Kazan: Ružo​

Based on his study of birdcalls, Darwin came to believe that love songs, no less than love itself, were essential to human propagation. Opting for science over criticism, however, he never weighed in on one conundrum: Whether a romantic ballad is beautiful or tedious often has little or no bearing on its success in courtship. A case in point is Ružo (Rose), the debut album of the Croatian ensemble Kazan. Their traditional love songs in retro-modern garb are … More Kazan: Ružo​

Divanhana: Zukva – Sevdah from Bosnia’s Finest

The zukva is a sour Bosnian apple that can’t be transplanted but blends well in hybrids. On their third album, the members of Divanhana use the apple is an apt symbol of their music—sevdalinka—urban Bosnian folk woven from Balkan, Turkish and Sephardic strands. Adding to the blend, the band grafts brass, piano, bass and drums onto traditional accordion and the enchanting voice of Leila Ćatić. Sevdalinka typically conveys love’s passion … More Divanhana: Zukva – Sevdah from Bosnia’s Finest

Mamak Khadem: The Road

Mamak Khadem defies categorization. Born in Iran and rooted in Persian classical styles, she has also studied North Indian and Balkan traditions. Resettled in Los Angeles, she spent 10 years as lead singer for Axiom of Choice, a Persian-western fusion group. The Road, her second solo album, is less a blending than a radiant mosaic, exploring Iranian majority and minority cultures, Balkan folk and Andalusian classical music. Amid a diverse collection … More Mamak Khadem: The Road