Category Archives: General News

World Music Central’s Best World Music Albums of 2019

World Music Central presents the Top 20 World Music Albums of 2019 selected by our staff. Our favorites include the best 20 overall and best regional albums.

Best 20 World Music Albums of 2020 in alphabetical order:

Afrosideral – El Olimpo de los Orishas – Wonderwheel Recordings
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Miri – Out Here Records
Carlos de Jacoba – Alpaca Real – Alitare Music
Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band – Antidote – Concord Jazz
Cimarrón – Orinoco – Cimarrón Records
Clark Tenakhongva, Gary Stroutsos and Matthew Nelson – Ongtupqa Sacred Music of the Hopi Tribe – ARC Music
Dancas Ocultas – Dentro Desse Mar – Galileo Music
Habib Koite – Kharifa – Contre Jour
Kayhan Kalhor, Rembrandt Frerichs, Tony Overwater and Vinsent Planjer – It’s Still Autumn – Challenge Records International
Kel Assouf – Black Tenere – Glitterbeat
Kiki Valera – Vivencias en Clave Cubana – Origin Records
Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el corazon de Turquia – Mara Aranda
Mary Ann Kennedy – Glaschu Home Town Love Song – ARC Music
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Live at WOMAD 1985 – Real World Records
Porangui – Porangui – Sol Creation Records
Roberto Fonseca – Yesun – Mack Avenue
Santana – Africa Speaks – Concord Records
The Gloaming – 3 – Real World Records
Tui – Pretty Little Mister – independent release
Vitto Meirelles – Da Hora – Cooking Vinyl

Best African Album

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Miri – Out Here Records

Best Asian Album

Apichat Pakwan – Esantronics – Animist Records

Best Celtic Album

Flook – Ancora – Flatfish Records

Best European Album

Juan José Robles – In-Quietud – Juan José Robles

Best Flamenco Album

Carlos de Jacoba – Alpaca Real – Alitare Music

Best Latin American Album

Kiki Valera – Vivencias en Clave Cubana – Origin Records

Best Middle Eastern Album

Kayhan Kalhor, Rembrandt Frerichs, Tony Overwater and Vinsent Planjer – It’s Still Autumn – Challenge Records International

Best North American Album

Tui – Pretty Little Mister – independent release

Best World Fusion Album

Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band – Antidote – Concord Jazz
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Silkroad Announces Global Musician Workshop in June

Global Musician Workshop participants

Silkroad has announced the dates of its renowned Global Musician Workshop (GMW). The classes will take place at the New England Conservatory in Boston, (Massachusetts, USA), during June 8-14, 2020.

Silkroad’s GMW is a musician training program modeled after the creation of the Silkroad Ensemble and directed by Silkroad cellist Mike Block. By making music together, GMW nurtures a community of globally minded musicians by providing an opportunity for participants to build unanticipated connections, exchange ideas, and learn from musical genres, styles, and traditions from around the world.

GMW is a open to musicians and educators 18 years of age or older from any musical background—university and conservatory students, professional and amateur performers, teachers and teaching artists, with backgrounds in Western classical, jazz, world music, or folk styles.

GMW 2020 Faculty:

Mike Block: Multi-style cello
Maeve Gilchrist: Celtic harp and voice
Sierra Hull: American bluegrass
Balla Kouyaté: Malian balafon
Hankus Netsky: Klezmer multi-instrumentalist
Edward Perez: Afro-Latin bass
Kala Ramnath: Indian Carnatic violin
Bassam Saba: Arabic oud/flute/violin
Shane Shanahan: World percussion
Wu Man: Chinese pipa

More details at silkroad.org/gmw.

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Gnawa Culture Inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Gnawa musicians – Photo courtesy of Direction du patrimoine culturel, Morocco, 2015

Gnawa culture has been inscribed this month in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Gnawa refers to a series of musical events, performances, communal practices and healing rituals that combine secular and sacred elements, including all-night therapeutic possession rituals.

Originally practiced by groups and individuals transported by the slave trade dating back to the 16th century, Gnawa now forms part of Morocco’s multidimensional culture and identity.

The number of groups and master musicians is steadily growing in Morocco’s villages and major cities and Gnawa groups organize festivals all year round.

More about Gnawa music.

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Sega Tambour Chagos Inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

Group Sega Tambour Chagos featuring lead singer Mimose Furcy – Phot courtesy of National Heritage Fund, Mauritius, 2017

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting inscribed Mauritius’ Sega Tambour Chagos on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Sega tambour Chagos is one of the genres of sega music of Mauritius, created in the Chagos Archipelago. Like other forms of sega, it was born of slavery and is sung in Chagossian Creole.

