New Reviews: October 2006

Reviews by Matthew Forss


Tartit is a traditional Tuareg music group from Mali, Africa. Specifically, the members of the group belong to the Ansari tribe. Their first and only 
other album, Ichichila, was released in 2000. Abacabok offers a more refined and mature glimpse into the music of the Tuaregs with eloquent, traditional 
vocals and instrumental mastery. Tartit is composed of four men and five women. Abacabok contains wailing vocals, calls and claps, with calabash, tinde 
drum, lute and guitar accompaniment. Abacabok was recorded in Bamako, Mali. Similar groups include Mali’s Tinariwen and Mauritania’s Malouma. For those 
interested in Saharan folk music, Tartit should be at the top of your list! A superb album! 

Various Artists
Rough Guide: Malaysia
World Music Network

Music compiler, Paul Fisher, brings us the latest beats from the land of Malaysia. The music of Malaysia draws upon several ethnic influences and 
world regional styles. A variety of instrumentation, vocals and dance forms are included in the compilation. The sounds of Arabia, China, Eurasia, 
India and classic pop/rock sounds from Europe showcase the diverse range of musical pieces inherent and/or adopted in Malaysia. Fans of Southeast 
Asian music will thoroughly enjoy Rough Guide: Malaysia.   

Que Linda es mi Cuba
Tumi Music 

Based in Manzanillo, Cuba, Saborit continues the tradition of Cuban music. Rumba-like rhythms, emotive group vocals and upbeat instrumentation 
are the primary elements incorporated by Saborit. However, other styles are utilized including guaracha, cumbia, pilon and conga. Skillful playing 
abilities are pleasantly showcased on every track. Que Linda es mi Cuba is a classic release that is musically strong in every way. You do not want 
to miss this one! 

Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha
World Village 

Albert Kuvezin founded the group Yat-Kha and the internationally acclaimed Huun-Huur-Tu. Albert combines gritty, Tuvan throat-singing with contemporary 
rock songs. However, the instrumentation is rather restrictive, including the Jew’s harp, zither, guitar and miscellaneous percussion. The tracks are 
covers of previously released rock songs by Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Santana, Kraftwerk, Led Zeppelin and more! Liner notes are in English, French 
and Russian. Fans of supple instrumentation with a Tuvan twist will love Albert Kuvezin’s Re-Covers. 

Sally Nyolo and the Original Bands of Yaounde
Studio Cameroon
Riverboat Records

The capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, boasts a lively music scene. Sally Nyolo and other guest musicians add their talents to her latest release, Studio 
Cameroon. You will hear male and female vocals. Studio Cameroon mainly utilizes traditional instrumentation and vocalizations in a contemporary musical 
setting. The music resembles rumba, Latin, jazz, Afro pop, Madagascar folk, West African and many more styles and influences. If you want an easy way 
to explore and sample the contemporary music scene of Cameroon, then Studio Cameroon is the most essential album for you!   


Novalima bridges the gap between Peruvian and African musical infusions. Afro is the result of an extensive collaboration with musicians in Lima, Peru. 
The music flows with an adventurous, yet effortless timbre. Styles range from Latin, Jazz, techno, dance, trip-hop to electronic experimental. Inventive 
percussion and lively vocals aid in the delivery of an Afro-Peruvian concoction for the ears. Afro is the perfect album for dancing, relaxing and 
everything in between. 

Balkan Beat Box
Balkan Beat Box   
J Dub Records     

The multi-talented DJ’s of the Balkan Beat Box bring us sounds from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Balkans, North Africa and even New York City. A 
variety of vocals and electronic instrumentation form a unique blend of dance music and multicultural influences. Some tracks are indicative of horas 
or Klezmer brass, as well as Arabic electronica, with traditional and contemporary instrumentation. The music is so enticing and infectious that your 
ears and feet will thank you! Fans of ethnic dance music with a Balkan ‘beat’ and Klezmer infusion should become familiar with Balkan Beat Box. 

Hazmat Modine
Barbes Records

Hazmat Modine is a musical group that does not bode well to genre categorizations. The band incorporates harmonicas, tuba, drums, guitars, trumpet, 
cimbalom, sax, sheng and others. Bahamut is influenced by many styles including jazz, blues, country, rockabilly, Klezmer, throat-singing, gypsy, lounge, 
folk and others. However, Bahamut does not adhere solely to any one musical classification. Generally, male, bluesy vocalizations express the Bahamut 
spirit. Hazmat Modine created Bahamut in response to the idiomatic expressions of the American musical soul. This is one album that successfully taps 
into the cultural mosaic of traditional American music.

