Lakou Mizik’s Sophomore LP Leads This Year’s List Of Best New World Music Albums

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Having a global view on things is one of the most important things that anyone can do today.  We as a people do better when we see and understand other nations’ cultures than when we look at our own backyards.  One of the most important part of those other cultures that everyone should take in is the music connected to said ways of life.  Much of that music is made available to audiences every year through various record labels.  With their release is a justified annual list of the year’s top new World Music albums.  this year’s list brings music from France, the nations of Africa, Hungary and many other parts of the world.  The styles are just as varied as the nations from which they come, too.

As with every list from this critic, the top 10 new titles are featured along with five honorable mentions.  That brings the list to a total of 15 titles.  Looking at the albums’ overall content, it made this list as difficult as every other list to assemble, but here for your consideration is the final list for those titles for this year.  Without further ado, here’s Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New World Music Albums.



  1. Lakou Mizik — HaitiaNola
  2. Amankor — The Exile
  3. Romano Drom — Give Me Wine
  4. The Good Ones — Rwanda, You Should Be Loved
  5. Dexter Story — Bahir
  6. Grupo Fantasma — American Music Volume 7
  7. Sessa — Grandeza
  8. Ateshkhan Yuseinov — Strange Suite
  9. Jake Shimabukuro — The Greatest Day
  10. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To Eastern European Music
  11. World Music Network — The Rough Guide to World Jazz
  12. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Africa Cafe
  13. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Paris Cafe
  14. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Ska Across The World
  15. Carlos Xavier — Viva Todo Ahora


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Romano Drom’s ‘Give Me Wine’ Will Leave Listeners Saying “Give Me Another”

Courtesy: Riverboat Records

Romano Drom returned with its latest album in May.  The 12-song, 47-minute record, which is the group’s sixth full-length studio recording, is a strong new effort from the Hungarian musical collective.  That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  One of the featured songs that serves to support that statement comes early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Shunen Shunen.’  ‘Gelem Le Shavesa’ supports the noted statement just as much as ‘Shunen Shunen.’  Much the same can be said of the full-on instrumental ‘Gipsy Fantasy,’ which comes late in the album’s run.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Give Me Wine.  All things considered, they make Give Me Wine a record that is as pleasing to the ears as wine is to the tastebuds.

Romano Drom’s latest full-length studio recording Give Me Wine is a positive new offering from the group, and a positive introduction for those for who are less familiar with the group’s body of work.  That is proven in part early on through the song ‘Shunen Shunen.’  The song’s musical arrangement clearly displays the group’s ability to play slow and with expertise and more quickly, too.  The song starts out slow, with a flamenco-style guitar line set against the very mournful vocals of the group’s front man.  This lasts for almost a minute-and-a-half before the song’s tempo picks up noticeably.  What’s interesting is that as mournful as those opening bars sound, the song is actually not that sad so to speak.  That ties in to the song’s lyrical content, which is about a man who was looking for that proverbial “Mrs. Right” unsuccessfully until finally finding that woman.

The song opens, “I wandered the whole world/But found no one like this girl/Such a beautiful flower/Cannot be found/Another in the whole world.”  It continues in its second verse, “So shines, shines/The beauty of this gipsy girl/Her god given splendor/Like a flower in the garden of life/Hear it, you people/here come the gipsies/To have the girl proposed/That fair flower/Cannot be found/Another in the whole world.”  Listening to the song in whole, it is clear that the more mournful sound in the song’s opening bars is where the song’s subject is mourning not having that woman.  The sudden change is the revelation that he has in fact found that woman and is celebrating her.  The lyrical content paints a clear picture that will move most listeners.  The addition of that distinct change in musical moods makes the song even more engaging and entertaining.  The whole of the song makes itself one of the album’s most notable entries and just one example of what makes Give Me Wine such an enjoyable new effort from Romano Drom.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Gelem Le Shavesa’ does just as much as ‘Shunen Shunen’ to show the album’s strength.

‘Gelem Le Shavesa’ displays much the same musical mood as that of ‘Shunen Shunen,’ only slightly different, though.  It starts off with a very traditional Hungarian folk sound in its musical arrangement, but only slightly picks up in that energy as the song progresses through its four-minute-fifteen-second run time.  The most it picks up is in the song’s final minute or so.  The constant reserved sense in the song’s energy is illustrated quite well in the song’s lyrical content, which finds a father who seems to be looking back on how he handled his son announcing he was in love.  He [the father] did not seem overly enthused, either, but knew he had to accept it.

The father sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wake up, father, Wake up, father!/My son says to me/I saw a fair girl/Come with me/To have her proposed/My heart jumps out when I see her on the street/I set out to the gipsies with my son/to have her proposed/They say they won’t give her to a poor man/What shall I do/We don’t have money/I cannot do anything.”  He continues on, saying, “That boy, that boy is ours/Such a dance/This mettled boy foots the floor/When I see this, I drink all the red wine/I leave all my money in the pub/I went to the fair I drank red wine with the gipsies/Neither I bought, nor I sold a thing/I drank away all my money in the fair.”  It sounds here like the father is realizing what he has done – gone poor of his own doing.  He realizes what has happened is his fault.  What is so interesting here is that despite knowing he is the one who lost his family’s money, the song’s musical arrangement does not reflect that realization.  Rather, the feel in the song’s finale moments is upbeat.  Considering that this is supposed to be a father realizing what he has caused, one would think the song’s final moments would be more contemplative, but they weren’t.  It is very interesting to consider.  That being the case, it makes the song that much more interesting and one more piece of evidence as to the album’s strength.  The song is engaging and so is its arrangement.  The discussions that are sure to rise out of that juxtaposition is certain to make this song stand out, again, with that discussion making the album that much more engaging and strong.  It is not the last of the songs that serves to exhibit the album’s strengths.  The full-on instrumental song ‘Gipsy Fantasy’ is one more piece that shows what makes this album so engaging.

‘Gipsy Fantasy’ is an absolutely standout addition to Give Me Wine.  The song starts out slow, but gradually increases its tempo, with the violin line going faster and more intense as the song progresses.  The addition of the percussion to the song adds even more to the song’s feel.  What’s interesting is that the addition of the percussion to the song actually gives it something of a rock feel more than just a traditional European music feeling and sound.  The use of the coda-like element in the song’s finale puts the finishing touch to the arrangement, giving the song one last kick that puts the arrangement over the top.  The end result of everything presented here is a work that is certain to have listeners dancing just as much as the gipsies who likely dance to such music.  When it is considered alongside the other songs discussed here and the rest of the album’s entries, the end result of all of that is a record that is, again, as easy on the ears as a good wine is on the taste buds.

Romano Drom’s latest full-length studio recording Give Me Wine is a record that is sure to age just as well as a fine for listeners.  It presents a dozen songs that are just as easy on listeners’ ears as a good, fine wine on the taste buds.  That is proven through the songs noted in this review with their arrangements and their lyrical content.  The rest of the album’s entries can just as easily be used to prove that case.  All things considered, they make Give Me Wine a record that will have audiences say give me another throughout the album.  It is available now.  More information on Give Me Wine is available online now along with Romano Drom’s latest news and more at:









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