July 25, 2010

Reviews and charts July 25, 2010

Check out the reviews (including one of the item pictured) and a table of WRIR's most-played world music recordings by clicking "Read More" ...

Brand-New Reviews
ARTIST:  D.O. Misiani & Shirati Jazz
TITLE:  The King Of History: Classic 1970s Benga Beats From Kenya
LABEL:  Sterns

REVIEW:  D.O. Misiani was the biggest star in benga music, the style of popular music characteristic of the largest ethnic group in Kenya, the Luo.  (As such, Misiani is probably the second most famous Luo in the world, surpassed only by Barack Obama, whose father is Luo).  Benga is an infectious dance music that has some similarities with Congolese rumba (brilliant multi-guitar interplay, funky bass guitar, relatively simple drumming, highly syncopated rhythms, massed vocals) but generally feels lighter and more sonically spacious.  This compilation collects some of Misiani’s finest recordings from the 1970’s for the A.I. Records label.  Like all of the recent reissues from Sterns, this one is meticulously researched, the sound quality is outstanding (a major issue when you’re dealing with African recordings of this era), and best of all the curation is just superb.  This is a great introduction to this style of music, and a worthy tribute to one of East Africa’s enduring artists.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    2    3    5    10

ARTIST:  Cochemea Gastelum
TITLE:  The Electric Sound Of Johnny Arrow
LABEL:  Mowo

REVIEW:  Cochemea Gastelum is a New York-based reed player who’s part of the Daptone Records axis – he’s in the current touring edition of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, he’s a member of the Budos Band as well, and he’s played in the pit orchestra of the Fela! musical on Broadway.  His debut album, an all-instrumental affair produced by Adam (Mocean Worker) Dorn, straddles the jazz, funk, world and RPM genres.  Gastelum’s playing, especially on the rarely-heard electric sax, is definitely influenced by jazz-funk giant Eddie Harris.  His overall esthetic is rooted in the 1970’s jazz-Latin-funk-African fusions of artists like War, Mandrill, Santana, Manu Dibango, Osibisa, Eddie Palmieri and others.  This album is short and sweet – 10 tracks, each one to-the-point, no filler.  It’s a modest record but very true to itself and will definitely appeal to folks who are digging current groups like the Budos Band, Grupo Fantasma and Bronx River Parkway that are mining the neglected sounds of the 70’s.  Good stuff.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    1    2    3    7

New & Recommended At WRIR
Desert Blues, The Rough Guide To | (various artists) | World Music Network
Etoile De Dakar Featuring Youssou N'Dour | Once Upon A Time In Senegal: The Birth Of Mbalax 1979-1981 | Sterns
Fat Freddys Drop | Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW | Electrofone
Fela! | (original cast recording) | Knitting Factory
Foliba Trio | Matopie Wa | Farafina Djigui
Gastelum, Cochemea | The Electric Sound Of Johnny Arrow | Mowo
Gogol Bordello | Trans-Continental Hustle | American
Grupo Fantasma | El Existential | Nat Geo Music
Konono No. 1 | Assume Crash Position | Crammed Discs
Le Pop 5 | (various artists) | Le Pop Muzik
Misiani, D.O. & Shirati Jazz | The King Of History: Classic 1970s Benga Beats From Kenya | Sterns
Next Stop … Soweto, Volume 2 | (various artists) | Strut
Palenque Palenque: Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots In Colombia | (various artists) | Soundway
Shangaan Electro | (various artists) | Honest Jon's
SMOD | SMOD | Because Music
Toure, Vieux Farka | Live | Six Degrees

CMJ New World Top Ten
1 SOUNDTRACK | Fela! Original Broadway Cast Recording | Knitting Factory
2 GRUPO FANTASMA | El Existential | Nat Geo Music
3 ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE BARBES | Rendes-Vous Barbes | Le Chant Du Monde
4 D.O. MISIANI AND SHIRATI JAZZ | The King Of History: Classic 1970's Benga Beats From Kenya | Sterns
5 COCHEMEA GASTELUM | The Electric Sound Of Johnny Arrow | Mowo
6 FOLIBA TRIO | Matopie Wa | Farafina Djigui
7 KONONO NO. 1 | Assume Crash Position | Crammed Discs
8 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Palenque Palenque: Champeta Criolla And Afro Roots In Colombia | Soundway
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Shangaan Electro | Honest Jon's
10 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Dr. Boondigga And The Big BW | Electrofone

CMJ New World Adds
1 KHAIRA ARBY | Timbuktu Tarab | Clermont Music
2 MAYA BEISER | Provenance | Innova
3 THE BUDOS BAND | III | Daptone
4 JIENAT | Mira | self-released
5 10 FT. GANJA PLANT | 10 Deadly Shots: Vol. 1 | ROIR

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