RootsWorld: a magazine and radio program of the world's music

A World Music Magazine


world music Hailing from Moravia, in the heart of central Europe and the Czech Republic, Ponk are an innovative trio that has revitalized the traditional folk repertoire found in the Czech/Slovak border regions... The key to the sound of Postfolklor is the Hungarian cimbalom played by Eduard Tomaštík. Tomaštík lays down a pulse that serves as the foundation for the rest of the group, which features Michal Krystýnek on violin, and Jakub Nožička on double bass. Tomaštík's cimbalom is a percussive, often driving force for this drummer-less trio. The cimbalom often sounds like a piano being played in Steve Reich-ian bursts; at other times, Tomaštík utilizes the pedals on the instrument to make it sound like a guitar. Lee Blackstone finds it all a wild trip by a trio with enormous promise.


world music "Esperanto is a dream, a wish, a utopia in which all humanity can communicate in a single language, without linguistic dominance that inevitably involves the subjection, and not only cultural, of people who are forced to express themselves in a language that is not their own."

George de Stefano talks with Calabrian singer Massimo Ferrante.


world music Gossip is the fifth album from Khaira Arby, known as 'The Nightingale of the North.' Since bursting onto the music scene in the late 1970's, Arby has established herself as one of Mali's greatest treasures. Her resounding voice and infectious band have spread the musical traditions of Arby's hometown, Timbuktu, to audiences worldwide, as she continues to blur the boundary between traditional and contemporary Malian music. While this set of songs is drawn from the rhythms and melodies of Arby's youth, the group has injected these tunes with a timeless mix of scintillating funk and blues Alex Brown listens to this heartfelt and energetic album.


world music A few songs on Lura's latest album Herança (Heritage) come across a shade harder and faster than her previous work, though the longing, slightly melancholic feel that characterizes a good deal of Cape Verde's music is always present. Lura clearly views her country's musical heritage as something to celebrate. Tom Orr reviews, and you can listen to some of the music.


world music Milagro Acustico is a southern Italian band that has released many programs of thematically-linked music. Their latest, Sicilia Araba, Arabic Poets of Sicily 827-1091 (2013), and Rosa del Sud (2015), are very different in focus. Southern Italy has an ancient heritage of being a crossroads in the Mediterranean, with the Italian population being exposed to Greek, Middle Eastern, and African influences. On Sicilia Araba, the ensemble explores the Islamic influence upon Sicily. Rosa del Sud revisits the music of Sicilian singer Rosa Balistreri in an extraordinary fashion, by using recordings of Balistreri's voice in their own new musical settings. What both albums have in common are chords of memory and history that resonate today. Lee Blackstone shares his thoughts, and some of the songs, from this remarkable pair of recordings.


world music Three Cane Whale is the acoustic trio of Alex Vann, Pete Judge, and Paul Bradley. Based in Bristol, UK, these multi-instrumentalists are the living heart of what folk music should be, creating leafless melodies that burrow into their homeland as much as emigrate from it. While the reviewer might in any other case be at a disadvantage to describe such a sound, Three Cane Whale lends itself to effortless comparison with the legendary San Francisco Bay Area duo known as Mandible Chatter. Although the latter project has explored farther and more widely, a kindred spirit of purity guides the former's hands to evoke an almost microscopic panorama of peripheries. Like the wan skin of a birch tree, striated by gashes of dark, Palimpsest redraws its identity with each new season...   Tyran Grillo explores the many layers of this unusual English trio.


world music WÖR are a young Flemish quintet playing music from late 18th-century European manuscripts from around the area of Brussels, Antwerp, Diest, and Gent. What is particularly fabulous about Back to the 1780s is that WÖR shine an inventive spotlight on a catalog of tunes that has received very little modern exposure. There is a sheer exuberance to the selection of dance tunes and marches that WÖR have compiled for this wonderful set. Lee Blackstone takes us back to the future in Belgium.


world music We've never gone in for "Best of the Year" lists at RootsWorld, because it is your editor's firm opinion that there are too damn many good albums out there to codify into a short, bulleted, ordered list. So instead, I asked our writers to contribute a few words about some of their favorite recordings of the last year, many that we never reviewed in RootsWorld and sometimes, overlooked everywhere. See what our writers had to say about some their favorite recordings of 2015.



