Tu Shung Peng - Trouble Time (Makasound)
Roots lovers have known it to be true for a while now: there seems to be something in the air in France, because the country is overflowing with average to really excellent sounding reggae formations.
Alborosie - Soul Pirate (Forward Recordings/Rubikon/Beaver Music)
Alborosie's debut effort 'Soul Pirate' deserves the trophy for most anticipated album of 2008.
Sebastian Sturm - One Moment In Peace (Rootdown Records)
'One Moment In Peace' is in every regard (both in terms of style and content as in sleeve design) a logical sequel to Sturm's debut effort 'This Change Is Nice'.
Lukie D - Here I Am (Cousins)
With 'Here I Am' Lukie D offers another thoroughly delightful album and for yours truly it remains a mystery why he remains somewhat undervalued as an artist.
Dub Colossus - In A Town Called Addis (Real World Records)
'In A Town Called Addis' finally fills a gap in the Real World catalog, the label offering until now music from just about every region in Africa except Ethiopia, something that became painfully clear when for the soundtrack of 'Long Way Down' in the episode featuring a ride through Ethiopia, Somali music by Maryam Mursal was used.
Fanfare Ciocarlia - Queens And Kings + Oana Catalina Chitu - Bucharest Tango + La Cherga - Fake No More (Asphalt Tango Records)
In our search for the crème de la crème of Gypsy music Berlin Asphalt Tango Records couldn't be overlooked and yours truly is delighted now also being able to present their productions.
Gangbe Brass Band - Assiko (Contre Jour)
Where Benin is concerned the musical knowledge of yours truly limited itself to the work of Angelique Kidjo, until now that is, as we just discovered Gangbe Brass Band.
Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman (Cumbancha)
The mbira or thumb piano can be considered to be the national instrument of Zimbabwe and Chiwoniso is the absolute queen of the genre.
Figli Di Madre Ignota - Fez Club (Eastblok Music)
Yours truly continues to ride the Balkan express and this time it took us to Milan in the North of Italy, where we found the motley crew of Figli Di Madre Ignota.
Madera Limpia - La Corona (Out Here Records)
The fact Orishas' success formula of mixing classic Cuban son with modern hip-hop would get a following, was only a matter of time.
Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club Live At Carnegie Hall (World Circuit)
Although most founding members have sadly passed away, the Buena Vista circus, which started as a project by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and, with the support of Ry Cooder, became a worldwide phenomenon, keeps on touring the world.
La Caravane Passe - Velkom Plèchti (Me & My Records)
Does the ultimate Gypsy music actually exist? French ensemble La Caravane Passe doesn't seem to think so, as their music comes from the fictional country of Plèchti, located somewhere east of Paris and west of the Black Sea where the people express themselves in a cosmopolitan language with elements from French, Serbian, Spanish, Yiddish, English, Catalan, Arabic and a number of other languages.
Gipsy.cz - Reprezent + Terne Čhave - More, Love! (Indies Scope Records)
In our relentless quest for the perfect Gypsy music this time we're visiting the Czech Republic where the local Indies Scope label offers us two new releases.
Max Pashm - Never Mind The Balkans, Here's Max Pashm (Elektrikos/Organikos Records)
Gypsy and Balkan lovers forget Shantel, here's Max Pashm! That seems at least what the cover of the new album by Max Pashm, 'Never Mind The Balkans, Here's Max Pashm' seems to scream out.
Various Artists - Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974 - '79 (Soundway Records)
Soundway Records, established in Brighton, remains firmly focused on Nigeria.
Peter Gabriel - Big Blue Ball (Real World Records)
It may seem strange to find a review of Peter Gabriel's new album on these pages, but don't forget Gabriel is also the man behind the prestigious Real World label.
Rocola Bacalao - Infierno (Self-published)
In our continuing search for the most original ska-sound, this time we ended up in Ecuador.
Ambelique - Sharing The Night (Cousins)
A few years ago Ambelique was still considered the big new promise in lovers rock, a reputation he unfortunately wasn't quite able to uphold.
Fred Locks - Glorify The Lord (Cousins)
It had been eight years since we heard anything from Fred Locks, but with 'Glorify The Lord' it's as if he never went away.
Richie Spice - Gideon Boot (VP Records)
'Gideon Boot' is actually Richie Spice's declaration of independence: 5th Element is no more and his sparkling backing vocalist Etana went on to pursue a solo career.