Sega Tambour Chagos includesthe rhythmic performance of music, song and dance based on the ‘tambour’, a large, round musical instrument that is heated and then played to produce pulsating beats. The lyrics refer to everyday experiences.

Even though Chagossians have endeavored to safeguard Sega Tambour Chagos, there are numerous threats to its sustainability, including the passing away of elders, young people turning to other music genres, and dislocation leading to a loss of memory.

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Norwegian Setesdal Music and Dance Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Hardanger fiddler – Photo courtesy of Agder Folk Music Archive, 2007

Norway’s practice of traditional music and dance in Setesdal (stev/stevjing has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Setesdal dancers – Photo by Knut Utler, 2012

In Setesdal, dance and music go together. The melodies are named after the ‘gangar’ dance and the ‘stev’ songs, habitually performed in intermissions between dancing and music-making, either solo or by two or more singers in dialog with each other.

The dance is performed by couples in a circular motion and the music is played on the Hardanger fiddle and the jaw harp. This tradition has been transmitted uninterruptedly since the 18th century, and continues to progress, with the consistent composition of new songs and tunes.

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Irish harping Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

National Harp Day with Clodagh, Oisín and Alva at the Lexicon Cultural Centre, Dún Laoghaire. Co Dublin, Ireland – Photo by Tom Honan Photography, 2017

Irish harping has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The harp is Ireland’s national symbol and has been played for over 1,000 years. Its captivating bell-like sound celebrates Irish mythology, folklore and literature.

Contemporary gut-strung harpers have maintained the ancient repertoire and safeguarded its continuity while responding to evolving styles.

There has been a major resurgence of interest in harp playing over the past 60 years thanks to a growing appreciation of the harp’s role in Irish culture, language and identity.

International Festival for Irish Harp, brothers Éamon and Cormac de Bara (harp) – Photo by Kieran Cummins, 2017

Some of the best known harpers in Ireland include Cormac de Barra, Moya Brennan (Máire Brennan), Janet Harbison, Mary O’Hara and Gráinne Hambly.

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The Iranian Musical instrument Dotar Added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Master luthier Khoddam Ahmadi in his dotar crafting workshop, Torbat-e Jam, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran – Photo by Farhad Nazari, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO)

The traditional skills of crafting and playing the dotar, an Iranian two-string plucked folk instrument is one of the most relevant social and cultural components of the folk music of the ethnic groups and communities of the Dotar regions.

Master (Bakhshī) Ana Morād Rastegari, Turkmen dotar player, Jargalān, Bojnurd, North Khorasan Province, Iran – Photo by Farhad Nazari, Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO)

Musicians play the dotar during significant social and cultural occasions such as weddings and ritual ceremonies, as well as in festivals.

The dotar is played together with epic, historical, lyric and gnostic texts that are fundamental to the ethnic history and identity of the performers’ communities.

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Dominican Bachata Inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Bachata maestro and instructor Mártires de León at The Bachata Academy – Photo courtesy of iASO Records, 2016

The music and dance of Dominican Bachata was inscribed on Thursday, December 12th, 2019 in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Bachata, a genre born in the Dominican Republic, intertwines rhythmic bolero music with Afro-Antillean styles. Overall, the lyrics communicate heartfelt love, passion and nostalgia. Bachata is conventionally performed by a small group of musicians with the guitar as lead instrument, along with percussion accompanied by a bass instrument.

Bachata dancers – Photo courtesy of Centro León

The dance is fervent, including sensual hip movements by couples who perform it at all traditional celebrations in the Dominican Republic. Bachata is learned freely from a young age.

One of the most famous modern bachata stars is Juan Luis Guerra (Grandes Exitos de Juan Luis Guerra y 4.40, greatest hits).

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The Transglobal World Music Chart Unveils the Best World Music Albums of 2019

The Transglobal World Music Chart has revealed the list of Best World Music Albums of 2019. Malian musician. Malian act Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba tops the list with the album Miri.

Best Album Of 2019

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Miri – Outhere Records

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Miri

Best Of Subsaharan Africa 2019

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Miri – Outhere Records

Best Of North Africa & Middle East 2019

Le Trio Joubran – The Long March – Cooking Vinyl

Le Trio Joubran – The Long March

Best Transregional Album 2019

Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat – Placeless – Kirkelig Kulturverksted

Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat – Placeless

Best Of Asia (Central & East) & Pacific 2019

Minyo Crusaders – Echoes of Japan – Mais Um Records

Minyo Crusaders – Echoes of Japan

Best Of Europe 2019

Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el Corazón de Turquía – Mara Aranda

Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el Corazón de Turquía

Best Of South America 2019

Cimarrón – Orinoco – Cimarrón Music

Cimarrón – Orinoco

Best Of North & Central America 2019

Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues – Jazz Village / PIAS

Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues

Best Compilation 2019

Various Artists – Nostalgique Porto Rico: Plenas, guarachas, boleros et chansons jíbaras, 1940-1960 – Buda Musique

Various Artists – Nostalgique Porto Rico: Plenas, guarachas, boleros et chansons jíbaras, 1940-1960

TWMC 2019 Top 100

  1. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba · Miri · Outhere
  2. Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat · Placeless · Kirkelig Kulturverksted
  3. Refugees for Refugees · Amina · Muziekpublique
  4. Minyo Crusaders · Echoes of Japan · Mais Um
  5. Mara Aranda · Sefarad en el Corazón de Turquía · Mara Aranda
  6. Le Trio Joubran · The Long March · Cooking Vinyl
  7. Urna Chahar-Tugchi featuring Kroke · Ser · Urna Chahar-Tugchi / UCT
  8. AKA Trio · Joy · Bendigedig
  9. Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin · Karin · Muziekpublique
  10. Dhafer Youssef · Sounds of Mirrors · Anteprima
  11. Angelique Kidjo · Celia · Verve / Universal Music France
  12. Cimarrón · Orinoco · Cimarrón Music
  13. Oratnitza · Alter Ethno · Fusion Embassy
  14. The Gloaming · 3 · Real World
  15. Janusz Prusinowski Kompania · Po śladach / In the footsteps · Słuchaj Uchem / Buda Musique
  16. Salif Keita · Un Autre Blanc · Naïve
  17. Alim Qasimov and Michel Godard · Awakening · Buda Musique
  18. Altın Gün · Gece · Glitterbeat
  19. Tartit · Amankor / The Exile · Riverboat / World Music Network
  20. Kel Assouf · Black Tenere · Glitterbeat
  21. Rodopi Ensemble · Thraki: Thrace, the Paths of Dionysus · ARC Music
  22. Dona Onete · Rebujo · AmpliDiversão / Mais Um
  23. Waed Bouhassoun · Safar: Les Âmes Retrouvées · Buda Musique
  24. Belonoga · Through the Eyes of the Earth · NarRator
  25. Ukandanz · Yeketelale · Buda Musique
  26. Leyla McCalla · The Capitalist Blues · Jazz Village / PIAS
  27. Las Hermanas Caronni · Santa Plástica · Les Grands Fleuves
  28. Mísia · Pura Vida (Banda Sonora) · Galileo Music Communication
  29. Söndörgö · Nyolc 8 Nyolc · SNDRG Music
  30. Our Native Daughters · Songs of Our Native Daughters · Smithsonian Folkways
  31. Afro Celt Sound System · Flight · ECC
  32. Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa · Poetic Trance · PIAS
  33. Oumar Konate · I Love You Inna · Clermont
  34. Boban Marković Orkestar · Mrak · Fonó
  35. Moonlight Benjamin · Siltane · Ma Case
  36. Gaye Su Akyol · İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir · Glitterbeat
  37. Black Flower · Future Flora · Sdban Ultra
  38. Dizzy Mandjeku & Alé Kumá · De Palenque à Matongé · Zephyrus
  39. Alfredo Rodríguez & Pedrito Martínez · Duologue · Mack Avenue
  40. Lajkó Félix & Vołosi · Lajkó Félix & Vołosi · Fonó
  41. Debashish Bhattacharya, Hubert Zemler & Wojtek Traczyk · Joy!Guru · Unzipped Fly
  42. Kanazoé Orkestra · Tolonso · Buda Musique
  43. Gaiteiros de Lisboa · Bestiário · Uguru
  44. Park Jiha · Philos · Tak:Til / Glitterbeat
  45. Dobranotch · Merčedes Kolo · CPL-Music
  46. Shooglenifty & Dhun Dhora · Written in Water · Shoogle
