New Reviews: December 20, 2004
Reviews by Matthew Forss
Traditional Songs From Syria
Hailing from Syria, Zein Al-Jundi, is a premiere vocalist in various
Syrian musical styles. Zein is also a highly acclaimed teacher, choreographer,
author, producer and lecturer on Syrian music. Zein is joined by Egypt's
top percussionist, Hossam Ramzy, and others on violin, cello, qanun, oud,
nay flute, keyboards, and double bass. Each song is presented without disregard
for the historical significance and role of the songs throughout Syria's musical
history. Great Middle-Eastern percussion, backing vocal accompaniment and Zein's
outstanding, yet ethereal voice, make Traditional Songs From Syria a gem of an
album that resonates with abundant musical talent.
Gemini Sun Records
The latest musical innovations by vocalist, composer, arranger, and producer
Nicholas Gunn are featured on Breath. Vocals are sparse; but the
instrumentation is breathless. Flutes, hand percussion, piano, violin,
and guitar stylings create the perfect atmosphere of a South American
chill-out club. Soaring, yet contemplative and relaxing rhythms reflect
Nicholas Gunn's celebration of breath as a central life force in each
one of us. The atmospheric rhythms and sporadic, ethnic voicings are somewhat
reminiscent of global music sensation Enigma. The laid-back musical arrangements
should instill a sense of intrigue; without leaving the listener bored or
unfulfilled. Overall, the orchestral arrangements, flute work, ethnic voicings,
delicate percussion and possible soundtrack-desirable qualities are melodiously
infectious. Breath should be the central life force for all of us!
Indian-born Matthew Joseph performs a variety of songs sung in English. Mathew
incorporates diverse instruments including tabla, dumbek, Spanish guitar, steel
guitar, bass, violin, cello, flutes, piano, harmonium, mrdang, and cymbals. However,
the overall songs structures are not highly reminiscent of typical Indian folk music.
Essentially, the music features Western structures, with influences of folk, Americana
and roots, with hints of reggae, too. A great album that is devoid of elaborate electronic
arrangements and music musical unoriginality. Firefly is a true charm for the
distinguished world music listener.
Times Square Records
Haitian vocalist Emeline Michel brings us songs about life in Haiti
in the Creole language. The Latin rhythms and instrumentation are quite
similar to central African soukous music. The piano, bass, drums,
congas, guitar, trumpet, sax, organ, and choral pieces complete the sound
on Rasin Kreyol. Emeline's jaxxy vocalizations make Rasin Kreyol and
enjoyable album of Caribbean music. Explore the sounds of Haiti today!
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.