New Reviews: May 17, 1999

If you are into samba, bossa nova, and other forms of Brazilian music, Putumayo's new collection Brasileiro is a necessary addition to your CD collection. Martinho Da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Clara Nunes, and other established Brazilian artists are interspirsed with songs by rising stars like Chico César and Rosa Passos. Many of the songs on Brasileiro have never been released in North America, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Amencar, which is a Brazilian organization that works with homeless and impoverished children in that country.

Another hot new Putumayo release is Putumayo Presents Cuba, the first time the label has dedicated an entire album to the music of Cuba. It's non-stop action full of all the mambo, cha cha cha, and salsa you can handle in one dose, and characteristic of other releases in Putumayo's catalogue, features both new and established artists.

Islamic music has a rich tradition that spans centuries. World Class's (a division of Hearts of Space) new release Africa North brings much of this beautiful, historical music to a whole new audience. With traditional folk instruments like the oud and darbukka drum, featured artists include Hamza El Din, Setona, and Said Chraibi.

If you have ever wondered what the Hearts of Space Universe is all about, check out Universe 5: A Hearts of Space Collection It's a compilation highlighting the label's New Age, Celtic, Native American, and Middle Eastern genres. There is a good vareity of sound here, everything from the Blue Chip Orchestra to the Celtic creations of Mychael and Jeff Danna.

Prophecy (Hearts of Space) is Native American music meets New Age. It is a compilation that draws from the Music from the Hearts of Space weekly public radio program. Harmony and spiritual balance are two key themes of the album, which includes tracks from the Blue Chip Orchestra, Jonn Serrie, and Coyote Oldman.

L. Subramaniam is the Indian born electric violin virtuoso/composer who fuses jazz with World Music sensibilities. Indian Express/Mani & Co. (Milestone Records) is a combination of Subramaniam's second and fourth EPs for the Milestone label, and the recordings date from 1984 and 1986. Some instrumental heavyweights are featured backing up Subramaniam, like bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Tony Williams, and guitarist Larry Coryell. This is a must-have for World and jazz fans.