1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
2. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
3. Huun Huur Tu/ Carmen Rizzo - Eternal
4. Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia
5. Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions
6. Basseko Kouyate – I Speak Fula
7. V/A - Pomegranates (LP version)
8. Ali Faurka Toure/Toumani Diabete - Ali & Toumani
9. Mulatu Astatke - New York-Addis-London
10. Shakira - She Wolf
So far 2010 has been shaping up to be the year of the women. Amoeba’s three biggest releases this year have been from the likes of Sade, Joanna Newsom, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Ms. Gainsbourg tops the Amoeba Hollywood World Music chart once again in February and shows no signs of slowing down. The LP version of IRM also landed the second spot. At number three was Huun Huur Tu from Tuva, who had an amazing instore performance back on February 7th (Super Bowl Sunday). I managed to catch Huun Huur Tu once again a few weeks later opening for Tinariwen at Royce Hall at UCLA. The two groups combined were three and a half hours of musical bliss. I hope that perhaps both these groups would consider going on the road together. Tinariwen’s Imidiwan: Companions was at number five in the charts, up a few notches from last month.
Two compilations that came out last month both featured a music scene that was thriving during a modernization era that ended with entry of a new regime. Pomegranates (number seven) was compiled by our own Amoeba Hollywood’s Mahssa Taghinia (whose mix CD Oyun Havasi! Volume 1 is still one of Amoeba Hollywood’s best sellers). Pomegranates is a collection of pop music from Iran before the Ayatollah Khomeini. It is a blend of Persian and Western culture that culminated in some of the best sixties and seventies pop, rock and psyche. Most of this music was lost for a period of time, as Khomeini banned the broadcasting of any music other than martial or religious on Iranian radio and television in July 1979. It’s a great collection of songs sung in Farsi about love, sex and longing that most of the world has never heard outside of Iran.
Electric Cambodia (number four) is a collection of Cambodian rock from the sixties and early seventies. The members of Dengue Fever put this compilation together from their collection of rare Cambodian cassettes. During the period most of this music was recorded, Cambodia was going through major modernization, which brought on an artistic renaissance that not only included music, but architecture, art and cinema. This period ended when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975. It was noted that most of the musicians included in this collection were killed during this period in the cleansing of Cambodia’s intellectuals and western sympathizers. However, the cassettes of the music from that era continued to be copied and their music lived on.
At number six is Basseko Kouyate's brilliant I Speak Fula. The Malian musician will be performing at Amoeba Hollywood on Sunday March 21st at 7 pm. I would advise you not to miss it. Basseko Kouyate plays the Ngoni, which sounds like a mix of the banjo, guitar and Kora. To top it off, he jams on his instrument. Although I love the album, it will be his live show that will impress you. So don’t miss out!
Notice there aren't many Latin music releases in the top ten? That's because all the biggies are coming out in March. More on that later.