New Reviews: August 1, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Niladri Kumar
If: Magical Sounds Of Sitar
Sona Rupa

Niladri Kumar is a contemporary Indian musician. Niladri’s instrument of choice is the sitar. If . . . represents contemporary stylings of atmospheric washes, delicate and precisefingerings and thousands of years of classical Indian performance as a sturdy foundation. A well thought-out balance is achieved between tabla, flute, khanjira, keyboards and mridangam. Each track awakens peaceful and melancholic emotions. Purists may cringe, but both classical and contemporary progressive audiences have applauded Niladris’ style. Fans of Indian sitar, New Age and experimental music will thoroughly relish If: Magical Sounds Of Sitar.

Various Artists
Divinity - Divine Music For Meditation
Sona Rupa

Divinity is part of the Mind/Body/Soul collection in the instrumental series from Sona Rupa. Various Indian musicians lend their talents on flute, sitar, santoor, shehnai, tabla, guitar, bass, keyboards, pakhawaj, harp, sarod and assorted percussion instruments. One track features a vocal chorus. Each track features relaxing, Indian instrumentation and Westernized melodies. Great music for meditation/yoga instructors interested in dynamic music for the ‘divine’ listener!

Xiao Ying
The Art Of The Chinese Harp: Guzheng
Arc Music

China’s Xiao Ying, brings us several compositions of solo guzheng. The guzheng is essentially a horizontally played harp common to most parts of China. Xiao’s 25 years of experience are appropriately displayed on this fine recording. Traditional, classical and ancient folk tunes showcase Xiao’s playing prowess, as well as additional instruments from other musicians including the erhu, yehu, sheng and dixi flute. Overall, a pleasant, releaxing, warm and atmospheric quality emanates from each track. Interestingly, the latest release from Arc Music features one of the oldest musical instruments in the world! A detailed booklet in German, English, French and Spanish translations is conveniently included.

Michalis Terzis
The Road To Olympia Greece
Arc Music

Greek musician, composer, arranger and conductor, Michalis Terzis, is a highly renowned fixture in contemporary Greek music. Michalis plays the piano, while other musicians included play the bouzouki, baglama, classical guitar, bass and assorted percussion. Each track is reminiscent of the ‘contemporary laika’ musical style of Greek music. Consequently, the music possesses a contemporary folk ensemble sound, rather than the typical classical sounding repertoire. Let Michalis Terzis take us down ‘the road to Olympia Greece’! The road is definitely looking bright! A superb instrumental album with informative booklet in English, Spanish, French and German translations is included.

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.