world music The kantele is often considered the very breath of Finnish music, an ancient instrument that has developed many iterations, from a small lap top zither with a few strings to concert giants with many many rows, rivaling a piano. Vilma Timonen has mastered the instrument, and plays one of a scale somewhere in between the two extremes. While there is folk tradition at the root of her music, it is very much in a popular form that integrates rock, jazz and folk. The Vilma Timonen Quartet definitely pulls out a few stops, both instrumentally and vocally in this set of nine beautifully crafted songs and tunes. The music is sometimes ethereal and transcendent, and at other times firmly grounded in rhythm and melody. Listen to a full song from the quartet's new album.


world music American pianist/composer Maria Schneider and Norwegian trumpeter/composer Mathias Eick take two unique looks at how the American landscape can be portrayed in music. Schneider pays tribute to her pastoral roots in rural southwestern Minnesota in The Thompson Fields. In Midwest, Eick's inspiration comes from the same sprawling grasslands where a million Scandinavian immigrants dug in during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Michael Stone takes us on a journey through the heartland.


world music Zemog El Gallo Bueno is both multi-instrumentalist/singer/composer/producer Abraham Gomez-Delgado and the band he leads, but it's a bit of a mystery as to what parts of YoYouMeTu Trilogy Vol. 1 and 2 are solo efforts, the work of an ensemble or combinations of both. Gomez-Delgado is reportedly the inventor and master of an instrument called an eje that enables him to be a one man Afro-Latin band. So as far as I'm concerned, the source of the horns, percussion, acoustic guitars, keyboards, vocals, effects and everything else heard on these two discs is too far after the fact. Tom Orr encourages you to cut a rug with your demons.


world music

Listen to the world.
New music and old, from across genres and around the world, each week on RootsWorld Radio, hosted by RW editor Ciff Furnald.

Get more info on days and times for the broadcasts.
Listen to some previous programs on demand.


world music Finnish accordionist and composer Anne-Mari Kivimäki understands that history must be told to be alive. To demonstrate this, she has developed an idiosyncratic musical language drawn from the geographies of her interest. The albums reviewed here comprise parts three and four of her doctoral thesis, "Suistamo - The Laboratory of Tradition." This multi-faceted (and multimedia) portrait looks at the past, present, and future of Suistamo, a former municipality of Finland and now a federal republic of Russia. Lakkautettu Kylä (A Closed-Down Village) is at once the denser and more spacious of the two albums, while Suistamon Sähkö's Suistamo Electricity) is an ingenious, self-styled "folktronica" experiment. While it might seem like a gimmick in theory, in practice the presence of electronics gives apt traction to an album themed around hydroelectric power plants and cartographic resonances. Tyran Grillo explores the abandoned shacks and power stations of Karelia, musicially speaking.


world music It's the right time for Ola Belle Reed And Southern Mountain Music On The Mason Dixon Line to appear. Aside from the fact that some of Ola Belle Reed's tunes, specifically “I've Endured” and “High on a Mountain,” have become such standards at bluegrass and old time festivals that one might forget they were actually penned by someone in particular, instead of existing in that hazy realm known as the public domain, in 2011, actress Margo Martindale's brilliant Justified character Mags Bennett belted out “Mountain,” from her home in that show's fictitious version of Kentucky's Harlan County.... It's likely that all but the most hardcore devotees of Ola Belle Reed and her extended family's career are unaware that her earliest recordings - her earliest professional experiences in fact - were as banjo player and singer in her brother Alex Campbell's band, The New River Boys, who specialized in high powered bluegrass and recorded two early 60s LPs for Starday records. Yet, somewhere along the way, Ola Belle moved away from this music and back toward the tunes she recalled from her childhood in rural Western North Carolina... Bruce Miller reviews this important book and the accompanying 2 CDs.


world music Pop music and genocide make uneasy bedfellows, to say the least. And it's hardly fair to ask such a breezy medium to bear witness of one of the darker corners of 20th century history. But that's exactly what Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll, a superb collection of '60s and early '70s Cambodian pop and rock-and-roll, does as it admirably documents a vibrant music scene and a moment in time before the rise of the murderous Khmer Rouge. The album - a soundtrack to a film of the same name - features 20 songs selected by director John Pirozzi and Cambodian anthropologist Dr. LinDa Saphan, as well as an impressive 36-page booklet to put it all in context. Tom Pryor takes you back to a time before “year zero” and shows you how they rocked in Phnom Penh.


