Packaged with all the care of presentation we’ve come to expect of Putumayo this a double CD issue divided into ‘travel the world’ and ‘Putumayo party’ with a total of 24 tracks plus three music videos. the music is a diverse and celebratory mix of some of the best you’ll hear – here’s a few to wet your appetite: Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Phoebe Snow (People Get Ready) Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Mambo Yo Yo) Rita Ribeiro (Ha Mulheres) Capercaille (Inexile) Blekbala Mujik (Drangkinbala) Ali Slimani (Moi et Toi) Chico Alvarez (Val’ Carretero) and Angelique Kidjo (Batonga). there’s an endless quantity of wonderful music out there so this is a series that is set to run and run, join in and expand your horizons. Graham Radley
Equatorial Guinean African pop from this 4 piece named after the capital city of Malabo. A dancey collection that centres around the compositions of guitarist David Owono, the keyboard of Pepe Dougan, percussion of Alex Ikot with singer Muania Sinepi adding her own distinctive flair. in places quite light & frothy but before you know it they are back on track & infectiously grooving along, strongest for me though is the opener ‘Bonola’. Graham Radley
Described as the Italian Leonard Cohen (if that doesn’t conjure up too strange an image?) this is his fifth album and it will surely add to his recognition as one of the most important contemporary Italian songwriters and singers (although he was first ‘discovered’ in France). This is elegant music, Gianmaria¹s delivery is warm and simple, his voice both husky and tender enveloped in an aura of a sort of beautiful melancholy that provides the foil to his poetic lyrics. Superb.
Poetz4Peace might initially sound a somewhat dated name bit it¹s simply what they are, a small group of writers and musicians using their art to overcome cultural and political divide within Cyprus’ and healing the way to reunification. Based in Nicosia, Olive Tree Music is a newly formed record label behind this first ever project of its type linking both communities and funded by the United Nations. The aim is to bring the people of the divided nation of Cyprus together by providing a structure in which artists from both Cyprus and northern Cyprus can work freely together to heal years of pain. Poetz 4 Peace combines the talents of Haji Mike (a Greek Cypriot poet and MC), Zeki Ali (a Turkish Cypriot poet), Mike Minas (an English Cypriot bouzouki master), Mike Cherry (keyboards) and Steffen Franz aka Standout Out Selector (a Northern California based producer. Musically there¹s a lot going on with hip-hop layered with bouzouki and reggae laced with beats all with a vibe and all providing a perfect mix to spread the word. Excellent.
The Blue Note Club spreads the word on jazz far and wide (clubs operate in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka & Milan) this is a snapshot of those grooves that move compiled by Ravin and Carlos Campos. 11 tracks – Helmu Hattler, Break 4 Jazz, dZihan & Kamien, Audiolotion, Physics, Bobby Hughes Combination, Bob Brazil, Barato, Swimming Pool Sound, Mr. Hermano and my pick going to Home Boy¹s quirky ‘Control Yourself Cousin’. Graham Radley
Live DVD from the king of mambo, a remastered recording (not sure when the original wise but I think it was early 80’s) that shows Tito doing what he does best. Tracks featured are, The Opener, Morning, Stella By Starlight, Oye Como Va, Tito’s Especiale, On Broadway & Pare Cochero plus an interview with the great man. Top stuff. Graham Radley
Middle East meets beats, perfectly summed up by Sharif’s opener ‘Shiraz’ what a brilliant track, enchanting Persian/Iranian traditional classical music featuring the santur enveloping a wave of electronica and produced by Ramin Sakurai (Supreme Beings Of Leisure). Other ones to note are Dahmane El Harrachi and the Sonar remix of ‘Ya Rayah’. the wonderfully named ‘Soap Kills’ from Lebanon and ‘Dub4me’ and Jasmon (feat. Mohammed Mounir) with ‘Hanina’. There’s 6 rare & previously unreleased tracks amongst the 12. Highly recommended.
First release for five years from the legend of flamenco consists of all new material covering rumbas, bulerias, tangos and tientos. Always inventive he uses traditional flamenco to inspire new influences, improvising as only a master can to make a seamless flow of rhythms, solos and melodies. A superb line up of supporting musicians as well with Jerry Gonzalez, Tomatito, Juan D’Angelyca and Diego el Cigala. Genius. Graham Radley
First thing that hits you is the production, excellent blend of Electronica and live instrumentation, especially when you get to the second track; ‘The adventure’, a blinding track with feel-good vocals from Nancy Jenkinson who doesn’t do too bad a job on ‘Raindance’ either.
Summer is certainly the time for this, and the forthcoming release date might just have been a little late in the year for it is a crisp warm sound, especially on ‘Morph’s groove’.
As we move on to the fourth composition ‘Ego riot’ the dance floors open properly. Ruff tune – one for the boogie retro audiences, we like this.
Jazz electronica fused ‘Skit 4’ then ‘Everyday’ with its club punch just brings you ever closer to the climax…. ‘Stanway’s revenge’ is a monster tune and one that certainly needs the attention – if this has not seen 12” status yet, then boy does it need too. We think this will warrant spending your hard-earned monies all by itself.
It is an accessible album, one you can see being put together for, and fitting nicely on, the Jazz FM daytime playlist, albeit perhaps for a few killer tracks, which inevitably will be overlooked by the producers. But hey, why not make good music, get the sales up, the airplay sorted and make a little money. Watch out though because I can see Sidewinder running things in the future when they get a little more confident with the public. The album concludes with chilled soulful melodies. Good example of electronica around at the moment, and well worth the search – we like.
Spreading wings out into the wider world from Birmingham this is as good an advert for the city as any. TJ first came to national note in 1996 with ‘The Fusionist’ on Nation, soon Europe took note of his stylish, chilled use of drum’n’bass and cultural roots and further superb releases and re-mixes followed. This is his fifth full-length release, the core of drum’n’bass, Asian traditional and beats remains but the style has evolved as the talent has grown so the whole is more organic more expressive and simply superb.