Nzimbu - Nzimbu (One Drop/Sage/Rue Stendhal)
Nzimbu, Kikongo for "song" and, at the time when cowrie shells were still being used as currency in Congo (see also the photo on the album cover) it also meant "fortune", is a project uniting Ray Lema, Ballou Canta and Fredy Massamba, three generations of vocalists hailing from both sides of the Congo River (Brazilian guitarist Rodrigo Viana is the odd man out).
Various Artists - Ska From The Vaults Of W.I.R.L. Records (Kingston Sounds)
One of the advantages of the releases on the Kingston Sounds label is the fact the titles of their compilations are often quite self-explanatory and 'Ska From The Vaults Of W.I.R.L. Records' is certainly no different.
MoodCollector - Such A Lovely Day (Self-published)
Counting a number of ex-members of The Dill Brothers in its ranks, MoodCollector can rightfully consider itself to be the spiritual and musical heir of the Campine ska-collective.
Various Artists - Woman Reggae Vibes (Reggae Livication Records)
Just in time for International Women's Day (08/03), French label Reggae Livication Records, last year still responsible for Da Fuchaman's 'Rasta Will Be There' EP, presents 'Woman Reggae Vibes', a compilation allowing 9 female reggae artists to give the best of themselves.
Ruffi-Ann - Save The Juvenile (Sugar Pan/Charmax/VPal)
Ruffi-Ann (real name Sharon Peterkin) can hardly be considered an upcoming talent, as the singer has already enjoyed quite the musical career.
Reemah - Check Your Words (Feel Line Records/VPal)
Not to say It is that on the Virgin Islands, apart from Dezarie, no other female singers are active, but internationally none of them really have left their mark yet. However, newcomer Reemah's 'Check Your Words' may change things!
Jamaram & Acoustic Night Allstars - Heavy Heavy (Turban Records/Soulfire Artists/Grooveattack)
On last year's 'Best Of' compilation 'Almost Hits', Jamaram already presented a documentary featuring Acoustic Night Allstars and for 'Heavy Heavy' they once again collaborated with the Zimbabwean band (both bands crossed paths for the first time at the Harare HIFA Festival in 2012).
Nneka - My Fairy Tales (Bushqueen Music)
Because yours truly, isn't really a fan of the multitude of female singer-songwriters with an ethnic twist out there (see also Ayo, Irma, Imayo, Sara Tavares.
Gadje Scum - No Laws On A Sunday EP (Self-published)
Take a blender, mix up equal parts of reggae, ska, gypsy music, dubstep, hip-hop and circus marches and you'll end up with Gadje Scum (in Romani culture gadjo, feminine gadji, plural gadje, is a designation for someone who is not of Romani or Sinti descent), a group of five musicians from Ghent who clearly know how to throw a party.
New Kingston - Kingston City (Easy Star Records)
As far as yours truly is concerned, New Kingston, a band made up of three brothers from Brooklyn, New York City, might well be the new Morgan Heritage.
Balkan Clarinet Summit - Many Languages One Soul (Piranha)
In southeastern Europe, after the violin, the clarinet is just about the most important instrument, with each region developing its own playing style and technique.
Yabby You - Dread Prophecy: The Strange And Wonderful Story Of Yabby You (Shanachie)
With the disappearance of the Blood and Fire label, getting hold of one of their reissues of the work of Yabby You got more and more difficult.
Los Callejeros - Ukamao! (Self-published)
'Ukamao!' (loosely translated from Aymara: "So it goes!" or "That's just the way it is!"), the title of the third album by Belgian mestizo-collective Los Callejeros, is an expression used in Bolivia and Peru to indicate some things simply are what they are.
El Juntacadaveres - Twists And Turns (Zimbraz)
Both the title and the cover photo of this second long player by El Juntacadaveres already tell us something about this band and its oeuvre: 'Twists And Turns' of course refers to the typical dance moves that are part of the tango and the graffiti work on the cover is a nod to hip-hop culture, also a key ingredient of the sound of El Juntacadaveres.
The Banyans - For Better Days (Khanti Records/Socadisc)
For the successor of 'Steppin' Out', their 2013 album debut, The Banyans continue where they left off.
Dub Syndicate - Hard Food (Echo Beach)
After 2004's 'No Bed Of Roses', 'Hard Food' is the first Dub Syndicate album in 10 years.
Songhoy Blues - Music In Exile (Transgressive Records/Pias)
Songhoy Blues is the story of Oumar, Aliou and Garba Toure, three young musicians from the northern Gao region of Mali.
Samba Toure - Gandadiko (Glitterbeat Records)
After 'Albala', recorded during the unrest that swept through Mali in 2012, Samba Toure above all else wanted 'Gandadiko' (Songhay for "land of drought" or "land of fire") to sound as a message of hope, with 'Woyé Katé', the last track on the album and a duet with Tuareg musician Ahmed Ag Kaedi (Amanar), in which both men call on their compatriots to return to their homes and work together in unity to rebuild the country, perhaps being the best example.
Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers - Cranes And Carpets (Agogo Records)
'Cranes And Carpets' is the entirely instrumental debut album by Berlin based Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers, a quintet around multi-instrumentalist Johannes Schleiermacher (keyboards, percussion, winds) giving its groovy and slightly psychedelic take on genres like afrobeat ('No Stitches', 'Trudy The Monster'.
IQulah Rastafari - Food For Thought (Self-published)
IQulah (an acronym that stands for Integrity, Quality, Unity, Love, Africa and Home) belongs to a select group of Jamaican reggae musicians with a firm footing in the Rasta community, who despite of (or perhaps because of) their limited output have acquired a cult status (see also Kiddus I or Junior Byles).