New Reviews: October 25, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

N'faly Kouyate & Dunyakan
Kora Grooves From West Africa
Arc Music

Guinean-born kora master, N'faly Kouyate, is joined by his group, Dunyakan, on his latest Arc Music release to date. N'faly is also a member of the world music group, Afro Celt Sound System. Kora Grooves represents N'faly's professional talents as a kora master on all of the tracks. N'faly also sings and plays the balafon, slit drum, and doundoumba drum. Dunyakan accompanies N'faly with double bass, bass guitar, djembe drum, shakers, sangban drum, kenkeni drum, flute, and violin. Additionally, powerful, backing vocals are included on some of the tracks. Overall, N'faly does a great job introducing us to the sounds of West Africa!

Alysson Light
Looking Glass Conversations

The vocal stylings and songwriting talents of Alysson Light are featured on Looking Glass Conversations. The North Carolina (USA) songstress brings us poignant and poetic songs, sung in a folk context. Each track displays her charm and musical maturity at only 18 years of age. Allysson's crystalline voice and piano playing is backed by acoustic guitar, cello, drums, bass, percussion, and violin. Great music for fans of folk/piano music and female singer/songwriters, in general.

The Best Of Glykeria: Voice Of Greece
Arc Music

Glykeria's musical career began some 20 years ago in Northern Greece. Voice Of Greece is a celebration of her most memorable and award-winning songs in popular Greek music. Glyerkia's voice is joined by back up singers, drums, percussion, guitar, bass, saz and violin. Overall, the music is wholly representative of the rebetika popular folk music style in Greece. Fans of rebetika will enjoy Glykeria's uplifting and heartfelt 'voice of Greece'. In addition, liner notes are included in Greek, Spanish, French and German languages.

Music Of Tunisia
Arc Music

The group, Ez-Zouhour, was founded in Vienna, Austria in the early 90's. However, the group maintains the musical originality of Tunisian folk music. Male and female group vocals, oud, kanun, nay flute, kemancheh, double bass, darbouka, tar, duf, bender, and sagat complete Ez-Zouhour's vocal and instrumental repertoire. Fans of North African traditional music should be very pleased with Music Of Tunisia.

Raushan Orazbaeva

The Kazakh knee fiddle (qyl-qobiz), is an instrument rarely heard on recordings. However, Raushan Orazbaeva appropriately fills that void with Akku. Akku features 15 solo songs entirely highlighting the qyl-qobiz. Anyone with an interest in the music of Kazakhstan or other Central Eurasian countries should definitely obtain Akku. You will not be disappointed!

Anastacia Azevedo
Amanaiara - Senhora Da Chuva

The rhythmic and danceable music of Brazil is one of the most recognizable trademarks of Brazil. In the same manner, Anastacia Azevedo continues the vocal traditions of contemporary Brazilian music. Several songs feature typical Brazilian instrumentation, including the acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and assorted percussion. However, Anastacia does manage to diverge from 'typical', with her incorporation of lesser known Brazilian rhythms of coco, xaxado, forro, baiao, samba, and xote. Perfect music for the adventurous listener of Brazilian sounds!

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.