Global Village: Best of 2016

Dec 21, 2016

In a year filled with profound and pervasive ugliness, perhaps the most consistent quality to emerge in albums from all around the world in 2016 was delicate, shimmering beauty.

Half of our Global Village 2016 Top Ten picks (Las Hermanas Caronni - page, Yo-Yo Ma & Silkroad, Jean-Guihen Queyras with Sokratis Sinopoulos, Bijan Chemirani and Keyvan Chemirani , Constantinople, Quintet Bumbac) and many others (notably Guo Gan & Emre Gültekin, Jean-Luc Thomas & Ravichandra Kulur, Breabach, Amjad Ali Khan & Rahim AlHaj) offer this, along with brilliant musicianship and, through their collaborative work, a bridge across musical and cultural boundaries to celebrate a common humanity.

World music releases, once confined largely to western and southern Africa or Jamaica, now span the African continent (see Western Sahara’s Aziza Brahim, Mauritania’s noura mint seymali, Tuareg artists Bombino and Imarhan, Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Fan) and routinely cover much of the globe. You’ll find artists here from Mongolia (Anda Union), the Balkans (Fanfare Ciocarlia, Eva Salina, Agusevi Cambo Orchestra, and by way of Spain, BGKO - Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra), Finland (Päre), India (Bollywood Brass Band), Korea (by way of France from Baeshi Bang 배씨방) and more.

World music releases, once confined largely to western and southern Africa or Jamaica, now span the African continent (see Western Sahara’s Aziza Brahim, Mauritania’s noura mint seymali, Tuareg artists Bombino and Imarhan, Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Fan) and routinely cover much of the globe. You’ll find artists here from Mongolia (Anda Union), the Balkans (Fanfare Ciocarlia, Eva Salina, Agusevi Cambo Orchestra, and by way of Spain, BGKO - Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra), Finland (Päre), India (Bollywood Brass Band), Korea (by way of France from Baeshi Bang 배씨방) and more.

Bands like Buyepongo (Los Angeles), PALO! (Miami), Money Chicha (Austin), and Cecilia Villar Eljuri (New York) offer proof of a lively, inventive, high octane Latin music scene that spans the country and is filled with creative ferment.

And for the first time in decades, Haitian music was offered wider exposure through Afrobeat legend Tony Allen’s collaboration with the Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra, the all-star line-up of Lakou Mizik, and the marvelous historic compilation Tanbou Toujou Lou.

Those are a few of the highlights from the year in world music. You’ll find the full list of our 2016 favorites below. We'll be featuring music from all these titles, along with other honorees, nominees and winners from 2016,and tributes to artists who passed away, throughout the entire month of January in the Global Village.

  1. Las Hermanas Caronni – Navega Mundos – Les Grands Fleuves
  2. Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Ensemble – Sing Me Home – Sony Masterworks
  3. Jean-Guihen Queyras, Bijan Chemirani, Keyvan Chemirani & Sokratis Sinopoulos – Thrace: Sunday Morning Sessions – Harmonia Mundi
  4. Money Chicha – Echo en Mexico (Vampisoul)
  5. Päre – Hausjärvi Beat – Zebo Records
  6. Constantinople – Passages (Buda Musique)
  7. Quintet Bumbac – Libre Voyage dans les Musiques des Balkans – Collectif Çok Malko
  8. Eva Salina – Lema Lema (Vogiton)
  9. Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra – Del Ebro al Danubio – Satélite K
  10. Bollywood Brass Band – Carnatic Connection (Soho)
  11. Dzambo Agusevi Orchestra – Brass Like It Hot (ARC Music)
  12. Kepa Junkera & Sorginak – Maletak – Fol Música
  13. Buyepongo – Todo Mundo (Buyepongo)
  14. Breabach – Astar (Breabach)
  15. Bombino – Azel – Partisan Records
  16. Vieux Kanté – The Young Man’s Harp – Sterns Africa
  17. Fanfare Ciocărlia – 20 – Asphalt Tango Records
  18. Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada – Glitterbeat Records
  19. Noura Mint Seymali – Arbina – Glitterbeat Records
  20. Anda Union – Homeland (Hohhot Records)
  21. Kreiz Breizh Akademi – 5ed Round – Innacor
  22. Söndörgő – Live Wires – Riverboat Records
  23. Abou Diarra – Koya – Mix et Métisse
  24. Djelimady Tounkara – Djely Blues (Label Blues)
  25. Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo – Madjafalao (Because)
  26. Quantic Presents Towering Inferno – 1000 Watts (Tru Thoughts)
  27. Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo – Cumbancha
  28. Imarhan – Imarhan (City Slang)
  29. Stefano Saletti & Piccola Banda Ikona (Finisterre)
  30. Palo! – Yo Quiero Guarachar (Rolling Pin Music)
  31. Baeshi Bang – Vintage K-Pop Revisited (Buda Musique)
  32. Eljuri – La Lucha (Manovill)
  33. Dawda Jobarteh – Transitional Times (Sterns Africa)
  34. Clinton Fearon – This Morning (Kool Yu Foot / Boogie Brown Productions)
  35. Amjad Ali Khan & Rahim Alhaj – Infinite Hope (UR Music)

Historic/Reissues

  1. Various artists – Tanbou Toujou Lou (Ostinato)
  2. Various artists – Urgent Jumping! East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics (Sterns Music)
  3. Various artists – Rough Guide to Ethiopian Jazz (World Music Network)
  4. Fela Ransome Kuti and His Koola Lobitos - Highlife-Jazz and Afro-Soul (1963-1969) (Knitting Factory)
  5. Various artists – Soul Sega Sa! Indian Ocean Segas from the 70s (Bongo Joe)