site : buy
by the founding members of the Grammy-nominated Boukman
Eksperyans, Lataye blends Vodou and Haitian roots music
with modern instruments and arrangements. The result
is grounded but highly accessible and seriously catchy.
The sound is more Afropop than Caribbean, with plenty
of bass and styles ranging from a cappella ("Bonzanmi")
to crackling dance tunes ("Djakout Sa") to reggae ("Rekomanse")
to slow ballads ("Viv La Vi w"). Despite spots where
the synth gets a little thick (think 80s Afropop), Lataye
will certainly find receptive ears among the fans of
Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N'Dour, and the like.
Favata: Ajo (Felmay)
world jazz is the name of the game for Sardinian Enzo
Favata and his quintet. For a bandleader, Favata plays
a remarkably subtle role on this album, often leaving
bandoneon maestro Dino Saluzzi to lead the melody. The
wordless songs, Favata writes in the notes, are intended
to tell the stories of Sardinian people, particularly
those who left home for a new home in the America. "These
are their stories, and the all have one thing in common:
nostalgia. ... I tried to reconstruct a pathway through
these memories...". He succeeds with Ajo, an album of
Hop Hoodios: Agua Pa' La Gente (Jazzheads)
artist site : buy
CD/hear samples : Buy mp3s
situation started in 1492
King Ferdinand gonna burn the Jews
Inquisition came and it hit the fan
Forget Espana, want New Amsterdam."
it is New Amsterdam -- now New York of course -- from
which the latest cultural result of the expulsion of
the Jews bursts forth in the form of Hip Hop Hoodios
-- a Latino-Jewish hip-hop group with a keen sense
Hoodios (a name is derived from Judio, a Spanish term
for Jew) first released their 5-song Raza Hoodia EP in
2002, and this year released a full CD by the name of
Agua Pa' La Gente (both available in mp3 format at hiphophoodios.calabashmusic.com).
A blend of funk, hip-hop, rock, salsa, and klezmer touches
play tag throughout the album. You've got your basic
power-chord fueled Spanish-language Hanukkah rap in "Ocho Kandelikas." Then
there's the sing-along-inspiring refrain of funk-pop-flavored "Nose
Jobs" with its message of nasal ethnic pride. Klezmer
clarinet is a sharp addition to the hip hop groove of "Kike
on the Mic," but the boastful lyrics stumble into
the banal. Really, I don't really care what color "honeys" you
chase. And yes, dear, of course you're large and in charge.
the positive cultural message makes a refreshing diversion
from so much smarmy rap-pop, the Hoodios do sometimes
trip into such traps of cliche as they balance between
cultures and languages. I'll leave to your own imagination
the maturity level of the song "Dicks and Noses," which
is about what you think it might be about. And some songs
are plain silly, like the country-kazoo stylings of "Toribio
the Clown Gets His Groove Back." Not necessarily
bad-silly, but the CD seems a bit disjointed with these
next to the
album's title track, a biting criticism of the privatization
of water resources.
the most compelling track is another serious one, "1492," from
which lyrics were quoted above. The song includes some
tasty trumpet work by Frank London and tells the story
of the Jews' plight upon Spain's order to expel or convert
the Jews. The diaspora of Jews into the Americas, along
with the "conversion" of those remaining in
Spain ("Christ or death, what would you choose?")
means that "millions of Latinos they got Jewish
now some of them are making music about it.
Hop Hoodios show serious musical chops, and some promising
A little more maturity and a little less shallow
self-parody could launch them into serious bandhood,
and their cultural messages could get the attention they
(already they have been featured on one of our favorite
radio shows, The World's Global
Oh, and the band offers a money-back guarantee on the album.
So what do you have to lose?
Matheson: Downriver (Compass)
artist site : buy CD/hear samples
Karen Matheson is the voice of Capercaillie,
the Celtic supergroup that made it cool to sing ancient
Gaelic songs. Her third solo album, Downriver, was released
in Europe in November.
Matheson's solo work is quite different from the Capercaillie
vibe. Downriver features simple, sparse, acoustic arrangements
with Donald Shaw on piano, along with Donal Lunny (bouzouki & bodhran),
James Grant (guitar), James Mackintosh (percussion), Ewan
Vernal (bass), and the strings of the Scottish Ensemble.
But the highlight is always Matheson's wonderful voice,
controlled, refined, and sublime. Apart from two songs
in English, it's all about the Gaelic songs she grew up
with. A beautiful album, though it would it have killed
Compass Records to include song notes/translations?
Afro-Fiesta: Afro-Fiesta (Vibrations)
site : buy CD/hear samples
the Globe visitors are no strangers to Afro-Latin music.
But a far different flavor than shimmering Congolese
rumba is the Latin-Makossa-jazz sound of South-Africa-based
Afro-Fiesta. Led by Congolese drummer Mermans Kenkosenki
in South Africa via Angola), the band maintains a distinctly
African sound, though with unmistakable Latin influences.
Get ready to dance!
McGoldrick: Wired (Compass)
site : buy CD/hear samples
McGoldrick is an under-appreciated world music pioneer.
He's played with some big and growing Celtic outfits,
including Capercaillie, Flook, Afro Celt Sound System,
Lunasa, and Toss The Features, just to name a few.
His previous solo album Fused (available
as mp3s at michaelmcgoldrick.calabashmusic.com)
contained some funky, bass-heavy Celtic fusion gems,
paired with his fine flutes, whistles, and pipes. He
explorations in a more subdued way on Wired,
kicking things off with the tabla-infused "The Buckfast
5 / Wired
moon." While more traditional
sounding than Fused, listen closely and
you'll hear -- along with Parvinder Bharat's tabla --
musical outing indeed.
Scott Allan Stevens, Earball Media