Posts Tagged ‘aurelio’

The 50 Greatest World Music Albums of the Last Five Years

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

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Every year, editor Jo Frost and editor-in-chief Simon Broughton choose their favourite albums from the previous 12 months. This list of 50 recordings represent their selections from the last five years, beginning with 2014…

landini-aurelio

Aurelio

Lándini

(Real World)

There’s something highly addictive about the rhythmic Garifuna sound. I’ve been a fan of this distinctive Central American music since first hearing the Belizean artist Andy Palacio. Aurelio has, since Palacio’s death, firmly established himself as an ambassador for Garifuna culture. His latest album is rooted in the paranda and punta musical traditions, and its title – meaning ‘Landing’ – refers to when the British forced the Garifuna people into exile in the 18th century. Many of the songs are instilled with a sense of melancholy, yet ultimately Lándini is a celebration and homage to the richness of Garifuna culture. JF

 

aziza-brahim-soutakAziza Brahim

Soutak

(Glitterbeat)

Born and raised in an Algerian refugee camp, the young Saharawi singer has become a champion for her people from the occupied state of Western Sahara. There’s a simplicity in the acoustic musical arrangements, combined with the poignancy of Brahim’s soulful singing that lend a grace and dignity to these songs about resistance, freedom, longing and homeland. They have a political resonance too, especially the song ‘Gdeim Izik’ about the protest camp taken down by the Moroccans. It’s a spare and powerful tribute to a land and sorrowful plight of its people, sadly overlooked by the outside world. JF

 

 

Kasse-Mady-Diabate-Kirike

Kassé Mady Diabaté

Kiriké

(No Format!)

Kassé Mady Diabaté is one of the great vocalists of Mali, accompanied here by a top group of instrumentalists. There’s Makan ‘Badjé’ Tounkara on ngoni, Lansiné Kouyaté on balafon and Ballaké Sissoko on kora, plus Vincent Segal on cello, who is also responsible for the exquisite production. There are just eight tracks – many of them connected to hunting – and it really feels like you’re sitting right there among the musicians. All the instruments are heard on just one track, ‘Sori’, but the whole album is intimate, powerful and gorgeously recorded. SB See also: Top 25 Mali Albums

 

Toumani-and-Sidiki

Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté

Toumani & Sidiki

(WorldCircuit)

Expectations were high for this record, but it delivers. According to Toumani, the family have been making music in West Africa for 700 years and what we have here is the transmission of that tradition in action. Toumani plays kora duets with his 23-year-old son Sidiki, named afer his grandfather who established the kora as a solo instrument. It’s an elaborate concoction of gourd, cow skin, sticks and 21 strings that represents Malian music at its most sophisticated. The filigree music is sublime and Lucy Durán’s notes are enlightening. SB See also: Top 25 Mali Albums

 

Piers-Faccini-and-Vincent-Segal-Songs-of-Time-Lost

Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal

Songs of Time Lost

(No Format!)

Like many of the label’s releases, this is a beautifully crafted album of song, guitar and cello. Faccini is an English singer-songwriter with a gorgeously languid singing style. He sounds at times like Nick Drake, but he also sings in Italian on a couple of traditional Neopolitan songs and in Creole on a maloya-inspired track from La Réunion. The two have been good friends since the 80s, which possibly explains the ease and naturalness of their partnership. Faccini’s voice floats dreamily above the deep resonance of Segal’s cello that acts as the bedrock to the whole sound. JF

 

The-Gloaming

The Gloaming

The Gloaming

(Real World)

This new collective evocatively known as The Gloaming revisit traditional Irish music but with a fearless sense of experimentation. The haunting vocals of Iarla Ó Lionáird combine with the effortless fiddle of Martin Hayes, eerie Hardanger fiddle of Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, and solid guitar of Dennis Cahill. Then there’s the piano playing of Thomas Bartlett that takes the sound onto a whole other level, out of the trad box and placing it firmly into a new, exciting realm. The ‘Opening Set’ is a wondrous 16-minute-plus tune that slowly builds in intensity – it goes down a storm at their fantastic live shows. JF

 

