Category World/International

De Pelicula!

Los Crema Paraiso (Cutupra) De Pelicula!

This eclectic album melds traditional Venezuelan music with modern rock, funk, and pop — some tracks are covers of alt-rock masterpieces (see: #6: Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus; #9: Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule The World), others are head-boppers in a more familiar Latin vein (see: #3). Also worth love is the closer (#12), […]

Planetario

Novalima (Wonderwheel) Planetario

From the primero emissaries of Afro-Peruvian musical culture, a remarkable collection of road trip recordings with guests from around the world including members of LA-33 (Colombia), Ojos de Brujo (Spain), & Kumar (Cuba). Some will say this is the band’s most creative effort to date. Really nice!

Mbongwana Star

Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa (World Circuit)

Two Congolese musicians formerly with the Kinshasa street band Staff Benda Bilili teamed up with a French producer with an interest in raucous ethnic punk. The result is a nice fusion of raw, metallic, urban Congolese percussion & European electro vibes. Enjoy!

Thomas Mapfumo

Thomas Mapfumo – Lion Songs (Lion Songs)

Subtitled “Essential Tracks in the Making of Zimbabwe” (formerly Rhodesia). A retrospective on the career this African musical legend, who provided much of the highlife & Afro-rock soundtrack to his country’s many struggles, from their unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965, to national recognition in 1980, & then under the corrupt president Robert […]

Teehan

Rob Teehan – Come Home (self-released)

This Toronto-born composer’s 1st solo effort features beautifully crafted cinematic compositions, with Eastern European themes, flourishes of flamenco, Balkan brass, & Gypsy violin, romantic classical Hungarian melodies, dozens of instruments, and really creative arrangements. Gorgeous!

Nneka - My Fairy Tales

Nneka – My Fairy Tales (Bushqueen)

Nigerian singer/songwriter residing in Europe (Germany, France) sings (in English) of Nigerian politics & life as an ex-pat in songs that feature Euro-pop, reggae, & African influences in equal measure. Well produced. FCC clean.

Flavia Coelho

Flavia Coelho – Mundo Meu (Mr Bongo)

This breakout Brazilian singer grew up in the Rio ghettos listening to her dad’s cassettes & singing along with pop divas with a bucket on her head for an echo chamber. Now living in Paris & collaborating with the best (see her guests!), her sound is a mix of Brazilian styles with reggae, Afrobeat, & […]

Pipiki

Ola Fresca – Elixer (Pipiki)

Eight-piece Brooklyn-based band dedicated to controlling the dance floor with no-nonsense, trombone driven salsa, timba, Cuban son & funk. Led by Cuban-American singer-songwriter Jose Conte.

Grecco Buratto

Grecco Buratto – Essas Coisas Todas (Zen Mohawk)

Solo debut from this Brazilian singer-songwriter-guitarist-actor-yoga teacher (now living in L.A.). Features some beautiful Brazilian ballads & soft-rock, much of it evocative as in a good movie soundtrack – and indeed he has soundtrack credits to his name!

Gustavo Leguizamon–El Cuchi Bien Temperado

Fantastic works for guitar by a composer from Salta, Argentina–traditional elements with  harmonic freedom. Play! Play! Play!

Gao Hong–Pipa Potluck–Lutes Around the World

This is a superb album, mixing traditional pipa sounds with bluegrass, Arabic and modern elements–banjo, slack key guitar, fiddle, oud, percussion and guitar in the mix. Most compositions by Gao. Play, Play Play!!

