The time of the year has come for the arrival of the latest edition of eagerly awaited Buddha Bar series, of course put together by the one and only musical-alchemist DJ Ravin, which –no surprise- manages to create a superbly mixed set of carefully selected tracks that never fail to launch you into a joyous musical journey filled of emotion and varied influences.
This time, continuing with the trend of recent editions by selecting a country/region of the world as basis of inspiration for the double-disc installments (Russia (XV), India (XIV), China (X), etc…) the source of inspiration now departs from the likes of Europe and Asia and arrives for the very first time into South America/Amazons as theme for this XVI edition.
The album is comprised by:
Charango (Disc 1), with 16 songs and 75 minutes long. Named after the South-American/Andean instrument of 10 strings, very typical of traditional folk South American music particularly in the Andean region (i.e. Ecuador, Bolivia).
This disc has a superbly mixed selection of simply beautiful, profound and joyous tracks, where contributing artists of previous editions are again present, many well known names by ‘Buddha Bar-o-Philes’ such as Soul Avenue, Ganga, Florzinho, Laidback, Angel Tears, Parov Stelar, Nacho Sotomayor and so on.
Listening throughout the set is smooth and enjoyable, launched by ‘Lovers in Paris (Original Mix)’ by Jacob Gurevitsch, in a smooth and delicate Spanish-guitar melody, sounds that are also found later on in tracks such as ‘Opaque’ by Nacho Sotomayor and ‘BABA’ by Dearmers Inc. and Makis Ablianitis, surely being consistent with the Latin-themed inspiration, yet still the multiple world music influences that characterize the series are ever-present. Tracks like ‘Tamazigh’, ‘Nowruz’, ‘Medina Blues’ and ‘Midnight Caravan’ provide a very moody, mystical vibe that is just oh-so-amazing and inspiring to listen to.
However for me the highlight of this first Disc is the Persian-inspired “Aman Aman” by Florzinho in collaboration with Cambis and Sina. This track is just… impossibly beautiful! Sublime, touching and profoundly emotional, it is such a retreat for the soul. Five an- a-half minutes of the purest musical bliss of the most inspiring sorts!
Note: get your headphones on… (and maybe a tissue too!).
Bombo (Disc 2): With 14 songs and 77 minutes long. Named after the traditional Argentinian-drum instrument, also commonly present in the music of ‘Malambo’ dancers of this country.
Launched with the upbeat track ‘Deny’ with the vocals of Paris-based Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan, remixed by Holmes Price which has a kind of a mild retro-like sound. The upward spiral goes on with great upbeat songs, such as the two superb contributions by Drumspyder’s remixes of ‘Coup Decale’, a joyous African-music inspired track and ‘Far From Here’, simply amazing beats and vocals that surely lift the spirit!
Among all the gems on this second disc, one very different sounding track that truly stands out from the rest is the simply amazing ‘Hidden’ by Mercan Dede. Powerful, profound and rich in the content of its sound, beats and the ‘mysticality’ of it all, it tells the tale of how simply “One Buddha is not enough”. Drumbeats, strings, chants and all sorts of instrumentation create such a unique musical atmosphere that in my opinion is quintessentially Buddha-Bar.
Mercan Dede – Hidden (Dunya Album Version)
“I am breathing now for an old Buddhist monk
Small as the first moon
Hidden in the stillness of the heron’s breathless, emerald wing
And for the yoga that Christ taught
On his Tree of Love.
Though the sun may sit like a chariot on stilts of flame and cherry glass
Suffering into happiness
The way of empty hands
Chanting the secrets that make it bright.
And the wicked,
In that Palace of Ruins,
Curse the pureness
Its purse of one coin.
The small shadows of this day we are given
Bolted into the thrush of emptiness
And here on a Dantean Hill,
Confusions may brew
When the Tea-singers begin their vows of silence.
In the raiment of this town
Not of the sun’s rising
A tear of sadness for all the worldly joy
As moths return to their torched graves
And springs arrive early in every season
Telegraphed into their own heart of good fortune
Chanting, “One Buddha is not enough.”
The upbeat trip continues with the fabulously well-managed transition into “Far from here” and going on with varied gorgeous tracks that maintain the variety of the musical kaleidoscope characteristic of Buddha Bar series, yet still being consistent with the South American theme, particularly noted in tracks like “La Paloma”, “Play the Guitar” and “Upon Burning Skies” where guitars and beats such as drums, trumpets, tango beats and so on, elusive to the land shine throughout the set.
Guitars particularly stand out throughout the compilations’ two discs, including those accompanying Rebeat’s remix of the iconic classic French song “Ne me quitte Pas” (under the name “If you go away”), complimenting Shirley Bassey’s English-language rendition of this classic originally written by Jacques Brel.
All in all, this is definitely a must-have in the collection of Buddha Bar-o-philes and Ravin-o-mane’s alike. Ravin as usual succeeds in putting together masterful compilations, always capable of taking into a unique magical journey, each on its own style and musical identity. Always unique, always magical, never one like another.
Contributing artist within the Buddha Bar Series:
Previously featured artists:
Soul Avenue, Ambray, Thor, Ganga, Florzinho, Laidback, Niyaz, Stan Kolev & Matan Caspi, Angel Tears, Nacho Sotomayor, Yasmine Hamdan, Parov Stelar, Mercan Dede, Riva Starr.
New featured artists:
Jacob Gurevitsch, Max Chorny, Cambis (with Florzinho), Sigh, Michael E., Akshin Alizadeh, Dreamers Inc w/ Makis Ablianitis, Adham Shaikhs’ (Drumspyder Remix), Desert Dwellers, Hinano, Wareika, Antony Romeno, Rebeat, Sable Sheep, Kadelbostany, Serdar Ayyildiz, Elissa.
Rating: 5 stars.