The August/September 2014 (#102) issue includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the world’s finest new releases. The CD also includes five tracks selected by BBC’s Don Letts, who discusses his picks with Alexandra Petropoulos.
The Top of the World CD includes brand new tracks from Dub Colossus; rising Saharan star Noura Mint Seymali; former Panama tourism minister Rubén Blades, and many more.
Pick up your copy here, at selected UK HMV stores, selected WHSmiths and all good record retailers. Check out this issue’s top tracks:
Dub Colossus ‘Madmen’ from Addis to Omega (IRL)
Continuing to deftly balance widescreen grandeur with bass-heavy street cred, the group’s latest incarnation swaps Ethiopia for Jamaica as the major influence for their killer sound
Noura Mint Seymali ‘Eguetmar’ from Tzenni (Glitterbeat)
Exhilarating rock-infused Moorish music from the latest rising star of the Sahara. With agile vocals and her husband’s electric guitar, this female griot is putting Mauritania on the map.
Clarice Assad ‘Da Imaginação’ from Imaginarium (Adventure Music)
Nothing if not ambitious, Assad brings together over 40 musicians to play a dizzying range of genres that fit surprisingly well together under her power voice.
Brownie ‘The Bed Bug Song’ from Calypso: Musical Poetry in the Caribbean 1955-69 (Soul Jazz Records)
A joyous compilation of witty innuendo as well as meditations on race and place from one of the first Afro-diaspora music forms to gain international popularity.
Sia Tolno ‘Mama’ from African Woman (Lusafrica)
In her most ambitious album to date, Tolno teams up with Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen to deliver a series of hard-hitting political tracks that deal with everything from female genital mutilation to war criminals.
Rubén Blades ‘Pedro Navaja’ from Tangos (Sunnyside Records)
The multi-talented sexagenarian and one-time tourism minister of Panama presents a beautiful, if beguiling album of tango-ized version of his own songs with distinctly Argentinian sound.
Jacky Molard Quartet ‘Dourtan/Gwenn’ from Suites (Innacor Records)
Intriguing and immersive, the Quartet continue to cross musical boundaries by exploring different cultures. From Celtic jazz to Bulgarian dance, this third album is as experimental as the last.
Kasai Allstars ‘Beware the Fetish’ from Beware the Fetish (Crammed Discs)
For their second release, Kasai Allstars return with the signature Congotronics sound, ritualistic repertoire and buzzing distortion for an album that fully realises their rock’n’roll comparisons.
Söndörgő ‘Marice’ from Tamburocket Hungarian Fireworks (Riverboat Records)
Adding Macedonian melodies and a nod or two to Béla Bartók to their South Slav musical background, this virtuosic Hungarian folk band present an interesting and fun collection.
DEM Ensemble ‘Jandarma Zeybeği’ from Erguvan (Felmay)
Evocative melodies and dance tunes intermingle with playful improvisations in this selection made up mostly of Aegean folk, collated and rearranged for an ensemble including some of the most proficient musicians in Turkey.
Plus Don Letts’ playlist
Gaëtano Fabri vs Kočani Orkestar ‘Siki, Siki Baba’ from Electric Gypsyland (Crammed)
“Basically there’s this total culture clash of styles that obviously speaks to me, because, you know, I’m all about the culture clash.”
Lucas Santtana ‘Super Violão Mashup’ from Sem Nostalgia (Mais Um Discos)
“How did I get into Brazilian music? I think the question is, how do you not get into Brazilian music?… I was picking up on the rhythms without even realising it.”
Lata Mangeshkar & Nitin Mukesh ‘Aja Re O Mere Dilbur Aaja’ from Noorie (Saregama)
“My mother is Jamaican but of Indian descent, so it’s part of my blood. The music just speaks to me.”
Baaba Maal ‘Fanta’ from Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) (Palm Pictures)
“He’s one of the dons of Africa. I love the guy. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Baaba. I took him to Jamaica, and that was such a buzz.”
The Creole Choir of Cuba ‘Dulce Embelezo’ from Tande-La (Real World Records)
“In my constant search to find music to turn on the people, I invariably turn myself on,” which is how Letts first stumbled across the Cuban group.