Thursday, December 08, 2011

Baloji: Kinshasa Succursale

Baloji is a rapper and singer who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but has spent most of his life in Belgium. Now he has decided to return to the country of his birth to record with local musicians, and persuaded some of Kinshasa's finest players to work with him. The result is not so much a showcase for Baloji as a reminder of Congo's magnificent and varied musical history, which Baloji is happy to make use of.
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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Fatoumata Diawara: Kanou

The Original Sound of Cumbia 1948-79

Infected by cumbia fever, Britain's Will "Quantic" Holland decamped to Colombia, learned the accordion, the music's defining instrument, and formed his own band. This two-CD compilation is a further result of his grand obsession.
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Friday, December 02, 2011

Frontera Bugalú

Frontera Bugalú's Latin rhythms are here to shake hips and tap toes, regardless of age. They will cement their spot in the cumbia spotlight with their upcoming album release Friday, Nov. 25, at Tricky Falls. The self-titled album includes all original music in Frontera Bugalú's modernized cumbia style seasoned with the classical feel of Mexican border and tropical dance music. "We are definitely influenced by the works of musicians from the '70s," said Kiko Rodriguez, vocalist, accordion player and musical coordinator for the band. He grew up listening to Juan Gabriel and Los Tigres Del Norte. In his music, he draws from the desert yearning of such influential names of border music and adds the playful liveliness of their tropic counterparts like Rigo Tovar and Fito Olivares.
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Various Artists: The Original Sound of Cumbia

Much of the best music of 2011 has in fact been the music of 1958, or 1967, or 1974. Week by week, compilations of the world’s lost and forgotten songs – excavated in obscure locales from Angola to Cambodia, dusted down and re-released – have sounded fresher and more exciting than a great deal of contemporary output. To the list we must now add this hypnotic and evocative double CD of Colombia’s native dance music, cumbia. And once more the project’s musical archaeologist – pith helmet on head and record bag at the ready – is a British obsessive. It’s a long way from Bewdley in Worcestershire to the mouth of the Magdalena river on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. But the insidious, chugging rhythm of cumbia was enough to lure musician and producer William Holland from his home town not just to visit, but to set up a recording studio and move out there. For the past five years he has searched the country’s record shops and markets to piece together the history of this influential musical form. The 55 tracks here, many originally shellac 78s, are the pick of what he discovered. In the elegant and scholarly liner notes, Holland compares the 950-mile river Magdalena, birthplace of cumbia, with the Mississippi, cradle of the blues. There are many similarities between the two musical forms too: cumbia, like its US counterpart, is a simple template that invites endless reinterpretation. As the two discs here roll by, its striking that what you hear is always the same but always different.
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Nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards

The Grammy is set to take place on 12 February 2012 at the Staple Center in Los Angeles.

Below are the lists of the nominees.

Album of the Year

  • Adele - 21
  • Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
  • Lady Gaga - Born This Way
  • Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
  • Rihanna - Loud

Record of the Year

  • Adele - "Rolling In The Deep"
  • Bon Iver - "Holocene"
  • Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
  • Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
  • Katy Perry - "Firework"

Best New Artist

  • The Band Perry
  • Bon Iver
  • J. Cole
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Skrillex

Song of the Year

  • Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie - "All of the Lights" Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
  • Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
  • Bon Iver - "Holocene"
  • Adele - "Rolling In The Deep" 

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • Adele - "Someone Like You"
  • Lady Gaga - "Yoü and I"
  • Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
  • Katy Perry - "Firework"
  • Pink - "F***in' Perfect"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse - "Body and Soul"
  • The Black Keys - "Dearest"
  • Coldplay - "Paradise"
  • Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks"
  • Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera - "Moves Like Jagger"

Best Dance Recording

  • deadmau5 and Greta Svabo Bech - "Raise Your Weapon"
  • Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand"
  • David Guetta and Avicii - "Sunshine"
  • Robyn - "Call Your Girlfriend"
  • Skrillex - "Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites"
  • Swedish House Mafia - "Save The World"

Best Rock Performance

  • Coldplay - "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
  • The Decemberists - "Down By the Water"
  • Foo Fighters - "Walk"
  • Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
  • Radiohead - "Lotus Flower" 

Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance

  • Dream Theater - "On The Backs of Angels"
  • Foo Fighters - "White Limo"
  • Mastodon - "Curl of the Burl"
  • Megadeth - "Public Enemy No. 1"
  • Sum 41 - "Blood In My Eyes" 

Best Rock Album

  • Jeff Beck - Rock 'N' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul
  • Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
  • Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
  • Wilco - The Whole Love 

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Bon Iver - Bon Iver
  • Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
  • Foster the People - Torches
  • My Morning Jacket - Circuital
  • Radiohead - The King Of Limbs 