 

kronos-quartet-a-thousand-thoughts

Kronos Quartet

A Thousand Thoughts

(Nonesuch)

Celebrating their 40th anniversary, Kronos Quartet have released an album that clearly demonstrates how widely they’ve ranged in their inspiration. There are a few tracks (with Astor Piazzolla and Asha Bhosle) that have been previously released, but most of the material is new. Alongside music from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ethiopia and the American South, it includes an eerie version of the rebetika track ‘Smyrneiko Minore’ by Greek singer Marika Papagika, which Harrington describes as containing his “favourite note of all time.” SB

 

Driss-El-Maloumi-Makan

Driss El Maloumi

Makan

(Contre Jour)

Moroccan oud player Driss El Maloumi stands out both for his instrumental mastery (he’s director of the conservatoire in Agadir) and for his innovative approach – for instance the 3MA project with kora player Ballaké Sissoko and valiha player Rajery in 2008. This trio album with two percussionists – his brother Said El Maloumi (on frame drum and Iranian tombak) and Lahoucine Baquir (on frame drum and darbouka) ranges from the bluesy ‘Imtidad’ and the filigree ‘Tawazoun’ to the playful ‘Intidar’. There’s lyricism, virtuosity and imagination – plus a couple of songs too. SB

 

Robert-Plant-Lullaby-The-Ceaseless-Roar

Robert Plant

Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar

(Nonesuch)

The ex-Led Zep frontman is no stranger to dabbling in African sounds. What makes this album so refreshing is that there is nothing tokenistic about the contributions from his band members. Intrinsic to the album is the rasping, raw sound of the ritti (one-stringed violin) and kologo (lute) from Gambia’s Juldeh Camara together with Justin Adams, who plays guitar, ngoni and basically anything else he can lay his hands on. Add drummer Dave Smith, bassist Billy Fuller, guitarist Liam Tyson and keyboardist John Baggott and the end product is a powerful collaborative effort. JF

 

 

Tamburocket-Hungarian-Fireworks

Söndörgő

Tamburocket Hungarian Fireworks

(Riverboat Records)

We’ve been champions of this Hungarian group since their brilliant collaboration with Gypsy sax player Ferus Mustafov in 2008. Söndörgő’s sound is light, springy and delicately plucked. They play the virtuoso tambura music of Hungary’s Serbian and Croatian communities and, as they’ve proved in recent concerts at WOMEX and in London, they do it with style. This album includes vibrant examples of their core repertoire, plus interesting takes on Macedonian music. The band are three brothers and a cousin, plus Attila Buzás on bass tambura. SB

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The 50 Greatest World Music Albums of the Last Five Years (Part 4)

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

Editor Jo Frost and editor-in-chief Simon Broughton choose their favourite albums from 2011…

Anda-Union--The-Wind-Horse

Anda Union

The Wind Horse

(Hohhot Records)

Undoubtedly one of the most talked about bands at WOMAD 2011, this group of throat-singing, horse head fiddle players are from Inner Mongolia, China. Musically, there are similarities with the Tuvan group Huun Huur Tu, but with the addition of two excellent female singers. Their highly evocative music conjures up impressions of vast expanses of sparsely populated grasslands, as depicted in a documentary about the band recently shown at the London Film Festival. This album is definitely one for equine fans – the whinnying sounds they make on ‘Galloping Horses’ is quite amazing. JF

 

Aurelio--Laru-Beya

Aurelio

Laru Beya

(Real World)

It’s thanks to the late Belizean singer Andy Palacio that the culture and music of the Central American Garifuna people is known internationally. Aurelio Martinez dedicates this album to his friend and mentor, with a particularly beautiful song written in Palacio’s honour, ‘Wamada’. In addition to the drum and percussion heavy Garifuna rhythms, there are contributions from Youssou N’Dour and Orchestra Baobab – a result of Aurelio’s Rolex Mentor-Protégé initiative with Youssou back in 2007 [see #64]. These West African vocal additions were recorded on one of Aurelio’s trips to Dakar, tracing the roots of his ancestors – he describes this album as ‘a homecoming.’ Palacio’s Garifuna legacy is in safe hands with Aurelio. JF

