Posts Tagged ‘the silk road ensemble’

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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