New Reviews: March 12, 2002

The Simple Things We Said
Gabriel Yacoub
Prime CD

Gabriel Yacoub is one of France's most respected songwriters. His work with the band Malicorne in the 1970's established the genre of World Music, by fusing many different ethnic instruments and styles long before it became fashionable to do so. The Simple Things We Said is an American release featuring acoustic renditions of many of his songs, a few new ones, and three in English. The title track is presented in both languages, and "You Stay Here" is a haunting song by American singer/songwriter Richard Shindell. Yacoub's voice is full of emotion and passion, while his guitar playing is intricate and compliments his singing perfectly.

Ninja Tune

For the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the proof is in the gigs. Talkatif is the result of a constant tour schedule. The dance beat pulses, while the message is clear: people need to respect each other in order for the world to change. It is a positive, upbeat, album that is sure to be a major club hit.

Nos Sadwrn Bach/Not Yet Saturday

Crasdant is Welsh folk music at its finest. Harps, pipes, guitar, and fiddles make for an acoustic ear-fest. The band is the brainchild of triple harpist Robin Huw Bowen, and together they explore the musical worlds of traditional song and dance.

Mojo Radio
Harmonia Mundi

It's cabaret music with a contemporary twist. Mojo Radio is the album that almost got away -- first released in 1997, it is now readily available on this side of the ocean. Lo'Jo is a band that takes a French cabaret feel and fuses it with the sounds of the World: Spanish, Hindi, African, English, and more.

The Saw Doctors
Shamtown Records

The band's first release since 1998's Songs From Sun Street, Irish folk/rock band The Saw Doctors is back with another album full of finely crafted songs that strays a bit from their more folky previous releases. A bigger, bolder sound with a rock injection provides the backbone to songs that deal with life and love in Ireland. In fact, on native soil, The Saw Doctors are arguable better loved than their countrymates, U2.

Room With A View/Chambre Avec Vue
Henri Salvador
Blue Note

He's in his 80's, and as cool as ever. Henri Salvador is a French entertainer who proves that age has no limits. His jazzy, smooth sound easily makes him comparable to a French Sinatra. Room With A View was first released in France in 2000, and the following year Salvador cleaned up at Les Victoires de la Musique (the French Grammies), winning "Album of the Year" and "Male Artist of the Year."

Latin Groove
Various Artists
Putumayo World Music

Latin music is as hot as ever, and this collection from the masters of World Music compilations presents Latin music from a cutting-edge perspective. Latin Groove is where modern club mixes meet traditional salsa, and will have listeners at home and in clubs jumping up to dance.

Children of Paradise
Children of Paradise

Children of Paradise is an ensemble from Oregon that performs tribal bellydance music. The thirteen tracks on the band's self-titled album are filled with bouzouki, flute, and Middle Eastern percussion. The bouzouki especially makes for an interesting sound combination. It is a very traditional sound that has an energetic feel. Percussionist Jonathan Howitt keep the beat on doumbek, riq, and frame drum. It's a Middle Eastern groove-fest!

Reviews by Paula Kirman.