Whole Life Magazine

April/May 2014

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Page 31 of 43

art & soul KiT TAMBUTRONIC W hile reggae is fi rst to mind when contemplating Ca- ribbean sounds, dance music is foundational for a number of island countries: soca, calypso, punta, cumbia and so many more. Then there's tambú from the island of Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela, introduced by African slaves in the 17th century. Island native Roël Calister founded KiT in 2005; the percussionist wanted to display his homeland's folk music. But in 2010 he shifted gears, programming heavy electronic beats underneath the drums and vocals. Adding a beautiful, rugged, lyrical dropper like Diamanta von Lieshdek didn't hurt the eyes or the ears. Part M.I.A., part Liliana Saumet from Bomba Estéreo, von Sieshdek dynam- ically raps over the hyper "Lightswitch" and the lead single, "Jackhammer." Her decoration is powerful, but it's Calister's punchy beats and pulsing synthesizers that get the party, and this fi st-pumping, hip-quaking album, going. (Jiga Music) —DB F rom the opening chords of "Zidokan (Just Go)," you know this is not going to be your everyday Gnawa album. Not that electric guitars are new to Morocco—there's an entire genre affectionately known as Maroc 'n' Roll. Hassan Hakmoun is the originator of this sound, however, fusing rock elements into traditional Moroccan folk music since the '80s, when col- laborating with Peter Gabriel. Hakmoun, one of the most en- ergetic live performers on the planet, gets a production boost from fellow innovator Yossi Fine, whose Ex-Centric Sound Sys- tem borrowed deep West African grooves and created pulsing electronica from the ground up. His ear and Hakmoun's creativ- ity make for a beautiful marriage. Rooted in the sintir, a North African bass lute, percussion remains the guest star throughout, espe- cially the metal cas- tanets, or krakebs. For Hakmoun, who has experimented with Gnawa and rock as well as pop, this rootsy return to his early days offers listeners a new take on the sound that made this man a legend. (Healing Records) —Derek Beres Unity HASSAN HAKMOUN MUSIC Govind Das & Radha Hidden Treasures HANS CHRISTIAN W hile the harp may be the instrument of heaven, the cello is the voice of the soul, especially when Hans Christian holds the bow. A veteran cellist, music pro- ducer and member of the GuruGanesha Band, Hans just re- leased Hidden Treasures, spanning a four-year creative period. The lyrical, orchestral blend of layered strings in contemporary settings refl ects Hans' fl uid musicality. The music ranges from gorgeous melodic structures to deeply felt emotional render- ings on solo cello. His mastery with "live looping"—accompa- nying himself with rhythm, melody, punctuation and majestic strings—and expertise with other exotic instruments (mohan veena (adapted sitar), Swed- ish nyckelharpa and sarangi) creates mini-masterpieces that form an exquisite whole. Some pieces are contemplative in na- ture; others are rhythmically driven to reveal darker tones. Hans is not afraid to express the frequencies of all chakras with an earthy foundation, imaginative soundscapes and ethereal over- tones in the upper frequencies. His deeply sonorous cello— which you can hear live on his upcoming West Coast tour with Tina Malia— weaves magic throughout this CD. (Allemande Music) —Lloyd Barde 32 wholelifetimesmagazine.com FINAL-WLT-APRIL-MAY.indd 32 3/30/14 7:58 PM

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