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22 Strings
22 Strings
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime solo kora, 7 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 22 Strings (Audio CD)
A gorgeous solo kora album by a UK based musician. 10 tracks, mostly instrumental, unaccompanied by any other musicians. This really allows you to hear the wonderful acoustic sounds of the kora strings, 22 on this album, compared to the more usual 21 strings. The sleeve notes explain that when Jeli Mady Wuleng, the first ever kora player died, a string was taken off the kora to commemorate him (and it's been that way since then, except in southern Senegal and northern Guinea).

The CD comes in a rather nice booklet with lots of photos and explanation for each of the tracks.

There are some slower paced pieces that are very stately and considered, along with faster ones with flourishes of rippling playing. Seckou also sings on a few tracks - he has a really nice gentle voice, not one of those big booming griot voices. This is a very nice album that gets better and deeper with every listen.

Blue Tsapiky
Blue Tsapiky
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Stripped back acoustic guitar and vocal from Madagascar, 10 May 2015
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This review is from: Blue Tsapiky (Audio CD)
This is a lovely album which creates a wonderful atmosphere with very few musicians. Teta sings the lead vocal and plays guitar in a very plucked style. Kirasoa provides another back up vocal and subtle percussion with a shaker. There's just one other instrument, accordion by Jean Piso on the track Ka Manira Olo.

There are a few instrumentals which are no less captivating than those tracks with vocals. It's really good music that is very accessible and easy to get into. It's much better than his previous album Fototse Racines Roots, which seemed too serious and a bit sombre. Some tracks have a bluesy feel, some much more uplifting and rattle along with unusual rhythms. The guitar playing is great, often with a fast plucking style like that used on a valiha.

A New Day
A New Day
Offered by Edealcity
Price: £13.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Trying too hard for western success, 10 May 2015
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This review is from: A New Day (Audio CD)
Carlou D had a really great first album but this follow up is much weaker. There are some okay moments on it but it's just too strained and too western in style. He seems to fall into the mistakes already made by Youssou N'dour. Even to the extent of including a song with a Cherry (although for N'dour and Neneh Cerry, 7 Seconds did prove a good crossover hit).

There are some dreadful funk songs in a Jamirioquai style, such as Soldier with Eagle Eye Cherry. Carlou's vocal even has that annoying high pitched tendency of Jamiriquai's vocalist. Show Me Love and I Believe are as dreadful as the titles sound.

Recorded in Stockholm and Dakar - I think there's just too much north European pop and jazz influence here. It won't have the publicity to make it a crossover success either. Rather disappointing.

Trio Da Kali
Trio Da Kali
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning griot music of Mali, 10 May 2015
This review is from: Trio Da Kali (MP3 Download)
Five tracks of stunning griot music from Mali performed by the younger generation, keeping the beautiful acoustic, stately and confident sounds alive.

The trio are vocalist Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate (daughter of the wonderful singer Kasse Mady Diabate ), balafon (an African xylophone) player Lassana Diabate and n'goniba player Mamadou Kouyate (son of Bassekou Kouyate). They're joined by karinyan (metal scraper) and kamalengoni (buzzing bass).

Just over 17 minutes on this EP, which you can get on CD from the World Circuit website (although postage charges are very high).

The first track, Talamba, is just Hawa's vocal with no instruments. Under a minute long it allows you to hear her wonderful voice and phrasing. The next three tracks, Dissa, Yirimadio and Godmothers are with the full trio including karinyan and on Yirimadio with Harouna Samake's pulsing kamalengoni. It's a fuller sound playing beautiful, confident music that is steeped in years of tradition. The instruments set out repeating patterns with solo flourishes in turn by the balafon and n'goni, with Hawa's unstrained vocal floating across and with the music.

The final track Rosewood just has the wonderful playing of Lassana Diabate on balafon, without vocals or other instruments. The sound is more complex than the 'clean' sound of the western xylophone or marimba.

This is 'world music' of real class, unaffected by electric guitars, crashing drumkits and horrid keyboards. It's very nice and I hope an album follows soon!

Sicilia Araba
Sicilia Araba
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arabic music from Sicily, 10 May 2015
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This review is from: Sicilia Araba (Audio CD)
Arabic music from Sicily. Lyrics from arabic poets of Sicily from 827 - 1091.

Beautiful floating arabic vocals backed by band of oud, acoustic guitar, ney flute, bass and percussion. You also get a bit of baglama and tambur (Turkish stringed instruments), sax, clarinet, violin and Indian tabla.

Very nice rootsy sound, occasionally sounding Turkish, or with vocal flourishes not too far from Pakistan's sufi qawwali.

