• http://eldouje.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Cover-Art-WIS-1024x900.jpg



    Origine du Groupe : North America
    Style : World Music , Jazz Manouche , Swing , Folk , Folklore , Alternative , Instrumental
    Sortie : 2010

    After reviewing or critiquing god knows how much music over the last five years I've discovered a pattern I tend to fall into. Although there are a few performers I've followed for years and will continue to do so because of their ability to keep their work fresh by continually discovering new ways of presenting their ideas, too often a person or group will be initially exciting only to end up being disappointing by sticking to the same formula repeatedly. While I can understand the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality to a certain extent, in my opinion when it comes to the creative process that only leads to stagnation and boredom. There are more times than I'd like to count over that I've been really excited by the first couple of discs a performer or group have put out to only become frustrated and bored with them by the third disc when they continue to do the same thing over and over again.

    As a result I've been reviewing a lot less music of late. It just seems harder and harder to find somebody or some band interesting enough to even give a listen to, let alone review. Maybe part of the problem is the number of press releases finding their way into my inbox on a daily basis using the same group of adjectives to describe whatever genre of music they happen to be promoting. Everybody, from blues to death metal, seem to be fresh and exciting, or at the very least invigorating. So many bands are being described as alternative these days I'm falling back on Ellen Page's line in her roller derby movie Whip It and asking "Alternative to what?" How can you be alternative when you sound like a thousand other bands out there?

    Thankfully I tend to exaggeration. If the scene were as bad as I describe it sometimes I think I'd blow my brains out. There are still bands and musicians out there who provide genuine alternatives to the mind-sapping pabulum that passes for popular music on the radio these days. One who I've just been fortunate enough to stumble across are a four-piece outfit who go by the really odd name of The Fishtank Ensemble. They've just put out their third release - on their own label - called Woman In Sin, and I can guarantee you'll be hard pressed to find a more eclectic collection of songs gathered onto one CD anywhere. The lead singer, Ursula Knudson, used to sing opera; violinist Fabrice Martinez is from Paris and studied with gypsy violinists across Europe; guitarist Doug Smolens used to hang out with Billy Idol and Slash before becoming hooked on flamenco and running off to Spain to learn from masters in the caves around Granada; while Djordje Stijepovic started playing bass with local Romany bands in Serbia when he was 13 until moving to the US where he joined a band with Lemmy from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats.

    Okay, so these folk have been around a bit and bring some pretty strange influences to the table with them, but how does it all blend together and are they any good? Where to start? I've listened to the disc three times now and each time I've come away even more amazed than I was the previous time. I could tell you about Knudson's incredible range as a vocalist — how she can soar right up the scale and sing scat up there that will put your heart in your throat and then turn around and growl her way through a rendition of "Fever" that will leave you so hot and bothered a cold shower won't help. I could also tell you how Stijepovic's bass accompaniment on that song will make you think he's channeling Charlie Mingus and how he can also play slap bass in a way that you've never heard before, and might not ever again, when he leads the group through a Balkan dance number called "Djordje's Rachenitza".

    Then there are the two lead instruments... well, at least in most bands you would consider the guitar and violin the leads, but here they are content to be equal members of the band. Either Smolens or Martinez could easily dominate any ensemble they played with, they are such virtuosos, and on the pieces where they step forward you can't help but let your jaw drop at their playing. However what impressed me the most about the two of them was their versatility. There are many violinists and guitarists who can play one, maybe two, and even sometimes three different styles of music well, but these two seem able to handle anything you can think of. Torch songs, flamenco, gypsy tear-the-floor-up dance music, jazz standards, and the rest of their repertoire are all played with an ease that's not only deceptive but mind-boggling when you realize their complexity. In fact they're both almost too good for their own good. They are so effortless in their playing you can almost miss noticing their excellence.

    Most of the time when you hear a band being described as world music it usually means they play something that's not recognized as being pop music within our limited definition of that term. The Fishtank Ensemble actually do play world music as they are inspired by not only their different nationalities but an international variety of musical interests. While one song might sound like it comes from a demented cabaret populated by characters from a Kurt Weill opera, another is redolent with the raw, naked passion of loss you'll only hear in the truest and scariest flamenco, and a third has echoes of a rain-swept street in late night Paris. From small mountain villages in the Balkans to the urban sharpness of a hot jazz spot, The Fishtank Ensemble will take you on a musical odyssey that will leave your head spinning and your heart soaring.

