Cristina Branco: Branco

If social media represents the spotlight, what’s hidden in the shadow? Cristina Branco answers on her fifteenth album: Real life, a jumble of dream, sorrow, survival, despair, the passage and freezing of time, and every love story too ambiguous or messy to post about. A persistent question surrounding Branco’s career in recent years is whether she has left fado behind or simply created her own fado-piano genre of Portuguese chanson. But perhaps the … More Cristina Branco: Branco

Daoirí Farrell: A Lifetime of Happiness

When Daoirí Farrell sings, time slips away and a powerful sense of place takes over. Tales of romance begin not in a car or—heaven forbid—on social media, but typically when two people out walking meet on an Irish country road, and where a random tweet is not a meme but an avian sound. With his third solo album, Farrell solidifies his reputation … More Daoirí Farrell: A Lifetime of Happiness

Kongero: Kom

The title track of Kom (Come), Kongero’s fourth album, is a siren song—traditional, to be sure, but meant to beguile listeners in real time: “Come, come…/You young, enticed, dazzled, wounded…/You cannot escape/Hear the bells of temptation.” The motives of the four women who offer the a cappella chant are benevolent—thankfully, because their magic actually works. To say that Kongero … More Kongero: Kom

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​