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@ Job Cornelissen Cyclesongs (Job Cor- nelissen). Dutch singer/songwriter and gui- tarist records his album in Ireland and throws in a few items from the Irish tradition. The whole is somehow reminiscent of Wizz Jones without achieving the Wizz wizardry or musi- cally hitting the Jones jackpot.

2 The Slocan Ramblers Queen City Jubilee (The Slocan Ramblers). Top class bluegrass from Canadian quartet. Playing, singing and recording all spot on. Original material also strong.

1 Heather Innes Here Comes The Day (Clunie CLUNIECD10). Irish/Scottish ballad- singer’s fourth solo album is a restful collec- tion of traditional and contemporary songs, mostly Irish or Scottish. Her crystal-clear vocal is sensitively accompanied by harp, guitar, flute, keyboards, mandolin, fiddle. It feels like an album from the ’60s folk-revival.

2 Katsuya Yokoyama The Art Of The Shakuhachi (Ocora C 561114). Exquisite recording from 1997 of the Japanese bamboo flute, the shakuhachi, played by one of the great masters, with Yokoyama’s disciple Yoshikazu Iwamoto featured on some tracks. Includes several of the best known repertoire for shakuhachi and exemplary notes in English on the music and tracks.

2 Ugagn Vengjeslag (Heilo HCD 7326). Sigrid Bjørgulvsdotter Berg has the warm serenity of voice of her well-known mother, Kirsten Bråten Berg, who joins her in two of this fine set of songs, trad and with lyrics by 19th Century Setesdalers, in lush wide-rang- ing arrangements on guitars, fiddle, keys, bass, percussion by band including Valkyrien’s Erik Sollid.

@ Susie Ro Song Of A Thousand Leaves (Susie Ro). New Zealand-born singer- songwriter’s debut draws together songs written during the past decade on her “jour- ney through the self”. Surprisingly anonymous despite the presence of an eclectic array of 31 guest musicians. Shame, since it’s beautifully presented and packaged.

1 Azougue Azougue (Azougue). Galician musical roots infuse a new, airy, Galician jazz- like form by top-line trio Pedro Lamas (Radio Cos etc) on saxes, dulzaina, gaita and accordeon, pianist Jacobo de Miguel and Xosé Lois Romero’s traditional percussion instruments in compositions by Lamas and de Miguel. azouguelamasdemiguelromero

1 Inyal Inyal (Inyal INYAL001). Debut album from Glasgow-based folktronica five- piece. Traditional Scottish fiddle, bagpipes, whistle and Gaelic vocals (from Josie Duncan) float upon a sea of surging electronica, elec- tric guitars and lively percussion. Strongly rhythmic, trippy and dreamy. Owes a debt to Martyn Bennett.

2 Los Rumberos De La Bahia Mabagwe: Tribute To “Los Mayores” (Eguin Eje Records 88295–65071). Cuban singer José Luis Gómez found a well-established rumbero community in San Francisco upon arriving in 1983. He joins percussionist Michael Spiro and a host of accomplished singers and drummers for an astute and powerful rendering of a mostly tra- ditional rumba repertoire. losrumberos.

@ Mischief Afoot Mischief Afoot (Wild Goose WGS424CD). Very pleasant but unre- markable British songs and tunes on fiddle, recorder and guitar from this trio from the Cotswold area. Jeff Gillett has a pleasing dry- toned voice and he has some interesting chord progressions on his tune accompani- ments. Some of the tunes are taken too quickly for the comfort of both players and listeners.

2 Lena Jonsson Places (Playing With Music PWM22). Clever fiddling in intricate, swingy original tunes in a variety of styles reflecting her travels. Jonsson, among other things is a sparkly front-liner in Swedish folk big-band FAB, here in snappy and sophisticated trio with guitar or mandola and bass, plus classy guests on fiddle, harmonica, piano, drums, sax, accordeon etc.

2 Blind Willie McTell The Rough Guide To Blind Willie McTell (World Music Net- work RGNET1366CD). 25 flawlessly remas- tered cuts by the peerless Atlanta blues singer and twelve-string guitar picker who inspired Bob to write a eulogy and Ralph to adopt his name. All absolutely essential, McTell’s duets with his wife Kate are especially joyous.

2 Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert Here Lies The Body (Rock Action ROCKACT112CDP). Arab Strap vocalist-poet Moffat and El Hom- bre Trajeado guitar genius Hubbert (with singer-cellist Siobhan Wilson) deliver ten beautifully heartfelt and melodic meditations on sex and death. Made in Scotland for wise fools, thinkers, drinkers and gentle obsessives everywhere.

