Category Archives: CD Reviews

Drop The Debt : Various Artists

Drop the Debt

Various Artists

Drop the Debt (Wrasse Records : WRASS 095)

Music allied to a cause can sometimes be a disappointing enterprise. Are a bunch of egos hi-jacking music to promote their sagging profiles? Occasionally such projects suffer from musical blandness, which may not help the cause much. Thankfully, this CD manages to escape all of these pitfalls. It is a varied and constantly listenable album and anyone who parts with the asking price is contributing to a more than worthy campaign. And all the tracks are exclusive to this CD.

Artists from Brazil to Senegal, Cameroon to Venezuela join with each other in addressing and opposing a common problem. So, as you might expect, there are many diverse musical voices sharing the same space. Fernanda Abreu & MV Bill blend voices, which are partly submerged in the drum, dominated mix. Electronic and acoustic musics sit easily side by side. The huge brassy arrangements of Columbia’s Toto la Momposina urge on the equally huge, spirited vocals which declare that: ‘We Have to end the debt/So we can move forward’.

Brazil and Ivory Coast join forces in a reggae based polemic. Tiken Jah Fakoly & Tribo de Jah “Baba” declare that their ‘parents die in poverty’ working the fields while the tv coldly states that ‘the country’s success depends on farming’. Meiway, also from the Ivory Coast, reiterate the message ‘cancel the debt’ on Assez’, using a deceptively relaxed groove.

The cool reggae and brass of Zedess sound equally relaxed but the words again are angry on ‘Cadeau Empoisonne’, accusing the World Bank and the IMF who ‘were born to hand out poisoned chalices’. Massila Sound System incorporate a sample of Thomas Sankara’s passionate speech, made shortly before his assassination, into their mix of raw guitar and choppy electronic rhythms.

This contrasts with the spectre of blandness, which intrudes briefly on Africa South’s ‘The Third World Cries Everyday’, a track that has neither verbal nor musical passion. Fortunately, Oliver Mtukudze can always be relied upon to deliver both. His ‘Murimi Munhu’ sets his own gruffly distinctive voice against a gently melodic backdrop of guitars and female vocals. It is capable of moving you whether or not you speak his language. Like much of the music here it transcends linguistic barriers and speaks to the whole body.

There are many styles represented on this CD united by the same sense of injustice and every track has earned its place. Definitely recommended.

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www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk

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Yair Dalal Releases Asmar

Yair Dalal - Asmar
Yair Dalal – Asmar
Yair Dalal

Asmar (MagdaMGD039, 2002)

Yair Dalal is one of the top instrumentalists in Israel. He is a master of the ud and violin. On Asmar he performs his own modern compositions, as well as pieces by other composers and one Iraqi folk song. Dalal’s music is inspired by Iraqi and Persian classical and folk music. He is accompanied by an all-acoustic ensemble of singers and musicians that play Arabic and Indian percussion, ud, viola and accordion.

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Cristina Branco Releases Corpo Illuminado

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Cristina Branco – Corpo Iluminadoe
Cristina Branco

Corpo Iluminado (Decca Records/Universal, 440 014 151 2, 2002)

Cristina Branco is one of the finest new fado singers. Her prodigious voice is passionate and elegant. The collection of fado classics, traditional songs and modern compositions have the characteristic melancholic feeling and feature traditional style arrangements with vocals accompanied by Portuguese guitar, guitar and bass guitar.

Artistic supervisor and arranger Custódio Castelo has created an intimate atmosphere for delightful intimate music.

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Obo Addy

Obo Addy - Wonche Bi
Obo Addy – Wonche Bi
Obo Addy

Wonche Bi (Alula Records Alu-1025, 2001)

Obo Addy is a Ghanaian singer, percussionist, traditional spiritual healer, and a Wonche priest of the Ga culture. Living now in the United States, his contemporary African music combines Ghanaian roots music with American sounds such as soul, blues and jazz.

 

Obo Addy’s music is powerful and intense with a several trap drummers, a solid brass section, backing vocals and outstanding percussion solos on the talking drum of which Addy is a true master.

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