Albun of the week (January 29, 2022)

Discover by Zucchero (Italy) – 2021

Released in November, 2021 – Truly enjoyable record by the premier Italian rock artist.

Consisting of previously unreleased cover versions, the release of “DISCOVER” comes two years after Zucchero’s last studio album, “D.O.C.”. The record sees the singer strip down and rearrange a selection of iconic songs from the Italian and international music scene in his own inimitable style, drawing on his two main musical influences: the finest Italian melodic traditions and the deepest Afro-American roots.

There are exquisite collaborations with BONO in “Canta la Vita”, ELISA in “Luce (Tramonti a Nord Est)”, and MAHMOOD in “Natural Blues”, a new take on Moby’s version of Vera Hall’s “Trouble So hard”. The album also features an intense and emotional version of “Ho Visto Nina Volare”, in which Zucchero engages in a virtual duet with FABRIZIO DE ANDRÉ.

Album of the week (December 15, 2019)

Sing Noël! – A European Christmas Revels (Various Countries) – 2011

Get into the Christmas spirit with this excellent compilation of some of the best European Christmas carols and discover some new favorites with 21 selections of stunning music, choral works, and carols from France, England, Spain, and the Middle East.

Performers include an adult chorus, a children’s chorus, renowned soloists and instrumentalists, and members of the renowned Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble.

Merry Christmas!

Album of the week (December 8, 2019)

Avo Kanto by BGKO – Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra (Spain) – 2018

The title of the album is Esperanto for “the songs of our ancestors” and the track list of ‘Avo Kanto’ consists almost entirely of traditionals from all over Eastern Europe, ranging from melancholic songs like ‘Csi Lav Tu’ (Hungary), ‘Livisiani Mou Perdika’ (Greece/Turkey) and ‘Makedonsko Devojče’ (Macedonia), to festive dance tunes like ‘Krivo Sadovsko Horo’ (Bulgaria), the slightly psychedelic sounding ‘Raikos’ (Macedonia) or ‘Koje Li You Doba Noći’ (Serbia).

As a bonus, at the request of the band’s fans, the album concludes with ‘Lule Lule’, a song from Arbëreshë culture, an Albanian minority in southern Italy and Sicily, and the first song the band recorded back in 2015 after changing their name from Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra into Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra.

Album of the week (December 3, 2019)

Necrologies by Scarlet Stories (Netherlands) – 2019

This is a powerful album with beautiful vocals and strong instrumentation. This is their first full album after two previous EPs (Scarlet Stories and Resurrection) and they show their maturity both in their composition and their performance.

A complex album halfway between Rock and Progressive Metal that requires only one listen to love it. Lisette van den Berg vocals are impressive and beautiful.

You can find it in most of the streaming places, including Spotify.

Album of the Week (November 23, 2019)

Helsinki by Daria Zawiałow (Poland) – 2019

Daria Zawiałow is an extremely talented artist and one of the strongest voices on the Polish music scene. She is a songwriter and composer.

This is her second album and it gained the status of Gold Record just a few months after its release. All singles from the album were also covered in gold, and the most recognizable of them Hej, Hej for four weeks in a row was the most played song on the largest Polish radio stations.

Below is the YouTube video of Hej, Hej and Spotify link to the album.

Album of the week (November 17, 2019)

El Mal Querer by Rosalía (Spain) – 2018

With her mix of flamenco, pop, rap and urban sounds Rosalia won the 2019 Latin Grammy for best pop vocal album.
Born in Barcelona, this album is actually Rosalia’s graduate thesis for Cataluya’s College of Music, where she studied flamenco (they only accept one student per year) and music production.

The first single, “Malamente”, was a worldwide smash that mixes flamenco palmas (handclaps), pitos (finger-snapping) with a mysterious synth and her grainy alto voice that moves against the beat in a melodic hook that engages R&B in an irresistible combination.

The rest of the album is a display of her abilities as a singer, composer and producer making it full of tension, passion and creative ingenuity.

Give it a listen. Highly recommended.

Spotify Link below.

Album of the week (November 11, 2019)

MánnuAngelit (Finland) – 1999

Angelit is a band of two sisters, Ursula and Tunni Lansman, that brings the musical tradition of the Sami (Laplanders or Lapps) people of northern Finland to the international stage.

This album combines Sami shamanistic chant with elements of mainstream music very successfully. A thrill for experimental and new age music lovers.

Here is the Spotify link to the album.

Album of the week (October 20, 2019)

Indila – Mini World (France)

Adila Sedraia goes by Indila. Her debut album, Mini World, went diamond and platinum in both France and Belgium.
This is very powerful pop material. After a few catchy tracks to warm up, she fully blasts out a brilliantly melodic mix of Middle Eastern and French pop, and manages to get a perfect balance between the two styles. The album is both sophisticated and accessible, with the music and the vocals mixing nicely. Very first solid album and a pleasure to listen.

Album of the week (September 21, 2019)

Bitter-Sweet by Bryan Ferry (England)

Review by Matt Collar

Building upon 2012's The Jazz Age, and his acting turn as a cabaret singer in the 1930s Netflix drama Babylon Berlin, Bryan Ferry returns to his love of urbane classic jazz with 2018's Bitter-Sweet. Recorded with longtime collaborator/pianist Colin Good, Bitter-Sweet finds the Roxy Music frontman once again embracing the vintage 1920s and '30s big-band swing he first explored on 1999's As Time Goes By, and which he and Good brought to fruition with The Jazz Age. However, whereas The Jazz Age featured instrumental reworkings of many of Ferry's best-loved songs, Bitter-Sweet features Ferry singing jazz versions of both Roxy Music songs and songs from his solo career. Featured on the album are the six songs the singer contributed to the Babylon Berlin soundtrack, including "Alphaville," "Reason or Rhyme," "Bitter-Sweet," "Dance Away," "Chance Meeting," and "Bitters End." As arranged by Good and Ferry, these are all wry and romantic productions that evoke the smoky ambiance of Babylon Berlin's Weimar Republic-era setting. Elsewhere, Ferry transforms the new wave sophistication of "While My Heart Is Still Beating" off 1982's Avalon into a slinky, half-lidded crawl, and similarly mutates the pop exotica of his 1985 title track "Boys and Girls" into a slow-burn flamenco fever dream. Particularly compelling is Ferry and his orchestra's snappy rendition of "Sign of the Times" off 1978's The Bride Stripped Bare, in which the original track's driving guitar lines are transposed to a puckered trumpet lead. This is haunting jazz sprinkled with the golden dust of Ferry's glittery rock past.