Posts Tagged ‘yo yo ma’

Top of the World June 2016: The best new releases

Posted on May 5th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the June (#118) issue.

Imarhan (City Slang)


The young Touareg band Imarhan release an enthralling collection of songs, drawing influences from a variety of subjects and musical styles to create a dynamic and diverse debut album.

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Sociedade Recreativa
Sociedade Recreativa (Jarring Effects)

Sociedade Recreativa Cover

With help from producer Maga Bo, Brazilians Sociedade Recreativa create a memorable album mixing traditional instruments and sound effects.

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Robert ‘Robi’ Svärd
Pa’ki Pa’ka (Asphalt Tango Records)

Robert 'Robi' Svärd - Pa'ki Pa'ka Cover

Trained as a classical guitarist while growing up in Australia, Swedish guitarist Svärd showcases his unique and individual take on flamenco music on this beautiful debut.

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Afro Celt Sound System
The Source (ECC Records)

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source Cover

A reenergised Afro Celt Sound System return after more than a decade since their last album.

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Jarlath Henderson
Hearts Broken, Heads Turned (Bellows Records)

Jarlath Henderson - Hearts Broken, Heads Turned Cover

Piper-turned-singer Jarlath Henderson releases a confident debut as a solo artist. Displaying impressive arrangements and musicality, the album exudes a youthful yet matured sentiment.



Anian (Real World)

9Bach - Anian Cover

9Bach deliver a cohesive set of original and traditional Welsh folk songs on their third album, a soulful and brooding project that explores themes of human nature and the outside world.

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Sierra Hull
Weighted Mind (Rounder Records)

Sierra Hull - Weighted Mind Cover

This album captures the mind of a maturing Sierra Hull, looking for direction in a changing world, showing off her ability as a talented instrumentalist and a sensitive songwriter.

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Joe Driscol & Sekou Kouyaté
Monistic Theory (Cumbancha)

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory Cover

Rapper Driscoll and kora player Kouyaté collaborate once again, seamlessly blending their own unique styles to create their own musical language.

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Gambari Band
Kokuma (Membran)

Gambari Band - Kokuma Cover

This nine-piece are a prime example of the great music currently coming out of Mali. Their debut, full of uplifting harmonies and explosive polyrhythms, is a captivating listen.

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Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
Sing Me Home (Sony Music Masterworks)

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home Cover

Cello icon Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble release their most diverse project yet, covering a range of musical worlds, from Mali to China.

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Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble – Sing Me Home | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 28th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble-©Teuck Kang-Free1

Words by Simon Broughton

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home Cover

This Silk Road is now a multi-lane super-highway

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Ensemble in 2000 to explore the music of the cultures along the ancient Silk Road, but has spread its reach much further with performers and composers from over 20 countries. This, their sixth album, is their most diverse in terms of repertoire and global reach.

Over 13 tracks there’s a Kronos-like range of musical worlds explored, from China and Tuva on ‘Green (Vincent’s Tune)’ (featuring throat singing from Roomful of Teeth); to Mali on ‘Ichichila’, featuring Toumani Diabaté on kora and Balla Kouyaté on balafon; and India on ‘Madhoushi’ featuring Shujaat Khan on sitar and vocals. There are plenty of American guests too, including Sarah Jarosz on ‘Little Birdie’, Rhiannon Giddens on the gorgeous ‘St James Infirmary Blues’ and Abigail Washburn on ‘Going Home’, the ‘spiritual’ from Dvořák’s New World Symphony made famous by Paul Robeson. Only Washburn sings it in Chinese!

It could be a frightful mess, of course, but producers Johnny Gandelsman and Kevin Killen (U2, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello) pull it together, finding great cello lines for Yo-Yo Ma and making a coherent whole.

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Now listen to this… Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble, Tom Robinson and Full Attack Band

Posted on March 17th, 2016 in Features, Recent posts by .