@ Diogal Roadside (Buda 860322). Diogal from Senegal offers an extremely laid-back album of his own compositions in Wolof, mainly on social, political and environmental matters. Largely solo to his own guitar and percussion accompaniments though the cello of Chris White makes some significant contri- butions. The low-key approach and repetitive accompaniments diminish the overall impact.

2 Yiddish Glory The Lost Songs from World War Two (Six Degrees LC-19379). Oral history through song. This CD documents newly rediscovered songs written by soldiers, children, prisoners and survivors of the Nazi & Stalinist death camps, work camps and ghet- tos. A 40-page booklet details the back- ground to the songs with English transla- tions. A strangely uplifting testament to the indomitable resilience of the human spirit even when experiencing indescribable horror.

1 Bettye LaVette Things Have Changed (Verve B0028016). Groovy soul diva Bettye LaVette emotes effectively on twelve Bob Dylan songs. But, despite her impressive vocal performance, inventive music arrangements executed by excellent musicians and a great Steve Jordan production, the simple fact remains that Dylan does his own songs better that anyone else.

2 Vi Wickham & Justin Branum Armadil- lo On A Hot Tin Roof (Wickham Music WM CD 1701). Two first class fiddle players who combine superbly to offer a set of tunes and songs with classics like Ashokan Farewell and Maiden’s Prayer. Hot, tuneful, and a great selection of music.

1 Compay Segundo Nueva Antología 20 Aniversario (Rhino-Warner Music Spain 9029571926). Recorded in Cuba in 1995, shortly before the Buena Vista Social Club Project incorporated Compay Segundo as one of its most singular personalities, this 20th- anniversary rerelease of his two-CD antholo- gy adds four previously unpublished tracks and notes by Santiago Auserón and Danilo Orozco. warnermusic.ed

1 Elmøe Og Hoffmann Vankkanten (Go’ Danish GO0718). Debut from violin/viola and cittern/guitar duo, with touches of piano here and there. Lovely melodies, and when it all catches fire, it’s superb. The problem is, that doesn’t happen often enough; every- thing is beautiful, but they need to trust their wildness more next time.

Lena Jonsson

2 Marisa Anderson Cloud Corner (Thrill Jockey Thrill 466). West African, Tuareg and American folk-blues picking, mostly on elec- tric guitar, infuse this atmospheric album, where Anderson’s technique never gets in the way of the instrumental tales she wants to tell. Excellent.

@ Dieter van der Westen Band Me And You (Dieter van der Westen). Good songs, clean precise performances, and van der Westen has a convincing American accent for his Americana, with a hint of Chris Isaak ache. It lacks that spark to make it something spe- cial that demands to be heard.

2 Duck Baker The Preacher’s Son (Fulica FCD-103). Shifting effortlessly between jazz, blues, Irish, gospel and Chuck Berry, this is a masterclass in solo guitar from the mighty Duck. Everything arranged and played fault- lessly and with fire – and his own The Blood Of The Lamb is astonishing.

2 Trembling Bells Dungeness (Tin Angel). Rascally drummer Alex Neilson cements his reputation among the most pithy and perspi- cacious of lyricists. Lavinia Blackwall’s cele- brated wail (at times more Siouxsie than Sandy) is wildly exhilarating as the trembling ones boogie in the shadows of the nuclear reactors.

1 ATA Acoustic Tarab Alchemy (Odradek ODRCD701). ATA takes the Sufi mystic singing of Houcine Ataa and combines it with lounge jazz. Feels as if you are in two states simulta- neously. Arrangements are imaginative and sympathetic. Totally original, but also slightly disorientating which is no bad thing!

@ The Matchsellers Bluegrastronauts (The Matchsellers). I think it is meant to be witty. Bluegrass music played loud, and fast. Little in the way of dynamics and even the sleeve is hard to read in 3D-type print. Get back to earth guys.

1 Luis Pérez En El Ombligo De La Luna (Mr Bongo MRBLP/CD154). Mexican autodi- dact Luis Pérez immersed himself in pre- Columbian mesoamerican instrumentation while simultaneously cruising the Mexico City psychedelic rock circuit. This 1981 reissue blends indigenous percussion, shell trumpets and whistles with found sound, electric gui- tar, synthesiser effects and voice.

1 Various Artists The Tiree Songbook (The Tiree Association EORNA01). Double- album of traditional Scottish Gaelic songs and tunes linked to Tiree, emotionally performed by singers and musicians from the Island plus professional Scottish folk musicians.

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