Buena Vista Social Club
World Circuit, 1997
It's unclear if this runaway hit produced by Ry Cooder started --
or surfed -- today's tsunami of zeal for Cuban music in the U.S.
What's certain is that this disk, when spun, will magically transport
all within earshot to Havana. The Buena Vista Social Club is atmospheric,
soulful, sensual, multi-textured, elegant.
of the Gypsies
World Music Network/Rough Guides, 1999
Music of the
Gypsies (part of the Rough Guides series of world music compilations)
is 16 wildly different songs from as many different artists and
groups. Nomadic people who left the Indian subcontinent about a
thousand years ago, Gypsies remain one of the least integrated people
in the world. This musical journey has hints of flamenco, dance,
jazz and Jewish klezmer. Perhaps best played loud on a Saturday
Gipsy Kings Live
Speaking of gypsy culture, this merry band of guitar-wielding brothers
and cousins from the south of France enjoys cult status in the U.S.
and abroad. The Kings, who are from Arles, France, sing in Gitane,
a mix of Spanish, French, and Gypsy dialect. The vigorous strumming
of multiple acoustic guitars and the passionate vocals of the Gipsy
Kings are wonderful but seeing them perform live is awesome! This
disk captures the energy and spirit of a Gipsy Kings concert.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Warner Bros. Records, 1987
The honey-throated, all-male South African a cappella singing group
that Paul Simon introduced to the world via his "Graceland" recording
has many recordings on its own as well. This one is superb, offering
several of the Joseph Shabalala-led group's standards including
"Hello My Baby" and "Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain."
World Disc Music, 1997
Self described as "ancient visions in an extraordinary mix of trip
hop grooves and organic voicings," Waterbone's Tibetan trip journal
is pure tantra. Source material was recorded during Waterbone's
(the group is two guys from L.A.) travels through Tibet and Nepal.
The instrumentals and vocals (recorded in temples, open air markets
and airport terminals) were remixed stateside to fuse into a rich,
karmic-techno sonic curry. Seek out this disc as a monk would enlightenment!