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 Last.fm, 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