Kany García: Soy Yo

The personal and the universal, the yin-yang of human connection. Artists strive for the formula—individual experience finding broad audience—and the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Kany García has scored with her perfect fifth album. The elements of Soy Yo (It’s Me) are her velvety voice, elegant melodies and intimate lyrics about life and love, family and friends, fear and courage. Soy Yo is also the culmination of a journey that took the artist from … More Kany García: Soy Yo

Nsimbi

There is wisdom in movement and movement in wisdom. That’s an essential takeaway—and a lyrical one it is—from Nsimbi, the album and partnership of Ugandan hip-hop pioneer GNL Zamba and American singer-songwriter Miriam Tamar. Based on Swahili proverbs and the artists’ quest for cross-cultural understanding, the album’s 13 engrossing stories—performed in Luganda, Lingala, Swahili and English—bridge peoples, eras and musical … More Nsimbi

Subhi: Shaitaan Dil

Wall Street, Broadway, Bollywood… Legions of aspirants would give anything to work in just one of the places Subhi Khanna passed through on her winding road—from India to America, through finance, journalism and music—pursuing an elusive dream. While commuting between Chicago and Mumbai, where she was composing for film and digital projects, she lamented spending more time networking than creating. One hot summer afternoon in a rickshaw … More Subhi: Shaitaan Dil

Bonsoir, Catin: L’aurore

The five women and one man of Bonsoir, Catin do superbly everything you’d expect of a Cajun band, and they are always tossing something new into the gumbo. They set any feet within hollering distance two-stepping and waltzing to their vivacious tunes. They spin evocative stories of desire and heartbreak with a feminist edge. They revere tradition but also build on it—of the 13 tracks on L’aurore (Aurora), 10 are new, written by band members … More Bonsoir, Catin: L’aurore

Flor de Toloache: Las Caras Lindas

“Whatever women do,” observed the feminist pioneer Charlotte Whitton, “they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” No surprise that when Flor de Toloache became the first all-female mariachi band in New York City—and a rarity on the wider mariachi stage—they encountered skeptics. But the group’s first album earned a Grammy nomination … More Flor de Toloache: Las Caras Lindas

Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko

Bondeko, the work of three prodigiously gifted artists who mix voices and compositions to produce a dreamy, multi-layered sound, is a transcendent microcosm of the musical diversity of Africa and its Diaspora. The singer-songwriters—Gérald Toto (Paris-born guitarist/musical director with roots in Martinique), Richard Bona (Cameroonian bassist, who commutes between Paris and New York) and Lokua Kanza (Congolese guitarist based in Paris)—first … More Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko

Carrie Newcomer: Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Listening Post 131. For an age of battered facts, closing doors and short attention spans, the folksinger-songwriter Carrie Newcomer is blessed with a superpower: Many talented singers can engage us and touch our heartstrings, but she has the ability, in a three-minute song, to locate and tie a ribbon around the better angels of our nature. The bard … More Carrie Newcomer: Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Prince Royce: Five

Most of Prince Royce’s career as a singer and songwriter has been dedicated to bachata, but with an open window letting in subtle flavors from outside. The Bronx-born son of Dominican parents, Royce has released albums in Spanish and English, switching back and forth with a dexterity undoubtedly fueled by the mental proximity of parallel vocabularies. On his fifth studio album, a collection of solo and duet love songs (mostly in Spanish), his … More Prince Royce: Five

Las Cafeteras: Tastes Like L.A.

Bob Dylan warned the Establishment that a raging battle would “soon shake your windows and rattle your walls/For the times they are a-changin.’” Five decades later, If I Was President, the signature protest track from Las Cafeteras’ new album, is likewise animated by the idea that anyone can imagine the power to repair the world: “Mr. President, I’ve come to make clear/That I don’t have the papers to work over here,” it begins, proceeding to a priority … More Las Cafeteras: Tastes Like L.A.

Claire Lynch: North By South

Among Claire Lynch’s many talents is an uncanny ability to embody a man’s song—her angelic voice not imitating the opposite sex but simply erasing the importance of gender. She memorably personified a Civil War soldier in Kennesaw Line and on her latest album she’s a deckhand-turned-ship’s captain who spends 50 years with the love of his life, the Molly May (video 1). The song—written by J.P. and Gervais Cormier—is bittersweet, like any story … More Claire Lynch: North By South