Tonight's program is a repeat of a show I did prior to Christmas which highlighted all the sounds which imprinted themselves on my mind in the last twelve months or so. Artists and releases as follows. I hope everyone has a wonderful Australia tomorrow.
Natacha Atlas- CD Best of...I Put A Spell On You /It's A Man's World
Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim- CD Ceasefire
Salif Keita- CD Moffou- Track Madan
Baaba Maal- Mbolo- CD Senegal (www.calabashmusic.com)
Midival Punditz- CD Midival Times / CD Midival Games
Susheela Rahman- Music For Crocodiles-Track What Silence Said
Afro Celt Sound System- CD Anatomica
Amadou & Mariam- CD Dimanche A Bamako-Track Senegal Fast Food
Seu George-Rebel Rebel- S/T Life Aquatic
Celso Fonseca- Tracks Done De Fluir /Perdi (www.calabashmusic.com)
Nortec Collective-CD Tijuana Sessions Vol 3 (www.calabashmusic.com)
Brian Eno- CD Another Day on Earth- Tracks How Many Worlds / Just Another Day
Brian Eno- Another Day on Earth
Another Day on Earth is an ambient song cycle that is full of yearning and a mood that Brian Eno has called "brave and resigned." Even in song, Eno is a master of ambience, creating detailed soundworlds and lyrics that don't so much make sense as create a feeling. It's taken him 15 years to create a new vocal album, and the songs span that time, with the welcome reprise of "Under," a devastatingly beautiful hymn of loss and redemption that dates back to 1991's aborted, unreleased My Squelchy Life album. It's turned up before on the Cool World soundtrack and Eno Box II: Vocals. Joining "Under" as one of Eno's most sublime songs is "And Then So Clear," a paean of wasted longing and hope with its cycling rhythm, ethereal guitars, and pitch-shifted vocal harmonies. You can hear Eno's love of gospel music on "This" and "Bottomliners," and can almost picture them in a particularly pensive Baptist church with his double-tracked vocals emulating a solemn choir. But it's not all minor-key reflection. Eno also unleashes a couple of fractured tunes, like "Bonebomb," which is from a project in which he mutated the meter of poets reciting their works. Another Day on Earth is a more personal album from the ambient avatar, a recording of rare and meticulous maturity. --John Diliberto
Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim- CD Ceasefire
Ceasefire is an inspired collaboration between Southern Sudanese rising-star rapper Jal and established Northern Sudanese singer and oud player Salim. Here the two find common ground within their music. Sudan is in a state of civil war, and while political clashes make for death and starvation, this musical union offers an optimistic alternative, one where the Northern Arabic melodies and rhythms fit hand in glove with the Southern African percussion and Jal's laid-back flow. When the duo digs most deeply into the hip-hop vibe, as it does on Jal's "Aiwa" and "Elengwen," it mixes hiccupping beats, smooth raps, and rich ethnic backdrops. Yet there are also some conventional Arabic songs (with both doing vocals) like the Salim-penned "Ya Salam" and the traditional-leaning "Lemon Bara" that provide their own perspective. Ceasefire will hopefully open the eyes of those on either side of the conflict as well as draw some attention from abroad. It also makes for exciting and innovative listening. --Tad Hendrickson Product Description:For the first time, musicians from the north and south of Sudan come together to explore their common ground. Southern Sudanese artist Emmanuel Jal, one of the hottest rappers to explode out of the African music scene, joins northern Sudanese singer, composer and oud player Abdel Gadir Salim in a captivating musical collaboration. This incredible alliance of a renowned maestro with a young rapper produces music bursting with intricate melodies and a central message calling for peace in Sudan.
Moffou marks a return to form for Mali's most famous male solo artist. Salif Keita's career appeared to be flagging slightly upon the release of 1999's lacklustre electro-based Papa. Here, he has wisely opted for an almost totally acoustic production. The combination of Mali's finest traditional instrumentalists with the cream of Paris' neo-classical and nu-jazz acoustic players is an uncommonly happy one.
Guitarists Djelly Moussa Kouyate and Kante Manfile are both long-term Keita associates from their days together in early Malian supergroups The Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs. They hit the 'jeli' (griot) groove right from the start.The opener, 'Yamore', sets the seal: the song's romantic wistfulness is underlined by guest spots from Cap Verde's Cesaria Evora and Parisian accordionist Benoit Urbain.
Keita's own considerable skill as a guitarist in his three solo performances - especially 'Iniagige' - is in evidence throughout. The effortlessly rocking tempo of 'Madan' juxtaposes Malian fiddles and lutes against Camerounian Guy N'Sangue's funky electric bass and a driving West African percussion section.The album has a consistent recording sound throughout. But it's a homogeneity that matures with repeated listenings into a shifting tapestry of rhythm and texture. For instance, the last two tracks, 'Koukou' and 'Here', share an almost Caribbean lilt. Closer inspection lays bare a strong Brazilian influence in the former, and an old-fashioned calypso edge to the latter, accentuated by Arnaud Devos' novel steel drum work.The album has already achieved some of Keita's strongest sales to date and will undoubtedly figure highly in many 'best of 2002' charts. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: John Armstrong
Natacha Atlas- CD Best of Natacha Atlas
Never heard of Natacha Atlas? Think again. If you're a movie goer then her tones will have wafted over the auditorium during many a blockbuster, most recently Kingdom of Heaven.
