Category World/International

Kaoru-Watanabe-Neo

Kaoru Watanabe – Neo (self-released)

Music from a former member of the Kodo touring ensemble, rooted in Japanese traditions but informed by jazz, Indian, & classical forms. All original compositions except #10 (a new arrangement of a traditional song). Fascinating percussion complemented by beautiful flute, voices, & more. Official website: http://www.watanabekaoru.com/

Song of Lahore

The Sachal Ensemble – Song of Lahore (Universal)

Music from the Pakistani ensemble that did the soundtrack to the award-winning documentary Song of Lahore, highlighting the current plight of Pakistani musicians in that troubled country. This follow-up features covers of mostly very well-known songs, rearranged to varying degrees to feature Pakistani musical forms & instruments (sometimes just the addition of tabla, other times […]

Paleta

QVLN – Paleta EP (Belu)

Band name pronounced “Q-Violin.” Features violinist Quetzal Guerrero, & percussion that sometimes drifts between Latin (cumbia/Cuban/Mexican) & Native American, reflecting his multicultural heritage. Includes one original (title) track (my favorite) & four nicely arranged covers.

Moura

Ana Moura – Moura (Universal)

Classic smoky Fado vocals set in arrangements that are not so traditional, by a fabulously popular & award-winning Portuguese vocalist. To a fan of classic Fado, the arrangements on some of these tracks seem a bit smooth, others a bit pop, but the vocals are super & her record sales suggest this is what people […]

Zmei3

Zmei3 – Rough Romanian Soul (Six Degrees)

A Kickstarter project recorded in Transylvania by Romanian emigrants, singing soulful, heartfelt ballads about the harshness of post-communist Romania. The vocals are gorgeous, sometimes reminiscent of the Fado style, other times Edith Piaf. Fine work on the vibes also stands out. Recorded live. Every track a delight!

VictorPrieto

Victor Prieto – The Three Voices (self-released)

From the Galicia region of Spain where the accordion is cherished, to years in Venezuela as a boy with an Italian accordion teacher, & now living in NYC, this accordionist & composer masterfully incorporates multiple genres & styles into mostly jazz-inflected tunes, often taking parts one might associate with saxophone, lead guitar, or a string […]

Koola Lobitos

Fela Ransome Kuti & His Koola Lobitos – Highlife: Jazz & Afro-Soul 1963-1969 (KFR)

A must have for collectors featuring many tunes previously available only on Japanese releases from a decade ago (or in Nigeria in the 1960s). An extensive collection of early recordings by Fela’s 1st post-London band, Koola Lobitos, including many quite rare tracks, and with frequent hints of the Afrobeat revolution to come. The CDs are […]

Manhattan Camerata

Manhattan Camerata – Tango-Fado Project (Sorel Classics)

A wonderful mix of Argentinian & Portuguese musical traditions (Tango & Fado), pairing a highly-talented 19 member ensemble directed by musicians from each of these two countries (Lucia Caruso & Pedro da Silva), together with guests that include an amazing Fado vocalist (Nathalie Pires), a true master of the bandoneon (Daniel Binelli), expert work on […]

harmonicearth6

Tales Of Future Past- Matthew Thoma

World Beat featuring the Native American flute played by Matthew Thoma.  All music is played by Matthew with guests vocals on tracks 5 and 7 (Zefora)  basically an instrumental CD.  Summer Rain has a beautiful piano intro (track 4) Harmonic Earth is the musical project of Matthew Thoma who is from Ohio and of Seneca […]

The Art of the Chinese Erhu

A collection of mostly traditional, beautiful Chinese works for erhu and accompaniment , either fast or slow. One transcription of Gypsy Melodies by Sarasate sounded odd to me.

Cocek

Cocek! Brass Band – Round Two (self-released)

Original Balkan brass band music from… Boston MA! Sam Dechenne is the composer & plays trumpet, joined by musicians on tuba, trombone, flugelhorn, & Tappan drum. Music fit for a Macedonian wedding, with touches of Klezmer, New Orleans street style, & much enthusiasm. Check it out! Listen here: https://cocekbrassband.bandcamp.com/ Official website

TaKaiya

Eagle Thunder and Native Singles-Robby Romero and Red Thunder with various artists

From Eagle Thunder Enterprises this CD is Native Rock with Robby Romero and the Red Thunder (band).  Robert Mirabal is featured on track Iron Horse.  The singles include Earth Revolution with Ta’kaiya Blaney.  Appreciate the lyrics that will have you thinking about Native peoples everywhere, the struggles, the celebration, the prayers going out for all […]

anoushka

Anoushka Shankar – Land Of Gold (Deutsche Grammophon)

