By Chuck Diliberto
The New Voice of North
The Girls of Angeli Finlandia/Atlantic Records
"The New Voice of North: is truly a unique cultural window into the customs and traditions of the Sami, or Lapp people of the Netherlands. The Sami are the indigenous inhabitants of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula. They are referred to as the European Indians.
Two sisters, Ursula and Tuuni Lansman comprise The Girls of Angeli. Angeli is a small Sami village in Northern Finland. The music is a traditional form of chanting called "Yoik:. The "Yoik: was once considered a sin by the village elders because it was a form of communication that breached previously unspeakable subjects.
Not unlike Native American chanting, "Yoik: is a highly rhythmic, expressive form of singing. The Lansman sisters have combined contemporary beats and music to support their effort. The sisters are pure in their delivery, chanting in a natural cadence that has an air of bemusement. They are very childlike and innocent, exuberant and unfettered.
"Yoik: is chanting with an attitude. The Lansman sisters, ostensibly, are interpreting their own realities. The emotion is unadulterated and to the point. There are some modern influences beginning to show up in their vocal phrasings. "Yoik: is evolving into a viable music form with international appeal. Very different, yet fascinating.
For more information, call (212) 248-5900.
Ravi Shankar's name is synonymous with the Sitar. He has pioneered changes in the design and strumming techniques of this long-necked instrument. Shankar has long been known for his transcendent, ethereal approach to his playing. He truly is one of the world's most recognized international performers. In light of this fact, his only student, daughter Anoushka, has released her first, self-titled collections of songs. The songs are composed by her father, and are specially designed to fit her burgeoning talent.
Anoushka is a sensitive performer; each note is plucked with confidence and humility. She brings a rare Spirit to this meditative art form. You can hear her father's influence in her ability to flow openly with the music. Yet, enduring patience, sensual feelings, and a personal life's perspective have combined to give Anoushka her own distinct musical identity.
The music has a searching quality built into its wandering note structures. The search culminates in the transcendence of the musician, the music, and the listener. Anoush-ka has that rare ability to allow herself to become part of a greater whole. In taking her place within the aforementioned archetype, she has synergistically made the leap into higher realms of consciousness.
This is a wonderful grace that has been bestowed upon Anoushka Shankar. Her willingness to share this grace is a continuation of the same blessing her father presented. We are fortunate indeed for this outpouring. This CD is a must purchase.
For more information, call (212) 248-5900.
Art Turner has a vision that he has carried throughout his life. When he was introduced to the acoustic guitar his vision gained a viable form of expression. "Story Water: is the fruition of Turner's dream. A somewhat definitive capturing of all the unknown intangibles that have shaped his life. The guitar is his panacea; good for whatever ails him.
There is an innocence and sweetness that compels the listener to pay attention to the melodies. The image of a child set free in a toy store to explore all possible realms of imagination comes to mind. Turner strums the chords with the ebullience that comes from the gained experience of first-time discoveries.
The music is folk, inflected, lightly jazz tinged and sprinkled with cultural rhythms that are expressed through fiddle, cello, and synthesizers. There are reflective passages, revelatory awe, and downright giddiness that weave itself through the music. Turner's accompanying musicians skillfully guides and interprets his sonic expressions. They bring a maturity and stability to his wandering rhythms, shaping and forming invisible structures from which "Story Water: flows.
For more information, call (800) 280-1672.
Thomas Kagermann proposes a question that has many answers, and just as many paradoxes. What is "Delicious Fruit:, and where can we obtain this food in a consistent manner? The quest for meaning and truth has many metaphors to explain this query. Kagermann followed a tangible path to find this oasis. We have all consumed a piece of fruit that was outstanding in its taste and distinction; yet, it was still another piece of fruit. In this understanding Kager-mann expresses his musical sensibilities, delivering a personal sound that is unique, but not unfamiliar.
The music flows through a variety of instruments and vocal phrasings. Styles overlap and commingle, creating an aura of moody introspection. Kagermann's violin playing is airy and succinct, bringing a well-defined edge to the formlessness of the compositions. The vocals ooh and aah in chant-like cadences, soft, gentle winds blow across our ears. There is a simplistic, unabating joy that emanates from the music. In a clear, natural way, we are carried over the threshold of day-to-day existence into a realm of serenity and calmness.
"Delicious Fruit: is a well-crafted mosaic of tonal soul expression. Plaintive, smooth, and relaxing. There are no rough moments and no bumps. A wonderful stroll through the park on a sunny, cloudless day. I can hear the birds chirping now!
For more information, call (800) 288-2007.
Above the Clouds
Musik International/Eversound Recordings
"Above the Clouds: is Nigel Holt-on's personal requiem in his search for life's meanings. Holton's music has become his sequitor to the higher realms of being. That place above the clouds' where limitations and fears diminish.
Holton has assembled varied groups of dedicated musicians to assist him. International musical themes are explored through flutes, pennywhistle, uilleann pipes, cello, tabla, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussive instruments, and Nigel Holton's keyboard expertise. The homogeneous blending of African rhythms with a Celtic lilt and Indian Raga style with orchestral overlay points to the diversity and creativity that Holton brings to his compositions. The music is fun, well played, and somewhat dreamy. There is an underlying theme of adventure, laced with sentiment, mystique, and romanticism. Every song takes you on a journey that soars 'above the clouds', floating in peace, the listener is drawn to an inner solace that resonated from within Nigel Holton.
If you are looking for music to cheer you up, "Above the Clouds: will definitely break your doldrums. There is not one negative moment contained in the compact disc. Pure, unadulterated and sincere. Thank you, Nigel Holton, for shining your light so brightly.
For more information, call 888-4-R-Musik.
Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York State. Having written for a hometown publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. His main interests are spiritual in nature and right living in practice.
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