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 […]

Brazilian Landscapes

This fascinating CD is nominally classical with jazz influences, but you could call it world because of the rhythm, which leans towards the Latin. It’s a quiet and reflective album. The percussion plays varying roles in the music, coming to the fore in places and dropping back in others. There’s a sense of fun about […]

Various: Music from The American Epic Sessions

We thought Old Crow Medicine Show doing Blonde on Blonde live in Nashville was pretty cool but this is even better. The backstory is that it’s a television documentary on the early days of music. In the 1920s, as radio took over the pop music business, record companies took to the road to find new […]

Hackney Colliery Band: Live

Whenever we’re down in the dumps in the Review Corner, we often play Rock With the Hot 8, by The Hot 8 Brass Band, a New Orleans outfit that blend hip-hop, jazz and funk. It’s not brass as you might expect if you’re a fan of Foden’s Band, and nor are there eight of them, […]