May 19 2010
Sound Travels with new music on Monday's; this week we heard some really interesting material; reggae from Italy, soul music from Israel, hot Latin sounds from a band approaching their prime and an interesting offering from Norway's arctic areas.
Jienat makes music in the northernmost town on Earth– Hammerfest, Norway, less than 20 lines of latitude from the North Pole in a recording studio 150 meters from the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Far from being cold, this music is a tribal blend of summer drums and chants with lyrics in languages that are almost extinct. Hardly an anthropological exercise, this music is deep, vestigial and organic--what 'World Music' tries to be but often misses. That said, I'm about half-sold on the album itself; if you can pick-and-choose cuts, there's a lot here. I thought this one stood out a bit more though...
Jienat "Sissel" Mira
Patrick Bebey is a musician, singer and composer. He plays the piano, the sanza (thumb piano), percussion and the Pygmy flute. Good stuff, on an album that largely succeeds on the merits of his strong yet sensitive vocal and jazz-trained band. This is African music through the lens of the Paris scene, advanced stuff! I'd recommend about half of this album for anyone, and the whole thing if your taste tend toward the jazzier sounds of African music. This song really works though...
Patrick Bebey "Engome" Oa Na Mba
If you don't know Grupo Fantasma, you are excused. If you love Latin music and still haven't heard these guys, then I don't believe you're really all there. The latest from this 11-member, Grammy-winning outfit from San Antonio is also their best. Finding the band hitting a stride few would have seen coming; that the future is here and they are making some of the most fresh music around that happens to be in several Latin idioms. The horn section was always great, but this album uses that strength to muscular advantage. This is a band that can rock Santana style, that can flip vintage like a brand new time machine, woo like a Sierra Madre sunrise and cool the hipster with forward leaning similarity to deep sounds; like Peruvian Chicha and other psychedelic cumbias. Btw, they'll be in Madison at The Marquette Waterfront Festival on June 12th.
Grupo Fantasma "Sacatelo Bailando" El Existential
Karolina(Keren Karolina Avratz) is a soulful, earthy, award-winning singer/songwriter/composer/writer, producer/and dj from Eilat, Israel. She is also a leader in the recently born groove scene in Israel, which may seem manifestly evident on her latest release What Will I Do Now?, a soulful mix of neo soul that comes off in a live trip hop sorta way--a la Erykah Badu. The album is unpretentious and good with a balanced mix of up-tempo groovers and slower, tighter-woven tunes. Recommended.
Karolina "Tzar Li Charli(Sorry Charlie)" What Will I Do Now?
Italy's Mama Marjas is an unlikely find, and an uncommonly good reggae MC who I've heard, is called 'The Queen of Italian Reggae.' And about her I can find very little else. I can say for certain that her new CD is seriously crucial. A dancehall spitter on par with Queen Ifrica and like her countryman Alborosie, has shown that Italy is a player when it comes to reggae. Her album is a mix of new flows of traditional roots riddims and uncommonly good originals. Nevermind not knowing Italian, fire is fire and if you sleep on this one you will get burned.
Mama Marja "Stop The World" B-Girl