New Reviews: November 15, 2001

Let Me Be

Let Me Be is the sophomore release from Sudanese vocalist Rasha. Although she now lives in Spain, getting away from the civil unrest in her homeland, she is still passionate about Sudan and sings about political, social, and economic problems faced there. A captivating release from a young musician destined to be a very important performer in World Music.

One World
Various artists from Lusafrica

Lusafrica is a French label specializing in the music of Portugal. This sampler features a wide range of the label's aritsts, such as Bonga, Fantcha, Boy Ge Mendes, Sally Nyolo and other major names in music not only from Portugal, but from Cameroon, Corsica, Cuba and the Ivory Coast.

Fiamma Fumana

"Fiamma" is Italian for "flame," and a flame is exactly what is ignited by these three young musicians from Italy. The band's debut release is filled with traditional and modern Italian influences, lots of technology, and a lot of energy.

Trace Records

"Griot" is a term referring to oral history, sometimes presented as song lyrics. Badenya, also known as The Coulibaly Brothers, are descendents of a long line of griot performers. The band also includes other family members, and are very true to their West African musical heritage.

Gigi Shibabaw
Palm Entertainment

Gigi is an exciting new performer from Ethiopia. Her voice is very rich and has a wide range, which perfectly fit the songs on her debut release. She is already a star in Addis Ababa, and now lives in San Francisco. She gives life to Ethiopian traditional musical styles, and writes all of her own material.

Hildegard von Bingen

Garmana and Swedish traditional music go hand in hand. On the band's latest release, the compositions of medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen are presented in their unique way. It's definitely ancient-meets-modern when these 900 year old compositions are given a 21st century treatment.

Pura Trova
Vieja Trova Santiaguera

This double-CD and 90-page booklet set is a must for those who are seriously into Cuban music. Vieja Trova Santiaguere is one of the World's most successful Cuban music groups, and this collection presents many of the band's finest moments of sons, boleros and guarachas. There are also many previously-unreleased recordings, live performances, and demos.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Central America
The Rough Guide to the Soul Brothers
World Music Network

The Rough Guide series delves into the music from a specific region of the World, presenting musical styles and artists that are often overlooked. The Central America release features music from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other countries in that region, with artists such as Guillermo Anderson, Andy Palacio and Titiman Flores. Soul Brothers is a look at the legendary South African band, spanning thirty years. The album is a look at the band's past and present, through many artistic and personal setbacks, and much success.

Mountain to Mohamed
Houssaine Killi
Tropical Music

On this album, the listener is transported to Morocco. Houssaine Killi filters traditional Moroccan sounds in a definitely modern, pop way. He was heavily influences by classic pop from the 1960's and 70's, and this comes through loud and clear in his music.

Hoven Droven

First of all, the band's name is pronounced HOO-ven DROO-ven, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. It means "helter skelter," but the band is definitely not haphazard in their musical approach. Hailing from Sweden, tha band has a very modern sound that they put into their instrumentals, fueled by sax, Hammond organ, drums, percussion, and bass. Hoven Droven is getting quite well known in the North American folk fest circuit, due to their musicianship and emergetic delivery. Hippa is a much more subdued release than previous work, with more focus on acoustic sound.

Reviews by Paula Kirman.