Tag Archives: featured

The Splendid Kurdish Ensemble Nishtiman Project

Nishtiman Project ‎– Kobane (Accords Croisés AC 164, 2016), Collection Vox Populi

Nishtiman Project is an extraordinary ensemble that performs contemporary folk music deeply rooted in traditional Kurdish music. Their second album, Kobane, is dedicated to a city in the Kurdish region of Syria that suffered tremendously when jihadists tried to take over the area.

Nishtiman Project ‎– Kobane

Musical director, percussionist and ensemble founder Hussein Zahawy brought together master musicians from the greater Kurdistan region, from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. They play exquisite timelessly crafted musical pieces.

Nishtiman Project uses captivating traditional musical instruments from the region and solo and harmony vocals as well.

The lineup includes composer Sohrab Pournazeri on tanbur, kamanche and vocals; Hussein Zahawy on daf, dohol and bendir; Ertan Tekin on zorna, balaban and duduk; Donya Kamali on vocals; Mayar Toreihi on santur; and Robin Vassy on percussion.

The physical edition is beautifully packaged with a book-style hard cover and a booklet with information in English and French.

Buy Kobane


Transglobal World Music Chart Reveals 2019 Festival Award

The Transglobal World Music Chart (TWMC) has unveiled the winners of its 2019 Festival Award. South Korea’s Jeonju Int’l Sori Festival is the winner this year.

Park Jechun (right), Commissioner of the Jeonju International Sori Festival

2019 Festival Award:

1. Jeonju International Sori Festival

2. Ethnoport

3. (two festivals tied for third place) Estival and 5 Continents

5. BU Global Music Festival

6. Globaltica

7. Fira Mediterrània de Manresa

8. Rainforest World Music Festival

9. Sukiyaki Meets the World

10. Etnosur

After the evaluation of the previous edition, at least one of the festivals that repeated this year has improved, following our assessment. That made us very proud,” stated Transglobal World Music Chart co-founder and Festival Awards coordinator Araceli Tzigane Sánchez. “Moreover, this second edition has served us to identify our own areas of improvement. We have not been able to assess two specific festivals that applied and that had fluent communication with us. For the third edition, we will work more closely with the applicants to avoid this situation and to increase the number of applicants.

The Transglobal World Music Chart Festival Awards were started in 2018 as part of the TWM’s goal to increase the awareness, enjoyment and appreciation of the music from diverse cultures of the globe.

Application information for festivals interested in participating in the 2020 edition is available here.

Transglobal World Music Chart (TWMC) is an association of music critics, writers, and radio DJs and producers specialized in world music. Members hail from all continents. The TWMC releases a monthly chart that selects the best recent world music albums across the globe.

More about the chart: www.transglobalwmc.com

Headline photo: Iri Nongak at Jeonju Sori International Festival 2019 by Angel Romero


Los Angeles Philharmonic Announces 2020 World Music Concerts

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has revealed the early 2020 World Music series. Merrill Garbus’ Tune-Yards will perform January 31, 2020. Guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré is set to open the evening.

Renowned Irish band The Chieftains will present The Irish Goodbye Tour on March 1, 2020.

Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones, daughters of Ravi Shankar, will celebrate the centenary of Ravi Shankar in this evening dedicated to his life and legacy on May 19, 2020. Additional special guests will be announced.

The concerts will take place at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA.  

More information at Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

headline photo credit: Anoushka Shankar by Simonyc


Albaluna, Charismatic Progressive World Music from Portugal

Albaluna – Amor, Ira & Desgosto (independent release, 2019)

Albaluna is an outstanding Portuguese band that is hard to describe. Their sound is rooted in a fantastic mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, northern European folk, medieval music and progressive rock. They call it ethnic prog. Whatever, you call it, it is one of the most captivating and original acts I’ve heard out of Europe recently.

Albaluna – Amor, Ira & Desgosto

Amor, Ira & Desgosto (Love, Wrath and Disgust) combines ancestral instruments from around the globe as well as modern instruments, injecting the high energy of progressive rock drums, electric bass and keyboards along with charismatic vocals that cut across time.

The group’s performances range from intimate acoustic concerts to lively electric shows at folk and rock festivals. The band has performed in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, and India.

Prior to Amor, Ira & Desgosto, Albaluna released three albums and two EPs, “D’Antes” (2010), “Marca Antiga” (2012), “Alvorada da Lua” (2014), “Nau dos Corvos” (2016) and “Nau dos Corvos – Lado B” (2017).

The lineup includes Ruben Monteiro on sanfona (hurdy gurdy), kopuz, kisa, divan, harmonium, davul, zurna, keyboards, santur, and vocals; Raquel Monteiro on medieval viola and violin; Dinis Coelho on jembe, darbuka, dahola, bendir, tombak, daf, tabla and riq; Christian Marr’s on voice, bass and bouzouki; Carla Costa on tin whistle, ney and gaita de foles (bagpipe): Tiago Santos on drums; and Luís Runa on keyboards.

Buy Amor, Ira & Desgosto


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

Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou Top the January 2020 Transglobal World Music Chart

The album Oulad Lghaba from Moroccan Gnawa musician Asmâa Hamzaoui and her band Bnat Timbouktou (Daughters of Timbuktu) is the number one album in the January 2020 Transglobal World Music Chart.

Asmâa Hamzaoui is a groundbreaking artist who performs Gnawa music, a musical genre traditionally dominated by men. Oulad Lghaba was supported by the Swedish Arts Council.

Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou – Oulad Lghaba

The group includes Asmâa Hamzaoui on guembri, lead vocals, karkabas (metal castanets); Aicha Hamzaoui on vocals, karkabas; Soukaina Elmelyjy on vocals, karkabas; Lamgammah Hind on vocals, karkabas; Meriem Ouillane on vocals, karkabas; and Meriem Garrami on vocals, karkabas.

January 2020 List

  1. Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou – Oulad Lghaba – Ajabu!
  2. Aziza Brahim – Sahari – Glitterbeat
  3. Lakou Mizik – HaitiaNola – Cumbancha
  4. Petroloukas Halkias & Vasilis Kostas – The Soul of Epirus – Artway-Technotropon
  5. The Yandong Grand Singers – Everyone Listen Close / Wanp-Wanp Jangl Kap – Pan
  6. Blato Zlato – In the Wake – Blato Zlato
  7. Ballaké Sissoko & Baba Sissoko – Sissoko & Sissoko – Homerecords.be
  8. Lankum – The Livelong Day – Rough Trade
  9. Mah Damba – Hakili Kélé – Buda Musique
  10. Mamadou Kelly – Les Bateaux – Clermont Music
  11. Lamia Bèdioui & Solis Barki – Fin’Amor– LBedioui Music Production
  12. The Garifuna Collective – Aban – Stonetree
  13. V.A. – Kinshasa 1978 – Crammed Discs
  14. Rachid Taha – Je Suis Africain – Naïve
  15. Roberto Fonseca – Yesun – Mack Avenue
  16. Farafi – Calico Soul – Piranha
  17. Otava Yo – Do You Love – ARC Music
  18. Sinafi Trio – Iho – Kalan Müzik
  19. Habib Koité – Kharifa – Contre-Jour
  20. Naïssam Jalal – Om al Aagayeb – Les Couleurs du Son

More about Asmâa Hamzaoui
More about the Transglobal World Music Chart


Multifaceted Essences from the Far North

Although Finland is a relatively small country in northern Europe, it has a sizable, high quality music scene. These are some noteworthy recordings from the Nordic nation.

The album from Finnish duo Aino & Miihkali performs mesmerizing music rooted in northern Karelian traditions and West African beats. The Helsinki-based duo uses the traditional kantele zither and guitar along with vocals and loop pedal.

Aino & Miihkali – Aino & Miihkali

Aino is Finland’s leading progressive kantele player, known for her work with Uniruukki. She is also a composer and vocalist. On this recording she sings in three different languages, Finnish, Swedish and English.

Miihkali’s is a virtuoso guitarist, influenced by jazz, blues and bluegrass banjo.  He studied at the celebrated Berklee College of Music.

Aino & Miihkali started playing together in the spring of 2017 released their self-titled album in 2019.

Pirttijärvi , Skullerud and Torget – Áššu

Pirttijärvi , Skullerud and Torget’s debut album on the Bafe’s Factory label is titled Áššu (Embers). The trio’s style is rooted in traditional Sami Joik. Ulla Pirttijärvi joiks about her extended family and her home villages, Utsjoki and Angeli. Olav Torget and Harald Skullerud complement the ensemble with string instruments and percussions. The group draws further inspiration from West African rhythms and traditions.

Áššu won The German Record Critics’ Award in 2019 in the world music category.

Puhti – Pahan Lalulu

Puhti is an innovative Finnish folk group that incorporates dance and electronic sound design along with traditional finish music. Their music on the album Pahan Lalulu includes fiery accordion and percussion pieces along with meditative songs featuring kantele and harmonic singing. The duo includes Anne-Mari Kivimäki on accordion, stomp box, harmonium and vocals and Reetta-Kaisa Iles on stomp box and vocals.

Tuuletar – Rajatila – Borderline

Tuuletar is an exploratory a cappella group influenced by traditional Finnish music, overtone singing and beatbox culture. Their latest album is Rajatila – Borderline (Bafe’s Factory, 2019) is full of amazing vocal wizardry. Two additional musicians appear as guests: Pekko Käppi on bowed lyre and vocals and Antti Paalanen on accordion and roars.

Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble – Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble

The Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble was founded in 2007. It is an improvisational ensemble featuring musicians from Helsinki. On its self-titled album “Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble,” they use soundpainting-language to compose music and combine various musical styles, including folk music and avant-garde music.

The ensemble includes Sonja Korkman on soundpainting; Charlotta Hagfors on vocals; Teea Aarnio on vocals; Amanda Kauranne on vocals; Mimmi Laaksonen on flutes; Turkka Inkilä on flute; Anu Keski-Saari on cello; Sigurdur Rognvalsson on guitar; Ilkka Heinonen on acoustic bass; and Oskari Lehtonen on percussion and drums.


Masterful Malian Guitar and Communal Memories

Mamadou Kelly – Les Bateaux (Clermont Music, 2019)

Malian guitarist, vocalist and composer Mamadou Kelly continues his collaboration with American musicians on Les Bateaux (The Boats). Kelly’s music contains a mix of upbeat traditional Malian music and transfixing Malian desert blues.

The title of the album refers to the boats that brought food to Malian villagers during the overwhelming   drought of the 1970s. Mamadou Kelly sings about history, daily life and honors those who have done commendable things.

Mamadou Kelly – Les Bateaux

Les Bateaux includes his Malian band and additional Malian musicians who regularly work with Kelly along with American friend, celebrated guitarist Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel guitar, and two other American musicians: Jacob Silver and David Rothenberg.

The lineup includes Mamadou Kelly on lead guitar and vocals; Aly Magassa on electric guitar; Kande Sissoko on ngoni; Hamadoun “Afo” Guindo on calabash and drums; Adama Sidibe on balafon; Madou Diabate on violin; Hama Sangho on backing vocals; Jacob Silver on bass; Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel guitar; and David Rothenberg on clarinets and bass clarinet.

Les Bateaux was recorded live in Bamako (Mali) and New York.

Buy Les Bateau


Balkan Souls in New Orleans

Blato Zlato – In The Wake (Blato Zlato, 2019)

In The Wake is the second album from New Orleans-based Balkan music band, Blato Zlato. Although the ensemble is based in a city known for its brass bands and jazz, the remarkable sound of Blato Zlato takes you to Eastern Europe and the traditions of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Megrelia (Georgia).

Blato Zlato’s sound is characterized by superb Bulgarian-style polyphonic female vocals delivered by three of the ensemble’s members, along with beautifully-constructed instrumentation. The musical pieces included in the album In The Wake are a mix of traditional eastern European songs and original material.

Blato Zlato – In The Wake

Although the music has deep Bulgarian influences, the musicians live in New Orleans, a city affected by climate change, surrounded by water.  The song “Vodata Teche” (The Water Flows) reflects Blato Zlato’s rising concern about climate change and its effects on their home state of Louisiana.

The physical CD includes fascinating artwork and lyrics in the original languages along with English-language translations.

Blato Zlato

Lineup: Lou Carrig on accordion and vocals; Ian Cook on violin; Ruby Corbyn-Ross on vocals and riqq; Janie Cowan on upright bass and riqq;  Annalisa Kelly on vocals; and Boyanna Trayanova on tapan and caxixi.

Buy the In the Wake CD from Bandcamp or the digital download via amazon.


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