Category Archives: CD Reviews

Oumou Sangaré at the Top of the June 2017 Transglobal World Music Chart

Mogoya (Nø Førmat), the new recording by Malian world music star Oumou Sangaré is the number 1 album this month at the Transglobal World Music Chart.

Oumou Sangaré combines tradition with modernity by using Malian instruments such as the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash mixed with electric guitar, bass, keyboards and synthesizres. Afrobeat legend, drummer Tony Allen is one of the guests featured in Mogoya.

For a complete list go to www.transglobalwmc.com

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Cape Verdean Danceable and Passionate Songs

Elida Almeida – Djunta Kudjer

Elida Almeida – Djunta Kudjer (Lusafrica, 2017)

Djunta Kudjer is an EP by Cape Verdean sensation Elida Almeida. The new recording features by the award-winning vocalist includes a great mix of irresistible funana, tabanka and batuque songs rooted in Cape Verdean tradition along with a Cuban-infused piece recorded in Havana, Cuba; and a heartfelt ballad.

 

 

 

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The Best of Cello Duo Tara Fuki

Tara Fuki – The Best of Tara Fuki (Indies Scope MAM562, 2015)

This compilations contains material by European Czech duo Tara Fuki collected from earlier albums except for one previously unreleased song. The group’s sound is difficult to categorize. It’s characterized by the remarkable sound of two cellos and vocals where you’ll find elements of classical chamber music, jazz and Eastern European folk music.

The Tara Fuki is lineup includes classically-trained cellists and vocalists Andrea Konstankiewicz (Poland) and Dorota Barova (Czech Republic).

The Best of Tara Fuki showcases the talent of two skilled musicians and songwriters who delight the listener with the mesmerizing sound of the cello and voice.

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Portuguese Folk and Classical Music Intersections

Danças Ocultas – Amplitude (Galileo Music, 2016)

Danças Ocultas is a Portuguese diatonic accordion quartet that has developed an innovative sound that crosses musical boundaries. Amplitude was recorded live during the ensemble’s concerts at the Casa da Música in Oporto and at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon.

On Amplitude, Danças Ocultas collaborates with a classical music orchestra, the Filarmonia das Beiras; fado vocalist Carminho; contemporary folk music band Dead Combo; and former Madredeus and Sétima Legião musician Rodrigo Leao.

Most of the material on Amplitude is original material by Danças Ocultas along with a composition by Rodrigo Leao and a recreation of a traditional Portuguese folk song.

The result is a beautiful set of instrumentals and songs where Portuguese folk music influences are interweaved with classical and jazz elements.

Danças Ocultas features accordionists Artur Fernandes, Filipe Ricardo, Filipe Cal and Francisco Miguel. The four musicians got together in 1989 with the goal of exploring all the sound possibilities the diatonic accordion, known in Portugal as concertina.

Amplitude features memorable accordion performances and interplay by Danças Ocultas and their guests.

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A Taste of Rudolstadt Festival

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016

Various Artists – Rudolstadt Festival 2016 (Heideck, 2016)

You can catch up with the latest in world music acts with this double CD compilation from Germany’s Rudolstadt Festival. This compilation features artists from various countries that appeared in the 2016 edition of the festival.

Rudolstadt Festival is one of the most significant world music festivals in Europe.

Stylistically, the artists range from traditional to contemporary forms of world music. The album comes nicely packaged in a hard cover digibook with liner notes in German and English.

Although some of the artists are familiar names to the world music community, there are also quite a few discoveries, featuring acts that don’t tour North America.

Rudolstadt Festival 2016 is an excellent sampling of the great world music you’ll find at the annual festival.

The album is available from shop.rudolstadt-festival.de

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The Smooth Global Sounds of the Shanti Orchestra

Ricky Kej – Shanti Orchestra

Ricky Kej – Shanti Orchestra (Raveolution Studios, 2013)

Indian-American producer Ricky Kej released Shanti Orchestra in 2013. It’s a set of musical pieces that combines melodic new age music with Indian, Celtic and other global music influences.

Kej invited several well-known names in the new age and Indian classical world. The flutes and sitar play a leading role in many of the pieces. Guests include Alexis D’Souza (vocals), Junior Bay (vocals), Praveen Godkhindi (bansuri), Wouter Kellerman (flutes), and Paul Livingstone (sitar).

