New Reviews: August 29, 2001

The Rumba Soukous Album
Cassava Records

Rumba Soukous celebrates Congo's soukous music through collaborative efforts by some of the finest Congolese musicians. Shimita El Diego's vocals are featured on most of the tracks. Dally Kimoko, Shungu Omba, Lokassa Kasiya and The Soukous Stars are also included. Energetic rhythm guitar, keyboards and bass, blend to form melody-driven, rumba-styled songs. Harmonic lead and background vocals are an added delight to the jazzy, Caribbean-like sounds of the instruments. All in all, Rumba Soukous provides smooth dance grooves with lively vocals that would impress anyone interested in popular Central African music.

Mostar Sevdah Reunion
Mostar Sevdah Reunion
Times Square Records

The Mostar Sevdah Reunion was formed during a very severe war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The word "sevdah" means "love". Consequently, the Mostar Sevdah Reunion was formed to provide the people with a sensation of love and hope in the midst of utter despair. A collection of original songs performed in a traditional format by Ilijaz Delic (vocals), Mustafa Santic (accordion & clarinet), Miso Petrovic (guitar), Sandi Durakovic (rhythm guitar), Senad Trnovac (drums), Branko Petkovic (violin) share the unique gypsy rhythms, melodies and traditions from the Balkan region. Macedonian vocalist Esma Redzepova lends her mesmerizing vocals on two tracks. Overall, Mostar Sevdah Reunion has a wide range of rhythms and beats, from slow instrumentals to upbeat vocal and instrumental performances. Fans of popular music from Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia should enjoy Mostar Sevdah Reunion's valiant effort of bringing love and peace to people in regions of unrest.

Export Quality
The Dum Dum Project
Green Galactic/Times Square

New York based DJ/producer Sean Dinsmore produced his latest album Export Quality after traveling to India in search of new sounds. Sean combined Asian/Indian sounds with the latest in electronic technology to form trip-hop dance grooves and break-beats with sporadic lyrics. The sitar and tabla are used on some of the tracks. Flutes can also be heard. The trip-hop beats and bass-heavy grooves stand out as Sean's primary musical excursion that detours into the musical traditions of India. Export Quality is probably suitable for fans of underground music with an ethnic twist.

Reviews by Matthew J Forss.