Kandia Kouyate - "Biriko", Stern's Music
www.sternsmusic.com

Tartit - "Ichichila", Network
www.networkmedien.de

Abyssinia Infinite - "Zion Roots", Network
www.networkmedien.de

Africa has produced hundreds of outstanding vocalists. The only problem is western ears are not always open to them. I mean, how many radio stations do you know in your area that regularly feature any sort of world programming? [Well, I personally know of 4 in my area, but I guess I can consider myself blessed.] Consider this a condensed trip to two countries on the Mother continent: Mali and Ethiopia.

Kandia Kouyate is hailed as Mali's greatest living female singer. Everyone claims she was born to sing, and you know what, I think they're right. In her youth, she was called "la dangereuse" as many audience members fell into a trance when hearing her voice. During her concerts, they seemed to be nailed to the ground. These are high compliments for someone whose voice is considered a national treasure in Mali. [Remember that Mali is already blessed with other outstanding treasures: Oumou Sangare, Sali Sidibe and Mah Damba.] Coming from the Mandinka tradition, Kandia's voice is barren, joyful and ecstatic all in a span of a single song. She uses back-up vocalists effectively and most of the tracks on "Biriko" sound almost acapella, though that's not entirely true as a whole orchestra of instruments is used [everything from guitars, African flutes, kora, ngoni, accordion, balafon, trumpet, and a multitude of various percussive instruments kirin, dounoumba, etc]. The good news is the instrumentation never gets in the way of Kandia's soaring vocals. They sound as if she was a mile high in the clouds preaching some sort of a sermon down to us mere mortals. "Biriko" is a stand-out release from a singer whose glories should be sung around the world.

Tartit is a vocal quartet from Mali that accentuates the use of minimal instrumentation but highlight the use of the human voice. Nearly acapella, "Ichichila" is a CD that strives to preserve the treasure that is the music of Northern Mali. The instruments used here are the tinde [which are played only by women]. These are made from small wooden mortars that women use to grind grains and which are covered by goatskin. Their voices when sung in unison [and that's the only way they're sung] are heavenly bliss. The women have a much more powering stance compared to that of the men who appear to play second fiddle. While the women play the tinde, only the men are allowed to play the tehardent which is a three stringed lute and an ancestor of the banjo. The wonderful thing about this record is how nobody gets in each other's way. The women sing in unison, while the men take a background role and all is fair. Nobody is stepping on anyone's toes. Though individual songs have their peaks, for the most part, this record is somewhat subdued and quiet. I don't know whether this relaxing mode is caused by years of desert life, but it definitely has a stark beauty to it. It's safe to mark "Ichichila" as a mandatory purchase next time you're at a good record store.

Finally we get to what some would tend to call "raped" world music. Why do I use a strong term like that? Well, for starters when a western producer [in this case, Bill Laswell] enters the studio with someone from a world he may not be sensitive to, the term rape would to some be appropriate. While one party [the producer] is jumping at the chance to work with an individual, the other party [the vocalist] may not know all the pit falls of this relationship. I remember a story Bill Laswell once told me about how Johnny Lydon did not want to ever work with him after he produced PIL's "Album". Why? Johnny felt that Bill had over-produced it and brought in all of his "own" players, replacing the PIL sound with a Laswell sound. I'm happy to report; this time around Bill did not impose himself on anyone. In fact, Abyssinia Infinite's CD "Zion Roots" is a blast of purity coming straight from Ethiopia. What grabbed me from the outset was how little interference there is from Bill Laswell and the crew. In fact, other than adding Tony Cedras on accordion and acoustic guitar, Senegalese percussionist Aiyb Dieng and Laswell himself on acoustic guitars and keyboards, the rest of the cast is from Ethiopia, thus lending the record some authenticity. The star of the show is vocalist Ehigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw. With her toned-down but often-times authentically shattering vocals, the tone is set for music that is as contemplative as it is engaging. What complements her voice is the traditional instrumentation: kirar [also known as King David's harp], washint [bamboo flute] and some tabla along with the saxophone. Once of all of these elements are gathered together, we get a solid and an almost trance-like recording. This is one of these releases that are best left on auto-repeat. You're bound to find new details with each listen. The fact that "Zion Roots" is essential listening need not be repeated.

