Dudubeat - Experience (2002)

«Experience is the debut project of the St. Petersburg-based duo Dudubeat. Its members, Karen Sargsyan (duduk) and Arsen Grigoryan (keyboards) brought together in it their love for the traditional melodies of Armenia and the desire to make them more modern, fully preserving the national colors, producing a tasteful blend of live instruments and electronic sounds. Combined with the electronic rhythms, the moving, deep and tender sound of Karen’s duduk, which he plays in strict adherence to the classical style of duduk playing, becomes even more expressive. The result is an album quiet varied in moods and atmospheres, which will please all the lovers of background music and also the more adventurous listeners. Ethno-beat for mind and body. Recommended.»

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Papaito - De Buenavista El Otro Sonero (2001)

«Papaíto (b Mario Muñoz Salazar, 5 Dec. '23, Buena Vista, Cuba, 4 June '00, New York City) Afro Cuban singer/ percussionist/ composer with engagingly poignant voice; worked with cha cha chá creator Enrique Jorrín, others; made films in Mexico and joined Sonora Matancera there, continuing as a member into the '90s; left Cuba for good '60. Sessioned on many recordings, among them Mark Weinstein's avant-garde Cuban Roots (1968) and Mongo Santamaría's Up From The Roots (1972). Papaíto's solo debut was Robert Torres presenta a su amigo: Papaíto (1979) the first of four hugely successful LPs on SAR: Papaíto (1980) incl. memorable version of Cuban classic "Aprietala En El Rincon," both these with trumpet-led conjunto occasionally augmented by violin and flute; Papaíto Rinde Homenaje A Abelardo Barroso (1980) used a charanga augmented by tres, was tribute to Cuban vocalist Barroso (1905-1972), and it is regarded as one of his best. He the switched back to conjunto for Papaíto (1982) and Para Mis Amigos (1984). […]

Feeling betrayed by Torres, who had wound-down SAR at its peak and relocated the company from NYC to Miami, he refused to record for nearly 16 years, with the exception of providing lead vocals to two tracks on Valdésa Records Presenta Vol. 1: Salsa Sudada (1990). Sang lead on one track of the Caimán All Stars' Descarga Brava 2000! (1999) as a prelude to making a major comeback with his own solo album on Caimán in 2000.

This is a historically important release, as it was Papaito's final recording before he passed away on June 4th of 2000. This veteran sonero, who hailed from Buena Vista, Cuba, has left us on a strong note. With a relaxed, laid-back feel, he sounds great. And just look at this band... all heavy-hitters befitting such a vocalist. With Alfredo Valdes Jr., José Mangual Jr., Nelson Gonzalez, Milton Cardona, Hector "Bomberito" Zarzuela, Russell "Skee" Fansworth, and Junior Vega. Recommended.» (Descarga)

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Tiken Jah Fakoly - Françafrique (2002)

«In the tradition of Bob Marley, Alpha Blondy, and his African griot caste, Tiken Jah Fakoly emerged in the late '90s as Africa's premier social critic through reggae. Born Doumbia Moussa Fakoly (June 23, 1968) into a family of musicians and oral historians known as griots, a role honored throughout Africa, Fakoly took an earnest interest in reggae as a boy growing up in the town of Odienné on the northern slope of the Ivory Coast. He formed his first group in 1987, giving them the name "Djelys," another word for the griots and minstrels. Taking on the mantel of a history keeper, Fakoly wrote lyrics that documented events of his times and the oppression of his people. He was quickly known regionally, and soon his music and reputation stretched across the nation and even beyond its borders. His song recounting the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny elevated him to popularity among African youth. Soon expatriates introduced his music to African listeners abroad, particularly French audiences. In 1998 Fakoly performed in Paris, his first international venture. His early discography, including Les Djelys (1993), Missiri (1994), Mandercratie (1996), Cours d'Histoire (1999), and Le Chaméléon (2000) were originally produced exclusively for African distribution. Later recordings such as Françafrique (2002) and Coup de Gueule (2004), which were recorded at the famed Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica, became best-sellers in France. Fakoly racked up an impressive 100,000 records sold to French audiences, making him Africa's best-selling reggae artist. His 2007 album The African won him a place in the Top 20 on World Music Charts Europe, a position he held for months.» (AMG)

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Postcards from Italy (60): Torino, Piazzetta Mollino

Novalima - Afro (2006)

Many thanx to an anonymous Peruvian reader for this post.