world music Beautiful Nubia and the Roots Renaissance Band blend a compelling mix of soul and contemporary Nigerian folk and roots music on the aptly titled Soundbender. This is the eleventh studio album from a multifaceted singer-songwriter who is a linchpin in today's music scene in Nigeria. When Akinlolu isn't performing across the country, especially at schools and universities, he's busy composing music, writing poetry and organizing an annual music festival. The tone of this new album is mostly mellow and laid back, but the words, sung in Yoruba and English, are sometimes at odds with the music. While Akinlolu is upbeat and hopeful in his approach, he doesn't shy away from the harsh reality facing Africans today. However, this record never gets bogged down by subject matter. Alex Brown listens to this celebration of life and possibility.



world music Oh, taken to knead the bread of war,
Oh to make the loaves of malice.
The cart of war is covered in tar,
The standard of war is covered in sand.

Mari Kalkun and her ensemble Runorun present a complex vision of early Estonian folk music on her new album, Tii ilo. Waldemar Wallenius explores these songs of war and beauty from Estonia and beyond


world music Cape Verdean singer/songwriter Elida Almeida has been making a bit of a splash since the release of her debut album last spring. One listen to Ora doci Ora margos ("Sweet times, Bitter times") will tell you why she's blowing up on three continents right now: it's a smart, confident debut from a talented 22 year old with a big future ahead of her. The album's 13 tracks are a self-assured mix of traditional Cape Verdean sounds. Tom Pryor reviews, and you can listen to some songs.


world music Totó la Momposina was among the first to bring Afro-Colombian roots music to the wider world. Totó subsequently took up residence in Paris, studied music at the Sorbonne, and performed her traditional repertoire for appreciative European audiences before returning to Colombia. Then she accepted an invitation to England to tour and to record La Candela Viva, her inaugural European release. Exhumed from the Real World archives nearly a quarter century later, studio outtakes from those sessions, now digitized, are the foundation of Tambolero. The result spans the spectrum of Afro-Colombian music, augmented with newly recorded bass tracks and choral backing by two of Totó's granddaughters. The recording's title track, an extended Afro composition, is in tribute to now-deceased master drummer (tambolero) Paulino Salgado "Batata," whose driving rhythmic signature pervades the production... Micheal Stone reviews, and you can listen to a full song.


world music Trolls, giants, gnomes, and pixies... perhaps. But Greg Harness found a lot more depth to the music of Trolska Polska, a band of Swedes and Danes who explore the darkness and light of the Nordic woods. Their album {moss} pays tribute to trolls, so much so that the band defines their musical genre as Nordic TrollFolk. Read Greg's review and hear a full track from the album.



world music Malian vocalist Kandia Kouyaté's new album definitely lives up to its title. Renascence, her first recording since Kouyaté suffered a stroke in 2004, represents a rebirth of her career, and of her sound, one of the most distinctive in West African music. During her seven-year recovery, she hardly spoke, let alone sang. Even after she had recovered, she had no interest in recording again. But one of her greatest admirers, the Senegalese producer Ibrahima Sylla, doggedly pursued her, and, in 2011, convinced her to return to the studio. George de Stefano explores the revival of one of the great voices of Mali.


world music Like Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Fela Kuti, Cesaria Evora has only grown stronger since her passing. While there's no evidence to suggest that the diminutive Cape Verdean singer was ever actually a Jedi, her legend has continued to grow since her death in 2011. Celebrated abroad as "The Barefoot Diva," but known at home simply as "Cize," Evora has been the subject of tributes and covers by everyone from Santana to Stromae, and her impressive body of work continues to win her new fans to this day — which seems to be the premise behind this new Greatest Hits release from the Lusafrica label. Tom Pryor listens to the emotionally raw, yet soothing voice of Cape Verde.


world music Pundits often speak of “going green” as if all it involved were more considerate allocation of resources and regulation of harmful industry. Yet with this comes the responsibility of creating more resources in turn and balancing injury with abundance. Greenness entails awareness of this world in all its forms, physical and metaphysical alike. The music of Stephan Micus engages both persuasions, enriching the inner lives of those fortunate enough to hear it while encouraging a harmonious and, above all, creative relationship with the environment. Nomad Songs is a return to the most essential forces of his physics: push and pull. Tyran Grillo traces Micus's own nomadic musicical life - its itinerancy and the honoring those deprived of it.


