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  1. 1. Seckou Keita - 22 Strings

    'In his new album 22 Strings, Seckou explores what it means to be a modern global citizen, and yet to live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. He gives us the kora in its purest guise, a wondrous instrument that can soothe the bloodlust of warriors and take the human spirit to a place of deep meditation, stillness and beauty. The title of the album says it all. Centuries ago, when the djinns, the spirits of the African bush, gave the first ever kora to the griot Jali Mady 'Wuleng' (Jali Mady 'The Red') it had 22 strings. Then, when Jali Mady died, his fellow griots took one string away in his memory. But back in its birthplace in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the 22-stringed kora survives, with the extra string giving the instrument special advantages in terms of tonal reach and groove. For Seckou Keita, that one extra string represents home: the place where his heart resides.'

  2. 2. Songhoy Blues - Music in Exile

    'Produced by Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Marc-Antoine Moreau (Amadou & Mariam, K‚naan), Music in Exile marks the arrival of a powerful and truly unique new band. Though their music bears elements of contemporary rock and hip hop, at its heart is Songhoy Blues‚ deep attachment to the homegrown songs and dances of Mali's Songhoy people as well as such iconic West African guitar heroes as Baba Salah and Ali Farka Touré. Songs like “Irganda” and “Al Hassidi Terei” see Songhoy Blues blending the traditional and the modern, the homegrown and the foreign, the youthful and the ancient.'

  3. 3. Sociedade Recreativa - Sociedade Recreativa

    'A must listen mix of traditional music of Brazil with urban cultures like hip-hop, dub and bass music. Sociedade Recreativa emerges as the encounter of the Brazilian troubadours of Forró de Rebeca with global beats ambassador Maga Bo. Hybrid and eclectic, their music explores a wide range of sensations based on the juxtaposition of electronic textures and the original sounds of traditional instruments such as berimbau, accordion and rabeca.'

  4. 4. The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - Deliverance

    'Since 2009 ‘The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc’ have captivated audiences throughout the world with their unique blend of music, onstage sense of humour and inter-band ‘banter’.

    Deliverance is their eagerly awaited follow up to their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album and features traditional and self-penned material played with passion, vigour and an intensity for which they have become known.

    Of the new album, band member, Kevin Henderson said “We took our time with this album and we are very happy with how it has turned out. I think this album has seen a definite progression from the first album in terms of the bands sound and with arrangement ideas for example. There's also a higher percentage of our own compositions on this album compared to the first but we still have a lot of focus on the traditional music from where we all come from.”'

  5. 5. Joe Driscoll & Seckou Kouyate - Monistic Theory

    'Joe Driscoll has gained fame over the last decade for his unique blend of folk, funk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate, from Guinea, is one of the most innovative and virtuosic players of the kora, the 21-stringed West African harp. When these two seemingly disparate artistic forces are combined, an incendiary musical reaction takes place. Their electrifying second album, Monistic Theory, derives its title from the concept that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system. It's an apt philosophy for this boundary-crossing collaboration, one that brings together two musicians from vastly different backgrounds in search of the commonalities that are uniquely revealed by artistic expression.'

  6. 6. Anoushka Shankar - Land of Gold

    'Land of GoldAnoushka Shankar’s fourth album for Deutsche Grammophon, is her heartfelt response to the trauma and injustice being experienced by refugees and victims of war. Offering an uplifting message of hope for dark times, its music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and unbearable hardship. The album contemplates the common thread of humanity and its power to reconnect people divided by hatred and fear. “The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees,” Anoushka recalls. “It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”

    Strong emotions flow throughout Land of Gold, expressed on sitar by Anoushka Shankar and reinforced in collaboration with an ensemble of gifted instrumentalists and guest artists. The music’s dynamic energy was further enhanced by the input of Joe Wright, Anoushka’s husband and director of movies such as Pride & PrejudiceAtonement and Anna Karenina, who worked with his wife on the album’s production, and by the cinematic soundscapes and textures of electronic producer Matt Robertson, Björk’s frequent collaborator.'

  7. 7. Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home

    'Made up of performers and composers from more than 20 countries, the Silk Road Ensemble was formed under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma in 2000. Since then, audiences and critics in over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America have embraced these artists passionate about cross-cultural understanding and innovation. The group has recorded six albums and their most recent release, Sing Me Home, features guest performances by a host of intimidating musicians from around the world such as Toumani Diabaté, Martin Hayes, Abigail Washburn and many others.'

  8. 8. Debashish Bhattacharya - Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn

    'The slide guitar ragas of Grammy-nominated Debashish Bhattacharya are deeply grounded in India’s musical traditions yet profoundly innovative. Combining revolutionary reinvented guitars with a boundary-bending melodic and rhythmic approach, Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn is an album of sublime and joyous musical meditations.

    One of the uniquely poetic features of Indian musical tradition is the attachment of ragas to distinct times of the day and night. From the first crack of sunshine at dawn until diminuendo into darkness at dusk, and from twilight to the start of the new day, every fragile moment of earth’s daily passage is linked to a specific raga. It is believed that the melody and modality of each raga is at its most powerful when played during its allotted hour. On Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn Debashish Bhattacharya guides listeners through his sensitive exploration of raga rotations.'