Posts Tagged ‘cigdem aslan’

Top of the World albums: issue #124 (January/February 2017)

Posted on December 7th, 2016 in Features, Recent posts by .

Here is our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in Songlines issue #124 (January/February 2017). Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with issue #124. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit: songlines.co.uk/subs

 

anda-union-title-cover

Anda Union
Homeland
Hohhot Records
Distinguished songs about nature, history and identity from this nine-piece Inner Mongolian group, featuring horse-head fiddles, beating drums and growly throat singing.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

gaye-su-akyol-title-cover

Gaye Su Akyol
Hologram Imparatorluğu
Glitterbeat
Steeped in Turkish culture, but with plenty of outside influences, songs focus on liberation of the self. Akyol creates an eclectic collection of global influences, music without borders.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

tanya-tagaq-title-cover

Tanya Tagaq
Retribution
Six Shooter Records
Based on a theme of exploitation and embracing a range of musical forms including rap, rock and Tuvan throat singing, this is Tagaq’s most ambitious and exhilarating work to date.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

calais-sessions-title-cover

Various Artists
The Calais Sessions
Sessions of the World
This is an extraordinarily moving collaboration recorded in the now extinct Calais ‘Jungle’. A resilient testament to the human spirit will reduce you to tears, but also uplift your heart.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Luísa Maita
Fio da Memória
Cumbancha
Both deceptively commercial and coolly cutting-edge, this masterpiece is full of post-modern lullabies and dubby samba deconstructions swathed in cavernous, minimalist production.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola
Widdershins
Dell Daisy Records
A fantastic showcase of Scottish and Finnish traditions by one of the finest folk duos around. A magical musical relationship.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo
Madjafalao
Because Music
Slinky horn grooves, soukous guitars and simmering Afrobeat prove the group’s flame is still alight led by original member Vincent Ahehehinnou.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Çiğdem Aslan
A Thousand Cranes
Asphalt Tango Records
A beautifully haunting exploration of rebetika, and a magnificent gesture towards proving that Greek-Turkish culture is more similar than different. Aslan is at the top of her game.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Daoirí Farrell
True Born Irishman
Daoirí Recordings
Referred to as a Paul Brady for his generation, Farrell’s honest passion for the songs he’s collected, shines in what could be the most significant Irish release of recent years.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

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Bollywood Brass Band feat Jyotsna Srikanth
Carnatic Connection
Bollywood Brass Band
An energetic and cinematic journey to South India, with fuel provided by Jyotsna Srikanth’s Karnatic violin.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

Pick up the latest issue of Songlines to enjoy our Top of the World cover-CD, which contains tracks from each of the albums above. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit: songlines.co.uk/subs

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Live Review | Globaltica, Poland July 20-23

Posted on July 26th, 2016 in Live, Recent posts by .

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free
Six great things about Globaltica, World Cultures Festival, in Gdynia, Poland

1. The main site is just five minutes walk from a pristine beach on the Baltic Sea.

2. A weekend ticket costs around €10

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free1

3. Over four days, in a relaxed and intimate setting you can get a taste of music from all over the world. This year the line-up included Balkan brass masters Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania; Damily from Madagascar, playing infectious tsapiky dance music; the cheeky Monsieur Doumani trio from Cyprus; kora and talking drum maestro Diabel Cissokho (pictured right) from Senegal and the remarkable Rancho Aparte, with squealing clarinets, euphonium and powerful percussion from Colombia. Not forgetting Songlines’ favourites, the father, son and daughter trio from Poland, Kapela Maliszow. Traditional music that is vibrant and evolving, which is what Globaltica is about.

4. The celery and ginger drink from the Beetle Juice van (Sok z Zuka) is just divine.

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free2

5. Turkish musician Tahir Palali (pictured right with singer Cigdem Aslan) describes Globaltica as a mini-WOMAD but nicer, because it’s more chilled out. It was a rare opportunity to see him and singer Cigdem Aslan sing spiritual songs from the Alevi tradition. “We Alevis don’t go to the mosque,’’ she says, “but we gather in places like this.’’  We’re in barn-like old stables, and the performance is intimate and intense. Palali’s plucked tembur, with just three strings, is delicate but profound. There’s a simplicity and intensity that takes you to a higher place. “The consciousness that created the universe is within you,’’ he says and his tembur with Aslan’s melismatic voice seems to bring that consciousness closer.

