Ebo Krdum: Diversity

The world has largely turned its attention away from Darfur, where war and genocide raged between 2003 and 2010, and where conflict still simmers. Ebo Krdum is one of many from the western Sudan region who have not forgotten the carnage and he has a message in his music—expressing not bitterness but pluralistic values. Krdum was still in his teens when he began singing and speaking out against a violent, corrupt regime that had no tolerance … More Ebo Krdum: Diversity

Lúcia de Carvalho: Pwanga

Lúcia de Carvalho has a friend who coaches people in writing personal testimonies designed to increase self-esteem. At the end of a project in Angola the friend asked the women farmers she had worked with to pose for a photo and noticed that no one smiled. A translator advised her to reassemble the group and ask, in Chokwe, “Pwanga ni puy?” (Light or darkness?)—and he women all responded “Pwanga!” as their faces lit up. This is the … More Lúcia de Carvalho: Pwanga

Aguamadera: Las historias que han dejado

Walk from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego singing in Spanish and everyone along the route will understand the lyrics, the 10,800 km (6,700 miles) between the two points constituting the longest more-or-less straight line in the world you can travel using a single language. Covering the music shared by Latin America and Spain is, of course, an encyclopedic task. But as impressionistic adventures go, Las historias … More Aguamadera: Las historias que han dejado

Tararua: Bird Like Men

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy flaunted New Zealand’s spectacular landscapes, but over the past generation there has also been, as one critic recently described it, a quiet revolution on the nation’s soundscape. Turn on a news report in 2022 and you’re likely to hear English-speaking commentators sprinkling their speech with Maori words and expressions. The language of the nation’s indigenous population is increasingly seen as a common … More Tararua: Bird Like Men

Yungchen Lhamo: Awakening

Like a mountain wind or a force of nature, Yungchen Lhamo’s voice gracefully and powerfully opens Awakening, her sixth album, demonstrating that beauty exists to direct our attention. In a rare convergence of planetary decay and pandemic, she suggests, all humanity faces the same existential challenge, highlighting how connected and interdependent we are. Surely this … More Yungchen Lhamo: Awakening

Maja Milinković: Kaftan D’Alma

In the Age of Discovery Portugal was the starting point for explorers, but for Maja Milinković it’s the destination. Like adventurers of old, the Bosnian singer-songwriter thrives in parallel worlds, from the church where she sang as a child and the shelter where she learned guitar during the Bosnian war, to classical studies at the Sarajevo Music Academy and the pop-rock that powered her first two albums … More Maja Milinković: Kaftan D’Alma

Le Vent du Nord: 20 Printemps

Though their high-latitude homeland is more than twice the size of France, the Québécois know they’re surrounded by North America’s immense Anglophone universe and their geographic awareness has helped shape the tenacity and vibrancy of their culture. One of Quebec’s most dynamic musical forces is Le Vent du Nord, a folk band whose anniversary album, 20 Printemps (20 Springs) … More Le Vent du Nord: 20 Printemps

Dúa de Pel: Madera de Pájaro

From their formation as Dúa de Pel in 2014, Eva Guillamón and Sonia Megías lived the rarefied life of itinerant artists, flying to Buenos Aires and Beijing, to New York and Tokyo, to London and back to Madrid, performing, lecturing and giving masterclasses, observing assorted cultures as folklorists and musicians. Then came 2020: Along with all humanity, they became marooned nomads traveling only via … More Dúa de Pel: Madera de Pájaro

Barbora Xu: Olin Ennen

Like a grand journey to distant lands, Barbora Xu’s debut album Olin Ennen (I Was) is an exploration of affinities and contrasts: In her delicate-resonant voice, the Czech-born artist sings ancient Finnish and Chinese poems, for which she composes original music and accompanies herself on zithers—Finnish kantele, Chinese guzheng and guqin. Though the album’s cross-cultural view is modern, the juxtaposed elements give her songs a timeless … More Barbora Xu: Olin Ennen

Cristina Clara: Lua Adversa

The classic music genres emerged in seaside melting pots during the nineteenth century: In Lisbon it was fado, imbued with longing but often the kind that hurts so good; in Rio de Janeiro it was choro, commonly exuding joy even though its name means “cry.” Affinities aside, fado and choro (also called chorinho) are infrequently paired—and rarely so deliciously as on Cristina Clara’s debut album. With Lua Adversa (Contrary Moon), the artist ambles … More Cristina Clara: Lua Adversa