world music Yeah, Japanese bands that are named for European mountain ranges and play alt-fusion music based on Balkan sources are just so darn commonplace. But even in such an oversaturated genre, The Dolomites stand out. I mean, really, how can you go wrong when your starting point is a guy whose heritage has equal footing in Japan and Romania, actually chose to learn to play the accordion as a youngster and had a different band everywhere he went, based on whatever adventurous local musicians he could recruit? Stevhen Koji Baianu, the guy to whom I'm referring, makes it work. Tom Orr revisits the band's Japan Years.


world music

world music

Audio Features

"Petit Pois / Sanoy," a song from the album Solo and Indrė ,
music made from the roots of Senegal and Lithuania by Solo Cissokho and Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė


"Ndobine," a song from Fatteliku - Live in Athens, 1987,
the newly issued concert recording by Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile de Dakar from Senegal.


world music Occitania has a rich musical tradition --many traditions in fact -- from the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, almost as far east as Turin. In the Italian Occitan valleys, in Piedmont, that tradition often takes on a jazzy or brassy flavor --seen also in neo-traditional Piedmontese groups like La Lionetta -- that is exemplified in these two new recordings. The Bottasso brothers, as Duo Bottasso, from the Occitan-speaking areas of Piedmont, recorded the lovely Crescendo at the Only Music Studio in Turin, the same place that brother Simone, diatonic accordion player, recorded All for One with The Folk Messengers. A contrast in styles, but there are similarities also. Both share the clear, crisp instrumental vision of Carlo Miori who recorded and mixed each album. David Cox takes us into the music.


world music For well over thirty years now, the Oysterband has been one of the U.K.'s preeminent folk groups. The Oysters are – as declared by fRoots magazine – icons, a group bursting at the seams with talent. Lately, solo ventures are emerging from the Oysters camp. True, Ray Cooper (a.k.a. Chopper) left the Oysterband in 2013, but he was so invested with the Oysterband for many years that I am teaming his second album, Palace Of Tears, with the second solo album, Never Stop Moving, from Oysterband lead singer John Jones. Both CDs are essential storytelling in the folk tradition, and very different. John Jones' album, recorded with his backing band The Reluctant Ramblers, strikes one as a bit more direct lyrically, as well as more hook-laden. Jones is really in fine fettle here; the man simply has a great voice. While Never Stop Moving is a strong folk album with a slight pop sheen, the album works with challenging themes. Lee Blackstone reviews a few new pearls.


world music Razia's latest release is entitled Akory, which translates from Malagasy to “What Now?” The artwork that accompanies the CD includes pictures of trees and children, two of the central themes within the album. Madagascar born and New York City based, Razia is a musician and activist who spends much of her time raising global awareness of the rapid deforestation going on in her homeland. Razia and her group provide a message of unity and urgency throughout this dynamic recording, rooted in a variety of the musical styles found within Madagascar. She is joined by several popular Malagasy artists, including D'Gary and Teta on guitar, Regis Gizavo on accordion and Rajery on valiha. Alex Brown shares his thoughts, and you can listen to some samples of the music.


world music While boogaloo's heyday in the 1960s was short, it tenaciously if sporadically holds onto life. The group Spanglish Fly moves the base of operations to Brooklyn from Spanish Harlem, but it shows us that the powerful musical stew can still make us smile and get us wanting to move. Boogaloo sprang out of New York's mix of African American and Latin American communities, taking the chewy funk of soul and making it dance to the clave. The band's second album, New York Boogaloo regularly captures the music's original street-oriented spirit of fun and deceptively easygoing musicality. Bandleader Jonathan Goldman, a fan of the overlooked old style, pulled together some Brooklyn brass players, Latin rhythm section musicians and fronted the band with the sultry deep vocals of Erica Ramos. Marty Lipp takes you to Brooklyn to hear their sound.


world music Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and poet Karl Seglem has developed a reputation in his native Norway as the foremost virtuoso of the traditional bukkehorn, or billy goat horn. Drawing on an extensive background in jazz and free improvisation, Seglem has extended the instrument's function beyond a signaling device for shepherds into unprecedented realms of performance. On Lærad (The Tree), he takes the spirit of world music to heart by offering up the sounds of three distinct instruments—the tongue-horn, trumpet-horn, and antelope-horn—to a host of arrangers and guest artists. All of this yields a multi-faceted collaboration you'll not want to pass up. Tyran Grillo gets deep inside the ancient sound of bone.


