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

Gatehouse: Tús Nua

Seneca was the first to observe that the best way to master a subject is to teach it, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that the members of Gatehouse are all music teachers. John Wynne and John McEvoy are Irish trad veterans who have played and recorded together as a flute-fiddle duo, and Jacinta McEvoy (guitar, concertina) has accompanied both over the years. What made this Roscommon-based faculty a quartet—and allows them to add lore to their folk … More Gatehouse: Tús Nua

Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Elida Almeida describes her second album as an x-ray of Cape Verde, stories that look beneath the surface of hope and disillusion. At 24, she is a consummate singer-songwriter, blending her island homeland’s hallmark styles—funaná, morna, batuque and tabanka—with Latin energy and traces of R&B. Across 12 tracks, the album offers a current, delightfully applied, of life and art imitating one another. With the most mournful doses of reality, Almeida’s warm voice and gentle or upbeat rhythms … More Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Ferhat Tunç: Kobani

The Kurdish-Turkish singer-songwriter Ferhat Tunç has achieved artistic success, but he has also provoked criticism that goes well beyond negative reviews. Over the course of his 30-year career, he has been harassed, censored, fined, indicted, arrested, jailed and received death threats. As this review posts, he awaits trial in Istanbul on charges of “insulting the president” of Turkey and “propaganda for a terrorist organization” over his support for the Kurdish rights movement. The alleged crimes arose from Twitter … More Ferhat Tunç: Kobani

Karolina Cicha & Bart Pałyga: Tatar Album

Poland’s first Muslim residents came by invitation when medieval rulers saw wisdom in welcoming Tatars, known for their military skills. A thriving community took root and there were Tatar units in the Polish army as late as 1939. Fewer than 5,000 Polish Tatars remain today; clustered mostly in the Bialystok region, they retain their faith, their cuisine and an affinity for archery, but not their language. In 2013, the Bialystok-born singer, composer … More Karolina Cicha & Bart Pałyga: Tatar Album

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

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 with stone and steel but with words and music. Daughter of a musical dynasty from the Isle of Skye, she grew up … More Mary Ann Kennedy: An Dàn – Gaelic Songs for a Modern World

Idan Raichel: Piano • Songs

Though recognizable by his dreadlocks and turban, Idan Raichel often seemed to hide in plain sight. Concerts of his Idan Raichel Project feature up to 15 artists at a time on stage, no one commanding the spotlight and the self-effacing maestro—as pianist, composer, lyricist, singer and producer—always at stage right. To date, he’s made six albums with the Project, a rotating assembly representing Israel’s diversity, with artists singing in Amharic and Arabic alongside Hebrew, plus guest performers from Africa … More Idan Raichel: Piano • Songs

Folk’Avant: Gryningsland

Step away from the urgent world and into the dazzling universe of Gryningsland (Daybreak), by the Swedish-Finnish trio Folk’Avant. Anna Wikenius, Maija Kauhanen and Anna Rubinsztein—who met at Stockholm’s Royal College of Music—call their self-composed songs “experimental Nordic folk,” and they produce a sound that’s both tight (three voices, two instruments) and spacious. Drift on leisurely opening movements that merge into symphonic soundscapes, relish the strings and savor the … More Folk’Avant: Gryningsland

Izaline Calister: Rayo di Lus

The singer-songwriter Izaline Calister has lived most of her adult life in the Netherlands but hasn’t left behind, much less forgotten, her home island of Curaçao. In fact, the fusion that created her native language, Papiamento (Portuguese base with Spanish, Dutch, English and African ingredients) is reflected in the delectable stew of her music—Afro-Antillean, Latin, Brazilian, calypso and jazz. On Rayo di Lus (Ray of Light), Calister’s Antillean roots are front and center, powered by her warm, captivating voice … More Izaline Calister: Rayo di Lus

Idir: Ici et Ailleurs

How many goals can one album achieve? Idir, the soft but steadfast voice of Berber/Kabyle culture, may not have posed that question when he conceived Ici et Ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere), but a partial list would include putting his native language—which has long struggled for official status in Algeria—on a bigger stage; expressing his love for the French soundtrack of his 40-year exile; and, not least, adding a new chapter to Charles Aznavour’s storied career … More Idir: Ici et Ailleurs