6. Gdynia is Europe’s best location for modernist architecture. The port city was built in little more than a decade from 1926 until World War II as Poland’s ‘window to the world’. In 1928 it handled just one per cent of Poland’s trade, but by 1937 it controlled 49%. The architecture of the city is still dominated by the clean, white, unornamented style of the pre-war period. Easy access from the UK with direct flights from London to Gdansk, just 45 minutes away.

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free3

Globaltica was held on July 20-23 2016. For more information, visit www.globaltica.pl

 

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The 50 Greatest World Music Albums of the Last Five Years (Part 2)

Posted on August 23rd, 2015 in Features, Recent posts by .

Editor Jo Frost and editor-in-chief Simon Broughton choose their favourite albums from 2013…

Oana-Divine

Oana Cătălina Chiţu

Divine

(Asphalt Tango)

A real treat this one to mark the centenary of Maria Tănase (1913-1963), the Romanian Edith Piaf. Chiţu brings these songs alive with an excellent ensemble of violin, accordion, sax, guitar, cimbalom and bass. The songs are nostalgic and romantic and given a dark, Oriental tone by Chiţu’s chiaroscuro alto voice. There’s a tasty Romanian tango in ‘Habar N-ai Tu’ and the way she draws out the introduction to ‘Aseară Ti-am Luat Basma’ surrounded by filigree cimbalom flourishes is gorgeous. SB

 

Family-Atlantica--Family-Atlantica

Family Atlantica

Family Atlantica

(Soundway)

This band is a product of the fertile, multicultural metropolis that is London. The charismatic vocalist, Luzmira Zerpa, is Venezuelan and the other key members are London-born Jack Yglesias and Nigerian/Ghanaian percussionist Kwame Crentsil. Not surprisingly Family Atlantica’s self-titled debut follows an ida y vuelta between Africa, South America, the Caribbean and Europe – with some spectacular percussion at its core. Guest artists include Senegalese Gnawa Nuru Kane and the wonderful Mulatu Astatke, who Yglesias got to know as a member of Ethiopian band The Heliocentrics. A life-affirming debut. SB

 

Catrin-Finch-&-Seckou-Keita-Clychau-Dibon

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

Clychau Dibon

(Astar Artes)

This isn’t the first kora collaboration to be featured in our Best of the Year list but it’s certainly the first to include the harp. Classically trained Welsh harpist Catrin Finch has joined forces with Seckou Keita, Senegalese UK-based kora player, and they’ve produced an album of real beauty. The album’s title sounds like it could be either Welsh or Wolof, in fact clychau is Welsh for ‘bells’ and dibon is a West African hornbill, but also the second bass string on a kora. There’s a wonderful symmetry to this music – at times it’s hard to distinguish between the two instruments, held in such high esteem in their respective cultures. This is an album of real class. JF

 

 

Jupiter-&-Okwess-International--Hotel-Univers

Jupiter Okwess International

Hotel Univers

(Out Here Records)

Lead singer Jupiter Bokondji was the subject of a French documentary called Jupiter’s Dance back in 2006, so this international debut has been long anticipated. Jupiter has the swagger and looks of a bona fide rock star yet at the same time there’s an ageless wisdom to his expression. The album is a hard-hitting critique about the Congo’s history of colonisation, independence, dependence and corruption – Jupiter feels his country is still at war because of the avarice of its people. Despite the serious nature of the songs, there’s a raw energy to this edgy and funky music, and live, this band simply rock. JF

 

Aslan--Mortissa

Çiğdem Aslan

Mortissa

(Asphalt Tango)

This is London-based Aslan’s debut disc. She is a lioness of Greek and Turkish rebetika, and focuses on the smyrneika style from Smyrna (now known as Izmir) that was shared by Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. Alongside Aslan’s idiomatic vocals, there are excellent instrumental contributions from Nikolaos Baimpas on kanun, Pavlos Carvalho on bouzouki, and Meg Hamilton on violin.

 

Buika-La-Noche-Mas-Larga

Buika

La Noche Más Larga

(Warner)

A sumptuous, emotionally charged set of songs from Concha Buika, a flamenco singer from Mallorca who has turned more towards jazz for this highly polished release recorded in Miami. Buika’s live performances can at times be unnerving with her no holds barred approach on stage. But she’s pulled out all the stops in the studio and her voice sounds better than ever. 

