World Listening Post publishes album reviews that showcase music from around the globe. The site encompasses a wide range of contemporary and traditional music styles and encourages readers and listeners to go beyond their own comfort zones by crossing national and linguistic frontiers. You can access reviews, starting with the most recent, by scrolling down the left-hand column of this page; with the index (alphabetical by artist); or by country and language in the right-hand column.
VRï: Islais a Genir

VRï: Islais a Genir

Dig Deep, Fly High Listening Post 373. Every nation’s history has joyful and mournful chapters, and the Welsh folk/chamber music trio VRï—Patrick Rimes, Jordan Price Williams and Aneirin Jones—uses artistic flair and research rigor to spin their homeland’s ups and...

Khiyo: Bondona

Khiyo: Bondona

Bengal on the Thames Listening Post 360. Khiyo emerged when Sohini Alam, a singer born in London to Bangladeshi parents, met Oliver Weeks, a Gloucester-born musician-composer steeped in Bengali culture. Their work together reflects nothing less than the laws of...

Tanya Brittain: Hireth

Tanya Brittain: Hireth

Lost and Found Listening Post 313. Hireth is Cornish for a species of nostalgia, akin to the Portuguese saudade, that expresses insatiable yearning. On her first solo album, singer-songwriter Tanya Brittain comes magnificently close to quenching this singular thirst....

The Teacups: In Which…

The Teacups: In Which…

A Way With, And Without, Words Listening Post 302. The Teacups have etched a high profile on the United Kingdom’s folk landscape these past ten years and the a cappella quartet’s third album is an epic journey that adds to their stellar reputation. The collection’s 19...

Let Drum Beat: Lua Cheia

Let Drum Beat: Lua Cheia

Musicalité, Égalité, Sororité Listening Post 274. Music is a leading indicator of equality—or at least it offers a taste of what a better world might be like. Jazz, rock & roll, flamenco and cumbia are just a few examples of sounds that integrated cultures, even...

Malinky: Handsel

Malinky: Handsel

Digging for Treasure Listening Post 265. Malinky’s sixth album is a 20th anniversary gift—or handsel—to the award-winning ensemble’s legions of fans and to the Scots-language folk tradition its members faithfully serve. Co-founder Steve Byrne sums up the band’s ethos:...

Coe, Peters & Smyth: The Road to Peterloo

Coe, Peters & Smyth: The Road to Peterloo

A Hard Day’s Right Listening Post 242. Events buried in history can shape society long after they have faded from view. Many Britons have recently become reacquainted with a seminal chapter in their national story—the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Notwithstanding the...

Kate Rusby: Philosophers, Poets & Kings

Kate Rusby: Philosophers, Poets & Kings

Yorkshire Nightingale Listening Post 238. There’s an exquisite equilibrium to Kate Rusby’s voice, at once celestial and cozy, planting a wistful note in the most comical saga and a vein of comfort in the most tragic. On Philosophers, Poets & Kings, her seventeenth...

Julie Fowlis, Éamon Doorley, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre: Allt

Julie Fowlis, Éamon Doorley, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre: Allt

Streaming Tradition Listening Post 216. Ireland and Scotland may be separated by the North Channel but they are also linked by a stream of inter-Celtic partnerships, leagues, festivals and initiatives. Allt, a collaborative album by two Celtic music power couples, is...

Amira Kheir: Mystic Dance

Amira Kheir: Mystic Dance

Rolling on the River Listening Post 215. The base camp for Mystic Dance (رقصة سحرية), Amira Kheir’s third album, appears on the cover: The pyramids of Meroë, 200 kilometers (125 miles) down the Nile from Khartoum. The locale is an identity marker for the...

Robyn Stapleton: Songs of Robert Burns

Robyn Stapleton: Songs of Robert Burns

Tradition Most Modern Listening Post 207. When Robyn Stapleton sings Robert Burns we are suspended between the centuries. So captivating are her lilting voice and warm presence that temporal cues—like a fine and equally light classical-folk-jazz accompaniment—can wash...

