Rubber Folk (2006)

«To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of (arguably) The Beatles’ folkiest album Rubber Soul, Mike [Harding] presents a tribute from the cream of the folk music community of the British Isles. All the artists taking part did so with a huge amount of enthusiasm, some immediately drawn to the classics from the album, others relishing the challenge of the more oblique. In each case the

Açoriana: São Mateus da Calheta (Terceira)

Orchestra Baobab - Specialist in all Styles (2002)

«Putting a classic band together 15 years after their demise can be a recipe for disaster. In this case, though, World Circuit head Nick Gold has definitely done the world a favor. Orchestra Baobab might be best known for their classic Pirate's Choice, but this disc is every bit the equal — it's most certainly not Buena Vista Baobab Club. For someone who hadn't touched a guitar in years, after

Açoriana: Windmill (São Jorge)

Tony Allen & Afrika 70 - Jealousy (1975) / Progress (1977)

«Tony Allen first gained prominence as the drummer for Fela Kuti's Afrika 70, and his technical proficiency and musical versatility were key components in the creation of Afrobeat. Allen shared Kuti's spirit of musical restlessness, and was continually exploring ways to graft funk, jazz and R&B onto traditional African music. Allen has often claimed that the Afrobeat rhythm is "one drummer

Me'Shell NdegéOcello - Comfort Woman (2003)

«To get immediately to the point, if Me'Shell NdegéOcello's Comfort Woman isn't regarded as one of the finest contemporary soul albums of 2003, then those who review music for a living had better get eardrum transplants and a transfusion of blood to get rid of the sawdust, or quit to sell used cars, work in a fast-food establishment, or pump gas. The marketplace is tricky, but if this disc

Postcards from Italy (42): Rifugio Pedrotti, Dolomiti di Brenta, Trentino

Sur Sudha - Images of Nepal (1998)

«The Nepalese trio Sur Sudha came together in the late 1980s for what amounts to a national-cultural mission. They set out to document the varieties of music in Nepal, and, given the remarkable contrasts in the landscape, it's no surprise that Sur Sudha's musical evocations span large distances. The musical highs and lows, though, are all kept within close reach of each other, reminding that Sur

Açoriana: Angra's Cathedral at Night (Terceira)

Malouma - Dunya (2004)

«Les griotes ne sont plus ce qu’elles étaient! C’est ce que certains doivent se dire en Mauritanie quand ils entendent chanter Malouma Mint Moktar Ould Meidah, rejetonne d’une dynastie de musiciens renommés dans le pays. Il y a de quoi, car depuis plusieurs années, cette dernière se place à l’avant-garde d’une sorte de révolution culturelle. Non seulement elle modifie les canons musicaux

Bellowhead - Burlesque (2006)

An anonymous reader (many thanx!) sent me the link to this debut album by Bellowhead, a quite unusual and very interesting folk-funky big band from UK. Another breath of fresh air in the ever-ebullient world of traditional English folk. «Bellowhead, winners of the BBC Radio 2 folk award for Best Live Act 2005, are a dynamic 11-piece band combining the traditional skills of John Spiers, Jon

Pictures of Greece: Rethymnon, Crete

Photo: JTC

Psarantonis - I Reckon (1998)

I owe many thanx to Nmos of Meet the Music Traveller blog for this wonderful CD in which Cretan composer & multi-instrumentalist Psarantonis newly interprets some of his own compositions of the last several decades & a few traditional tunes. A truly eloquent player of the Cretan lyra (an upright fiddle which involves a whole different playing technique than does the typical Western violin),

Mervent - Mervent 2 (2003)

One of my favourite Celtic bands from Russia. Enjoy! «Celtic music has risen swiftly in popularity in Russia since it first began to be heard in the mid-1990s. The first bands on the scene in the late 90s included Si Mhor, Slua Si, Puck and Piper. Feeling their way in a new idiom and meeting up with new musicians on the same course, frequently by chance, the bands found a focus in the First