 

 

Balkan-Brass-Battle

Boban & Marko Marković Orkestar and Fanfare Ciocărlia

Balkan Brass Battle

(Asphalt Tango)

The story is a great one – the two top Gypsy bands in the Balkans go head to head. Boban and Marko Marković, the kings of Balkan brass from the ‘Trubacka Republika’ (Trumpet Republic) of Serbia versus Fanfare Ciocărlia, the peasant upstarts, from Romania. Each band does a few of their own tunes, they each do a version of Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’ and they do four tracks together. A gristly gobbet of the best of Balkan brass. SB

 

Blind-Note

Blind Note

Blind Note

(Muziekpublique)

It’s the haunting sound of the Armenian duduk on the opening track ‘Chiraki Par’ that initially got me hooked. Then there’s the fact that the musicians, from Armenia, Turkey, Mexico, Senegal and Madagascar, all now based in Belgium, recorded the album in aid of a Belgian NGO, Light for the World, who raise money for blind children in Africa. But regardless of the good cause, it’s the simplicity and sensitivity of the music they’ve created that makes this album so noteworthy. Interestingly, Muziekpublique only release one or two albums a year – their main work is putting on concerts and music classes in a small venue in Brussels. JF

 

Carminho--Fado

Carminho

Fado

(EMI Portugal)

Every young fado singer has got to market themselves as the new voice of fado. But Carminho is the one to watch. She has a versatile intimacy in her voice, as if she’s talking to you personally, and some of the lyrics she’s written herself, which give songs like ‘Nunca é Silêncio Vão’ a special intensity. Featuring several fine Portuguese guitar players, this CD represents a spectacular debut with the opening ‘Escrevi teu Nome no Vento’ a particular highlight with a gorgeous melody and delivery. SB

 

 

Cecil-Sharp-Project

Cecil Sharp Project

Cecil Sharp Project

(EFDSS/Shrewsbury Folk Festival)

So often, well-intended collaborative ‘projects’ look great on paper but don’t work in practice, seeming forced and lacking in real musical connection. Not so with this project, which I was privileged to witness in action when the eight musicians spent a week together coming up with the songs for a series of concerts and album [see #78]. The idea is simple enough – putting into song the experiences of English folk collector Cecil Sharp during his trip to Appalachia. It’s the quality of the musicianship and their obvious enjoyment in working and playing together that is striking, particularly on tracks such as ‘The Great Divide’ and ‘The Ghost of Songs’. JF

 

Dawda-Jobarteh--Northern-Light-Gambian-Night

Dawda Jobarteh

Northern Light Gambian Night

(Sterns)

For me the kora is the greatest of African instruments, providing a sublime accompaniment or as a marvellous solo instrument in its own right. Dawda Jobarteh comes from one of the great griot dynasties in the Gambia and, now living in Denmark, he’s produced this album in which he does both with guitarist Preben Carlsen and lots of guest musicians. One of the loveliest tracks, ‘Nkanakele’, features South Indian flute player Shashank and apparently the wild guitar on ‘Dinding Do’ is actually Dawda Jobarteh on electric kora. A great debut album from an impressive new artist and it closes with a stately duet with the supreme kora maestro Toumani Diabaté. SB

 

Anoushka-Shankar--Traveller

Anoushka Shankar

Traveller

(Deutsche Grammophon)

The meeting of Indian music and flamenco isn’t new, but this is one of the best products of that fusion. Sitar player Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi) worked with guitarist and (Grammy-award winning) producer Javier Limón on an album that really does chart a musical and emotional journey, if not a geographical one. There are great vocals from Buika, Duquende and Sandra Carrasco on the flamenco side and Shubha Mudgal and Sanjeev Chimmalgi on the Indian side and spectacular sitar duets from Anoushka and flamenco pianist Pedro Ricardo Miño and flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela. An exuberant recording which is one of the highlights of the year. SB

 

 

Tamburising

Söndörgő

Tamburising

(World Village)

