• Music

    Chiyomi Yamada – Gilyak Songs

    From Chiyomi Yamada’s Bandcamp site: “Piano songs by the Japanese composer Akira Ifukube (1914–2006), interpreted by , voice, and Reiko Yamada, piano. Ifukube, who also composed the theme song of “Godzilla”, wrote these magical pieces based on traditional songs from native tribes of northern Japan. The sound and style of this music are somewhere between western contemporary and eastern traditional music, creating a unique fusion of musical and aesthetic elements. The piano songs are complemented with an epic piece for classical guitar solo by Ifukube, played by the Dutch guitarist David van Ooijen.”

  • Music

    Petar Vujačić – Made in Ovto​č​i​ć​: Songs from Montenegro

    Amazing.  The ever excellent Antonovka Records are now producing music outside of the former USSR.  We have a description of the recordings below, courtesy of the label’s Bandcamp site: “Gusle (not to be confused with Russian gusli) is a Balkan (mainly Montenegrin and Serbian) bowed instrument. There is only one string on the gusle, but it is always decorated with rich carvings. Those are usually long epic historical songs that are performed with the gusle. Petar Vujačić comes from the village of Ovtočić (both ‘č’ and ‘ć’ are pronounced roughly as ‘ch’), located in the mountains between the Adriatic Sea…

  • Music - Spotify

    Tomáš Kočko Orchestr – Ona

    The Tomáš Kočko Orchestr are one of the great musical treasures of my new home city of Brno.  They band mixes true Moravian folk music, including some melodies with pre-Christian roots (so, at least a millennium of music here), world music and even touches of metal to great effect. The concept of their latest album is based on the women of Moravia, whose character and strength preserved the culture despite attempted encroachments from within and without. From the band’s press release: The songs come from the Moravian folk tradition and talk about the experiences of the great-grandmothers of today’s women…

  • Music

    Saucejas – Dabā

    Our dear friends at CPL-Music have done it again!  This 60-track album by Saucejas is an ethnographer’s dream if you’re into Latvian music, and there is an organic feeling to this album.  Nothing too terribly processed, nothing added that didn’t need to be there.  The album is appropriately titled, as Dabā is Latvian for “in nature.”  This is simply beautiful choral traditional music from one of my favorite regions of the world.

  • Music

    Various Artists – UNESCO Collection Musical Sources – Arabian Music: Maqam (Iraq – Lebanon 1971)

    A reissue specialist label called Rarità Tradizionali have published a fine collection of music from Lebanon and Iraq from 1972, and it sounds brilliant. This album was apparently never released, and it’s surprising considering the quality of the musicianship of these instrumentalists from Iraq and Lebanon (including buzuk player Matar Muhammad), back when both places were far safer to explore than they are today.  There’s no doubt that this comp will be seen as welcome to those who appreciate Arab music. I only have one complaint, and I’m sure many who collect this sort of music will understand the sentiment. …

  • Music

    Staritsa – Klyukva

    It seems the one place in the world where the dreaded term “World Music” is doing well is Russia, though my friends at Xango Music Distribution do a stellar job of selling some amazing artifacts. This project, Staritsa, hail from Prokhorovka, near the dead center of the country.  They, like other Russian bands I’ve had the pleasure of recommending, produce fine traditional folk which seems to be having a Renaissance of sorts.  Between this, the incredible improvisational and classical music scenes and the wonderful Orthodox hymnody being produced these days, I’d say Russian music is in good hands. Kudos to…

  • Music

    ShooDja-ChoDja – Shooldyrak

    Our beloved comrade in World Music, Christian Pliefke, releases another gem on his label CPL Music.  This new release by the band ShooDja-ChoDja from comes from the region of Udmurtia, populated by people of Finno-Ugric stock, and having traditions far different from their fellow Russian citizens. The music is played on a mix of traditional and modern instruments, with complex vocal harmonies throughout.  Of particular interest to me was the track entitled Krez, which sounded like a mournful dirge.  A bit heartbreaking in parts, but beautiful in its own way.  I’m sure ShooDja-ChoDja must be phenomenal to see live.

  • Music

    Damir Imamović’s Sevdah Takht – Dvojka

    It is a shame to think that when the words Bosnia, Herzegovina or Sarajevo are mentioned, most think only of the ugly breakup of the former Yugoslavia.  It’s a crime, as the country, and especially her capital, have so much to offer.  The people, the food, the incredible culture, so complex and rich, yet one forgets that Bosnia is a European country. Be that as it may, Sarajevo musicians continue to produce its most famous export – sevdah – the bluesy Balkan style that could be compared favorably to Portugal’s fado.  It’s music rich with pain, pathos and rich voices.…