Los Super Seven
A Latin American supergroup, Los Super Seven feature Rick Trevino, Caetano Veloso, Susana Baca, and members of Los Lobos. The tunes vary in Latin styles, but there's not a dud to be found on "Canto."
"Hawaiian Love Songs"
Slack-key guitar master Kahumoku has hands as deft as anyone working in the genre (and some good vocal chops!). On the aptly titled and simply gorgeous "Hawaiian Love Songs," he really gets to show off his instrumental skills on a set of beautiful tunes. Bob Brozman and Norton Buffalo guest.
"Las Flores De La Vida"
Even in his 90s, Buena Vista Social Club alumni Segundo continues to produce some of the best Cuban son CDs available. The soulful, yet spirited "Las Flores de la Vida" features Segundo, friends, lots of son, and one memorable version of "Guantanamera."
Moreno Veloso + 2
If "Music Typewriter" is any indication of his talents, Moreno Veloso--yes, he's the son of Caetano--is a musician to watch. The disc shifts between plaintive, gorgeous ballads and jazzy, electronica-influenced sambas, but great production and Moreno's soulful vocals tie the whole package together. Simply beautiful.
CHARLES TRENET: 1913-2001
"Cocktail Hour: Charles Trenet"
The world lost one of its great crooners on February 18, when French singer Charles Trenet passed away. Whether singing goofy and peppy ditties ("Boum!") or heartfelt ballads ("La Mer"), Trenet seemed to transcend any language barrier with his infectious vocals. If you haven't been seduced by his charms, this double-CD anthology will help you get started.
"Ethiopiques Vol. 9"
The "Ethiopiques" series continues to mine the Amha label archives for some of the best (and strangest) pop music ever produced, that coming out of Ethiopia in the late '60s and '70s. At the forefront of this scene is Alemayehu Eshete. Wearing his James Brown and Elvis influences on his sleeve, Eshete performs some of the wildest, and weirdest, rock & roll heard coming out of Ethiopia.
"Lamento Borincano--Early Puerto Rican Music: 1916-1939"
On first listen to this two-CD set of Puerto Rican laments, you can't help but forget these 50 tunes were recorded some seven decades ago. These haunting, rhythmically diverse ballads and dances are a riveting listen for lovers of Caribbean songs. Great liner notes elaborate on this timeless mood music with vintage photos and English translations for all of the tunes.
OUR NEW CELTIC STORE
From fiery fiddles to meditative ballads, you'll find all the discs you're looking for in our new Celtic Music Store. Whether your taste in Celtic leans toward Altan, Enya, the Pogues, or Sharon Shannon, we have music you'll love.
Amazon.com's Celtic Music Store
Chances are, you've heard the music of David Hudson: he's the didgeridoo player on the theme to "Survivor: Australian Outback." On "Walkabout," Hudson's didge is backed by hypnotic percussion.
"Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition)"
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bob Marley's classic "Catch a Fire" gets a fresh coat of paint on this double CD: great packaging, a complete remastering, and the complete Jamaican version of the LP.
You'll find more great music, articles, and interviews in Amazon.com's
International Music section.
LEGACY OF THE SCOTTISH FIDDLE ~ Volume One
Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis
CULBURNIE RECORDS ~ Hear audio Clips
BUY: Legacy Of The Scottish Fiddle Vol. 1... These two guys got the jump on Celtic-NewAge fusion in the early '90's. Here is their newest collection of Scottish favorites in the traditional Scottish fashion. Frasier on fiddle and Machlis on piano, made their first recording for Narada in 1983 but this is a collection of their fondest Scottish melodies. I'm slipping them into my classical morning radio show. ~ Alan Campbell, KUAT-FM, Tucson.
Western pop sensibilities (and superstars) are always finding their way onto world music recordings, so we're glad to announce that the pure and simple bossa nova found on Joćo Gilberto's latest disc won top honors at this year's Grammy Awards. That triumph, along with the first-ever Native American Music category, made this year's award ceremonies something to talk about. Here are the winners of the 43rd Grammy Awards, along with our thoughts (and in some cases, our own choices).
BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
"Joao Voz E Violao"
For four decades now, the vocal stylings of Brazil's Joćo Gilberto have defined the bossa nova. "Joćo Voz e Violćo," his Caetano Veloso-produced return to studio recording, is as hauntingly beautiful as world music gets.
Sadly, this gorgeous East-meets-West collaboration wasn't even nominated for a Grammy. That's a shame. Bob Brozman's Hawaiian guitar melds perfectly with the traditional Okinawan folk songs from Takashi Hirayasu to create a virtuosic tour de force. A stunning achievement.
BEST NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC ALBUM
"Gathering of Nations 1998"
Various Artists - International - North America - American Indigenous
The first winner of this groundbreaking category went to one of the more traditional Native American discs of the year. "Gathering of Nations Pow Wow: 1998" captures more than a dozen drum groups from throughout the U.S. performing at the annual Albuquerque, New Mexico, festival.
In forthcoming years, we look forward to seeing Grammys awarded to Native American albums that not only embrace the past but also the future of the thriving genre. That said, this traditional, simple, and fascinating disc is still a must-have and a worthwhile Grammy winner.
BEST REGGAE ALBUM
"Art & Life [PA] [EXPLICIT LYRICS]"
Beenie Man's fusion of dancehall with hip-hop and R&B is hardly groundbreaking, but it does boast infectious tracks and some truly great impressive guest artists. And with the ongoing popularity of both Man and Shaggy, we can only bet that there will be a lot more albums such as this in 2001.
For those who like their reggae undiluted, Capleton's "More Fire" was one of the best discs of 2000. Political, furious, and consistent, it gathers some of the artist's finest tracks to date. No big-name collaborators on this one, just raw dancehall and righteous lyrics.
BEST POLKA ALBUM
"Touched by a Polka"
If Eminem can collaborate with Elton John, why shouldn't polka king Jimmy Sturr work with Irish vocalist Dermot O'Brien or country legend Mel Tillis? On "Touched by a Polka," he does just that, proving once again why he's won so many Grammys.
Surely everyone loves an underdog, but in the world of polka, who doesn't want superstar Jimmy Sturr to win every dang Grammy he can? He's worked with legends, he tours constantly, and his 100 or so albums have spread the gospel of modern polka better than anyone else. Next year, they should just give him a Lifetime Achievement Award.
You'll find more great music, articles, and interviews in Amazon.com's
International Music section.
NEW AND NOTABLE
"Las Flores de la Vida"
The 93-year-old "Buena Vista Social Club" veteran returns with another romantic collection that spotlights his baritone voice along with Cuba's finest musicians. As on the earlier "Lo Mejor de la Vida," Segundo sings several favorite ballads he'd never had a chance to record in the past. "Las Flores" has a warmly nostalgic air with spurts of energy in a sassy bolero and a playful version of "Guantanamera." Not to be missed.
"Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore"
On "Heaven's Dust" the European trio established a global-fusion sound comprised of Celtic, African, and Arabic elements with Deirdre Dubois singing in a made-up language. Now on "Space Lullabies" Ekova take their alchemy one step further with Deirdre crooning in English while the group creates a lush, cosmic music that alternates from acoustic oud and tabla to electronic programming. "Space Lullabies" probably won't lure you to sleep, but it's sure to put you in a heavenly trance.
"Looking Back Tomorrow: Live"
America's beloved Cajun music preservationists are celebrating their 25th anniversary of togetherness, and with "Looking Back Tomorrow: Live!" they'd like you to join in on the fun. This spirited performance recorded outside of Washington, D.C., in March 2000 showcases the band's virtuoso talent with several traditional songs, four new tunes, and a handful of covers from greats like Dennis McGee. There's even a touch of rock & roll, Beausoleil-style.