«Though Novalima was originally started by four Peruvian musicians living in all four corners of the world (Barcelona, Hong Kong, London, and Lima), this experimental music group's membership spans much wider than that. Their sound and goal are much too broad to be thought of in a traditional "credits list" sense. Though the world is generally familiar with several Afro-Latino musical styles, meaning musics created by the mutual influence of African, Spanish, and indigenous cultures, such as Afro-Cuban (salsa, son) or Afro-Brazilian (samba, bossa nova), Afro-Peruvian music has been much overlooked by world music audiences. Aiming to rediscover and revitalize Afro-Peruvian music, bringing the genre out of obscurity and near extinction, the four producers solicited some of Peru's most famous and best respected folkloric musicians. The collective released their first record, Novalima, independently in 2003. The record covered a wide range of Latin styles on top of electronic beats, which set the course for their second, highly acclaimed record, Afro, which would be released on London's Mr. Bongo label. Their sophomore effort featured participation from such Afro-Peruvian legends as Nocomedes Santa Cruz, Lucia Campos, and Zambo Cavero, as well as renowned musicians Juan Medrano Colito, Mangue Vasquez, Milagros Guerrero, Oscar Aviles, Jr., and Pedro Arrutia.»

Afro detailed review here.

Novalima’s official web site here.

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Oc - La Musique Occitane à l'aube Du IIIeme Millenaire (1999)

«Fondé en 1999 par Christian Salès, OC vise à promouvoir la culture occitane à travers des créations artistiques. Notre collectif comprend musiciens, danseurs, plasticiens et spécialistes des technologies numériques de l'image et du son. OC collabore à des projets éclectiques de l'audiovisuel au spectacle vivant dans l'esprit d’ouverture occitan. Les créations OC comprennent des musiques, films et des objets du Pays d’Oc.

Ce jeune groupe musical, originaire des environs de Carcassonne, propose une musique électronique originale alliant voix et instruments anciens. Les chants, sur des textes occitans, évoquent l’histoire, les légendes et le rêve. Le style musical OC est original. Le public décrit cette musique comme “unique, positive, fascinante et atemporelle”. D’autres disent qu’elle offre à chacun le moyen d’atteindre ses rêves.

“Notre musique découle d’une interprétation actuelle de la mémoire occitane. C’est la musique telle qu’auraient pu l’imaginer les troubadours du XIIIe, s’ils s’étaient vus confier des instruments du IIIe millénaire”» – Christian Salès, fondateur du groupe OC.

OC vit avec passion sa terre, sa langue, sa culture. Dans le prolongement de la mémoire occitane, OC refabrique les instruments des troubadours. Il développe aussi des instruments électroniques uniques et s’inspire de concepts de jeux instrumentaux ancestraux, adaptés aux technologies d’aujourd’hui. L’ensemble musical est composé d’instruments anciens (vièle à archet, psaltérion, organistrum), d’instruments traditionnels (crava de la montagne noire), de percussions médiévales et méditerranéennes, d’instruments électroniques spécifiques (organisdrum) et de tout l’instrumentarium numérique actuel. (OCmusic.org)

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Robyn Hitchcock - I Often Dream of Trains (1984)

«After the debacle that was the making of 1982's Groovy Decay, Robyn Hitchcock briefly retired from music, and when he returned it was with an album that offered a thoroughly uncompromised vision of Hitchcock's imagination. Released in 1984, I Often Dream of Trains was a primarily acoustic set with Hitchcock handling nearly all the instruments and vocals by himself; the tone is spare compared to the full-on rock & roll of his recordings with the Soft Boys or his solo debut, Black Snake Diamond Role, but the curious beauty of Hitchcock's melodies is every bit as striking in these stripped-down sessions, and the surreal imagery of "Flavour of Night," "Trams of Old London," and the title song comes to vivid and enchanting life. Hitchcock's off-kilter wit has rarely been as effective as it is on this album; the jaunty harmonies of "Uncorrected Personality Traits" are the ideal complement for the song's psychobabble, "Sounds Great When You're Dead" manages to be funny and a bit disturbing at once, and the drunken campfire singalong of "Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus" was joyously sloppy enough to inspire a cover by the Replacements. There's a slightly ramshackle quality to these recordings, but Hitchcock was rarely in more uniformly fine form as a songwriter, and there is a consistency of tone to the disc that makes it all the more effective, drawing listeners into a curious world of its own and allowing them to explore the surroundings and their quiet splendor. And Hitchcock has rarely recorded a song as luminously gorgeous as "Autumn Is Your Last Chance." Hitchcock would pick up his electric guitar and reunite with his band the Egyptians in 1985, releasing two fine albums in one year, but I Often Dream of Trains was a simple and marvelously effective return to action that's all the more winning for its subdued, tentative tone.» (AMG)

