This new collection of songs from the Argentinean singer-actor Melingo could be the soundtrack to a shady underworld, conjuring up as it does a chiaroscuro labyrinth of mirrors where time stands still. Offbeat love songs, sparkling with glints of the blues and tangos of old, vagrants’ tales sprinkled with snatches of bossa nova and candombe, atmospheric melodies summoning up musical spirits, now of Duke, now of Zappa, all plunging us into Melingo’s surreal universe. In the company of his band of itinerant musician-poets, he is a free-spirited, definition-defying artist at the very zenith of his powers. Part rocker, part flamboyant crooner, with a touch of the comedian, as well as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, he bewitches us with intoxicating dreams.
Raised in Brooklyn, Natalia M. King began her musical career in Los Angeles in 1993 with the Mojo Monks, a hard-edged blues-rock trio. After tiring of the LA scene, King sold everything she possessed, bought herself an acoustic guitar and a one way plane-ticket to France. She never looked back. After being ‘discovered’ thanks to a documentary made by French television group Canal+, King’s success was assured and she cut two albums for Universal in the early 2000s. After hiatus from the studio, King returns in style with SoulBLAZZ, an album of twelve blazing new tracks, most of which are originals. Her songs blend the spirituality of soul, the intensity of the blues, the aestheticism of jazz and the energy of her rock roots. So don’t be surprised should your ears detect the spirits of Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk and Janis Joplin.
Mamani Keïta is one of the great voices of Mali, a singer who knows how to bind her audience to her, all the better to seduce and then electrify them. She is also supremely charismatic, with a generous spirit that embraces the world and its music. All of which makes her an independent and socially engaged artist. On Kanou, (out February 11), which means ‘to love’ in her native Bambara, Keïta’s blazing vocals intertwine perfectly with the arabesques woven by the n’goni of virtuoso Moriba Koïta and the guitars of Djeli Moussa Kouyaté, a figurehead for the Bamako Rail Band during their glory years. Overflowing with a benevolent strength, this collection of searingly passionate songs is her first solo album, marking a decisive turning point in her career.
With Bring It Back (out February 11), vocalist Catherine Russell digs deeper into a rich vein of musical treasures. Mining legendary collaborations between her father, Luis Russell and the great Louis Armstrong, Russell brings along her team from two previous chart-topping albums, the latest of which won the Prix du Jazz Vocal from L’academie du Jazz and Grand Prix du Hot Club de France. Gems from the jazz age and swing era, performed with new arrangements for ten-piece orchestra, blend seamlessly with reinventions sourced from Blues icons Esther Phillips, Al Hibbler, Wynonie Harris and Little Willie John. Russell personifies the living heart and proud history of each song.
Are you near Phoenix and want to win tickets to see Fado singer António Zambujo at the Musical Instrument Museum on January 31? Go here to win and watch him perform “Reader’s Digest” from the album Guia!
Take a walk on the wild side… everyone welcome! Violons Barbares (Barbarian violins) prove three times over that our own cultural heritage can only be enriched by contact with other cultures. Drawing collectively on their Mongolian, Bulgarian and French origins, these three musicians build a unique sound space; in concert, their creative union hits the right note every time and their first album is already a must-have for collectors. This second album, Saulem ai, explores many new directions without losing one drop of phenomenal energy!
During his six years as Artistic Director of France’s Orchestre National de Jazz, Daniel Yvinec never stopped leading his musicians into new territories, tackling the full range of contemporary music styles. For his swansong, Yvinec has joined forces with New York producer and arranger Michael Leonhart for a truly inventive and joyous musical celebration. The fruit of the duo’s collaboration is The Party, an album with a strong futuristic and international flavor, featuring several original pieces mixed alongside a series of reinterpretations that are as unusual as they are innovative. Amongst the artists revisited we find Serge Gainsbourg, Shuggie Otis, Talking Heads and Henry Mancini, whose song The Party provides the album with its felicitous title.
World Village has forged itself a reputation for excellence on the international musical scene in just a few short years. Seeking out talents from all around the world, carefully designed covers and booklets: these are the key values of the label, which is run by four producers working between France, the USA, Spain and the UK, who pursue an ambitious signing policy.
Jazz Village, the newest label in the Harmonia Mundi family, allows audiences to experience the best of current jazz music, from Europe to the Americas, from traditional to modern, through urban soul and new sound crossbreeds. On the menu: a dozen yearly releases featuring musical veterans, young idols and bright emerging talents.