Söndörgő – hard to say, but easy to listen to – are a fabulous young band from Hungary. They have now started to make an international impact and this CD and their spectacular live shows are the reason. On delicate plucked tamburas, they play the music of the South Slav minorities in Hungary – virtuoso dance tunes that are fiery, but delicate. This CD, featuring Gypsy tambura master József Kovács, from whom they’ve learned many of their tunes, is a great calling card with a cross section of their repertoire as played in the southern city of Mohács. In addition to the tambura repertoire they play some great Macedonian tunes – notably the popular ‘Zajdi, Zajdi’ with their secret weapon, fabulous vocalist Kátya Tompos. SB

 

Abigail-Washburn--City-of-Refuge

Abigail Washburn

City of Refuge

(Rounder)

To describe Abigail Washburn as a singer-songwriter and banjo player seems woefully inadequate when you realise this is a woman who has become an unofficial US goodwill ambassador to China (she speaks and sings in Chinese). The illustrative album artwork, depicting a multitude of exotic-looking places and faces, is a good indication of what you’re going to hear. It’s an enchanting treasure trove of musical treats, featuring a host of instruments, from double bass, viola, guzheng (zither) and the beautiful yet rarely heard cello banjo (on ‘Bring Me My Queen’). JF

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Songlines’ Best Albums of 2014 Announced

Posted on October 31st, 2014 in News, Recent posts by .

Songlines-BestAlbums14_CMYK

Here are the ten albums that Songlines editors Jo Frost and Simon Broughton have selected as the best from 2014

With five picks each, Jo Frost and Simon Broughton have chosen their favourite albums that have been reviewed within Songlines magazine in the last 12 months. You can read more about these ten albums in the next issue (Jan/Feb 2015, #105), out on December 5.

Here are this year’s selections (in no particular order):

Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté – Toumani & Sidiki (on World Circuit, reviewed in #100)

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Aziza Brahim – Soutak (on Glitterbeat, reviewed in #98)

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Kassé Mady Diabaté – Kiriké (on No Format, reviewed in #104)

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The Gloaming – The Gloaming (on Real World, reviewed in #98)

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Robert Plant – Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar (on Nonesuch, to be reviewed in #105)

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Driss El Maloumi  – Makan (on Contre Jour, reviewed in #98)

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Aurelio – Lándini (on Real World, reviewed in #104)

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Söndörgő – Tamburocket: Hungarian Fireworks (on Riverboat Records, reviewed in #102)

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Kronos Quartet – A Thousand Thoughts (on Nonesuch, reviewed in #100)

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Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal – Songs of Time Lost (on No Format, to be reviewed in #105)

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Album Review | Top Of The World | Aurelio – Lándini

Posted on October 25th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

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Words by Alex Robinson. Photography by Katia Paradis.

aureliopackStill representing Garifuna culture on the world stage.

This superb CD marks an about-turn for Aurelio. With cameos from the likes of Youssou N’Dour and an international sound, his last release, Laru Beya, was aimed at a broad audience. But Lándini is a fundamentally Garifuna album, rooted in the paranda and punta musical traditions made famous by Andy Palacio. The album’s title translates as ‘Landing’, alluding to the Garifuna landing on the coast of Central America in the 18th century after the Garifuna speaking people were forcibly exiled from the Caribbean by the British. The landing is the Garifuna equivalent of the crossing of the Sinai – an event fundamental to their culture and identity – and Lándini is imbued with the melancholy, memory and celebration tied-up with the story.

The CD is rich in variety. With their upbeat punta rhythms, songs such as ‘Nando’ or ‘Lirun Weyu’ beg you to get on your feet. Others, like ‘Nitu’, are imbued with a mesmerising melancholy and sense of loss. Aurelio’s singing and guitar have never sounded better. His voice brims over with celebration on ‘Chichanbara’, accompanied by lilting, plucked and very African guitar, while it is thick with sadness on ‘Milaguru’, which tells of the death of many Garifuna in a ferry accident.

Despite Palacio’s legacy, Aurelio is the only artist representing Garifuna culture internationally today. Let’s hope that this wonderful CD inspires other young Garifuna to follow in his footsteps.

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