New Reviews: November 18, 1998

Bill Whelan is the Grammy Award-winning composer of Riverdance, the stage success that really thrust Celtic music and dancing into the spotlight. Whelan's latest is the original motion picture soundtrack for Dancing at Lughnasa (Sony Classical), and consts of the sparse, imaginitive sound sequences that fall throughout the film. The film, whcih will be in theatres soon, stars Meryl Streep and takes place in 1930's Ireland. The title track is in the same vein as the "Riverdance" them -- full of energy, and a stand-out from the short, sublte pieces on the rest of the album. Also of note is "Down by the Salley Gardens," a W. B. Yeats poem , featuring Dolores Keane on vocals.

Café 1930 (Angel/EMI Records) sexy, radient, gentle, yet powerful, all at the same time. Trumpeter Mark Gould, who is on the faculty at Juilliard, draws from many musical sources, particularly his calssical training, and Latin influence. To that end, he employed Brazilian arranger/composer Raimundo Penaforte, and Columbian guitarist Ricardo Cobo. Gould's lyrical trumpet line is neither abrasive nor intruding, creating an album with an atmosphere for a romantic fireplace, coffee house, or jazz club -- circa 1930, of course.

Anoushka Shankar is definitely daddy's little girl. Daddy, to be precise, is legendary sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Although she is only 17, Anoushka has mastered a complex instrument, displaying her talents on her debut release titled simply Anoushka (Angel EMI Classics). Anoushka was born in London but grew up in California, where she still attends school, and India where she performs every winter with her family. There is not much to say about her album except she is following in her father's very worthy footsteps.

Get ready to dance -- Victor Hugo's Salsa de Oro (Arc Music) is non-stop energy. Hugo, a Venezuelan, is an actor as well as musician, having performed in Caracas in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. But it is his music that has put him over the top, performing alongside Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, and many others. Salsa de Oro has some of his best work.