New Reviews: November 22, 2004

Reviews by Paula E. Kirman

World Village/Harmonia Mundi

Tinariwen is a band of singers, guitarists, and poets from the southern Sahara desert region of Africa. The use of the electric guitar adds another dimension of musicality to these songs that are poems about the hardships and realities of life. With a traditional, percussive backbeat and choral vocal stylings, Tinariwen is accessible to an audience beyond African music enthusiass (although no doubt they would sing the praises of this band as well). Amassakoul is one of the year's best World Music releases.

Ce Soir Là
World Village/Harmonia Mundi

Ce Soir Là is a live album from France's Lo'Jo, one of the hottest bands on the World Music scene. It was recorded during the Summer of 2003 during a French tour. One of the most remarkable things about Lo'Jo is the band's ability to fuse so many different musical styles, and still come across as a cohesive musical unit. African, Klezmer, jazz, pop, and Middle Eastern rhythms abound. It is an upbeat musical journey that takes the listener in along for the ride.

Captured Alive

Canadian roots band Tanglefoot has a tremendously large cult following. Captured Alive explains why. The energy and dynamic presence of these musicians jumps out of the CD player (and off the screen, for those watching the DVD version of this release). Although I was unfamiliar with the band before I listened and observed, I am now a converted "Foothead" (the affectionate term for Tanglefoot fans). These guys write and sing about Canadian culture and history, combined with excellent musicianship on guitar, vocals, mandolin, fiddles, and keyboards. This rleease also marks the end of an era for the band, as it is the final performance with Joe Grant, the last original member. This is fine folk!

Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrup
Red Shoes

Folk duo Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrup are acoustic guitarists, singers, and songwriters. They present a variety of original and cover songs on Red Shoes. The title track is a song written for Sue's late mother. A bilingual album, one of the highlights is the cover of Zachary Richard's "Au Bord de Lac Bijou." There is nothing particulary unique about the duo's musical or vocal style, but Red Shoes is a pleasant and relaxing album that gives the occasional challenge to the listener.

Paula E. Kirman is the Editor and Webmaster of Inside World Music.