WTJU Best of 2021 – Steve Kindig

Steve Kindig alternates on Beyond Borders Wednesday afternoon from 12-2 (eastern).

In no particular order

Vaudou Game/NOUSSIN/Hot Casa
This is the fourth album from this French/Togolese Afro-funk outfit. The horns on previous albums are replaced by keyboards, but the happy grooves are still here. The video for the first single, “Bella,” is fun, too.

Namgar/Nayan Navaa/ARC
Although based in Moscow, this group’s strongest musical influence comes from the ethnic Buryat communities in the border region where Russia, Mongolia, and China meet. Traditional songs and instruments fuse with rock and trip-hop.

Monsieur Doumani/Pissourin/Glitterbeat
On their latest record, this trio from Cyprus ditched the acoustic approach of their previous albums and added electrified instruments, synths, and effects, to energize their Mediterranean folk sound.

Mdou Moctar/Afrique Victime/Matador
In just a few short years, Mdou Moctar from Niger has become one of the most talked about guitarists in the world. Check out his electrifying take on assouf, or desert blues.

Eva Quartet/Minka/Riverboat
Back in the ’80s two albums featuring the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir became unlikely world music hits. The members of the Eva Quartet have all been part of that choir, and this album provides another showcase for their haunting harmonies.

Sofia Rei/Umbral/Cascabelera
Argentine singer-songwriter Sofia Rei makes music that’s both electronic and organic.

Christine Salem/Mersi/Blue Fanal
Singer-songwriter Christine Salem is from Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean. Her rich, deep voice is the perfect instrument for maloya — the African-influenced music of the Creole descendants of the island’s slaves.

Ballake Sissoko/A Touma/No Format!
Mali’s Ballake Sissoko is one of the world’s greatest kora players. To make A Touma, he recorded eight solo compositions in a chapel in Belgium. The bass drones and crystalline arpeggios hang in the air. This intimate, contemplative music is perfect for late-night listening with the lights out.

Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek/Dost 1/Bongo Joe
Led by Turkish singer and saz player Derya Yildirim, Grup Simsek takes Anatolian folk music and layers on funk grooves, synths and psychedelia to create a fresh sound.

Dobet Gnahore/Couleur/Cumbancha
On her sixth album, Ivorian singer Dobet Gnahore delivers a smooth slice of Afropop filled with danceable grooves, nimble electric guitar lines and catchy melodic hooks.

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