The Beginner's Guide to Bollywood (2003)

«Bollywood music has been loved in the West for the way it Cuisinarts different styles together, mixing and matching like crazy in the same song. This extensive collection places a great emphasis on that side of the music, which makes for an easy introduction to the myriad styles that have made up Bollywood over the last 50 years. There’s plenty of music from the’70s (one whole disc is devoted to it, plus part of another), which was a golden era for Bollywood, and the development of the music – which comes from the soundtracks of the gloriously successful Bollywood films – is well laid out here, both by example, and in the excellent booklet. While some might feel too much emphasis has been placed on the eclectic side of the music, that’s the big drawing card, as composers and arrangers constantly seek new things. The “playback singers”, as Bollywood vocalists are called, are, along with the composers, the real stars, and the big names all get an airing. While more space could have been devoted to the '50s and '60s, and the '80s and '90s, which have seen such a rich development in the form with composers like A.R. Rahman showing the full possibilities of Bollywood music, greater exposure would have been nice. But with just three CDs on which to try and capture the madness and the melody, the compilers have done an excellent job of putting together this beginner’s guide.» (AMG)

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The Festival in the Desert / Le Festival au Désert (2003)

«It’s the unlikeliest place to imagine a festival, in the Sahara, not far from the Malian town of Timbuktu. But that’s the home of the Festival in the Desert, which celebrated its third anniversary in 2003. While it attracts international talent, the real focus is on artists who make their homes in the area, often of the nomadic Tuareg people. But there are others who live locally, like the legendary guitarist Ali Farka Toure, whose village of Niafunke lies just 40 kilometers away, and whose “Karaw” here is a masterpiece of desert funk. But so many of the bands here mine a wonderfully dark, spare, bluesy groove, like Tindé, or Tinariwen, whose “Aldachan Manin” has a muscular suppleness. Oumou Sangare, one of the great singers from Mali’s southern Wassoulou region, brings plenty of raw soul to “Wayena”, and kora genius Ballake Sissoko collaborates with Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi for a fascinating piece. America’s Blackfire connect the dots between the Sahara and the Arizona deserts, although their punk-inflected rock is a little out of place, but still powerful. Lo’ Jo, one of the festival’s instigators, team up with Malian Django for a storming version of their “Jah Kas Cool Boy”, and with “Win My Train Fare Home”, Robert Plant and Justin “Scarecrow” Adams offer a circular blues that fits in perfectly with the other artists. Every performance is outstanding, but even more, they communicate the open nature of the festival, the feeling of what it was to be there on those nights and days in January 2003. And that is what makes this very special indeed, lifting it far above most live albums. This one definitely has the magic, making it simply one of the best live albums ever released.» (AMG)

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Laila Orient by Saatchi (2004)

«The concept lying behind this album is the same one that brought the “Buddha Bar” CD into existence - an album that was recorded by the musicians performing at the Parisian Buddha Bar. Owners of the popular Laila bar in Istanbul decided to do the same with live music their bar featured.

Laila Orient is thus a collection of songs, mostly recorded only for this particular album. Among others, the album features the French version of Mirkelam’s song “Unutulmaz” (“Inoubliable”). Mirkelam's very popular song has been recorded in French version for this album only.
Another popular song is “Husan” recorded by “Bhangra Knights vs. Husan.” Husan has been a big hit and has been played over and over in a number of clubs in Istanbul during this summer.
The album also features Elissa’s catchy song Baada from his album “Avshalak”. Elissa is a rising star in the Arabic music world. Musa Göçmen’s two songs are also in this album: “Sufi” and “The End.”

Laila Orient has sold 100,000 worldwide, a figure considered very high in its category.» (From the Net)

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Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is A Mouth (2009)

«Dreamt up by Misha Bower and Matt Cully in the summer of 2006, Bruce Peninsula has slowly mutated, elaborating on the Alan Lomax archives that initially inspired them and taking a new turn every time a new member or instrument is added to the mix. Since their second show, Bruce Peninsula has ballooned out to include a large cast of hoot-and-hollerers. The band mutates often but the last couple of years has seen contributions from Neil Haverty, Andrew Barker, Steve McKay, Leon Taheny, Kari Peddle, Daniela Geshundheit, Katie Stelmanis, Caseey Mecija, Maya Postepski, Isla Craig and Doc Dunn (the latter two no longer perform with BP but are honourary members for life).

The instrumental elements have expanded into new terrain (unlike most folk bands, prog isn't a dirty word for this band), but Bruce Peninsula's focus is devoted to the singing, first and foremost. Singing from the gut, singing with gusto, singing the way we were made to sing… The early, simple call-and-responses have given way to more elaborate harmonies and compositions over time, but the teachings of those timeless old recordings from the American south remain in tact. There is no denying the power and conviction of old spiritual singers like Vera Ward Hall or Washington Phillips. And while each member of the band may have their own take on the powers that be, the words those legends sang (and, more importantly, the way they sang them) have forever converted Bruce Peninsula into devotees of the church of song.
The surge of experimental music in Toronto has been equally important for Bruce Peninsula, bestowing upon them a wide-eyed, anything-goes mentality. Purists may argue that the blues or folk tradition can't be properly expressed without an old steel string and a slide, but this band has never been too concerned with trying to crack open closed minds. And so, a march of metalophone, lap-steel, zithers, and bells. Of drums and sticks and any other oddities of interesting and pleasing tone. Voices blaring all the while. A Mountain Is A Mouth is their debut LP.» (Canadian Music Wiki)

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