The Week on Record, Part Three

Dateline: 10/08/99

I get a lot of new releases from many different Labels. You can buy many of them Online.

I've been getting so many new releases -- as is the norm at this time of year, with the holiday gift-buying season coming on strong -- that I decided to give The Week on Record one last go-around.

The variety of sounds coming my way are as diverse as ever. GANGA (Virgin Classics) is a three-CD project that presents the music that flows along the sacred river of the Ganges, which flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. The entire collection was recorded live off the floor (so to speak), providing a realistic, authentic sound. The set is also attractively packaged with full commentary, photographs, and drawings.

Monica Salmaso recently won the Visa-Mastercard-El Dorado Prize for best singer in Brasil, 1999. Her release, Trampolim (Blue Jackel), shows why she came out on top from over 1200 competitors. Her pwoerful voice has an incredible range, and combined with her jazzy Latin American sound, Salmaso is sure to be a major force in World Music.

Acoustic folk is what Jay Ungar and Molly Mason does best. Harvest Home (Angel/EMI) recalls the atmosphere of the country, conveyed through the duo's homey and simply vocal arrangement underscored by acoustic guitar and fiddle.

Someone recently wrote to me asking for some World Music suggestions for children. Putumayo's latest collection World Playground is the answer: it is a collection of African, Latin American, and Australian, and other geographical genres that are easy to clap, sing, and dance along with. Although the songs arenot specifically for children, the selections are energetic and suitable for the entire family.

The sound of eastern Europe comes alive with two new releases from Rounder. Kalman Balogh, one of the world's forment cimbalom players (a Gypsy instrument like a hammer dulcimer/vibraphone) and his band make Gypsy music come alive on Gypsy Jazz. By combining Eastern European melodies with jazz progressions and the instrumentation of acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet, and violins, Balogh and his band create a sound that is at once ancient and original. Transylvanian Village Music from the Okros Ensemble, is more traditional in focus, featuring the violin work of Sandor Fodor (known affectionately as Neti in music circles), one of the last great Gypsy violinists from Transylvania.

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