San Francisco, USA – Canada is the focus of this new title of the Rough Guide series. Canada offers every imaginable kind of music, which somehow seems only fitting for such a vastly varied and rich land. As a new nation built on immigration and cultural mixing, it is one where artists bend and even defy traditional boundaries.
New York, USA – World music diva Natacha Atlas is returning with a new album, Something Dangerous?, and a new sound.
Due for release in the US on May 20th and in the UK on May 19th, the recording has been produced by (amongst others) Sugababes producer Brian Higgins and features guest appearances by Sinead O’Connor, Princess Julianna, Abdullah Chhadeh and the late Sami El Babli. There’s also a So Solid Crew remix currently doing the rounds in the clubs.
With Something Dangerous?, Natacha Atlas zips Middle Eastern music straight to the heart of current UK pop, pulling in as she does so dance music, rap, drum’n’bass, R&B, Hindi pop, film music and French chanson. The success of her earlier work, both in the Middle East and in the West, including a top ten hit in France, has shown just how alluring a musical bridging of the divide can be.
Something Dangerous? not only combines more styles than ever, but for the first time on an Atlas album it features guest vocalists, and a great deal more singing in English than she’s done before. But it’s no abandonment of Arabic; she embraces and combines the two languages, as well as Hindi and French.
Yuri Buenaventura was the first salsa singer in France to achieve a gold disc with his 1998 album Herencia Africana including the cover of “Ne Me Quitte Pas”. For his third album, Vagabundo, Yuri worked with San Juan (Puerto Rico)musicians: Roberto Roena, leader of Appolo Sound, members of El Gran Combo, including singer, Jerry Rivas, and Cheo Feliciano, one of the mythical voices of the Fania All Stars, is special guest on two duets. The predominantly salsa style disc is further colored by the various influences of the collaborating artists. The Tango meets Caribbean music and Argentinean percussion. The album was released in France, Belgium and Switzerland last month.
Paris, France – Giramondu’s third album “A Nostra Accolta” was released in March by Inca Music and has already received good reviews from as far away as Argentina. The six-piece band got together in 1993 and includes members from the well-known Corsican world music groups I Muvrini and A Filetta.
The experience and influences of the group members are evident on the album where traditional Corsican lyrics are given a modern edge with vibrant rhythms. You can catch Giramondu on the 23rd of May playing a benefit concert at the Empire in Ajaccio, Corsica. Inca are currently looking for tour dates in Europe and licenses worldwide. Releases in Canada, Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany are being planned.
Coruña, Galicia, Spain – Leilía, the innovative Galician folk group has released a new recording titled Madama. Leilía is the old name given to traditional songs.
Leilía is a group of Galician women who are forerunners and makers of the mini-revolution of tambourine music which has spread all over Galicia. They got together in the summer of 1989 to recover songs and musical forms that were in danger of extinction. Leilía reproduced and learned it all from the elders they visited all over Galicia and surrounding regions, recovering traditions they thought lost.
The group is formed by Montse Rivera, Mercedes Rodríguez, Felisa Segade, Ana María Rodríguez and Patricia Segade.
USA – Serart is a collaboration between System of a Down’s Serj Tankian and world class multi-instrumentalist Arto Tunçboyaciyan. Serart will be released by Serjical Strike and Columbia Records on May 20.
“It’s not a rock album, it’s not a band, it’s not a solo album for me,” says Serj Tankian. “It’s a collaboration that I was compelled to do with a very creative artist. It’s a very special type of album.” It is important to note that Serart is not at all similar to a SOAD album – it’s a departure away from SOAD’s progressive-metal barrage. Serart finds these two, seemingly disparate, creative artists joining for a new vision. Serj describes the album best, “It’s really crazy world, jazz and experimental with some rock and hip-hop beats, dance beats, and electronic beats. Arto plays the Coke bottle, water droplets, an ancient flute, percussion of all sorts, little toys and shakers.”
The music on Serart is both “cross genre and cross cultural,” an exotic and eclectic blend of electronica, poetry, Middle Eastern melodies, Pan-African rhythms, classical motifs melded with volleys of percussion. In addition to the 16 musical tracks on the album, Serart comes with a DVD component, the 14 minute experimental film, “Sun Angle Calculator,” directed and edited by Matthew Amato. “The film is a visual collage,” says Serj. “The name, ‘Sun Angle Calculator,’ is a funny way of saying ‘let me help you see the light.'”
Paris, France – Bonga’s new album Kaxexe was released in France at the end of April (distribution BMG). It was released a few days earlier in Holland (Coast to Coast) coinciding with Bonga’s forthcoming concert dates and television appearance there.
The album will also be distributed in Switzerland (Musikvertrieb), Austria (Hoanzl), Germany (Sunny Moon Music) and Portugal (Mega Musica).
Bonga sings of things such as unrequited love, social evils and the humiliation which is killing Africa with music that varies from melancholic to swinging.
Sicily, Italy – Melthemi is the title of Nakaira’s new CD and it is also name of a Mediterranean wind. It enabled the first people who discovered it to trace new routes in the Mediterranean Sea and to enhance the spreading of cultures and populations. This is the spirit that drove the band in the recording of its second CD: original and traditional music. A trip from Greece to Sephardic Spain, and to the outskirts of the Middle East, passing through Sicily, Nakaira’s native land.
Melthemi rides on the wings of a song in Sicilian dialect, whose text was been expressedly written for the album by Sicilian singer-songwriter Carlo Muratori based on an original Nakaira theme.
USA – Biswas Records in the US has released three ragas by Indian classical sarod master Rajeev Taranath. Entitled “Daybreak and a Candle End”, the CDs presents ragas which range in time from early morning ragas to evening, hence the title (taken from a W.B. Yeats poem). Rajeev Taranath mentor is Ali Akbar Khan.
Bhangra has come a long way from its origins as a traditional harvest dance in the Punjabi speaking regions of India and Pakistan. For a generation of British Asians, Bhangra music is their music. It’s desi music – music from the home, the culture – but mixed, beefed-up with bass and heavy doses of R&B, Ragga or Rap to give it an urban and contemporary relevance that now extends throughout the world.
This CD is 10 years (from 1993 to 2003) in the life of Bhangra – from Roots to Ragga and all points in between. Notes by Bhagwant Sagoo
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion