Rachid Taha - Zoom (Naïve)
Disregarding the 2011 'Best Of' compilation 'Voilà Voilà: Le Best Of', there are just under five years between Rachid Taha's previous release ('Bonjour', Barclay) and 'Zoom'.
Lëk Sèn - Tomorrow (Chapter Two Records) + Nuru Kane - Exile (Riverboat Records/World Music Network)
Lëk Sèn already gave us a taste of 'Tomorrow' last year with the release of an untitled EP and the tracks on this album are in the same line.
House Of David Gang - Reggae Warrior (Nufunk.ca Records)
Even though in the 1970s and 1980s, many Jamaicans migrated to Canada and a flourishing Jamaican community evolved, these days we're only very occasionally confronted with reggae of Canadian descent.
Screwdriver - African Union (Upstairs Music)
Screwdriver (born Dalton Lindo) is one of those new roots artists from the 1990s that we never get to see live in Europe.
Graveola - Eu Preciso Um Liquidificador (Mais Um Discos)
Graveola is a six-piece band from Belo Horizonte in southeastern Brazil and 'Eu Preciso Um Liquidificador' ("I need a food processor") is already their third long player.
Skazka Orchestra - Kalamburage (Eastblok Music)
Don't be fooled, with the up-tempo music genre from Jamaica Skazka Orchestra has little to do.
Mop Mop - Isle Of Magic (Agogo Records)
Mop Mop is the brainchild of Berlin based Italian producer and musician Andrea Benini, who for his fourth long player travelled to an imaginary magical island where the soundtrack is a mesmerizing mix of voodoo jazz, afro-funk and soul.
Bongo Botrako - Revoltosa (Kasba Music)
With their third long player Tarragona based band Bongo Botrako wins the prize for album cover of the year: the cardboard box containing the CD, folds open to form a single impressive elongated graffiti artwork by the hand of Cuban illustrator Robertiko Ramos.
Yesking - Re-record... Not Fade Away (Barely Breaking Even)
For yours truly 'Re-record… Not Fade Away' was the first introduction to Yesking, pseudonym of Rhys Adams.
Jah9 - New Name (Rory Stone Love)
Goose bumps, it's a sensation a seasoned album critic doesn't often experience anymore, but 'New Name', the title track of the eponymous album by Jah9 absolutely did the trick.
Black Roots - On The Ground In Dub (Sugar Shack Records/Nubian Records)
'On The Ground', Black Roots' comeback album, was one of the reggae smashes of 2012 and to put the icing on the cake Sugar Shack Records now also releases a dub version of the album.
Mahala Raï Banda - Balkan Reggae (Asphalt Tango Records)
If you've ever listened carefully to Balkan music, you must have noticed how closely related the used rhythms are to ska and reggae.
Koby Isrealite - Blues From Elsewhere (Asphalt Tango Records)
Koby Israelite may already have three albums to his credit (all of which appeared on John Zorn's Tzadik label), for yours truly 'Blues From Elsewhere' was the first acquaintance with this London-based Israeli multi-instrumentalist.
Third World All Stars - Rebel Rock (Pressure Sounds)
'Rebel Rock' is actually the story of sound system pioneer Ephraim Barrett aka Count Shelly, who took over the Third World label from Sid Bucknor in 1975 and proceeded to record albums with, amongst others, Leroy Smart, Cornel Campbell, Dennis Alcapone and Johnny Clarke.
Etana - Better Tomorrow (VP Records)
After two albums, yours truly honestly had his fill of Etana's mix of reggae and r&b, but 'Better Tomorrow' came somewhat as a surprise.
Oratnitza - Oratnitza (Fusion Embassy)
Oratnitza (the band's name refers to a Bulgarian fire ritual that traditionally takes place around carnival time), a collective of former street musicians, mixes Bulgarian folk with elements of modern genres like dubstep and drum & bass.
Djeli Moussa Condé - Djeli (Buda Musique/PolyChrone)
The young Guinean kora player Djeli Moussa Condé has obviously been influenced by the work of his older colleague Toumani Diabate.
Freddie McGregor - Di Captain (VP Records)
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence, Freddie McGregor celebrates his own half a century as a performer.
T.D. Rankin - Sugar Daddy (Self-published)
With his new album 'Sugar Daddy', T.
The Banyans - Steppin’ Forward (Agis-Son/Talowa Productions)
'Steppin' Forward' is the album debut of The Banyans, a group of young French musicians from Toulouse who got their inspiration from reggae tenors like Burning Spear, The Gladiators and Bob Marley (for the curious among you: a "banyan" is an epiphyte fig species).