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News from the world of world music.
Çiğdem Aslan serenades with Greek blues.
The Kurdish singer talks about singing rebetiko - a form of Greek blues that grew out of the population exchanges in 1923 following the Greco-Turkish war.
Listen to Alison Hird's interview with Cigdem Aslan from RFI's World Music Matters
Most fans of African music are far more familiar with this simple logo than with the man behind it. But it can safely be said that without the man behind Syllart, the world of music would have been a far leaner, less interesting place. On December 30, 2013, Ibrahima Sylla died, leaving behind a discography and a legacy few in the music world could match. Christina Roden offers a personal memoir of the man who brought Salif Keita, Africando and so many, many more artists to the world at large.
This month we lost two great men from two different realms, both of whom did much to change the world's they lived in. Now that we have had time to mourn and miss Nelson Mandela, I want to go back, to remind you of one of the great men of music we lost just a few weeks ago, and give him his due. Ken Braun remembers Tabu Ley Rochereau, the voice of lightness.
An interview with La Caravane Passe about their latest album, Gypsy for a day and their search for 'immigration music.'
Produced and written by Sarah Elzas for "World Music Matters" on RFI - Radio France Internationale.
NEW RELEASES IN BRIEF
A brief taste of some recent releases that may (or may not) be reviewed in more depth in the coming months. Reviews by Michael Stone, Cliff Furnald, Greg Harness and others.
Walk to the Sea
Buchbinder (trumpet, flugelhorn) teams with Cuban pianist Hilario Durán on original works by the artists, with Afro-Cuban, Jewish, North African and classical inflections (flute, clarinet, tenor and soprano sax, guitar, tres, oud, violin, viola, bass, batá, congas, chekere, riq, frame drum, dumbeq, drum kit), plus singers Michal Cohen and Maryem Hassan Tollar: Levantine jazz for the 21st century. - MS
A Little Piece (Bismeaux Records)
For the past four decades, Ray Benson has led the world's finest Western swing band, Asleep at the Wheel. A Little Piece is just his second solo record and his first solo outing in over ten years. This record is more bluesy, more jazzy, and less traditional than an AATW record, but it still highlights the best aspects of Ray Benson - his powerful bass vocals, his rock solid guitar work, and his deep roots in American music. The songs tend toward darker subject matter, dealing with broken hearts, growing older, and having a broken heart while growing older. The album's highlight is the tribute to Tulsa blues guitarist JJ Cale who passed away last year. - by Greg Harness
Wylie & The Wild West
Relic (Hi-Line Records)
“Them radio DJs won't play my song, and no one's ever heard of me, / Just tryin' to make a livin' as a yodelin' cowboy in the 21st Century.” That's how Wylie kicks off this newest recording. He's put out about two dozen recordings over the past quarter century, and this is yet another good one. It's an enjoyable set of anthems, love songs, heartbreak songs, and just the right amount of yodeling. These are mostly originals with one tin pan alley tune and nice cover of a kd lang song. And, for the record, Wylie's songs are a staple of my radio show. - by Greg Harness
Blood Like a River (Stone Barn Records)
The most recent solo album from Nathan Bell is full of riveting, hard-hitting songs rendered sparse and raw. Many have a political character, but refreshingly, these pieces are neither rants nor novelties. The album also includes an almost perfect father-daughter song, “Blue Kentucky Gone,” which stokes my feelings of melancholy. Blood Like a River satisfies in ways both cerebral and visceral. - by Greg Harness
The third release from this Texasbased group is yet another solid presentation of Western swing.
