Friday, January 30, 2015

CD Review: Kiran Ahluwalia's 'Sanata: Stillness'

Kiran Ahluwalia
Sanata: Stillness

Indo-Canadian, Kiran Ahluwalia, ventures into uncharted territory with the swirling, bluesy, guitar riffs characteristic of North Africa's Saharan Desert region. However, South Asian delicacies are still apparent throughout the album, but the instrumental guitar, harmonium, and drums arouse a North African spirit laced with curry-scented morsels called songs. The breezy and bluesy style of "Hayat" resembles a North African anthem spearheaded with vocals of a South Asian origin, but "Sanata" contains similar influences . "Jaane Na" is more aligned with Indian jazz and pop with drifting melodies and floating vocals. "Lament" is a South Asian jazz tune with elements of rock, fusion, experimentation, and contemporary leanings in a mostly instrumental display. All of the music is created from acoustic/electric guitars, bass, tabla, organ, harmonium, drums, and vibraphone. Overall, Kiran challenges music origins and presents them in a very endearing package. Liner notes are in English, Hindi/Punjabi, and French.

Monday, January 26, 2015

CD Review: BKO Quintet's 'Bamako Today' w/DVD

BKO Quintet
Bamako Today (w/DVD)
Buda Records

Under the direction of Cris Ubermann, BKO Quintet releases a great recording of contemporary music rooted in Malian traditions with traditional instruments to boot. The new album, Bamako Today, features the music of Aymeric Krol with various instrumental accompaniment, including the dunun, donsongoni, djembe, djelingoni, acoustic and electric guitar, and drum set. The instrumentation is very organic and soul-stirring with a steady supply of affectionate intonations and historic renderings. The accompanying DVD contains musical performances of the group in a documentary format for nearly fifty-three minutes. Fans of Malian music, ngoni music, Saharan music, Afro-pop, and contemporary African music will not be disappointed here. ~ Matthew Forss    

CD Review: Jah9's 'New Name'

New Name

Jah9 hails from Jamaica, so naturally, reggae music is a likely influence. You would be right, but mix a little pop, urban, dub, and roots music and you have Jah9's new album, New Name. Jah9 is a rare find, as she is one of a very select number of reggae stars that are female. There are reverberations of dub electronica, vocal prowess, trippy beats, socially-relevant lyrics, and throbbing keys projecting sounds through one's soul and mind. There are even poetic moments of spoken word on "Interlude." The fluidity of "Gratitude" makes one want to dive into reggae with full-force and never look back. There are fourteen tracks with two of these tracks performed as an extended mix. At any rate, fans of dub, electronic, reggae, Jamaican roots, and just plain great music will love New Name. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Various Artists' 'Balkan Clarinet Summit'

Various Artists
Balkan Clarinet Summit

The neo-classical leanings of Balkan Clarinet Summit present musicians from all over Western Europe for a truly magical recording that is also a film. Goethe-Institut Athina director, Wolfgang Poehlmann, had the original idea, while Claudio Puntin and Steffen Schorn took charge of the musical direction. Artists come from Moldavia, Greece, Serbia, Turkey, and Bulgaria. Each artist contributes to the project in a collective manner, which leaves room for improvisation and innovation, but not straying too far from historic roots. The music is at times very peaceful, while other times it is very energetic and full of life. This is music created in Europe for people of all backgrounds and tastes, as it is completely instrumental and jam-packed with contemplative, relaxing, and even dance-friendly compositions and moments. Whether folk, neo-classical, or roots music is your passion, Balkan Clarinet Summit will surely inspire listeners everywhere to listen up. ~ Matthew Forss

Attn: Musicians - Where To Send Albums For Review

Please send any and all CDs or LPs (singles or full-lengths) to the address below for review on this blog. 

Matthew Forss
c/o Inside World Music
840 Lorinda Ave.
Omro, WI 54963

CD Review: Selasee & Fafa Family's 'Time For Peace'

Selasee & Fafa Family
Time For Peace

Born in Ghana, Selasee & Fafa Family, create whirling rhythms of heady funk and reggae beats with a fusion of Bob Marley, Alpha Blondy, and Caribbean melodies that possess a pop background in a contemporary and somewhat urban setting. The music of West Africa is influenced by reggae music, but it is not as globally-prevalent as Afro-pop or blues music. The soulful vocals, bouncy drums, fluid bass, gritty guitars, sax and trumpet sounds, keyboard washes, and strings create a magnificent musical medley rich in history and highlife sensibilities, which grow out of the reggae and soul domain. Whatever it is called; it is something that should be shared with everyone you know as soon as possible. These African melodies and sounds are unparalleled. For a truly great musical journey, please make Time For Peace a staple in your listening library. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: New Kingston's 'Kingston City'

New Kingston
Kingston City
Easy Star Records

New York City-based and reggae proud, New Kingston adds an element of urban hip hop, world fusion, and island rhythms stemming from their Jamaican roots. The twelve track album contains edgy, fluid tunes with witty lyrics and a heady delivery with guest singers such as, Maad T-Ray, E.N. Young, Kimie Miner, The Wailing Souls, the late-Sugar Minott, and Sister Carol, adding a well-rounded crew of talent. The innovative reggae label of Easy Star continues to find, hone, and spread the word of reggae to the world. New Kingston is no different, as their Jamaican roots and grooves head to the forefront. Some of the songs are more straight-forward and pop-driven, but the reggae influence is never too far behind. Fans of urban reggae music, world fusion, and great, contemporary music will find it most satisfying. ~ Matthew Forss