Nakany Kanté: De Conakry a Barcelone

Nakany Kanté’s third album evokes a place where disparate cultures and experiences harmonize, each home displays artifacts reflecting the owner’s origins and precious pieces acquired on journeys of discovery, and each soul is forged by days of challenge and success, cheer and sadness. The smooth mix of De Conakry a Barcelone is organic, echoing not only a dialogue of African and Western … More Nakany Kanté: De Conakry a Barcelone

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

El Pony Pisador: Matricular una Galera

They are zany, surreal and buoyant, bathtub mariners and virtuosos who sweep through a composition like a storm, leaving behind a perfect mosaic of disparate elements. Five guys from Barcelona who have never gone to sea, El Pony Pisador surfs the soundwaves, inspired by Lord of the Rings (they imagined their earliest gigs as playing “hobbit party music”) and the comic strip figures Asterix and … More El Pony Pisador: Matricular una Galera

Aziza Brahim: Sahari

On the poignant album cover a girl in ballet shoes and a tutu poses against the backdrop of a refugee camp. Aziza Brahim’s enchanting desert blues are yet to come but the singer-songwriter has already riveted our attention to the story of her people. Brahim herself was born in a camp a year after her mother fled Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, Spain’s last colonial foothold in Africa. The 1975 invasion displaced tens of thousands, many of … More Aziza Brahim: Sahari

Xabier Díaz & Adufeiras de Salitre: Noró

In an introductory prose-poem, Xabier Díaz identifies Noró as the north wind—with previous incarnations as stone and as woman—who fell in love with an Irishman peering at the cliffs of Galway. As wind, Noró dominates humankind because she controls the fine melodic threads we call air and entices us with music. The legend gives a binary … More Xabier Díaz & Adufeiras de Salitre: Noró

Manuel Malou: Unomundo

Think global, act local. The mantra applies to government planning, the environment and business, but it’s also a defining feature of music—and few artists active today have embodied the concept longer than the French-Spanish singer-songwriter Manuel Malou. When he was eight he won a flamenco competition in Paris; as a teenager, he was in the vanguard of Spain’s post-Franco cultural awakening and, as part of Los Golfos, created an enduring … More Manuel Malou: Unomundo

Che Sudaka: Almas Rebeldes

They began in struggle, illegal immigrants from Colombia and Argentina playing their music on the streets of Barcelona. Fifteen years later, Che Sudaka has played more than 1,500 shows in 45 countries, etching a profile as exuberant, socially conscious, dance provoking, independent thinking exponents of cumbia-ska-punk. Following a tradition of controlled chaos, never doing just … More Che Sudaka: Almas Rebeldes

Carmen París & Nabyla Maan: Dos Medinas Blancas

If you had to choose one biography as a window to the splendor and diversity of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), a good choice might be the scientist-philosopher-musician-poet Ibn Bâjja. Though much of his work was lost, his theories on astronomy and physics were preserved by Maimonides and Averroes, fellow polymaths who shared his fate—all outlived the age of coexistence and died in exile. The modern … More Carmen París & Nabyla Maan: Dos Medinas Blancas

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

Mor Karbasi: Ojos de Novia

The Sephardic saga includes chapters of persecution and expulsion, but on her forth album the Israeli singer-songwriter Mor Karbasi (who has also lived in London and Seville) looks at her Jewish heritage from Spain and Morocco mostly through the prism of love. Ojos de Novia (Eyes of a Bride) embraces songs of romantic love (though sometimes involving disapproving or even warring parents), love of family, of God, of singing and of nature. This is an … More Mor Karbasi: Ojos de Novia