Sarah Rodgers: The Roaring Whirl

The story of this delightful and quirky CDis as interesting as the music. It was originally a piece of musical theatre based on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, a musical journey across the North Indian Punjab. The work was commissioned by clarinettist Geraldine Allen and after touring it, a final version was played — and recorded — […]

Cuatra Puntos: Jaipur to Cairo

There’s world music and there’s world music: from Paul Simon’s world-tinged pop to Plant/Page roping in ethnic musicians to make polished albums or Tinariwen using western instruments for traditional songs. Then there are musicians from wherever playing traditional instruments. We’re fond of gnawa from Morocco, two-string guitars (that means real string) and qaraqueb — metal […]

Majd and Tafreshipour: In Absentia

This CD features music from Fozié Majid (b 1938) and Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour (b 1974) who, as their names suggest, are Iranian — although one lived in England as a child. Tafreshipour specialises in contemporary music that “reaches across time and continents” and has worked with numerous major ensembles, soloists and orchestras. Majd was born […]

Vula Viel: Do Not Be Afraid

One of those albums that’s hard to review, its mix of world music and jazz being possibly unique. You can’t compare it to anyone else and the best comparison we can make is a rainbow: it’s sweeping and colourful, though possibly lacking a pot of gold at the end for the performers. Some history: Vula […]

Dallahan: Smallworld

This is a tasty folk / roots album. The opener is an instrumental, Aye Chiki, which uses instrumentation typical of any folk band but — as the name might suggest — with an Eastern flavour. The beat (to our ears) is Tartar, and reminiscent of some of the music we collected following a recent trip […]

Yaniv d’Or: Exaltation

We went to a wedding in Turkey the other weekend — as you do — and then spent a week listening to Tatar music, with artists from Mongolia down to Poland. And all the time we were hunting out exotic sounds we had this on the desk. It’s a programme of music from Medieval and […]

Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo Something To Say

We were never not going to like this: Diawara played with/on AfroCubism (the original idea of the Bueno Vista Social Club album) and with Benin’s Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou — two of our most-played world albums — as well as Herbie Hancock, and she combines the roots sound of the more traditional bands with […]

Falter Bramnk: Glassical Music

You want experimental? Try this, an album based on the sound of glasses rinsed with hot water. You’ve all done the washing up and heard odd noises from the glasses as the water/air cools and dries. If you stuck a mic close enough, presumably the different shapes and sizes would produce different sounds. You might […]

Robert Plant: Carry Fire

We’ve been giving Robert Plant money for 40 years, so we’re rocking out around the zimmers to this (and it’s the 200th review we’ve written this year, go us!). A decade or so ago, we read that Plant expected to lose his record deal and sell purely to his fanbase; then came Alison Kruze and […]

Amadou and Mariam: La Confusion

There’s world music and there’s world music. There’s the rootsy world of earnest music fans, which is played by traditional artists who are probably seen as traditional in their own lands. Then there’s the world music that the owners of internet radios can listen to: music that’s played for (say) Africans to listen to as […]