New Apple Music Playlist: Reggae Instrumentals

Posted on November 9th, 2017 in Recent posts by .

Reggae instrumentals icon

What with toasters galore, charismatic singers and vocal harmony trios, reggae is probably primarily a vocal music. Given, too, the thin line between it and both ska and dub, it’s a challenge to find pure reggae instrumentals that don’t stray too far into forbidden stylistic territories. Nevertheless, here are 14 suggestions that feature artists renowned more for their prowess on instruments like the bongos (Bongo Herman), drums (Sly Dunbar), keyboards (Jackie Mittoo), guitar (Ernest Ranglin), saxophone (Tommy McCook) and melodica (Augustus Pablo). Playlist by Mark Sampson for Songlines.

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Competition: Win a Madredeus Vinyl Bundle!

Posted on November 1st, 2017 in Recent posts by .


Win a set of four iconic Madredeus vinyls by entering our competition

Portuguese band Madredeus have been recording their unique mix of fado and modern folk music since 1985. Now you can own four of their iconic albums – Os Dias da Madredeus, O Espírito da Paz, Electronico and Antologia – on vinyl, which were recently reissued by Parlophone Portugal.

The competition closing date is January 5, 2o18 and the winner will be contacted by email. To enter, simply click here!

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Introducing Songlines issue #133 (December 2017)

Posted on November 1st, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .


The December 2017 (#133) issue of Songlines is now on sale!

Our cover star this issue is Hugh Masekela, the legendary South African horn player. Other features include an interview with the Dublin-based four-piece Lankum about their modern take on Irish trad music; Belgians Didier Laloy and Kathy Adam talk about their outlandish new orchestral project, Belem & the MeKanics; qanun player Maya Youssef who releases her debut album, Syrian Dreams; Tools of the Trade on the bamboo mouth organ from Thailand, the khaen, plus the latest CD, book, world cinema and live reviews. 


The Top of the World CD includes tracks from Robert Plant, Saz’iso, Lankum and Hugh Masekela, as well as a guest playlist from composer and conductor, Carl Davis, featuring music from Paul Robeson, Compay Segundo and others.


To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:

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Top of the World albums: Songlines #133 (December 2017)

Posted on November 1st, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .

Here is our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the November issue of Songlines. Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with issue #133.

To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:



Orchestre Les Mangelepa 
Last Band Standing
Loping bass, ensemble vocals, ticking hi-hat, horns and a sebene style guitar-based groove fill this album. Vintage vibes with plenty of room to party.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Robert Plant
Carry Fire
The classic West Coast rock of Robert Plant, this time infused with world flavours. Justin Adams’ oud complements the North African rhythms that weave throughout.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo
Loé Loá: Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree
An authentic field recording of Venezuelan golpes de tambor, captured under a mango tree. This track embodies the community feel of the album.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Hugh Masekela
No Borders
Five stars for this diverse, 44th album from the legendary African horn player and singer. This jazz infused, danceable track shows off Masekela’s signature solo playing and distinctive vocals.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Between the Earth and Sky
Rough Trade
The pure vocals of Radie Peat shine on this haunting version of the traditional song from the Irish group formerly known as Lynched.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Les Fils Canouche
La Fasciculation
Vlad Productions
A fourth album brimming with feisty rhythms and swinging, self-penned songs that borrow from tango, rumba, jazz manouche and more. Delightfully intriguing.
iTunes | Spotify



The Souljazz Orchestra
Under Burning Skies
After 15 years together, the Ottawa-based sextet have discovered the synth. Afrobeat and French Caribbean influences are complemented by an 80s groove and electro disco feel.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Los Compadres del Ande
Andina: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes, Huayno, Carnaval & Cumbia 1968-1978
Tiger’s Milk Records
Catchy keyboard and string melodies fuel this track from a compilation of vintage Peruvian gems.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me: The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song
Producer Joe Boyd and engineer Jerry Boys take us on a journey into the mountains of southern Albania, drawing on the beautiful arabesques of saze.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Guy Schalom
Ethnomusic Records
Guy Schalom is a superb player of the tabla – the Egyptian goblet drum – as heard on this track and throughout an album that celebrates a decade of the Baladi Blues Ensemble.
Amazon | iTunes

Pick up the December issue of Songlines to enjoy our Top of the World cover-CD, which contains tracks from each of the albums above. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit:

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