Shanti Orchestra is a crossover album that will appeal to fans of highly melodic new age music and the lighter side of world music.

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Passionate Songs and Infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese Rhythms

Orchestra Baobab – Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (Word Circuit WC092, 2017)

It’s no surprise that ‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’, the new album by Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab is one of the highest rated recording in the past weeks by the two leading world music charts: the Transglobal World Music Chart and the World Music Charts Europe.

‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’ brings back the captivating mix of traditional Cuban and Senegalese dance music along with some innovations. For the first time, Orchestra Baobab has added a permanent kora (West African harp) player, augmenting even more the Senegalese flavor of the band.

The title of the album makes reference to Ndiouga Dieng, the longtime vocalist for Orchestra Baobab, who passed away in November 2016.

The lineup features Balla Sidibe on vocals and timbales; Rudy Gomis on vocals; Issa Sissoko on tenor saxophone; Thierno Koite on tenor and alto saxophone; Charlie Ndiaye on bass; Mountaga Koite on congas; Abdouleye Cissoko on kora; Oumar Sow on guitar; Yahya Fall on rhythm guitar; and Beninese musicians Wilfried Zinzou on trombone and rising guitarist Rene Sowatche.

Two special guests participated in the recording sessions, world music star Cheikh Lo who appears in the song ‘Magno Kouto’ and former Baobab vocalist Thione Seck, who recreates the hit ‘Sey’.

The physical version of the album comes in a very nicely-packaged format, as a hard cover book with song descriptions, photos and illustrations.

On Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng, the extraordinary Orchestra Baobab treats the listener to a beautiful set of passionate songs and infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese beats.

Buy Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng in the Americas and rest of the world

Buy Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng in Europe

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Tedeschi Trucks Band Live, a Special Experience

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Tedeschi Trucks Band Live From the Fox Oakland (Fantasy Records, 2017)

With summer just around the corner many of you are planning to head off to the beach, to the mountains or to grandma’s house while others are planning backyard barbecues, family reunions or pool parties so you are in desperate need of some tunes. As luck would have it I have your smoking raging down the highway, sizzling grilling chicken and hey someone needs to get that Frisbee off the roof tunes for your summer fun. The double-CD set Tedeschi Trucks Band Live from the Fox Oakland is your ticket to some kickass, razor sharp tunes.

Fans know the Jacksonville, Florida blues/rock Tedeschi Trucks Band from past offerings like Let Me Get, Midnight in Harlem, Revelator, Made Up and Everybody’s Talkin. Their latest offering is the fruits of their labors from a 2016 live performance at Oakland, California’s Fox Theater.

Guitarist Derek Trucks explains the springboard for the recording, “We’ve been wanting to properly document the progress of this ban for a while and it really felt like we were hitting our stride and firing on all cylinders last fall.”

Guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi adds, “It was special capturing the live performance from Oakland. The audience was great and the band played with passion. I am thankful we captured the band at this moment in time.”

Headed up by Ms. Tedeschi and Mr. Trucks, The Tedeschi Trucks Band is full of the usual suspects with Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell on drums and percussion, J.J. Johnson on drums and percussion, Tim Lefebvre on bass guitar, Mike Mattison on vocals and acoustic guitar, Mark Rivers on vocals, Alecia Chakour on vocals, Kebbi Williams on saxophone, Elizabeth Lea on trombone and Ephraim Owens on trumpet. Fans get a treat with guest musician Alam Khan on sarode on “These Walls.”

Live at the Fox Oakland is savagely good and kickass cool. Chocked full of the goodness of “Don’t Know What It Means,” “Keep on Growing,” “Bird on the Wire” and “Anyhow,” and that’s just CD 1, the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s sound is tight and razor sharp. With rocking guitar licks, sizzling rhythms, soulful vocals, sassy backing vocals and brass lines so sweet they’ll probably keep the mosquitos away, Live at the Fox Oakland is all you need to get your mojo working again. CD 2 is just as fabulous with offerings like “Leavin’ Trunk,” “Don’t Drift Away,” “I Want More (Soul Sacrifice Outro)” and the rich and rewarding “Ali.”

For fans wanting to get a little live action of the Tedeschi Trucks band should check their local concert venues because the band is currently on a U.S. tour and will have upcoming concerts in places like Philadelphia, Saratoga, Rochester, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Albuquerque this June and July.

