Listen to the World Music Network Audio Chart on Spotify! 

  1. 1. Mamadou Kelly - Djamila

    'Mamadou Kelly steps onto the international stage as soloist and band leader. His band members are old friends: Alpha “Hama” Sankare, revered genius on calabash and longtime collaborator; Brehima “Youro” Cisse, master of the monochord djourkel; and Baba Traore, gifted, young bassist.

    For Djamila, Kelly wanted to expand his sound and invited western musicians to contribute to the groove. Recorded near Woodstock NY, record producer, Chris Nolan, brought in some local studio aces to contribute their ideas. Also on hand during the sessions was Leila Gobi, prominent Malian vocalist from Menaka, who provides backup vocal on three of the tracks.

     Kelly’s smooth voice and deceptively effortless guitar playing quickly charm listeners.  Steeped in the rich historical background of Malian music, Kelly’s style combined with Ban Kai Na’s expert musicianship make this album a Top of the World selection by Songlines Magazine. While Mamadou makes it sound so easy, at the time of recording, they all had just witnessed political chaos and social violence at home. A strong presence during the sessions, you can hear it, the real source of the blues.'


  2. 2. Kandia Kouyaté - Renascence

    'The Mandé art of jeliya carries a long and complex tradition of fine distinctions and endless debates about the qualities that earn its hereditary poets, musicians and soothsayers the highest accolades and honorifics. But on the great jelimusolu (female singers) of our time, there is near-unanimity regarding Kandia Kouyaté: she is a ngara. More than a skilled singer, a ngara is the extraordinary artist who possesses what many would say is a paranormal aura of majesty.

    Her voice, darker and richer than when it first carried her to fame more than 30 years ago, has an authority that arises from a very deep well of wisdom and spirit. It is the voice of a true ngaraRenascence is Kandia’s resounding declaration of personal and artistic rebirth.'

  3. 3. Mariza - Mundo

     From the thoughtful Rio de Mágoa to the delicate opening to Paixão, this is a more relaxed, personal and intimate Mariza. The songs range from the sturdy fado classic Anda O Sol Na Minha Rua (made famous by Amália Rodrigues) through to Argentinian tango; a lilting, a keyboard-backed song from Cape Verde, partly sung in English; and fado-tinged Portuguese ballads. All are transformed by that remarkable voice. - Robin Denselow, The Guardian

  4. 4. John Renbourn - The Attic Tapes

    The success of his 50 year long career as a solo artist, and also co-founder of the prominent 60s folk group Pentangle has been eminent. Through which Renbourn’s musical works have been highly influential upon fellow English rock and blues guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and more. Hence, it is clear to see how Renbourn has been long regarded as one of the world’s greatest contemporary acoustic guitarists.  Over the last five decades he has pursued a remarkable musical journey dedicated to innovation and technical mastery.  His unique guitar style - often called folk-baroque - fuses English and Celtic folk music with jazz, country blues and pre-Renaissance, together with influences from Western and Eastern classical traditions. 

    The Attic Tapes perfectly embodies an uncut version of his inner creativity. From a humble man who describes his craft as “plunking” and that “all (he) ever did was play”.

    This collection of recordings is full of tender nostalgia and raw emotion. So listening to this compilation of never before heard recordings just might bring back “people, places and a bunch of good memories” for you too.

  5. 5. SK Kakraba - Songs Of Paapieye

    'Long before Awesome Tapes From Africa, I was in Ghana as a student in 2002 where I met a lot of musicians. One musician SK Kakraba was around the university working a lot and his uncle was super famous for his gyil (wooden xylophone made of calabash gourds with spiderweb silk covers the holes for buzzing) mastery. Hailing from Lobi country in Upper West Region, Ghana, SK was a young and active member of the music community around Accra. We stayed in touch over the years, crossing paths again later when I returned to Ghana. Now he lives in LA (where I am currently based)  and we’ve been hanging out and thought it would be cool to release a record. I feel like SK is doing something truly amazing and we must share his virtuosity and brilliant craft with the world. (He also builds and sells gyils; SK pretty much lives and breathes this instrument during waking hours).' - Awesome Tapes From Africa

