New Reviews: September 2005
Reviews by Matthew Forss
Various Artists The Rough Guide To Celtic Music World Music Network The Rough Guide To Celtic Music takes the listener beyond the traditional Irish borders of Celtic music. In fact, music from France, USA, Canada, Scotland, England, Wales and Spain can be heard on this incredible compilation. The diverse, Celtic talent is certainly widespread and displayed by musicians such as Natalie MacMaster (Canada), Skolvan (France) and Bohola (USA). A contemporary work of jigs, reels, ballads and innovative instrumentals and vocals will not disappoint the traditional, Celtic aficionado. Fiddles, harps, flutes, pipes, mandolins, bodhrans and other instrumentation are present. The Rough Guide To Celtic Music is also an excellent companion to The Rough Guide To Irish Music. So, how long does it take to explore the world's Celtic music? After 18 songs and 70 minutes, I think we know the answer to this question! Various Artists The Rough Guide To The Music Of Balkan Gypsies World Music Network The Rough Guide To The Music Of Balkan Gypsies explores the music of the Rom populations in Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Armenia and Turkey. Gypsy music contains lively and celebratory instrumentation and vocalizations. Hints of Arabic percussion, whirling violins, energetic brass and heart-felt vocals from men and women are characteristic of the Balkan region. In fact, the symbolic and always enjoyable cymbalom (hammered dulcimer) instrument is present throughout. Veteran singer, Esma Redzepova (Macedonia), performs a catchy and danceable tune titled "Romano Oro". Other well-known groups, including Shukar Collective, Boban markovic Orkestar and Mostar Sevdah Reunion showcase their unique, yet quintessential Gypsy rhythms. Fans of brass bands, horas, polkas, Klezmer music and Balkan/Gypsy music should make room in their music collection for Balkan Gypsies. Various Artists The Rough Guide To The Music Of Brazil: Rio De Janeiro World Music Network Brazil is often on the forefront of musical expression and ingenuity when it comes to global music scenes. Many styles are inherent to Brazil and Rio De Janeiro in particular. Carnaval, bossa nova, jazz, carioca, choro and a myriad of other traditional and contemporary styles emanate from the busy, city streets to the surrounding jungle. Brazil: Rio De Janeiro features many musicians, male and female, that may be unfamiliar to some of us. Don't let unfamiliarity fool you into thinking this is a mediocre release of Brazilian music, because that would be far from the truth! Brazil: Rio De Janeiro brings us catchy, revolutionary songs of city life in a highly infectious pop mixture. Of course, European, African and American rhythms also find their way into the songs. Nonetheless, the music of Rio De Janeiro is nothing short of innovative. The immense instrumentation and varied texture of the compositions are amazing. Elements of smooth jazz, rock, funk and other styles come to mind. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned listener of Brazilian music, you should find tranquility and enjoyment in the smooth sounds of Rio De Janeiro's latest musical foray! Tito Puente The Rough Guide To Tito Puente World Music Network Latin music king, Tito Puente, was easily heralded as an influential and remarkable musician, performer and composer to ever touch the hearts and minds of Latin music listeners. Tito's musical career began in the late 40's and continued unfettered until his death in 2000, shortly after his release of Mambo Birdland. Tito managed to work with and organize some very talented bands over the years, while working with such notables as Celia Cruz, Vicentico Valdes and Miguelito Valdes. The Grammy-award winner incorporated vibraphones, timbale, horn and drum arrangements in the mambo, pachanga, salsa, jazz and boogaloo styles. Classic vocals and exciting percussion arrangements entice the listener to do nothing short of dance. The tune familiar to many, Oye Como Va, is included, among 20 other stunning tracks. Long time fans of Tito Puente would love this release because it draws upon his work from 100 albums over 50-some years. Overall, Tito Puente is great for the beginner and who has an eclectic interest in Latin jazz. Various Artists The Rough Guide To Salsa Dance World Music Network Salsa Dance is the latest World Music Network release to delve into the world of salsa music. Actually, salsa music was termed in the 1970's to describe all types of Latin music to a general audience. The spread of salsa from Latin American countries and the USA to Europe, Africa and even Asia, reinforce the staying power and pervasive qualities of Latin music. Salsa Dance features many diverse groups including Africando, Bobby Rivas, Conjunto Colores, Merengada, Grupo Gale and many more! Brassy tunes, classic arrangements, soulful vocals, dance-stepping beats and vibrant originality are only some of the words used to describe this seemingly indescribable genre. This is not your average salsa music! In order to experience the best salsa dance music available, you must acquire The Rough Guide To Salsa Dance! Your feet will be happy you did! Sierra Maestra Son: Soul Of A Nation World Music Network Cuba has been a hotbed of musical activity for years. One of the prominent musical styles to come out of Cuba has been the son style. Son incorporates several sub-genres of percussion and vocal music. Son: Soul Of A Nation includes classic songs of Cuba's preeminent son era between the 1920's and 1940's. Lively renditions and ageless vocalizations pervade the album's musical strengths. Moreover, the album was recorded in Havana, Cuba to pay reverence to the great singers and composers of the early, son style. Latin and Cuban music lovers should not miss out on this important and iconic release. Also, liner notes describing the songs and lyrics are included.