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    Disc a Day -- World Music

    Disc a Day -- World Music
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    Ali Farka Toure -- Niafunke (Hannibal-World Circuit)
    Nick Gold produced the sublime Niafunke (named for AFT's home town) in a "crumbling building with high arched corridors and domed chambers standing alone and abandoned just outside the village...". The rich sounds mark a return to form and from the farm where Toure has been cultivating and tilling the land since '94's Talking Timbuktu. Warm, flowing and weaving tracks "Ali's Here", "Mali Dje" and the acoustic "Instrumental" meander like the River Niger in the Malian flats, negotiated with John Lee Hooker's deft simplicity. Touching on blues, praising Allah, Toure has regenerated his style, digging ever deeper to reach a place where spiritual and earthly forces join in a soulful contemplative bliss.

    Cuba -- Various Artists (Putumayo)

    Putumayo keeps on truckin' with world music comps: Brazil, Mali to Memphis, Coffee Lands and now this assembly of Cuban gems. Riding on the coat tails of Buena Vista Social Club success, compiler Jacob Edgar has included the popular reference points of smooth voiced 72 yr old hipster Ibrahim Ferrer and veteran Eliades Ochoa as the opening one-two punch. The music ranges widely from Ferrer's whimsical improvised lyrics to saucy rhythms maintaining an authentic sound-- no slick tracks, no electronic drums. These drums are played by humans and steeped in a hot Afro-Carribbean stew. As a plus, the liner notes contain a glossary of Cuban musical terms and a recipe for Moros y Cristianos.


    H. Aram Gulezyan -- The Oud: Music of the Near and Middle East (Lyrichord)
    "The Oud" offers a fascinating combination of modern and ancient sound. The origins of the European lute trace themselves to this stringed instrument which was making simple, mystical and meditative waves in Pharonic Egypt as our first clip "Oud Solo" attests. On this disc you can enjoy an audio travelogue of string sounds ranging from Northwestern Turkey (featuring Kurdish melodies) over to Islamic North Africa.


    Djivian Gasparyan -- Apricots From Eden (Traditional Crossroads)

    Djivian Gasparyan is Armenia's pre-eminent players of the duduk, one of the oldest woodwind instruments in the world. He leads us to Marash, a prosperous town in the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia in the 11th-14th Centuries destroyed by Ottoman forces in 1915. A direct connection to van ished history and the Armenian soul imbues Gasparyan's work accompanied here by d' hol (a small double-headed drum) and another duduk (a double-reeded pipe).


    Various Artists -- Telling Stories to the Sea (Luaka Bop)
    One of the treasures of the Luaka Bop label, which has been releasing fine World music under David Byrne's aegis since the late-80's. Get to the source with the pick hit Mona Ki Ngi Xica from Barcelo de Carvalho, better known as "Bonga" demonstrating the Afro-Portuguese connections of sound familiar to listeners of Cesaria Evora among others. A wonderful CD which allows for a majestic trans-atlantic sound.


    Cesaria Evora -- Cesaria Evora (Elektra/Nonesuch)

    Fado seems present in the opening track, "Petit Pays," where French touches of the title and a portion of the lyrics, which are mostly Portuguese patois of Evora's native island of San Vincente. Likewise, you might think of the mainland legend Amalia Rodrigues on "Rotcha Scribida," though Evora's conveyance of longing is more accessible and credible.

    Various Artists -- Afro-Peruvian Classics The Soul of Black Peru (Luaka Bop)
    The Soul of Black Peru comes as another great installment in David Byrne's Luaka Bop coverage of hip world sounds. Inspired by Susana Baca's "Maria Lando" which opens the cd, Byrne and Yale Evelev have compiled this remarkable set of tunes which is characterized by sturdy African and Latin rhythmic blends, call and response phrasing and sinuous Peruvian melodies.

    Hank Jones and Cheick-Tidiane Seck -- Sarala (Verve Gitanes)

    Similar to recent successful forays into African sound like Randy Weston's, Hank Jones has fully immersed himself in the sounds of West Africa. Check-Tidiane Seck is a well-known producer, arranger and keyboardist is Mali and the match could not have been finer. Jones, long a revered figure in the African jazz scene, and a dean of piano, slips effortlessly into Seck's mix, adding coloring parts, dropping in chiming vamps which build a rich, coherent World music.

    Various Artists -- The Soul of Cape Verde (Lusafrica)
    The Great Music of Cape Verde comes from a set of 10 islands lying 200 miles of the coast off Senegal. First settled by the Portuguese in 1455, the Cape Verdes have developed a loose combination of African and Creole Portugese inflections in language and music. The national music could be the Morna a minor key ballad style popularized by Cesaria Evora, which had been around in some form for over 100 years. The African styles are represented by the Funana -- with its driving beat--and the Coladeira, a Calypso-like style.



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