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 Newcomer category, as voted by you.
For Neva/Harmony on Riverboat Records
Born in the Kurdish region of southern Turkey, Bayir moved to London to study opera and classical singing, then started a band to perform traditional music spanning the Western borders of Asia and Eastern Europe’s Mediterranean coast. Her debut is an elegant and gently exquisite set, including Albanian, Armenian, Balkan and Kurdish songs accompanied by clarinet, violin and saz (Turkish lute).
For The Gloaming on Real World Records
They may be newcomers as an ensemble, but The Gloaming are something of Celtic roots supergroup, including Afro Celt Sound System singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, virtuoso fiddlers Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Martin Hayes, guitarist Dennis Cahill and American pianist Thomas Bartlett. Their debut as a collective is an epic achievement, brilliantly innovative and executed with masterly conviction.
Ibibio Sound Machine
For Ibibio Sound Machine on Soundway
Emerging from London’s vibrant ex-pat Nigerian community, charismatic female lead singer Eno Williams lends the star quality as the eight-piece ISM cook up a simmering mix of deliciously retro Fela Kuti-styled Afrobeat, highlife, funk, gospel and shimmering electronic synth effects, underpinned by slinky bass lines and punctuated by stabbing brass and psych guitars.
For Flor di Bila on Lusafrica
Since the death of Cesaria Evora in 2011, the search has been on for new champions of the intoxicating music of the Cape Verdean islands. Neuza emerges as a worthy inheritor of the mantle. On her debut album of mostly traditional songs, Neuza sings with a sad-but-sweet coaxing voice that recalls the young Barefoot Diva before her vocal chords were marinated in nicotine and whisky.