Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs – A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Leyla McCalla stands enigmatically on the cover of Vari-Colored Songs, her dress suggesting the solution to a puzzle: Connect the dots. On the album she sings eight Langston Hughes poems that she set to music, five traditional Haitian songs (in Creole), and two original compositions—all to lean, elegant arrangements. The common thread is … More Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs – A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Beppe Gambetta: Where the Wind Blows / Dove Tia o Vento

Over a career spanning 40-plus years and more than a dozen albums, Beppe Gambetta has steadily added talents to his repertoire. From a young acoustic guitarist channeling Italian and American folk and bluegrass into a signature style, he became singer, composer, arranger, sound engineer and concert producer. At age 65 he has added one … More Beppe Gambetta: Where the Wind Blows / Dove Tia o Vento

Trio Bacana: Transatlântikèr

From their name choices you might not guess that the women of Trio Bacana are French, residents of an ancient walled town in Brittany. Bacana is Brazilian Portuguese slang for “cool,” and the awesome trio’s 2017 debut album was an all-Brazilian affair. Transatlântikèr is an invented word combining the oceanic highway linking France to the Americas with kèr—meaning “village” in Breton and “heart” in Réunion Creole. Cultivating their roots in samba … More Trio Bacana: Transatlântikèr

Delfina Cheb: Doce Milongas de Amor y un Tango Desesperado

The heart exerts its own form of gravity: The farther it travels, the more it feels the tug of home. When 18-year-old Delfina Cheb arrived at Boston’s Berklee College of Music she recalls drinking in the global music universe—but when she began writing songs she found herself drawn to the sounds of Buenos Aires and the spray of the Río … More Delfina Cheb: Doce Milongas de Amor y un Tango Desesperado

Francis Cabrel: À l’aube revenant

On his fourteenth album Francis Cabrel exhibits a striking mix of freshness and nostalgia, reminding fans new and old why his voice, pen and ever-expanding canon of folk-blues-chanson remain so central to the soundtrack of the French-speaking world. Aside from its evocative treatment of modern and courtly love, freedom and alienation, technological tyranny and global warming, the … More Francis Cabrel: À l’aube revenant

Ayom

Continents separated by geological forces are knit together again by human movement. But the case of Brazilian singer-songwriter Jabu Morales is exceptional: When she landed in cosmopolitan Barcelona she entered an atmosphere in which her strengths—radiant voice, magnetic persona, Afro-Brazilian rhythms—seemingly became superpowers, especially as they marinated in musical styles from the Mediterranean to Angola, from the Caribbean … More Ayom

Sutari: Siostry Rzeki / River Sisters

Air, time, energy, life, blood, words, water: They all flow and they all play roles in the trances, mysteries, ancient rituals, sharp insights, drama and delight of Siostry Rzeki (River Sisters), the third album by the Polish women’s trio Sutari. In eight songs, Basia Songin, Kasia Kapela and Zosia Zembrzuska explore nature, freedom and femininity while expressing themselves in endlessly creative … More Sutari: Siostry Rzeki / River Sisters

Black Umfolosi: Washabalal’ Umhlaba / Earth Song

The Zimbabwean ensemble Black Umfolosi takes its name from a river in South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, whence the group’s ancestors migrated almost 200 years ago. And though the zigzagging riverbed has been mostly dry in recent years it remains a wellspring of identity and memory inspiring the gentle cadences and sparkling harmonies of its distant sons and daughters. Over the course of … More Black Umfolosi: Washabalal’ Umhlaba / Earth Song

Carla Pires: Cartografado

Travel far and discover yourself: The idea has inspired literary figures and works from Camus to Kerouac to Cloud Atlas. The twist Carla Pires offers on her fourth studio album is assimilating the distant horizon not only into herself but also her art—taking fado away from its origins in Lisbon and showing how it becomes more world-wise and simultaneously more deeply fado. She comes naturally to Cartografado (Fado’s Cartography), having … More Carla Pires: Cartografado

Tio: Sorousian

Any artist who mixes traditional and contemporary music navigates between old and new worlds but few, if any, bridge gaps as wide as Tio Bang. The multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter divides his time between modern Melbourne, Australia, and a treehouse—made of bamboo and cast-off timbers tucked between the roots of a towering banyan—in his native Vanuatu, an 83-island archipelago embracing more than 100 languages. On Sorousian (Story) … More Tio: Sorousian