Lycinaïs Jean

She has the look of today’s youth—pierced, tattooed, androgynous—and the soul of romantic poets through the ages. She blends her music but refuses to blend herself, or calibrate her career arc according to market forces. And therein may rest the spark of the singer-songwriter’s prodigious talent. On her debut eponymous album, Lycinaïs Jean (“Jean” pronounced as in Billie Jean), with roots in Guadeloupe and Martinique, now living in Paris … More Lycinaïs Jean

Dafné Kritharas: Djoyas de Mar

Every sea is a timeless highway of hope and sorrow, and Dafné Kritharas has combed the Aegean for telltale echoes. Though focused on tides from the 1920s and 1930s, her crosscurrents run deeper: In 1492, the multicultural Ottoman Empire welcomed Jewish refugees from Spain, creating Ladino-speaking communities across the eastern Mediterranean. The sun set on pluralism with … More Dafné Kritharas: Djoyas de Mar

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

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

Rotem Cohen: Kol Kach Yafeh Lach

When it comes to synergistic contrasts, to matching moods and cultural elements that don’t typically appear together and then making them pop, Rotem Cohen has few equals. He began his career writing for some of Israel’s leading singers (Rita, Boaz Sharabi) and ultimately decided to face the audience himself. His first two albums established him as a virtuoso of Hebrew song immersed in Spanish … More Rotem Cohen: Kol Kach Yafeh Lach

Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Samba isn’t just Brazil’s most iconic cultural symbol, it’s also a useful lens. From its roots in Africa to its emergence in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, from attracting the most talented artists to inspiring pulsing love stories, from bringing together people of different classes and races to channeling (through Carnival) every aspect of Brazilian history, it reflects and radiates countless facets of the nation’s identity and soul. On Banho de Fé (Shower of Faith) … More Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Lea Salonga: Bahaghari

Could the singing voice of Disney royals Mulan and Jasmine be that of a real princess? Vocal power aside, Lea Salonga is both regal and down to earth, the star who illuminates Broadway, the West End and the global concert circuit but never forgets home. Wherever she flies, her countrymen can follow her through her column in The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her philanthropic work with World Vision Philippines focuses on expanding educational … More Lea Salonga: Bahaghari

Koum Tara

Like most urban settlements, Lyon began with people and currents from other places—Roman refugees camped at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. For two millennia the rivers have framed the city’s heart and in recent years La Confluence, France’s largest urban renewal project, has transformed the area near the original encampment into a vibrant residential, business and cultural hub. Now Lyon is home to another kind of convergence, a dazzling … More Koum Tara

Cocanha: i ès ?

Occitan, mother tongue of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart, had a literary golden age in the 12th century and produced the great singer-songwriters of the Middle Ages, the troubadours and trobarises. It was still widely spoken in southern France in 1904 when the Occitan poet Frédéric Mistral won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the 20th century was hard on the storied Romance language (nearest relative: Catalan). Though commonly … More Cocanha: i ès ?