Orchestre Toubab - Teeru Deggoo (Self-produced)
Orchestre Toubab is a Brussels based Afro-tropical jazz quartet around guitarist Robert Falk. The band's name is a nod to Senegal's legendary Orchestra Baobab, where the term "toubab" is used to describe Caucasian foreigners.
Herve Samb - Teranga (Cristal Records/Sony Music)
Herve Samb is a Senegalese guitarist, composer and producer who started his musical career performing in Dakar's club circuit. Samb was fascinated by Western blues and rock ever since he was a child, but when Belgian guitarist Pierre van Dormael crossed his path, with jazz a whole new musical universe opened up.
Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra - Avo Kanto (Satélite K)
Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra considers 'Avo Kanto' to be the logical successor to their 2016 album 'Del Ebro Al Danubio'.
Ayuune Sule - We Have One Destiny (Rebel Up Records/Makkum Records)
The Dutch Makkum Records label seems determined to map the entire Ghanaian kologo-movement, as after the compilation 'This Is Kologo Power!' and Atamina's solo debut 'Sycophantic Friends', they are now presenting debut album of Ayuune Ayirizeme Kantia Suley, better known as Ayuune Sule or just Sule.
Baloji - 137 Avenue Kaniama (Bella Union/Pias)
We haven't really followed Belgian-Congolese rapper Baloji's career closely, but if one thing is abundantly clear, it's the fact in recent years he's sailed ever further up the Congo River.
African Connection - Queens And Kings (Sounds Of Subterrania!)
The story of African Connection started back in 2016, when members of Danish band Junglelyd decided to accompany Ghanaian musician Atongo Zumba for a tour in his home country. The chemistry evolved from being on the road together and sharing the stage for a month, proved so strong, the Danes decided to turn it into a permanent project.
I-Octane - Love & Life (Conquer The Globe Productions)
Back in 2012 I-Octane heavily r&b infused debut effort 'Crying To The Nation' had a hard time convincing yours truly, 2014 successor 'My Journey' from was completely ruined by Auto-Tune, and with 'Love & Life' the singer from Sandy Beach in Clarendon seems to persist in his ways.
Malagasy Guitar Masters - Volo Hazo (Buda Musique)
For Malagasy Guitar Masters, three generations of Malagasy guitar heroes joined forces: Teta, a genius from Toliaro specialized in the so-called tsapiky-style, Chrisanto Zama comes from that same province but is a generation younger, specializing in rodaringa, a very rhythmic style, and tsinjabey, Malagasy funeral music, and finally, Joël Rabesolo, the youngest of the bunch, nicknamed the Malagasy Jimi Hendrix.
The Roots Engine - Perpetual Travel (Self-published)
The Roots Engine is an eight piece band from the French capital with 'Perpetual Travel' presenting its second long player. Vocal linchpins of the band are Guillaume and Enora, and it's especially the latter that turns out to have one hell of a voice and on top of that also plays a mean flute.
Edu Passeto & Gui Tavares - Noite Que Brincou De Lua (Far Out Recordings)
With 'Noite Que Brincou De Lua' by duo Edu Passeto and Gui Tavares, Far Out Recordings dusts off another unjustly forgotten gem from the MPB or musica popular Brasileira scene of the early nineteen eighties.
Groundation - Each One Teach One + Each One Dub One (Baco Records)
With this 'Each One Teach One - Deluxe Edition', split into a remixed and remastered version of 'Each One Teach One', the band's 2001 second album, and the brand new dub version 'Each One Dub One', Groundation finally resurfaces.
Ryon - Zéphyr (Dibyz Music)
Yours truly got to know Ryon, a band from the South West of France, two years ago when they released their acclaimed album debut 'Rêver'. On that album we were mostly struck by two things: firstly, the fact we were finally dealing with a French band putting the language of Molière first again, and second, that even though musically the songs on 'Rêver' were beyond reproach, the content of the tracks clearly outweighed the music. For successor 'Zéphyr', the band fortunately left this recipe unaltered.
King Kong - Repatriation (Irie Ites Records)
Eighties icon King Kong never really went away - in 2005 there was the hugely successful 'Rumble Jungle Life', recorded for Massive B, in 2012 followed by the King Shiloh produced 'Ethiopian Dream', and finally 'In The Old Capital', a 5 track EP released just last year - but as far as this excellent release by French label Irie Ites Records is concerned, we'd really go as far as to call it a comeback album.
City Kay - Strange Things (Baco Records)
City Kay, the London based band around vocalist Jay Pharaoh, already gave us a preview of this new album in November of last year with the release of the 'Mad Men' EP. The 4 tracks from that EP ('Mad Men', 'Man Cultivation Struggle', 'Run For Your Soul' and the duet with Johnny Osbourne 'Throw Away Your Guns'), also feature in the track list of 'Strange Things'. We already determined the four songs on the EP sounded a lot more eclectic than the tracks on predecessor 'Daystar', and the band seems to have baptized that sound, a mix of ambient, electro, pop, hip-hop and new roots, as "abstract roots".
Various Artists - Montego Records presents AllStar Rockers (Rebel Sound Records)
Alphanso Henclewood is a Jamaican producer from Greenwich Farm who's been running his Montego Records label since the nineteen seventies and learned the tricks of the trade in studios like Tuff Gong, Channel One and Dynamics. Henclewood migrated to the United States a while back and currently resides in New Mexico, the reason why he now joined forces with American label Rebel Sound Records.
Vibronics - Woman On A Mission (Scoops Records)
Especially for International Women's Day, British producer Steve Vibronics presents 'Woman On A Mission', a compilation for which he exclusively invited female vocalists.
Various Artists - Reggae Anthology: Bobby Digital Serious Times, Digital-B Vol. 2 (17 North Parade/VP Records)
This second part in the 'Reggae Anthology' diptych around producer Bobby 'Digital' Dixon picks up where the first box left off.
King Tubby & Riley All Stars - Concrete Jungle Dub (Dub Store Records)
Dub Store Records has earned itself a reputation for their high quality reissues of rare gems from ska, rocksteady, reggae and dub history. 'Concrete Jungle Dub', originally released on Dennis Harris' London based Concrete Dub label in 1976, is still considered to be one of the rarest LP's in that last category!
Aketi Ray - From Ever Since (F-Ire Records)
Just over a year ago London based acoustic jazz-dub project Aketi Ray already gave us a taste of what was to follow with their 'Mirror/Reflect & Rise EP', a joint effort with Alpha & Omega. No trace of 'Reflect & Rise' on 'From Ever Since', but 'Mirror' is well and truly featured in the track list, and what becomes clear from opener 'Ephemeral', is the fact 'From Ever Since' definitely sounds jazzier than the aforementioned EP.
Various Artists - Songs For Reggae Lovers 6 (Greensleeves)
We would have preferred to have been able to present you our view on this sixth volume in the annual 'Songs For Reggae Lovers' series running up to Valentine's day, but unfortunately we could only get our hands on the double compilation album now. However, true love has no expiration date, so this collection should still serve its purpose. Unlike the previous edition, the first disc doesn't feature new releases and the second a series of classics, but what binds the tracks on 'Songs For Reggae Lovers 6', is the fact this time all tracks selected are duets, each time with a male and female vocalist (as the cover image kind of illustrates).