World Music Institute & Insight Cuba

New York, USA – World Music Institute and Cross-Cultural Solutions have organized a a series of cultural trips to Cuba. WMI’s Cuban Music Exploration provides an inside look into Cuban music by learning about the people and culture that create it.

The packages include travel to Havana & Matanzas, workshops on music and dance, intimate concerts and much more. The trips take place June 21- 28, October 11-18
and December 20-27. To request an itinerary & fees contact Cross-Cultural Solutions’ Insight Cuba program at 1-800-935-2822.


Wimme Barru

Wimme – Barru

Barru (Northside, 2003)

One listen to Wimme’s fourth release Barru (wave) and we can only wonder if Sami yoiker Wimme Saari has been listening to Bauhaus, Joy Division and Skinny Puppy recordings since elements of all those groups appear on Barru.

This followup to Cugu, features heavier programming, and sadly the usual woodwinds as well as, musician Tapani Rinne are absent on this release. However, ukulele, mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo and baglamas performed by the multi-instumentalist Matti Wallenius still embellish the mix.

Guest vocalists Liisa Matveinen and Tellu Turkka also contribute talent on njavvi, inka and durban.

Barru seems like the darker cousin of Cuga and it works as a backdrop for Wimme’s immense vocal range. One minute he’s chanting like a Navajo singer while the next he’s growling like a wolf guarding it’s kin or hooting like an owl on a chilly night.

The opener, njavvi (torrent) acts as the most playful song on the CD, light in tone and bouncy similar to Texas on the Cuga CD. Inka falls on the murkier side in which Wimme yoiks with raspy growls. On gorzi (waterfall), Wimme’s tenorial yoiks cascade over lush music and programmed beats.

Fadnu feels dark and industrial recalling the early days of 4 AD records and Bauhaus. The yoik with its heavy electronic programming reflects on its arctic roots. Goalki (calm) Wimme switches back and forth between guttural bass and falsetto as he yoiks over an ethereal synthesizer wash. The dissonant cearret (arctic tern) again recalls early 4 AD recordings. Boares rieban (old fox) features low growls over frenzied drum beats. Durban marries Navajo chants to electronica.

While yoiking is a traditional style of singing of the Sami people, Wimme’s composes contemporary yoiks
backed by modern technology. Traditional yoiks were sung by shamans and usually with no instrumentation or an animal skin drum accompanying the yoiker. Yoiking along with the Sami’s spiritual practices were banned by Christians, but have resurfaced in parts of Scandinavia, but apart from liberal minded musicians, the world music community and the Sami people, yoiks are still frowned upon and prohibited in some regions.

Buy Barru

Compliments of Cranky Crow World Music


Of Time and the Tropics

Of Time and the Tropics – Del Tiempo y el Trópico
Of Time and the Tropics – Del Tiempo y el Trópico

Photographer: Hannes Wallrafen

Authors: Julio Escoto & Guillermo Anderson

Published by KIT. Distributed in the U.S. by Stylus Publishing. ISBN: 90 6832 526 4.

Of Time and the Tropics (Del Tiempo y el Trópico) is a book and CD set exploring the sights and sounds of Honduras put out by KIT Publishers and Centro Editorial, SRL. The text of the book, printed in both English and Spanish, is a hodgepodge of history, poetry and memoir.

Each section is a little bit-sized nugget from writer and essayist Julio Escoto. Seen as a voice of Central America , Escoto is the author of the recent novel Rey del Albor, Madrugada and has received several literary prizes. Escoto’s writings for Of Time in the Tropics range from a brief history of the political and economic forces that brought the trains to the country to a mystical examination of the ceiba tree.

The text extends beyond history and personal vignettes, going so far in some cases as to take a well-deserved poke at the power from the North that controls credit and aid. Escoto’s writing isn’t travelogue – it’s something better – a reflective look that reveals the state of the collective Honduran psyche.

Hannes Wallrefen, a photographer from Amsterdam, captures the visual Honduras. There’s a little bit of everything, both the ordinary and the extraordinary, and all of it striking beautiful. Photos of a blurry flash of a young girl in a red dress, banana industry workers taking a break and a mosaic tiled floor covered with iguanas (that resembles an M.C. Escher print come to life) drip with color and captivate the eye. Together with the writing, these pictures put the people and life in Honduras into focus. Wallrefen tells us rich stories with each photograph.

Finally, Guillermo Anderson, well-known singer and songwriter from Honduras, ensnares listeners with the songs and the sounds of the country. The CD is a delightful patchwork of song, sounds of nature and the music of the people. Anderson’s vocals evoke a personal connection to the land and history of Honduras. The garífuna influence, the mixture of the African and Native Indian musical traditions, is a powerful component to the collection of songs. Field recordings combined with song makes it the perfect companion to both the text and photographs contained in the book – you can almost smell banana or the salt air. The only drawback I’d like to mention was the stingy coverage of the liner notes, which didn’t do the music justice.

