Review: According to Brownswood Recordings, Dayme Arocena took a conscious decision to opt for a more "stripped back" sound on her latest album, which marks her fourth full-length excursion for Gilles Peterson's admirable imprint. That's certainly the impression given by the opening track, "Nangareo", which sees the Cuban singer layer her own spoken and sung vocals over the sounds of lapping waves and moody, elongated synthesizer chords. It offers a striking introduction to an Afro-Cuban jazz set that smartly incorporates elements of both samba and the distinctive drum rhythms associated with her home country (as well as some superb chanted vocals). As a result, "Sonocardiogram" has an ear-pleasing vibrancy that encourages repeat listens.
Quem Foi Que Roubou A Sopeira De Porcelana Chinesa Que A Vovo Ganhou Da Da Baronesa? (3:10)
Que Pena (3:03)
Charles, Anjo 45 (4:53)
Review: Hard strumming samba groove specialist Jorge Ben was always one to bring exciting new influences to his music. On his sixth studio album he did so again, exploring everything from football fandom to romances with various young ladies via real self-awareness, all with his flair-filled and inventive lyrical style. Musically the album touches on soul and psychedelia with a genuine sense of liveliness and it marked a real commercial success for the artist, who - by the time of its release in 1969 - was already a venerated great in his native Brazil. To sum up, this is an essential work from a samba great.
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Recorded in 1983 and '84 respectively, "Feelings" and "Sidiku Buari & His Jam Busters" were the last albums recorded by Sidiku Buari, a New York based musician who turned to music after a promising career as an athlete in his native Ghana. He initially rose to prominence making highlife and afro-disco, but by the early '80s Sidiku was in full-on Afro-boogie and electrofunk mode, offering up tracks rich in colourful synthesizer lines, punchy electronic drums and righteous vocals in his native tongue. There's much to set the pulse racing across both slabs of wax, from the squelchy, club-ready brilliance of "Music" and "Anokwar (Truth)", to the slap bass propelled flex of "Minsumobo", dub disco grooves of "Karambani" and flute-laden breeziness of "Rhythm Of Africa".
Festa Para Um Rei Negro (Samba Enredo Do Salgueiro/71) (3:42)
Selecao De Mangueira (4:57)
Refem Da Solidao (2:19)
Review: Little is known about DIla, a Brazilian singer who tragically died in a car crash weeks after the release of her self-titled debut album in 1971. All that remains is the album - here reissued for the first time by Far Out Recordings - and a handful of references in the Brazilian media to her tremendous talents. "DIla" is a sensationally good album; a wonderfully summery, sun-kissed and soulful collection of samba songs that veers from bluesy jazziness (see the laidback and smoky "O Morro Nao Tem Vez"), to sweaty, carnival-ready dancefloor workouts (the brilliant "Saberas"), via the attractive, horn-heavy jauntiness of "As Paredes Tem Ouvidos").
Review: Selva Discos' Fernando Falcao reissue series continues via a fabulous new pressing of the Brazilian percussionist's experimental 1987 album "Barracas Barrocas". Like the artist's 1981 debut, it's a brilliantly eclectic and esoteric affair, offering up a heady - and uniquely South American - blend of off-kilter jazz, pastoral neo-classical compositions, academic ambient, jaunty tropical fusion, narrated soundscapes and heavy drum workouts. Given that it moves in a multitude of directions, the set actually holds together remarkably well, with Falcao's use of bespoke orchestration acting as a constant thread linking disparate sounds and styles. It's both utterly brilliantly and thoroughly mesmerizing, while the accompanying insert includes essays in Portuguese and English telling the story of the album and Falcao's little-known career.
Review: Jazz Room Records is the work of legendary London jazz-dance DJ Paul Murphy, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the label's first outing is an essential reissue of one of his personal favourites: Hugo Heredia's spiritually-minded 1976 Latin-Jazz fusion masterpiece, "Mananita Pampera". Although it begins with a dense and psychedelic collage of Heredia's breathy flute playing, the album's genius lies in its' combination of heavy Latin percussion, skittish jazz drums and the bright and breezy instrumentation atop (piano, double bass and Heredia on sax). Of course, there are a few slower, laidback cuts to be found dotted across the album, but for the most part it's a sweaty, excitable dancefloor excursion that's been a staple of Murphy's sets since the 1980s.
Review: From 1986-1991, Uruguayan vocalist and musician Mariana Ingold was a pivotal figure in the evolution of the indigenous Candombe rhythms of her homeland. She took the sound in new directions with artists like Eduardo Mateo, Jaime Roos, and Hugo Fattoruso across a series of albums that made use of the newly emerging synth technologies of the time. The result is a folk-y album of found sounds, acoustic guitars and majestic harmonies that are all tied together with Ingold's own delicate, elegant vocals. This collection draws her best work into one beautiful anthology that has upbeat numbers like "Trasnoche" next to soothing lullabies such as the heavenly "Tiempo Leve".
Review: The Brazilian singer-songwriter and guitarist Joyce Silveira Moreno was born and raised in the middle of Copacabana, a short beach stroll from the epicentre of the bossa nova universe.Her father was a Dane that had settled in Brazil, but she was raised by her mother and step-father in a typical Portuguese-Brazilian household. Since her older brother was friendly with leading lights of the bossa nova movement such as Roberto Menescal and Eumir Deodato,she was steeped in the form at an early age and witnessed its key evolution first-hand. At theage of 16 in 1964, she was taken to the studio by Menescal to contribute to the coveted debut album by the mythical group Sambacana, assembled to record the work of composer Pacifico Mascarenhas when the meagre budget would not allow the vocalists he preferred. Knowingthat a full-time career in music was certainly not guaranteed, she began studying journalism in 1967, shortly before her controversial song "Me Disseram" reached the finals of Rio's second International Song Competition. The following year, her self-titled debut album was released by Philips, produced by Armando Pittigliani, with orchestration by Dorival Caymmi and arrangements by Gaya; along with her own compositions, the album also featured songs by her rising-star friends, including Caetano Veloso and Marcos Valle.
Review: Recorded in New York in 1966, Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata" - her first for the legendary Reprise Records imprint - has long been considered one of the most important and influential South African albums of all time. Strut certainly thinks so and has offered up a "definitive version" that contains both mono and stereo mixes of the album, alongside new sleeve notes that tell the singer's remarkable story in vivid detail. Musically the set is rooted in jazz, but also incorporates sounds, rhythms and instrumentation not only reflective of Makeba's home country, but also nods to American soul, Latin rhythms and calypso (the latter showcasing the influence of her mentor, Harry Belafonte).
Review: Ziad Rahbani is a Lebanese cultural icon. Born into a famous musical family, the renowned pianist and producer is also a playwright, as well as being one of the most important exponents of the Lebanese left-wing counterculture of the '70s. "Abu Ali" was recorded in Athens with a full orchestra and released as a limited run EP in his home country. Legend has it was only pressed at 500 units and hence its rarity The result is a fabulous New York-meets-Beyrouth disco. Wewantsounds presents the first-ever official vinyl reissue of Rahbani's mythical 1978 release on his label Zida Records.