Best of 2022 – Steve Kindig (World)
Steve Kindig alternates on Beyond Borders Wednesday afternoon from 12-2 (eastern).
Built on a base of strummed acoustic guitars, these stripped-down songs reflect the austere beauty of the Sahara, and the feelings of loss and longing of the Kel Tamasheq. My favorite desert rock album of 2022.
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wesli grew up in Haiti but has made his home in Montreal for several years. The 19 songs on his latest album find him exploring a variety of Afro-Caribbean styles while staying firmly rooted in Haitian traditions.
Enkel/Love Hurts/Nordic Notes
The third album by this Finnish female quartet once again displays their knack for bringing propulsive energy and contemporary sensibility to traditional music. Whether playing a spirited medley of polkas or one of their original songs, the overall vibe is joyous.
Ernesto Djedje/Roi du Ziglibithy/Analog Africa
This lovingly created 4-song reissue from Analog Africa is a great introduction to Ivorian singer, guitarist and bandleader Ernesto Djedje. He called his style of dance music Ziglibithy — a combination of the rhythms of the Bete people with Makossa, funk, and disco.
This male choir from Georgia (the country, not the state) performs traditional work songs, romantic and historic ballads, sacred songs and lullabies in a range of regional polyphonic styles, some a cappella, others with guitar or chonguri (4-string lute) accompaniment.
Lily Henley/Oras Dezaoradas/Lior Editions
American singer/songwriter/fiddler Lily Henley pays tribute to the Sephardic Jewish music of her Spanish ancestry with a collection of traditional songs sung in the nearly extinct Ladino language, a Spanish-Jewish dialect. Hauntingly beautiful music, beautifully recorded.
Al-Qasar/Who Are We?/GlitterbeatParis-based Al-Qasar creates an energetic psych-rock stew of punk, grunge and garage-rock mixed in with gnawa, rai and desert blues, with Arabic and Berber-language lyrics.
Sona Jobarteh/Badinyaa Kumoo/African GuildSona Jobarteh from Gambia is the first internationally known female kora virtuoso. Her first recording in over a decade is packed with engaging instrumentals and songs that show off her fine playing and voice, along with the voices of guests like Youssou N’Dour.
Cimarron/La Recia/Cimarron Music
This 7-piece band delivers an energetic take on the traditional music of the highland plains of Colombia and Venezuela. Although founding member and harpist Carlos Rojas passed away in 2020, the band has bounced back with a strong set of instrumentals and songs.
Souad Massi/Sequana/Backingtract Production
When her career began over 20 years ago, singer-songwriter Souad Massi was chased from her native Algeria by death threats and moved to Paris, where she still lives. She’s released several albums of tuneful acoustic Arabic folk over the years and this may be her best yet.
Well-known in their native Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia, Divanhana performs traditional and original Balkan songs and instrumentals seasoned with jazz, pop, and classical influences.
Oumou Sangare/Timbuktu/World Circuit
The 9th album from Malian superstar Oumou Sangare leans more acoustic than many of her recent recordings despite the urgent electric guitar riff on the opening track, “Wassulu Don.” Traditional West African instruments are supplemented by touches of slide guitar and banjo.
Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek/DOST 2/Bongo Joe
If you like East-West fusion styles, check out this 8-song release from this German-Turkish psych-folk outfit. Led by Yıldırım’s lilting vocals and electric saz, the band fleshes out the grooves with drums, synth, organ, guitars and flute.