The 10 Best New Albums from Around the World (December 2021) | Songlines
Thursday, November 11, 2021

The 10 Best New Albums from Around the World (December 2021)

Featuring outstanding new releases from Fanfare Ciocarlia, Karine Polwart, Kondi Band, Bonga Jean-Baptiste and more. Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with the December issue

Songlines Best New Albums December 2021

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Kandy Guira

Nagtaba Que du Bonheur en Son/Vlad Production/ RFI Talents/Inouïe Distribution

Nagtaba means ‘Together’ in Dioula, and the album is both a rallying call for female solidarity and a plea for global understanding, underpinned by a mix of traditional Burkinabé rhythms such as warba and wiire and electro-pop. Guitars, keys and West African instruments are woven with found sounds and ambient effects, with the resulting brew all the more irresistible for Guira’s superb, tremolo-flecked voice. Jane Cornwell

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Àbáse

Laroyê Oshu Records

Spending five months in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador to record Laroyê, Àbáse has brought together veteran and rising Brazilian musicians such as Letieres Leite, Jadson Xabla, Afrojazz and others. The resulting album is a high-energy outpouring of traditional Brazilian MPB (Música Popular Brasileiro), samba and jazz, with hip-hop, Afro-funk and new-soul, exploring the country’s rich Afro-Brazilian heritage. Huw Hennessy

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Bryan Rahija

Timber Ramseur Records

In late 2019, newly transplanted to Portland, Rahija marked the beginning of COVID-induced self-isolation by borrowing an old dobro, ordering a new 12-string guitar and setting about the task of writing, performing and producing the dozen compositions on Timber. The resulting music is quietly compelling and deceptively simple. Doug DeLoach

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Bonga Jean-Baptiste

Boula Buda Musique

The drums of the (since 1991) US-based Bonga have graced shows by the Rolling Stones and Celia Cruz and recordings by Salif Keita; his drums have been the engine room of seminal Haitian roots band Foula and powered his own Vodou Drums of Haiti. On this solo work he returns to his roots, singing and playing traditional tanbou (barrel drum) – a symbol of the lifeblood of Haiti – alongside all other instruments, his authenticity palpable. Jane Cornwell

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

El Búho

Natura Sonora Shika Shika

Many producers are getting to the point of making electronic music that somehow doesn’t feel ‘electronic’, computer music with personality, and El Búho is top of the class. Russ Slater

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Karine Polwart 
& Dave Milligan

Still as Your Sleeping Hudson Records

Polwart is quietly building a body of work that makes the most compelling case for folk music as a vital, living tradition. Her songs offer a profound solace usually only found in the traditional songbook. This is another majestic work, deceptive in its simplicity, poignant in its accomplished, stripped down musicianship. Nathaniel Handy

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Eric Jacobsen, Kayhan Kalhor & Sandeep Das

Blue as the Turquoise Night Bright Shiny things

The quality of this album comes as no surprise when you discover that it has close connections to Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble and New York’s Brooklyn Rider string quartet. There are five pieces and although it’s nominally a classical album, much of the music is close to the diverse traditions that have inspired it. Simon Broughton

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Maurice Louca

Saet El Hazz (The Luck Hour) Sub Rosa/Northern Spy Records

The music meanders between a free jazz-like mood and ambient. The liner notes refer to Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders, I would rather think of early instrumental Jefferson Airplane, or King Crimson, or Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. Neil van der Linden

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Kondi Band

We Famous Strut Records

‘The Sweetness is Gone’ is a dubbed-up prime slice of cutting-edge African techno and ‘How Will It Be for Me in This World?’ is another sparkling mix of electronic textures and African tradition. Nigel Williamson

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

Fanfare Ciocarlia

It Wasn't Hard to Love You Asphalt Tango Records

‘Escape from Baltimore’, ‘The Hungarian Wild Bunch’ and ‘Babo Never Worked a Day’ are suitable vehicles for these Romanian speed demons to rip through. If this is the final Fanfare Ciocarlia studio album then it’s a frenzied, fun affair (as usual). Garth Cartwright

Read the review in the Songlines Reviews Database

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