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Books
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review

Many terrible stories are told of wars where rape is wielded as a weapon. Regina Bakala was raped in the course of the series of civil wars that tore apart her country, the Congo, one of the most troubled lands on earth. After escaping and settling in the U.S., Regina was eventually reunited with her husband, himself a torture survivor. The idyll ended when ICE agents arrested Regina...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nagez Rameurs (Mad River)

Some folk music groups try to update their sound with rock rhythms or hip-hop beats while others go for raw-boned period authenticity. Quebec's Genticorum fall into another camp where historical details are polished to a high gloss and the players admit to a certain eclecticism in their influences—including an...
Album Reviews
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

Nagore Sessions (EarthSync)

The Sufis always took an expansive view of spirituality and human possibility; it’s no surprise finding Sufi singer in collaboration with musicians of other backgrounds on the Nagore Sessions. Named for the site of a Sufi place of pilgrimage on the Bay of Bengal, the sessions involve a trio of Sufi devotional singers...
Album Reviews
Friday, Oct. 15, 2010

Land of Fire

Growing up in Ghana, Mohammed Alidu lived in a world of rhythm centered on the talking drums of the bizungs, the hereditary percussion masters. With Land of Fire, Alidu follows the path of many recent African musicians into Afro-pop, blending the age-old rhythms with Western instruments and contemporary...
Album Reviews
Friday, Sept. 3, 2010

Shoshan (EarthSynch)

Like many people on a journey, Shye Ben-Tzur found connections between what he found and what he thought he left behind. The Israeli rock musician became entranced by Indian music and made for India to learn its intricacies. But once he arrived, he discovered that the mystic chords connected with his own...
Album Reviews
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Las Vueltas que de la Vida (Rosazul)

Daniel Cros is a Spanish pianist and singer who, after a career in rock, discovered the music of one of his country’s former colonies, Cuba. His fifth album, recorded with Cuban expatriates as well as jazzmen from Cros’ homeland, conjures up the florid yet bittersweet emotions and rhythmic tempi of Cuba in an elegant...
Album Reviews
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010

Gente

On any sunny day on the beaches of Santa Cruz, Calif., a crowd might gather to hear a true world music hybrid, SambaDá. Formed by Brazilian immigrants and their Yankee neighbors, the band distills the easygoing lilt of bossa nova into a rock-funk format, with carnival rhythms and echoes of more ancient...
Album Reviews
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010

Mouth of Mars

On her second album, Jen Gloeckner digresses occasionally into the elastic whiplash chords of rock, or slips into a harsh-tongued vocal emulation of Americana. Mostly, Mouth of Mars is a layered, largely acoustic sequence of soundscapes involving febrile and agitated strings, percussive echoes and surreal...
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 21, 2009

Firecracker

If Milwaukee is nurturing another American Idol contender, let it be Jayne Taylor. On her new CD, Firecracker, the 17-year old songbird tackles a batch of mostly pre-Beatles rock, pop and country tunes associated with Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee and Buddy Holly. She hits all notes beautifully and displays...