Seven years since their launch, the Songlines Music Awards continue to champion the huge amount of brilliant music from around the world. Here are the four nominees in the Best Artist category, as voted by you.
For Film of Life on Jazz Village
At 74, the Nigerian drummer who helped Fela Kuti craft his mighty Afrobeat and has been described as the ‘finest drummer on the planet,’ is making some of the best music of his career. His compositions on Film of Life draw on his rich past but are not confined by it, as regular collaborator Damon Albarn joins him and elements of dub, jazz, funk, electronica and much else are seamlessly infiltrated into the mix.
For Gach Sgeul – Every Story on Machair Records
Any fears that the Scottish Gaelic singer had gone ‘pop’ after singing in the 2012 Disney animation film Brave were dispelled by the long-awaited appearance of Gach Sgeul – Every Story, the follow-up to her 2009 album, Uam. With not an English-language hit or celebrity collaboration in sight, Fowlis puts her trust in the riches of traditional Gaelic language folk song – and the results are exquisite.
For Word of Mouth on Cooking Vinyl
It’s now a decade and six albums ago that Lakeman won a Mercury Prize nomination for Kitty Jay. During that time, he’s matured from Brit-folk’s most promising poster boy to become one of its most accomplished performers and insightful songwriters. Recorded in a 15th-century Cornish church, Word of Mouth was inspired by the stories of local characters he interviewed for the project.
For Largo da Memória on Parlophone
One of the most distinctive artists in Portugal’s new wave of fadistas, the 33-year-old Ribeiro’s fourth album combines a sense of pride in unvarnished fado tradition with wider musical influences, including Arabic roots via a collaboration with Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil. Singing in a robust voice full of character and emotion, the rapport with his instrumental ensemble is impressively intuitive.