New Reviews: April/May 2006

Reviews by Matthew Forss

Nuru Kane
World Music Network

Sigil captures a unique blend of North African gnawa music with Southern European infusions. 
Nuruís vocals are somewhat bluesy and always passionate. Simple instrumentation including 
the guimbri, guitar, bass, oud, sanza, nígoni, violin, accordion, Welsh flute, djembe and 
other percussion. Essentially, Nuru takes the listener on a musical journey across Northwest 
Africa. Elements of blues and nomadic folk instrumentation are nicely accompanied by Nuruís 
vocalizations; which are very similar to Maliís Ali Farka Toure. Overall, the Nuru explores 
the life and culture of gnawa in West Africa; while remaining relatively distinct musically. 
Sigil is a musical journey that will surely please Saharan, African, blues, folk and acoustic 
music fans. Includes liner notes in French and English. 

Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan 
Smithsonian Folkways

The seemingly elusive music of Central Asia has become more accessible to Western audiences in 
recent years. Any music from Kyrgyzstan is especially hard to find for Western listeners. 
Fortunately, the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia and the Smithsonian Institution 
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage have showcased the folk music of Kyrgyzstan to 
listeners worldwide with the release of Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Mountain Music of 
Kyrgyzstan. You will hear various musicians in the Tengir-Too ensemble playing traditional 
instruments including the choor (end blown flute), chopo choor (clay ocarina), jygach ooz 
komuz (wooden Jewís harp), temir komuz (metal Jewís harp), kyl kayak (bow fiddle), komuz 
(3-string lute) and sybyzgy (side blown flute). Male and female vocals are also featured. 
Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan should be the album of choice for all Central Asian music 
listeners. Simple folk tunes and spacious melodies transport the listener to the foothills 
of the Tien Shan Mountains on a warm, Spring day! The album is also accompanied by a DVD 
with English subtitles featuring special map features, a musical documentary, live 
performances and some of the instrument making processes. Moreover, you will receive 
an attractive 46 page booklet with Kyrgyz music history, English/Kyrgyz lyrics and 
instrument history/organology. This is one epic album from the steppes that should be 
in your collection!

Asha Bhosle
Love Supreme
Time Square Records

Multi-award winning songstress, Asha Bhosle, has recorded thousands of Hindi songs since 
the 1950ís. Love Supreme features a 2 CD set: Ghazals and Romantic Duets. There are also 
2 bonus music videos included on Romantic Duets. The music is distinctly Hindi-pop with a
mature sensibility and a progressive tone. However, the instrumentation includes Western 
instruments and musical styles on some of the tracks. There are definite lounge jazz 
infusions, classical arrangements and some African elements. The unmistakable vocals of 
Asha Bhosle make Love Supreme a necessary album for Hindi-pop fans young and old!    

Urban Latino
World Music Network 

Urban Latino is the latest pulse to come out of Latin America. Contemporary Tex-Mex beats, 
dance beats, fast wordplay, rap prose, ska, electronic and lounge jazz music styles are 
represented. All of the tracks are in Spanish. The music originates from Cuba, Argentina, 
Colombia and Mexico. Urban Latino is a very energetic and eclectic musical masterpiece. 

Various Artists
World Music Network 

Tanzania is a rare compilation of contemporary music from Tanzania. The music styles 
and vocals are varied. The album contains songs that draw upon acoustic, jazz, string 
band, dance, Latin, Arabic, classical and rap rhythms. Tanzania is a strong release that 
seemingly defies contemporary characterization; but it is nonetheless a very high quality 
recording that features the best bands and vocalists from Tanzania.      

Various Artists
Flamenco Nuevo
World Music Network

The unmistakable flamenco style of music is showcased on Flamenco Nuevo. Several artists 
from Europe, Africa, Middle East and South America display the diverse flamenco origins and 
artistic influences. Flamenco is traditionally a Spanish and North African music style. 
Flamenco Nuevo presents us with a contemporary fusion of a little rock and some progressive 
electronic elements. Nevertheless, the original flamenco spirit is alive and well, as 
evidenced by the fiery vocals and danceable arrangements. There are a bit of classical, 
folk and jazz infusions, as well. There is also an interview included with the music 
project compiler, Chris Moss. Another great rough guide to the smooth sounds of Flamenco!        

Triloka Records 

The thumb piano, also known as the kalimba or mbira, is an instrument with 
amazingly simple intonations that form the sole foundation for Samiteís music. 
The thumb piano is accompanied with xylophone, flute, piano, guitar and Samiteís 
emotive vocalizations. Those familiar with the thumb piano from Southern Africa will 
find Embalasasa enthralling. Embalasasa is one of the few releases to come out of Uganda. 
Overall, the instrumentation is superb, pleasant and contemplative; but there are a few 
energetic moments, as well. Very refreshing! 

Various Artists
Bhangra Dance
World Music Network 

Bhangra, which means Ďhempí, is a type of dance music originally from Northern India. 
Bhangra Dance celebrates British musicians that perform bhangra music. Energetic beats, 
hand-clapping, drum beats, woodwinds and other instrumentation backed by female and male 
vocals, make Bhangra Dance a delightful listening experience. Those familiar with Bollywood, 
Hindi, or South Asian pop music should pick up Bhangra Dance. 

Zemog El Gallo Bueno
Cama de la Conga (The Bed of the Conga)
Aagoo Records 

The role of the conga in Latin music is a very pervasive and passionate element. 
The bandsí composer, Abraham Gomez-Delgado, makes an effort to convey his music in 
a different light that cannot be described by previously held, commercialized, 
Latin music vernacular. The music incorporates elements from Puerto Rico, Cuba, 
Mexico, Caribbean, Europe and Africa. The music is folksy, energetic and jazzy. 
The vocals are certainly emotional and full of life. The Bed of the Congas should 
be on the minds of every Latin music fan!    

Various Artists
World Music Network

The music of Israel incorporates a variety of musical influences 
from Southern Europe and North Africa. Israel features the 
contemporary folk, pop and band music from various artists with 
ties to Israel. There are also rap elements, classical, jazz, Gypsy 
and Arabic rhythms. The vocals are varied; but always entertaining. 
Some artists that may already be familiar to international music fans 
include Chava Alberstein, Yasmin Levy and the late-Ofra Haza. You donít 
want to miss this one!    

Matthew J. Forss graduated from Lakeland College-Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2005 with a B.A. in Biology. He is currently enrolled as a full-time, graduate student at Northern Michigan University-Marquette, Michigan. He is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. Since 1998, he has collected numerous musical instruments and CDs from around the world. In 2000, 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 300 CDs that represent over 150 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 and Azerbaijan), North Africa (especially Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Libya and Morocco), Scandinavia and Pacific Islands (especially New Zealand, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia). He also enjoys studying Uzbek, Tamasheq, Swedish and German linguistics. In November of 2000, he accepted the position of writing World Music CD reviews for this site.