Al Oído: The Best of Mónica Giraldo

Before you process a single word, there is poetry in the sound of Mónica Giraldo’s voice and guitar—a natural healing force akin to a magnificent sunset or refreshing breeze. As the lyrics flow the sensation deepens with joys, challenges, dreams and truths that both surprise and evoke recognition. Al Oído – The Best of Mónica Giraldo includes songs from the Bogotá-born, Latin Grammy-nominated … More Al Oído: The Best of Mónica Giraldo

Kazan: Ružo​

Based on his study of birdcalls, Darwin came to believe that love songs, no less than love itself, were essential to human propagation. Opting for science over criticism, however, he never weighed in on one conundrum: Whether a romantic ballad is beautiful or tedious often has little or no bearing on its success in courtship. A case in point is Ružo (Rose), the debut album of the Croatian ensemble Kazan. Their traditional love songs in retro-modern garb are … More Kazan: Ružo​

Olivia Chaney: Shelter

There’s magic in Olivia Chaney’s second solo album, the how of it defying explanation but the where instructive: An 18th-century cottage on the North Yorkshire moors, no electricity, plumbing or running water; a refuge from urban noise, distraction; solitude, where she confronts the uncreative demons, wrestling with them until her inner chorus of angels emerges. Notwithstanding the sharp sense of place in her writing retreat and her songs … More Olivia Chaney: Shelter

Le Vent du Nord: Territoires

Oz, Neverwhere, Asteroid B-612—great artists create worlds or pair real domains with fantasylands to explore larger questions. Count in this company Le Vent du Nord, vanguard of Québec’s progressive folk movement. On Territoires, they tread overlapping realms—the Québec and New France of today and of history, of the heart, imagination and aspiration. No surrealism in these territories but the ensemble more than compensates with soundscapes … More Le Vent du Nord: Territoires

Tautumeitas

Laptops, extended lifespans, the means to reach any point on Earth within 24 hours—modernity has its advantages. The past, meanwhile, beckons with things like community, patience, art, wisdom. The six women of the Latvian folk group Tautumeitas appeal to our traditional vein with polyphonic stories but also remind us—with old-new and local-global beats and tones—that we can meld eras and cultures and have it all. On their almost-debut … More Tautumeitas

Urna and Kroke: Ser

The grasslands of China’s Inner Mongolia region are far from any ocean, but Urna Chahar-Tugchi observes that her home turf is often called the “Sea of Songs”—a fitting metaphor for a rich musical culture and for Urna’s awe-inspiring voice, rising like a wave and sailing across a soundscape seemingly as expansive as her childhood horizon. She grew up in a family of herders … More Urna and Kroke: Ser

Idan Raichel: And If You Will Come to Me

Idan Raichel reshaped Israel’s music landscape, integrating Middle Eastern, Ethiopian and Latin sounds and taking his band, the Idan Raichel Project, onto the world stage. He has notably performed at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington and with Palestinian singer-qanun player Ali Amr in New York. Raichel has written more than … More Idan Raichel: And If You Will Come to Me

Sopa de Pedra: Ao Longe Já Se Ouvia

In the folk tale, a hungry traveler stops in a village and asks for food. Rebuffed, he fills a pot with water from a stream, puts a stone in it and places it over a fire. Villagers intrigued by the idea of “Stone Soup”—delicious, the clever traveler insists—surround him and eventually offer ingredients (carrots, onions, seasoning) and share the meal. Like the story that inspired their name, the women of Sopa de … More Sopa de Pedra: Ao Longe Já Se Ouvia

Anandi Bhattacharya: Joys Abound

Avatar, shampoo, pyjama, bungalow, veranda, nirvana—all words from India adopted into an array of western languages. Sharing works both ways: Kolkata-born singer Anandi Bhattacharya observes, “I do not believe I was meant to imbibe my own culture alone.” A child prodigy who began studying Indian classical music at age three, she was also exposed to the global sound spectrum through … More Anandi Bhattacharya: Joys Abound