Red Baraat, Putumayo, More Show What Makes World Music Great In 2015

World Music is one of the most intriguing of all of the genres within the vastness of the musical universe.  That it largely because in a universe in which it is so easy to compare one act to another and so on from one genre to the next, world music doesn’t fall victim to that curse.  Whether from the many different nations of Africa, Latin America, Europe or even India, it can be said of World Music’s seemingly endless offerings that every album stands out in its own special way.  It introduces listeners not only to a variety of different musical styles but also serves as a starting point for lessons on cultural relativity, history and other related topics.  Keeping all of this in mind, it is only right that while mainstream and independent albums get their own “Best Of” lists so should the many world music offerings that are put out each year.  So of course that means that today Phil’s Picks is delving into the realm of World Music for today’s list.  Today’s list is topped by a group from India that goes by the name of Red Baraat.  Its album Gaadi of Truth mixes the band’s own Indian musical traditions with a Latin sound at points (believe it or not) to make an album that will have audiences listening again and again.  It’s just one of the intriguing offerings released this year.  Putumayo’s new Celtic collection Celtic Cafe is on this list as is African act Mbongwana Star with its new album From Kinshasa.  These are just a few of the names that are on today’s list.  The rest of the acts and albums to make the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Best New World Music Albums is noted below.


1. Red Baraat — Gaadi of Truth

2.  Black Masala — I Love You Madly

3. Putumayo Presents — Celtic Cafe

4. Putumayo Presents — Vintage Latino

5. Mbongwana Star — From Kinshasa

6. Nneka — My Fairytales

7. Holy Forest — Holy Forest

8. Souljazz Orchestra — Resistance

9. Daby Toure — Amonafi

10. Empresarios — The Vibe

11. Boogat — Neo-Reconquista

12. Bixiga 70 — III

13. Mike Love — Love Will Find A Way

14.  Francesca Blanchard — Deux Visions

15. Kimie Miner — Kimie Miner

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Beach Boys Live Release Offers Great Music From A Great Band

Courtesy:  Brother Records/Blast Music/fontana Distribution

Courtesy: Brother Records/Blast Music/fontana Distribution

Fall is here and Winter is well on its way.  Some parts of the country have already been hit by cold weather and its associated precipitation.  And there could be some of that stuff on the way for other parts of the country.  The arrival of that weather means that lots of people around the country are looking for ways to keep themselves warm and entertained during this time of year.  So what better time than now for the release of a live DVD recording from a band that instantly conjures image of sun, sand, and waves? The members of the legendary California based Beach Boys celebrated their fiftieth anniversary this year with a nation-wide tour.  Of course that tour didn’t exactly didn’t have the best of endings, as most people already know by now.  But that’s beside the point.  The band’s anniversary tour resulted in a fun live DVD recording of its stop in Phoenix, Arizona during its tour.

The Beach Boys 50 opens fittingly with the band’s hit, ‘Do It Again.’  This is a fitting opener as the band released a documentary on its history prior to this release titled, Doin’ It Again over the Summer.  That documentary covered the band’s half century history, including the untimely passing of two of its previous members.  By comparison, this live performance includes songs from across the band’s career.  Given, it’s not the entire roughly fifty song set that the band performed at the shows on its tour.  But at twenty-one songs, it’s an especially enjoyable live experience both for seasoned fans, and for those who might be new to the world of The Beach Boys.  That’s especially the case considering the rather unpleasant split between the band this past September.  It may well end up being one of the last recordings from this lineup, unless other previous performances are ever released from other portions of the band’s career.  The band doesn’t leave anyone out, pulling its biggest hits such as: ‘Little Deuce Coupe’, ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘California Girls’, and ‘Kokomo’ as well as newer material such as the title track from its new release, That’s Why God made The Radio.

The set list included in this new live release is impressive despite what so many people might want to say.  It’s good for fans of all ages.  Had the band’s entire set been included, the price of the recording might have been pushed up.  And now that the band has fractured once again, fans should be appreciative to even have a new recording of the band together.  The performance itself is enjoyable.  But the performance is just part of what makes this release impressive.  The general presentation of the performance makes it that much better.  In short, the quality of the audio and video mix makes the performance that much better.  Whether watching it on DVD or blu-ray, audiences get a crystal clear picture.  And the audio levels are mixed just as expertly.  This may come across as something minor.  But in the grand scheme of things, mixing live shows for home release can be tricky.  Far too often, the people working the boards overpower one part of another, leaving something to be desired for home audiences.  That’s not the case here.  Every note from every song is well balanced as are the show’s various camera angles and picture quality.  They come together with a set-list that despite being shortened from the show is still fun for any real appreciative Beach Boys fan and music lover.  The Beach Boys 50 Live in Concert is available now in stores and online.

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