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Most of our CDs have been imported from Europe or Asia. They are not all shrink-wrapped, and I am not going to con you by wrapping them here just to make you think they have been sterilized in America. I guarantee that the CDs and the contents are all brand new and in perfect condition. Whenever I can, I use recycled shipping materials. They may not look as pretty on the outside, but they save money and keep the trash dumps a little bit emptier.
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various artists : Lost in China
I don't often choose a compilation recording for Music of the Month, but I made one of the exceptions for this recording, a collection of songs by 13 different artists or ensembles from urban Beijing to the desert of Xinjiang, mostly younger artists looking to explore and sometimes confound local traditions. Most of the musicians have not been heard outside of China, or even their own region, before so I think this makes a case for choosing this CD.


Pixvae : Colombian Crunch Music
The label promo: As the hybrid peach palm from which it borrows its name, this unusual group is the result of cross origins, a space where the warm melodies of the Afro-Colombian music meet the energy of rock and eclectic jazz culture. Confronting the worlds, merging traditions, PIXVAE embodies an unsuspected alchemy between jazzcore and currulao: a direction that shakes the perception, upsets the entrails and awakens the imagination. Here, electrical power accompanies sublime trance...


Nilamaye : Las Flores Del Sol
Nilamayé is a group of Afrocolombian music. Its repertoire derives from music related to sea and river water and is synonymous with life, joy and cultural blending. Through the soft exuberance of the voices, the warm velvet sounds of the chonta marimbas, the deep humming of the cununos and bombos, the brightness of the guasas and maracas and the rhythmic liveliness of the alegre drum, Nilmayé shares with the listeners the 'contagious joy'" of the Colombian peoples..


Tao Ravao and Thomas Laurent : Au Bout Du Petit Matin
Malgache string player and vocalist Ravao and French harmonica player Laurent offer a window into primarily Francophone and Francophone-associated tunes. Though a few tracks would be well known to even casual listeners of jazz, rock, and Afro-Latin styles, the way Ravao and Laurent capture their energy with only two performers is much more novel. Ravao plays both guitar and kabosy, a box-shaped wooden guitar common in musics of Madagascar, while Laurent sports a twelve-hole chromatic harmonica not dissimilar to the voice-like emotionality popularized by musicians like Toots Thielemans and Gregoire Maret.


uKanDanZ : Awo
They describe the sound as 'Ethio-Crunch' and it's clear from their sound and lineup - guitar, bass, drums and sax - that they're heavily inspired by Getatchew Mekuria's skronky improvisational work with The Ex. Awo is the group's second recording, after their 2012 debut Yetchalal, and it's heavy listening. Guilhem Meier's thunderous drumming, Benoit Lecomte's rattling bass, and Damien Cluzel's metallic guitarwork churn out a surprisingly nimble post-rock groove that begins somewhere between System of a Down and vintage Black Sabbath, and ends up in a much, much weirder place. But the real stars here are Lionel Martin's agitated sax improvisations and Guebreyes's plaintive Amharic vocals.


Ensemble Marani : Polyphonies de Georgie
An ensemble dedicated to the unique polyphonic singing of Georgia.The middle and high voices are sung by soloists. The bass is sung by several singers. They come together and sing these harmonies, sacred and profane, to perpetuate an ancestral culture.


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Deltas : Ligerian Blues
Deltas, from Angers France, was formed by guitarist Vincent Erdeven and violinist/kora player Richard Bourreau (from Lo'Jo). They are now a trio with ngoni player/singer Andra Kouyaté, originally of Bamako. Thus, the imagery of the word 'Ligerian' (a seeming portmanteau of the Loire and Niger rivers) evokes a symbolic merging of the geographic and musical origins of the musicians themselves, while the group's name recalls the Mississippi delta, the hallowed source of the blues.


Dawda Jobarteh : Transitional Times
Dawda Jobarteh was born in Gambia, part of a family of hereditary musicians, including his grandfather, the legendary Alhaji Bai Konté. His new CD is a blend of tradition remembered and an immigrant's vision of new worlds. The music swerves from pure solo strings to jarring, modern motifs. He plays with pop and jazz idioms, but it always feels very rooted in the old world. This is a RootsWorld CD choice. These CDs are donated byt eh labels and artists to help RootsWorld raise money to remain online and on the air. All of your purchase gos to support those efforts.


Le Grand Kalle (Joseph Kabasele) : Le Grand Kallé:His Life His Music (2-CDs and Book)
Joseph Kabasele and The Creation of Congolese Music - an epic collection by one of the seminal forces in modern African popular music, compiled, annotated with a 100+ page book written by Ken Braun (in English and French) traces the life and times of Le Grand Kallé. This is an indispensable collection for anyone who wants to hear the music presented in a beautiful package and relive the glory days of Congolese music.


Lakou Mizik : Wa Di Yo
The band was formed by musicians young and old from Jacamel, Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. Their brand new recording is titled Wa Wi Do 'You Tell Them - We Are Still Here.' Says band member Steeve Valcourt: "We have nearly lost everything - but we'll never lose our culture." This is a RootsWorld 'Music of the Month' selection for 2016, donated by the record label to support the magazine. (The bar code has a small mark over it to indicate it was donated.)


Fairport Convention : UnConventionAl
The 35th Anniversary 4 CD Box Set of music by Fairport Convention. Four themed CDs, a 148 Page Book, a definitive Fairport Family Tree, the Cropredy Souvenir Booklet. Includes 75 digitally-remastered tracks (over 95% previously unavailable) for more than 5 hours of music.


Karl Seglem : Laerad
This is Karl's first goat horn (only) album, recorded over three years with a host of artists accompanying him on everything from ancient instruments to modern electronics.


