29 August 2005

World Music Notes: 30 Aug 2005

We're up to our earballs in new releases this week, and here's a sample of the current global sound:
  • ERNEST RANGLIN: SURFIN' (Tropic) - Instrumental Jamaican jazz, mon, with huge cross-genre appeal for fans of world music, jazz, reggae, and guitar music.
  • MFA KERA & MIKE RUSSELL / BLACK HERITAGE: AFRO SOUL (Black Heritage Productions) - Kera looks intimidatingly intense on the cover, but this Afropop album is full of catchy rhythms and vocals (African languages and English). The music draws from many cultures - not surprising since Kera was born in Madagascar, grew up in Senegal, lives in Paris, and works with an array of global musicians.
  • BONGA: BONGA LIVE (Lusafrica) - The Angolan singer returns after a long absence, with this lovely live album full of soulful Afropean music and his warm, gruff voice.
  • MOUSSU T E LEI JOVENTS: MADEMOISELLE MARSEILLE (Le Chant du Monde) - More great modern global music from Marseille, in the tradition of Manu Chao.
  • BORIS KOVAC & LA CAMPANELLA: WORLD AFTER HISTORY (Piranha) - The latest installment from the Yugoslavian master of apocalyptic Balkan world music. Imagine a Balkan-born, sax-playing Tom Waites providing the soundtrack for Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. You get the idea.
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS: CENTRAL PARK SUMMERSTAGE-LIVE FROM THE HEART OF THE CITY (Circular Moves) - If you can't get to NYC for their fabulous concerts, here's the next best thing. With tracks from Celia Cruz, Ben Folds, Burning Spear, Marina Abad, Susana Baca, Kekele, Olu Dara, Simon Shaheen, Quantara, Thomas Mapfumo, Blacks Unlimited, and NBRQ, you'll find the main problem with this CD is you want more.
  • HURDY GURDY - PROTOTYP (Northside) - It ain't what you're thinking. Yes, it's a pair of Swedish hurdy-gurdy players. But in addition to playing the absurd little instruments, they use their Macs to sample, and mix, and distort, and remix. The result is hurdtronica, with thick beats and odd sampled noises as a foundation for melodies played with a more traditional sound. It's not for everyone, but many pieces are musically compelling, and the whole project is a fascinating take on tradition updated.
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS: MVET AI MENDZANG - MUSIC OF THE BETI IN CAMEROON (Wergo) - Haven't had a chance to dig into this set of field recordings yet, but it looks delicious, with a thick book of notes on the music. And it's from Cameroon, so what's not to like?
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