New Reviews: March 22, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Mahmoud Fadl
The Drummers Of The Nile In Town – Cairosonic
Piranha Records

Mahmoud Fadl joins his percussion kings on their third release. Hailing from Egypt, Mahmoud Fadl plays the conga, duhula, duff and sandouk, mesri – all Egyptian percussion instruments. Other musicians play the darbuka, ria, accordion, kawala, mizmar, sax, clarinet, nakrazan, and trumpet. Each track features instrumental pieces that are fairly representative of the music of fellow countrymen – Hossam Ramzy. The lively percussion Mahmoud incorporates, showcases the talents of Cairo’s master drummer street musicians. All in all, The Drummers Of The Nile In Town is an exquisite album of drumming pleasure for the ears!

Various Artists
Global Women
Arc Music

In honor female musicians/vocalists around the world, Arc Music has released a diverse album, featuring music from 14 different countries. Accomplished female musicians/vocalists from Sudan, Israel, Ireland, Libya, Madagascar, Greece, Bolivia, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Wales, Peru, Portugal, Kenya, and South Africa are included. Traditional folk tunes with some contemporary arrangements represent the majority of the music on Global Women. However, each song is pleasant and appropriately included in this collection to maintain a sense of musical cohesion and balance. Extensive liner notes in English, German and French translations detail each vocalist. Global Women is an excellent compilation and a must-have for female vocal music collectors.

Various Artists
Africa Straight Ahead
Heads Up International

Africa Straight Ahead continues the African instrumental traditions, by exploring the township jazz of South Africa. The music of Africa Straight Ahead is largely laid back jazz and bop, interspersed with tunes of energetic cadence. The musicians represented include Marcus Wyatt, Paul Hanmer, Moses Khmalo, Zim Ngqawana, Sheer Allstars, Andy Narell, and more! Fans of South African “township” jazz, cool jazz, bop, and blues will love Africa Straight Ahead. Leon Palad/Kilo Munoz
Essential Tango
Whip Records

Tango maestros, Leon Palad and Kilo Munoz, perform North American tango songs sung with Spanish lyrics. The combination of voice and tango is appropriately called “tango-cancion”. Both singers are joined by Norberto Vogel on piano and bandoneon, Rachel Durling on violin, Michel Taddei on contrabass and Will Bernard on acoustic/electric guitar. The classical voice training of Leon and Kilo is evident on all of the tracks. Consequently, the continued survival of tango, beyond its native Argentinian borders, hrelies upon its communicators on North Amrerican soil. Overall, emotional and evocative vocal stylings and danceable melodies take the listener by the hand and literally dance him/her across the dance floor!

Boban Markovic Orkestra
Boban I Marko-Balkan Brass Fest
Piranha Records

Boban Markovic and company bring us his latest foray into the world of Balkan gypsy brass band music. Boban hails from Serbia and includes two tracks utilizing Serbian lyrics. The other tracks are instrumental and reflect the use of flugelhorn, tenor horn, snare drum, clarinet, drums, accordion, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and violin. Each composition features full, brass band sounds and musical precision through unending perfection. Consequently, all of the tracks reflect Boban’s unfailing and uncompromising musical abilities on Balkan Brass Fest. Brass band connoisseurs should check out Boban’s latest work of musical propensity.

Matthew J. Forss is currently a full-time student at Lakeland College-Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is majoring in Biology and German Language/Culture. Since 1998, he has collected numerous musical instruments and CDs from around the world. Also in 1998, he wrote a paper on Mongolian Ethnomusicology, entitled: How Does Music Play An Important Role In The Life And Culture Of Mongolia? Currently, he has collected over 100 CDs that represent dozens of different countries. His general interests include ethnomusicology journalism and researching the traditional/contemporary ethnic music of various cultures from around the world. His specific, geographic areas of study include the traditional and popular music from Central Eurasia (especially Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.) In November of 2000, he accepted the position of writing world music CD reviews for this site.