Natacha Atlas is all about atmosphere. She was a pioneer mixing Middle Eastern and Western music. Dub, trip hop, Arabic pop - everything from Egypt, Morocco to Palestine.
As someone brought up in Europe Natacha Atlas really has embraced the best of all her worlds.
This might be a best of her songs but half the collection here is of new edits. Purists might be upset but those new to her style won't be disappointed.
And while it might have been her eastern - western traditional mix that got her noticed you'll be amazed at the twist she can put on soul classics like It's A Man's Man's Man's World.
Senegal's Baaba Maal is considered the voice of his people and was the first artist released on Palm Pictures. Crafting a distinctive sound that fuses traditional African music with pop and reggae elements, Baaba Maal led the way in what was to be termed 'Afro-pop'. This compilation showcases the master in various stages of his esteemed career, using a dazzling convergence of music, photography, film, and words - all of it presented in stunning deluxe packaging containing a treasure trove of beautiful elements.
Baaba Maal comes from the Fouta Toro region in northern Senegal. He belongs to the Fula tribe, a minority in Senegal, Mali and Mauritania, and his music builds on traditional music from these areas. This music is different from the dominant Wolof music in Senegal and is more lyrical and melodious. The singer and guitarist, Baaba Maal, gives his all in everything from traditional arrangements with few instruments, to rock and reggae-influenced versions with full band and modern hi-tech. The same can be said about his lyrics, that spring from traditional myths, via Islam to modern commentaries on social problems in northern Senegal. Baaba Maal does not come from any Griot family, but has studied music at Ecole Des Beuax Arts in Dakar and the Paris Music Conservatory. After studying in Europe he returned to Senegal at the beginning of the 1980s, when he recorded 6 albums that are found only on cassette. In 1985 he formed his own band, Dande Lenol, and got a recording contract with the Paris based company Syllart, that released the 3 strong discs, “Wango”, “Nouvelle Generation” and “Taara”. In 1991 he signed a new contract with the Island company, Mango.Baaba Maal belongs, together with others such as Youssou N’Dour to a generation of pioneering musicians who, in the course of the last decade, have placed Senegal emphatically on the music world’s map. They have convincingly moved music on in their homeland and, as they live in Senegal, have contributed to the steering of its music industry and turned Dakar into an important centre for music in Africa.
Midival PunditzMidival Punditz(Six Degrees)
Midival Punditz, the first Indian electronica band to sign to an international label, have recreated the sound of Asian ambience and trance in a melting of Indian classical and contemporary club music.
The musical partnership of Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj dates back to childhood, a friendship which helps explain the ease with which their talents gel on the album. Veterans of the New Delhi club scene, the Punditz set up their own studio in 1997, gaining instant respect from the Asian Massive group of DJs, including Talvin Singh and becoming part of Tabla Beat Science.
Fusing folk and electronica can appear premeditated: a mix of too many sounds and not enough subtlety. But not here. This is masterfully produced, each sound meticulously placed with heart and soul, for maximum impact.
The album creates equal space for past and present, East and West, but it's the Punditz first love for Indian classical music which creates its depth and beauty. 'Fabric', is recognisable from the "Monsoon Wedding" soundtrack, and builds looping electronica upon a ghazal sung by 50s star, Heera Devi Misra. The propulsive rhythm of 'Extasis' is far more trance orientated, mixing intelligent drum 'n' bass with soaring santur laden raga. The wholly ambient 'Night' stands out as a vast work, the space between ancient and digital culture radiating soulful sound.
With track titles including 'Forest Dream' and 'Far From Home', this is music to take you far away to extraordinary worlds! Its intrigue lies in the fact that not one track remains the same, but constantly evolves on each listening. Closing the album, 'Dark Age' is an extraordinary piece of music, lost in the snake like travels of Shailendar's bansuri flute, dark beats and haunting semi-classical vocals, it opens itself up to constant exploration.
This album lacks for not a single beat and the sounds of tabla, sarangi and synth are heightened to the max. The experience is over all too quickly: put it on repeat and take the trip over and over again!
Reviewer: Faye Burton
Afro Celt Sound System- CD Anatomica
Perhaps James McNally said it best in an interview with the New York Post in July of 2003. When asked about the Afro Celts' successful approach to music, James responded that the Afro Celts success lies in the balance of the influences of African music, Irish music, ancient traditional instruments and singing styles combined with cutting edge technology - - all seamlessly integrated to take people on a journey and "move from scene to scene in our passages like a drama."