New Reviews: November 1, 2004
Reviews by Matthew J. Forss
Six Degrees Records
Kora master and music maestro, Issa Bagayogo, fuses Malian
traditional music with contemporary Western beats, elements, and electronica,
without losing the identity of true, Malian elements. Issa's rustic vocals and
female back up vocals conveys the North African spirit of great musical talent
at its best. Overall, richly textured instrumentation and transcendental vocal
stylings symbolize the ultimate direction of contemporary Malian music.
Lebanese composer, Marcel Khalife, showcases his talents on the oud.
Marcel is accompanied by piano, double bass, vibraphone, tabla, riq, mazhar,
congos, bongas, and violin. Each track is instrumental and characteristic of
Lebanese folk music. However, the subtleties of Marcel's oud playing and
accompanying instrumentation, distinguish Marcel from other musicians. Fans
of Arabic percussion and oud music should certainly acquire Caress.
Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar
Cargo Orkestar front man and backbone of the group, Darko Rundek, performs
contemporary folk music of Croatian origin. The vocals and guitar work of Darko
Rundek, is accompanied by various brass instruments, Balkan and Middle Eastern
percussion, European strings and several musicians on back up vocals. Most of
the songs are sung in Croatian, but others are sung in French, Spanish, and
English. Overall, Ruke combines the spirit of a Parisian lounge bar and Croatian
hospitality to create an exciting musical experience. Fans of Balkan folk/brass,
Klezmer, Parisian lounge jazz and Croatian folk music should check out Darko Rundek
and his Cargo Orkestar.
The Unseen Guest
The stripped down, folk renderings of The Unseen Guest incorporate simple
song lyrics backed by modest instrumentation. The instrumental backbone of
Out There, includes typical folk instruments, but also Indian strings and
The Latin-inspired album, Mood Swings, signifies Tony Calle's Spanish and
English vocal talents. Each track features Tony's versatile voice that
effortlessly and sinuously encompasses the trumpet, drums, guitar, sax,
flute, and keyboard arrangements. The entire album encompasses several
Latin sub-genres, including Latin jazz, tejano, Brazilian lounge, Latin
folk, rumba, Cuban jazz, and easy listening. Excellent music for those
interested in innovative and soulful Latin music!
Italian musician and producer, Amos Barzel brings us an entire album
featuring the piano. However, the piano is also accompanied by sax, strings,
guitar, bass, and drums on some of the tracks. Moreover, some pieces are
Latin-inspired. All of the tracks feature elements that evoke an emotional
response. Fans of piano music will definitely be transformed after listening
to Amos Barzel's Emotions.
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.