JANUARY 11, 2011
2011 Buyer’s Guide
13 World Music Records To Look Out For In The New Yearby Tom Pryor
So the holidays are over, the New Year is here and we're tan, rested and ready to take on a slew of new world music releases for the early months of 2011.
We've got a baker's dozen of fresh new musical goodness, from homegrown acts like A Hawk A Hacksaw to international giants like Spain's Javier Limón - and a whole lot of cross-cultural collaborations in between. We've given them all a spin and can recommend them all without reservation.
And while most of these records are hot off the presses, a few were released abroad last year and are just finding their way to American shores in 2011.
We've included release dates whenever possible, and it should be noted that quite a few of these albums will be available on iTunes earlier than their physical release dates (and more than a few of them are available on iTunes right now!).
This should keep even the most ravenous music consumers busy until tit's time for all the new summer releases - enjoy!
Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal
This little gem is a collaboration between Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko, and French cellist Vincent Ségal. Recorded at Salif Keita's Moffou studio in Mali, this quiet little record offers up some very big musical surprises, uniting the European classical tradition and the Malian classical tradition with gorgeous musicianship, a smart sensibility and vision - and no small amount of wit. Available January 11th.
The Sway Machinery featuring Khaira Arby
The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1
Brooklyn's own Sway Machinery traveled to Mali last year to check out the Festival au Desert. On the way back they stopped off in Timbuktu to record their second LP with desert diva Khira Arby. This is what our dreams are made of. Available in stores February 8th.
The Creole Choir of Cuba
When most people talk about Cuban music, they're usually talking about the urban sounds of Havana. But the city of Santiago, on Cuba's far eastern coast, has a rich musical history all its own - deeply influenced by immigrants and refugees from neighboring Haiti for generations. The Creole Choir of Cuba preserves the traditions of Cuba's Haitian community and demonstrate just how much Cuban music owes a debt to its Caribbean neighbor. U.S. release date TBA.
City of Refuge
What's banjo-slinging American folkie Abigail Washburn doing on our world music list? Rocking out, that's what. On her newest record Washburn takes a break from her East-West-themed collaborations with Chinese musicians to explore her own musical roots and passions, with more than a few surprise guests. Available January 11th.
SubPop/ Next Ambiance
Honduran singer/guitarist Aurelio Martinez takes on the mantle of the late Andy Palacio - with a little mentoring from Senegalese legend Youssou N'Dour - and turns in a stunner of a record exploring the musical and cultural heritage of the indigenous Garifuna people of Central America. Due in stores on January 18th.
Mujeres de Agua
Spanish flamenco guitarist and superproducer Javier Limón returns to the studio to conceive this gorgeous tribute to the women and music of the Mediterranean. Packed with such guest vocalists as Estrella Morente, Mariza, Carmen Linares, Yasmin Levy, Buika and more, this tour de force will be available in the U.S. later this Spring.
City of Leaves
Venus Rising Records
It's been almost 10 years since Persian singer Sussan Deyhim knocked our socks off with Madman of God, but now she's back with another stunner - and this time she's joined by a veritable who's who of collaborators, including Richard Horowitz, Bill Laswell and DJ Spooky. Available on CD January 31st.
A Hawk and A Hacksaw
Albuquerque duo A Hawk And A Hacksaw follow up 2009's The Way The Wind Blows with another blast of indie rock-infused ersatz Balkan, Turkish and Eastern European instrumentals on Cervantine, due out in February.
Washington D.C.'s Empresarios take on the unenviable task of bringing Latin funk goodness to our nation's capitol. But even if the District isn't quite ready for their smooth tropical blend of funk, cumbia, dub and reggaeton, the rest of us could use a stiff shot of Sabor Tropical right about now, to tide us over until the weather turns warm? Available January 11th.
Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria
Entertainment One Music
Two of the world's most consistently innovative guitar legends - Brazilian Vinicius Cantuaria and American Bill Frisell - team up to explore the sonic landscape of Mexico. Due out January 25th.
Harmonia Mundi/ World Village
Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate returns after his 2009 Grammy win with his fifth album, Courage. Recorded in Bamako, Mali, the album continues Diabate's always-innovative explorations of tradition and modernity. Due in February, date TBA.
Led by Yemenite Israeli singer Ravid Kahalani, Israeli-American outfitYemen Blues combines traditional Yemenite melodies with jazz, blues and funk to come up with a stunningly original sound that's one of this year's top must-hear, must-see musical experiences. U.S. release date TBA
The Sound of Siam:
Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam from Thailand 1964 -1975
Okay, so technically this came out in 2010, but it didn't reach our inbox until we'd already turned out the lights for the holidays - and it's just too sweet a record to ignore. This collection offers 19 tracks of vintage vinyl goodness from Thailand, covering a grab bag of eras and genres of that country's pop and classical music. It's a great jumping-off point to explore a musical culture that's been virtually ignored outside of Asia.