New Reviews: December 18, 2000

Qinggele and Darima

Matouqin features the music of the morin khur. In fact, the morin khur is the most important musical instrument in Mongolia. The morin khur is a bowed-string instrument that is often played by the nomadic populations. The morin khur produces a striking, yet natural sound that can be heard resonating across the Mongolian landscape. To unfamiliar listeners, the morin khur strongly resembles the sound produced by a violin. A zither instrument accompanies a few of the songs. The absence of vocals does not diminish the extraordinary playing skill displayed by Qinggele and Darima. Gentle timbres and rhythms resonate nicely throughout the album's 18 songs. Without a doubt, Matouqin is a highly recommended recording of traditional instrumental folk music from the steppes of Mongolia.


Havana Now
Las Brisas de Habana

Las Brisas de Habana is an excellent compilation of songs by some of today's most popular Cuban musicians. Flamenco, Brazilian and smooth jazz-influenced music styles combine to form lush instrumentation. Passionate vocals appropriately express the heart and soul of Cuba. Moreover, the artists' songs are extremely catchy and enjoyable to listen to. In the end, Las Brisas de Habana is a very refreshing album that is a "must have" for any Latin music afficionado.


Women's World Voices 2
Various Artists

Women's World Voices Vol. 2 is an excellent follow up to Vol.1. Vol. 2 is a compilation of female artists from around the world. Jazz, trance, folk, reggae and dance music styles unite to create a truly remarkable contemporary world music album. Delicate beats, electronic washes and traditional instruments combine to form a very enjoyable listening experience. Music from a few of the countries featured on this album include, India, Cape Verde, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Spain. Some of the most popular female world music artists today are featured on this album including, Yulduz Usmanova, Natacha Atlas, Vas, and Sheila Chandra. Women's World Voices Vol. 2 does not exclusively contain female vocals. A few sporadic male vocals can be heard on some of the tracks. A full-color booklet contains images of women from around the world, as well as track notes. All in all, Women's World Voices Vol. 2 appropriately expresses the wide range of tones that can be produced by the female voice.


Matthew J. Forss is currently a full-time student at Concordia University-Mequon, Wisconsin, in the process of transferring to Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is going to major in Biology and minor in Ethnic & Gender Studies. In 1998, He began collecting musical instruments and CDs from around the World. His main area of study is in traditional and contemporary ethnomusicology of various cultures from around the world. In November 2000, he accepted the position of writing world music CD reviews for this site.