A brilliant new expression of the musical genius of Ravi Shankar’s daughter, in extensive collaboration with Manu Delgado (featured on Hang & percussion), & contributions by M.I.A, Vanessa Redgrave, & others (Alev Lenz, vocs; Sanjeev Shankar, shehnai; Larry Grenadier, bass; Caroline Dale, cello, etc.). The contributions of Anoushka’s sitar are sometimes subtle but always gorgeous. […]

Lakou Mizik - Wa Di Yo

Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo (Cumbancha)

A collective of Haitian musicians formed after the 2010 earthquake. The music, like Haiti, is a fusion; one hears South African call & response, French vocals & accordion reminiscent of Quebecois folk, & relatedly, strands of New Orleans Zydeco. The band’s name, Lakou is the word for a holy place in the Voodoo religion. A […]

Sidestepper

Sidestepper – Supernatural Love (Real World)

Call it neo-Afro-Caribbean? The band started in the 90s as a collaboration between Peter Gabriel’s studio engineer, Richard Blair, & musicians in Bogota, Colombia. They were pioneers in electro-cumbia, but this recording turns to traditional instruments to capture a new version of the Neo-Afro-Caribbean vibe. Again put together by Richard Blair, and featuring the fine […]

Ceu - Tropix

Ceu – Tropix (Six Degrees)

From São Paulo, Brazilian superstar Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças moves in a new direction yet again. Not Tropicália as title might suggest, though there are elements of that, but something she calls “Pixelado.” The music has been fragmented, then reconstructed with each element retaining its own crispness; its own identity, like a pixel. It […]

azel

Bombino – Azel (Partisan)

From Niger in the West African desert, Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a remarkable guitarist who plays in the “ishoumar” style – the music of the Sahara Desert Tuaregs. Here he leads his tight band in a series of exotic, almost trance-inducing examples of his own brand of desert blues. Produced by Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors). […]

Moken

Moken – Chapters of My Life (Bantu)

Moken grew up in Cameroon, but emigrated to the US for college and ended up in Texas. Here is a fusion of African folk rhythms & chorus, unusual vocals, & subtle elements of Tex-Mex with strains of the music & instrumentation one often hears in old spaghetti westerns. Fun!

Cuicani

Cuicani – Now & Then (Bantu)

Two CDs with songs from 3 recording sessions from this five-member band from LA. CD1 (Then) is earlier material with classic reggae, dancehall, & cumbia, while CD2 (Now) includes folk, soul, blues, & pop.

Cristian Perez

Cristian Perez – Anima Mundi (self-released)

A variety of world influences (Peru, India, Argentina, etc.) presented in a mellow, sometimes a bit new-age style. But with nice instrumentation (acoustic guitar, bandoneon, bass, flute, cello, tabla, steel drum, etc.). A classically trained Argentinian musician, Cristian is the composer & guitarist. Rewards exploration with an open mind.

Silva

Silva – Jupiter (Six-Degrees)

Shoe-gaze Brazilian pop from a very talented Southeast Brazilian singer-songwriter. Fairly mellow, smooth, pensive…

Paulinho Garcia

Paulinho Garcia – Aquarela (GLP)

Sweet & gentle children’s music sung in Brazilian Portuguese & with a distinctly Brazilian flavor. Most are traditional children’s tunes, but they make for good listening at any age. Paulinho’s vocals are beautifully harmonized with those of female vocalist Silvia Manriques. Nice acoustic guitar too! Released as part of the Global Language Project

Sarah Aroeste

Sarah Aroeste – Ora de Despertar (self-released)

Straight-ahead children’s music, composed by the vocalist & sung in Ladino; an increasingly uncommon language traditionally spoken by the Sephardic Jews (who were expelled from Spain & Portugal in the late 15th century).

patricklandeza

Patrick Landeza – Nahe’ Olu (Addison Street)

Title is Hawaiian that roughly translates to “pleasant & melodious.” Original & traditional tunes by this master of the vintage “Hawaiian slack key” style. He sings & plays the slack key guitar & the kala guitarlele (a guitar-ukulele hybrid).

Sultans of String

Sultans of String – Subcontinental Drift (MCK)

Fifth CD in 8 years from this award-winning Canadian band, here also with a featured guest, sitar master Anwar Khurshid. A mix of world music styles arranged for guitars & violin, & Cuban-flavored percussion, but most distinctly Indian-flavored on this CD.

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