The Hot List: March 29, 2001

Like in any genre of music, World Music has many talented up and coming independent artists. These are musicians on the cutting edge, who have taken a huge artistic leap of faith by incorporating non-Western and ethnic elements to their music.

Lee Boice is an artist I have been keeping my eyes (and ears) on for a while. Boice is a guitarist and composer who looks to the World for inspiration. His CD Sacred Spaces contains contributions from Badal Roy, percussionist for Miles Davis and others, as well as Sultan Khan, a major name in Indian Classical Music. Sacred Spaces is all instrumental and all-eclectic. Heavily influenced by Indian music, Boice also fuses his sound with Latin flavors and some blues riffs.

Montreal Guitar Trio is tearing up the music scene in the band's home city of Montreal, with the city's lively music festivals. Formed in 1998, members Glenn Lévesque, Marc Morin and Sébastien Dufour, these talented guitarists perform everything from classical to folk to flamenco and bluegrass. Meninas is the band's first album and has received quite a bit of airplay in Canada on the CBC Radio network. A second album is currently in the works and the band also commissions original works by young Canadian composers.

Respete El Pasado / Respect The Past from Los Angeles-based band Spellbound is a long-awaited release. A respected band on the L.A. club scene, the group has a funky Latin/Tropical sound, helped out by Pink Panther saxophonist Plas Johnson and David LaFlamme from the hot 60's San Francisco band It's A Beautiful Day.

The Thunderbird Sisters are Still Singin'. A group of Shinnecock Native American songwriters and performers, the band is from Long Island, where the Shinnecock Indian Reservation is located. This band has a huge reputation in the Native American music scene in the United States, having won the Best Folk and Country Group of the Year at the 2000 Native American Music Awards.

Pete Lockett is a diverse and masterful percussionist. His focus is percussion of the World, including instruments from North and South India, Japan, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, such as tabla, mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, dholek, frame drums, congas, djembe and many others. He has recorded with Björk, Afro Celt Sound System, Bill Bruford and many others. Network of Sparks is a musical collaboration between Lockett and several noted musicians, creating a kaleidoscope of percussion on the album One: Lockett on World percussion, Bruford (Yes, Genesis, King Crimson) on drumkit, Simon Limbrick on classical marimba, vibes, balafon and midi mallets, Nana Tsiboe on congas and djembe and African percussion and Johnny Kalsi on dhol. This is a must-listen for World and percussion enthusiasts.

Hayan is a duo that originated in the Caribbean but now makes its home in France. Konnet is the name of the band's latest CD and features the core of the band doing what they do best: Sekumba on voice, guitar, didgeridoo and kalimba; and Elaka on voice, keyboards, guitar and gimbarde.

Not many people are familiar with the language of Sanskrit. Young sisters Andrea and Sara Forman, otherwise known as Shanti Shanti hope to change that. Both of their releases, a self-titled CD and Walkin' with the Devas, are full of ancient bhajans and mantras in Sanskit, laced with English lyrics and a general New Age feel. Sanskit is an ancient language from India, which is still used today in sacred poetry and prayer.