Jiggy: Hypernova

Whatever you’re expecting, Jiggy is not it. Who would expect trad Irish tunes to mix so well with world and a Stereo MCs-type dance sound? For a start you can’t work out where they’re from; they sound Irish but they sing in French and some kind of Middle-European language at various points. The line-up is […]

Howard Skempton: The Man, Hurdy-gurdy and Me

We sometimes rave about albums but this is 100% wonderful. If we ever send a space rocket into space (in case you wondered where space rockets go), you could send this recording to sum up Britishness: witty, joyful, a bit mad, wildly eccentric and lots of fun. Whatever you want it’s got it, from early […]

Folk Music of China, Vol 3: Folk Songs of Yunnan

We Are Family is the opening piece but there’s no Sister Sledge in sight on this collection of traditional songs. The CD is the latest in a series exploring China’s diverse musical heritage. The songs featured in this recording are folk songs of three of the minority ethnic groups of Yunnan province — Wa, Blang, […]

Natacha Atlas: Strange Days

Atlas is from Egypt and this album sees her meld her roots with jazz. It’s a beautifully recorded selection of tracks that drifts into easy listening — the gentlest it goes is a bit late night, with an interesting fusion of sounds and instrumentation. Atlas began her career as part of the world fusion group […]

Code Sangala: Mizu

Last week we wrote about a CD from classical music label Naxos’s new world arm, a rootsy collection of traditional folk from Mongolia; this week is the opposite end of the spectrum, a cheerful collection of radio-friendly tracks from Malawi. Mizu means roots in Chichewa, the national vernacular language in Malawi. Sangala is clearly a […]

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 […]