globalFEST Selector (Magenta, 2014)
The producers of world music showcase globalFEST have released a revealing album titled globalFEST Selector. It’s a very affordable compilation featuring artists that have performed at the influential annual event held in New York.
The album opens with a scorching track by Gnawa star Hassan Hakmoun. He’s had his ups in downs in recent years, but is back now with revitalized energy, a new album titled Unity and touring band.
The second cut takes the listener to Colombia, with a great piece by MAKU Soundsystem, who mix fiery Afro-Colombian beats and brass with vintage electronic sounds.
Despite the name Brooklyn Qawwali Party, the third band on the album doesn’t sound like the Qawwali we are used to. It’s rather a jazz brass band with a South Asian flavor.
The South Asian content continues with ‘Rang Rang Ma’ by Indian star Kailash Kher. He combines Indian roots music with pop and electronics.
Track 5 presents Lebanese Yasmine Hamdan. She has been getting a lot of attention in the western media. However, her modern pop-soul sound lacks appeal if you are hungry for global music with traditional roots.
‘El Madi’ by Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali is one of the best songs on globalFEST Selector, featuring mesmerizing Mauritanian desert blues-rock.
French band Lo’jo has been around for a long time and is well-known in some world music circles. This time they are represented with a percussive track titled ‘Riquesa,’ quite different from their Gypsy and Klezmer-inspired music of the past.
The galloping sounds of ‘Khadadaa’ indicate that Namgar’s music comes from Siberia, a fabulous fusion of traditional Buryat and Mongolian music with rock, funk and beyond.
Martha Redbone Roots Projects performs Appalachian old time music on ‘My Warfare Will soon Be Over.’
Burkina Faso is represented by the beautiful laid back music of Alif Naaba.
Brass band music is over represented in this compilation. The track by American band Mucca Pazza sounds like you’re listening to an average high school marching band.
The album ends with a much more spirited brass band, the excellent Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans.