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

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

Cuca Roseta: Luz

Rather than linger over beautiful sunsets, our ancestors ran home at dusk, so fraught with danger and superstition was the night. Advanced societies tend to take light for granted. On her fourth album, Cuca Roseta shows a preindustrial appreciation for light’s physical and spiritual dimensions—illumination and inspiration—and treats fado, Portugal’s signature music form, as a natural source of joy and introspection. Roseta is a singer and songwriter … More Cuca Roseta: Luz

Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

The samba artist Diogo Nogueira has reached new heights and greater depth with his fifth solo studio album: It’s the first collection for which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs (with A-list partners, including Hamilton de Holanda and Dona Ivone Lara) and it also establishes him as a scholar. Nogueira’s family history (father a leading sambista) and the observances of the samba centennial in 2016 fueled his desire to explore the genre’s roots in Afro-Brazilian … More Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

Carminho Canta Tom Jobim

Wise is the traveler who dives into another culture without losing her own identity, who enables both visitor and host to see themselves in a new light. So it is that Carminho, a pre-eminent star of the fado renaissance, brings her made-in-Portugal voice to songs by the late Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim, the patriarch of bossa nova. An invitation from Jobim’s family prompted Carminho Sings Tom Jobim, the offer including accompaniment by the master’s band—guitarist Paulo Jobim … More Carminho Canta Tom Jobim

Denise Studart: Joia Rara

Though the songs on Joia Rara (Rare Jewel) have the feel of classics, the album’s 10 tracks are actually new compositions on a debut album. In her smooth, sweet voice, Denise Studart animates the works of composer Sandor Buys—samba and other Brazilian styles—in a seamless bonding of fresh and déjà vu. Peço licença (An Offer of Samba) has an Afro-samba swing, accentuated by percussion and seven-string guitar: “My samba is for anyone who’d like … More Denise Studart: Joia Rara

Flavia Coelho: Sonho Real

She is innocent and wise, a nomad and a poet, an alchemist of styles whose music is more colorful than the sum of its parts. Flavia Coelho, a girl from the slums of Rio de Janeiro who sang in the Paris métro and emerged a star, had none of the resources but all the energy and talent she needed. On Sonho Real (Dream Come True), her third album, she mixes elements of forró, ska, reggae and dub, spins … More Flavia Coelho: Sonho Real

Pauline Croze: Bossa Nova

When bossa nova swept the world, no country was more receptive than France. Marcel Camus’ Oscar-winning film Black Orpheus—music by Tom Jobim and Luiz Bonfá—channeled the Brazilian wave to new audiences. French artists translated and sang bossa nova anthems, and some composed original music in the genre. Sixty years later, the beat goes on. After three solid albums of pop/folk groove, French singer-guitarist Pauline Croze has taken on the bossa nova canon with poise … More Pauline Croze: Bossa Nova

Cristina Branco: Menina

Cristina Branco is a fado virtuoso but her interpretation isn’t confined to a single genre, nor is her inspiration limited to the world of music. Menina (Girl), her fourteenth album, began with a dream about Diego Velázquez’s iconic painting Las Meninas, in which the figures come to life. The vision prompted her to write a self-portrait that she shared with several musicians, asking them to deliberate on her text and come up with songs. The resulting album reflects feminine sensibilities, habits and passions … More Cristina Branco: Menina

Bonga: Recados de Fora

The singer-songwriter Bonga Kuenda is as relevant to Angola’s culture today as he was when his country broke free from Portugal in 1975—remarkable considering he spent most of the intervening years in exile. A thorn in the side of the old Portuguese dictatorship and then to the corrupt leaders who came dominate the newly independent nation, he has been a voice of liberty, identity and protest. Recados de Fora (Messages from Elsewhere)—his thirty-first … More Bonga: Recados de Fora