world music Audio Feature
Music from Finding Anyplace by Ozere

The moment I listened to this quintet from Canada, I was struck by how both familiar and yet original their music was. The compositions and songs have clear roots in folk traditions, but an equally strong affinity with classical and modern art music. Finding Anyplace spans a lot of aural territory, so one song was not going to be enough to demonstrate what they offer. I chose two from the CD to share with RootsWorld's readers. Ensemble leader, violinist and vocalist Jessica Deutsch tells us a little more about them


Please Support RootsWorld
Just 5.00 from everyone and we're safe for another year.
Subscribe monthly and help us grow!
Choose Your Donation
Join Music of the Month


world music Posthumously released recordings can be rueful treasures. But Amadou Balaké was more fortunate than many in that his posterity was not only well documented during his various heydays, but he remained at the peak of his powers and in strong demand almost until the end of his life. There could not have been a more touching and apt finale to one of African music's most prolific and celebrated careers than the recordings preserved on In Conclusion. Christina Roden shares his final, joyous sounds, and you can listen to a full song from the CD.


world music It is no secret that The Demon Barbers have been interested in the dance element of English folk music. In the past, they have launched programs which have set traditional English clog and rapper dancing aside hip hop dance and break dancing. The results have been surprising, highlighting similarities between disparate styles which are grounded in expression and passion. And how often has dance been captured on an English folk release, apart from the classic Morris On and other Albion Band experiments with morris dancing? Apart from the festival stage, dancing is usually implied on a band's release – a secondary focus, even though music and dance are a crucial combination as productions of the body. So it is that on Disco at the Tavern, Damien Barber and his compatriots go 'all in' with a new show that fearlessly combines mostly English folk with influences from a myriad of dance music styles... Lee Blackstone is mesmerized by the glitter ball.


world music Video Feature: "Rebetiko"

A film written, produced, and directed by Thomas Künstler
Watch the film and read the artist's words about this atmospheric video inspired by love, and a love for rembetiko music.


world music In world-music there is sometimes an “eat your vegetables” undercurrent: you should listen to this because it is good for you and, even more importantly, these earnest musicians have been unjustly ignored by the world around them. As well-meaning as these proselytizers are, they sometimes lose sight that many turn to music for comfortable, easy fun. The band Nation Beat, in its mission to unite the rural music of Brazil and the United States, creates genre-busting songs that could keep a lecture hall full of ethnomusicologists busy documenting for a week, but I think they'd rather keep a club full of partiers dancing for a night. On Carnival Caravan, Nation Beat teams with the New Orleans band Cha Wa for an EP that intermingles two musical genres that themselves are crossbreeds of various cultures. Marty Lipp takes you to the party, and shares a full song from the new recordings.


world music Through modern and ancient history, the Mediterranean Sea has been and remains one great maritime highway uniting continents and cultures. Today the Med serves as a fence and too often, tragically, a graveyard separating the prosperous peoples of the North and West from the oft-troubled South and East. Historians for their part recall that the Med was once politically united under the Roman Empire, that its borderlands have been constantly in flux, and that many languages, notably Greek, Latin and Arabic and their descendants, have vied for dominance. Lamia Bèdioui is a Tunisian-born Greek resident who, along with her Desert Fish present a stunning sequence of storytelling in music that circles the Great Sea and back again, examining in particular the Greek, Romance and Arabic cultures of the countries known today as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Greece, Tunisia and Morocco. She has a voice that can handle these challenges, and she takes on each of these traditions in Athamra. David Cox explores these 14 stories of the sea.


world music Musical field recordings done in places that have recently recovered from or are embroiled in civil war, or perhaps in places that are exceedingly poor, can and do often result in music made out of necessity, perhaps in spite of the atrocious conditions that manifests such sounds to begin with. Native Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka's recent documentary "Beats of the Antonov," explores this very determination among the “Blue Nile” people of war torn South Sudan. In fact, four recent releases on musician, producer, and traveler Ian Brennan's IRL label connect naturally with Kuka's film's observances about the importance of raw art not only in General Paolino's South Sudan, but also in Acholi Machon's Northern Uganda, a section of the country only recently restored from civil conflict, child soldier recruitment and death, as well as the intensely rural, resource-deprived southern African country of Malawi, where a group of young men who spend their days selling roasted mice on sticks- a street food borne out of nutritional necessity- play music in their off hours as Malawi Mouse Boys. These recent releases also show off some fantastic music, without the often deadening “world music” production values that sucks the life out of sounds that would otherwise have had so much to offer. Bruce Miller looks at three pieces of raw African acoustics.


