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From The NYC Salsa of Spanish Harlem To Eastern Sudan and Beyond Where The Gods Are In Peace

Each month, Joshua Lebofsky (NMW Global Music Editor), secludes himself in a room somewhere in this beautiful world and curates a playlist that you will listen to again and again. This is great music. Guaranteed.

The playlist is a carefully curated selection of contemporary global music releases. With one glorious throwback track.

It’s World Music from the recent past right up to new releases. We are listening.

Best New World Music for June 2022

Flany Konare

Vieux Farka Toure

Album: Les Racines
Artist: Vieux Farka Toure
Label: World Circuit Records

This latest from Vieux Farka Toure is a return to his familial and musical roots, Malian Blues.

The album, “Les Racines” (French for The Roots) includes guest appearances by Maryam and Amadou, Madou Traore, and Madou Sidiki Diabate.

The track Flany Konare is a love song that utilizes the tried and true call and response device, interspersed with guitar soloing over an ever-present drone.

“ Cherie, Cherie, Cherie” sings Vieux Farka Toure.

Someone’s in love….

Have a listen here.

Al Amal

Noori and His Dorpa Band

Album: Beja Power
Artist: Noori and His Dorpa Band
Label: Ostinato Records

The Beja people are a minority from Eastern Sudan.

Noori plays an instrument he created himself; a hybrid electric guitar-lyre.

Al Amal starts with a Moroccan-type Gnawaa rhythm that morphs into a hybrid reggae feel. This sets up a call and response melody section between guitar and saxophone, followed by solos all around.

Hypnotic, rootsy, authentic music.

Have a listen here.

La Musica Latina

Album: Imagenes Latinas
Artist: Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Label: Ovation Records

Spanish Harlem Orchestra SHO as they are known to their fans are THE purveyors of authentic, NYC Salsa.

In their 20-year existence, their eight CDs have earned five Grammy nominations and three wins including Best Tropical Latin Album for “Viva La Tradicion” in 2011.

Their latest entitled “Imagenes Latinas” delivers eleven tracks in the style of the great NYC Latin music scene that developed in Spanish Harlem in the 1970s.

La Musica Latina is another love song, written for the music itself.

Have a listen here.

I Don’t Feel My Legs

Album: Ama Gogela
Artist: Phelimuncasi
Label: Nyege Nyege Tapes

One for the kids.

An energetic, primal 808-based rhythm track with layers of vocal loops and repeated phrases that create tension and release, both rhythmically and melodically.

Gqom/Igqumo music is a style of electronic house music that came out of Durban, South Africa around 2010.

Phelimuncasi is on to something here; something irresistibly danceable that transcends language, generation, and culture.

Have a listen here.

Sala Nabina

Album: Gnawa Soul
Artist: Maalem Moktar Gania
Label: MusjoMusic/Nuits d’Afrique

Gnawa Soul brings together the spellbinding Moroccan rhythms of the Gnawa, West African influences, and skillfully crafted modern elements.

The album features master musician (known as maalem) and singer Moktar Gania, the younger brother of the late Maalem Mahmoud Gania. Moktar plays a Gnawa bass lute called guembri or sintir on which he’s able to generate trance-like grooves.

Sala Nabina is an adventurous track, with soaring Maghreb vocals, rhythm, and up-to-date production values.

Have a listen here.

Granny’s 93rd

Album: The Canny Band
Artist: The Canny Band
Label: The Canny Band

The Canny Band is Sam Mebbett button accordion, Michael Biggins piano, and Callum Convoy Bodhran.

These three young musicians have found a way to remain faithful to the tradition while adding thoroughly modern harmonic and sonic elements to the mix.

Clocking in at 4:52 Granny’s 93rd is a lively romp that you just might want to play on repeat.

Have a listen here.


Album: Babdoukkala
Artist: Julian Belbachir
Label: Julian Belbachir

Gnawa meets trippy, electro music.

Hypnotic loops and beats with the ever-present Gnawa rhythm set to a backbeat.

Plenty of processed, delayed, and doubled vocal chants, electric violin solos, and synthesizer pads.

Have a listen here.

Gin & Strasthpey

Album: Gin & Strasthpey
Artist: Lyre Lyre
Label: Lyre Sounds

The debut album from Scottish trio Lyre Lyre contains both standards and originals by the three band members, Fiddler/violist Patsy Reid, Cellist Alice Allen, and Latmandola player multi-instrumentalist Marit Fält.

These trad musicians have found a way to honor the players who came before them while always moving the music forward in some way.

Have a listen here.

Bassa Bassa

Album: Susuma
Artist: Jembaa Groove
Label: Agogo Records

Jembaa Groove blends a 1970s soul-music vibe with West African Hi-Life.

The track Bassa Bassa features congas, shakers, djembes, and drum kit along with Fender Rhodes, horns, and soulfully sung vocals.

Perfect music to get things warmed up at your next party!

Have a listen here.


Gold Rush

Album: Where The Gods Are In Peace
Artist: Antibalas
Label: Daptone Records

From their 2017 release Where The Gods Are In Peace, this month’s throwback track is a shout-out to the legendary Brooklyn-based afrobeat ensemble, Antibalas.

In the spirit of Fela Kuti, Gold Rush is a message of social commentary and protest wrapped in the deep groove and urgency of the afro-beat style.

As timely today as the day it was written.

Have a listen here.

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