Category World/International

Bambulaye

Los Hacheros – Bambulaye (Chulo)

Masters of vintage Latin musical styles, this 5-member band from Brooklyn delivers fine salsa, son montuno, & guaracha with lots of Cuban clave, Puerto Rican Bomba, & impressive improvisation. Great musicianship & highly danceable.

La Orquesta Sinfonietta

La Orquesta Sinfonietta – Canto America (Patois)

A blend of Afro-Cuban, jazz, & classical orchestral elements, seamlessly combined in this effort led by Afro-Cuban percussion scholar Michael Spiro & fellow scholar, producer, & trombonist Wayne Wallace. Orchestra members are top musicians from San Francisco & from Jacobs School of Music in Indiana. Fantastic!

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The N’we Jinan Tour is a music initiative that brings a mobile recording studio into schools and community centres across First Nation communities in Canada. The tour is a collaborative project commissioned by the Cree Nation Youth Council in Quebec. The program is aimed to create an environment where youth can express themselves musically and […]

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Wash It Away-Nahko And Medicine For The People

A single from Nahko and Medicine for The People with lyrics that speak from the heart of this indigenous creative troubadour based out of Oregon.  Wash It Away speaks to the prayers to Mother Earth and the cleansing she bestows.  enjoy this 9 + minute song as medicine for the people.

Avataar

Avataar – Petal (InSound)

Saxophonist & composer Sundar Viswanathan brings together his jazz background & his South Indian heritage in these gorgeous compositions that incorporate Indian classical elements with a palette of other world & jazz influences. The vocals by Felicity Williams are reminiscent of the Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim when she performed with Return to Forever! Guitarist Michael […]

Traorè

Rokia Traorè – Nè So (Nonesuch)

Due to ongoing unrest, nearly 60 million people have been displaced from their homes in Mali. This recording by award-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Traorè is a mournful political statement on that situation; Nè So means “home” in the Bambara language (Traorè’s ethnic group). All songs are original except “Strange Fruit” (first popularized by Billie Holiday). More subdued […]

Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner Volume Two (Universal)

Brooklyn-based band led by Grammy Award-winning bassist & composer Michael League offers an eclectic assortment of tunes & featured artists, including world music legends Salif Keita (Mali) & Susana Baca (Peru)! A portion of profits will go to the New Orleans educational charity Roots of Music. Really good stuff!

Sokratis Sinopoulos–Eight Winds

Greek lyra composer and performer, these are stunningly melodic works, with piano, double bass, drums. Play, play, play!

Mariachi Flor de Toloache

Mariachi Flor de Toloache – Mariachi Flor de Toloache (self-released)

Call it nuevo-mariachi? This all-female mariachi band from NYC plays both original & rearranged traditional songs based on this popular Mexican genre, but with lots of fusion with popular & jazz styles, & great vocals. Try it – it’s fun!

Daniela Mercury

Daniela Mercury – Virtual Vinyl (DRG)

This Brazilian singer-songwriter-vocalist social activist, & superstar is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her first album. The music reflects the Canibália movement; drawing from indigenous, traditional, & modern popular music. This recording is dedicated to her wife.

Idan Raichel

Idan Raichel – At the Edge of the Beginning (Cumbancha)

Poignant songs sung in Hebrew by this Israeli singer-songwriter, pianist, & producer. Mostly a solo effort (he even plays the drums), though Dana Zalah sings nicely on track 9. Songs are deeply personal; the lyrics are in the booklet.

Max-Hoba

Max-Hoba – Traveling Man (Hobacity)

Afro-soul artist from Johannesburg mixes elements of pop & soul with traditional South African chorus & rhythms (esp. #1,12) plus a dash of hip hop (9,13), acapella (10), & more.

Karsh Kale-Up

Up is an album from artist Karsh Kale. The music blends Indie Rock with Electronica and Indian influences. The genres are well blended creating an exotic, futuristic sound. Tracks: 3,4,6, FCC: 8

Divanhana

Divanhana – Zukva (ARC)

From Bosnia, a contemporary fusion of traditional Balkan music with classical, jazz, & pop influences. Strong, romantic vocals & spirited arrangements. Started in 2009 by students at the Sarajevo Music Academy. Rewards close listening. Nice, refreshing take on this genre. Zukva really hits the sweet spot for being original, exotic, and interesting!