Listen Audio Feature
"Rya Joro" means "Unforgettable Night" or "Bad Night." The video was created to remember what happened during the Gatumba massacre, but also makes mention of other massacres and displacements. All of the artists are Banyamulenge living in Kenya. Music, dance and poetry are among the most important parts of the Kinyarwanda culture. Viewers of "Rya Joro" will notice that the stories of massacres of the Banyamulenge people are told in epic fashion. The themes of God and mercy and denial run through the narrative. Kinyarwanda lyrics traditionally celebrate stories of bravery, but in recent days have turned to tragedy. Georgianne Nienaber gives us the context.


world music Cristina Pato, Davide Salvado, Anxo Pintos and Roberto Comesaña have come together to create Rústica, a project that one could best describe as a homecoming. The project highlights the inner workings of this small ensemble, and the result is decidedly not the over-produced product of a world music superstar. Cristina Pato's incredible gaita playing does not overwhelm the musicians, and the performances are so pure that Pato does not emerge as a leader as much as an integral part of a quartet speaking with one mind... Lee Blackstone finds Rústica a fertile collaboration in Galician tradition. Read more and listen to a full track from the new CD.


Please Support RootsWorld
Just 5.00 from everyone and we're safe for another year.
Subscribe monthly and help us grow!
Choose Your Donation
Join Music of the Month


world music Born in Mexico City, Rana Santacruz now resides in that hot-bed of all things global, Brooklyn, NY. His latest release, Por Ahi ("Somewhere") is a complex compound of Mariachi memories, Balkan brass, and American roots with a rock and roll heart and accordion lungs. With lyrics that run from poetic to humorous, he traces an immigrant's urban landscape that is completely at odds with all the stereotypes we are deluged with in the media. Rana Santacruz is one of a kind... Listen!


world music Ale Carr, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, and Nikolaj Busk, known collectively as Dreamers' Circus, create a folk music all their own. And yet, to call them unique is to do them a strange disservice because, in their self-fashioned world, the sounds of Dreamers' Circus are everywhere. The trio started when its musicians connected during a jam session in Copenhagen, by the end of which their future was sealed. "We had to follow this sound,” says Carr. “From there on, we were the servants of our music. This was a context were anything could happen..." Tyran Grillo says their Second Movement is a must have. Read his review and listen to some of the music.


world music Listen to the sound of the Canadian Maritimes in a RootsWorld audio feature of the trio Vishtèn. Their new release is called Terre Rouge, and they are graciously sharing a full song from the CD with our readers. Their original composition "Trois Blizzards" was inspired by a series of severe, record breaking snow events in the Canadian Maritimes, and I think it exemplifies the trio's strengths. Listen!


world music Sally Nyolo invokes the power and mysticism of the tiger on her latest release, Tiger Run. Her family name, “mó ngone metame mezeï,” translates in English to “daughter of the tiger's whiskers.” She takes that name to heart and delicately balances the essence it's strength with a graceful agility. Her eighth album is also influenced by the sound of the outside world. Nyolo makes a conscious effort to draw attention to the mutual relationship between music and nature as she sings with distinction in Eton, English and French. Alex Brown reviews her uneven but adventurous new songs.


world music An electronic Intifada is the logical—one might argue inevitable—cultural and political product of a zone of effective incarceration and deprivation... The assault on Palestinian livelihood, dignity, identity, and human rights has not obliterated the creative spirit of a people that continues to engender artistic ensembles such as Checkpoint 303. The Iqrit Files concerns the 1948 evacuation and 1951 reduction to rubble of the Palestinian village by that name near the Lebanon border, and more recent efforts of its descendants to return. The CD combines field recordings, radio broadcast clips, ambient everyday sounds, the ritual Upper Galilee singing of Jawaher Shofani and Wardeh Sbeit, and the poetry of Jihad Sbeit, alogn with historic voice samples including Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley... Michael Stone urges you to turn off the smartphone and step into the frame of those for whom life is anything but a video game.


