New Reviews: January 10, 2003

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

I Storie o Café di lu Furestiero (The Stories of the Strangers Coffee)
Milagro Acustico

Milagro Acustico is based in Rome, but performs music in Sicilian dialects. Mediterranean, Balkan, African and European musical elements are present in the music of Milagro Acustico. Sung and spoken words by male and female vocalists are used sparingly in the instrumentation. The purpose of I Storie o Café di lu Furestiero is to capture and pass along stories often heard around cafes by all sorts of people. However, this cannot be accomplished successfully without the skillful musicianship of some big names in world music today, including Nour-Eddine, Papa Kanoute, Jamal Ouassini, Pap Yeri Samb and Andrea Alberti. Fans of Mediterranean folk, jazz and classical music should acquire the latest effort from Milagro Acustico.

So Strong
The Celtic Tenors

Niall Morris, James Nelson and Matthew Gilsenan are The Celtic Tenors. Their latest effort, So Strong, showcases their operatic vocal stylings with underlying Celtic infusions. Additionally, Celtic, Scottish and Western European instrumentation accompanies the vocal pieces. So Strong is definitely a solid album of operatic and classical vocal music.

Fado em Mim
Times Square Records

Vocalist Mariza brings us Fado music from Portugal. Born in Mozambique, Mariza moved to Portugal as a child. During her childhood, she honed her Fado vocal skills. Fado em Mim lyrically conveys life’s pain and love, while effortlessly fusing Fado vocal sensibility accompanied by the classical and Portugese guitar. Oftentimes, Mariza has been equally compared to one of the greatest Fado icons: Amalia Rodrigues. Fans of Fado and flamenco will enjoy Mariza’s Fado em Mim.

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.