Unity

Tony Succar – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson (Universal)

Review by Reed Whitmont. Funky, upbeat & fun Latin big-band covers of the king of pop. Cheesy & karaoke-esque at times, but overall quite solid. Play: 1,4,8,9,10,11 Official website here

LoveStar1

Love Star – Espectro, Chapter One EP (Self-Released)

Review by Reed Whitmont. Driven bilingual alt/electro/pop. Clean backgrounds, decent production quality. Very much feels like a group who has yet to find their sound. Lots of sugar-coated angst. More info here

Titi Robin & Mehdi Nassouli

Titi Robin & Mehdi Nassouli – Taziri (World Village)

An exceptionally fine collaboration between a seasoned French guitarist/bouzouq player (Titi Robin) & a young Morrocan electronic guembri player (Mehdi Nassouli). The guembri is a three string skin-covered lute popular with the West African Gnawa people & used in dakka marrakchia, a trancey, ritual musical form popular in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. The music […]

Brooklyn Gypsies

Brooklyn Gypsies – Sin Fronteras (Wonderwheel)

Maybe not what you might think… This NYC band sounds more like a cross between the Spanish band Ojos de Brujo (especially some of the vocals) & Arabic dub from the Spy from Cairo (who is in the band). A real nice fusion of many styles, with liberal yet tasteful electronic programming. More info & […]

The Fourth Light

NIYAZ – The Fourth Light (Six Degrees)

The latest from lead singer Azam Ali & multi-instrumentalist husband Loga Torkian draws inspiration from female Sufi mystic & poet Rabia Al Basri, & features exotic instrumentation plus electronic beats. Plaintive vocal style, sort of like an Arabic Paula Cole or Sade.

Le Vent du Nord

Le Vent du Nord – Tetu (Borealis)

(Tetu means “Determined.”) Exceptionally fine roots music from this award-winning band from Quebec. Brilliant traditional arrangements with beautiful male vocal harmonies, call & response, and even a cappella (in French of course); these are the hallmarks of this remarkable group.

Quitapenas album cover

QUITAPENAS – QUITAPENAS (Más Tropical)

Hailing from Los Angeles, QUITAPENAS’ (yes, it’s all-caps) self-titled debut is a very fun, high-energy and danceable album. Think Afro-Latin, cumbia, roots music, and tropicalia on modern instruments. Definitely worth a spin — many good numbers on here!

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Nightingale- Giuditta Scorcelletti

New from Spring Hill Music, a CD with composer Michael Hoppe (HAH PAY) and Lyrics with David George and sung by Giuditta Scorcelletti from Tuscany, Italy.  Sung in English except for track 15.  Love songs with this folk singer with string like cello, guitar and flute.  Very Sweet. Play all.   Tracks 1 and Track […]

Anouhar Brahem–Souvenance

Tunisian composer Brahem has written stunning pieces for oud and string orchestra (with piano and clarinet). Play, Play Play!

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The Offering- Mary Youngblood

What is so unique about this CD is that it was recorded at the Moaning Cave in Vallecito, California with just Mary playing flute.  one reviewer said her playing is deep and spacious.  She is Aleut and Seminole.  She has been called the “Feminine voice of the Native American Flute”.  Her music is made possible […]

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Barefoot Warrior- Nyashane

For new music in the air studio at WRUV FM a EP called Barefoot Warrior, with Nyashane from Jamaica.  With “I am Feeling Irie”, Nyashane is making a splash on the Reggae scene with this track that really does have the irie flowing.  He also has a track called Upright and Powerful that has produced […]

BuenaVistaSocialClub

Buena Vista Social Club – Lost and Found (World Circuit)

A collection of previously unreleased tracks from this band of Cuban legends; recorded in the late 1990s to early 2000s, some in a Havana studio & others during live performances. Classic Cuban sound, with tight horns & creative percussion, plus violin, piano, earnest vocals, & lots of variety. Explore & be pleased!

TheVeryBest

The Very Best – Makes A King “Mumachokela Mafumu” (Moshi Moshi)

Modern African music recorded on the shores of Lake Malawi (9th largest lake in the world) in Africa, with many local people participating. Strong South African flavors with nice group vocals, but also frequent strong base & electronic embellishments. Really nice!

AlexCuba

Alex Cuba – Healer (Caracol Records)

Saccharin-sweet, introspective Latin Pop from this born-in-Cuba, Latin-Grammy winning, Canadian vocalist & songwriter. Most songs in Spanish but otherwise not a lot of Latin influence.

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