Best African Album
Robin Denselow’s world albums of the year
In each of our best "world music" albums of the year, artists ask their audience to leave behind insular world views and understand new perspectives. The concept of world music — a catchall term to describe music that draws on cultural forms outside of a chosen mainstream — is one way in which hierarchies of the commercial music industries are made manifest. After all, who decides what counts as being in the mainstream, and what is different enough to be relegated to its own category based solely on its periphery from the said center? What makes Cuban son more worldly than Britpop when both are so strongly associated with a single region? David Byrne's article "I Hate World Music" refers to the titular genre as "a marketing as well as a pseudomusical term" and critiques its Eurocentrism and exoticization in a way that echoes the discursive dichotomy Stuart Hall once summarized as a divide between "the West and the rest". Perhaps NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas said it best when she called world music "a problematic, horrible term that satisfies absolutely no one". In spite of this, the term persists, and with it a sense of otherness. How does a conscientious consumer support diversity in the music industry without further widening intercultural gaps? These issues are ones we keep in mind as we highlight ten particularly phenomenal albums from across the globe and attempt to offer enough context for each to place them in the wider popular music scene. In each one, artists ask their audience to leave behind insular worldviews and try to understand new perspectives, whether through lyrics of protest, sounds rooted in histories of disenfranchisement, or simply self-determined expressions of individual identity — much like in any musical genre.
Best Of Subsaharan Africa 2019
By Jo Frost and Simon Broughton. Never miss an issue of Songlines — the leading magazine covering traditional, contemporary, folk and fusion music from around the world: subscribe today! Maghreb United Glitterbeat Records. Collaborations between the Maghreb countries are rare, which makes this album even more valuable. Ammar is a sort of everyman name in North Africa and comes from the Roland TR, one of the earliest drum machines from the s. Powerful, trancy stuff. Joys Abound Riverboat Records. This is the debut from the singer and daughter of slide guitarist Debashish. The album opens fairly conventionally with an energetic invocation to Ganesh.
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