Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

The samba artist Diogo Nogueira has reached new heights and greater depth with his fifth solo studio album: It’s the first collection for which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs (with A-list partners, including Hamilton de Holanda and Dona Ivone Lara) and it also establishes him as a scholar. Nogueira’s family history (father a leading sambista) and the observances of the samba centennial in 2016 fueled his desire to explore the genre’s roots in Afro-Brazilian … More Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

Kata: Tívils døtur

The voices of the women’s quintet are celestial and the album was recorded in a church dating from 1250, but the words embedded in Kata’s enchanting harmonies tell mostly cautionary tales. Tívils døtur (Tivil’s Daughters) features mythical heroes and folk figures, trolls, witches, giants, slayers and, always in the middle, vulnerable women—all figures in traditional songs from the Faroe Islands. Kata performs a cappella save for light drum and … More Kata: Tívils døtur

Blaumut: Equilibri

In principle, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but in artful hands the ratio can change. Take, for example, Jack Vettriano’s painting “The Singing Butler”—showing an elegant couple, under servant-held umbrellas, dancing on a beach—which Blaumut lead singer and composer Xavi de la Iglesia brings to life as Vint-i-un botons (Twenty-one buttons), an equal-value, 240-word song, simultaneously tangible and surreal, narrated by the butler himself … More Blaumut: Equilibri

Claudia Koreck: Holodeck

As consistently as she releases sparkling albums, Claudia Koreck reaches new heights. Her 2007 debut ignited a revival of Bavarian-dialect song, a movement that now counts her as its Grande Dame. In short order one of her compositions became a major film title track and she toured Germany with the Eagles. Her success rests less on strategic choices than in simply not letting herself be forced into either/or boxes—she’s a small town girl and a … More Claudia Koreck: Holodeck

Zenobia: Blot en Ild

Like campers kindling a fire with logs, twigs and dry leaves, the women of Zenobia stoke their music with every-life elements—joy and folly, love and sorrow, pride and prejudice. For their fourth album, Louise Støjberg (lead vocals), Mette Kathrine Jensen Stærk (accordion) and Charlotte Støjberg (piano), have composed 16 melodies in the Danish folk tradition, with the lion’s share of new lyrics by Martin Rauff-Nielsen, in addition to some classic … More Zenobia: Blot en Ild

Moh! Kouyaté: Fé Toki

Unlike Robert Frost, obliged to choose between diverging roads in a yellow wood, the singer-songwriter Moh! Kouyaté was able to take two routes at once. On his geographic journey he retraced the course of the blues from the Niger River, in his native Guinea, to the Mississippi Delta. On his concurrent artistic voyage he followed the sound waves to the confluence of blues, jazz and classic rock, where he found the energy source for his music … More Moh! Kouyaté: Fé Toki

Carrie Newcomer: Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Listening Post 131. For an age of battered facts, closing doors and short attention spans, the folksinger-songwriter Carrie Newcomer is blessed with a superpower: Many talented singers can engage us and touch our heartstrings, but she has the ability, in a three-minute song, to locate and tie a ribbon around the better angels of our nature. The bard … More Carrie Newcomer: Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Gatehouse: Tús Nua

Seneca was the first to observe that the best way to master a subject is to teach it, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that the members of Gatehouse are all music teachers. John Wynne and John McEvoy are Irish trad veterans who have played and recorded together as a flute-fiddle duo, and Jacinta McEvoy (guitar, concertina) has accompanied both over the years. What made this Roscommon-based faculty a quartet—and allows them to add lore to their folk … More Gatehouse: Tús Nua

Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Elida Almeida describes her second album as an x-ray of Cape Verde, stories that look beneath the surface of hope and disillusion. At 24, she is a consummate singer-songwriter, blending her island homeland’s hallmark styles—funaná, morna, batuque and tabanka—with Latin energy and traces of R&B. Across 12 tracks, the album offers a current, delightfully applied, of life and art imitating one another. With the most mournful doses of reality, Almeida’s warm voice and gentle or upbeat rhythms … More Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Ferhat Tunç: Kobani

The Kurdish-Turkish singer-songwriter Ferhat Tunç has achieved artistic success, but he has also provoked criticism that goes well beyond negative reviews. Over the course of his 30-year career, he has been harassed, censored, fined, indicted, arrested, jailed and received death threats. As this review posts, he awaits trial in Istanbul on charges of “insulting the president” of Turkey and “propaganda for a terrorist organization” over his support for the Kurdish rights movement. The alleged crimes arose from Twitter … More Ferhat Tunç: Kobani