Mary Ann Kennedy: Glaschu – Home Town Love Song

Mary Ann Kennedy: Glaschu – Home Town Love Song

Gaelopolis Listening Post 200. When Mary Ann Kennedy was artist-in-residence at the Gaelic College on Skye, in the Inner Hebrides, it occurred to her that Gaels love to sing about home, which usually means Scotland’s Highlands and Islands—their mountain mists and...

Olivia Chaney: Shelter

Olivia Chaney: Shelter

Angels & Demons Listening Post 199. There’s magic in Olivia Chaney’s second solo album, the how of it defying explanation but the where instructive: An eighteenth-century cottage on the North Yorkshire moors, no electricity, plumbing or running water; a refuge...

Rachael McShane & The Cartographers: When All Is Still

Rachael McShane & The Cartographers: When All Is Still

Magnificent Transgression Listening Post 179. Sex, death and rebellion are the stuff of tavern gossip and folk music, and they reach their fullest resonance when delivered with a healthy dose of irreverence. This is the payload of When All Is Still, a rollicking album...

Namvula: Quiet Revolutions

Namvula: Quiet Revolutions

Places in the Heart Listening Post 153. The difference between Namvula Rennie’s 2014 debut album and her new release Quiet Revolutions mirrors the distinction between a short story anthology and a novel—on one hand a lovely collection in which each song reflects a...

Julie Fowlis: Alterum

Julie Fowlis: Alterum

Angel and Siren Listening Post 147. The starting point is harmony between Scottish Gaelic—“spoken for over a thousand years,” Julie Fowlis observes, “yet considered otherworldly on its own shores”—and her enchanting, heaven-to-earth voice. On Alterum, she approaches...

Gwyneth Glyn: Tro

Gwyneth Glyn: Tro

Turn, Turn, Turn Listening Post 139. Gwyneth Glyn’s elegant songs have more layers than a mille-feuille. Her images and subtexts rotate clear and dreamlike, overlaid with lyric tones of light and shadow. She touches on homecoming, remembrance, insomnia, protection and...

Mary Ann Kennedy: An Dàn – Gaelic Songs for a Modern World

Mary Ann Kennedy: An Dàn – Gaelic Songs for a Modern World

All the Right Notes for Building Listening Post 126. Just as construction cranes on a city landscape signal renewal, so do new songs indicate the vitality of a language. Mary Ann Kennedy, an architect of the Scottish Gaelic Renaissance, builds toward the heavens not...

Coope Boyes & Simpson: In Flanders Fields

Coope Boyes & Simpson: In Flanders Fields

A Monument of Songs Listening Post 93. World War I hostilities began in Europe on August 4, 1914—and 976 days later the United States joined the conflict. On August 4, 2014, the English a cappella trio Coope Boyes and Simpson released a sweeping 50-track homage to the...

Claire Hastings: Between River and Railway

Claire Hastings: Between River and Railway

Feel the Burns Listening Post 72. No single album can capture the entire arc of Scotland’s musical culture, but there is a breathtaking sweep to what Claire Hastings accomplishes in the 10 tracks of her debut effort. She gambols across time and space (from...

The Full English

The Full English

Master Stroke for Bygone Folk Listening Post 31. The English Folk Dance and Song Society commissioned the singer-scholar Fay Hield to gather an ensemble of musicians to explore the society’s newly launched web archive in 2013 and produce a concert of some of the...

Ghazalaw

Ghazalaw

Entwined Affinities Listening Post 24. Gwyneth Glyn sings and writes Welsh folk music. Tauseef Akhtar is a singer-composer from Mumbai and master of Indian ghazal, a traditional form of love poetry. Neither is the sort to compromise cultural integrity; nonetheless,...

Julie Fowlis: Gach Sgeul

Julie Fowlis: Gach Sgeul

Fresh Gael Listening Post 5. If you’ve heard that Scottish Gaelic is an endangered language, then listening to Julie Fowlis might cause some cognitive dissonance. Her voice is so angelic it seems more likely that people would be studying just to be able to understand...

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