Top of the World – December 2019 | Songlines
Friday, November 1, 2019

Top of the World – December 2019

The editor’s selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the December 2019 issue


All of these tracks are included on the free CD included with the December 2019 issue of Songlines, plus five additional tracks hand-picked by Youssou N'Dour. Don't miss out - subscribe to Songlines magazine today!


Lakou Mizik

‘Iko Kreyòl’ from HaitiaNola on Cumbancha

The mizik rasin group explore the connections between Haiti and New Orleans with a load of special guests and this inspired version of the Mardi Gras classic ‘Iko Iko’.


Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band

‘Yamona’ from Obiaa! on Strut

With this remake of his classic 1980s hit, Ghana’s Golden Voice proves that his highlife is as sweet as ever. His comeback shows no signs of slowing. 



‘Göran Berg’s/Crow Road Croft’ from The Portage on Make Believe Records

The four fiddles of this Highlands and Islands quartet create rich tapestries of sound with the help of the lush acoustics of Glasgow’s Queen’s Cross Church.


Daymé Arocena

‘Oyá’ from Sonocardiogram on Brownswood Recordings

Our cover star’s fourth album draws heavily on the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería as well as contemporary jazz. This track is dedicated to the eponymous goddess of wind and lightning.


Black String

‘Sureña’ from Karma on ACT Music

One of Korea’s pioneering new wave groups, Black String blend traditional Korean instruments and folk music with jazz and avant-garde rock to form an artful and hypnotising mix.


Mambe & Danochilango

‘Cumbia Jeringonza’ from Kosmopolítēs on Happy Duck

A Mexican DJ and a Colombian multi-instrumentalist form a duo in Denmark to make internationally-flavoured music full of energy and fun.


Ballaké Sissoko & Baba Sissoko

‘Angata’ from Sissoko & Sissoko on

Cousins reunited: beautiful kora and ngoni lines entwine as these two masters and heirs of an incredible musical ancestry come together.


Llio Rhydderch

‘Titrwm Tatrwm’ from Sir Fôn Bach on Fflach

The solo triple harp of Llio Rhydderch is one of the wonders of Welsh music, as innovative as she is traditional. This evocative and emotional Pentraeth folk song was taught by her mother.



‘Caballo Viejo’ from Orinoco on Cimarrón Music

The song that provided the inspiration for the Gipsy Kings’ hit ‘Bamboleo’ is brought back to its roots in the Colombian harp-led cowboy music of joropo from this Grammy-nominated group.


Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett

‘Kestrel’ from Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett on Real World Records

The duo from The Gloaming combine Hardanger d’amore and piano in a set that is both sparse and breathtaking.

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