  6. 6. Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal - Musique De Nuit

    'There’s a distant rumble of traffic, a reminder that much of the album was recorded on the roof of Ballaké Sissoko’s home in Bamako, Mali. The celebrated kora player leads off with a tranquil, gently rippling solo, but then a cello eases in, effortlessly taking the lead before letting the kora dominate again as the improvisation speeds up. Five years on from their debut set, Chamber Music, Sissoko and Vincent Segal have teamed up again, the latter an adventurous classically trained French cellist who also works with trip-hop exponents Bumcello. This time the set consists almost entirely of duets – the singer Babani Kone sometimes makes an appearance – but no other musicians are needed. There are late-night reflective pieces here, along with upbeat and intricate passages where cello and kora switch between providing rhythm and melody, with the duo showing an uncanny skill in knowing when to swap roles.' - Robin Denselow, The Guardian

  7. 7. Céu - Live

    'Céu is a Brazilian singer-songwriter, born in São Paulo, Brazil. Originally issued in 2005 on the São Paulo-based Urban Jungle, Céu’s self-titled debut album was picked up by Six Degrees/Starbucks/Hear Music in the US and UK; JVC in Japan and Harmonia Mundi in France and in the Netherlands.

    Céu received a Latin Grammy nomination for “best new artist” of 2006 and a Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary World Music Album" of 2007. On the same year, Céu performed at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    In 2008, Céu received a Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary World Music Album” for her debut album Céu. In 2009, her critically acclaimed second album Vagarosa reached #2 on the US Billboard's World Music charts. The album has since been nominated for a 2010 Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Brazilian Pop Record. Céu reached unprecedented chart numbers for a Brazilian female artist—#1 on Billboard's Heatseekers (New Artist) Chart, 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard's World Music charts. In 2010, Céu was invited by Herbie Hancock to record a version of "Tempo de Amor" for The Imagine Project album. In 2012, Céu received her fourth Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary Brazilian Pop Record” of 2012 for her critically acclaimed third album “Caravana Sereia Bloom”. In 2014, she released her first live DVD/CD in Brazil entitled "Céu - Ao Vivo", the concert was filmed in August 2014 in São Paulo and contains 15 tracks in total, including the never before released cover versions of all time classics "Piel Canela" and "Mais Uma Noite de Amor", behind the scenes footage of the band and more. Céu - Ao Vivo also includes live versions of Céu's greatest hits, "Lenda", "Malemolência", "10 Contados", "Cangote" and "Baile de Ilusão".'

  8. 8. Lura - Herança

    Vibrant, tremendously danceable and so very Cape-Verdean, her new album focuses on the archipelago’s energizing up-tempo funana beat with songs that include Maria di Lida, Sabi di Más and Ness Tempo di Nha Bidjissa. It also features contributions from 3 remarkable guests: Brazilian poet and musician Naná Vasconcelos on title track Herança; Richard Bona on Barca di Papel (which he co-wrote with Lura); and rising Cape-Verdean music star Elida Almeida on Nhu Santiagu. 

    Herança is a golden opportunity to re-explore the rich culture of Cape Verde and its people, traditions and music in the company of the most melodious, charismatic singer of an entire generation of Cape-Verdean artists.

  9. 9. The Brothers Nazaroff - The Happy Prince

    'On October 23, Smithsonian Folkways released The Brothers Nazaroff: The Happy Prince, a boisterous, high-energy tribute to cult Yiddish troubadour Nathan “Prince” Nazaroff, who recorded the mysterious Folkways 10-inch record Jewish Freilach Songs in 1954. International klezmer supergroup The Brothers Nazaroff, composed of Daniel Kahn, Psoy Korolenko, Michael Alpert, Jake Shulman-Ment, Bob Cohen, and Hampus Melin, breathe new life into the discordant, obscure, jubilant legacy of their Happy Prince.'

  10. 10. The Good Ones - Rwanda Is My Home

    'Utterly mesmerizing pastoral folk music from rwanda that deals in part with the genocides that each of them has witnessed and survived.

    their style is referred to as “worker songs from the street” and their songs are testaments to the healing power of peace.  brilliantly recorded by ian brennan (tinariwen, hanoi masters, malawi mouse boys), the songs remain raw and powerful. moving through love songs and longing heartbreak tunes, they spend the album in an uplifting and optimistic tilt that turns the album into something precious and beautiful.'