Kroke - Ten

Kroke – Ten (Oriente Musik)

Aptly named 10th album from this virtuosic avant-garde Polish band. Their inspiration is traditional klezmer, but their emotional arrangements incorporate elements from many sources. Nice vocals on tracks 2 & 9 by the Polish singer Anna Maria Jopek.

Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal – The Traveller (Palm)

CD# 11 from this Grammy nominated Senegalese vocalist. The music was recorded in London & Senegal, and includes strong elements from both cultures. Produced by Johan Hugo (from The Very Best). Powerful, strongly embellished arrangements. Nice!

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All Our Relations- Blue Mountain Tribe

Blue Mountain Tribe is an Indigenous American blues band, rock-blues intertribal original music by Caleb Hairston and lyrics by Robin Hairston who also plays harmonica.  Music that does not separate life’s work of mentoring youth and supporting Native Veterans and Native youth with disabilities is what brings this band together.  Its So Insane,track 5 feels […]

Junun

Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, and the Rajasthan Express – Junun (Nonesuch)

After more than a decade of study in Rajasthan, Israeli-American songwriter Shye Ben Tzur teamed up with The Rajasthan Express, a 15+ member band with a 6 piece brass section & strong Qawwali/Bhangra sound, plus multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), who subtly embellishes the tracks, to create this fresh, culturally respectful, & mesmerizing new fusion. Lyrics […]

American Pilgrimage

Sanjay Chitale & Sandeep Chowta – American Pilgrimage (Universal)

Talented vocalist Sanjay Chitale & Bollywood music director/composer Sandeep Chowta teamed up to create a musical canvas, & then invited several of their favorite American jazz musicians to add embellishments. The fusion is really nice with some nice surprises, though the plaintive Bollywood vocals & style still provide the dominant theme.

Panamericano

Tiempo Libre – Panamericano (Universal)

Exhilarating blend of Latin tunes from this thrice Grammy-nominated band of seven Miami-based Cuban musicians who like to get together during their “free time” (Tiempo Libre). Good stuff.

Deux Visions

Franchesca Blanchard – Deux Visions (Cumbancha)

Title references this singer/songwriter’s two world views resulting from growing up and coming of age in France & then Vermont. Gentle indie-folk vibe with vocals in French & English. Nice band too, with many contributors mentioned in the booklet. Web page & listen links here

St Germain

St Germain – St Germain (Nonesuch)

French producer Ludovic Navarre has created a really fresh, trancey, electronica-infused masterpiece of Malian blues & jazz. Features strong African rhythms, vocals by Malian singers Nahawa Doumbia & Fanta Bagayogo, an assortment of West African griots on kora & n’goni as well as on bass, violin, & guitar. A finely textured soundscape! Video here

atlasmaior

Atlas Maior – Keyif (self-released)

Band from Austin, TX explores Turkish-jazz fusion with lovely results. Really nice oud is well blended with alto sax & flute, energetic percussion, & relentless double bass. RIYL Rabih Abou-Khalil. More info and samples here.

De'Anza - Despertar

De’Anza – Despertar (Fusion Beats)

Really talented Latin singer-songwriter, entertainer, & master of the Mexican vihuela (plucked string instrument like a guitar with a rounded back, often used by mariachi groups). From New Mexico, now living in L.A., she borrows from mariachi & other Latin styles, but adds her own contemporary arrangements & sultry vocal styles. Really nice!

Nyanza_s

Owiny Sigoma Band – Nyanza (Brownswood)

Collaboration between two Kenyans from the Luo tribe, nyatiti master Joseph Nyamungu & percussionist Charles Owoko (who just died), & three British musicians. The group traveled around the Nyanza region of Kenya, setting up a mobile studio to capture jams, collect found sounds, and to try to capture the whole experience. Lots of amazing tribal-ethno-techno […]

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