CD Roots

Fill your iPod with something different. I don’t mean more indie rock or the latest in hip-hop or electronica. I mean Norwegian jazz, Zaire club house, slide guitar from India, Russian underground, Ethiopian acid pop.

An awful lot of great world music can be easily had from the usual sources, including Amazon and iTunes, but most of the rest of the world’s local music has very small audiences and must still be “imported.” This source specializes in esoteric import CDs of traditional and contemporary world music not found on Amazon, iTunes and the like. This is the far end of the “long tail” music scene.


Sample CDs:

Marimba Magia - Papa Roncon and Grupo Katanga - $19 From the town of Borbon, in the Esmeraldas district of northern Ecuador, Papa Roncon is a living legend. He plays the marimba and the guitar; he is a singer and a dancer. He makes musical instruments. He lives the folk music of the region. Joined by Catalina Mina Quintero on bombo and kununu, Grupo Katanga makes music that is essential, rough and irresistible.
Discopolis (Radio Three) - Various Spanish Artists - $18 An interesting and personal collection of what is going on in the ever so vaguely defined roots music scene in Spain, put together by Spanish Radio 3's DJ Jose Miguel Lopez.
The Mirrors of My Soul - Rim Banna - $19 The Palestinian singer who gained global recognition as part of the Lullabies from the Axis of Evil project returns with a Norwegian band with a decidedly 'pop' recording of Palestinian songs. It veers from emotionally charged, sparsely arranged to full-tilt pop-rock, and has the huge advantage of not allowing a drum machine within 4000 miles of the studio. As Arab pop goes, this is thoroughly unique.