New Reviews: February 7, 2000

Ekova is a French-based trio World Fusion trio. Heaven's Dust (Six Degrees Records) is the band's debut album, which was actually first released in France two years ago (incidentally, no one in the band is actually French). Using Middle Eastern rhythms, as well as influences from Irish and English folk, Heaven's Dust is rooted in acoustic tradition, but is at times hypnotic and contemporary in sound.

Latvia's Lucius consists of five friends who create modern music using acoustic instruments. Their blend of a folk background with heartfelt, English lyrics should make the band accessible to audiences the world over. Lucius' forthcoming self-titled debut featuring the single "Little Barefeet" (High Park Records) is the culimination of years of writing since the band's formation in 1996.

Méav is an Irish soporano whoseself-titled debut album (Hearts of Space) contains a selection of contemporary and classic Celtic compositions. She is best known as a featured solist in the London and U.S. productions of Riverdance. The best way to describe her voice is powerful and pure.

Although Julien Clerc has had a career spanning over 30 years in his native France, in North America, like many of French chansonniers, Clerc is not very well known. A Rendez-Vous with Julien Clerc (Tinder Records) might change that. With liner notes in English telling the story of Clerc's rise and appeal in France, this album features twelve of Clerc's best-known songs, complete with translations. This is an excellent introduction to Clerc's romantic love songs and punchy Latin influences.