The sisters sing threepart harmony and play threevoiced fiddles on swing classics written by the
likes of Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, and Hank Williams. The arrangements by the band’s guitarist
Joey McKenzie are perfectly suited for the ensemble. Even the sad songs on this collection bring
a smile. - GH
Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet
Where Here Meets There
Vibraphonist-percussionist-composer-bandleader Brian O’Neill’s third Tiki outing, a quirky bricolage of George Gershwin, Miguel de Falla, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie, Cal Tjader, Peggy Lee and O’Neill’s own offerings (e.g., “Would You Like Bongos with That Fugue?”). Think grooving George and Jane Jetson, Skypad Apartments muzak, Orbit City lounge music, tea party antidote for any starport in the asteroid storm. - MS
Joe Fielder’s Big Sackbut
Sackbut Stomp, featuring Steven Bernstein
Three trombones, a tuba and slide trumpet (Steven Bernstein), an embouchure workout on Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller’s “Tin Tin Deo,” Bennie Wallace’s “Eight Page Bible” and Fielder originals, brassy blast attitude from Africando collaborators Fielder and Luis Bonilla, Ryan Keberle (Catharsis, Maria Schneider) and tuba man Marcus Rojas (Sly & Robbie, Henry Threadgill, Lionel Hampton, John Zorn, American Symphony Orchestra). Deep tone on the bone phone. - MS
Who Is William Onyeabor?
Some very funky Nigerian soul music made by an artist that everyone is talking about and no one knows anything about. Mythology abounds (he's a High Chief of the Igbo village of Enugu; he's a Christian who turned his back on stardom and popular music) and that's probably what makes him important. The truth is probably not near as exciting as the stories. - CF
Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda
O Que Será
On this superbly conceived live date at Jazz Middelheim, Antwerp (August 2012), the intuitive interplay between piano and bandolim on an elegant repertoire (Ernesto Nazareth, Pixinguinha, Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Jobim, and Piazzolla, plus compositions by the artists themselves) exemplifies the virtuosic genius of a true-north world jazz sensibility, music beyond category if not time itself. - MS
You can listen here
Viva Africando (Stern's Music)
Twenty years, 7 recordings and counting - Africando has made itself the very definition of Afro-Latin vocal music with its rich range of contributors (Amadou Ballake, Bassirou Sarr, Sékouba Bambino, James Gadiaga, Jos Spinto, Shoubou: aka Roger Eugène, Lokombe, Pascal Dieng, Rene Cabral, Raymond Fernandes, Medoune Diallo and Ray De La Paz all showed up for this latest one). Their latest does not disappoint. We have a full review coming next month, so for now, just bask in their musical glow. - CF
CD available from cdRoots
More new releases:
Most of these recordings have been featured on RootsWorld Radio
Past In Brief reviews
Bengt Berger - Beches Brew Big (Country and Eastern)
Juaneco y su Conjunto - Birth of Jungle Cumbia (Vital Record)
Ray Lema Quintet - VSNP (One Drop)
Gabriel Palatchi Band Caja Musical (artist release)
Basco The Remarkable Return of Old Man Basco (Go' Danish)
Khaira Arby Timbuktu Tarab (Clermont)
Carmen Souza Kachupada (Galileo)
TriBeCaStan New Songs from the Old Country (Evergreene)
Ellika, Solo and Raphael NOW (Couuntry and Eastern)
Bengt Berger Beches Brew Big (Couuntry and Eastern)
Dreamers' Circus A Little Symphony (Go' Danish Folk)
Hailu Mergia Hailu Mergia and his Classical Instrument (Awesome African Tapes)
Rokia Traore Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)
Maja and David Nord (Go' Danish Folk)
Den Fule Contrebande (kakafon)
Bulgarian Voices Angelite Angelina (Jaro)
Cigden Aslan Mortissa (Asphalt Tango)
Ray Lema Quintet VSNP (one Drop)
Lala Njava Malagasy Blues Song (Riverboat)
Mats Eden Pastern (Gamalthea)
Mamadou Kelly Adibar (Clermont)
Sidi Toure Alafia (Thrill Jockey)
Titina Titina canta B. Leza (Stern's)
Van Ahn Vanessa Vo Three-Mountain Pass (Innova)