Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita Review

Not since Ali Farka Tourè collaborated with Ry Cooder back in 1994 has there been an album to rival – or better still – to sit so seamlessly alongside their masterpiece. The album is a timely reminder that while we all may inhabit a planet that is separated by seas and lands, we are in fact much closer to one another than we might be lead to believe.

So, find yourself 15 minutes, sit back and prepare to be sent on a journey.

The album is available through Amazon.

This is what keeps me a world music listener.

What a great way to start the year.


Getting deep in Corsica

This book is an ethnomusicological investigation into traditional and contemporary music in Corsica, with a critical analysis of associated theoretical and ideological issues, focusing particularly on the evolution of musical activity and discourse since 1970.

In other words, this book is a deep exploration of culture and music on an Island steeped in tradition and told through song. Fantastic!

Read more on Transported by Song>>

Sevdali Dunya’s shares her moments of Love

Sevda’s first album success came with ‘A Flower in Bloom” and it was a masterpiece. She’s from Azerbaijan on the banks of the Caspian sea, and her voice effortlessly fills the broad range between mugam and jazz.  Expect to find husky, blues-like tones, caress some earth stopping lamentations of traditional mugam music.  Full, expressive direct and beautiful emotion transmitted at virtuoso level at you the listener. This is an album that will escape the radar of Fado music fans, but will surely be loved in the same way.

More on Sevdali Dunya-Worlds of Love

Rebetiko – Greece’s urban sound

imambaildiImam Baildi, literally the Imam Fainted, is a dish traditionally prepared with aubergines, and involves cooking it over a flame until it can take no more!. It’s the name that both Orestis Falireas and Lysandrop Falireas have given to a music project that sees Greece’s urban music genre Rebetiko, catapulted into the 21st century. They’ve done to Rebetiko what Gotan Project’s did to Argentinian Tango, and in the process evolved the genre as we know it.

Tracks such as ‘De Thelo Pia Na Xanarthis’ leap out, starting with Cuban All Stars style of introduction, before kicking in with a funky beat and spidery guitar. A couple of tracks could probably have been dropped from the album to make it as awe inspiring as some of stronger performances the CD contains. A positive effect of this CD will be to expose audiences to a tucked away genre in Greece’s music history, and it’s certainly had that effect on me, I want to learn more about Rebetiko, thanks guys.

This album is currently only available for purchase in Europe or in specialist stores in the US.

Sara Tavares – Xinti

xintiBorn in 1978 Sara Tavares grew up in Portugal but is originally of Cape Verdean descent. It was not until 2006 with her album release “Balance”, that I first discovered this versatile and expressive singer. All the songs were written by Tavares herself, and she also played most of the instruments too. It should be no surprise to hear that Tavares was only 16 years old when she won two of Portugal’s most prestigious TV music contests.

Her musical style of Gospel, Funk and Soul bridges the two cultures of Cape Verde and Portugal, while as a young artist, she draws inspiration from a range of contemporary music styles too. Her music can be at times melancholic and reflective, while also being upbeat and energized. It’s this that makes the artist one of the most dynamic that Portgual has produced in recent years.

Three years since ‘Balance’ and Tavares is back with another album “Xinti“, which although needing a few more listens than the instantly accessible “Balance”, represents another fine chapter in this artists career. One of the strongest songs on the album, “Di Alma” brings her spectacular voice and a funky bassline together.

You can purchase the her latest album from Amazon here.

Let’s start our journey right here

Fado GuitarWe start our journey with an album that is still affecting me more than 2 years after I purchased it. As much as when I became entranced by Antonio Carlos Jobin’s ‘the composer of desifinado plays’ . It has a similar simple style with beautiful acoustic playing, but it does not derive its influences from the soft Samba sounds, but the more melancholic depths of Portuguese Fado.

Fado music has a strong reflective component to its narrative and its name is drawn from the Latin word “fatum” meaning fate, and the inexorable destiny that nothing can change! It is a music that looks back on history with awe, held strong in the belief that everything was wonderful once upon a time, and now it’s all gone wrong.

Having said that, what this album manages to achieve, due to the dexterity and skill of Mario Pacheco’s finger plucking and the ensemble’s collective mastery in their own instrumentation, and where so many other Fado albums might leave you reaching for the gun and a family photo, is how it throws glorous rays of light over a music that can become a little depressing after prolongued exposure. What’s also impressive is the collection of soloists that have been pulled together and feature on this album; Mariza, Ana Sofia Varela and Rodrigo Costa Felix arejust some of the heavyweights on board for the show.

Mario Pacheko himself is a master of the Portuguese Guitar, an instrument with origins in taken from the Western European Cithern and comprised of 12 steel strings with a sound more akin to a harpsichord than the classic guitar we all know and love . Compared to the sunny tones of Modeste or the meditative Afel Bocoum, the Portuguese guitar has a much colder edge which is why it compliments Fado music so well, adding even greater historical distance to the music’s lyrical content, and the past it reflects on.

The album you can discover this is, ‘Mário Pacheco – Música e a Guitarra‘ and audiophiles will not be disappointed by the recording quality of the performance, despite being played to a live audience. It also comes with a DVD of the entire concer which is simply magical.

If you buy just one Fado music album in your life, make sure it’s this one.