Nouveau Sang (Home Records)
through past reviews, you'll notice that we're not raving
fans of reggae. Sure, we like us some Bob Marley, and now
and then other reggae folks sneak into our ears, the likes
of Alpha Blondy, Matisyahu, Macka B, and The Refugee All
another group we've been groovin' to of late. I-Fam is
a Belgium-based world/reggae act, and they've recently
released an album called Du Nouveau Sang (New
Blood). Their label is Home Records, which has released
some truly intriguing (and difficult to categorize) music
of late, from the likes of Turlu
Tursu and Jugalbandi
Trio. But I digress.
music of I-Fam (aka One Big Irie Family) is tough to describe.
It certainly has reggae roots, but hip-hop vocals dominate
songs like "Fils Du Levant" (mp3
sample) though it's hip-hop with tasty live music,
not canned beats. The title track (mp3
sample) starts with beat-boxing, then swings into insistent
vocal harmonies. The lyrics speak of resistance: "We
are the lions in this kingdon / and if you come against
us / we become more and more strong / 'cause we are young
/ and we got thunder, brimstone and fire." The rest
is French to me. French like Lo*Jo or Sergent Garcia. Do
check this band out.
songs from the album are available for download at I-Fam's
Life's a Mess, Let's Dance (A. V. Fistula)
the oddball critter from which their name is derived, King
Platypus is an odd but somewhat compelling collection of
parts. It's a little jazz, some rock, a touch of country-folk,
and some ethnic instrumentation. Kind of like Brave Combo
without the polkas. Songs include the jazz standard "My
Things" along with a slew of originals and the curious
bi-lingual "America Linda/America the Beautiful/American
Cantata." I don't find Jake Micheal's lead vocals the most
compelling, but there's a sweet sincerity to this album
that can't be denied.
Mundial: Momento Eterno (Palm Songs)
you call them Latin alternative, rock, or world music,
Radio Mundial rocks. Latin percussion grounds the sound,
but beyond that they're willing to pull out all the
stops, dipping into funk, soul, reggae, and rock. Momento
Eterno includes two songs in English, but I prefer
the Spanish tunes, particularly the funky "Pa'ffiba,"
and "Bombo" (free
mp3!). Great party music no matter your native
Diabate: Heritage (World Village)
buy CD/hear samples
Diabate is a Mali-born, US-based kora player familiar
to world music fans. His new
album Heritage features his instrumental group,
which includes Guinean guitarist Mory Kante, balafon
Balla Kouyate, percussionist Baye Kouyate, and bassist
Noah Jarrett. At the heart, however, is Diabate's stunningly
eloquent kora playing.
acknowledges a musical growth achieved by living in
the US and playing with jazz musicians: "Playing jazz
has developed my techincal skill and my improvisations.
If I go too far, I lose the character
of Mande music. But in jazz, I am free and that
has changed me. In Mali I would not have these experiences. Living in the United
States has made me a better musician."
a bridge between the past and the present (check out
the conversation between kora and guitar on "Salimou"), Heritage is
a must-have CD for any fan of West African music,
Moura: Aconteceu (World Village)
buy CD/hear samples
new release from an increasingly well know young fadista.
“The delicate, tragedy-haunted fado
music of Portugal has been taken up by a new generation
of singers. Among the most widely praised is Ana Moura,
who brings a sultry, smoke-tinged voice to fado’s
dramatic arcs.” - The New York Times