Olcay Bayir: Rüya – Dream for Anatolia

Olcay Bayir’s extraordinary second album begins with an endless walk on a narrow road, the trek drawn from an Alevi allegory of life’s journey. The artist has a parallel story: Born in southern Turkey, her musical Kurdish family—father and brother her first teachers—moved frequently around Anatolia and in every locale Olcay … More Olcay Bayir: Rüya – Dream for Anatolia

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