Posts Tagged ‘afro celt sound system’

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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Afro Celt Sound System – The Source | Album Review | Top of the World

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


Words by Nigel Williamson

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source Cover

Celebrating two decades by going extra large

Twenty years ago Afro Celts released a thrilling debut that remains a landmark in global dance fusion. Yet by their fifth release in 2005, the formula was starting to sound passé. A long period of silence followed and, a decade later, the return of the Afro Celts could easily have sounded like an anachronistic relic. Instead, original founder Simon Emmerson has reinvigorated the project with an influx of new blood and fresh ideas without losing the centrality of his original vision.

Longtime member N’Faly Kouyaté continues to provide wonderful textures on kora and balafon. But central in the band’s new iteration is Johnny Kalsi, his huge, thundering dhol drums lending unimaginable heft to the felicitous fusion of African rhythms and haunting Irish melodies. Scottish piper and Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh is another major contributor, taking a more versatile role than former lead singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, whom he has effectively replaced, while guests include uilleann pipers Davy Spillane, Ronan Browne and Emer Mayock, members of Shooglenifty, and a five-strong female griot vocal group from Conakry, Guinea. Old fans will find much here that is familiar. But somehow the new Afro Celts sound bigger, better and bolder than ever before. A triumph.

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