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world music Aalto means wave and this Finnish band is very new wave, using Mongolian or Tuvan throat singing along with more traditional Finnish instruments like the kantele and a world of other influences on didgeridoo, sitar, clarinet and the very didgeridoo-like bass clarinet. The very eclectic and hypnotic music on Ikaro floats somewhere in the air between Finland and Mongolia, with occasional forays into Indian or Karelian space. Waldemar Wallenius drifts in their ozone and reports back.

world music Since the 1980s, Groupa has been an essential element of the Nordic roots revival, serving as host to many fine musicians over the decades. Silent Folk continues on from 2008's Frost, featuring Groupa as a provocative trio of Mats Edén (fiddles), Terje Isungset (percussion and jew's harp), and Jonas Simonson (flutes). What makes Groupa 2014 vital is its adherence to a particular sonic aesthetic: this is minimalist music played to maximum effect. By minimalist I am not speaking of the repetitive modern classical compositions of Glass or Reich, but rather the stripped-down intensity of this trio. This is a recording that relishes moving about in its own peculiar space, demarcated between plays of light and shade, melodic assembly and deconstruction. Lee Blackstone listens to a silence alive with possibilities.

world music Malian guitarist and songwriter Habib Koité explores the happiness of roots on his latest release, Soô. Affectionately known as the modern or white griot, Koité is a descendant of the Khassonké griots who have provided wisdom and entertainment for generations. While many griots are strict traditionalists, Koité honors and expands on his heritage, singing in multiple languages and encompassing many Malian melodies and rhythms into his style. Listen in, and read Alex Brown's review.

world music
There are plenty of albums that attempt to mix traditional and contemporary influences. Indian American Sheela Bringi combines Indian classical music with American blues and jazz on Incantations, the multi-instrumentalist's debut album, co-written and produced by long time collaborator and Georgia native Clinton Patterson. Bringi is a vocalist who also plays harmonium, harp, manjira and bansuri, She has spent over 15 years learning north Indian classical music traditions, in addition to working with Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith and Meredith Monk. Bringi draws on the diversity of these experiences on Incantations. Alex Brown finds an engaging recording that combines these musical influences into a contemporary form of Indian music.

world music We've all heard countless versions of Bob Dylan's songs, from Hendrix doing "All Along the Watchtower" to yet another local folksinger warbling "Blowin' in the Wind." But I'm betting you never heard anything like this. Thirteen acts from around the world all do their very best Dylan, on native instruments, in their own languages, and at best, radically reimagining the songs. Jeffery R. Lindholm sees why everybody around the world must get stoned.

world music It's always worth a look and listen when a lost album is unearthed, especially if the music is of such unpolished glory as this. We have recently been treated to a resurgence of what eventually came to be called chicha, a pulsating, psychedelic style from Peru's Amazon region... The band that started it all was Juaneco y su Combo, who in their initial incarnation were called Juaneco y su Conjunto and played traditional music in and around the eastern Peruvian city of Pucallpa. When leadership of the band shifted from Juan Wong Paredes to his son Juan Wong Popolizio circa 1965, the younger Juan Wong decided the band should go modern: out with acoustic guitars and accordion, in with electric axes and organ, and they called it The Birth of Jungle Cumbia. Read Tom Orr's review and listen to the music.

world music The group La Talvera, from Albi, France, has for some time been among the primary musical ambassadors for Occitania, a language region that reaches across Southern France, from the Pyrenees to the Alps, including small areas of Spain and Italy as well. Working from texts of children's songs collected by Gabriel Soulages, a 19th century folklorist and mayor of Albi, the group fashioned an album of true folk songs in a contemporary folk-roots setting and with lively arrangementscalled Cançons del Cap del Pont.
David Cox brings you to Albi to hear the music.

world music Belonoga is the stage name of Gergana Dimitrova, one of the star singers of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares and more recently with the Eva Quartet. On Through the Eyes of the Sun, Dimitrova searched deep to reawaken her vocal soul. Recorded over a four-year period, it pools her knowledge of Aboriginal, Pygmy, and Bulgarian musical heritages, she forges terrain at once organic and meticulous.
Tyran Grillo takes you on Belonoga's journey to 'a path within.'

Yölariis is an old word for the sound that ice makes as it changes temperature, forcing one sheet against another in an ethereal frozen song. Just say the words "yolar ice" with some force and grit in your voice and you'll hear it. And it is the band's interpretation of that sound that starts this recording, and permeates much of its sonic landscape, as the quartet creates their own "new Nordic" music on violins, percussion, bass, voices, banjo, cittern and the like.
Cliff Furnald listens to the Swedish quartet break the ice.

world music The celebrated Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia shows fresh versatility by hooking up with Canadian guitarist Adrian Raso, a devotee of Django Reinhardt's Gypsy jazz, as well as being fluent in other styles. So can a driving, blaring Romanian big brass band and the nuances of jazz guitar complement each other in a way that's musically enjoyable?
Tom Orr looks for the answer in The Devil's Tale.

world music The young quartet known as Over Sundet takes its name from the waters separating Denmark from Sweden. Bringing together a mixture of backgrounds in folk, jazz, and pop traditions, the musicians combine forces in Masquerade, an all-original program of self-styled “Nordic roots.” From the cover and title alone of the band's sophomore effort, one can already sense the wistful nature of what lies within. This is a group at ease and at play, at once uplifting and contemplative.
Tyran Grillo explores what sets them apart.

The Basque trikitixa accordion player Kepa Junkera never tires of the "project album" - music tied together by an overriding musical theme but with a wide diversity of musical collaborators. On Galiza, he visits the Celtic-influenced area in the North West corner of Iberia. (Though Celtic in culture, the Galician language itself is closer to Portuguese.) On this lavish, double CD package, with an illustrated 9" by 9" hard cover book, Junkera fully explores this musically fertile region through a collaboration with about 200 musicians. These include Uxia, Susana Seivane, members of Berroguetto, Os Cempes, and Luar na Lubre, just to name a few.
David Cox crosses borders to listen.


"My first real school was the barbershop."
RootsWorld's George de Stefano talks with Salentine mandolinist and singer Mimmo Epifani about tradition, innovation and how "everyone can use music to communicate." Read and listen.

The Kitchen Concert
Mats Edén has been one of the prime movers in the folk revival in Sweden, but is also a force in improvisational, classical and art music, and has performed with Groupa, Ale Möller, Lena Willemark, Ellika Frisell, and many others. Earlier this month Mats took out his fiddles and recorded a kitchen concert for RootsWorld, from his home in Harlösa, Sweden. He's also written a detailed program guide (in English and Swedish), so you can follow along.


Habib Koité
News from the world of world music
  • Habib Koité live at The Small World Festival in Toronto on February 14th, 2014.
  • An interview with Kurdish artist Çiğdem Aslan from RFI Radio France
  • In brief: A taste of some recent releases that may (or may not) be reviewed in more depth in the coming months. Includes songs from new recordings. Read and listen
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    About RootsWorld: RootsWorld is a world music magazine started in 1993, pretty much at the dawn of the term "world music" as well as the pre-dawn of internet publishing (I suspect this was the first music magazine of any sort published on the www). Our focus is the music of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Pacifica and The Americas, the roots of the global musical milieu that has come to be known as world music, be it traditional folk music, jazz, rock or some hybrid. How is that defined? I don't know and don't particularly care at this point: it's music from someplace you aren't, music with roots, music of the world and for the world. OK?

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