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2007 - week 24, from 16 June - experimental

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:33 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Almasala - Els Nens Sense Memoria - Eolh - Spain - Ventilador - CDA0532

2 - Axel Krygier - Dónde estarás hermanitta - Zorgal - Argentina - Hitop - HITOP030CD

3 - Kobo Town - Abatina - Independence - Canada/Trinidad - Kobotown - KOBO 001

4 - Balkan Beat Box - Habibi Min Zaman (feat Dunia) - Nu Med - USA/Syria/Israel - Crammed Discs - CRAW 38P

5 - Eugenio Bennato - Donna Eleonora - Da Iontano - Italy - L'Empreinte Digitale - ED13174

6 - Clejani Express - Vraja - A Devla - Romania - Network Medien - 495117


These programmes have a habit of defining themselves after the event, revealing common elements only as they go out to the world. This one retrospectively filed itself under ‘Experimental.’


The Barcelona-based singer Almasala was involved with Ojos de Brujo in their early days, but as it became clear that there was room for only one female lead singer, Marina stayed and Almasala left. Her debut album Eolh is uneven, but ‘Els Nense Sense Memoria’ is so good, it may get played again, depending on how, or even if, you react.

Axel Krygier, left

Multi-talented musician Axel Krygier has such an impressive army of supporters, including David Byrne, La Linea promoter Andy Wood and fellow Argentineans Juan Molina and Kevin Johansen, I’ve felt bad about not being to hear what they could hear on his first two albums. But on his third, Zorgal, the witty and ‘Dónde estarás hermanitta’ probably represents what everybody else likes about him, while having a shape I can connect to. Kevin J is on the chorus.

Kobo Town

Kobo Town is the Toronto-based project of Trinidadian Drew Gonsalves, whose album Independence has a song that feels like a standard, ‘Abatina’. So catchy, it feels like we’ve heard it before.


Balkan Beat Box is the disguise for two Israeli musicians based in New York, where a Balkan music scene is finally poking its head above the surface after more than ten years of near-invisibility in underground clubs. Nu Med, the project’s second album, has come in for heavy criticism from contributors to the forum at but I stand my ground in its defence, especially the ridiculously catchy ‘Habibi Min Zaman’, featuring Syrian vocalist Dunia.


Having been an ardent supporter of Eugenio Bennato’s ‘Che Il Mediterraneo Sia’ back in 2002-03, I hadn’t realised that he released a follow-up, Da Iontano, in 2005 on L’Empreinte Digitale. Harmonia Mundi has just taken on UK distribution, enabling me belatedly to catch up. A new version of his celebration of the music of the Mediterranean doesn’t improve on the original, but I’m glad to discover ‘Donna Eleonara’.


Songlines Magazine tends to be kind to most new releases but gave a definite thumbs down to the album A Devla by the Romanian Gypsy group, Clejani Express, featuring Viorica & Ionitsa. It’s a hybrid of a female vocal, vocal choir and the distinctive Gypsy instruments of clarinet, tuba, cymbalom and fiddles, which is brave or pretentious, depending on your tastes. For me, it works well on ‘Vraja’.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:46 pm
by Gordon Neill
I was a bit worried when I saw the title of this week's show. 'Experimental' is usually a word which makes me lunge for the 'skip' button. But I liked the whole thing, every track. I wouldn't rave about ‘Els Nense Sense Memoria’, at least on a first listen, but I'm happy to hear it again. However, it was Eugenio Bennato and 'Donna Eleonora' that really grabbed by lugs. It reminded me instantly of Pietra Montecorvino's album of a couple of years ago (I then clocked the Naples connection). I missed out on his ‘Che Il Mediterraneo Sia’ album of a few years ago. But I've ordered it now.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:14 am
by Charlie
emails from:

1. Lanuhsi slehs Powless, Oneida, United States

This morning was the first time I had the pleasure of jammin on ya'lls music.

I love world music and it was a real treat for my drunk self!

But sober or drunk I love your selection very much.

Keep it up!

I wish there was music like this played in the US.

But as you all know the US sucks.


2. Nigel Hailstone, Auckland, NZ

Loved Kobo Town's recording but its not on line (i-tunes) any options for e-purchase?


3-A. Jimmy Baeck, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Just wondering if u were the same Charlie Gillett who wrote 'Making Tracks' & 'Sound of the City' which I'm currently reading and thoroughly 'digging'.

yes Jimmy, I was/am the same one


3-B. Jimmy Baeck, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Well, without wishing to be dribblingly obsequious, let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed both books. I first got a copy of 'Making Tracks' in the 80's, in Australia (that in itself, a minor miracle). In those days it was almost impossible to get the music (RnB/Blues Soul etc) let alone read about the history and musicians. In fact the music was so scarce that I did a radio program (on Public Radio) for 20 years using an Otis Redding Greatest Hits album and an Atlantic Records Compilation album (the one with Smokey Joe's Cafe). I'm pleased to say things have improved.

I'm now living and working in Phnom Penh and have been listening to some remarkable Khmer music recorded in the 60's. The music is obviously American influenced (probably from picking up U.S. Army Radio) but the playing is fantastic and they somehow manage to 'Khmerize' it without taking anything from the basic sound. There is an unbelievable version of 'Woolly Bully' and an equally incredible version of 'Whiter Shade of Pale' as well as Khmer songs written and played in that American Beach- Party-Bingo style with the Hammond B-3 and great guitar sounds. It's almost World Music Retro. The music comes from 2 CDs called Cambodia Rocks Vol 1 & 2. Definitely worth checking out .

Charlie, this music should be shared with the rest of the world and .....blah....blah....blah......(lapses into pathetic 'music enthusiast' ranting).
Hope you get a chance to listen.

Jimmy Baeck

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:48 am
by judith

(Great email. I can identify)


PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 1:48 pm
by Gordon Neill
Ah. I got my copy of ‘Che Il Mediterraneo Sia’ today. So far, it sounds rather good. But now I realise why the Eugenio Bennato track reminded me so much of that great album by Pietra Montecorvino. He was the 'musical director'. And, to my surprise and pleasure, Pietra appears on one of the tracks on ‘Che Il Mediterraneo Sia’.