  47. Ali Hassan Kuban · From Nubia to Cairo · Piranha
  48. Hama Sankare · Niafunke · Clermont Music
  49. Xiomara Fortuna · Son Verdad · Ileakwa Producciones
  50. Ifriqiyya Électrique · Laylat el Booree · Glitterbeat
  51. Manou Gallo · Afro Groove Queen · Contre-Jour
  52. Tuuletar · Rajatila / Borderline · Bafe’s Factory
  53. Bokanté + Metropole Orkest · What Heat · Real World
  54. Zulya · Six Days Loving / Alty Tön Yaratu · Zulya Kamalova
  55. Africa Express · Egoli · Africa Express
  56. Olcay Bayır · Rüya: Dream for Anatolia · ARC Music
  57. SANS · Kulku · Cloud Valley
  58. Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi · There Is No Other · Nonesuch
  59. Damily · Valimbilo · Les Disques Bongo Joe
  60. Equus · Tailwind Home · Equus
  61. Coşkun Karademir Quartet · Öz / Essence · Kalan
  62. Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan · Times of Maharajas · ARC Music
  63. Kitka · Evening Star · Diaphonica
  64. Yapunto · Yapunto · Yapunto
  65. Santana · Africa Speaks · Concord
  66. Kelly Thoma · Ama Kopasoun oi Kairoi (As the Winds Die Down) · Kelly Thoma
  67. Adir Jan · Layla · Trikont / BGST
  68. The Garifuna Collective · Aban · Stonetree
  69. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko · Traversées · Ma Case
  70. Le Vent du Nord · Territoires · Borealis
  71. Vigüela · A Tiempo Real · ARC Music
  72. Idan Raichel · And if You Will Come to Me · Cumbancha
  73. Tinariwen · Amadjar · Anti- / Wedge / PIAS
  74. Danças Ocultas · Dentro desse Mar · Danças Ocultas
  75. Áššu · Áššu · Bafe’s Factory
  76. V.A. · Nostalgique Porto Rico: Plenas, guarachas, boléros et chansons jíbaras, 1940-1960 · Buda Musique
  77. Yolla Khalife · On the Road · Nagam
  78. Yann Fañch Kemener · Roudennoù / Traces · Buda Musique
  79. Voces del Bullerengue · Anónimas & Resilientes · Chaco World Music
  80. Oum · Daba · Lof Music / MDC
  81. Rachele Andrioli e Rocco Nigro · Maletiempu · Dodicilune
  82. Arifa · Secret Poetry · Mundus Productions
  83. Umut Adan · Bahar · Riverboat / World Music Network
  84. Mimmo Epifani · Putiferio · Finisterre
  85. Vassvik · Gákti · Heilo / Grappa Musikkforlag
  86. Moulay Ahmed El Hassani · Atlas Electric · Hive Mind
  87. Abdesselam Damoussi and Nour Eddine · Jedba: Spiritual Music from Morocco · ARC Music
  88. Parno Graszt · Már Nem Szédülök / Rolling Back · Fonó
  89. Massa Dembele · Alumaye · Izniz
  90. Kayhan Kalhor, Rembrandt Frerichs, Tony Overwater, Vinsent Planjer · It’s Still Autumn · Kepera
  91. Amira Kheir · Mystic Dance · Sterns Music
  92. Tautumeitas · Tautumeitas · CPL-Music
  93. Lemma · Lemma · Buda Musique
  94. Hope Masike · The Exorcism of a Spinster · Riverboat / World Music Network
  95. Tristan Driessens · A Folk Dancer’s Journey · Seyir Muzik
  96. Mary Ann Kennedy · Glaschu: Hometown Love Song · ARC Music
  97. Duo Bottasso & Simon Sims Longo · Biserta e Altre Storie · Visage Music
  98. Kaumaakonga · Taoba · Wantok Music
  99. Bixiga 70 · Quebra Cabeça · Glitterbeat
  100. Kongo Dia Ntotila · 360° · Pussyfoot
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Morna added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Sr. Olímpio, violin player, and Manel Caloti, ten strings guitar, performing ancient mornas – Photo by Augusto Brázio and Ministry of Culture and Creative Industries, Cape Verde, 2018.

Morna, a musical genre from Cape Verde was added this week to UNESCO’S Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Morna is a traditional style that incorporates vocals, music, poetry and dance. Morna can be either sung or played only with instruments, primarily string instruments such as the guitar, violin, and cavaquinho.

The lyric poetry can be improvised, with topics including love, departure, separation, reunion, longing and the motherland. It is currently mainly performed in Cape Verdean Creole.

Practitioners include instrumentalists, singers, poets and composers, and morna is performed at significant life events such as weddings, christenings, and family reunions.

The most famous morna singer for many years was the late Cesaria Evora.

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