New Reviews: November 9, 2002

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Portals Of Grace
Azam Ali

Iranian born, Azam Ali, is best known for her vocal performances in the group Vas. Her solo effort, Portals Of Grace, combines instrumental and lyrical compositions that are inspired by early medieval songs and European traditions. Azam executes beautiful vocal performances that are atmospheric, operatic and evocative. Some of the early music sung originates from France, Brittany and Sweden. Greek, Arabic, Galician and European instrumentation characteristic of early music ensembles accompanies Azamís vocals. Fans of early music from the 12th to 14th centuries and vocal music should acquire Portals Of Grace.

Frank Londonís Klezmer Brass Allstars - Brotherhood Of Brass
Boban Markovic Orkestar & Hasaballa Brass Band

Brotherhood Of Brass is an enthusiastic recording of Klezmer brass music. The music on this disc draws upon Jewish, Romanian and Balkan roots. Most of the songs are similar to Hungarian gypsy rhythms and tunes. Each instrumental song reflects a big band sound from a rather small brass ensemble and orchestra. The album also has some vocals along with the brass percussion. Overall, Frank Londonís Klezmer Brass Allstars - Brotherhood Of Brass is also an excellent recording of Klezmer brass band music and should be enjoyed by fans of brass and Klezmer music.

Matthew J. Forss is currently a full-time student at Lakeland College-Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is majoring in Biology and German Language/Culture. Since 1998, he has collected numerous musical instruments and CDs from around the world. Also in 1998, he wrote a paper on Mongolian Ethnomusicology, titled: How Does Music Play An Important Role In The Life And Culture Of Mongolia? Currently, he has collected over 100 CDs that represent dozens of different countries. His general interests include ethnomusicology journalism and researching the traditional/contemporary ethnic music of various cultures from around the world. His specific, geographic areas of study include the traditional and popular music from Central Eurasia (especially Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.) In November of 2000, he accepted the position of writing world music CD reviews for this site.