"We Are Three"
British-Indian brothers Haroon and Farook Shamsher helped put the Asian underground scene above ground with their enormously successful "One and One Is One." Since then the duo suffered the unexpected loss of Farook Shamsher, who died suddenly of a heart attack in July 1999. So Joi's new album, "We Are Three," is a dedication to Farook and the music he helped create before his death. "We Are Three" again paints an electronic landscape with heavy dance beats and field recordings from India.
Grab your costume and mask because it's time to party again! While New Orleans prepares for Mardi Gras, South America and the Caribbean gear up for Carnival. Putumayo's collection "Carnival" brings together the rollickin' music from each region. Greats such as Eddie Bo, Eliades Ochoa, and Martinho Da Vila contribute to this rousing celebration of blaring horns, pounding drums, and music made for dancing and parading, whether you're partying in the streets or in your own living room.
Dry & Heavy
Some argue there's no groundbreaking dub coming from Jamaica anymore, but the scene may be shifting to another island nation: Japan. Bassist Takeshi Akimoto and drummer Shigemoto Nanao are Dry & Heavy, the most intriguing dub outfit to appear on the scene in several years. Their new release, "Full Contact," sports the metallic vibrations of King Tubby and the tripped-out psychedelics of Lee "Scratch" Perry but is stamped with their own groovy retro sound.
Founded by pianist George Winston, the Dancing Cat label has devoted
itself to bringing the gentle Hawaiian slack-key guitar to the
masses. With lower or "slack" tunings, this tradition began when
Spanish ranch workers brought their guitars to Hawaii in the 19th
century. The "Hawaiian Touch," featuring island elder Barney Isaacs
and slack-key guitarist George Kuo, is nothing short of sublime. Kuo
creates low, lilting support on slack-key guitar for Isaacs's sliding
steel guitar. Together they sway with an understated elegance that
draws listeners back to the islands of yesteryear.
"Lemonade & Buns"
A music fan calls Kila's "Lemonade & Buns" "ear candy," an apt metaphor for this forward-thinking septet who play music with one foot in a Gaelic past as the other hopscotches the globe. They know how to drum and chant a la Afro Celt Sound System, cozy up in a jazz ensemble, trip out on high-speed reels, or relax with an air, pub-style. Kila stretch Irish music from the deserts of Africa to modern urban jungles while never sounding forced or formulaic.
Also, check out these other cutting-edge Celtic albums:
"Auga De Maio"
Though it's difficult to fill Caetano Veloso's shoes, son Moreno proves himself more than worthy with the debut "Music Typewriter." Rather than expounding on his father's groundbreaking tropicalia experimentalism, Moreno turns to the old Brazilian art form of the intimate samba for inspiration. The result is a gentle, sensual album of soft textures whose subtle but interesting innovation may escape you on the first listen. Highly recommended.
Late into his 70s when he recorded his North American debut, "Introducing... Ruben Gonzalez," the Cuban piano veteran proved himself to be one of the instrument's great voices. His chops are in equally fine form on his latest, "Chanchullo," and you can download the title track for free from Amazon.com.
Youssou N'Dour's sound--which has helped shape Senegalese pop music since the late 1980s--is at an optimal point on "Joko (The Link)." He's tried all manner of collaborations with Western performers, hugely widening the appeal of Senegalese music, but "Joko" shows N'Dour more locally focused. Download "Birima" for free at Amazon.com.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2000: BULGARIAN WOMEN'S CHOIR
Bulgaria's choral tradition was born of ancient civilization, the
Eastern European mountains, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The
sound is complex, its multidimensional tones at once piercing and
ethereal, joyful and plaintive. The vocal techniques include
trilling, whooping, and masterful guttural control. Now, with members
of Bulgaria's state television and radio chorus, comes the Bulgarian
Women's Choir, or Angelite. Their "Tour '93" album exhibited the
unique talent of these 20-some women, but "Voices of Life," finely
recorded with new compositions from prog-rocker Eddie Jobson, boasts
the ladies' enormous power to move listeners in a full light. Their
2000 American tour gave them the exposure and acclaim they so richly
To find out more about "Voices of Life" visit:
Editor, Alan Campbell's pick
Jack Jezzro and David Lyndon Huff
Over one hour of world music for a new millenium. Hear the lilting canticle of the monks, the gentle cry of the African natives, and the soothing song of the rain, all supported by an underlying, harmonious rhythmic flow. This is Worldbeat. A unique audio experience that combines modern musical technology with ancient and global elements. Relax. Listen. Explore.
