New Reviews: January 24, 2003

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Irene Farrera
Paraiso Sonico

Venezuelan vocalist Irene Farrera brings us delightful and soulful music of passion, joy and tradition. Vocals are accompanied by guitar, cuatro, requinto, tambora, tamborita, congas, campana, bongos, violin, maracas and other South American percussion instruments. Serenata combines elements of Fado, jazz, flamenco and rumba into a unique musical journey that is purely Venezuelan.

NorthSide Records

Gjallarhorn is a Swedish-speaking band from the West Coast of Finland. Similarly, the music is remarkably Swedish in character and style. Grimborg essentially preserves the Finnish and Swedish mythological stories and ballads into song. The name Gjallarhorn comes from Nordic mythology. The beautiful vocals of Jenny Wilhelms, combined with traditional and non-native instrumentation including violin, Hardanger fiddle, viola, mandola, didgeridoo, slideridoo, Jew's harp, udu, djembe, berimbau, shaman drum, double bass and percussion round out the musical reportoire.

The Heart Of Cape Breton - Fiddle Music Recorded Live Along The Ceilidh Trail
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

The fiddle music of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is brilliantly preserved on another fine Smithsonian Folkways recording. The fiddle music is accompanied with guitar, piano, clapping, dancing and lamenting. Various jigs and reels by Brenda Stubbert, Jackie Dunn MacIsaac, Kinnon Beaton, Jerry Holland, Buddy MacIsaac, Wendy MacIsaac, Brian Doyle and Richard Wood capture the celebrated music of Nova Scotia. A 34-page information booklet is included.

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.