    I listened to my first pop record back in 1965 when a babysitter played me her daughter's 45 of the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". In the interim 45 years I've heard more music than I can possibly remember because the majority of it has been forgettable. Every so often, though, a musician or band has come along that won't let me forget them because of what they do and how they do it. For me it's always been those bands who don't adhere to any set pattern and are always pushing themselves off into new directions who leave the greatest impression. With their first release The Fishtank Ensemble have shown that they are not only gifted musicians but also unafraid to take risks. That has the potential to be a memorable combination — we can only hope they're able to maintain what they've started.

    Author: Richard Marcus — Published on http://blogcritics.org/music

    Tracklist :
    01. Woman In Sin (2:37)
    02. Espagnolette (2:07)
    03. After You've Gone (4:05)
    04. Am Furat De La Haidouks (6:52)
    05. Fever (4:10)
    06. Djordje's Rachenitza (5:04)
    07. Pena Andaluz (4:12)
    08. CouCou (3:05)
    09. Kolo Suite (6:01)
    10. O Dewel (4:32)
    11. Opa Opa (4:01)
    12. Nedim (5:03)



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  • http://www.mrsomethingsomething.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shineyourfacemed.jpg


    Origine du Groupe : Canada
    Style : Alternative Fusion , Afrobeat , Funk Jazz , World Music
    Sortie : 2009

    The latest issue of Penguin Eggs, Canada’s leading magazine devoted to folk and roots and world music, features a very positive review of Shine Your Face. Here’s the album write-up in its entirety:

    From way out in left field comes this superb release, their third, spreading wide  the gates of listener-friendly world music, but based out of Toronto. From a first listen, it grabs you with its busy rhythmic pulse and stop-on-a-dime horn section recalling Osibisa, another original band known for blending African and Western musics.

    Yet this infectious five-piece band grafts each sensational track together with smart pop hooks held in place by a gifted and extraordinary singer in Johan Hultqvist—adding accessibility to what is otherwise a high-torque melding of funk, jazz and Afrobeat (each of which is far too limiting in defining this crackerjack band).

    Special attention is also due the divine marriage of John MacLean’s tenor sax (and guest horn section) to Larry Graves’s precision drumming. The resulting wall of sound is spiced up nicely (but never enough) by Paul MacDougall’s guitar lines and the fleet-fingered bass work of Liam Smith.

    The opening track serves immediate notice that this is something fresh and impossibly involving, its complex rhythms giving way to a phenomenally stimulating listen. Each of its eight tracks is its own highlight, an added plus found in the band’s smart lyrics—at once socially conscious and politically motivating. Why Why Why and What Are You Waiting For? alone make the perfect soundtrack to the summer that never came to Eastern Canada.

    – By Eric Thom  from http://www.mrsomethingsomething.com

    Tracklist :
    01 - The Antidote [05:13]
    02 - Only The Maker [04:55]
    03 - Make Your Mind [06:29]
    04 - Why Why Why [06:03]
    05 - City Of Sand [06:44]
    06 - Through The Dirt [02:00]
    07 - What Are You Waiting For? [05:53]
    08 - Make Your Mind Part II [03:24]


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  • http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/136/l_f318408b065a45db8dbf1f25ac89bb54.jpg


    Origine du Groupe : France
    Style : Alternative , Folk , World Music , Soul , Blues
    Sortie : 2010

    Dès le début, il y a eu comme une osmose... Et puis ça a donné un mélange de couleurs plutôt sympa. Et ça fait 10 ans déjà ! Composé d'un musicien poly instrumental et d'une chanteuse multilingue, ce duo distille une musique intimiste et envoûtante, teintée de mille reflets ethniques. Ils ont, au gré de leur parcours, rencontré des musiciens venant des 4 coins de la musique. Aujourd'hui, ils les accompagnent sur scène. Un véritable plaisir à partager... Au bout des doigts, au bout de la voix, ils vous feront voyager dans leur univers.

