Damian Rafferty takes a look back on some of the seminal releases and trends that shaped this turbulent year.
There were plenty of highs with possibly the highest number of seminal albums from global artists hitting the shelves in any one year ever. We identify global bricalagismo as a new trend with the trickle of artists fighting globalism through global mix and mash up became a flood. (See below).
At the same time, bombs, war, natural disasters, starvation and their grim colleagues hit everyone from London to Mali, Kashmir to New Orleans, Central America to Zimbabwe and Sudan. All this on the heels of the Tsunami that hit Boxing Day last year. In the face of these, we looked to our politicians and they were found wanting. Instead people around the world reached out to each other.
So here are my picks of the year, please use the comments box below to add your own!
Rappin’ Hood – Sujeito Homen 2
Who could fail to warm to an album that drew on classic Brazilian tunes for samples and then got heavyweights like Gilerto Gil and Caetano Veloso to take part? A seminal Brazilian hip hop album and an instant classic.
Thione Seck – Orientation
A thing of great beauty emerged from this Bollywood meets Senegal venture. A fusion album that owes absolutely nothing to pandering for western audiences and unsurprisingly captures them with its sincerity and warmth nonetheless.
Laye Sowe & Daby Balde
Two great new voices from Senegal with relaxed traditional sounds emerged and both released superb albums. Daby got the most attention (probably deservedly) but both are big voices for the future.
Souad Massi – Honeysuckle (Mesk Elil)
A truly enchanting album from Algerian exile Souad Massi justified her esteemed place in the global music canon but she blew everyone away with an amazing duet with Daby Balde. Essential stuff.
Baaba Maal and Africa 05
The year started with great hopes that finally world aid, trade, HIV and debt relief would begin to release their crushing dead hand from Africa and at the same time there was a conscious effort by a huge number of cultural institutions to focus on the many positive things happening on the continent. Bob Geldof’s failure to support African musicians left a bad taste in many people’s mouths but no one showed more dignity and commitment than Baaba Maal. Whether talking about the problems or putting on fantastic concerts, Baaba Maal got it right in every way.
Mahmoud Ahmed at WOMAD
Old time Ethiopian, Mahmoud Ahmed had a triumphant debut in the UK at WOMAD ensuring that his is, belatedly, going to be one of the names to watch for next year.
Anga Diaz – Echu Mingua
This release nearly dropped off the radar but after a sparkling review in Fly by our own Matthew Shorter, World Circuit were able to force the newspapers to give it another listen, they did, they fell in love and the release took off.
Lura and Mariza
We all fell in love with these two Portuguese women representing very different traditions vibrantly alive in Lisboa. Lura was one of the highlights of WOMAD and put out a superb album Di Korpu Ku Alma. Mariza captivated everyone live and continued to push the boundaries of Fado with Transparente.
Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabete – In The Heart of the Moon
The intricate interplay between these two great stringed instrument maestros literally took our breath away, the concerts in London and around Europe were as wondrous as the release.
Los de Abajo, DJ Dolores, Manu Chao and Mariam and Amadou, Zuco 103, Celia Mara, Ojos de Brujo and Zuba were just a few of the names that grabbed our attention in a year when the world said no to globalization and yes to global music culture mash up.