FIVE TO WATCH IN 2001
Here are some younger, up-and-coming artists who made inroads in 2000 and who promise to make an even bigger splash in the coming year:
Bebel Gilberto had worked with several stars of Brazil's musical canon, but it was after contributing a song to the refreshing "Brazil 2mil" compilation that she decided to follow further in her father Joao's footsteps and record a solo album. The result was "Tanto Tempo," a collection of modern-day bossa nova that featured her silken voice while mixing the bossa nova's laid-back sensuality with savvy but unintrusive electronics. It's a stunning debut from a graceful singer who will certainly impress us in 2001.
Habib Koite is the hunk of Afro-pop whose vibrant Malian music has attracted the adoration of such artists as Joan Baez and Bonnie Raitt. "I would drink your sweat," Raitt was heard to say after Koite's performance in Oakland, California. Her dramaticism is hardly overblown. On stage Koite's energy and love for music rises from him like a halo, and the members of his band Bamada are virtuosi. To create their unique, socially conscious music, Koite and Bamada employ such traditional Malian instruments as balafon and calabash with a fine mix of guitars, bass, and drums for a rootsy yet refined music that emits the soul of Africa while celebrating the Western song structures of pop and jazz.
One Amazon.com music fan called Kila's new release "Lemonade & Buns" "ear candy," an apt metaphor for this forward-thinking septet who play music with one foot in a Gaelic past as the other hopscotches the globe. They know how to drum and chant Afro Celt-style, cozy up into a jazz ensemble, trip out on high-speed reels, or relax with an air, pub-style. Unfurling a bold idea on each track with what seems like an endless arsenal of instruments, Kila stretch Irish music from the deserts of Africa to modern urban jungles while never sounding forced or formulaic.
Like her legendary father, Boubacar Traore, Rokia proved in 2000 that extraordinary talent runs in the family. Her debut, "Wanita," casts a spotlight on the young artist's unique, soulful vision. While other rising African stars have headed to Euro lands for a more contemporary, cosmopolitan sound, Rokia doesn't lose touch with her Malian roots. Accompanying herself on guitar with a sparse band, she sings in a clear, gentle intonation that's occasionally reminiscent of blues and jazz. Traore's more of an understated folk singer than a larger-than-life diva, and this is an approach she's made all her own.
In 1998 Paris Combo bewitched audiences at home in Paris and abroad with their self-titled debut, packed with risque cabaret jazz. Singer Belle du Berry reminds us why French is a language of love as she glides and tap-dances through the 1940s, inspired by the sounds of Gypsies, Spain, and Django Reinhardt. With muted trumpet, brushing drums, piano, and an expressive upright bass, Paris Combo bring the smoky clubs of yesteryear's Paris to vivid life. It's too cliche to say Paris Combo's the perfect music for your next dinner party when there's so much subtle, complex texture to their music. Still, their assured tone and tight, memorable tunes will surely charm those musically inclined epicureans as well as those who are just musically inclined.
AMAZON.COM'S BEST OF 2000
Explore the year's best music from across all genres by visiting Amazon.com's Best of 2000 page. You'll find our customers' favorite CDs, our editors' favorite CDs, artists of the year, and more.
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reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 amazon.com & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates