New Reviews: December 4, 2002
Reviews by Matthew J. Forss
Live In San Francisco At Stern Grove [2 CD]
Tabla Beat Science
Tabla Beat Science is a collaboration of several artists that meld
their respective cultures and traditions into the compositions.
On August 12, 2001, at Stern Grove in San Francisco, Tabla Beat
Science recorded over two hours of music for this double-disc package.
African, trance, dub-bass, Indian and electronic styles are present on
these discs. Vocalists and instrumentalists on these discs include
Ustan Sultan Khan, DJ Disk, Karsh Kale, Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw,
Midival Punditz, Bill Laswell, and Fabian Alsultany. These acclaimed
musicians create a truly beautiful musical journey that combines
Western and Eastern influences. Fans of world fusion, trance and
World Beat should not miss the music of Tabla Beat Science.
Hassan Hakmoun brings us African trance rhythms from
Morocco. More specifically, Hassan performs traditional Gnawa
trance music. Gnawa music revolves around the call-and-response
chanting of Koranic scriptures steeped in Islamic mysticism.
Spiritually, the Gnawi claim spiritual descent from Bilal al-Habashi,
an Ethiopian who was the prophet Mohammedís first caller to prayer.
Oftentimes, a sintir (lute), qarkaba (castanet) and the tbel/ganga
(large drums) accompany the chant. The Gift presents contemporary
Gnawa music that is accessible to listeners of North African and
Arabic music. Furthermore, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter,
Paula Cole, even makes a guest appearance on one track.
Kabul Workshop is the work of Francesco Russo, Khaled Arman,
Massoud Raonaq and Shyamal Maitra. Their most recent work,
Trigana, explores the electro-world music style that fuses
Indian and Afghan elements into contemporary compositions of
artistic creativity. Importantly, their Italian, Afghanistani
and Indian ethnicities, along with their knowledge of the French
electronic scene, should be appropriately attributed to the
ultimate completion and success of Trigana. Fans of good
electronic music with world elements should not be without Trigana.
Together For Christmas
Intercultural Niche Strategies
Based in New York, The Ruffians perform modern Celtic music
that is fairly characteristic of punk music. However, The
Ruffians create pleasant tunes with humorous lyrics that
draw upon traditional Celtic elements. Bodhran, guitar, bass,
banjo, button accordion, Uilleann Pipes, fiddle and tin whistle
are accompanied by male vocals. Unfortunately, Together For
Christmas is a rather short album of only fifteen minutes.
Fans of Celtic punk/rock reminiscent of Seven Nations will
definitely relish The Ruffians.
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.