Best Traditional R&B Performance

  • Eric Benet - "Sometimes I Cry"
  • Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona - "Fool for You"
  • R. Kelly - "Radio Message"
  • Raphael Saadiq - "Good Man"
  • Betty Wright and the Roots - "Surrender" 

Best R&B Album

  • Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.
  • El DeBarge - Second Chance
  • R. Kelly - Love Letter
  • Ledisi - Pieces of Me
  • Kelly Price - Kelly 

Best Rap Album

  • Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
  • Lil Wayne - Tha Carter IV
  • Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
  • Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday
  • Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

  • Beyoncé and Andre 3000 - "Party"
  • DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne - "I'm On One"
  • Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey - "I Need a Doctor"
  • Rihanna and Drake - "What's My Name?"
  • Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne - "Motivation"
  • Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie - "All Of The Lights" 

Best Rap Performance

  • Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes - "Look at Me Now"
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West - "Otis"
  • Lupe Fiasco - "The Show Goes On"
  • Nicki Minaj and Drake - "Moment 4 Life"
  • Wiz Khalifa - "Black And Yellow" 

Best Country Solo Performance

  • Jason Aldean - "Dirt Road Anthem"
  • Martina McBride - "I'm Gonna Love You Through It"
  • Blake Shelton - "Honey Bee"
  • Taylor Swift - "Mean"
  • Carrie Underwood - "Mama's Song" 

Best Country Song

  • Thompson Square - "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not"
  • Blake Shelton - "God Gave Me You"
  • Trace Adkins - "Just Fishin' "
  • Taylor Swift - "Mean"
  • Vince Gill - "Threaten Me With Heaven"
  • Kenny Chesney (featuring Grace Potter) - "You and Tequila" 

Best Americana Album

  • Linda Chorney - Emotional Jukebox
  • Ry Cooder - Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
  • Emmylou Harris - Hard Bargain
  • Levon Helm - Ramble At The Ryman
  • Lucinda Williams - Blessed 

Best Blues Album

  • Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues
  • Marcia Ball - Roadside Attractions
  • Warren Haynes - Man In Motion
  • Keb' Mo' - The Reflection
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator 

Best Folk Album

  • The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
  • Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
  • Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
  • Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs
  • Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest 

Christy Moore: Folk Tale

Whether at festivals or playing in clubs, Christy Moore's live shows cascaded with intensity and fun. Moore is now 66 and although his live shows have a slower pace, the Irish folk singer's more subtle approach allows him - and his brilliant multi-instrumentalist musical partner Declan Sinnott - to explore beautiful lyrics and melodies. And Moore's singing is as fine as ever.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Alash Ensemble: Buura

Alash Ensemble is made up by vocalist, byzaanchy, chadagan, igil and xomus player Nachyn Choodu; vocalist, igil, doshpuluur player and guitarist Bady-Dorzhu Ondar; vocalist, doshpuluur, igil player and guitarist Ayan-ool Sam; and vocalist, kengirge, shynggyrash, shoor, murgu and xomus player Ayan Shirizhik.


Tinariwen: Tassili

The kings of desert blues remain full of surprises. Their fifth album sidesteps the rolling, electric style that's made them world-conquerors for a return to acoustic campfire camaraderie. Simultaneously come collaborations with cutting-edge American rock.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tinariwen: Tassili

Anyone who has followed CD reviews for any length of time here at World Music Central knows that desert blues is always a big hit with us. As luck would have it one of the heavy weights in the desert blues business Tinariwen has just released their latest Tassili, available now on the Anti label, to soothe all your desert blues needs for the late summer doldrums.
With such previous recordings as Aman Iman, Amassakoul and Imidiwan to their credit, Tinariwen turns inward with Tassili, opting for acoustic guitars instead of their usual electric razzle dazzle. Teaming up for the first time with guest musicians like Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio fame, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Nels Cline from Wilco, Tinariwen plumbs the heart of their sound and finds a savage soulfulness.
Interestingly, Tassili has a more polished and more focused feel to it than some of their previous recordings, allowing a spare, intimate artistry to shine through. Steeped in an acoustic sound, Tassili sounds more like an American blues band than the guitar flash we've come to expect from a desert blues recording and the result is simply stunning.

Saltwater Band: Malk

The blind Aboriginal singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu released his debut solo album two years ago, and since then he has become successful far beyond Australia, selling more than half a million albums. His second album is released at the end of next month, but is preceded by this intriguing, if uneven reminder of what he was doing before he became an international celebrity. He was working with Saltwater Band, a group from Elcho Island, off north-east Arnhem Land, led by another singer-songwriter, Manuel Dhurrkay. This is their third album, a cheerful fusion of reggae, gospel, pop and occasional echoes of indigenous styles, with many lyrics in the language of the Gumatj people.