Väsen : Brewed
The Swedish acoustic juggernaut returns with a 2017 release of 15 original pieces, from the tradition but not bound to it. Olov Johansson's nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed fiddle) and Mikael Marin's 5-string viola are once again pushed along by the rhythm of Roger Tallroth's 12-string guitar. (Release date: 28 April, 2017 - e-mail me to reserve a copy)


Amine and Hamza : Fertile Paradoxes
Amine and Hamza M'raihi are Tunisian musicians and brothers, playing the oud and the qanun. With their Band Beyond Borders, they are bringing together musicians from around the world, - French clarinetist Blaise Ubaldini, Swiss-Indian violinist Baiju Bhatt, Swedish percussionist Fredrik Gille and guests including cellist Vincent Segal, infusing their Arabic roots with jazz and global roots.


Bragr : Danmarkar'n
A trio of strings and percussion, Bragr features Swedish guitarist and nyckelharpa player Perry Stenbäck, and two Danes - percussionist Christine Dueholm and Jesper Frost Bylling on acoustic bass. All provide vocals on some tracks. They blend tradtional music from regions in both countries, and make them personal and unique.


Ostinat Expressen : Spor 2
Contemporary Danish folk firmly rooted in Nordic tradition, with Ivan Damgaard - Violin; Julie Heebøll Clausen - Clarinet; Steffan Søgaard Sørensen - Double bass; Magnus Heebøll Jacobsen - Percussion; and Jesper Vinther Petersen - Accordion.


Per Gudmundson : Sakpipa
Swedish folk music played on the bagpipe. The bagpipe is not well known in Swedish folk, but Gudmundson plays a type not too uncommon in the late 19th century and early 20th. He is joined by an ensemble of vocalists (Agneta Stolpe), violin, the lira, zither and harmonica played by Magnus and Ola Bäckström, Jan Winter and Erik and Ingrid Ingels. Heady stuff, originally recorded in 1982 and quite radical at the time.



Okra Playground : Turmio
Finnish folk music can sound other-worldly. The country's folk-epic, "The Kalevala," is laced with charms and spells, and its impact on Finnish folk culture has been immense. One can hear its echoes in this new recording. Three female vocalists are up-front. Both play the kantele, strung over their shoulders for a twin-stringed attack that any heavy metal band would envy. The men in the band round out the contemporary sound with bass, synth, accordion and percussion. Comparisons to both Värttinä and Hedningarna are inevitable. Okra Playground has an organic, acoustic base, but they frequently add electronic enhancements so that their overall approach appeals to both traditionalists and experimentalists.


Riccardo Tesi and Banditaliana : Maggio
From the RootsWorld review: 'Riccardo Tesi always escapes easy pigeon-holing. He is idiosyncratic without being abrasive, cutting edge without the hard edge. He is a gentle fusionist, bringing together new and old worlds so that's it's hard to know where one starts and the other ends. On Maggio, his latest with Bandtaliana, the sound is vintage Tesi: a refinement of traditional music that has the well-aged, heartfelt soul of folk music, but is as assuredly lovely as a classical wind quartet. Underneath the overall gentle spell that Tesi casts are shades and layers of sophistication.'


Manuel Luna y Brena la Musica : Papeleria Rocio (objetos de escritorio)
Roc and iacute;o's Stationary Shop (writing materials) is sort of a reissue of Luna's Los galles de Londres, with re-mixed and remastered tracks from the original LP recording, plus many newly recorded versions of other songs made in 2004. Luna explores his childhood memories and does some musical experimentation on the traditions of Cantabria in Spain with an acoustic ensemble of gaita, panderadulzaina, hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, percussion, bass, accordion and more, as well as an imaginative, light touch with electronics and recorded effects.


Niklas Roswall : solo och med vänner
The well repsected nyckelharpa player from Sweden. He became world champion on the chromatic nyckelharpa in 1996. On this 1997 CD he plays a selection of both unusual and common tunes. Most of the tunes are from Uppland, the centre of the nyckelharpa tradition, but there are also a number of tunes from other parts of Sweden and Norway. Niklas plays both solos and duets with some of his friends: Jens Engelbrecht on the guitar, and Ola Hertzberg and Markus Svensson on the nyckelharpa. (out of print - 2 copies left)


Nightingale String Quartet / Nofinishi Dywili : The Bow Project
In a world full of 'unique projects' this one stands out. These two CDs contain the traditional music of - and modern compositions based on - the bow playing and singing of Xhosa musician Nofinishi Dywili from South African, who accompanied herself on an instrument called the uhadi.One CD contains the Nightingale performances of these works, the other is field recordings of Nofinishi Dywili and members of her village, playing the bow and singing the songs.


Lena Willemark : Blaferdi (Blue Journey)
Features songs and lyrics, composed by Lena, sung in the Elfdalian language of her home region of Avdalen, Sweden. Program notes and lyrics are translated to Swedish and English in the booklet. It's performed with voice, strings and percussion supplied by Lena, Mia Marin, Emma Reid, Mikael Marin, Leo Sander and Tina Quartey. (Quite a cast!) It is, I think, one of her best (and that goes a long way, I think), so this comes with my biggest "highly recommended" gold star on it. CDs will be available in late December. You can contact me to reserve a copy, if you wish.


Oddjob : Folk
Swedish jazz quintet of trumpet, alto saxophone, bass, piano, and drums. On Folk, Oddjob is inspired by and is improvising over ancient Swedish pastoral Music. Cow herdings and goat callings mixes fantastically well with the contemporary jazz played by this five piece band.


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