WMN: The Best Of 2012 So Far...
2012 has been a busy year for World Music Network so far, with an unprecedented output of fantastic releases. We have many more great albums lined up for the remainder of the year, so we take this opportunity to pause, reflect and enjoy the fantastic releases we have put out in 2012 so far...
Far-out psychedelic-sounding rock mixed with a thick dollop of deep funk and soul was massively popular during the 1960s and 1970s in Africa. This Rough Guide features some hand-picked gems from the archive such as Victor Uwaifo and Balla Et Ses Balladins, and includes tracks by unstoppable psychedelic veterans Ebo Taylor and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, who are still releasing top-quality mind-bending grooves today.
'A classy compilation' 3*** stars The Guardian
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This Rough Guide album highlights musicians who have been part of the revival of African roots music including artists who have not only preserved but reinvented these musical genres. Many of the bands featured on this album perform on homemade instruments made from junk yard materials. The opening track of the album stars Staff Benda Bilili and their virtuoso satonge player. The music has musical styles of Cuba rumba, funk and blues. Other artists such as Zulu igogogo king Shiyani Ncgobo perform in ‘Sevelina’ and Bedouin Jerry Can Band improvise on their percussion instruments made from rubbish items. The album also has famous Congelese bands Kasai All Stars and Konono No1 who lull the listeners into a hypnotic trance while Mamane Barka celebrates traditional African instruments such as the biram, douma, kalangou and calabash.
Music is everywhere in New Orleans; it’s the lifeblood of the city and the people. This Rough Guide gives you a real taste of the whole New Orleans scene. Soak up the classic piano jazz of Professor Longhair, the thick horn blasts of The Hot 8 Brass Band, or the deep grooves of Dumpstaphunk, the latter of which also provide the full-length and fantastically funky bonus album included with this Rough Guide.
'a great showcase of the funky sounds currently made in Crescent City' New City Music, Chicago
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Sambasunda Quintet is well known for its groundbreaking approach to the traditional music of Western Java. They use pan-Indonesian styles and instruments alongside popularised global percussion. The album Java reflects the enduring classical music traditions of Sundanese music while also creating new and modern music centred on the kapaci, a boat shaped zither.
An intriguing, charming set from a band who should prove surprisingly accessible to western audiences. 4**** stars, The Guardian
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Reflections of Palestine is a heartfelt selection of Ramzi Aburedwan’s composition and arrangements. He promotes peace and understanding through his music. In 1987 an iconic image of the First Intifada was taken of Ramzi as an eight years old boy, throwing stones at Israeli tanks. That same person went on to build a career in music. During his teens he took part in some free music lessons and when he discovered his talent in music, music became his profession and his life. Reflections of Palestine is a carefully constructed album that promotes Ramzi’s skill and artistry. He narrates the story of his life through his music.
The album Greekadelia presents two Greek musicians Kristi and Stathis. They both draw their folk artistic inspiration from their homeland and made a pun on their group name because ‘psychedelia’ relates to their ability as a duo to create music that shifts and turns. As a result, their music is exciting and grips the listener. Greekodelia perform demotika songs whic h are mixed with vocals, traditional Geek lauto, an Indian harmonium and frame drums. The opening track on the album ‘Matia San Kai Ta Dika Sou begins with a sampled recording of a captain announcing his boat’s arrival at an island. The theme of the album is to take the listener on a musical voyage around different islands and regions of the Greece. The duo performs music that is uniquely theirs and rooted in the traditional folk music of Greece.
'A highly original, compelling set' 4**** stars The Guardian
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Koo Nimo was born in 1934 in Ghana. When Ghana had achieved independence in 1957 Nimo was well respected across the nation for his skill as a musician. He taught himself diverse musical styles during his studies in London and learnt about Western classical music and flamenco guitar technique. He is a keen jazz fan and holds deep respect for American pianist Thelonius Monk. Although he developed multiple genres of musical performance he remains firmly in classic palm-wine style. Nimo ensures the continuation of this tradition and instils this in his track ‘Old Man Plants A Coconut Tree’.
This album Anewal/ The Walking Man was recorded in Niamey, the busy capital of Niger. Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla and his good friend Michel Tranchet recorded the album as the thick dust storms rolled in to the city. The album celebrates the spirit of desert blues. Alhousseini was born in the Saharan desert and is a nomad of Tuareg heritage. He chose the album title Anewal/ The Walking Man to reflect his lifestyle and his journey from home, across the Sahara and the entire globe performing as a member of Etran Finatawa. Every work on this album is his own composition. His music explores the intersection between the traditional music of his homeland, and the African-American blues genre that it birthed. Anivolla’s guitar technique is similar to the ichumar style which was developed in the 1970s by Tuaregs who were exiled in Libya.
'full of smouldering guitar licks' 3***stars FT.com
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Hailing from Senegal, Amadou Diagne is a griot, who played percussion with the country’s esteemed National Band for many years. His exquisite song writing is delivered with a distinctive voice, accompanied by his bluesy acoustic guitar, traditional drumming and the occasional glittering kora.
Winner Of World Music Network's 'Battle Of The Bands'
'His musical landscape is unmistakably that of Senegal: gentle, breathy melodies over guitar rhythms that hint at restrained mbalax' Financial Times
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New City Music, Chicago: 'a great showcase of the funky sounds currently made in Crescent City'.
The Guardian, UK, 3*** stars: 'A classy compilation'.
Guardian, UK 4****stars: 'A highly original, compelling set'.
Froots, UK: '... a superb album of an under-represented music ... and comes highly recommended'.