Songlines Playlist

Here at Songlines Towers we’re always on the lookout for the most exciting music from around the world.

Check out our playlist of tracks that we’ve been listening to.

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble feat Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Ward-Bergeman & Reylon Yount – ‘St James Infirmary Blues’
This is an advance preview of the forthcoming album Sing Me Home, by the Silk Road Ensemble, which features artists from all around the world including Toumani Diabaté, Martin Hayes and Shujaat Khan. This is what they describe as a Taraf de Haidouks-inspired version of ‘St James Infirmary’ with singer Rhiannon Giddens.


Tom Robinson – ‘Mighty Sword of Justice’
Featuring guests including Billy Bragg, Lisa Knapp and Gerry Diver who also produced his latest album Only the Now. Check out Tom Robinson’s Songlines’ playlist and interview in the June issue (#118, out May 6).


Full Attack Band – ‘Four Letter Short’
The kooky, groovy band fronted by saxophonist and composer Alejandro Toledo. This track, featuring the excellent Fedzilla, is from their debut album, 1001, which will be reviewed in our next issue (#117, out April 1).


Family Atlantica – ‘Enjera’
The Songlines Music Award 2014 Newcomer winners return with their sophomore release, Cosmic Unity, on May 13 (Soundway Records). This is the first taster from the album; an intoxicating instrumental number packed full of Ethiojazz groove.


Exuma – ‘Damn Fool’
Bahaman musician Exuma was a one of a kind artist, mixing junkanoo, ballad and calypso to create music that was almost unclassifiable. This track is the first on his second album, Exuma II, released in 1970.

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Exclusive stream: Silk Road Ensemble – Ichichila

Posted on March 16th, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .


We are pleased to offer an exclusive stream of  ‘Ichichila’ from the forthcoming Silk Road Ensemble album, Sing Me Home, featuring Toumani Diabaté and Balla Kouyaté

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble return this April with Sing Me Home, the latest collection of recordings and collaborations from the Grammy award-nominated cross-cultural project. Founded by the world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Ensemble has assembled an impressive cast of more than 70 performers and composers from 25 nations over the last 16 years. This new release attempts to tackle the perpetuity of ‘home’ as a tangible and evolving idea. Sing Me Home is also a companion album to Morgan Neville’s cri de coeur documentary, The Music of Strangers.

‘Ichichila’ features Malian musicians Toumani Diabaté (kora) and Balla Kouyaté (balafon), both regarded as the leading virtuosos of their craft. Arranged by percussionist Shane Shanahan, he first heard the composition in 2007 whilst working with primary school students where he ‘instantly fell in love with several elements of this song.’

Please click here to view the desktop version of the website if you cannot see the stream on mobile.

Find out more about the album in the May (#117) editionSing Me Home is released on April 22 on Sony Music Masterworks. The Music of Strangers is slated for theatrical release later this year. Pre-order Sing Me Home today on iTunes and Amazon.

Full tracklist:
1. ‘Green (Vincent’s Tune)’ (feat. Roomful of Teeth)
2. ‘O’Neill’s Cavalry March’ (feat. Martin Hayes)
3. ‘Little Birdie’ (feat. Sarah Jarosz)
4. ‘Ichichila’ (feat. Balla Kouyaté and Toumani Diabaté)
5. ‘Sadila Jana’ (feat. Black Sea Hotel)
6. ‘Shingashi Song’ (feat. Kaoru Watanabe)
7. ‘Madhoushi’ (feat. Shujaat Khan)
8. ‘Wedding’ (feat. Dima Orsho)
9. ‘Going Home’ (feat. Abigail Washburn)
10. ‘Cabaliño’ (feat. Davide Salvado, Anxo Pintos and Roberto
Comesaña of Rustica)
11. ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Ward-Bergeman, and Reylon Yount)
12. ‘If You Shall Return…’ (feat. Bill Frisell)
13. ‘Heart and Soul’ (feat. Gregory Porter and Lisa Fischer)

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