New Reviews: April 24, 1998

A while back I had the chance to listen to Mychael and Jeff Danna's Heart O'Space debut A Celtic Tale, which was a wonderous story set to music. The brothers Danna are back with A Celtic Romance, which is similar in concept. It's a 9th century Irish legend called Liadain and Curithir, fully documented in the ample liner notes, and set to some incredible instrumentation which is at once captivating and melancholy, including folk, traditional Celtic instruments, complex orchestration, and even monastic choral chants. Their talent for capturing a storyline in music is not surprising; the Dannas are well-known in the film and television worlds for their scores.

Sabah Habas Mustapha is best-known to World Music fans as the younger brother of the 3 Mustaphas 3. He is also a solo artist in his own right, with some very experimental and adventurous music. Jalan Kopo is named after a recording studio in Indonesia, where Mustapha teamed up with some young musicians in Bandung, West Java. Combining elements of pop, reggae at times, gamelan, and traditional Indonesian instruments like bamboo flute and kecapis, this is an eclectic album not to miss. Mustapha's reserved vocals bring the complex instrumentation out even farther -- but this guy does have a good voice, and is a great songwriter. Jalan Kopo is likely to be on my "Best Of" list for 1998.