Tinariwen: Tassili

It's not always a good sign when a band (or their producer) invite special guests to join in on a recording or add overdubs later, and what we have here is a brave, mostly impressive no-nonsense acoustic set that includes a batch of unnecessary collaborations. Tinariwen are a brilliant live band who have deservedly built up an international following for their infectious, pounding fusion of desert blues and the styles of the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara. After their last album, the charming, surprisingly laid-back Imidiwan, I had been expecting a return to the electric guitars and energy of their live shows or their classic Aman Iman. Instead, they have produced their most sparse, gentle album to date.

Interview with Ea Sola

Vietnamese artist Ea Sola creates performance pieces featuring women farmers, aged 50-75. Alfred Hickling talks to her about her ever-evolving work, Drought and Rain
In a sweltering hot theatre in the centre of Naples, a group of Vietnamese peasant women stand on stage. They are not professional performers, but farmers aged between 50 and 75 who have never previously left their villages, let alone been transplanted to the garbage-strewn streets of Italy's most chaotic city. Gradually they begin to sway, as if the wind were stirring a rice field. Though their movements are simple, they have a stealthy, ritualistic quality that occasionally becomes quite surreal. When they bow their heads, the gently nodding crowns of conical straw hats resembles a strain of alien fungi.
It is not easy to say what this enigmatic performance is intended to be – it's difficult to call it drama because nobody speaks. It's hard to characterise it as dance, since the performers barely move.
The piece, called Drought and Rain, is the creation of the Vietnamese-French director, choreographer and performance artist Ea Sola.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ladino music

Interest in Ladino music -music that originated among the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain following the reconquista of 1492- is on the rise. Rightly so, since at its best it can be enchanting. Of Moroccan and Persian heritage and currently based in London, Mor Karbasi sings with the same reach and emotion as the finest flamenco and fado vocalists, and her music has similarities to both of those Iberian-rooted styles.

The Banjo's Roots, Reconsidered

Research by a Gambian musician has shed new light on the African origins of a quintessentially American instrument.


Latin alternative DJ collective Maracuyeah mixes vintage cumbia with Chilean electronica

Friday, August 19, 2011

Preachin’ the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House

If there wasn't a Son House, you might have to invent him. Born in Riverton, Mississippi in 1902, Son House (Eddie James House, Jr) was preaching the Christian gospel at age 15 in many Baptist churches around the Mississippi delta as his family wandered from one plantation to another, but he soon developed a love for the guitar and the blues, and joined playing partners Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and Willie Brown performing in jook joints and nightclubs in the area.


Tareq Abboushi & Shusmo: Mumtastic

Palestinian pianist and buzuq player Tareq Abboushi along with his co-conspirators that make up Shusmo have turned Arabic music inside out with their release of Mumtastic. To clue listeners into the group's style "shusmo" means "whatchamacallit" in Arabic and "mumtaz" is Arabic for excellent. And indeed descriptive terms for the music on Mumtastic are hard to come by as this quintet's tears through the ground rules of genre, fusing Arabic music with jazz, funk and sassy Latin grooves.

In Lisbon, finding fado's blues on backstreets

It's after dark in Lisbon's ramshackle Alfama neighborhood. Old-timers gather in restaurants, which serve little more than grilled sardines, to hear and sing Portugal's mournful fado...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings: The Centennial Edition

The 100th birthday of Mississippi delta bluesman Robert Johnson was celebrated on May 8, 2011, and Sony/Legacy has decided to honor one of the greatest American blues legends and musicians of all time by issuing a newly-remastered two-CD set of 42 master and alternative takes from 1936-1937.

Mercedes Peón: SOS

SOS introduces various musical influences, ranging from wild Galician folk to Afro-Cuban, Balkan sounds, funk, jazz, rock, global electronica, experimental excursions and other elements. Some of her pieces are like musical collages, recombining music from various sources with surprising twists. Mercedes Peón is at ease using electronic and acoustic instruments simultaneously. In addition to a surprising wide range of vocals, Mercedes Peón plays keyboards, bass, samplers, guitar, clarinets, electronic bagpipe, Moroccan reeds, Galician and Berber frame drums, drum kit, various types of percussion (including a paprika can), water and field recordings.

Youssou N’Dour: Dakar-Kingston

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston [Universal/Emarcy, 2011] Senegal's Youssou N'Dour, one of the greatest voices in African music (or any sort of music, for that matter), has made a reggae album. Read More

Trojan Release A Double 'Double Barrel'

Two versions on one of the biggest selling Reggae records of all time on limited edition 7" vinyl. Read More

Pequeña Orquesta de Trovadores

A folk-flavored indie band has a sweet, sad take on cumbia. Read More

Johnny Clegg On World Cafe

Hear an interview and live performance from the South African musician and activist. Read More

Naturalesa Salvatge

Spain's Naturalesa Salvatge makes us want to linger in darkness with their new EP. Read More