Hama Sankare - Niafunke (Clermont Music)
For the successor to 'Ballébé: Calling All Africans', his 2018 debut album for Clermont Music, Malian vocalist and gourd percussionist Hama Sankare chose to pay tribute to his native village of Niafunke, where colleagues Yoro Cisse and Afel Bocoum also have their roots, and which was really put on the map by Malinese music legend Ali Farka Touré.
Pulo NDJ - Desert To Douala (Wonderwheel Recordings)
Chad is one of those African states which musically have remained a largely blind spot on the world music map, but Pulo NDJ now wants to change that.
Las Migas - Cuatro (Satélite K)
Normally flamenco doesn't really belong to our musical frame of reference, but for the refreshing sound of Las Migas we gladly made an exception.
Marcia Griffiths - Timeless (Tad's Record)
For 'Timeless', Marcia Griffiths returned to the place where it all started: the legendary Studio One!
Errol Mais - Jah Bible EP (Tad's Record)
The name Errol 'Don' Mais may not immediately ring a bell, but in the late 1970s this Jamaican producer ran his own Roots Tradition label from Greenwich Town or Greenwich Farm in Kingston.
Resonators - Live At Electric EP (Wah Wah 45s)
Apart for the two 12inch releases 'Something Special' and 'Won't Suffer' it had already been since 2016 that Resonators took the studio last, but for 'Live At Electric', accompanied by dub master Darren 'Jamtone' Mathers, they headed to Brighton Electric Studios to give a number of tracks from their repertoire a revamp.
Rootikal Yard - Jah Vibration EP (Roots Musician Records)
We've lost count on how many debut EP's Roots Musician Records producer E.N. Young has been worked on to date, but, in any case, introducing the world to new American reggae talent seems to have become one of his musical missions. This time it's Rootikal Yard's turn, a band from Ontario, a small town about 50 kilometers east of Los Angeles.
Emeterians - Roots O'clock (Stingray Records/VPal)
In many ways 'Roots O'clock' is the logical successor to 'The Magic Touch', because Emeterians once again joined forces with English label Stingray Records. But where predecessor 'The Magic Touch' was rather given a lovers rock and rocksteady vibe, title 'Roots O'clock' already indicates the direction that the Madrilenian trio had in mind for this album.
KOKOKO! - Fongola (Transgressive Records)
Listening to 'Fongola', the debut effort by the latest Congolese revelation KOKOKO!, inadvertently reminded yours truly of similar "congotronics" projects like Staff Benda Bilili, Mbongwana Star or the pioneers of Konono N°1, but just like each of these bands had/have their own unique sound and story, that's also the case with KOKOKO!.
Olcay Bayir - Rüya: Dream For Anatolia (ARC Music)
Thanks to the innovative sound of artists like BaBa ZuLa, Gaye Su Akyol or Altin Gün, Turkish music is the new hype in world music. Olcay Bayir, hailing from Gaziantep in the Anatolian part of Turkey, never sounds as rebellious and idiosyncratic as previous examples, yet in her music she unites elements from Kurdish and Turkish folklore with influences from Western genres.
Seikos - Viaje Al Centro (Coopula)
Seikos is a nine-piece band founded in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, a municipality near Barcelona back in 2014. Alternating between Spanish and Catalan, the band presents a solid festive mix of ska-punk and reggae.
Project Out Of Bounds - Forever EP (Roots Musician Records)
'Forever' is the new 4 track EP by Project Out Of Bounds, a seven-piece band from San Diego.
Dubvisionist - Yoga In Dub (Echo Beach)
If you're still looking for the ideal soundtrack for the Yoga On Dub sessions Jah9 has been promoting worldwide for several years now, 'Yoga In Dub' by German producer, sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist Felix Wolter aka Dubvisionist comes highly recommended.
Various Artists - Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Final Battle (Serious Reggae)
It doesn't happen very often, but on rare occasions the wildest reggae dreams can come true. 'The Final Battle' started with an ambitious idea by Argentinean percussionist and producer Hernan Sforzini, who dreamed of letting Sly & Robbie and the remaining members of the equally legendary Roots Radics play it out against one other in a final ultimate clash.
Dubkasm - Shady Grove (Peng! Sound Records)
If on predecessor 'Rastrumentals', Digistep and DJ Stryda were still exploring the musical legacy of Charles, Digistep's father, for 'Shady Grove' the focus has shifted firmly back onto their home town of Bristol. In 10 tracks the duo honors places and figures that held or still hold a special meaning in the musical history of the city or for them personally.
Hoodna Orchestra - Ofel (Agogo Records)
Hoodna Orchestra is a twelve-piece Israeli formation around guitarist Ilan Smilan named after Hoodna, a bar in Tel Aviv where the band started rehearsing and gave their first concerts. From Arabic, "hoodna" can also be translated as a ceasefire, which can of course be considered a statement in itself as a name for an Israeli band.
Ifriqiyya Electrique - Laylet El Booree (Glitterbeat Records)
Ifriqiyya Electrique will probably never really be our cup of tea, as their sound, a mix of the trance rhythms from the Banga ritual of the descendants of African slaves in the oases of the Sjott el-Djerid in South-Tunisia and Western electro/punk rock was just a bit much for our delicate ears.
Tiken Jah Fakoly - Le Monde Est Chaud (Barclay/Universal)
With 'Le Monde Est Chaud', a title referring both to the literal warming up of the earth and the ecological disasters that come with it, and to the current global political climate in which one conflict follows another, Tiken Jah Fakoly returns to his roots.
Chiki Lora - Ura (Satélite K)
The name Chiki Lora may not immediately ring a bell, but if we add that in the past he fronted Canteca De Macao, amateurs of Spanish mestizo should know what we're on about.
Dub Silence - Anomalie (Self-published)
Dub Silence, a seven piece band with members hailing from Annemasse, Chambery and Lyon, may be the umpteenth French reggae band, but they managed to captivate us from the very first note with their debut album 'Anomalie'.