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Dateline: May 12, 2000

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Swap is a Swedish band that performs Celtic-inspired fiddle music with a sense of humor. Sic (NorthSide), the band's newest CD, is filled with elements of both Celtic and Swedish traditions. Swap's second album, the album has a number of original compositions and have even added vocals to their already-complex instrumental arrangements. Sic is a much more mature album than their debut release, much more coherent in sound and consistent in the quality of songs.

Chiwoniso, also know affectionately as "Chi," is a young and talented African singer. Although she was born in Olympia, Washington, she spent a good part of her adolescence in Zimbabwe where she was exposed to African musical traditions of the Shona. On Ancient Voices (Tinder Records) she brings together the traditional and contemporary, singing in English and African languages, using modern instrumentation and traditional African instruments such as the Mbira. She learned how to play the instrument despite the fact that traditionally, women in Zimbabwe were not permitted to play the instrument. The consistent rhythm of the tonal pluckings of the mbira are throughout the album and provide a very authentic background to Chiwoniso's songs of her people.

Inspiraçao (Tinder Records) is an all-instrumental album by Rufino Almeida, better-known as Bau (a nickname given to him after a famous Cape Verde soccer player), and the arranger and band leader for Cesaria Evora. A master of the twelve-strong guitar, ukelele and violin, Bau's album features music that is heavily influenced by the Latin traditions of Brazil, and create a smooth, romantic atmosphere.

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