Last year, I started a new round-up review series based on world music. It’s a genre that doesn’t get as much love as it should, whilst also being very eclectic as a whole. As such, all the artists in this list are very different from one another, so there should be something here for all lovers of world music.
Review by Jane Howkins
Photo by Elad David
Elad David – Teardrops
First up is Israeli musician and multi-instrumentalist Elad David with his enticing new tune, Teardrops. It’s upbeat from the very start, using an interesting percussive beat alongside the fingerpicked guitar melodies to create a nice musical flow. A slight flute melody can be heard in the background at times, adding a little more to the piece. It’s an instrumental tune, but it really doesn’t need vocals when it’s this good!
Sahana Naresh – Vaari Vaari
Sahana Naresh is a student of Hindustani music, which certainly comes through in Vaari Vaari. However, the track also contains elements of electronic pop, making for quite a unique mix of sounds. The synths in the background have a more Western vibe, whereas the vocals have a distinctive Eastern vibe, creating a diverse piece of music. If you’d like to try something a bit different from the norm, Vaari Vaari is for you!
Ukulele MJ – Harmony
Harmony sounds quite stripped down at first, opening with just a simple acoustic guitar and ukulele melody. However, there’s much more to Ukulele MJ’s track, as it has a subtle beauty to it. Quiet backing vocals can be heard occasionally, but the focus is purely on the instrumentation, which changes slightly as the track continues. It’s a really pretty piece of work, and one of my favourite songs on this entire list.
Ari Joshua – Spooky
Spooky is a suitably titled tune, as the main guitar melody that runs through it certainly has an eerie vibe! Seattle composer Ari Joshua is a fantastic musician, having made quite a name for himself in his home state. The track has an almost reggae/dub vibe to it, although it’s very different from anything else I’ve heard from that genre before, sounding suitably unique. The horns add an extra special touch alongside the main guitar line and beat.
Raygun Carver – Everywhere You’ll Go Is Where You’ll Be
Raygun Carver is a musical project created by singer-songwriter Michael Soiseth, with Everywhere You’ll Go Is Where You’ll Be being his latest release. It’s a real genre-bender of a tune, introducing elements of gypsy folk, jazz and Americana into the world music style. The guitar licks are bluesy, sounding perfectly placed against Michael’s deep vocals. It’s slightly darker than some of the other songs on this list, but it sounds perfect, nonetheless.
POVEDA – Otra Noche Más
Otra Noche Más is a folky song with a Cuban sound, also adding a little Americana into the mix. POVEDA has created something really pretty here – the guitar melodies are light and playful, dancing over the rest of the music in a stylistic way. The flute solo is a nice surprise, adding a unique influence into the mix. The female backing vocals help to accentuate the lead vocals perfectly, creating more layers within the piece.
Eva No – Bring Me Flowers
Nordic artist Eva No adds a dub flavour to her new release, Bring Me Flowers. It’s irresistibly catchy, having the typical rhythm you might expect from a song of this genre. The bass and drums work fabulously together, as a gorgeous selection of strings play along in the background. And let’s not forget Eva’s stunning vocals either, which fit with the music extremely well.
Nathasha Rumbos – Janguiar
Adding a more Latin flavour to this article is Miami-based pop artist Nathasha Rumbos. The beat has that classic Latin sound we’ve all come to know and love, although Janguiar is also quite a poppy song. Nathasha sings in her native language, with her luscious vocals working really well with the rest of the music. The backing instrumentation is fairly simple at times, but this factor just makes it get under your skin quicker!
TerraTara – Forward
We actually featured singer-songwriter TerraTara in our first iteration of this series, so it’s great to welcome her back with new tune Forward. The drums have a really cool world music sound, as the dubby bass dances alongside the rhythm in a lovely way. The acoustic guitars add something really special to the piece in the background, as the vocals drift along in a gorgeous yet effortless way.
Nevaris – Dub Sol
Nevaris is a musician and visual artist based in New York – his main talent is in playing the drums, which is displayed well in Dub Sol. As you might have guessed from the title of this song, it’s a dub track, featuring a wonderful array of horns that play alongside the rhythm section. It’s incredibly funky as a whole, getting inside your head straight away. Dub Sol is an instrumental piece, but it sounds absolutely gorgeous without vocals.
Neo & Neo – Labuan Bajo غافل
This version of Labuan Bajo غافل is actually a live alternative performed by Neo & Neo at HardStudios, showing just how good they are in the flesh! It’s a folky tune with a palpable Middle Eastern vibe, combining elements of numerous genres together in a wonderful way. The vocals are raw and emotional, creating a bit of divergence from the Eastern drums and eerie acoustic guitar lines. However, it all works surprisingly well together!