world music The Ilkka Heinonen Trio succeeds in broadening our vision of the strange contraption called jouhikko - the Finnish proto-fiddle - taking a studied and varied approach. At times Heinonen makes it sound almost like proper violin and and some numbers might not fit a "folk/ethnic" label at all, being very reminiscent of modern modal jazz. Joined by bass and percussion (with a touch of electronics), Heinonen's Savu is a complex and unusual foray into the Fuinnish new-roots biosphere. Waldemar Wallenius muses over a typical, modern day Finnish musical puzzle.


world music Scottish supergroup? Take two pipers, two fiddle players, one banjo player, a master of the bodhran, a bass/synth player, an accordionist , a flautist, an electric guitar player, and a drummer, all with serious folk and rock pedigrees, and put them in a studio and see what happens. They are Treacherous Orchestra and their new album is Grind. An exhausted Lee Blackstone takes you inside.


world music Naples has long enjoyed a reputation as Italy's most musical city. But the Puglia region, and particularly the southernmost part, Salento, now challenges the Campanian capital's dominance. Puglia boasts a rich and diverse musical culture that encompasses everything from folk forms like the now world-famous pizzica to alternative rock to hip-hop. Three new albums display the creative vitality of the contemporary scene. Two are by native Puglia artists – the singer and percussionist Antonio Castrignanò and the band Kalàscima – one by a northern Italian convert, the pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. The Torino-based Einaudi, in fact, is the connective tissue among the three recordings. He has twice conducted the orchestra at the annual La Notte della Taranta festival in Salento, whose players have included Castrignanò and Kalàscima's founder and lead percussionist Riccardo Laganà. Einaudi is a guest on Kalàscima's Psychedelic Trance Tarantella and Castrignanò appears on Einaudi's Taranta Project. George de Stefano explores 3 Pizzica 3.


world music One writer referred to them as "a band whose name does not give us the highest of hopes," but The Henrys might be the best band you have never heard of. Achieving regular critical acclaim since their first release in the early 1990s, they nonetheless remain steadfastly iconoclastic, quirky and uncompromising. But there's more than a name to this acoustic ensemble, and you should raise your hopes and give a listen to their latest project, Quiet Industry. The editor lets you in to the factory to see what this little Canadian industry is creating these days.


world music Monsieur Doumani is a trio from the island of Cyprus, and Sikoses is the group's second album. Together, Antonis Antonious (who plays the tzouras, a relative of the bouzouki), Angelos Ionas (guitar), and Demetris Yiasemides (flute and trombone) are credited with not only paying tribute to traditional Cypriot music, but also updating and experimenting with the island's folk music. While Monsieur Doumani's first full-length album in 2013 concentrated on traditional Cypriot songs and tunes, Sikoses ranges further afield, with original compositions and some occasional electronic manipulation... Utilizing Greek influences, Turkish influences, and plenty of inspiration from beyond the shores of Cyprus, Monsieur Doumani provides deep and profound commentary about present-day Cypriots and their current conditions.
  • Read Lee Blackstone's review and listen to a full song from our Music of the Month selection for June.

    Read more feature stories


    Interview archive
  • Andrea Esperti
  • Don Edwards
  • Kim Carson
  • Wylie Gustafson
  • Mimmo Epifani
  • Monsieur Doumani (audio interview)
  • Sauti Sol (audio interview)
  • Mauro Durante
  • Attwenger
  • Svøbsk
  • Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
  • Just a Band
  • Geoff Berner
  • Juan de Marcos González
  • Steve Riley
  • Väsen
  • Makana
  • Ellis
  • Deolinda
  • Frode Haltli and Trygve Seim
  • Tab Benoit
  • Caroline Herring, Claire Holley and Kate Campbell
  • Annbjørg Lien
  • ,

    This web site is optimized for any good browser.
    Notscape and Internet Exploder will also work well here.
    We won't make that choice for you.

    The Hollow Ear: no roots, new routes
    Featured CD link: Lodging... food... gas?: travel reviews Hearing Health Information

    Please contribute to our survival.

    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?

    All pages at RootsWorld are © 1992-2015 Cliff Furnald / FNI Multimedia Publishing, New Haven CT
    The RootsWorld name is protected by US trademark law.
    All picture and sound images are the property of the artists and record labels, and are protected by copyright. No file or part of a file may be used for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, without the express written consent of RootsWorld or the other copyright owners.
    About the use of sound files and copyright protections at RootsWorld