The Jan/Feb 2015 (#105) issue includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the best new releases from around the world. The CD also includes five tracks selected by bandleader and presenter Jools Holland, who discusses his choices with Alexandra Petropoulos.
The Top of the World CD includes brand new tracks from Robert Plant, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Marta Goméz, and many more.
Pick up your copy here, at selected WHSmiths stores and all good record retailers.
Top of the World
Robert Plant – Lullaby and … The Ceaseless Roar on Nonesuch Records
A new adventure in Robert Plant’s restlessly creative solo career, where the heavy metal screech-and-wail he perfected in Led Zeppelin has given way to a more nuanced vocal style.
Abelardo Barroso – Cha Cha Cha on World Circuit
Remastered by World Circuit, this classic 1950s album from one of the great voices of Cuba, features the best of Barroso’s chachachá period with Orquesta Sensación.
Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal – Songs of Time Lost on No Format!
From the opening medieval lament, Neapolitan music emerges as one strand of influence on this equally understated and beautiful record.
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn on Rounder Records
The husband and wife banjo duo team up for their first album together, which features everything from trad Appalachian songs to original compositions.
Marta Gómez – Contigo on ARC Music
Featuring an impressive variety of beautiful songs, all her own creations, Gómez tours a range of Latin American music and is sure to be a revelation to European audiences.
Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa – Mazal on World Village
It is the mixture of Gnawa rhythms with keening Moroccan vocals and Senegalese flavours that makes Mazal an album of strong tunes and great variety.
Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker – Nothing Can Bring Back the Hour on Folkroom Records
Clarke’s melancholic voice suits her songs’ lyrics perfectly, and Walker’s arrangements are superlative. This is surely one of 2014’s best folk albums.
Amparo Sánchez – Espíritu del Sol on World Village
Amparo Sánchez remains unmistakably Spanish, with her deep, gravelly Andalusian voice. Espíritu del Sol is an upbeat, likeable record packed with surprising turns.
BKO Quintet – Bamako Today on Buda Musique
Traditional Malian music played with a modern twist, Bamako Today’s electric urban edge firmly places the BKO Quintet into similar psychedelic realms to Zani Diabaté’s Super Djata Band.
Moana & The Tribe – Rima on Black Pearl
Ancient Maori traditions and 21st-century technology are bound together in the latest album by Moana Maniapoto, one of New Zealand’s most prominent musical ambassadors.
Plus Jools Holland’s playlist
“You want to hear the human voice and the human spirit and I think that’s what she summed up. You heard her spirit when she sang, which is different to just singing the song.”
“She’s got an amazing, beautiful voice. But one time she had with her an instrument like an acoustic bass mandolin. When you closed your eyes you were in Portugal…”
The Unthanks – ‘Here’s the Tender Coming’
From Here’s the Tender Coming on EMI
“They make me cry… The Unthanks sound like Northumberland and the North-East of England. It’s not contrived; that’s what they naturally do.”
Rubén González – ‘Siboney’
From Introducing… on World Circuit
“The way he played was beautiful and what he played embodied where he was from. When he played you heard that world; you were hearing the history of it through one man.”
Angélique Kidjo – ‘Agolo’
From Spirit Rising: Live from Guest Street on Wrasse Records
“She’s just great because she’s got this energy. Some people are balladeers, and some make you want to skip and dance. She’s definitely a skipper and a dancer, you know, she just gets me going.”
Listen to a bonus track from Jools Holland’s Playlist by Ibrahim Ferrer on this issue’s podcast.