December 5 2011
Every Monday on Sound Travels we do things in a new way, as in I have four new songs from around the world and we start the week with something fresh. And today, a very diverse set with Indian, Balkan, Saharan and Malian music in the mix.
Steeped in the sound of the Sahara, Group Doueh are definitely doing it right. While the story on the Tuareg rock sound is being headlined by bands like Tinariwen and Terakaft, the small stage is where some serious sounds are being forged. While the shadow of Tinariwen looms over the short memories of consumers, Tuareg rock lovers should not sleep on the second release of this amazing group. Zayna Jumma, rtecorded last year in between their rigorous schedule of gigs at home and abroad touring with Tony Allen (the legendary drummer for Fela Kuti), we hear a band that is growing musically by leaps and bounds. Though they've retained and refined the recording process; which is better than their last but rough enough to be endearingly rustic, they've turned up the fuzz and intensified the amplification, re-orienting their sound closer to a rock vibe. And though they'll never be straight like that, they have an edge that few rock bands Stateside can accomplish. They say the blues is from Mali, but these guys are giving evidence that rock isn't far from their tree either. Al Jawala, the second in the set, is a relatively obscure Balkan-inspired band from Germany who aim to end this ignomity on the excellent release entitled The Ride. I could find very little on this German band in English, but the music is strong and recommended if Balkan is your beat.
Group Doueh "Zaya Koum" Zayna Jumma
Al Jawala "Backstabbers feat. Flo Mega" The Ride
Fatoumata Diawara's new EP Kanou has been generating buzz in World music circles lately, because it's good mainly but also for the work she's put in. Notably, backing up famed Malian singer Oumou Sangare as well as luminaries like Ali Farka Toure and Afrocubism. Considering that, I can see nothing but success for this young artist with endorsements from such esteemed artists; especially because her actual EP dous not dissappoint. And the closer for today's new music on Sound Travels was Ravi Shankar's other daughter, Anoushka Shankar. I saved it for last because it will likely be amoung the best of next year. The sister of Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, she's already got a Grammy herself, and the only reason this isn't out Stateside, is that her people want to give it plenty of time to win a Grammy next year. And it probly will, mainly for her brilliant collaborations with Spanish musicians on the new album Travellers, for a sound that is one part Indus Valley and another Andalucia. That's right, Flamenco meets raga in unexpected and amazing ways. While you can't get the album yet, I was too piqued to let the opportunity pass on playing what I think is amoung this year's best even if you have to wait till next year to get it.
Fatouma Diawara "Bissa" Kanou EP
Anoushka Shankar "Kanya" Traveller