    Sofia : Chant, Kazoo, Harmonica, Accessoires Julien : Guitare, Piano, Percussions Ahmed Sylla : Batterie, Percussions Geoffrey : Basse Pieter : Guitare, Harmonica, Accessoires


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    Origine du Groupe : Morocco
    Style : World Music , Alternative Fusion , Jazz Funk , Gnawa Music
    Sortie : 2006

    Fils d’une célèbre famille gnawa marrakchi, chanteur et multi-instrumentiste, Abdeljalil Kodssi a évolué au sein de nombreuses formations gnawa. Co-fondateur de l’ensemble Nass Marrakech portée par le grand Omar Sosa qui a d’ailleurs produit son album Mimoun, Abdeljalil est un adepte de la fusion sous toutes ses formes. Mélange culturel et musical, il entremêle à ses racines gnawa des sonorités jazz, funk et méditerranéennes…

    par mondomix.com

    Tracklist :
    01 - Dunia 5:52
    02 - Abdelkader Jilali 4:12
    03 - Hamouda 6:42
    04 - H'biba Ummi 4:49
    05 - Africa 11:19
    06 - Assamawi 5:05
    07 - Oulad Mousa 7:01
    08 - Almaashuca 4:47



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  • http://www.starafrica.com/fileadmin/files/music/artists/afrocubism.jpg



    Origine du Groupe : U.K , Mali , Cuba
    Style : Alternative Fusion World Music , Afrobeat , Latin Music , Experimental
    Sortie : 2010

    La genèse de ce disque remonte à 14 ans. Passionné par les liens entre les musiques maliennes et cubaines, le producteur Nick Gold entendait réunir à Cuba la crème des musiciens des deux pays. Les visas des Maliens n'arrivèrent jamais et Gold, avec l'aide de Ry Cooder, improvisa un plan de repli pour le moins heureux : l'aventure du Buena Vista Social Club, et ses 8 millions de disques vendus.

    C'est notamment à l'instigation de deux des protagonistes initialement prévus, les Maliens Bassékou Kouyaté (n'goni) et Djelimady Tounkara (guitare), et d'un troisième qui fit partie de l'aventure, le Cubain Eliades Ochoa (chant/guitare, la voix de Chan Chan), que Nick Gold s'est décidé à finalement donner vie au projet. Complètent le casting : Toumani Diabaté (kora), le plus proéminent des musiciens maliens aujourd'hui, Kassé Mady Diabaté, chanteur de l'Orchestre National Badema dans les années 70, le balafoniste guinéen Lassana Diabaté, ainsi que les membres du groupe d'Eliades Ochoa, le Grupo Patria. Les musiciens ont enregistré à Madrid dans les conditions du live, tous ensemble dans la même pièce. Un parti pris qui donne à cette rencontre sa pleine mesure et contribue à sa réussite totale.

    Le répertoire mêle morceaux originaux (dont quelques instrumentaux nés sur le moment), classiques cubains ("Guantanamera", "La Culebra" de Benny Moré, "Para Los Pinares se va Montoro" de Compay Segundo) ou maliens, avec notamment une version étourdissante de "Jarabi". Mais c'est la beauté des entrelacs des instruments à cordes qui emporte l'auditeur : porté par de légères percussions, guitare, n'goni et kora tissent des toiles d'une formidable subtilité, entre lesquelles sinue le balafon, ici dans le rôle du piano cubain. Rappel d'une époque où l'Afrique post-indépendance se trémoussait au son des musiques cubaines, Afrocubism dessine également de nouvelles passerelles entre les deux pays au gré de l'imagination féconde des musiciens. La palme revient à Tounkara qui, non content de signer l'un des plus beaux titres du disque avec "Nima Diyala", libère de sa guitare des gerbes de notes sensuelles et profondes, d'autant plus lumineuses qu'elles se posent sur l'éclat mat des instruments acoustiques. Puisse ce disque apporter à cet immense musicien la reconnaissance mondiale qu'il mérite.

    par Bertrand Bouard  pour http://afrocubism.mondomix.com

    Tracklist :
    01. Mali Cuba (Toumani Diabaté) (5:38)
    02. Al Vaive´n De Mi Carreta (5:00)
    03. Karamo (6:56)
    04. Djelimady Rimba (3:11)
    05. La Culebra (3:34)
    06. Jarabi (5:58)
    07. Eliades Tumbao (1:17)
    08. Dakan (2:15)
    09. Nima Diyala (3:36)
    10. A La Luna Yo Me Voy (4:00)
    11. Mariama (4:00)
    12. Para Los Pinares Se Va Montoro (4:14)
    13. Bense´ma (4:58)
    14. Guantanamera (4:05)

    Durée: 58 minutes 42 secondes



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