It’s doubtful that Live at the Fox Oakland will make your teeth whiter, your kids smarter, help you find the love of a good woman or improve your posture – but you never know because I think I’m sitting a little straighter right now.

Buy Tedeschi Trucks Band Live From the Fox Oakland

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Strange Fruit Expressions

Fabrizio Cassol – Strange Fruit (Outhere Music/Instinct Collection, 2017)

Strange Fruit is a cross-genre project developed by Belgian saxophonist and composer Fabrizio Cassol, who has a background in classical and jazz music. Strange Fruit, however, is definitely much closer to world music. The album features one of the stars of Malian music, Oumou Sangare, as well as other well-known vocalists.

Throughout Strange Fruit, Fabrizio Cassol and his collaborators travel through various musical genres. The album opens with a fabulous rhythmic piece titled” Didadi Horns” featuring the vocals and spectacular tamani (talking drums) of Baba Sissoko and the equally remarkable sound of the soku one-string Wassulu fiddle. This piece also features electric guitar and bass along with a powerful jazz brass section that brings it close to Afrobeat.

Oumou Sangare appears on track 2, “Soukora” joined by La Choraline Choir, superb ethereal electric guitar by Manu Codjia, Babao Sissoko’s ngoni along with Fabrizio Cassol’s reverberating saxophone and more of the soku fiddle.

 

 

The pace changes drastically on track 3, “Strange Fruit,” featuring soprano Claron McFadden accompanied by Eric Legnini on piano. It has an African American spiritual flavor.

Another unexpected turn appears on track 4, “Strange Fruits,” that features La Choraline Choir mixing Bach and Billy Holiday. On “Strange Fruits,” classical, jazz, and Malian sounds come together. Electric bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou gets an opportunity to showcase his talent on this track.

Track 5, “If Jesus” has a folk-blues feel. It features American soprano Melissa Givens accompanied by Hammond organ and an electric band.

“I Can’t Sleep Tonight” features the soulful vocals of Marie Daulne (Zap Mama) along with La Choraline Choir. This song has some of the finest vocal interactions in the album.

The spiritual side of the album return on “Sehet Jesus”, track 7, featuring a jazz combo accompanying the remarkable vocals of Claron McFadden.

Oumou Sangare’s unmistakable vocals return on track 8, “On Les enfants de la rue” , a funk jazz piece that also features La Choraline.

Track 9, “Choeurs Pygmees” is a great a cappella vocal piece partially inspired by pygmy vocals, featuring remarkable interplay between Marie Daulne and Kezia Daulne along with La Choraline.

“Some Days: (track 10) is the longest composition on the album. This jazz song features Belgian male vocalist David Linx and Claron McFadden. Near the end, this piece turns quite adventurous venturing into exciting jazz-rock territory.

With track 11, “Farka” the album’s vibe turns back to world music led by Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s beautiful guitar, Magic Malik’s flute and Baba Sissoko’s vocals supported by a meaty brass section.

 

 

The album concludes with a laid back acoustic Malian piece featuring Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s acoustic guitar and something that sounds like a kora although it doesn’t appear in the credits.

This album came out originally on the Blue Note label in 2012.

Strange Fruit is an impressive, beautifully-arranged album that brings together a multi-ethnic cast of talented jazz, classical, spiritual and world music artists.

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Healing Latin Jazz

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive”

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive” (Chrome Records, 2017)

Italian-American vocalist Mari Nobre (maiden name Mariangela Spiezia) recorded this album live at the Jan Popper Theatre at UCLA (California). Although some of her past albums have focused on rhythms from across Latin America and pop, on “Live and Alive” she performs new Latin Jazz arrangements of American jazz standards as well as Brazilian classics by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Her band features a multi-ethnic roster that provides a jazz flavor and colorful Brazilian influences.

Mari Nobre recorded this album just three weeks after her surgery, recovering from cancer. Mari Nobre has indicated that music had a strong effect in healing her so she’s donating part of the sales from the album to the children’s cancer research.

The lineup on “Live and Alive” includes Mari Nobre on vocals; Leo Nobre on bass; Justo Almario on saxophone and flute; Angelo Metz on acoustic and electric guitar; Sandro Feliciano on drums; and Daniel Szabo on piano.

“Live and Alive” is a passionate album by the talented multilingual vocalist Mari Nobre.

Buy the digital version of Live and Alive or the CD at CD Baby.

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