Top of the World - April 2019 | Songlines
28 February 2019

Top of the World - April 2019

The month's best new albums, including Blick Bassy, Carminho and Leyla McCalla.

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The tracks listed below are included on the FREE cover CD with the April 2019 issue of Songlines magazine, and as a FREE download in the digital edition

1

Nobuntu

'Ilanga' from Obabes beMbube on 10th District Music

Hooray for the formidable power of southern African harmonies! Listen for the bird-song imitations in this spirit-lifting song from the all-female a capella five-piece from Zimbabwe.

2

Layale Chaker & Sarafand

‘Mkhammas Suite, 1: Hawwel ya Ghannam’ from Inner Rhyme on In a Circle Records

Arabic poetic meters are transformed into rhythmic cycles by an accomplished and avant-garde violinist.

3

Carminho

‘Desengano (Fado Latino)’ from Maria on Warner Music Portugal

Portuguese fado is stripped down to its barest – with a subtle Brazilian twist. Carminho’s warm vocals are accompanied by a Baden Powell-inspired guitar.

4

Fran & Flora

‘Romanian Fantasies’ from Unfurl on Fran & Flora Productions

A dusky violin melody skates and twirls over a pizzicato cello line in this amalgamation of two Jewish instrumental pieces, woven together by the experimental folk adventurers.

5

Leyla McCalla

‘Lavi Vye Neg’ from Capitalist Blues on Jazz Village

The former Carolina Chocolate Drop channels her Haitian roots with a bouncy rara sung in Creole, from an album that doesn’t hold back on calling out society’s injustices.

6

Blick Bassy

‘Ngwa’ from 1958 on Nø Førmat!

Bassy’s honey-sweet vocals sing to ‘Nwga’ (My Friend) in a moving homage to anti-colonialist Cameroonian freedom fighter Ruben Um Nyobé, killed by the French in 1958.

7

Abdesselam Damoussi and Nour Eddine

‘Lailaha illa Allah’ from Jedba – Spiritual Music from Morocco on ARC Music

A Sufi hymn to the holy Moroccan city Ouzzane with hypnotic accompaniment from outar and percussion.

8

VRï

‘Ffoles Llantrisant’ from Ty ein Tadau on Recordiau Erwydd

Material goods won’t stave off heartbreak – or will they? There are ambiguous messages in this strangely uplifting song from the folk-revivalist trio, played in traditional Welsh chapel style.

9

Insólito UniVerso

‘Vuelve’ from La Candela del Río on Olindo Records

Just try to keep up with this high-tempo tongue twister from the new Venezuelan outfit. A joropo tune refurbished with a drum-kit, electric bass and the cosmic twinkle of a Farsifa organ.

10

Ustad Saami

‘My Beloved is on The Way’ from God is not a Terrorist on Glitterbeat

The raw, haunting voice of one of Pakistan’s last singers of surti – the microtonal and multilingual music that carries a contemporary message.

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