A beautifully dynamic set from Mohamed Issa Haji – aka Matona – a musician from Zanzibar with a specialty in Taarab, which is an unusual hybrid of African, Arabic, and Indian musical styles! The group here features Matona on oud, vocals, and percussion – illuminated by very colorful elements from guitar, tenor, bass, drums, violin, and percussion – plus vocals from the rest of the group as well – and Gora Mohamed Gora plays the rich-voiced qanun on three of the album's ten tracks, which adds this depth to the record that's amazing! Instrumental passages dominate more than the vocals – and there's some really fantastic interplay between some of the Norwegian musicians in the group too – on titles that include "Aziza", "Sikitiko", "Alaminadura", "Zena", "Ashairejea", and "Ashiki Baya". CD
Sanskriti Shrestha —
Brijanga ... CD Jazzland (Norway), 2018. New Copy ...
A great combination of Indian percussion and open jazz elements – served up at a level that takes us back to some of the most inventive ECM albums of this nature – such as the Codona albums by Collin Wolcott! Sanskriti Shrestha plays the very cool tabla tarang – which is a range of tablas set up in different melodic percussive modes – plus kanetele, and other percussion – and the rest of the group includes flute, guitar, violin, percussion, and even a bit of dobro and banjo – stringed instruments used in modes that are way different than any sort of traditional modes – more as these cyclical generators of sound that balance nicely with the percussion. The whole thing's got an instant boundary-crossing appeal – echoed by Shrestha in her notes – and titles include "Avatar", "Sand Sun", "Syklus", "Vatara", and "Mysterious Mr M". CD