New Reviews: January 22, 2001

Ritual Carioca
Detour Records

Ritual Carioca is the debut album by Brazilian musician Vitto Meirelles. Vitto's music is directly influenced by his native Brazilian roots. The underlying musical foundation for Ritual Carioca is Bossa Nova. A variety of saxophones, shakers, rattles, drums and guitars richly protray the diverse Brazilian soundscapes. Vitto's vocals are strikingly reminiscent of Brazilian guitarist Caetano Veloso. Ancient traditions unite with contemporary arrangements and catchy instrumentation to ultimately make this album a gem to listen to. In addition, Salif Keita lends his vocals on a track. The liner notes include track translations and a glossary of words used in the songs. Anyone interested in Bossa Nova, Tropical, Latin Jazz and Brazilian folk music in general will surely appreciate Ritual Carioca.

Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz
NorthSide Records

Among the Finnish countryside lies a musical instrument that is seldom heard in contemporary recordings. That instrument is the accordion. It is the featured instrument on this incredible instrumental recording. The Aldargaz Ensemble joines Maria Kalaniemi to creat an enjoyable Nordic folk/jazz product of immense elight, grace and skill, that thoroughly explores all areas of Nordic soundscape. On a few of the tracks, soft and steady rhythms and timbres quickly merge and speed up to beautifully composed Nordic jigs. In addition, a single female vocal weaves effortlessly in and out of various melodies. The classical/folk ensemble uses piano, drums, guitar, mandolin, double bass and violin. The amazing compositions and performances of the various instruments create an exhilarating listening experience that may ultimately bring warmth and comfort to any cold or snowly landscape. Fans of Nordic folk/jazz, instrumental folk and classical folk will certainly enjoy and appreciate Ahma.

Good People in Times of Evil
Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane, V. Selvaganesh
Bardo Records

Good People In Times Of Evil is an album that defies conventional genre terminology. Likewise, the musical excursions explored by Lane, Hellborg and Selvaganesh delve strictly into experimentation, leaving any established musical border behind. Lane's expertise on the guitar is plainly evident. His intricate and skillful guitar playing flows nicely with the udu drum and kanjeera played by Selvaganesh. Excellent bass work by Hellborg completes the experimental sound. Interesting improvisation created by the instruments emanate a sense of calm and intrigue. On one of the tracks, a rather interesting "ragga" is performed by Selvaganesh. A ragga is a form of rap music. Usted Sultan Khan makes a special guest appearance on the sarangi. The sarangi is an Indian string instrument. Fans of previous albums by Khan, Lane, Hellborg and Selvaganesh will definitely enjoy this new recording. If experimental and isntrumental World Music suits your ears, the Good People In Times Of Evil is the album for you.

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss.