Wednesday, January 28, 2009

***Publicity Coverage - Seeking CDs/DVDs/Books***

We are asking fellow musicians, writers, and academicians in the field of world music to send me materials for review coverage. We are seeking upcoming and new CD releases in any area of world music, as well as DVD's of concerts and musician biographies. New books are also included, but should focus on world music. Inside World Music has been committed to providing the world music community with a leading source of reviews from all around the world for the past 10+ years. Please help us continue providing the best coverage yet by sending us your material. Please inquire at the email below.

Matthew Forss

Monday, January 19, 2009

CD Review: Meet The Women of Lake Sebu

Various Artists
Philippines: Women Artists of Lake Sebu
Buda Records

One of the most exciting releases of 2008, Women Artists of Lake Sebu is a collection of talented women in the village of Dekolon from the southern part of Phillipines. The instrumental and vocal music on this album is the result of a poetic saga from the Tudbulul Epic, which gave birth to the Tboli nation. In fact, the collective of women singers call themselves Lemhadong, which is named from the location where Tudbulul organized a musical concert in the 1800's. The Tboli society inhabited the mountains around Lake Sebu at the south of the Mindanao Island in the Philippines. The Tboli society's close connection with nature is a primary impetus for musical creation and instrumentation. Many of the tracks include rooster calls, rain, water, birds, frogs, and insects. The instruments include wooden lutes, branches, sticks, leaf horns, reed-whistles, bamboo flutes, fiddles, jaw harps, gongs, and zithers. Only a handful of vocal songs are incorporated, which provide a unique aesthetic listening experience as the instruments and nature sounds envelop the aural landscape. Liner notes are included for each track in French and English. This is ideal for fans of lutes, Indonesian/Sasandu string music, and gong music, though everyone should include the Women Artists of Lake Sebu as part of their listening repertoire. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Angelic Voice of Armenia

Isabel Bayrakdarian
Gomidas Songs

Armenia's operatic diva, Isabel Bayrakdarian, performs the traditional songs from Armenia's most celebrated figure in chants and songs, Gomidas Vartabed. Isabel presents us with examples from his large volume of work crossing many genres, lullabies, and hymns. Detailed liner notes of Gomidas' musical work are included, as well as Armenian-English translations of song lyrics. Moreover, the songs are divided into categories for 'Children', 'Nature', 'Love', 'Humor', and 'Yearning'. Isabel's vocals are accompanied by duduk, violin, clarinet, doubles bass, and piano on a few songs. The ambiance of the recording echoes a historical tone of contemplation and forlornness. In other words, the music is powerfully emotional and epic. Isabel does not waver and remains vocally strong and precise throughout. A glorious recording not to be missed. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Voices of Georgia

Heroic and Love Songs of Georgia
Beauty Saloon Music

Most listeners familiar with the music of Georgia readily recognize the characteristic polyphonic singing ensembles of the region. Positioned near the Caspian Sea, Georgia is a country of musical influences from neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan. Though, Georgia's musical position in the region may not be as popular with Westerners. Thankfully, Nathaniel Berndt of Beauty Saloon Music, brings to life the music of Iveroni. Typical vocal ensembles from this region do not include instrumentation. However, Iveroni is the exception. On a few tracks, they incorporate a handful of string (lute-like) instruments, including the bass panduri, panduri, salamuri, and changuri. Iveroni's melodic and powerful vocal performances are haunting and mesmerizing. Perfect for world music fans of vocal music and chant. More information can be found at Beauty Saloon Music. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Zambia's Mathew Tembo

Mathew Tembo
Independent Release

Mr. Mathew Tembo, a native of Zambia, Africa, brings us music from a nation rarely heard in other parts of the world. Anthem showcases a unique instrument called the silimba, which is similar in design, sound, and function to the balafon. A few different languages are also represented on the tracks, including nsenga, tonga, bemba, chewa, and nyanja. Mathew provides lead vocals and plays the silimba, keyboards, and bass guitar. Additional musicians play drums, native percussion instruments, sax, trombone, and bongos. Every track is upbeat and rhythmically engaging. One reggae-tinged song, 'Kufuma Kujombo' ('From My Boots'), is an especially beautiful song that lingers in your mind for hours to come. You will find yourself discovering something new each time you listen to the various tracks. Anthem should be on everyone's listening list for the year. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: A New Era With 'Obama'

Fula Flute
Mansa America
Mulatta/Completely Nuts

A spirited release from the land of Guinea, Mansa America showcases the music of the most popular ethnic group in Guinea: the Fula. In the same manner, the popular traditional instrument of choice is the tambin, which is a diatonic flute. Though, it's presence is widespread from West Africa to Sudan. A mix of vocal and instrumental arrangements includes a variety of instruments including, kora, guitar, congas, balafon, bass, ngoni, trumpet, trombone, and French horn. The opening track, 'Obama', is a fitting dedication to the new president of the United States of America. Each track is delicately arranged and beautifully executed. The instrumentation mix is varied and rich. If you are looking for a fun release of music to bring in the New Year and celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama, then let Mansa America be the soundtrack for 2009! ~ Matthew Forss