Various Artists
West Africa Unwired
World Music Network 

West Africa Unwired features a collection of musicians from Guinea, Senegal, Mali and Niger. Beautiful instrumental melodies and joyous vocalizations 
provide an enjoyable and classic set of musical significance. Some artists include Baaba Maal, Toumani Diabate, Issa Bagayogo, Etran Finatawa and others. 
Delightful balafon compositions, kora stylings and flute pieces accompany the vocalists. West Africa Unwired is a good album for those interested in the 
traditional and acoustic music of Africa, especially West Africa. Moreover, the CD packaging is composed of 100% recycled materials, with kind 
cooperation from Amnesty International and OxFam.  

Various Artists
Rough Guide to West African Gold
World Music Network

The Golden era of West African music occurred from the 1950’s – 1980’s. The Rough Guide to West African Gold celebrates this Golden era of music. 
Various artists perform jazz, big band, funk, highlife, mbalax, rumba and tropical rhythms from Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea and Mali. 
West African Gold is a very valuable album with classic vocals, lively instrumentation and timeless beats. Grab a hold of the ‘Gold’. Simply amazing!

Various Artists
Rough Guide to Yodel
World Music Network

The world of yodeling music extends well beyond the borders of Switzerland. In fact, the Rough Guide to Yodel includes musicians from the USA, Germany, 
France, Mexico, Tuva, India and Cameroon. This is not your traditional yodel music. You will hear folk, rockabilly, electronic, ambient, Afro-beat and 
spoken word styles. Instrumentation is varied; but never dull. Male and female vocals are also varied, complex and always refreshing. As a bonus, the 
opening track contains a mini yodel lesson and an extra feature contains an interview with the CD compiler, Bart Plantenga. If you are looking for 
contemporary yodeling from various parts of the world, then the Rough Guide To Yodel is your best choice! 

More Africa In Us
White Swan Records 

Canada’s Andrew McPherson teams up with Rwanda’s Ignace Ntirushwamaboko and Mali’s Samba Diallo and Mansa Sissoko for an excursion in electronic 
soundscapes. African instrumentation and computer-aided sampling techniques, along with ageless vocalizations, round out Eccodek’s eclectic repertoire. 
More Africa In Us explores the downtempo, trip-hop, Afro-beat, jazz and electronic sounds. Sit back and relax with Eccodek’s contemporary stylings and 
inventive, collaborative concoctions. Eccodek intends to make sure we have ‘more Africa in us’ with their latest release. 

Various Artists
World Music Network 

Bellydance is the term coined by American event promoter, Sol Bloom, in 1893. The development of bellydance as a style has remained largely unchanged. 
However, the geographic spread of bellydance has grown immensely. In fact, various artists from Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Armenia and the USA are 
included on Bellydance. Upbeat percussion and lively vocals represent the wide range of cultural influences and instrumentation inherent in the bellydance 
music of the world. Enjoy contributions from Omar Tekbilek, Mahmoud Fadl, Hossam Ramzy and others. Moreover, the CD packaging is composed of 100% recycled 
materials, with kind cooperation from Amnesty International and OxFam.   

Bela Lakatos & The Gypsy Youth Project
Introducing Bela Lakatos & The Gypsy Youth Project
World Music Network 

Bela Lakatos is a Hungarian music group that celebrates ‘ternipe’ music. Ternipe music is the local youth music of Hungary. The music typically involves 
vocalizations with metal can and stick percussion and foot-stomping. Additionally, the guitar, bass, mandolin and whistle is utilized. Bela Lakatos began 
by collecting traditional folk songs from rural parts of Hungary that are included on this release. Fans of gypsy, hora, Klezmer, folk and other similar 
styles should be happy with Bela Lakatos & The Gypsy Youth Project.  

Various Artists
Electric Gypsyland 2 [2 CD]

Electric Gypsyland 2 is a double CD release of original and re-invented, Balkan gypsy tunes. Original tracks are included by Taraf de Haidouks, Kocani 
Orkestar, Mahala Rai Banda and Zelwer. These artists are covered by various groups including Smadj, Balkan Beat Box, DJ Click and many others. Lively 
vocals and complex instrumentation are hallmarks of gypsy band music. Fans of contemporary gypsy, Klezmer and hora music should put Electric Gypsyland 
2 on the top of their list!

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.