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  1. 1. Michael Messer's Mitra - Call Of The Blues

    'Michael Messer's Mitra is a trio comprising British blues innovator and slide guitarist, Michael Messer, Hindustani slide guitar maestro from Mumbai India, Manish Pingle , and London-based tabla player, Gurdain Singh Rayatt. 
    This is more than another meeting of musicians from different cultures, this is a band with its own unique sound, an exhilarating and highly accessible fusion of blues and Hindustani classical music. With vocals, slide guitars and tabla, these three musicians from opposite sides of the globe create a fascinating musical journey, running from the banks of the Mississippi, via London, to Mumbai and the Ganges Delta.'

  2. 2. Sainkho Namtchylak - Like a Bird or Spirit, Not a Face

    'This, surely, will be the most unlikely fusion album of the year, mixing influences from the steppe with music from the Sahara. Sainkho Namtchylak was born in Tuva, bordering Mongolia, and is the best-known female exponent of that eerie and compelling regional speciality, throat-singing, in which a performer creates both droning notes and harmonic resonances at the same time. To this she adds a seven-octave range and a quirky, experimental approach. For her latest project she is joined by two members of Mali’s desert blues exponents, Tinariwen, with Eyadou Ag Leche on guitar and bass, Said Ag Ayad on percussion, and producer Ian Brennan adding “loops”. The result is predictably curious. Namtchylak’s voice switches from harsh-edged wailing and growling passages to sections where she is playful or demonstrates a high, controlled and unexpectedly soulful approach. The slinky African guitar lines and rhythm provide the perfect balance.' - Robin Denselow, The Guardian

  3. 3. Lakou Mizik - Wa Di Yo

    'The 2010s were off to a horrific start when the devastating January 12 earthquake hit Haiti less than two weeks into the new decade. As always with great tragedy, faces of all backgrounds from throughout the island and around the world came together, unified under the intent to bring normalcy back to Haiti following its mass destruction. The healing power of music came into full effect throughout the aftermath even directly following the disaster, with well-known musicians and activists like Jackson Browne dedicating themselves to musical projects like Standing in the Breach in support of the efforts to rebuild Haiti after the quake. 

    On a local level, nine individual musicians ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 60s had come together to perform uplifting Haitian roots music under the moniker of Lakou Mizik. Working in conjunction with producers Iestyn Polson (David Bowie) and Chris Velan (Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars), the band successfully blend the dense heritage of Haiti, from French, to African, Caribbean, and American influences, into one collective and vibrant sound. Their spirit emanates from their collective body even in the studio; Wa Di Yo marks the debut of one world band that could rightfully be making world headlines'. - Jonathan Frahm, Pop Matters


  4. 4. Konono N°1 Meets Batida

    For this new album, the legendary Congolese band has joined forces with acclaimed Angolan/Portuguese artist Batida, aka Pedro Coquenão. Along with producer Vincent Kenis, they convened in Batida's garage-cum-studio in Lisbon with a series of collaborators and friends of Batida's, reflecting the city's vibrant, cosmopolitan music life: guitarist Papa Juju (the leader of Lisbon's foremost Afro-fusion band Terrakota), vocalist Selma Uamusse (one of the best young African singers currently residing in Portugal) and MC AF Diaphra, a distinguished slam poet and an artist/producer in his own right. As we all know by now, Konono N°1 are based in Kinshasa, DRC, but originate from the Bakongo ethnic group, which lives in a region straddling the border between the Congo and Angola. Hence certain similarities between Konono's rhythms and some types of Angolan music from which Batida has drawn inspiration for his albums and shows. This encounter was obviously bound to happen… but was nevertheless quite an adventure: blending the worlds of electronics beats and organic grooves was a challenge to which the parties have risen beautifully to create this exciting, unheard-of new strain of Afro-electro music.

  5. 5. Various Artists - The Rough Guide To The Best World Music You’ve Never Heard

    This seamless collection of some of the finest unheard musical treasures from around the world was gathered from World Music Network’s ‘Battle Of The Bands’ competition. From the souped-up guitar of Mali’s Anansy Cissé to modern Yiddish melodies with a modern twist by Mostly Kosher, this album represents artists at the very cutting edge of world music.

  6. 6. Various Artists - Aloha Got Soul: Soul, AOR & Disco in Hawai‘i 1979-1985

    Compiled by Roger Bong, the aptly-titled Aloha Got Soul comprises 16 tracks of inspired funk, disc`o, jazz and AOR recorded in Hawai‘i. The release is the first definitive compilation representing a vibrant and varied era of recordings, and we’re hoping it shines a whole new light on the Hawaiian Islands’ not-so-distant music culture of the 1970s and 1980s.

  7. 7. Breabach - Astar

    'Over the last five years we have had the great privilege of touring across the globe, each journey shaping our music and strengthening our identity. These experiences have offered us the opportunity to make many friends, perform at iconic venues and festivals and be part of exciting collaborations. Astar (tr. journey/distance) is a multicultural celebration, embracing the music of four nations in partnership with our own. We have invited friends from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand to be part of this recording, which has been brought to life under the guidance and production of Greg Lawson.' - Breabach

  8. 8. Full Attack Band - 1001

    Rising from the ashes of 'Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Trombolinos', the 'Full Attack Band' blends Latin American, Balkan, hip-hop and all sorts of other influences into this debut album. 1001 is, truly, the result of Toledo's wanderings around the globe, picking up music along the way.

    'Toledo’s new band has muscularity, a contemporary swagger and a sophistication to the arrangements that so many who go down the fusion route lack... London-based South American poet and rapper Fedzella is on board for a couple of tracks adding sass and zest... All in all, Toledo’s unselfconscious expansion of his aesthetic – and, in places, a more stripped-back hip-hop vibe – have made this album one of the best fusion releases that I have heard in a while'.  -  Howard Male, Songlines

  9. 9. Faith i Branko - Gypsy Lover

    Gypsy Lover chronicles the meeting of cultures in music and in marriage; Serbian gypsy violin maestro Branko and English circus performer and accordionist Faith present a beautiful collection of songs combining traditional Balkan sounds with edgy and witty vocals.

    'Musically, it’s a delight, with Branko switching from exuberant Balkan Romani styles to ragtime, classical influences and reggae, with Faith adding tight accordion backing and solos, and switching to piano for the elegant lament Valjevo'. - Robin Denselow, The Guardian

  10. 10. Gambari Band - Kokuma

    Love, laughter, tragedy and triumph are only some of the ingredients of Gambari Band’s fascinating debut album “Kokuma”. This fantastic new group from Mali, West Africa, used to be more or less the Ngoni Ba behind Bassekou Kouyaté. Since parting ways with their uncle/cousin/brother in 2012, the nine piece ensemble has played with the likes of Brian Eno or Damon Albarn and his “Africa Express”, and keeps wowing audiences every Saturday Night at Habib Koité’s “Hotel Maya” in Bamako. Their distinct sound, at once earthy and graceful, uplifting and deep, wraps the plucked strings of the Ngoni – that ancient Malian lute of the Griots, played masterfully by the group’s leader Oumar Barou Kouyaté – around beautiful vocal harmonies and an assortment of hip-shaking and head-nodding (poly)rhythms, like the “Gambari”, which lends itself to the band’s name. There is so much light and love in this delightful dozen of new and somewhat traditional songs by Gambari Band, clouds won’t have it easy when this music is in the air.