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Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective: Watina (Cumbancha/Elite)

Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective: Watina (Cumbancha/Elite)

If nothing else, Music From Elsewhere can send you to the atlas: this collection of warm, melodic and memorable songs comes from one of the most well-known singers of the Garifuna, a people who live along the Atlantic coast of Belize to Costa Rica. By all accounts they play reggae for the tourists and their own African-influenced music for...

Various: Musica Negra in the Americas (Network/Soutbound)

Various: Musica Negra in the Americas (Network/Soutbound)

Some years ago the estimable Network label released the groundbreaking Desert Blues collection of music from the Sahara region, a superb double disc in a beautiful and informative long-form package. This re-release of the similarly conceived collection of the music of the various slavery cultures of the Americas is its equal: two discs of...

Marcio Faraco: Invento (Harmonia Mundi/Ode)

Marcio Faraco: Invento (Harmonia Mundi/Ode)

Okay, back in Brazil there are probably hundreds of guys just like Faraco, good looking singer-guitarists who can hush a busy cafe with their sensitive, feather-light songs and hypnotic, acoustic playing. But that should take nothing away from this gentle album which seemed to be everything I disliked -- slightly smug self-assurance, songs...

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Music from Mali doesn't come much more mesmerising or mellow than this consistently laidback series of songs by one of that country's most inventive and musically curious griots. For this album, recorded on three continents, Koite typically drew on Mali's regional styles -- although most listeners (self included) won't be attuned to these...

El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

This Senegalese singer-guitarist (here recorded in Paris) has one of those mesmerisingly soulful voices which, even though you probably don't understand a word, pulls you in. His lyrics address social issues (if translating avec mon rudimentary Francaise est bien) -- but you get that from the emotion he pours into the words. French...

The Garifuna Women's Project: Umalali (Elite)

The Garifuna Women's Project: Umalali (Elite)

The sudden death in January of singer-songwriter Andy Palacio from Belize robbed the Garifuna movement of an important figurehead. His album Watina took the distinctive music of the coastal people of north-east South America -- who speak Arawak, a native Indian language once found in Jamaica -- and put it into the pages of world music...

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which swept across large tracts of Asia, music producer Patrick Sebag and others visited the regions to record and film local musicians. This became the Laya Project CD/DVD (reviewed here with some questions asked about the ethics of the thing, given it seemed no money went back to the people to help them...

Tcheka: Nu Monda (Harmonia)

Tcheka: Nu Monda (Harmonia)

One of the chief delights of being in Elsewhere is that music usually comes with no promotional blasts or advance reviews, so you make the discovery for yourself. It often comes from people you've never heard of before either. Like this guy from Cape Verde Island who plays driving and melodic acoustic guitar, and possesses a voice which...

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