Price: £14.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Mediterranean women, 8 Mar. 2015
This review is from: MUJERES DE AGUA (Audio CD)
On International Women's day let me tell you just how wonderful this album of female singers from around the Mediterranean is. It's taken a male producer and musician to bring them all together. But Javier Limon has always backed great women - the amazing Buika, Mariza and Jasmin Levy.

This album has 12 tracks all with a different female lead singer - Kurdish, Spanish, Greek, Ladino and Portugese. Javier has got the best from all the performers here and they all add their own distinct personality. The band and music is basically Spanish - flamenco with Mediterranean flavours.

The opening track is a great one by Kurdish singer Aynur, with clarinet by Husnu Senlendirci. Javier has now produced a solo album with Aynur, Hevra (Together).

Mariza gives a great fado track, Fadista Louco (Javier produced her album Terra).

Greek singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki has Javier on buzuki for her distinctly Greek sounding track Mil Mou Kai Mandarini. Eleftheria also has a solo Javier produced album Mirame.

There's a Sephardic Ladino track by Jasmin Levy with her tremulous voice (yes, Jasmin also has a Javier produced solo album, Sentir).

The remaining tracks are by Spanish singers. Buika puts in an amazing vocal on Oro Santa. Buika of course has a couple of albums produced by Javier.

Carmen Linares is backed by Dhafer Youssef on oud. There are great flamenco tracks by Estrella Morente, La Susi, Montse Cortes, Genera Cortes, Sandra Carrasco (again Javier has produced a solo album Sandra Carrasco) and La Shica.

An amazing range of unique singers.

Hevra (Together)
Hevra (Together)
Price: £12.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kurdish vocal with a flamenco hint, 8 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Hevra (Together) (Audio CD)
Kurdish singer Aynur gets the Javier Limon flamenco treatment. Limon is a lover of the female singing voice and has produced albums by the likes of Mariza, Yasmin Levy and Buika. In fact Aynur appeared on Limon's wonderful album with a range of female singers from around the Mediterranean MUJERES DE AGUA.
Aynur's voice is clear and powerful, and the music has a Arabic and flamenco feel. There's lots of guitar, occasional bouzouki, hand claps, percussion, bit of clarinet and flute.
There's a powerful live track, Xeriw, with just piano and vocal.
Aynur's voice is quite remarkable. It ranges from gentle subtle tones to really belting it out without feeling strained. She has the vocal range of great flamenco or Arabic singers and her voice can soar and twist across the rootsy music. If you want a wilder, more Kurdish sound try the more percussive previous releases Kece Kurdan or Nupel.

Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £50.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon listing is wrong for DVD version (lists it as CD), 8 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: LOI (Audio CD)
Check whether you are getting a DVD or CD.

At the time of writing you can tell by looking at the image on the listing.

L'Homme De Beretta (Best Of)
L'Homme De Beretta (Best Of)
Price: £11.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Koffi, 22 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Gorgeous rich honeyed Congolese vocals backed by restrained and classy backing. There's nothing brash and showy here. Instead you get a confident vocal line with many backing singers, weaving electric guitar, bubbling bass and the skip of drum kit.

I'm not sure when these tracks are from - the rough and ready sound quality makes them seem like quite early tracks. It's not the smooth sound of later years.

1. Dieu Voit Tout
2. Cherie Lipasa
3. Djoli
4. Bebe Ya Nsuka
5. Geo
6. Revenant
7. Samba Samba

Price: £14.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mauritanian metal!, 22 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tzenni (Audio CD)
The traditional Moorish griot music of Mauritania is given a reworking with a kind of heavy metal vibe. It's quite unique! The electric guitar is ramped up weaving sinuous riffs with a drum kit tapping out the loping beat and a subtle pulsing bass. Over this is the twisting tremulous voice of Noura Mint Seymali. It's got that sit up and listen thing, where you suddenly go, "what is this music!?" Wild and both firmly rooted in traditional culture but also excitingly new without destroying the magic. Reminds me of what Yat Kha did for Tuvan throat singing with their album Yenesei Punk.

It's similar in feel to the tracks by her step mother Dimi Mint Abba, where an electric guitar was used - MOORISH MUSIC FROM MAURITANIA. But Noura takes it a step further. There's also the plucking of an tidinite (like the Malian n'goni) and an ardine (like the kora) but these are low in the mix.

The electric guitar is up front and picking out twisting patterns, the drum kit hitting out a relentless skipping beat and Noura's amazing, captivating voice is high in the mix a top it all. Backing vocals answer Noura's florid vocals on some tracks.

This is extraordinary music. Plug in and lose yourself.

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