various artists,
Love Songs of the World
(ARC, 2001)

If there's one thing that all cultures have in common, it would have to be the existence of love songs. Whether they be songs of boy meeting girl, girl meeting boy, boy leaving girl, girl leaving boy, love requited, love unrequited or any combination in between, all peoples sing of love. And love is, of course, the subject of this CD (just in case you hadn't already guessed that from the title). Gathered here are 14 love songs from nations as diverse as Ireland and Kyrgyzstan, Wales and Macedonia.

Of the 14 songs, only two are sung in English, though the liner notes provide English translations of the others, as well as translations into German, French and Spanish. Languages include Russian, Portuguese, Welsh and Romany. Accompaniment on many songs is by traditional instruments.

The two English songs are both by Irish artists, Dolores Keane and Barrowside (Yvonne Stacey, lead vocals). The latter, "Walkin' on the Moon," is a pleasant song that sounds almost like a lullaby, while the former, "Sister and Brother," sounds considerably darker.

Another standout, and possibly my favorite of the songs on this CD, is Hungarian Márta Sebestyén's bouncy "Love Just One." Reading the translation, one finds that it's just as happy as it sounds, about someone who loves their lover just the way s/he is. At the other end of the spectrum is Yasmin Levy's "I am in Prison," a darkly passionate song about the consequences of jealousy.

One does not need to be able to understand the singers to understand these songs. Love and passion need no translation.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]
Rambles: 26 October 2002

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