One can only hope that more musical, photographic and written collections like this one will come to fruition. The combination of culture, history and sound traditions shifts one’s perceptions from a map to a people and the results are a valuable piece of time and place.

Buy Of Time and the Tropics – Del Tiempo y el Trópico


Bhangra – The Best Asian Beats from the Streets

Bhangra - The Best Asian Beats from the Streets
Bhangra – The Best Asian Beats from the Streets
London, England – British label Manteca continues its series of compilations with Bhangra – The Best Asian Beats from the Streets.

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


Vodou Drumset

Vodou Drumset: Drumset Applications of Traditional Afro-Haitian Rhythms
Vodou Drumset: Drumset Applications of Traditional Afro-Haitian Rhythms
Carl Fischer has published Vodou Drumset: Drumset Applications of Traditional Afro-Haitian Rhythms by James Armstrong and Travis Knepper. It includes traditional hand drumming transcriptions of Vodou rhythms and their modern applications to drumset. A must have for any working drummer or percussionist.

Added features include a foreword by John Amira, extensive background information, and an audio CD featuring W. African master musician Gideon Alorwoyie and bassist Chuck Rainey.


Binfen by Murat Ses

Murat Ses

Binfen (Clou Records, Clou-002, KALAN Music, Peacework Music)

A wonderful synthie-based masterpiece by Murat Ses, a keyboard player and composer with strong Eurasian electronic elements. His LP ‘Danses et Rythmes de la Turquie d’hier à aujourd’hui’ was awarded Grand Prix du Disque by the Charles Cros Academie in Paris, France back then in the 70’s…

The albums AUTOMATON, (Slave with Ewer Device), BINFEN (feat.Tan), and CULDUZ all released in the 90’s, are parts of a trilogy with the concept: “The Timeless and Boundariless Context of Culture and Civilization”.
His musical background has its roots in Eastern Mediterranean, Levantine, and Central Asian cultures and musics. Big experience in electronica and ambient. This album is a fusion of ethnic timbres and fine electronics.

Some liners about this unusual story:
BiNFEN was a scientist (even a madhead) who lived in Istanbul (the capital of the
Ottoman empire) in the 17th century. He had a concept of building him some
sort of wings which should enable him to fly across the Bosphorus. This guy
was a genius and he really managed to achieve his plan and flew from one
side of the channel to the other. The Ottoman ruler of that time sponsored him and when Binfen had managed the flight (the first man ever, about 300 years before the Wright Brothers and even about 100 years before the Montgolfier Bros!!), he was deeply impressed but on the other hand afraid that this genius could be very dangerous for the stability of the empire. So Binfen was sent into exile in Spain. My favorites on the album: Before Midnight, Usturlab, 1000 Akche, Binfen, Drift, Mare Imbrium (only track by Tan, Murat’s son)


Rare Recordings of Persian Music on MP3

Cumming, Georgia, USA – The DoveSong Foundation in cooperation with the Nassehpoor Family of Tehran has created a Web site that features important and rare Persian Art Music. For the first time, these great treasures of Persian Art Music are being made available, transcribed to MP3 format by Pooyan Nassehpoor from very rare recordings.

Together, the DoveSong Foundation and the Nassehpoor Family, dedicate this page to people in all lands so they may learn to love and understand each other through an understanding of its music and culture. For more information visit this site:


Reunion Islanders Release New CD

Paris, France – A new album from Reunion Island musicians Olivier Ker Ourio and Danyel Waro is ready for worldwide release. “Chemin de Kèr” is a mix of simple, exhilarating and emotional songs, many of them originally penned by Waro. They have been reinterpreted and given a jazz-world feel with the help of the harmonica, piano, chorus and percussion.

The album will be released on the 14th of May in the UK (Sterns) and in Belgium and Holland (Walboomers). Release will follow in the USA (Allegro). The pair will be in concert in France at the end of the year.


New label R2 marks first anniversary

Toronto, Canada – May 2003 marks the first anniversary of the
R2 record label based in Toronto,

At a time when there seems to be less of a place for Celtic within the music
industry, this relatively new label is enjoying steady growth.

The label’s roster features
considered among the hardest working bands on the Celtic circuit that spans
Europe and North America; 19 year old
, who has Brian McNeill and John Gahagan (ex-Battlefield Band),
Mick West, Wendy Weatherby and Stevie Lawrence as guests on her debut album.
Other R2 artists include Maggie MacInnes, The Peatbog Faeries, Jimi McRae,
Donald Lindsay, Kirsten Easdale, Derek Williamson and Gillian Frame, The Easy
Club, and Finn MacCuill.


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