 

 

Kayhan-Kalhor

Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan

Kula Kulluk Yakısır Mı

(ECM)

The only drawback with this album is the hard-to-remember title (if you don’t speak Turkish). It’s a folksong, which translates as ‘how unseemly it is to follow anyone slavishly,’ advice that both of these master musicians have always taken to heart. This is a largely improvisational duo performance by Iranian kamancheh (spike fiddle) player Kayhan Kalhor and Turkish saz player Erdal Erzincan. The two musicians create a tapestry that unfolds organically over an hour with moods ranging from introspection to elation. It was recorded live in Turkey and the contrasting textures of bowed and plucked strings sparkle brilliantly off each other. SB

 

Bassekou-Kouyate-Jama-Ko

Bassekou Kouyaté

Jama Ko

(Out Here Records)

This recording demonstrates exactly what puts Mali at the top of the African music charts. Jama Ko is a fiercely contemporary album produced by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), though it is rooted in the nimble, yet rough-edged sound of the ngoni, the desert lute that goes back centuries. The extremely catchy title-track is a call for unity and peace, while ‘Kele Magni’ features the magnificent Khaira Arby from Timbuktu, under Islamist control when the album was recorded. ‘Sinaly’, with Kasse Mady Diabaté, refers to a historical Malian king resisting radical Islam. Powerful content and a thrilling sound. SB See also: Top 25 Mali Albums

 

Leyla-McCalla--Vari-Colored-Songs

Leyla McCalla

Vari-Colored Songs

(Dixie Frog)

This is the debut solo release from the newest member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Born in New York to Haitian parents, McCalla grew up reading the works of American poet and social activist Langston Hughes and in tribute, has set some of his poems to music. In addition to these poem-songs are some beautiful a capella Haitian-Creole songs. Besides her beguilingly languid singing style, McCalla is an impressive cellist and plays a mean banjo too. An album steeped in the Caribbean and Haitian roots of America’s South. JF

 

Rokia-Traore-Beautiful-Africa

Rokia Traoré

Beautiful Africa

(Nonesuch)

Ever the innovator, Rokia has, for her latest album, hooked up with producer John Parish who is best known for his work with PJ Harvey. Perhaps it’s his influence as Beautiful Africa is certainly a rockier affair – but still innately Malian, with some fabulous ngoni from Mamah Diabaté, and some feisty female backing vocals. You really get a sense that Rokia has a determined intention of getting her message across, whether singing in Bambara, French or English. Standout tracks include ‘Mélancholie’ and the title-track. Another class act from Mali’s first lady of song. JF See also: Top 25 Mali Albums

 

 

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Live Review | Songlines Encounters Festival, Kings Place, June 7

Posted on June 10th, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts, Reviews by .

layhnan

For the dramatic closing concert of this year’s Songlines Encounters Festival, London’s King Place welcomed a veteran player and one up-and-coming star.

First on Saturday night’s line-up was Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor together with Ali Bahrami Fard on bass santur (pictured above). This was special performance for Songlines Encounters not only because Kalhor was the first male performer on the female-dominated festival line-up, but because as a magazine Songlines has watched him grow from his brilliant debut (Scattering Stars Like Dust, reviewed in issue #1) into the solid veteran player he is today. For an hour Kalhor and Fard held the audience in rapt attention as their music rushed over us in waves. Moments of delicate beauty were chased by frantic surges of urgency. Kalhor’s agitated pizzicato gave way to whispered lines from his shah kaman (a bass kamancheh), all of which was supported by the sensitivity of Fard’s playing. Both musicians’ virtuosity was clearly evident in how effortlessly they blended the material they had previously recorded for I Will Not Stand Alone. Though the majority of the music was improvised – in issue #100 Kalhor told Simon Broughton the music is never the same twice – there was never a moment of hesitation and every note between the two was precisely placed. A truly sublime performance that left you reeling.

cigdem

Feeling like you needed time to digest what you just experienced, this was going to be a tough act to follow no matter the talent – Turkish Kurdish vocalist Çiğdem Aslan (pictured above) had her work cut out for her. Aslan’s music was a more light-hearted affair, transporting the audience to Asia Minor in early 20th-century. Performing tracks from her acclaimed solo debut, Mortissa (meaning, ‘strong independent woman’), Aslan and her band performed Greek rebetika, smyrneika and Turkish songs of the café amans. As Aslan is an Alevi Kurd (who like the Iranians are Shia), she sang a beautiful Alevi song with guest musician Tahir Palali on Kurdish tanbur, with percussionist Vasilis Sarikis adding a few accents on the frame drum. It was only a shame that Aslan’s band seemed to lack her enthusiasm – especially the particularly talented Sarikis, who seemed almost apologetic in his playing.

All in all, it was a great ending to another year at Songlines Encounters Festival. Looking forward to next year’s festival already!

Look back at the first and second nights of Encounters.

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