Tom Sekowski


<<< poprzednia recenzja następna recenzja >>>
 

RECENZJE

+ Gielareck - Asfalt
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - Mantra of Love
+ Jah Wobble & Deep Space - Five Beat
+ Asahito Nanjo Group Musica - Contemporary Kagura-Metaphysics
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - The Penultimate Galactic Bordello Also the World You Made
+ Howlin' Ghost Proletarians - Dead Roads
+ Minamo - Shining
+ Rhodri Davies/Robin Hayward/Julia Eckhardt/Lucio Capece - Amber
+ Kazushige Kinoshita/Masahiko Okura/Masafumi Ezaki - Kenon
+ Stefan Keune - Sunday Sundaes
+ Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Született
+ Le Plastique Mystification - In The Land Of Melancholt
+ Lifend - Innerscars
+ Forsaken - Anima Mundi
+ The Magic Carpathians Project - Sonic Suicide Ethnonoise # 1
+ Ethnica Music Project - Etnika
+ Ulvens Döttrar - Värm ditt blod
+ Machine Men - Tears and Wounds
+ Advent - The Dawn
+ Eddie Zarook & Casio Casino - Haluzengenic
+ XLover - Pleasure And Romance
+ Vavamuffin - Vabang!
+ Variete - Nowy material
+ Four Tet - Everything Ecstatic
+ Like A Stuntman - Fresh Air Is Not A Worst Thing I Town
+ Stealpot - Mass Mess Age
+ Signaldrift - Girl
+ The Remote Viewer - Let Your Heart Draw A Line
+ Daft Punk - Human After All
+ Experimental Products - Glowing In The Dark
+ Band Of Endless Noise - Riders On The Bikes
+ Ruben Montesco - Slave To The Darkness
+ Peepol/Ludzie - Proffessioneller Klang/Live In Porgy And Bess
+ Water Lilly - Sputnika
+ Marc Leclair - Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
+ Lali Puna - I Thought I Was Over That: Rare, Remixed And B-Sides
+ Kości - K
+ Kiko & Gino's - Electric Boy
+ Christopher Just - Roland Flick Fairmont Princess # 1527
+ Grace Jones - I've Seen That Face Before
+ Isolee - We Are Monster
+ Jay Haze - Love For A Strange World
+ Fenin - Grounded
+ Diakof - Piloty 2
+ Delons - Wersja z napisami
+ Charles Atlas - Fabricate
+ Juan Atkins - 20 Years Metroplex 1985 - 2005
+ Ai Records 2000 - 2005
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.

- - - - - - - - -

+ Paul Plimley / Barry Guy - Sensology; Mats Gustafsson / Barry Guy - Frogging
+ The O'jays - Imagination; Chaka Khan - Classikhan
+ Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity; Live on the Riviera
+ Bronnt Industries Kapital - Virtute et Industria
+ Lee Ranaldo - Music for Stage and Screen
+ Fernanda Porto - Fernanda Porto
+ The Dynamic Duo Rashied Ali & Arthur Rhames - Remember Trane and Bird
+ Kyle Gann - Long Night; Rick Fox - Fade; Jim Fox - Descansos, past
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.
+ Various Artists - The Meta Collection; Asana 3 - Peaceful Heart
>> Kandia Kouyate - Biriko; Tartit - Ichichila; Abyssinia Infinite - Zion Roots
+ Various Artists - Run It Red Mick Hucknall Selects from 10 Years of Blood and Fire Classics; Dennis Brown Presents Prince Jammy - Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise
+ Jack Wright - Up For Grabs; Michel Doneda / Jack Wright / Tatsuya Nakatani - From Between
+ William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity; David S. Ware Quartets - Live in The World
+ Anthony Milton - Sirens & Where The Coloured Planes are Rafts; Seht - The Voice of the Taniwha; Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band - The Band Plays On, The Diunes Move On (You Caught me with my Eyes Closed)
+ Thurston Moore / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 1; Thuja / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 2; Jackie-O Motherfucker / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 3; Jim O'rourke / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 4; Christina Carter / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 5; My Cat Is An Alien - On Air at Sound Projecting; My Cat Is An Alien - Through The Reflex of the Rain; Roberto Opalio - Chants from Isolated Ghosts
+ Christ. - Seeing and Doing; Kyo Ichinose - Iontano; Prhizzm - Prhizzm EP
+ Chris Brown - Talking Drum
+ Basil Kirchin - Abstractions of the Industrial North

- - - - - - - - -

WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Ugly sounds - Hakan Lidbo - wywiad
+ Audio-visual assault - Quasimodo Jones - wywiad