New Reviews: November 8, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Various Artists
Traditional and Contemporary Music From Italy
Arc Music

The traditional and contemporary music of Italy is showcased on one of Arc Music's latest release. Various male and female musicians from many different localities within Italy are presented. A plethora of string, wind, and percussion instruments accompany all of the songs. Passionate and intricate vocalizations profess discuss love, hope and almost every other aspect of Italian life. An incredible selection of tunes, waltzes, dances and folk expressions are included. A fine recording with liner notes in Italian, English, German, French, and Spanish.

Keezing & Florio
All Rivers Run To Rain
Passion Records

An entire album of acoustic guitar? You bet! Keezing & Florio both play acoustic guitar on their latest release, All Rivers Run To Rain. All tracks are void of vocals. However, the guitars 'speak' for the entire album. Slow to moderate tempos, acoustic interplay, precise fingerings and contemplative stylings are representative of Keezing & Florio's approach. A very interesting and relaxing album of musical originality.

Imaginary Homeland
Jump For George
Jumbie Records

Imaginary Homeland combines American jazz, West African instrumentation, and Appalachian folk music. Each instrumental track is experimental, yet accessible to fans of Americana and West African music. The exhaustive ethnomusicological study of Ghanaian folk traditions by Imaginary Homeland's brainchild, David Rogers, definitely shines through on Jump For George.

Birkin Tree
3 (Three)

An Italian Celtic music group? Absolutely! Birkin Tree performs Celtic jigs, reels and tunes on fiddle, guitar, piano, sax, uillean pipes, flute, whistle, violin, and cello. You will not find any hint of Italian music here. Two vocal tracks are interspersed in the instrumental songs. Fans of Celtic music should acquire 3 (Three) without hesitation. It's that good!

Various Artists
Bula Fiji Bula - Music Of The Fiji Islands
Arc Music

Bula Fiji Bula - Music Of The Fiji Islands contains the music of Rewasese and Nawaka groups. The two groups perform traditional meke music. Traditional music of Fiji incorporates the use of slit drums, bamboo stamping tubes, clap sticks, ukulele, guitar, mandolin, and acapella singing. The form of meke music featured here, includes both voice and dance components. Perfect music for the Pacific Islander and traditional music connoisseur! Liner notes are included in English, German, and Spanish.

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.