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African Blues (World Music Network, 1998)

«Blues? That’s American Deep South stuff, right? Well, not only. The quest for “authenticity” in music has taken so many spurious turns in recent years that it has perhaps managed to overlook the overarching patterns. It’s these patterns that have made up the blues, that inimitable form of misery set to music that’s as vibrant today as ever. It has a long history – musicologists have traced the origins of blues from India to Arabia to Spain, through to Africa, the Caribbean and America’s southern states.

African Blues, a valuable and exhilarating record, contains 15 songs ranging from Egypt’s Hamza El Din to Cape Verde’s unsurpassable Cesaria Evora. The Stayin’ Home With the Blues series, meanwhile, features vintage recordings with American blues artists such as Freddie King, Big Bill Bronzy, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Memphis Slim.

Although blues has its origins elsewhere, it’s the American records, made mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, that sound spare and dour. It’s impossible to say the same of African musician Ismael Lo’s “Talibe” with its sweetly sad vocals and lilting rhythms, or the mesmerizing progression of Oumou Sangare’s “Saa Magni”. But listen more closely and the connections become clearer: there’s something of Otis Redding about Kante Manfila and Balla Kall’s “Kankan Blues” from Guinea, and there’s a distinct doo-wop groove in the oldest track on the disc, Zambian Alick Nhata’s “Maggie”.

Turn to Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Sad news from Korea” – a 1950s song which shows how well the old blues format adapts to accommodate new subjects – and we begin to hear the same kinds of empty spaces, quivering with expression, as in songs like “A Va Safy Va Lomo” from Mozambique’s Orchestra Marrabenta Star.

Blues has its sound roots in the music that the American slaves brought from Africa and its emotional roots in the experience of captivity. And African Blues is fascinating because it traces not only roots, but is made by musicians who have already been exposed to American Blues, especially in its soul and R’n’B incarnations.

But how authentic is that typical no-good-woman blues sentiment that the Stayin’ Home album has in abundance? Without knowing the languages it’s difficult to know whether misogyny prevails in African Blues. But it is intriguing to reflect on Cesaria Evora, the barefoot diva who slugs back whisky and smokes with the best of them, and who has by virtue of her Portuguese-language songs been enlisted into the ranks of fado – Portuguese blues – singers. Whatever the roots of blues, its routes through the world continue apace.» (New Internationalist)

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Bareto - Boleto (2006)

A great instrumental band from Peru, fusing Jamaican ska ad reggae, latin rock, Peruan cumbia, jazz, etc. This is their first CD. Their second work, the equally interesting Cumbia, came out in 2008.

«Bareto es una banda instrumental que sigue la tradición de agrupaciones como Black Sugar y los Belkings, que se convirtieron en verdaderos animadores de las fiestas de toda una generación de peruanos con un sonido original. En el 2005 editó el EP Ombligo (OZ records), en el 2006 su álbum debut, Boleto (Independiente), que los consolidó como una propuesta imitada por muchas otras bandas jóvenes por mezclar desprejuiciadamente el reggae y el ska jamaiquinos (música de fiesta, de celebración de la libertad) con aires latinos, entre los que ya aparecía la cumbia (como en La calor y su versión de La del Brazo, del grupo de rock Frágil). Desde ahí, su largo periplo por los escenarios los ha ido cuajando como una banda sólida que incorpora guitarras, percusión y vientos en un combo sin parangón en nuestro medio.» (Bareto’s MySpace page)

Mas informaciones aquì.

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