Best New Albums – January/February 2021 (Mariza, Cocanha, Lolomis, Ayom) | Songlines
Friday, December 18, 2020

Best New Albums – January/February 2021 (Mariza, Cocanha, Lolomis, Ayom)

Great new releases from Mariza, Cocanha, Lolomis, Ayom, Star Feminine Band and more... Tracks from all of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with the January/February 2021 issue of Songlines

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Star Feminine Band

Star Feminine Band

Born Bad Records 

"Coming at you like an epic puppy stampede is the Star Feminine Band, a seven-strong group of Beninese girls whose combined talents and enthusiasm fizz across the 11 tracks of this fetching debut. Back in 2016 none of these kids – who range in age from 10 to 17 – from north-west Benin had ever sung or picked up an instrument. But the offer of free music lessons for girls resulted, eventually, in this girl gang from the Waama and Nabo groups, who underwent intensive musical training..." Jane Cornwell

Read the review in the Reviews Database


Mariza

Mariza Canta Amália

Warner Music Portugal 

"In her salad days as the young pretender, Mariza was as embarrassed as she was flattered by the comparison with the incomparable Amália Rodrigues, who reigned as the iconic queen of Portuguese fado for 60 years until her death in 1999. She would sing an occasional song from Rodrigues’ classic repertoire, such as ‘Ó Gente Da Minha Terra’, one of the highlights of her 2002 debut album, Fado Em Mim, but feared that recording an entire album of Amália’s songs would seem arrogant and hubristic. Indeed, when this reviewer put the idea to Mariza many years ago, she recoiled in horror, before eventually conceding that perhaps it was something she might undertake in decades to come, once she had the experience to back it up..." Nigel Williamson

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Kiko Dinucci 

Rastilho

Mais Um 

"One aspect of 60s and 70s Brazilian music that is often over-looked is the fact that it made acoustic instruments sound incredible. Listen to early Gilberto Gil and Baden Powell and it’s hard to think of nylon strings ever sounding so alive. It’s that sound which São Paulo guitarist Kiko Dinucci brings searing to life here. Though his previous solo album, Cortes Curtos, had an exploratory, amplified post-punk sound, here it’s only the attack of that style that remains, its influence clear on the way he rings emotion out of every note, the lightness of opening Candomblé traditional ‘ExuOdara’ giving way to the frenzied bass and razor-sharp hits of ‘Olodé’..." Russ Slater

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Lo’Jo

Transe de Papier

Yotanka Records 

"Welcome to a world of poetry nourished by multiple musical influences from various remote corners of the planet. The latest album from Lo’Jo soothes and regenerates as a therapeutic elixir in this somewhat distressing period for everyone. Also very recently, after well over three decades together in an open rural community, the French group faced adversity when they had to leave their farmhouse in the western region of Anjou. Reflecting on this event, their new opus brings a more introspective mood with interlacing sensations and emotions...' Pierre Cuny

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Ayom

Ayom

Amplifica Records 

"There is always something rather inspiring about someone willing to take destiny into their own hands. That’s clearly the case here – just listen to ‘Ayom Manifesto’, one of several standout tracks on this debut, where Jabu Morales sings about her freedom as a woman to do as she pleases and search out anywhere that accepts her for who she is (Morales left her Brazilian home in Minas Gerais and resettled in Barcelona in 2011). The same song also perfectly encapsulates this project, born out of the fortunate meeting between Morales – a singer and percussionist faithful to Candomblé and Afro- Brazilian rhythms – and Italian accordionist AlbertoBecucci. Ayom are obviously rooted in Brazilian culture, but defiantly ignore borders..." Gonçalo Frota

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Sväng

In Trad We Trust

Galileo 

"This irrepressible Finnish harmonica quartet have delighted and astonished us for 17 years, producing eight albums ranging music from Sibelius and Chopin to tango, Baltic and bluegrass, and entertaining us with the brilliance of their live concerts. Behind their outrageous virtuosity, navigating different sizes of harmonica, are four supremely gifted composers and arrangers. Their latest release pays homage to what they call their ‘spiritual home’, Finnish folk music: ancient runo songs, the kantele and jouhikko traditions and the great fiddle heritage..." Fiona Talkington

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Lin Shicheng & Gao Hong

Hunting Eagles Catching Swans

ARC Music 

"Lin Shicheng (1922-2005), the late master of the Pudong School of pipa playing, was one of the most highly regarded performers and educators of Chinese traditional music, with an international reputation that led to him being known as the Ravi Shankar of the pipa. Through the reconstruction of old scores, and the collection and adaptation of regional folk songs, which he then arranged for the pipa, no other player has done more to expand the repertoire of the instrument. This recording is a selection of pieces performed on a tour of the US in April-May 1996, as a duo with his best student Gao Hong, herself a highly regarded performer and educator..." Charlie Cawood

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Lolomis

Red Sonja

Buda Musique 

"Three years on from their second album, Boukane, Lolomis have intensified their ongoing splicing process with a third collection, this time with Romane Claudel-Ferragui singing in Finnish, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian and Ladino. Rarely is a group’s folkloric feeling so hardcore, but Lolomis are equally concentrated on their envelopment in electronic techniques, blending these contrasting surroundings in a staggeringly natural manner. In this fusion, no compromises are made with either the acoustic or the electronic. Lolomis create their own universe of bass-booming, street-romping dynamism, as at home at an afternoon village wedding as in a dank after-midnight club (remember them?)..." Martin Longley

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Cocanha

Puput

Pagans/Dardalh 

"By singing in the ancient French regional Occitan language accompanied mainly by bodily percussion, this all-female vocal group will inevitably draw comparisons with their compatriots San Salvador. In fact, on this recording, the trio (now a duo) manage to sound at times like a micro version of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Their extraordinary polyphonic harmonies sound as exotic as the summer’s avian visitor from Africa that lends its Occitan name to the album’s title: the crested hoopoe. Founding members Caroline Dufau and Lila Fraysse (the current line-up) see the bird as a symbolic ‘subversive force’ to confront social norms and a prevalent misogyny..." Mark Sampson

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​


Derya Türkan & Sokratis Sinopoulos

Soundplaces

Seyir Muzik 

"Derya Türkan is a Turkish player of the Klasik kemençe, a three-string fiddle played on the lap, while Sokratis Sinopoulos is a Greek player of the politiki lyra, actually the same instrument. The name means lyra of the town (poli), in this case Constantinople. This album features poetic duets of the two instruments, sometimes imitating each other, sometimes one plucking or bowing an accompaniment to the other. Each of the eight tracks is named after a place – ‘Istanbul’, ‘Izmir’, ‘Cyclades’ – and so, appropriate for these times, it’s a virtual journey. Most of the places have a shared Greek and Turkish history, for instance ‘Tatavla’, a district of Istanbul (now Kurtuluş) where many Greeks lived until the population exchange of 1922 when they were replaced by Turks resettled from Greece..." Simon Broughton

Read the review in the Reviews Database

★​​


Tracks from all of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with the January/February 2021 issue of Songlines: subscribe today!

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