New Reviews: August 23, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss


Angolan-born, Bonga, performs contemporary vocal and guitar music from Southern Africa. Traditional instrumentation and contemporary arrangements signify the foundational elements of Kaxexe. The acoustic guitar, bass, accordion and various percussion instruments blend superbly with Bonga’s soulful and seasoned vocals. Fans of Afro-Cuban, Fado, Rumba, and Flamenco musical styles should thoroughly enjoy Kaxexe.

Milagro Acustico
Rubaiyyat Of Omar Khayyam
World Class

The Italian group, Milagro Acustico, explores the poetry of Omar Khayyam. Omar was a Persian poet, born in 1040. Rubaiyyat Of Omar Khayyam is the musical equivalent of Omar’s spoken poetry. Some tracks are sung in Sicilian; while others are wholly instrumental. A plethora of instruments including guitar, piano, trumpet, santoor, bass, sax, flute, mandolin, udu, and various other percussion instruments. The overall music contains Mediterranean and Middle Eastern infusions. A very accessible album for the world music listener!

Fernando Holz
Minh’ Alma Nua (My Nude Soul)
Fernando Holz Works

Minh’ Alma Nua (My Nude Soul) is an introspective work, created out of the vibrant, Brazilian music diaspora. Fernando Holz brings us the best in Brazilian loung jazz. Sweeping Spanish vocals, classical string arrangements, light piano playing, jazzy bass, fiery guitar, and adventurous percussion completes Fernando’s sound. Perfect for slow-dancing and relaxing in your favorite hammock down by the beach!

Marie Louise
Rast Snob/Alma Music

The traditional music of Africa can be found in many forms throughout the continent. Iwacu is a purely traditional album of limited percussion and mostly solo vocals. A few nature sound samples, hand-clapping, drum, and other assorted percussion instruments accompany Marie’s voice. Great music for the traditional African music fan!

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.