Paganu gadagramata / Pagan Yearbook
Item Number: upe-pagan
This is a high concept folk music album. The songs are meant to sequence through a whole year for the 'inner self of an urban man.' Generous doses of synth washes, echoing plucked arpeggios and the addition of bongos, djembes, balafon, and kalimba. If you are a folk purist, then it is best to seek other sources for traditional Latvian music. The best moments are when environmental sounds like wind and thunder are used effectively to evoke a desolate landscape against which the melancholy songs develop. - John Cho
Carmen Souza : Kachupada
Based in Portugal, Souza is one of the leading new voices from the Cape Verdean tradition. nspired by favorite Cape Verdean dish "Kachupada," which — with its wide variety of ingredients and spices, reflects the multiplicity of influences in Carmen Souza's music. And the band is stellar: Theo Pas'cal: bass, percussions, guitars, backing vocals; Mauricio Zottarelli: drums; Jonathan Idiagbonya: upright piano; Nelson Oliveira: backing vocals, bongos. This, her fourth studio album, features a few traditional settings, some great originals, and new cover versions of the jazz standards "Donna Lee" and "My Favourite Things." It's bright and lively and highly recommended.
Deltas : Ligerian Blues
Deltas, from Angers France, was formed by guitarist Vincent Erdeven and violinist/kora player Richard Bourreau (from Lo'Jo). They are now a trio with ngoni player/singer Andra Kouyaté, originally of Bamako. Thus, the imagery of the word 'Ligerian' (a seeming portmanteau of the Loire and Niger rivers) evokes a symbolic merging of the geographic and musical origins of the musicians themselves, while the group's name recalls the Mississippi delta, the hallowed source of the blues.
Bragr : Danmarkar'n
A trio of strings and percussion, Bragr features Swedish guitarist and nyckelharpa player Perry Stenbäck, and two Danes - percussionist Christine Dueholm and Jesper Frost Bylling on acoustic bass. All provide vocals on some tracks. They blend tradtional music from regions in both countries, and make them personal and unique.
Egeland, Molsky and Jarvela : Rauland Rambles
American Bruce Molsky, Finn Arto Järvelä and Norwegian Ånon Egeland join together in a traditional music tour de force. Fiddles abound, along with banjo and touches of ukelele, kantele and jew's harp. They play each others folk music like a natural part of their DNA. It's seamless and vibrant. And it is all recorded at a live concert.
La Rondinella : Sephardic Journey (1999)
The music of Spain and the Spanish Jews. The CD is divided into two programs: Sephardic Songs and The Spanish Renaissance.
Vintermane : Vintermåne
Exciting and beautiful new music from Norway. Anne Gravir Klykken (vocal), Frøydis Grorud (sax) and Torjus Vierli (keyboards) flirt with tradtion, but keep it personal and unique.
Okra Playground : Turmio
Finnish folk music can sound other-worldly. The country's folk-epic, "The Kalevala," is laced with charms and spells, and its impact on Finnish folk culture has been immense. One can hear its echoes in this new recording. Three female vocalists are up-front. Both play the kantele, strung over their shoulders for a twin-stringed attack that any heavy metal band would envy. The men in the band round out the contemporary sound with bass, synth, accordion and percussion. Comparisons to both Värttinä and Hedningarna are inevitable. Okra Playground has an organic, acoustic base, but they frequently add electronic enhancements so that their overall approach appeals to both traditionalists and experimentalists.
Ensemble Marani : Polyphonies de Georgie
An ensemble dedicated to the unique polyphonic singing of Georgia.The middle and high voices are sung by soloists. The bass is sung by several singers. They come together and sing these harmonies, sacred and profane, to perpetuate an ancestral culture.
various artists : Lost in China
I don't often choose a compilation recording for Music of the Month, but I made one of the exceptions for this recording, a collection of songs by 13 different artists or ensembles from urban Beijing to the desert of Xinjiang, mostly younger artists looking to explore and sometimes confound local traditions. Most of the musicians have not been heard outside of China, or even their own region, before so I think this makes a case for choosing this CD.
Various artists, Fairport, et al : Cropredy Capers (autographed edition)
In the Freereed Records tradition, another bang-up box set, this time of live music from the infamous Fairport Convention gathering at Cropedy each year for the last 25. 4 CDs, a big book and lots of extras, as always. This edition is autographed by the current band members.
Jugalbandi trio : Doab
You might expect something in the 'world-fusion-new-age' vein from the trio of Fabian Fiorini (piano), Suman Sarkar (tablas) and Fabian Beghin (bansuri flute and bell). But instead, what they offer is a solid, almost jazz approach, taking the ragas that are the root of their music and turning them into original, distinctly European new music.
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