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