Jahbar I - Jahbar I Dehya (Wizkilful Productions)
Our last album review for this year is for 'Jahbar I Dehya', the long-playing debut of Jahbar I.
Various Artists - Step Forward Youth: Roots Masters From The 'Punky Reggae Party' (Greensleeves)
For once, their 'Strictly The Best' compilation will only be released in the new year, so Greensleeves/VP Records ends 2018 with 'Step Forward Youth', zooming in on the relationship between punk and reggae.
uKanDanZ - Yeketelale (Buda Musique)
After 2012s 'Yechelal' and 2016s 'Awo', the third album by French Ethio-crunch ensemble uKanDanZ is appropriately titled 'Yeketelale', Amharic for "it continues".
MoZaiq - MoZaiq EP (Roots Musician Records)
This last release for 2018 on producer E.N. Young's Roots Musician Records label is once again a debut EP, this time by MoZaiq, a six-piece formation from La Quinta, a city in the Coachella Valley (see also Burnt), who describe themselves as: "...a group of broken guys joined to create beautiful art through music.".
DubRaJah - Nilotic EP (Dub-O-Phonic)
The last Dub-O-Phonic release for this year is by label veteran DubRaJah, who with this 'Nilotic' EP continues along the path he'd already taken with 2014s 'Enkag' and 2017s 'Reprise'.
Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band - Siri Ba Kele (Sublime Frequencies)
For the successor of 'Juguya', his long player debut full of steamy afrobeat and Afro-funk, Burkinabe Baba Commandant opted for a more traditional approach in which the Mandingo guitar was given a central role.
Os Catedráticos - Ataque (Far Out Recordings)
Composer, arranger, producer and keyboard player Eumir Deodato is widely regarded as one of Brazil's most productive musicians. Deodato can be heard on more than 500 albums including, among others, releases by Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Frank Sinatra, Kool & The Gang, George Benson, Tom Jobim and Björk, but before he moved to New York in the late nineteen sixties, Eumir had already built up a great musical reputation in his own country where he collaborated with Roberto Menescal, João Donato and Marcos Valle. In that same period, he also recorded a number of albums with his own lesser known samba jazz and bossa nova ensemble Os Catedráticos, and from those releases it's mainly 'Ataque' which perfectly captures the magical groove of nineteen sixties Rio.
Feeling Kréyol - Las Palé (Strut Records)
'Las Palé' is the first international and fully remastered reissue of the debut album of Feeling Kréyol, a Guadeloupian girl group from the nineteen eighties.
Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers - Magic Polaroid (Agogo Records)
German quintet Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers continue to evolve, straying ever further from the instrumental band they still were on 'Cranes And Carpets', their 2015 debut album.
Me And My Friends - Look Up (Split Shift Records)
The sound of British band Me And My Friends immediately evoked memories of Oi Va Voi and Paul Simon at the time of 'Graceland' is never far away either.
Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics - Zivot (Jasha! Records)
On 'Cigaros Explosivos', the 2014 album debut by Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics, the Swiss band presented a refreshing mix of Balkan influences with Cuban rhythms. In the years that followed, whenever he was not touring, Jaro Milko travelled to countries like Greece, Turkey and Israel, and those musical influences have also made their way into the musical mix of the band.
Verse iTal - 100% Roots (Blu Skyz Entertainment)
After the release of his 2015 'Truth & Substance' EP, things around Trinidadian singer Verse iTal seemed to quiet down again, but this '100% Roots' album proves that we certainly shouldn't write him off yet.
Paolo Baldini DubFiles meets Mellow Mood - Large Dub (La Tempesta Dischi)
Just before the end of the year, the Italian La Tempesta Dischi label still spoils us with 'Large Dub', a dub version of the new album by Italian formation Mellow Mood, which was released in April of this year.
Black Symbol - Behold (Sugar Shack Records)
Four years after his comeback album 'Journey', Brummie reggae legend Black Symbol returns with 'Behold', an album for which he got assistance from Steel Pulse vocalist/keyboard player Selwyn Brown and sound engineers Angus Jones and Wooligan.
Oi Va Voi - Memory Drop (Oi Va Voi Recordings/V2)
Almost ten years have passed since the release of Oi Va Voi's excellent 'Travelling The Face Of The Globe' album, and we had actually given up on the project of Londoners Josh Breslaw and Steve Levi.
Capital Letters featuring JB - Judgement Day (Sugar Shack Records)
During the recording of their 2015 release 'Wolverhampton' the then recently reunited Capital Letters split again and the vocal contributions of lead vocalist Danny 'Teacher' McKenzie were even removed last minute just before the album hit the shelves. For this successor Sugar Shock Records wanted to avoid all possible confusion and controversy, so the cover neatly states: Capital Letters featuring JB.
Fofoulah - Daega Rack (Glitterbeat Records)
For the successor of their 2014 self-titled debut album, London-based Fofoulah, a project around Gambian sabar drummer Kaw Secka and keyboardist/saxophonist Tom Challenger, took a slightly different approach.
Natural Mighty - Reflection Of My Dreams (Khanti Records/Pias)
Their 2015 'Good Time' EP, our first encounter with the Parisians of Natural Mighty, did not really leave a lasting impression at the time, but with this new album the French band clearly seems to have found a second wind.
Savages Y Suefo - Brotherhood (Agogo Records)
Who still remembers Hungarian producer-duo Savages Y Suefo? In 2012, when the Balkan hype was still at its peak, they created a highly infectious cross-over album called 'World-Style', which seamlessly merged genres like reggae, swing, electro, and, of course, gypsy music.
Yom And The Wonder Rabbis - You Will Never Die! (Buda Musique/Full Rhizome/Planètes Rouges)
We knew French clarinetist Yom as the man behind the rather melancholic album 'Songs For The Old Man', or as guest musician on 'Boukane' by folk gypsy hip-hop crossover band Lolomis, but in 2010 he also founded Yom And The Wonder Rabbis, a project aimed on blasting the klezmer genre into the twenty-first century by adding electric bass, drums and electronics.